Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tiara at a baby shower? You betcha!

I posted earlier about how I walked in to my baby shower and found the beautiful rocker in the center of the room from Billy's grandparents.  What I failed to mention is that there was a tiara - yes, a tiara - sitting on it.  I was taken aback because, although I haven't been to many baby showers, I had never seen a babyshower-themed tiara.  I have, however, been to several bridal showers and have seen tiaras at those.  I was half expecting to see a necklace of small babies or having to wear a diaper or something (just like bachelorettes have to wear necklaces with penises on them or a veil).  I was also half expecting (and half hoping for...just kidding) male strippers in diapers or bibs.  :)

You can find this and other great phallic decorations here.  :) 

Really glad we didn't have one of these at the shower.

I think the tiara said "Mom To Be" or something like that.  This was my expression when I saw that someone had gotten a set of fuzzibunz cloth diapers for me!

This is me being all teacher-y: I made a baby shower quiz.  It was like 20+ questions (a bit of an overkill, I know) but I was proud of it and I did give out prizes for those who got the most correct answers.  What can I say?  I'm a natural educator.  

Billy (awww...look at the way he's looking at me :)), me, Grandma Donna, and Grandpa Bruce.  Btw, Donna and I totally coordinated outfits.

Cute family, eh?  I really wish my mom and members of my family lived closer so that they could have been here to celebrate with us, but having Donna and Bruce around has been fantastic!  And yes, Billy is about to take a bite out of my gut.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great getting-ready-to-push-a-human-out-of-my-privates books

I've been blessed to have such great, wonderful women around me to let me borrow great books to read during my pregnancy.  The minute I knew I was pregnant, Billy and I went out and bought the book that EVERY pregnant girl gets (either as a gift or she gets it herself).

This book, on a scale of 1-10 for helpfulness, was about a 3.  The questions in the book are ridiculous and everything seemed written as if we pregnant women weren't capable of understanding the intricacies and biochemical nuances of pregnancy.  For example, here is an excerpt: "I'm eager to eat well, but it's difficult to figure out what's in the products I buy.  I just can't make sense out of the labels."  This is followed by a watered-down explanation of good nutrition habits during pregnancy. 

The books that I have found super helpful are Sheila Kitzinger's The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth and Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn is filled with fascinating information on everything from hormone releases during pregnancy to all the types of drugs that could be used as pain relief during labor (including any potential side effects to the mother and the fetus).  There are hundreds of pages worth of information in tabular format so that it is easy for you to reference.  The language is straightforward and not cutesy and gives you all the information you need to know in order to have a healthy pregnancy and a medicated/unmedicated birth. 

The last two books I would recommend is the latest edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears.  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding does focus, of course, on breastfeeding (the benefits of breastmilk, the bond between mother and child, different breastfeeding positions), but also gives you valuable information about infant behavior (from poopy diapers to subtle "hunger" cues).  They provide the science behind why breastfeeding is so important and why little babies should be fed human milk, but also provide guidance about feeding, bonding, etc for parents of babies who, for some reason or another, have to be fed formula.  The Baby Book is a great resource for parents who like the Attachment philosophy; it emphasizes breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and babywearing, as well as giving you valuable information on your new infant (like what to do with clogged tear ducts or how to tell if your baby has a food allergy or a bug (one of these is a red rashy ring around its anus :)). 

I hope this helps any of you who are pregnant or considering pregnancy buy really good books that will actually help and empower you with knowledge. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two amazing gifts

So, we had our "official" fancy baby shower last weekend and it went pretty well.  One of Grandma Donna's friends, Paula, hosted the shower for us at her beautiful house.  The food and drinks were plentiful, the decorations were amazing, and the people attending were fantastic.  Thanks to all who came for the wonderful gifts and memories.

We received lots of great, useful items like a set of Fuzzibunz cloth diapers, a play yard, a portable bathtub, a little bouncy chair thing, and really great books.  (I'll have to do a book post soon...The books I've been reading have all been so wonderful and helpful).  I just wanted to take a quick minute to highlight two gifts in particular: the gift from Grandma Donna and Grandpa Bruce and the gift from Nacho's ONLY aunt, Kseniya. 

Bruce is super cool.  He seriously has built half the wooden stuff in his home.  He does it all in his garage.  Therefore, the guy knows his wood products.  So when Donna asked me if we had a rocking chair already, I told her "kind of." 

This is the "rocking" chair we had: the Poang from Ikea.

So, she asked if it was OK if she and Bruce got me a rocking chair as a gift.  I didn't think too much of it at first, since I've never been around too many rocking chairs, but thought about how useful it would be for breastfeeding.

My ambivalence towards the rocker turned into sheer joy when I saw this sitting in the middle of the room at the shower:

A "Mission" Style rocking chair.

Pretty, eh?  We rearranged our living room so that we could put the rocker in a special, center-of-attention place.  The shawl on the rocker is knit from yarn that was Donna's mom's (Nacho's Great-Grandmother's yarn).  She passed away last year and this was the last bits and pieces of the yarn that Donna had taken from her house.  It's so nice to have something with such history and significance that will be a part of Little Nacho's life.

Billy's sister, Kseniya, gave us these:

That's me, Billy, Pirate (notice that he only has one eye!), baby Nacho, and Hanzo!

How cute are they?  I love it.  Kseniya sent the designer pictures and she got everything spot on (except my lack of cleavage and Nacho's blonde hair :))  And if you turn the little Pirate around, it's even got a curly tail!  I freaking love it.  

At the shower, we played a few games.  One was to have everyone take magazines and cut out baby characteristics and make a picture of baby Nacho from all the cut-out parts.  The results were equally hilarious and creepy :)  We decided to use them to decorate the white walls in Nacho's little nursery room.  Since we're living in a rental, we don't want to spend too much time painting and decorating a room that's not ours.  

Nacho's little changing table with a cooshee changer attached to the top.  Notice the pictures of the babies above the changing table.  :)  Kinda creepy, eh?  It cracks us up.

We decided to hang up some of our favorite well wishes and advice that were written to us at the shower.  The picture on the left was sewed (crocheted?  knitted? macraméd?) by Billy's mom the month Billy was born :)
This is a baby picture collage we made for the shower.  Look at Billy right in the middle.  He was really angry about being born that day, even though he was about 2 weeks past his due date :)

Anyhow, we are so thankful for all the love and support that's been shown to us by new friends and old.  All of the gifts and hand-me-downs have been such a huge life-saver.  We seriously have only spent like $300 so far on baby stuff.  I love it.  

T minus 9 days until I'm due!

Friday, July 23, 2010

So, I've mentioned how I've been really drawn to the whole attachment parenting philosophy.  Attachment parenting isn't something new; women (and men) have been practicing attachment parenting for thousands of years.
The basics of attachment parenting consists of the 7 Bs:

Birth Bonding:
This occurs immediately after birth.  Babies have spent the last 10 months in your uterus, protected, warm, and comfortable (maybe not so comfortable in the end). Right after birth, which can certainly be a crazy and even traumatic experience for both mother and baby, the baby immediately needs what has been its main source of food, warmth, and comfort for its entire life: its mother.  Have you ever seen videos of births (probably many of you haven't :)) where the baby comes out, takes a gulp of air, turns pink and, instead of crying like you expected, opens its eyes as its placed on it's mother's abdomen and looks at her.  It's really quite amazing!  They're alert and taking everything in and looking around...Those special first few moments of skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact are when mothers and babies fall hopelessly in love with each other.  Plus, the skin-to-skin contact helps to regulate baby body temperature and helps neurodevelopment

This is why it's super important to me to try and have an unmedicated, intervention-free birth (scary, I know!  but I'll tell you right now...If I need anything done to me: epidural, pitocin, whatever, for any medical reason, I will do it) with the help of my doula, April, and Billy.  I really want to be as medication-free (and I want Nacho to be as medication-free) so our first moment together isn't obstructed by any fog-inducing substance.

Right after birth, if the baby is on its mother's abdomen, it will start crawling up towards the areola (which it can see) and start rooting around for its mother's nipple.  Breastfeeding should be "on demand," meaning that whenever the baby wants to breastfeed, you do so.  Breastfeeding frequently helps to develop a deeper connection to your baby where you can start to anticipate the baby's cues.  As babies get older, they may not just breastfeed strictly for hunger or thirst; they may breastfeed because it's something that comforts them and this, in turn, comforts you.  Breastfeeding will help me bond with Little Nacho and will help him (or her) develop a deeper a connection to me and a deeper level of trust.  Not to mention, breastfeeding releases all those good hormones into your's like being legally high.  Pretty neat.

On another note, next week is the International Breastfeeding Week!  We just put up the La Leche League Symbol (correction: the symbol is the International Breastfeeding Logo) at Higher Ground Learning, meaning that HGL is a baby-friendly place!  Mommas, come on in, drop your older kid off for some great tutoring, take a seat on one of our comfy couches, and feed your babies while you wait!

Women all over the world have been wearing their babies ever since we could walk upright. 

Carrying your baby is one of the easiest things to do.  When you carry your baby, they are constantly up at (or near) face level and can take in all of the interactions between you and others around you.  Many babies who are carried are in a state of "quiet alertness."  Furthermore, the increased body contact between you and baby helps to further strengthen that birth bond and makes you more attuned to their "cues," whether it's squirming or the whimpers right before a cry.  Finally, carrying your baby is practical: you don't have to stash a stroller in your trunk and pull it out every time you have to go somewhere with baby or you don't have to lug around the (sometimes really heavy) car seat and deposit your kid on the floor while you go about your business (if the baby stays too long in the car seat or anywhere where it's lying down a lot, it can get a case of "flat head" and may have to be fitted with a special helmet).  

Getting ready to practice carrying Nacho around using Pirate as a guinea pug (ha!)

This is a maya wrap, a sling-style ring.  Usually, they're about $60 retail, but we found this like-new one at kid-to-kid for $15.99!!!

Pirate was very comfortable in the sling. 

Bedding close to your baby:
There are a lot of opinions going around about co-sleeping with a baby.  Many studies have shown that there is an increased chance of the baby dying when it's co-sleeping with its parents because of suffocation, the chance of being rolled on, and the chance of it slipping into tiny spaces, like the space between a bed and a wall.  However, co-sleeping has incredible amount of benefits.  For example, (and I think this is one of the most important benefits) a mother who co-sleeps with her infant does NOT have to get up in the middle of the night to pick baby up from the crib in the other room, thereby getting better sleep.   Also, several cultures around the world co-sleep or co-room with their babies and have done so for several thousand years.  Babies of breastfeeding mothers usually sleep at the level of the mother's breast (whereas babies of formula-feeding mothers sleep at face level).  The carbon dioxide output of the mother also helps to regulate the baby's breathing patterns, reducing the risk of SIDS.

Although many people will think I'm doing the "wrong" thing, I think this is the best for me, Billy, and Little Nacho.  Just like anybody would take precautions with a crib (making sure the sheets are fitted nice and tight, that there are no blankets or pillows or stuffed animals that could suffocate baby, and that the crib has no faulty parts or spaces where the baby could fall through), we are going to take precautions with our bed.  Neither of us are heavy sleepers and we aren't drug users and we don't drink any alcohol (well, I don't.  Billy has a beer every so often or a gin and tonic every once in a while :)).  We do plan to rig a crib up to the side of the bed with one of the sides removed (one of those convertible beds) so that the baby could be within arms reach in his own little area.

Belief in baby's cry:
Babies do not cry to manipulate.  They cry because it is their only means of communication to their caregivers.  Parents should respond quickly to their babies' cries so that they could foster a sense of trust.  As the baby gets older, you can take more and more time to respond to their cries, thereby allowing your baby, who trusts you, to explore different ways to soothe themselves.  

Beware of baby training:
Beware of the advice that tells you to just let your baby "cry it out" or to time your feedings so that you and baby are on a schedule.  This creates a distance between you and baby.

This is all about making time for yourself as a woman, wife, girlfriend, friend, etc.  You are not JUST a mother.  You have to say no every once in a while and hang up the "mommy" hat for a short time.  Attachment parenting helps you to reconnect with your baby after time taken apart from them.  By co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and wearing your baby, you're able to achieve that bonding again and maximize the time spent together.  

So, that's it in a nutshell.  Hopefully, this would provide you guys with enough background and information so that you could understand where we are coming from with our parenting choices.  If you want to learn more about attachment parenting, please go to Dr. Sears's website and the website for Attachment Parenting International.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bodily functions in my last month of pregnancy

Being pregnant is totally weird.  I'm not the biggest fan of it, especially not today when I sat down on the bed (naked of course...I can't sleep with any clothes on because I'm already like 10 degrees warmer than all you regular people) and caught a glimpse of my belly resting on my thighs.  I looked like my dad: a 60-year-old man with the skinniest arms and legs and the biggest, hardest potbelly I've ever seen.  It made me kinda sad.

With my daddy in El Eje Cafetero (the Coffee District) in Colombia

Anyhow, this last month has been rather taxing.  I've stopped working at my cubicle up at the U for several reasons: there are two girls who are working with me on a project and the phone for the project and the computer for the project are in my cube, so they hang out there; the drive is tedious; and with 100+ degree heat on some days, I can't fathom walking the few steps from my front door, to the car, stepping inside of a 120 degree car, driving 3/4 of the way in miserable heat (waiting for the AC to cool down), and walking from my car and into the building.  It gives me anxiety just thinking about it.  I'm constantly hot.  At my baby shower last Sunday, I was the ONLY one that was sweating and even got underboob AND underbelly sweat stains on my beautiful black maternity dress.  

Nacho's head is constantly rubbing against my cervix.  It is THE weirdest feeling in the world.  Do you all remember 7th or 8th grade physical science when everyone came to the center of the room, formed a circle, held hands, and someone touched a spark or something that caused the electrical current to go through each person?  Or has anyone accidentally touched the exposed wires behind an outlet?  It's the same exact feeling, except it's somewhere deep inside of your privates area.  It's incredibly disconcerting when it happens: I have to pick up the lower part of my belly and try to shift Nacho as I'm walking.  I can just imagine him shaking his head "no" as he rubs it against my cervix.  Kinda funny but not.

Sleeping is an issue.  I tried sleeping without monster pillow one night so that I could spoon Billy or he could spoon me (it's seriously like we sleep in separate beds).  It lasted for about 5 minutes and then I became uncomfortable and longed for the enveloping cocoon of the monster pillow.  Regardless, even with monster pillow, I'm not completely comfortable: I have to have our fan at the highest level blowing right on me and sometimes, I even kick off the flimsy little sheet I try to cover myself with.  I even have this tiny wedge-shaped pillow that Christy gave me that I stick underneath the side of my belly for extra support.  

I swear to God I'm growing sideburns.

I have a birthmark that has been hidden inside of my belly button my whole life that has just been exposed.  

My feet are slightly longer.  Someone had told me that their feet had grown during pregnancy, but I definitely did not think mine would grow.  Now, they barely fit into my favorite Toms shoes.

This isn't really a bodily function, but I thought it would be interesting to share for those of you who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.  Some books I've been reading have said that it may be a good idea (talk to your midwife or doctor first) to do a "perineal massage" in order to get your vaginal and perineal tissues ready for a vaginal birth (others use a device, available only in Europe or Canada, that you insert into your vagina and it comes in different sizes, that helps to "stretch" you out).
So, I asked Billy to help me with the perineal massage.  I gave him the instructions (insert two well-lubricated (with oil) fingers into my vagina and gently press down and move from side-to-side in a U shape).  We got started.  After about 45 seconds of this "massage," I was growing uncomfortable and Billy was growing uncomfortable.  

It totally desexualized the whole area for us and I did not feel comfortable with that.

So, I decided to give it a shot myself.  Trying to insert two thumbs down there and maneuver around a basketball-sized belly is no easy feat.  I finally got situated and started the "massage."  I tried to relax my pelvic floor muscles and imagined them spreading the way they would when I'm giving birth.  Oh.  My.  God.  It was painful.  Not excruciating, but the type of pain you do NOT want to associate with your privates.  But I'm going to keep on trying because the pain of getting yourself ready for a vaginal birth is probably not as bad as the pain you get from tearing or an episiotomy (stitches, burning when you urinate, fear of ripping the wound open again if you have a bowel movement)...

Despite all of my discomfort throughout this entire pregnancy, I can't help but to feel excited and anxious to see what Billy and I have created.  I can't wait to see what Nacho looks like and if he looks more like me or Bill.  I've finally gotten past the point of worrying about the birth and have gotten to the point where I fantasize about the moment I first lay eyes on him (or her).  Next, I have to start focusing on "reality setting in" and how it's going to be the first few days after we have Nacho.

Jeez.  I'll think about it later.  I'm going to take a nap...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bringing home a sibling...

Billy and I have one dog, Pirate, that we take care of full-time and another dog, Hanzo, that we take care of part-time (Hanzo's my dog from a previous relationship.  Laugh all you want, but my ex and I co-parent him.  He was my first dog and it would've broken my heart to never see him again after ex and I broke things off.) 

Anyhow, we've briefly thought about what we're going to do to help make the transition from having no human children in the house to having one human child and two doggies in the house.  Hanzo's a Boston Terrier and was not socialized when he was a little pup.  Therefore, he's generally not very nice to other dogs.  He loves Pirate, though, and he acts like his big brother.  I've only seen him interact once with a child and it was a toddler.  And by "interact," I mean that he tried to hump the poor kid the whole time he came to visit.  He loves me and has never snapped at me, but I've seen him do it to other males (never a female).  The only exception is Bruce, Billy's dad.  He and Hanzo have a good understanding of each other and I think Hanzo sort of idolizes him. 

 Yes, it's the morning and that's what my hair looks like when I wake up.

Pirate is a cuddler.  He doesn't growl or generally bite, but he is clumsy because of his deficiency (he only has one eye...but I don't think he knows it).  He runs underneath our feet when we feed him in the morning and when we get home. 

 Pugs are generally pretty weird/ugly dogs, but Pirate is such a cute Pug!  I think because he only has one eye, it doesn't go all skeewompus like other pugs' eyes.

Both dogs know the basic commands: sit, Hanzo knows down, stay, back, and Pirate kinda knows heel.  They're both really great dogs and we love having them at home (even though it's summer now and they shed nonstop and our house is constantly hairy and dirty from them coming in and out of the doggy door and tracking dirt in.)  We couldn't imagine our lives without the critters.

I've read that in order to get the doggies used to a baby, to introduce the baby in small bouts.  We plan to leave the dogs at Bill's parents' house and come over and leave a blanket with Nacho's smell on it for them to get used to.  Then we'll come over with Nacho for a few hours.  We'll see how they behave at that point.  If it's generally good, then we'll take the doggies home. 

I would love any ideas or suggestions you all may have about introducing your doggie kids to your human kid.  We're seriously just kind of hoping it all works out and haven't gotten to the point of thinking of what could happen if they don't get along.  I guess it all depends on how cute Nacho is, because if he's not cuter than Pirate and Hanzo combined, we may have to keep the dogs and send the baby over to Bill's parents' (JUST KIDDING!!!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My "ME" day

So, Billy gave me a really sweet gift certificate for Valentine's Day this year: a Yadoru massage, which is a massage specifically for mothers-to-be, at the Kura Door spa.  It was the first time in months that I had been able to lie face down and it was heaven.  They have this foam thing that has a depression in the middle for my gut and two depressions for my breasts.  It was heavenly.  And it went by so quickly.

Anyhow, I went last Saturday with Billy's mom and we had a nice girls' day.  Too bad we didn't take any pictures :(  Billy's mom and dad also gave me a gift certificate for the Kura Door for a pedicure.  So, we got there, they gave us super comfy flip flops and we put the robes on.  We waited in a waiting area and drank tea and ate apricots and almonds.  We then got our massages and met back up in the waiting area.  The pedicure was amazing.  They use this scrub thing and then they put some sort of yogurt stuff on your feet and wrap them in really hot towels...God, my feet are tingling just thinking about it.

I picked an orangish-red color for my nails to give everyone something ELSE to look at while I'm giving birth. 

It was really nice to hang out with Donna and have a pamper-me day.  I could get used to them.  Here's to hoping that Billy does really well in Business school and we could afford these Me-days oooh, about once a month or so. 

Doula Class: Stages of Labor and Billy's Notes

April came by the other night for our second class: Stages of Labor.  There are 5 stages: Early, Active, Transition, Pushing, and Placenta Delivery.  This class was really good for Billy since April pretty much told him what the majority of women like/don't like during each stage. 

Here are some excerpts from his notes (bless his heart):

Under Early Labor:
"6 - Praise her.  Come home drunk and say, "You're doing great, baby."
(Background story: Billy hardly ever goes out.  He works like 70 hours a week and spends most of his free time hanging out with me.  One day, when his brother was visiting, they went out to Brewvies and closed the place down.  Billy came home and, unfortunately, it was the only night that I felt nauseous during my pregnancy.  It was BAD.  I was having cold sweats, I was rocking back and forth, and I puked twice.  Billy was nearly passed out in bed and just said, "You're doing great, baby."  ugggggh!  I was sooooo mad.  I didn't talk to him the next day at all :)) 

Under Active Labor:
"2 - Scarlett gotta eat.  She don't wanna but she gotta."

"8 - Don't go to the bar or to work"

"11 - Whisper shit about the baby.  Keep praising her."

Under Transition Labor:

"5 - Get her nekkid - boo ya!"
(This is because during this stage, most women start shaking, which would make people think she's cold, but she's really hot.  Plus, if you get naked now, it's easier for when you are pushing and give birth to have skin-to-skin contact right away.)

"8 - Break the nurses' balls Joe Pesci style.  Make nurses STFU."
(This is when nurses start chattering at your bedside at things that have nothing to do with the mother who's in labor.  This also has to do with the concept that labor is very hard for women, especially if doing it non-medicated) and that people need to respect the woman's journey and be almost reverent in response).

"2 - No holding breath - it doesn't impress anyone."
(This is referred to as "purple pushing."  Women who are told to push for a certain amount of time (like 10 seconds) generally end up holding their breath for that full time of pushing.  This restricts oxygen to the fetus.  The woman should push when her body tells her to push.)

"3 - No Johnny Cash Ring of Fire  if she's on her side."
(The ring of fire is when you're pushing and the vagina stretches and stretches and starts burning.  If a woman is lying on her side, it will make it less likely that she will experience this as bad as if she were squatting.)

Billy has been such an amazing partner in all of this.  He's been so supportive and REALLY involved: he goes to all of my prenatal visits with me, has interviewed the doulas with me, asks me questions about labor and birthing, has helped wash and fold all of the baby clothes that have been given to us...I can go on and on.  He makes this pregnancy so much easier than it is and I'm so lucky to have him support me.  Thanks, BT.  I'll make it up to you in 3 weeks :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Billy's employment notice for office manager

Billy is currently looking to hire an office manager at Higher Ground Learning.  He put out an ad on Craigslist that originally said this:

Higher Ground Learning seeks a qualified and dynamic Office Manager dedicated to youth development, mentoring, and academic achievement. Keep reading for the fine print.

About Higher Ground Learning: 
Higher Ground Learning is a creative tutoring center located in downtown Salt Lake City. We specialize in innovative and experiential curricula, giving each student a chance to explore his or her interests, develop life skills, and experience the passion of learning. Higher Ground offers individualized tutoring and instruction in all K-12 subjects, ACT/SAT preparation, study skills courses, art programs, and a variety of creative workshops for youth. 

Organizational Objectives: 
• The needs of the student drive the design of the curriculum 
• We educate the whole student. We embrace progression, evolution, and creation as necessary elements of academic and personal growth 
• We inspire the activation of curiosity--the formation of opinions, observations, and unique voices 
• Through experiential learning, we encourage students to discover and appreciate the connections between academics and "real life" 
• We help students form critical learning traits (problem solving, independent thinking, grasping complex concepts, organizational skills, and confidence building) 
• We provide students with positive interaction with quality mentors and educators 

Job Description: 
The Office Manager’s role is to be an organized, efficient, and friendly presence for clients who come into contact with Higher Ground. The Office Manager is responsible for maintaining employee schedules, answering phone calls and providing information to callers, and managing the customer database. In addition, the Office Manager will have a role in keeping class rolls/registration, finances, and marketing. 

• Bachelors Degree preferred 
• Organizational skills and personable, friendly, and professional demeanor 
• Patience, motivation, attention to detail, problem-solving, and customer service skills 
• Ability to effectively articulate and positively portray the company’s programs and mission to potential clients 
• Prior experience with accounting and database software 
• Excellent professional writing and presentation skills and proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications is required. Proficiency in page layout/design software desired but not required 
• Experience working in an equivalent environment, preferably within youth development or an educational framework 
• Ability to work in a highly collaborative, fast-paced environment necessitating qualities such as cultural awareness, integrity, humor, and team-building 

• Manage day-to-day administrative functions (including scheduling consultations and managing employee schedules and client appointments) 
• Answer telephone calls and provide information to clients and prospective clients 
• Database management and filing 
• Providing support to tutors/teachers for classes and managing class registration 
• Marketing and networking with area school counselors 
• Support the fulfillment of the Higher Ground Learning philosophy 

Full-time hourly wage that is competitive and commensurate with experience. Partial benefits included. 

How to Apply: 
No phone calls please. Please email/mail resume, references and cover letter to: 

Higher Ground Learning 
Attn: Billy Thomas, Executive Director 
380 West Pierpont Avenue 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 

Visit our website at: for further information. 
Higher Ground Learning is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


However,  the applicants he got were all really kind of boring, big office management types.  The types who know Quickbooks inside and out but who could care less about working for a great, small company and care more about a paycheck.  Seriously, he got like 60 inquiries about the job.  More than a handful of them used the EXACT SAME cover letter template.  :)  

Anyhow, we weren't getting the type of people we want to work at Higher Ground.  So, for the second round, Billy added this to the beginning of the employment ad:


Are you looking to find a job where most of the people around you aren’t lame? 

Are you a cool person, but, you know, not too cool?  Do you think a high school student would think that you were cool?

Are you a recent college graduate who majored in something esoteric like humanities, social science, or art and now you need a job?  Have you recently come to terms with the idea that you might not find a job as a philosopher or an ice-sculptor but you still want to do something that is at least sort of rad? 

Are you the type of person that can use the words “esoteric” and “rad” in adjacent sentences?  What about the word “adjacent”? 

Do you value education?  Can you talk about the ACT or SAT without shivering and mentioning how poorly you did on it? 

In general, can you speak to adults articulately? 

Do lots of people like you, no matter what you do?  Are you good at telling jokes?

Do you want to work for a growing local company that helps students succeed? 

Are you comfortable making enough money to pay your bills and do a few other things, but probably not enough to save up for a trip to New Zealand (this year)?  Do you understand that we’re talking about $11-$13 per hour? 

Would you like half of your health insurance paid for? 

Would you be okay working in a job where people will sometimes view you as a secretary and you’ll have to do lame stuff like watering some plants, but where you’ll also get to work on cool stuff like marketing and curriculum design?

Do you have the ability to keep track of a bunch of things at once?  This is an important one.

Are you organized and clean?  A good test of this is to count how many old fast food containers you have in your car.  Is it zero?

Do you ride a bike?  Riding a bike is a cool way to get to work. 

Do you have tangible skills, like the ability to work with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Microsoft Office?  Do you realize that Excel is a part of Microsoft Office? 

If you answered yes to most of the above questions, then maybe we have a job for you.  Please submit a resume and cover letter that contains a compelling reason for us to want to talk to you.  Please do not use a cover letter template or say that you’re passionate about something that you’re not truly passionate about.  


He's such a great boss and everyone (I think) loves to work for him.  He's super focused and passionate and is a great ass kisser to all of the parents.  I mean, you should see him finesse those super uptight, anal, high-maintenance parents into doing what he thinks should be done.  It's really a fine skill.  

Anyhow, he cracks me up and I thought this could bring a little bit of laughter into your day (night, whatever). 


Try this great idea! 

My little brother's girlfriend, Katie Evans, started noticing that her money was slipping through her fingers.  In order to reign in her spending, she has started a blog where she draws every item that she spent money on that day.  It's definitely a form of mindful spending.

Here is an example:

and my favorite:

She's super talented.  She's a designer at Kate Spade in New York.  Her drawings are phenomenal and I totally think she should go into making prints. 

Look at her spending blog here:

Billy's class notes

You really need to click on these photos and magnify them.  Billy cracks me up.  You can tell he owns an education company :)

Doula Class: Signs of Birthing

Last week I met with my doula April for our first class: Signs of birthing.  We are doing private prenatal classes instead of going to the University of Utah hospital for prenatal classes because both Bill and I felt that we could receive more personalized instruction that is in line with our desire to have a natural birth.  April offered to do a 6-class curriculum for us which included everything we ever wanted to know about labor and birth (and some things we had no clue even existed!)  It is geared towards preparing us for an unmedicated birth but also gives us information on birthing issues that may pop up on a moment's notice.

We went over the signs of birthing in the order in which they are most likely to appear:

Lightening: This is what people say when the baby "drops."

 The woman on the right's baby has dropped.  This forms a space in your upper abdominal region where there was none for weeks before (lady on the left).

When lightening occurs, it is due to the baby engaging in the pelvis.  This is great for me (when it happens) since there will be more room for me to take deep breaths and to eat more in one sitting (I feel as if I'm eating like a bird!  My stomach can only stretch so much and it doesn't accommodate much food.  Well, not like before, at least).  But, April did tell us that when lightening occurs, it may press against my bladder and cause me to have to urinate more frequently.  As if it wasn't frequent enough already.  Lightening occurs up to two weeks before labor in more than half of all pregnant women. 

Nesting: Nesting is when a pregnant woman starts buzzing around like a mosquito trying to get everything ready for the arrival of the baby.  April said that usually, nesting involves a small dose of OCD tendencies as the mom-to-be washes and rewashes, packs and repacks, over and over.  I hadn't had any "nesting" feelings until about 4 or 5 days ago.  Billy and I had bought Nacho's "dresser" (basically, a black ikea bookshelf and some green baskets to put clothes in).
I've also started making a board for the baby shower (1 week!) and I've been making a cocoon to put nacho in for his pictures.

You can buy these from several Etsy shops or you can find a pattern online for free.  I started knitting in law school as a way to relieve stress and not have to study Torts, but I stopped when I moved out here to Salt Lake.  It's been nice to pick it up again, especially when it's making something for my little Baby Nacho.  

Mucus Plug:  I talked about this one previously, but I'll revisit it here again because 1) I've never heard of such a thing before I got pregnant and 2) I'm a big fan of gross bodily functions.  The mucus plug is a bunch of mucus that plugs up the opening to your cervix; this prevents things from getting in, like bacteria.  When your mucus plug comes out, it means that the entrance (the os) to your cervix is dilating.

A regular cervix.  As a woman goes through labor, the os starts dilating and getting wider and wider.

I initially thought that the mucus plug would be kind of hard, like a wine cork.  when it comes out, the part that was closest to the os is hard and varies in color (can contain blood).  But this is quickly followed by a lot of what looks like cervical discharge (the kind that tells you that you are fertile: it looks like egg whites).  OK, just an fyi, this picture may provoke the gag reflex in some of you reading this.  You are forewarned.

Bloody show: Lovely name, innit?  Capillaries bursting in the cervix are due to the contractions.  The blood can be bright red or brown and is usually a minute amount (like spotting during a period).  This does not always happen to every pregnant woman.

Bag of waters: This is the ultimate vision everyone has of a woman starting labor.  She's walking around the supermarket, happy as can be when, all of a sudden, she stops and a look of horror crosses her face.  She looks down and sees that she has wet herself.  Almost immediately, she clutches the top of her abdomen and her face scrunches up in pain.  This is Hollywood's version of a labor.  However, only 10-15% of women ever experience a "water break."  The bag of waters, or the amniotic sac and the fluid it contains, helps to keep your baby gravitationally happy.  It bounces around inside of you cushioned by the amniotic fluid.  The amniotic fluid also helps to protect the baby from the squeezing motion of the uterus during a contraction.  It is important to look at the color of the amniotic fluid: it should be clear or yellow.  If there is any tinge of green or brown, there may be an issue of the baby passing meconium (fetus poop) in utero.  If this happens, go to the hospital right away.  

Contractions: I've recently posted about Braxton Hicks contractions.  Real contractions feel different in that you feel them in your lower back and they develop into a really annoying backache.  They start moving forward, which makes it feel as if you were in intestinal distress (read: diarrhea cramps).  Some women will actually get a mild form of diarrhea.  This is good so that you're all cleaned out for when you start pushing.  Although I'll be passing tons of fluids and blood during birth, I am terrified of accidentally pooping while I push!  So, I hope this happens to me and I won't have to worry that Billy will see me have a bowel movement for the first time.  I mean, if that happened, I don't think I'd be able to look at him in the eyes again.
Dilation and Effacement: Effacement is the thinning, shortening, and drawing up of the cervix.  Dilation is the opening of the cervix.  Effacement is a more important measure than dilation because you can be dilated to 10 cm (the required amount to let the baby pass through) but not be effaced and the baby won't come through.  The more effaced you are, the faster you will dilate.  So, if your doctor or midwife will be checking your cervix, keep that in mind.

Don't you all worry; I will let you know if any of this happens to me.  In graphic detail as usual.  Remember, knowledge is empowerment :)

Next class: Stages of birthing and management strategies. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Forever 21 knows EXACTLY what I'm thinking...

Ok, I know that I'm almost 30 and that the people who usually shop at Forever 21 are teenagers and girls who go clubbing.  I belong to neither of these groups.  So, whenever I would go into the store to look around, I would feel kind of embarrassed about being there.  I wouldn't linger and would quickly survey everything on the racks, pick something I liked, hoped it would fit, pay for it, and get the hell out.  I like their clothes: they're cheap, they have a decent shelf life (for cheap clothes), and they come in bright colors (a few years ago, my wardrobe seriously consisted of only white, gray, red, and black.  I'm now wearing a sherbet orange tanktop).  And the best part?  I've worn some Forever 21 pieces throughout my entire pregnancy.

Yes, the stretchy skinny jeans went to the basement, along with the cute button-up shirts, but every single dress and t-shirt/tank top that I've bought from there still fit and look GREAT!

Forever 21 tank top: $8
Skirt from Old Navy maternity

Anyhow, I'm stoked to still be able to wear some pre-maternity pieces and I hope that they won't be too stretched out as time passes.  

So, guess how excited I was to hear that Forever 21 is starting their own maternity line!!!!  No single item of clothing is over 20 bucks!  I am so excited about this that I just told Billy, who knows of my secret affinity for Forever 21 clothes, that I wish I were going through pregnancy again so that I could buy cute, CHEAP pregnancy clothes from that store.  I don't mean it.  But I'm seriously rethinking the timing of our (possible) next kid in order to start buying some maternity clothes from Forever 21.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Braxton Hicks contractions

"confused - is that some sort of result of listening to a Tony Braxton and Taylor Hicks mix tape?"
-Jennifer Miller responding to my facebook status update about me possibly having Braxton Hicks contractions 

I do have to admit, I was one of the many people who did not know what a Braxton Hicks contraction was.  I am now one of the few people who do (at least I think I know what it is).

Braxton Hicks contractions are sometimes referred to as "fake contractions" or "practice contractions."  Not all women have them.  They're very irregular contractions and they don't cause your body to go into labor or your cervix to dilate.  A real contraction does both of those things.  When you have a "contraction," your largest muscle (the uterus), begins squeezing, which helps to push the baby out through the limited opening of your cervix and vaginal canal.  I'm REALLY looking forward to it...:(

Braxton Hicks contractions are mainly characterized by your abdominal area getting really hard, like pop a coin off of it hard.  They're typically not that painful and the contraction can last for a few seconds up to half a minute.  They may repeat over the course of a day, or you may go through a whole week without having another one. 

I THINK I may have had a bunch of them yesterday and today.  My stomach would get really hard, but they wouldn't hurt.  It was actually kind of cool.  Made me feel like I actually had some rock-hard abs (ha!).  My stomach didn't look any different, but I could feel how tight it had become.  I think this "contraction" has also helped to "turn" Nacho.  Nacho has been face down with his bum up near my ribs, his back towards my left side and his elbows and knees poking me on my right side.  It's been so for about the last month and a half.  However, today, I've felt numerous pokes on my left side meaning that the baby probably rolled over and it's back is towards my right side.  My uterus is pretty cool.

This post is especially for my best friend Jennifer, who has no clue about Braxton Hicks and is probably super grossed out about my blog in general. 

Our first CSA pick up of the summer!

This was the first year that Billy and I signed up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share.  We received an invitation from Christy to go to a CSA meeting, where we got to meet tons of local farmers that were trying to sell shares.  We were immediately drawn to Tagge's Famous Fruit's stand because, honestly, it had the word FRUIT in it and they were giving away a jar of peach jam if you signed up for a share.  I LOVE fruit more than I like vegetables, so this seemed like the way to go.  We paid $250 for a share of produce for the summer (July - October). 

We were especially looking forward to all the fresh fruit and vegetables while we were in Copenhagen, since we subsisted on mostly pre-cooked meals.  We counted down the days until we got our first share; I picked it up on the corner of 5th East and South Temple (right by The Wild Grape (go there for brunch and order the beignets!  They come with melted chocolate and raspberry dipping sauce!))  We received a little thing of raspberries, some romaine lettuce, 5 zucchinis, a whole bunch of basil (which I turned into a deliciously yummy pesto for dinner tonight), and rainier and red cherries:

The Rainier cherries are the yellowish ones.

This bowl was half full last night; Billy and I kept on eating them and eating them until we got stomachaches.  I think Nacho really enjoyed them, though.  

By the way, while I'm on a delicious food kick, if you live in SLC, please go to Ekamai.  It's a Thai food place on 3rd South, right in front of Pioneer Park and next to another delicious place, Bruge's Waffles.  Anyhow, they have really great curry, but the killer is their dessert: sticky rice with mango.  The first time I put it into my mouth and the warm rice and coconut milk sweetness melted all over my tongue, I about passed out.  Add to the really fresh mango slices that are slightly cold and you're in dessert heaven (one of my favorite places to be).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Billy's first interview (by me) OR Questions every girl has about what guys think of pregnancy

Billy was sort of hesitant to do this interview.  I was going to allow him to type his answers, but he's been so busy and he wasn't really looking forward to it, so I got him while he was in bed and looking up his World Cup bracket info, so the answers are pretty much verbatim. 

These questions were all ones I had been interested in in general about what men thought when their girlfriends or wives went through pregnancy and birth. 

How did you feel when you first heard (saw) the news that we were pregnant?
I wasn't surprised and I was really excited.  I was sad that you didn't wait (to take the pregnancy test) for me.   (Background: I had been peeing a lot for the past week.  I knew that I was pregnant.  I wanted to make sure that I had missed my period before I took the test.  We decided to take the test on a Saturday.  The night before, Billy, his brother, and his mother all went to Wendover to go gambling.  On the ride home from Wendover, I could tell that Billy was not going to be coming home that night (i.e. he was more than a bit tipsy) and it upset me because I had told him that I was going to take the test first thing in the morning (morning urine has higher concentration of hCG, the hormone that you release when you're pregnant).  So, when I woke up and he wasn't there, I decided to take it anyway and I left the stick out for him to see in the bathroom when he got home.)

You used to go out.  A lot.  How has life changed for you since finding out?
First of all, I didn't go that much like you think I did.  And also, I haven't gone out for a while since before I knew that you were pregnant.  So, once I knew, um, that I lost my best drinking partner, I had even less reason to go out.  And, um, yeah, and we don't even drink...I mean, I don't even drink anymore.  Like we have a full liquor cabinet, full of unopened bottles. 

I used to be fun, sexy, and funny.  In what ways have I changed?
None.  With an exclamation point.  I actually think you're a lot nicer to me since you've been pregnant.  I mean, you were nice before, but...

How have I been nicer to you? 
You've um...I don't know, you're just really sweet.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned about pregnancy?
Oh my God.  To me the most interesting thing, I think me and most every other guy thinks of, uh, birth as like, um, water breaks, rush to the hospital, lays down in a bed, there's lots of screaming and pacing, and then it's done.  So to me, the concept of a birth plan was for sure the most interesting thing, because it was really interesting to learn interesting philosophies and realizing that women do have or should have a choice in how they give birth.  And really that there's different camps, you know...just the fact that your aunt says, Love you, epidural all the way, and you're like, yeah not doing that.  Or the Thai food guy who says, oh yeah, my wife had a planned C-section.  It's interesting that other people have different ways of doing it.

Tell me the truth.  How do you really feel about the changes my body has undergone? 
Look, I really don't mind.  I tell you that all the time.  I think your belly is cute on you and it's by far not big.  You barely gained any weight, you still look beautiful, I don't see what the big deal is.  Plus, even if ... people who do care, it's your kid in there.  How could you not love that?

How do you think you'll feel about my breasts when I start breastfeeding? 
I'm still gonna like them.  I probably won't have my mouth on them very much, but they're on loan to Nacho.  It's ok.

How do you think you'll feel if sex postpartum doesn't feel the same as it used to?
You really wanna ask me that? (yes!) I'm sure it will be fine.  (But what if it doesn't feel the same?) I'm sure it will be fine!

What part of labor/delivery are you most worried about? 
Seeing you in pain.  And, like, the lack of control because problems aren't that bad if you feel that you can do something about them, but just sort of being a cheerleader will be hard and I'm hoping that you don't say some things you don't mean to me, but I'll understand if you do.

What about being a dad are you looking forward to the most? 
I think the toddling, because I honestly am still a little bit scared of babies, but when they're toddlers and they start talking and you can teach them things and they want to play with you and do the same repetitive stuff over and over, I like that.  I'm also excited to take a ton of photos and be like the people I used to hate who took a ton of photos of their kids.  I want to be that person.

What about being a dad scares you the most? 
I don't know if it's really "scares," but I know that I'm going to have to tell our kid not to do things that I know I did and I'm going to feel really hypocritical.  If we have a daughter and she starts dating, that's gonna be scary.  And I think that probably the first time I'm alone with Nacho, it will be exciting, but after that it's going to be a little bit like, "I hope I don't eff this up."

What has been the weirdest change you've seen in me (physical or emotional)? 
I don't feel like you've really changed that much, to be honest, or if you have changed, it's been so slow that it couldn't be noticed.  It's actually weird to think back to what you used to look like; I'm more used to this.  When you weren't pregnant seems like a long time ago.  It's kind of weird to think of the first belly bump pictures we took; that seems weird to me now because it's kind of like an actual transition, but it still seems like a very long time ago.

What advice would you give to your male friends who just found out their girlfriends/wives were pregnant? 
Shoot, I don't know.  Be nice.  I would hope that they would be happy about it and we could give high fives or a hug or whatever guys do.  But if they were scared about it, I'd tell them that they have 9 months to come to terms and be mentally prepared about becoming a parent, so by the time the baby's born, you'll be ready.

We both never wanted to have kids when we first met.  What changed within you to want to have kids with me?
I think it was the combination of me and you being together because I for sure never wanted to have a kid with anyone else.  I mean, back then, having a kid was a consequence, like an AWFUL consequence.  With you, it was different.  It was like an exciting thing, I wanted to create something with you, you know?  And so, um, what changed within me was finding someone that I actually wanted to be with.  Maybe people who don't wanna have kids need to find the right person to be with.  But then again, I think it's good for people to not wanna have kids.  Because like, I'm excited that we're having a kid, doesn't mean that I think, "oh my God, everyone should go have kids."


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scarlett's Growing Gut Timeline: 36 weeks

Preconception: This is when I was working out pretty much everyday.

Yay!  Definitely 2 lines on our first test!

 6 weeks and bloat

8 weeks and LOTS of bloat

12 weeks

16 weeks

20 weeks

24 weeks

28 weeks

 32 weeks

36 weeks

By the way, has anybody EVER thought about fetuses' comfort factor when they're just hanging out, face down, all scrunched up?  I wonder if they find me as uncomfortable as I find them :)

I woke up at 6am this morning after only about 5 hours of sleep.  I'm getting really anxious about everything and have a hard time with the fact that these last few weeks are all I have left as me.  In about a month, I'm going to be some little creature's entire world and, sometimes, I get absolutely terrified.  Sometimes, I still feel like I'm 16 years old and not old enough to be having a baby.  But then I take a deep breath and watch an online episode of America's Got Talent and it goes away.

P.S. My little brother John and I used to geek out every week while growing up by watching Star Trek: TNG (The Next Generation).  The guy you see on my TV is Geordi La Forge.  I wish I would've caught Capt. Picard on the TV instead...he was my favorite ("Well done, nomba won!")