Saturday, March 26, 2016

Recent Reads -- March

A selection of blog posts and articles we thought were worth reading.
  • A Few Minor Changes from Little House. Big Heart. A young couple with an adorable house (hence the blog title) left their tiny house in the USA to live in a 15th-century, 900 sq. foot apartment with their young daughter. What an experience! I love reading about families transitioning to try new things. Although A's job as a psychologist will likely keep us bound to the U.S. at least until retirement, it is fun to think about what it would be like to uproot and move abroad for a few years!
  • Left Behind from In Due Time. A woman struggling with infertility shares openly the vulnerable emotions associated with feeling "left behind" when it feels as though everyone you know is achieving pregnancy without any difficulty. Although we are still early in our journey to try to conceive, I can relate to the feeling as we've already been married 6 1/2 years and the "when are you going to start trying?" questions feel nearly constant. Very frustrating when you are actively trying and just have not conceived!
  • I Have Never Felt So Vulnerable from Inside Martyn's Thoughts. Martyn is a stay at home, single dad of two young boys. He also has muscular dystrophy, which made a family trip to a museum in London particularly difficult. Due to a strike, taxi service was unavailable and he had to navigate safely transporting a 4 and 6 year old from the train station to the museum by himself, knowing that mobility issues would make this particular task more difficult without the help of another adult in case he fell or otherwise needed assistance. Parenthood in and of itself seems to require more vulnerability than most new parents realize their signing up for. You have to plan for seemingly endless possibilities, wondering how much you can realistically handle while still prioritizing the needs of a child. Although this dad's physical mobility limitations make that more pronounced in this story, it helps you realize just how much parents have to think about to ensure basic safety needs of their kids!
  • The Day I Stopped Saying 'Hurry Up' by Rachel Macy Stafford on This is an excellent post about how much we miss by constantly forcing ourselves to be in a rush. One of us (A) is working on living more mindfully -- savoring the moment, rather than a.) rushing through it or b.) missing it by being absorbed by the screen of an iPhone. This is something we both would like to actively work on. What a gift it is to your child when you are able to slow down and see the world through their eyes! 
  • Shut 'Er Down by Zac, a financially-minded dad of twins on I enjoy Zac's posts because he offers a different perspective than most mommy and daddy bloggers. From calculating costs of baby essentials, to the family's decision to hire an Au Pair (it was cheaper and more convenient than traditional daycare), I like reading his posts. This one is a great overview of his wife's experience in breastfeeding twins -- which included the need to purchase two additional freezers to store it all! She even pumped on the way to and from work in the car. That is true dedication to keeping up supply for a set of twins for 13 months. 
What have others been reading lately? If you are a blogger, please leave me a link in the comments! You never know, one of your posts could end up in a future "Recent Reads" post!

Expanding the blog to Twitter!

Just a quick post to say we are now on Twitter!

Want to follow us? The username is @PrepTheBun

We've also added a widget in the column to the right which provides live updates.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

How We Became Obsessed With the DC Eagle Cam

All images in this post are copyright 2016 American Eagle Foundation

Two days ago, we saw an NPR post about a live Eagle cam focused on a nest with two eggs close to hatching. Since then, watching the cams has turned into a slight obsession. 

Step 1: Get to know the proud parents 
If you're going to admire their hard work, it is important to get to know the parents of this operation. Given that they're nesting at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C., the eagle pair have been named "Mr. President" and "The First Lady." According to the American Eagle Foundation, this same pair successfully reared another eaglet last year.

Mr. President and The First Lady, anxiously watching the first eaglet emerging from its egg.

Step 2: Obsess over every aspect of the egg
We quickly learned what hard work it is to hatch! The first eaglet emerged more than 24 hours after this first "pip" appeared on the shell. As time went on and the parents shifted the eggs around, we anxiously watched to see if any progress was being made. The parents seemed equally obsessed, getting up periodically to stare at that egg. Being born is hard work! The "pip" on the second egg has not appeared yet; the eggs were laid four days apart (February 10th and 14th), so we suspect to start seeing a pip on the second egg in a few days.

First pip sighting!

Step 3: Eagle Cheerleading
Any progress observed in the nest is cause for enthusiastic celebration. Eagle Cheerleading includes messaging everyone you know and getting them on board with watching the cam so that you have multiple people to discuss every aspect of progress and eagle life. Slowly, the cheerleading process morphs into you becoming a novice eagle expert. Every message begins with "Check the cam." or "CAM A, TURN ON CAM A NOW!"
One of our many text messages conversations devoted to Mr. President and The First Lady's brood. 

Who cares what else is happening when it appears the eaglet will be emerging from the shell. As this process goes on, it will stall and all facets of fear and doubt will cycle through your head. Progress slows and you worry. Has something happened to the eaglet? Is it just tired? Taking a break? Why does it seem like there is no progress on the egg since The First Lady last shifted and the egg was visible? Has something happened to the eaglet? DO NOT DIE ON ME EAGLET! Oh, whew. It's moving again. Definitely alive.

The business of being hatched is hard work.

Step 5: Begin personifying/over-identifying with the eagles
After staring at every movement of these eagles for a time, you begin wondering about their emotional experience throughout all of this. When they get up to re-adjust and take a moment to glimpse at their eggs, you begin seeing human-like emotions: stress, concern, wonder, curiosity. Who knows if that is what the eagles are actually experiencing -- you just start to believe they actually are feeling what you would feel if you were an eagle who spent the last month on a nest.

Wet feathers, a sign that these parents tolerate harsh elements to protect their tiny eaglets. 

Step 6: Realize this process involves a lot of fish
Apparently, fish are the primary dietary staple of nesting eagles. Who knew? Whoever is "off-duty" will occasionally stop by to deliver a fresh catch. At times, there are just 2-3 bloody, half-eaten fish hanging out on the edges of the nest. C likes to make jokes about their Omega 3 intake being stellar. 


Step 7: Have actual arguments about things occurring in the nest that others do not believe
Two days ago, Mr. President arrived back to the nest with a twig that had several flower buds on it. He appeared to "present" the twig to The First Lady. One of us observed this, but was not fast enough with the "Print Screen" button to capture it; naturally, the non-observer questions the validity of this statement (Note: It definitely happened!!). Proceed to have a 15-minute text conversation about how plausible this possibility would be. Eventually, agree to disagree.

Are you watching the DC Eagle Cams? Have you seen anything noteworthy? Let us know in the comments! We now have several friends and family members watching and we would love to know if you are, too! Click here to watch live.

U.S. National Arboretum © 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG © 2016 American Eag