April 25, 2011

Back to the Mat

Remember when I pledged to exercise twice a week? Yeah, well, I kinda fell off the wagon. I got distracted by work and that got me out of the habit of going. Yet, here I am 3 months later and I still haven't been back to class. Oh and I'm still a wreck. Technically, I'm probably worse off now. Once I got out of the swing of things, I couldn't recover. I couldn't come up with any sort of motivation to go. I just kept coming up with excuses. My excuses ranged from legitimate (crazy busy) to irrational (I don't have the right clothes).

A few weeks ago someone made a comment about the way my body looks and it was really hurtful. I honestly don't have body image issues in regards to weight. I really could care less about what the scale says. In fact, we don't even own scales. However, I have major issues with how my body looks after having a Cesarean section. It was, by far, the most traumatic event of my life and I'm still dealing with the repercussions of it 4+ years later. Maybe one day I'll get brave enough to blog about it. Either way, the above comment hurt me deeply. It made me want to completely turn into myself and give up all hope on correcting this deformed body of mine.

Then I read this post. The author talks about how she got started in yoga and her very first class. She attended out of sheer desperation; rather, sleep deprivation. She writes, "I was on my mat and that was enough for me." It was encouraging to read her story. It made me miss yoga and it reminded me that we all have to start somewhere. Granted, I don't have aspirations like she did to achieve a certain pose but I know the benefits of yoga and I wanted them back.

Lately, I have been feeling pretty darn awful. I've been having afternoon and evening headaches nonstop. I have zero energy and my motivation is nil. With summer quickly approaching, this is a bad combination. I'll never keep up with my 4 year old during the hottest months of the year gimping around like this. I feel like I haven't been able to think clearly for weeks. I can tell that my body isn't working at it's optimum level and it's getting problematic. I'm also dealing with some personal, family, marital, and parenting drama so I feel emotionally drained as well. Plain and simple, I feel toxic inside and out.

I looked at the calendar and realized that I have barely a month remaining until school is out. I've been holding on to a monthly pass (thanks Run Daisy) and decided to redeem it starting today. I had to have a long, hard talk with myself about why I was going back. In the end, I decided I had to let some things go. Mainly, I had to let go of the idea that I can change my body image. That C-section scar isn't going anywhere. Besides, I made up my mind a long time ago that exercise is for my health. For me, it's more about feeling good rather than looking good. I just needed a reminder.

So, I showed up for class today in my unflattering, not exactly yoga clothes (seriously, who cares?) and got on my mat in that hot room for the first time in three months. I am pleased to report that the heat still didn't bother me. I love it toasty. I could still breathe. Granted, my breath was all over the dang place but I didn't feel that I was suffocating like I did on my very first hot yoga class (quick shout out to Hannah!)

Another fear I had to face was that I would be the student who couldn't make it through the whole class and everyone would stare. You know what? I was totally that student today and I just let it go. I had to listen to my body and it was nauseous as all get out. Almost every pose had me thinking I was gonna toss my breakfast right down onto those pretty hardwood floors. I tried to breathe through it and hold the pose but I couldn't. I sat down a lot. A lot. This was just confirmation that my body is as toxin-filled as I feared. While I wish I could have performed every pose, I knew that just being in that room was a step in the right direction. Sweat is a natural detoxifying measure of the body and I definitely had that going for me.

Finally, I had to deal with the fact that I wouldn't have perfect poses. My body is weak, my muscles are tight, and my stamina is low. In the mirror, my form looked hideous. It was SO bad! I modified what I could and didn't worry about the rest. Just let it go.

So, it wasn't graceful by any stretch of the imagination, but I survived my 1st day back to hot yoga. It can only get better from here, right? Right?! Please say yes. I still need encouragement to go back on Thursday and as often as possible for the next 4 weeks.

April 24, 2011

Goodwill $21 Trip

I had to dig around to find some things on my last Goodwill trip. I didn't go in looking for anything in particular so it took me a while to decide what part of the store I really wanted to scope out. However, I ended up coming home with some cute new pieces for my summer wardrobe.

My favorite piece of the day was this grey T-shirt by Mudd. It's got lace built into the sleeves for an added touch of femininity. It's also gathered on the sides at the bottom. Plus, the material is super comfy. Comfy and stylish at the same time. Yay-uh!
Next up is this top by Xhilieration. It looks like it was intended to be a dress but it's a bit too short for my taste so I searched around and found a cropped pair of leggings by NY&C to go with it.
Last but not least is this summer top by Billabong. You can't see it too well in the pic, but I was first attracted to it because of the 2 teal lines of material across the top. It really makes the design pop. I also love that it flares out just a bit at the bottom with a cute little ruffle.
I just love Goodwill. I usually try to work the deals a little more ($0.99 tags, Smart Card, ect.) but I was in a hurry. Still, 4 items for around $20. You just can't beat it. I'm really hoping to hit the 50% off sale on the first Saturday of the month. I hear that it's kind of crazy but I'm game. :)

April 20, 2011

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your Garden grow?

Last year we had big plans for gardening but they quickly got put on hold due to the Nashville Food (more on that soon). This year, our garden is up and running and I'm so excited. However, I don't have the greenest thumb. In fact, it's known to be quite brown. It's still early in the season but I have high hopes and I haven't killed anything yet. Yay!!! Actually, several of our plants even have buds. Teeny, tiny buds. Still, that means they are alive and growing.

First of all, hubby built me this awesome garden box. He has no idea what the dimensions are. He says he just cut what looked right???? Either way, I love it!
Inside we have broccoli, onions, basil, parsley, rosemary, and cilantro. Despite it being elevated we still have to use chicken wire. Apparently the bunnies in our area are super hoppers.
I also invested in some Topsy Turvy planters last year when they were on clearance. We've got tomatoes in this one purchased from Eaton's Creek (They also have a great CSA).
Hubby also had to rig up a way for us to hang them high on the fence due to the above mentioned bunnies. In this planter we've got strawberries and a variety of green, red, and yellow peppers.
See those TWO strawberries on the bottom? Told ya I was growing! In hindsight, I wish I would have bought more of the "strawberry" planters. They are much more versatile in being able to plant a variety of items.

Last but not least we have garlic. Did you know that garlic grows from it's own cloves? This was, by far, the easiest and most inexpensive item to plant.
When choosing what items to put in our garden, I simply thought about my cooking and what foods I am always buying at the store from week to week, and which herbs I use the most often. In all honesty, I think we need about 3 times what we have planted but this is a learning year. I want to make sure I have the basics down before I make a huge investment. Minus the planters but including everything else (plants, soil, ect.), this was about $75. Now, do I think I will get that much of a yield? Maybe. I'm going to try to keep up with it throughout the season.
The most important part of this gardening experience is that we are doing it and working together as a family. We all love getting to water and checking the plants each day for new buds. We are also bringing organic foods into our home, which are grown (extremely) locally. :) The $75 is a small price to pay for summer-long entertainment. But, hopefully we will have something to show for it in the end!

April 15, 2011

REVIEW: Pregnant In America (Documentary)

  • Overview
I was recently able to watch Pregnant In America and I cannot say enough positive things about this documentary. I honestly wish every expectant mother and father in the U.S. could watch it. It exposes some very interesting pieces to the American maternity care puzzle.

I love that this film was directed, filmed, and produced by a father-to-be simply seeking out the truth. On his wedding day, he vowed to protect his wife. When she became pregnant, they began a journey to know their options for childbirth. The result is a very powerful disclosure of what is going wrong with the maternity system in the U.S. Below you will find direct quotes from the movie, which pretty much sum up everything I wish the general public knew.

I think the worst thing we are doing to women is not telling them the truth. - Barbara Harper, RN

There are 4 million births each year in the U.S and 98% of them occur in hospitals. Yet, our country is 28th on the list of infant mortality rate.

We aren't saving any more babies with all this technology.

We have, for 50 years, been brainwashing American women about childbirth, about how dangerous it is, how all the terrible things that can go wrong, and how you need to be in the hospital where all the doctors are, where all the machines are, and all the operating tables so that we can take care of those horrendous emergencies when they occur. It is absoletely not true. - Dr. Marsden Wagoner
  • Induction
In my opinion, induction is the #1 barrier to a healthy, happy delivery for mom and baby. An induction commonly leads to one intervention after another. In fact, 50% of inductions end in a C-section. The main reason for induction is convenience, for parents, for doctors, for hospitals, which I think is absolutely absurd.

The pharmacological induction of labor is one of the most serious, drastic and dangerous interventions that you can make. - Dr. Marsden Wagoner

The main drug to facilitate an induction is Pitocin, which is basically man-made oxytocin, the chemical your body releases to start and maintain contractions. The problem with Pitocin is that it can make labor more painful by causing overly strong contractions. This also may be detrimental to the baby.

We don't know the long-term effects of Pitocin. - Barbara Harper, RN

Another popular drug used for induction is Cytotec, which is not indicated for this purpose. In fact, the literature clearly states that this drug should NOT be used on pregnant women because of a huge potential for uterine rupture leading to maternal and fetal death. Yet, hospitals across the country continue to use it regularly.

This drug is not approved by the FDA for this purpose.
This is a humongous obstetric emergency.
The hospital pays a lot of money [lawsuit] but the women pay the price.
- Dr. Marsden Wagoner
  • Epidural
For some reason, in America, we think we are entitled to avoid experiencing pain in childbirth. Yet, this is just another intervention that can cause long-term side effects. Still, 80% of women in labor receive an epidural. Did you know that there are 58 (yes, FIFTY EIGHT) risks to having an epidural? Because the medication crosses the placental barrier, there are even studies which are linking epidurals to behavior problems, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The effect is seeded as an infant only to manifest itself as an adult.

Mother and baby are both designed to work together in labor and, when drugs are used, they are both drug impaired so they are not working together.
  • Interventions
In the United States, childbirth is not seen as a normal event at all and women are not allowed to let it take its natural course. Pregnancy is closely monitored and labor & delivery are scrutinized and micromanaged. In turn, the interventions make more of a mess than what they aim to fix not that the process needs to be "fixed" to begin with.

In countries where they do not use [interventions] just as a normal management of labor technique or protocol, they have much better statistics, much better outcomes, and we can learn from that. - Kerry Tuschhoff

Doctors use the intervention and then have to save the baby because they have used the intervention. - Barbara Harper, RN
  • Cesarean Section
In 1975 the C-section rate in the United States was 7%. It is now well above 30% and continuing to rise. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum rate of 15%.

FYI: All OB/GYNs receive surgical training.

It's kind of a no brainer to say how come the U.S. has a high Cesarean section rate. Well, it has a high surgical rate because the people you ask to take care of it are surgeons. - Barbara Katz Rothman, PhD

To a surgeon, every problem looks like a surgical problem.

There are more than 42 risks of Cesarean section. Most of these risks are not discussed with patients. One doctor in the film goes as far as to say this nondisclosure is ethically inappropriate. I would whole-heartedly agree.

It's MAJOR abdominal surgery. - Dr. Marsden Wagoner {emphasis mine because I know first hand}

From the mother's point of view, if she didn't want the Cesarean, she has just been robbed of the chance to have the kind of empowering birth that she wanted. She may have been robbed of her change to bond with the baby and she may have been robbed of the chance to successfully breastfeed. - Robbie Davis Floyd, PhD
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)
This is where things get even more complicated. Most Cesareans are unnecessary to begin with and it is becoming increasingly more difficult be given a chance for a VBAC. Many hospitals forbid VBACs and some insurance policies refuse to pay for them. In some states it is even illegal.

There are women right now in this state [Washington] that are getting cut open because everybody around them is telling them that is their only option. - Betsy Chasse.

The above quote is from a mother whose insurance company refused to pay for her VBAC so she chose to cross the border and deliver her baby in Canada instead.

We are victims of our insurance.

Less patients are taking an active role in what they want. Some are even requesting surgery when it doesn't need to be done. - Dr. Sancetta (Miami, FL)
  • Homebirth
The filmmakers traveled to other countries to examine how maternity care and childbirth are handled in those areas. I was most intrigued by Holland, where 87% of women deliver at home. In fact, if a low-risk woman shows up to a hospital to deliver her baby, then send her right back home. In Holland, home births are covered by insurance and are drastically less expensive. Plus, contrary to popular belief, there is less bacteria at home compared to the hospital.

Women continue to be disappointed in hospital births.
  • Midwives
Here are some statistics on a very well-known Tennessee midwife, Ina May Gaskin. She has a mere 1.5% C-section rate in over 2000 deliveries where 95% of women delivered outside of a hospital. Impressive!

It is interesting to note that women using midwives in other countries may receive daily visits for up to three weeks post partum.

We don't say patients, we say clients, because they are not ill. - Dr. Tom Kreuning (Holland midwife)
  • Conclusion
There were many more topics covered in this movie and several topics not covered that I think are important. The film also includes the story of Steve & Mandy and you follow them throughout the pregnancy and through delivery. However, this movie is great for getting your brain thinking about the current state of affairs regarding childbirth in the U.S. The bottom line is that we need to take control of our own births, do the research, and determine what options are appropriate for us.

Doctors in America do not want any significant change in the present system. They have all the power, they have all the control, and they are making the big bucks. - Dr. Marsden Wagoner

It's so sad what women are missing and they don't even know that they are missing it.

We skip the sense of empowerment.

There are really only two ways to improve obstetrics; 0ne is litigation and the other one is education. - Dr. Marsden Wagoner

The goal of Steve Buonaugurio (director) was to inspire families to reclaim control of their birth experience. I want to encourage you to do the same.

If you would like to watch Pregnant In America, you can view it online or rent it from Netflix. It is also available for purchase.

Have you seen the movie. What are your thoughts?

April 12, 2011

♪ Let's Go Fly A Kite ♪

I don't remember ever flying a kite as a kid. That's not to say that I didn't but, if so, I don't remember it. Over the weekend, The Little Girl flew a kite for the first time and so did I (that I recall).

We've had some really windy days here in Nashvegas and hubby suggested that we get a kite. We tried to make a homemade kite but it didn't work out so well. The next day me and Sky stopped off at Deals and picked up a kite for $1! There were lots of choices (rainbows, American flags, suns, hearts) but we ended up with a SpiderMan kite.
We tested out the kite at Grandma's house but, on the way home, we passed over the dam at Stewart's Ferry and saw several families out on the big hill flying their kites. We couldn't resist.
Our little SpiderMan kite flew so great. I am pretty sure that before this I had 2 misconceptions about kites. One, they are expensive and, two, they are hard to fly. I was wrong on both accounts.
The Little Girl wasn't so much interested in actually flying the kite as she was to run around in the field and collect flowers and such. However, she is a fantastic kite launcher. She would hold it just so and toss it up and it would go flying into the air. As far as I'm concerned, it takes 2 people to fly a kite and she was doing her job perfectly.
We happened to be kite flying right at sunset (have I mentioned lately how much I love the longer days) and it was beautiful. It was nice and warm and I felt pure joy in my heart. I loved being with my family, doing something new, and enjoying the sun. I commented that this could quite possibly be my new favorite springtime activity.
FYI: She is wearing her pajamas. Not because she is making a fashion statement but because we were headed home from Grandma's to go home to sleep. But, remember, we couldn't resist stopping. Therefore, we have pictures of our daughter flying a kite in her PJs. Cause that's how we roll. :)

April 2, 2011

My Little Fashionista

In the last few weeks my 4-year-old has become VERY opinionated about clothes. This was a hard pill for me to swallow since I have been choosing her clothes day in and day out for so long. Let's not forget that I'm very type A and I like things to match from head to toe. My sweet girl has worn a bow in her hair from the day she came home from the hospital so my pride was slightly wounded when she told me "I don't like bows anymore!" Ok, fair enough. I'll give ya that one. But when a demonstration of Oscar proportions began each morning over every piece of her outfit, I was at a loss.

I made a decision to let her make her own choices when it comes to clothes. I decided that if the outfit is appropriate for the situation, then she can wear it. This was a huge step for me. Giving up control has never come easy to me. Boy did I ever live to eat those words. Here are a few of the more interesting outfits she has put together.

During Spring Break she has chose to pair some plaid shorts over brown cargo pants.
I miraculosly ended up talking her out of this outfit. I mean, seriously? There's way too many things going on here.
Instead she chose this outfit for an evening at Monkey Joes. Capris with socks and Crocs?
This was a Sunday morning and we made a compromise. I got to pick the dress and she chose the rest. Note the navy BabyLegs, floral sandals, and hot pink backpack.
I can't quite remember where we were going here but it was interesting to see that she chose my red purse and navy shoes to compliment her teal butterfly shirt.
Up next, we have this all black ensemble that she chose to wear to Home Depot along with her rain boots. I should mention that it was rather warm on this particular day.
Ultimately, this right here is the biggest fashion faux paux: Socks with sandals. Ewe!
You know what, it doesn't matter. I mean, did you see her grinning from ear-to-ear in the above pictures (and striking a pose too)? It's all about choices and she is rather pleased with herself and her sense of style. As hard as it was for me to give up some control, I actually like seeing what sort of crazy nonsense she will put together. As always, there's never a dull moment at the Bishop hacienda. If you missed Fashion Week, just head on over here. But, please, don't tip off the Fashion Police before you come. :)

April 1, 2011

The Sun

This morning I prayed and asked the Lord to show me that He was with me today. I want to practice being more aware of His presence in the every day, little things.

I climbed out of bed and into the shower. The monotony of the day was already beginning. However, when I got out of the shower something caught my eye. Behind the blinds of our bathroom window, there was an orange light and I was drawn to it. I knew that it was most likely the sun but I just couldn't help but to peek through and see it. Out of my steamy window, I saw a beautiful sunrise. The hussle and bussle of my day had begun but just a glimpse of this beautiful sight was a timely reminder... "Yes, Staci, I am here."

In that moment, it dawned on me that the Lord uses the sun to speak to me a lot. The above picture doesn't do the moment justice. I'm not sure I will be able to fully describe the feelings that the sun stirs in me but I'm sure gonna try.

Summer is,by far,my favorite season of the year. I love the warm sun. Heck, I even enjoy when it's blazing hot. I love being outside all summer long and I eat lunch outside as often as possible. Just feeling the warmth on my skin makes my heart swell! Seeing the sun shine all day long and late into the evening is pure bliss. So, I can't say I'm surprised that God uses this great ball of light to bring peace and comfort to me all year long.

Many times when I come around the back curve of Pennington Bend the sun is beaming through the trees. I always get a little giddy when I see them. As I drive through those rays of light it's like a little touch from God. It's like I'm being bathed in His goodness. It has a truly calming and refreshing effect. It warms me from the inside out.

We had a bad winter this year. There were lots of gloomy days. LOTS. Many times I would look up to the sky and see nothing, and I mean nothing, but dark, grey, yucky clouds. Blah! However, on occasion, the clouds would part and a small, tiny opening would reveal the brightest, blue sky behind them. It was a very powerful reminder that when things seem oh so blah, so dark, so gloomy, God is just as bright as ever and He is still right there. Even though I can't see Him for all the mess, He's there and, if I can just wait and be patient, He will show himself to me. Maybe it will be small glimpses at first but eventually those clouds will blow away completely.

Once this winter we had a really icy snow. It was probably the ninth or tenth snow of the year, quite rare for Nashville. I don't like snow to begin with and I was over winter in a bad way. As we drove, I was completely and 100% memorized by the diamond-like effect the sun was having on the snow-covered ground. Everywhere you looked it sparkled and sparkled and sparkled! It was beautiful and that word doesn't come easily to me when talking about the white stuff. I think I even learned to like snow a little bit that day, which is a miracle in itself. It was another reminder that God can make any situation shine like diamonds. After all, He works all things together for His good.

Then there are sunsets. "Red sky at night" is my favorite. Sometimes I can't even watch a sunset without tearing up. Often a sunset catches me and takes my breath away, especially if I wasn't looking for it. I'll be driving along and happen to see that big orange ball floating down. Sometimes I think God really shows out at the end of the day. He paints masterpieces in the sky. Often times, I really need him to show out because sometimes, at the end of a long, tough day, He practically has to scream to get my attention. Boy does he ever with those sunsets, especially those late October ones. Mercy me. How can anyone can look at a sunset and say there is no God I'll never know.

For me, the sun is an amazing reminder that God is near, He is constant, and He loves me. Even when it is night, the Sun is still there. God is always there. Always.

Thank you Lord for the Sun. Thank you for the peace and joy it brings me here on this earth. Thank you for using an everyday occurrence to demonstrate your nature in a way that I can understand. Thank you for letting me bask in your goodness and light.