Thursday, October 8, 2009

He has arrived

Two weeks ago, on September 23, Bishop decided to make his way into the world. My water broke with this one (that didn't happen with the first son), and I actually think Bishop punched the hole. That's what it felt like....what a proud mama! My budding karateka. Luckily it happened at 4:30 am and not in the middle of the night.

Bishop was born at 8:40 am via C-section. I had a very difficult time with the first child when labor finally came around (I was two weeks late and then had on/off labor for three days before true labor...and then only dilated to 8cm. At that point I was so exhausted I decided to have a C-section), so decided not to do natural this time around. It was a very difficult decision and I waffled for a long time. What it came down to was that I wanted this baby out as safely as possible and just wasn't willing to take the risks of a VBAC.

He was 7lbs, 12oz and 19 inches long. My peanut. So, here he is!

So now it's the lovely time of the newborn, with sleepless nights and a baby who sleeps all day, with me taking advantage of naps. I'm already planning my next karate adventure, but will have to wait until some time this winter to join a new dojo. I have to get back to work first so that I can fund my new path! There are two places I'm considering: this one, and perhaps here. We'll see.....I'm just looking forward to getting back into shape, and sleeping.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When the breath becomes important.

So, here I am updating. Yup, still alive, and yup, still pregnant. Although that came into question this past Friday evening....

My life has been a bit crazy over the past three weeks: preparing to move again (but just across the street, so not too bad) and get ready for a visit from my husband's brother and his family. The latter producing extreme stress in my MIL, which she so lovingly regurgitated in my direction one too many times prompting me to tell my husband to muzzle his mother already. We have a great relationship, my MIL and I, but get the picture.

So, last Friday after much stress and too much hamster-wheel-in-the-brain I began to have contractions, which really freaked me out (I'm was 31 weeks pregnant. Too soon!). My husband and I went to the hospital where they drew blood, tested urine, and *ahem* swabbed. Three hours later it was determined that I was not in labor. However, I was placed on moderate bedrest for the next three days. And in those three days we had to move. Luckily I had started packing three weeks ago.

I was placed upon the couch, where I directed traffic. That wasn't so bad. Then the moving was done, and it went very smoothly. Our friends were amazing! It was the aftermath of the move that started eating at me. I couldn't do ANYTHING: no unpacking, no organizing, no picture hanging. Have I ever mentioned how I HATE to be uprooted? Well, it's very difficult for me. I like an organized space, a place where my "things" are, my books tucked lovingly into their shelves. Now all of that was in boxes in the middle of my dining room.

This was the point where I had to either breathe or breakdown and cry. So, I did a little bit of both. I called upon my almost-forgotten hara breathing, and calmed myself down. Of course, when you're pregnant, where is your hara? Still in the same place? Just below your bellybutton? Well, my bellybutton has moved...but, I know where my hara is. And it's still strong.

Now I'm off bedrest with conditions: be careful, listen to your body and do a little unpacking at a time. My bulldog of a husband, of course, forbids me to do anything but go to the beach. Not a bad idea, but I'm still going to unpack. Just a little.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Wow, it's been a while since I last wrote here. Part of it is due to me not having a moment to write when I'm awake (ah, kids. Four year old kids.) The other part is I have done absolutely no karate for over three months. Ugh. That hurts.

I miss is it. Miss the kicking, the punching, the throwing to the ground. I miss the sweating and the intensity. I miss working out until I fall over.

Alas, pregnancy has put a bit of a damper on my martial arts, but that doesn't mean I can't go out into the yard and bust out some kata, right? That has yet to happen. Did I ever mention how terrible I am at following through on private training? Well, I suck at it! But that's no excuse. There have been moments when I perk up and become determined to do just a few kata, maybe just work on one and refine, refine, refine. Yeah, I talk a good talk....

I do adore kata, and we have some beautiful ones, but for some reason it just doesn't feel the same when I do them alone. I know, I know, moving meditation, improvement of the internal. For some reason I just stop myself from doing it. There is absolutely no reason why a pregant lady can't perform kata....I keep telling myself that anyway.

It's not all a lost cause, however. The weather is nicer and the grass is very soft. There's hope for this mommy karateka yet!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Life in Second Trimester

Ah, second trimester. The floating time. No more nausea, no more bad taste in my mouth. And the realization that I'll never, ever go through first trimester ever, ever, ever again! Yes, two is enough. No more kids, no more being pregnant after this.

Also, a return to formal training. I've come to this realization that my path has come to a fork in the road. One way leads back to my first dojo, where I grew more than I ever thought possible. The other leads to a different dojo, where the growth could continue, but in a different way.

A fellow karateka and I were talking about this yesterday as we walked on the bike path. It was the first real exercise in a week for me (there's been a lot of sickness of the cold variety in our lives this winter. Yay preschool!) and it felt fantastic. It was warm, the sun was shining. There was this sense of possibility. We spoke about how we both had been struggling to find our way so far from our dojo. For me there was no reality to driving two hours south even once a week to train. For her it was becoming too much of a burden (she's been going to the Rutland dojo at least twice a week for over a year).

Then there was the issue of one of our sensei, Sensei Moe, visiting our town once a week. It was okay when the weather was agreeable. Then winter hit and he was no longer readily available to come and train with us. Of course our schedules always seemed to clash as well, and it was becoming this incredible pain in the tush.

We both realized it was time to chose a different martial arts path. Our current paths were creating tension and frustration. When I moved here I so desperately wanted to find another training avenue, but was not completely committed to become a permanent member since I was so faithful to my dojo. By choosing another dojo and committing myself to it's martial way seemed too much like being unfaithful to a long-standing relationship. However, I was also limiting myself.

It's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, if I may be so cliche. Just because I will choose to become a committed member of another dojo once I'm ready to return to intensive training does not mean I have to let go of what I've learned. It does not mean I am no longer a member of my original dojo. If my life is such that I am not able to travel to that dojo, then I must find an easier way to continue my training. I'll still go to my original family for visits and parties. I am not forgetting where I started. It's just time to move on so that my martial way continues.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pregnant karate

Man, can we say whiny? Yeah, my last post was a bit glum, but I was not in a happy place. From now on I will only write in my happy place. That being said....

There has been this awful thing happening at my old dojo, the kind of thing where it will most likely be closing (along with the gym that it is housed in). Sensei is, in a word, distraught. I'm not going to go into it in depth out of respect for him. It's not good. That's all I will say. It makes me and the rest of my dojo family incredibly sad. We're all hoping he will eventually teach in some other venue. We all remain optimistic.

So I now move forward to find my pregnant karate. As happened with my last pregnancy, I am incredibly nauseous, all day long, even through the night. This, as you can imagine, does not bode well with focusing on anything other than getting through the day and onto the next. To go to the gym to do anything at this point makes me want to run and find a toilet. I'm going to attempt the treadmill tomorrow, or maybe Thursday, and see how it goes. It was all going smoothly until the serious nausea set in a week and a half ago. I'm hoping that it will go away once I hit the three month mark, which will be the beginning of April. I, as ever, remain positive in thinking this will happen.

There was this new dojo I was attempting to visit a few days before I found out that I was pregnant. Go check it out. I spoke with the sensei a few times and it really sounded quite incredible. It's mainly a weapons-based system, with a little taijutsu to boot. I've been looking for this type of dojo for quite a while. There are no true kobudo dojo in VT anywhere, and those who know kobudo teach privately. There's a lot of grappling techniques (of the jitsu variety) and some forms, but mostly fighting techniques. What impressed me the most was that the sensei travels at least twice a year to train with his teachers in Japan. However, the sensei was very apprehensive about me joining class being pregnant. Accidents happen, and I understand. What I would love to do is go view a class and then, perhaps, join once I'm back in the game. It's good to know it's available to me. Many of the other martial arts in the area just weren't speaking to me. I'm hoping this one will.

So, for now, I work on my pregnant karate and see where that takes me.
Maybe here:

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm still here

I find it so difficult to sit down and right here these days. Before, when I would pump out two blogs a week some months, I was working and had the time to sit and write. Now, I'm at home most days with my son and it's not so easy to sit down and put my thoughts into words.

Also, I haven't been doing any karate (except of course in my mind, but that only gets you so far). My life has taken this turn, and not so much for the better. Tough economic times have finally hit Vermont and my husband and I have found ourselves victims. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, it's just the way things are right now. We moved away from our solid businesses at the wrong time. Now he and I both are having trouble finding work. People aren't doing any construction or paying for regular massage these days. Everyone is pinching their belts.

To add to that, I am having another baby. While that is extremely exciting (we have been talking about it for months now, but it seems it was decided for us...), I'm very scared for our futures. I have been doing nothing but massage therapy for ten years and it makes me so sad to think I have to switch gears. But, we need to think outside the box. I'm also not sure what I'm qualified to do, but will do the best I can to find something to bring some money home. My husband has to do this, as well.

As for the nurse practitioner program, I have yet to hear. A little birdie told me we should be hearing this week. However, being due in early October means that I may have to postpone school for a year. That would be okay. The program had 120 applicants. They only accept 16. Crazy odds!

So, back to karate. There just hasn't been time or babysitters. Now I have to take it easier on myself. I still go to the gym three days a week. What I need to do is find time to do kata. Once or twice a week. That's all. I have someone to practice self-defense techniques with, but again, I need to be careful there. It will happen again. I just have to keep telling myself that.

The most important part of all of this is to remain positive. We're not the only ones going through this hard time. Some have it so much worse than we do. I just want to be able to stay in my home (we rent), stay in Burlington, pay the bills and eat. It hasn't reached the place where we lose those things, and it won't.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where did the karate go?

I've been asking myself that question over the past two weeks, which have been completely lacking in karate. My last class was given the week before Christmas (happy holidays, everyone! Hope it was fantastic) and it was a good one. Now I'm sitting here wondering where it goes from here.

There was this fleeting image of me going to another dojo to train, but since money has been very tight for us I quickly put it out of my mind. The next image was of me asking some of the people I work out with to be my guinea pigs. After all, I really just need some bodies to bend around a bit. Saying that, however, makes me think that's not such a good idea unless they've had some MA training first. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone. The good thing about that is the unpredictability of someone with no MA training.

I've been itching to do more self-defense, and not so much kata. Did actually just write that? I know, I'm such a proponent of kata, but I've just been needing to push my boundaries a bit lately. There has not been enough practical, hands-on training in the last few months, and that has been bothering me a lot. One of my weakest areas is working off of a grab, any grab. I hesitate! It's awful.

The two women I train with present two very different aspects: one is about 6'2" and has had four years of training and the other is a beginner and more my height (which is just shy of 5' for me). The taller woman also has neck issues, so I have to be ever vigilant of how I take her down. It's time to recruit a guy to throw around! We also do not have padding, so the throws are very slo-mo. This presents a problem. Since we have to be extra careful there is more hesitancy in how we perform our moves. This does not help our reaction time.

I can say that I've been having a great time at the gym. Even though my karate training is on hold I'm still staying strong and loving every minute of it. I've spent some time over at and have used a few of his training techniques in the weight room. I never thought I'd stick to a weight training regimen, but it's actually a lot of fun when you incorporate it with body weight training. I've also discovered the joys of abdominal exercises done on an incline. They are so much better than regular sit-ups, even if they leave you a bit sore the next day. Okay, a lot sore the next day.

Unfortunately I've also had to put Muay Thai on the back burner. My massage business is seriously lacking in clients, so no MT for a while. Not until I can get something off the ground and start bringing in some money. It's been hard, but it also takes a while to set up a successful practice, especially in an area that's saturated with massage therapists. It will happen and I will keep my thoughts positive.

Karate training will resume again once my students get back from break (they're both grad students at UVM). The challenge is where I put MY training into that mix.