Our Little Bear

August 31, 2009

After a recent conversation with Michael's dad, Ben, we decided to give Mateo a second middle name. Ben is part Native American, and he asked if we would include a Muskogee Creek word as part of his grandson's name. He gave us some options, and we decided on Nokose (pronounced Nakosee), which means "bear." Ben is descended from the Bear tribe, so this animal has special meaning to him.

Bears symbolize primal power, healing, wisdom, protection, gentle strength and the blending of instinct and intuition.

Our son's full name will be


August 29, 2009

Dear Mateo,
What a sweet late summer day! Papa and I slept in and had a lazy morning. Then I headed over to the Saturday Market to hear Kristin (our doula) in her debut singing performance. One of the pieces she sang was George Gershwin's "Summertime."

Kristin has a lovely voice, but what made her performance special was how expressive she is. She was so playful - smiling, shrugging her shoulders or winking at the audience at different points in the song - as though she was letting us all in on a secret.

Four little girls danced in front of the stage, and you kicked and pressed your body outward, wanting to dance, too, maybe, so I patted you in time to the music.

After hearing Kristin sing, I wandered through the market, admiring the crafts and picking out produce. Several people commented that I looked strong and happy, though I am obviously "about to pop." I do feel strong and happy. I love being pregnant. I love being pregnant with YOU, Mateo.

One of the vendors was selling handmade picture frames, and I picked out one for this photo of your Grammy, my mom, playing the piano that we now have in our house. Grammy learned to play on this piano, and so did I. Maybe one day you will learn on it, too.

It's summertime, and the livin' does feel easy today. And one of these mornings, little one, you will rise up singing.

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your mamma's rich
And your daddy's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But until that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

Amy's Gift for Mateo

August 19, 2009

My very sweet friend, Amy Bunker, called me today and asked me to meet her for tea. Amy has always seemed to me to be infused with an inextinguishable spark of joy and kindness. I got to know her this last year while she was interning in my classroom.

Today, Amy gave me this amazing quilt that she made as a gift for Mateo. It includes photos of many of the people who make up Teo's family - including me, Michael and Sage, my mom, my brother and sister and my niece; my dad and his six sisters, my friends (coworkers) from the Relief Nursery, and also Chris, the midwife who delivered Sage and will also deliver Mateo.

Shortly after I got the quilt home, our little cat, Bindi, hopped up on it and expressed very clearly how much she loved it!

The center photo on the quilt is one of my very favorite pictures of me and Michael. It was taken at a friend's baby shower the day we found out I was pregnant with Mateo! The joy we were feeling is obvious in our smiles!

Thank you, Amy, for this beautiful gift and for investing your whole heart in everything you do.


August 17, 2009

Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us,
eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us.
Community means strength that joins our strength
to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing. A circle of friends.
Someplace where we can be free.


Pregnancy Photos: Round 1

August 15, 2009

Today, my friend, Kelli came over and spent several hours taking lots of beautiful pregnancy photos for me. I love so many of them, it is hard to choose which ones to post! Here are a few of my favorites.

What's in a Name?

August 14, 2009

We decided on our son's name, Mateo Kenika Carpenter, when I was only about 2 months pregnant. We talked it over for one evening, and by the next morning, Michael and I were both set on this name.

"Mateo" is a Spanish version of Matthew. It means "gift" or "gift of god." I came across the name in a pair of novels by Marisa de los Santos: Love Walked In and Belong to Me (not cheesy romances as the titles might suggest). In the books, Mateo (or Teo for short) is a wise, thoughtful, gentle man. That aside, I just love the sound of the name and that it is not very common (at least in the U.S.).

Kenika, which is the Hawaiian version of the name Dennis (my dad's name), came from a book that Michael and I read after our vacation to Maui last year: The Red Wind by Ian Macmillan. Michael and I both loved this book about a haole (white man) who becomes immersed in Hawaiian culture and learns to build canoes . . . a sacred and dying art on the islands. The character, Kenika, reminded both of us of my dad in his simple yet profound relationship to nature and the creative process of building.

Our Blessingway

August 13, 2009

On August 9th, many of our friends gathered together for a Blessingway celebrating the upcoming birth of our son, Mateo Kenika Carpenter.

A Blessingway is a traditional Navajo ceremony that honors mothers- (or in this case, parents-) to-be. It is similar to a baby shower, though the focus is on using ritual to celebrate the community connections that will support the new family on its journey.

Our community gathers around as we assemble a mobile from symbolic items that people have brought for us.

This is the mobile. Each item hanging from it has a special meaning. I am sure Mateo will be fascinated by it!

Michael and I in the seats of honor. This is also where we sat to open a multitude of thoughtful gifts for our baby. Jen, who facilitated the ritual aspects of the celebration, stands nearby.

Michael and I cut a delicious three-layer cake that Lane made for us.

Me with my sister, Sarah, and our little buddy, Julian.

At the end of the celebration, everyone gathered in a circle, and we all held onto a piece of hemp twine. Our friend, Jen, asked me and Michael to look around and see how each person in the circle was connected to us and was there to support us as we walk the journey of parenthood. Jen asked that we take a moment to think of Sage, Mateo's brother, and honor him as well. Then a length of twine was cut for each person, and we tied them around our wrists to wear as a symbol of solidarity until Mateo is born.
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