Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy 16th birthday Zari!!

What a day! I sent Zari off to school in her mage costume. We didn't have time to do anything fancy with her hair. Having her almost knee-length hair down would have made a stunning addition to the outfit...but hey, we do what we can, right?

I baked her birthday cake while she was away and started decorating it when the kids came home from school.

Trick-or-treating started at 5 pm, and we had a lovely time. It's the one day per year that people are actually out en masse walking around our town (in contrast, that's normal life every day for us in Nice). I very much miss wandering around outside amidst crowds of people, running into people I know every few minutes. Americans don't know what they're missing!

We had a quick healthy dinner of peas, carrots, & bacon; zucchini fritters, and scrambled eggs. Dio exclaimed, "The best time to eat healthy food is after eating too much candy!" He had had so many sweets that he couldn't even eat a bite of birthday cake.

I have a splitting headache, so instead of hunting down old pictures of Zari, I will refer you to my blog archives. You can read her birth story and see pictures and videos of her just a few minutes old.

I had a moment this evening when the four kids were walking around in their costumes and enjoying themselves, just being amazed at these beautiful human beings we have created. I feel so lucky and grateful to have them in my life and to have become a mother 16 years ago today.
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Sewing marathon

Not a lot of steps, but loads of stitches

I have spent the past 30 hours sewing, stopping only to sleep and eat. The reason? Zari decided she wanted to be a mage for Halloween. So of course we had to come up with an idea and make it. I started yesterday with altering the pattern and cutting out some of the pieces.

As of midnight tonight, it is done! I am exhausted and my back is killing me. I have hardly seen the family today, since I've been holed up in the attic.

And tomorrow is a big day. Not only is it Halloween, it's also Zari's birthday! 16!! I foresee cake baking tomorrow while she is at school.
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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Sunny Saturday

5,815 steps

Another idyllic fall day. Very chilly first thing in the morning, but glorious by midday. I took my sweater off and basked in my tank top!

Zari and I biked to three different thrift stores downtown while Eric was away at a soccer match with Ivy and Inga. She decided that she wanted to be a mage for Halloween and had some ideas for a costume. So we visited several stores in hopes of finding some fabrics that we could turn into...something.

No luck for costume fabrics, but we did find her a very nice winter ski parka and a button-down shirt for dressier occasions. I also found myself a shirt and a sweater. 

Ivy and Inga's team won 13-7, with Inga scoring 9 goals and Ivy 2!

When Eric's parents were here last week, they brought the diamond willow walking sticks that we had been working on in Alberta Canada 4 1/2 years ago! Zari spent much of the afternoon on the porch steps whittling off more of the bark. It will be her mage's staff. She wanted to put a large crystal or gemstone on the top of the staff, but alas none of our local thrift stores had anything that would work.

After this lovely afternoon in the sun, we went to a chili cookoff contest / trunk or treat party. Eric and I dressed up as normal people, but the kids all had their full costumes on. I made a white chicken chili because that's what I had on hand. There were 12 different chilis, some with venison, some with homegrown peppers.

We had one more thrifft store to visit after this party. I found a pattern that was perfect for what Zari had in mind (with some alterations, of course, but I always end up altering patterns). She kept me company in the attic while I laid out the patterns, cut out the front and back, and sewed the darts. Then it was time for bed.

I'll have a busy day sewing tomorrow, in time for her 16th BIRTHDAY on Monday!!!
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Friday, October 28, 2022

Family movie night

22,682 steps

Ivy's school had a family movie night. The movie was "nul" (lame/dumb) but it was fun to do something together. Ivy is on the student council, so she had to arrive early to set up, help sell snacks and raffle tickets, and help clean up at the end.

While she was setting up, the other kids played gaga ball.

While Ivy and I were cleaning up, everyone else left to go play indoor soccer, and we walked home.

My evening ended with a breech live session. A full day!
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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Thrift store score

17,473 steps

I went to every thrift store in town (4) looking for winter coats for Zari and Dio. I didn't find anything but took a few pictures of possible ones for Zari.

When Inga came home from school, she realized that she didn't have any good boots or a tunic for her costume--the boots were in France and the shirt was too small!

We took a late evening trip to one of the thrift stores right before it closed. We found two tunics and a pair of boots! I love it when we need something exact (a linen tunic with embroidery that looks like something a Viking would wear)...and we find it!

Ivy has been dressing up in her Halloween costume today. She and Inga get to wear costumes to school tomorrow. 

I ran some other errands this morning: oil change, toiletries. Definitely nothing exciting happening in our local SuperMegaStore.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Rain & sun

10,610 steps

I drove Ivy to school--it was still raining and we don't have full-body rain gear for biking. The weather cleared up mid-day and we had gorgeous sunshine by afternoon. I enjoyed our walk home together. When we're running there or biking home, it's harder to have a conversation.

I cut Dio's hair today. I'm glad he trusts me to do it.

The household is coming down with what I have, everyone but Zari. For the rest, it's been milder but enough that Eric is napping involuntarily and the kids are complaining about feeling tired and weak and a bit nauseated.

I had a good work day, mostly preparing my Powerpoint presentations for two upcoming conferences (the CNMA conference on Nov 6 and the Midwifery Wisdom Experience on Nov 12).

Here's a sneak preview of my new book! (NZ edition)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

10,145 steps

I can't think of anything remarkable from today, other than Zari had an end-of-season soccer banquet for players and families. I made a white chicken chili.

It started raining mid-afternoon and got most of us wet as we were coming home from school or school pickup. I hear the rain pouring again after a reprieve.

Tired today...bonne nuit!
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Monday, October 24, 2022

Clean house, east gable

20,439 steps

I'm STILL feeling icky. I keep thinking I'm done and keep thinking wrong. It's now a runny nose, sore throat, raw lungs, and general low-grade malaise.

But...well enough to go running in the morning and do my usual activities. I'm definitely feeling worn out tonight, though.

Today is our last day of warm weather for who knows how long. We took advantage and cleaned the east gable (above the porch roof). It is SO satisfying to see the black mildew disappear and the paint change colors back to its original vibrant hues.

We put Zari and Dio to work raking the lawn, since rain is expected for tomorrow. Ivy and Inga "helped" me go grocery shopping. I'm still in shock and how much prices have gone up in the past two years. I have to force myself to buy the food regardless. We need to eat. That's what I keep telling myself.

I ended my day with a breech debrief. I'm ready to lie down and read something fun! (I suspect I will not stay awake very long).
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Sunday, October 23, 2022

Sun & wind

6,019 steps

What a lovely, lazy Sunday. After lunch, Eric played Ultimate Frisbee with Zari and Ivy. I took Dio and Inga on a walk (for me) and bike ride (for them). We watched the 2nd Wonder Woman movie after dinner. I fell asleep twice while reading a book.

I'm still extra tired after this illness, which is now a runny nose and a bit of a sore throat again. But I'm going to try running Ivy to school tomorrow.

I got my new patches sewn onto my Breech Without Borders apron. One of the Guadalajara attendees gave me the La Sirena patch and then I found the other one online (ironically, after searching all over in person). Someone also sent me a coin purse that I had thought about attaching to the apron, but I need to figure that out.

Next patch...another one from NZ! I think I'll just add one per country otherwise I will run out of space entirely after my trip to NZ and Australia.
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Friday, October 21, 2022

Clean house

After unseasonably cold weather, we had a lovely day, warm enough for short sleeves! We took advantage of the sun and warmth to wash another side of the house. Eric was waaaaay up high on the 28' extension ladder and I was providing moral support and (futiley) holding the ladder.

He had to wrap a garbage bag around his middle because our sprayer started leaking, and the washing liquid stings bare skin. He called it his "diaper."

Our kids babysat two young boys from the neighborhood all afternoon. As a result, they were all busy playing and running around. Once the boys were picked up, they stayed outside and played more. Eventually the three girls ended up on our porch roof (with my permission).

As you can see in the video, the front facade on the 3rd story still needs to be cleaned. It has a black residue that makes it look really old and nasty. We cleaned the soffits below and the porch trim about two months ago.

I walked for several hours on my treadmill. It was nice to move my body again and then to be outside after so long indoors.
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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Bread, bags, cloaks, and fires

I think it's safe to say I'm much better, given how much energy I had in comparison to the past week. I baked 4 batches of sourdough bread this morning, made a cloak for Dolly, helped Inga craft a bag for Dolly, even walked a little on my treadmill desk, and made a bonfire this evening with Zari and Dio.

I love Inga's idea for the bag: she found a plastic chewing gum container, spraypainted it bronze (with some help from me), and found an old length of chain in one of my craft boxes. We heated up an awl to poke holes through the sides, put the chain through, and attached large jump rings in the inside to hold the chain in place.

Then Ivy and Dio both asked me to make cloaks for their stuffed toys and I said one was enough for today!

Eric's parents left early this morning before any of us were awake. We'll see them again next year.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

I might actually be getting better. I'm hopeful. I didn't feel nearly as woozy or icky today.

Eric's parents leave early tomorrow morning. It's been too short, but at least we will see them for several weeks in France next year.

Zari visited one of Eric's classes today. It's probably the only time she can attend an all-male university!

It's been cold here! I feel like I'm a perpetual ice cube.

I'm going to get under the covers and read until I fall asleep.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Webinar, grandparents

I'm still not feeling great. If I get up and move around too much, I feel icky and woozy. I can't point to anything specific like a fever or sore throat, just general malaise.

Anyway, enough whining.

I had a great webinar this afternoon with Kathy Fray and the IIMHCO. It was planned for 45 minutes, but there were so many fantastic questions that it went twice as long! Here's a temporary link to the webinar recording:

Passcode: 6+*b%ngU

Eventually she'll put it up on her website ( and YouTube channel.

I was on the periphery of a lot of the events today. For example, while others were playing board games, I sat at the dining table, kind of there but kind of not. I had to stay back from a family evening at the indoor track.

Zari was very helpful and cooked lunch today under my direction (green beans and bratwurst) and helped again with "breakfast for dinner" of waffles, scrambled eggs, and bacon with whipped cream and maple syrup for waffle toppings.

The other kids got cleanup duty after dinner.
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Monday, October 17, 2022

Turn for the worse

I had another Not Fun night--my fever came back and I didn't sleep much. Not as bad as the initial fever but enough to make sleep elusive. Ah well...I didn't feel super sick today, more fatigued and depleted.

I have tested myself three times now, swabbing my throat, cheeks, and nostrils like no one's business. Still negative. Eric's parents arrived today and I wanted to be as sure as possible that I wouldn't give them Covid. Short of having a PCR test, which here takes several days to get results, it's the best I could do. They'll be here for a few days before heading to visit more kids and grandkids, on their way down to Florida where they now spend winters with one of Eric's sisters. They have become Canadian snowbirds 🙂

Winter weather hit us hard today. We're supposed to have a hard frost overnight, and there's even a slight chance of snow.

Remember how I said something about Eric swapping his old bike for a "new" old bike? Here is a video his brother did about rebuilding the "new" bike. At the very end there are some videos of Eric mountain biking with his brother and a glimpse of the old bike that Eric gave him to restore.

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

Speaking Discord with Dio

I signed up for a discord account (due to wanting to follow some birth groups there). Dio is THRILLED. He got me all set up, added himself and Inga as my friends, advised me on changing my profile picture, and then started messaging me.

I have learned the following from Dio:
- abbreviate whenever possible
- always put a line break between every sentence and maybe every phrase
- say "bruh" a lot
- my teenage son loves to talk to me on Discord, so now I look forward to many conversations involving many lols, bruhs, and abbreviations

Now when it's bedtime, I can just message him something like this:

hey bruh
its time 2 slp
4 rl

I'm feeling improved from yesterday. Still fatigued but not really sick anymore. I wanted to keep sleeping in again this morning--so unlike myself!

I caught up on two more episodes of Arcane. One more to go! It's so well made, and the kids love it just as much the second time.
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Saturday, October 15, 2022

Getting better...and Eric is back!

I went to bed with a very high fever and sore throat. I don't sleep well when I'm sick, which is the opposite of Eric. He just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. But I did stay in bed, sleeping on and off, until 11 am! That's unheard of for me.

I took a 2nd Covid test today, swabbing my throat, cheeks, and nostrils. Still negative.

I'm feeling better than yesterday, although still weak and woozy. I picked Eric up at the airport in the afternoon and have been taking it easy since he got back. His brother, who restores bikes in his free time (, gave him a "new" old bike, which is amazing. And in return, Eric gave him an "old" old bike--one that he bought used way back during our student days--that his brother will restore.

Zari has been talking about selling her hair--she has at least 38" that she could cut off and still have enough for a short ponytail. But when I went to put up an ad, she balked. I told her it was okay--whenever she wanted, no pressure.

This next week is fall break for the kids, plus Eric's parents are coming to visit. Fun times!
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Friday, October 14, 2022


I woke up this morning amidst dreams of having a sore throat...feeling a sore throat and general malaise. It's gotten worse over the day and now I'm a useless blob in the bed.

But I can't really be useless because Eric is off doing book readings. I had to bike Ivy to and from school and direct the preparation of dinner & cookies (with lots of help from Ivy and Zari). No rest for mama!

I took a Covid test (negative) but I hear there's a high rate of false negatives with the newer strains. So who knows?

I've been using my nifty X One far UVC sterilizer in the hopes of de-contaminating the air around me, in case I really am infectious. I got one for each of the BWB clinicians to give us an extra layer of protection while we travel and teach. I'm bummed because the battery on mine is defective and won't work unless it's plugged in, but the company assures me they will send a replacement right away.

We did watch two episodes of Arcane together after dinner. They have already finished the season, but I had 5 episodes to catch up on.
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Thursday, October 13, 2022

7,404 steps + 3.5 hours of treadmill walking

Dio had to wake up very early for a field trip. I set an alarm for him, but also set mine as a precaution. I knew he'd be devastated if he missed it. He got back around 10 pm and said it was very fun, both the 3-hour bus ride each way and the 4 places they visited. It was a visit to Springfield, IL to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.

I felt okay during the day, since I was walking most of the time. But once I sat down in the early evening, fatigue hit me.

Zari had play practice this evening, so I combined dropping her off with a quick trip to the grocery store and to the tire store (one of my tires keeps losing air and needs to be refilled every few weeks).

Dinner was tilapia fillets and steamed broccoli.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Book tour

8,196 steps

Eric is doing several book readings and lectures this week, so it's quiet tonight. I'll probably go to bed earlier since I'm not staying awake for a night owl. After 24 years of being together, our schedules are fairly well paired, but he still would stay up later than me if he were on his own.

I'm still catching up with my email inbox. Yikes! I leave for a week and it mutated and babies and the babies had babies.

Dio has a field trip tomorrow to a neighboring state. He has to wake up at 6 am and he'll be back quite late. He's been asking for new pants, since he only has about 2 pairs that still fit him. We went shopping to a thrift store this evening (no luck) and then to an outlet store, where we scored 4 pairs of athletic sweat pants in various colors.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Back to normal

11,801 steps

It was fun to see the kids this morning and give lots of hugs and back scratches. I'm tired, though! We got to be around 1:30 am and had our normal 7 am wakeup.

Nothing really of note for today, other than we had our routine boiler maintenance to get ready for the winter. I'm still working my way through my inbox after nearly a week being away.

I'm dyeing a pair of purple shoes black--I hope it works. I wasn't entirely sure what everything was made of, so I did a first run with an acid dye. Not much changed, so the next run will be with a natural fiber dye (Dharma Procion-MX). I might also add a pigment dye for the straps and other parts that are obviously not natural materials.
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Monday, October 10, 2022

Last day in Guadalajara!

This past week, I have woken up waaay too early every morning. Today was no exception, despite the exhaustion from the past few days.

The midwives from Casa Aramara ( picked us up in the morning to tour their birth center. It's amazing! They have around 4 exam/consulation rooms, two birth suites, rooms for housing interns, a kitchen, a rooftop yoga studio/classroom, and a rooftop medicinal garden. What an amazing service in a city where some hospitals have C-section rates of 95%!

The birth rooms each have several rebozos hung from the ceiling in strategic locations. The fabric is slightly stretchy to allow easy movement.
She showed us a few of the medicinal plants. One was for treating UTIs, another for anemia, and another (a variety of eucalyptus) for treating newborn respiratory issues via an inhaled vapor.
We next walked over to a midwifery school run by the same midwife who runs the birth center, Maria Cortes. They are in the final stages of governmental approval to open a 4-year accredited bachelor's program in midwifery. It will be the first in the county to combine traditional midwifery practices with modern midwifery.

And I was TOTALLY geeking out over the building it will be housed in--built around 1800, a former house, and now under historic preservation. You enter through a gorgeous archway into an interior courtyard with a fountain. The rooms all open into the courtyard, so you have to go outside to go from one room to another. It has five classrooms, several rooms that will be offices, a kitchen, and a few bathrooms.

It feels like you're entering a small Renaissance palace 🙂 Nearly every room had skylights, which I suspect were part of the orignal design. It's built from adobe bricks, which means it's more insulated than modern construction.

We were close to the historic city center, so we walked over to see the cathedral and to each lunch. I got a few minutes to play tourist! After lunch it was time to head to the airport. Two flights later, I got home at 1 am.

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