Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writer's Block in Reverse

I have all these ideas about things I want to write about. Things I want to say. Get off my chest. The ideas overfloweth so to speak.

But, I'm also trying to find that delicate balance in life. The life where there are only 24hours in a day and at least 28 hours of things to do.

I have to get back to reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. I really like the ideas in it. It closely mirrors some things my counselor and I have been talking about when we discuss parenting issues. It's due back at the library tomorrow and it's likely I'm going to have to donate to the library and keep it for an extra day or so. You know, donate my late fee.

I'll leave you with this quote I read as I was waiting at the chiropractor's office this afternoon:

"People with great passions, people who accomplish great deeds, people who possess strong feelings, people with great minds and a strong personality rarely come from good little boys and girls." -- L.S. Vygotsky (from aforementioned book)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Babywearing Guest Post at Natural Parents Network

I am super excited to let you know that I have a guest post over at my favorite website, Natural Parents Network, today. If you haven't checked out NPN, then you are really missing out.

When I heard they were looking for a guest post on Using Nurturing Touch, I knew I wanted to write about babywearing. If you know me, you know I'm big on babywearing. I'm sure it has made our last year much, much easier than it could've been. I don't blog about it as much as I should, but there isn't a day that goes by where we don't wear Bubby, even now at one year old.

So, grab a cup of coffee, read up, and join the discussion at Natural Parents Network.

Babywearing: More than the logical choice

Menu Plan Monday: 03/28


Well, our first week back in to menu planning went pretty well. The weather was nicer than expected a few days so we barbecued. And we ended up making breakfast for dinner one night as Bubby's well check exam ran into our usual dinnertime. We also ended up going out to eat one night with my sister. And, somehow, our leftovers never seem to make it around for Leftover Buffet -- I don't know if it's that Beanie is eating more, I always eat leftovers for lunch, or what.

We didn't make the chicken enchiladas last week, but we ended up making them tonight. I've found that gluten-free tortillas just don't roll up quite as nicely (or really at all) as their gluten counterparts. It's somewhat frustrating trying to eat a taco or enchilada or what-have-you and have it crumbling apart before your eyes. Tonight I decided that instead of making my enchiladas the usual way that I would just layer the tortillas, chicken, sauce and olives into a dish. It worked out pretty well!

Deconstructed Enchiladas. Forgive the cell phone pic.
All menus are wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free or easily adapted to be.

Sunday: Chicken Enchiladas
Monday: Whole Chicken (in the crockpot)
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday: Leftover Buffet
Thursday: Broccoli Beef
Friday: Stir Fry (with coconut aminos sauce)
Saturday: BBQ ??? (I'm holding out hope for nice weather sometime this week!)

I'm linked up an I'm an Organizing Junkie so click on over for more menu planning ideas.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Who is this?"

Who is this person taking me away from my family?

I don't even know him.

I'm here. Alone. With him. 

He's crying. What do I do?

I know he's mine, but I don't even know who he is.

I've gone over these thoughts over and over in my head since my counselor asked me what I remembered about my immediate post-partum experience. At the time, nearly four months ago, I told her that I remember feeling relieved that Glenn had three weeks off work, that we had time to adapt to being a family of four, that it was so much nicer than when he had to go back to work the night we came home with Beanie.

And then I thought about it some more. Bubby was born at 3:43 A.M. Sometime before six my sister (who was staying with Beanie) called Glenn's phone. Glenn was asleep while I was sitting there holding Bubby. I answered the phone; we had told my sister to call if there were problems. Beanie was hysterical. She hadn't slept well and my sister couldn't get her to go back to sleep. She was crying, saying she wanted me, saying she needed me, she couldn't sleep. She missed me. Oh, I missed her too. I woke Glenn up and told him to go home.

Then I sat there alone with my new son. I was anxious. I cried. I called the nurse for help with diaper changes, burping him, calming him, everything. I wanted to know Beanie was okay. I wanted Glenn there with me. I knew we were a family of four now and we had to take care of both our children, but I so wanted to be with the family I knew. This little guy? Who was he?

I worked to remember the nuances of nursing a newborn. I looked at my son and marveled at how much he looked like his sister. How he was smaller than I thought he would be. How he had blonde hair and blue eyes just like his sister. I held him and cuddled him. But, who was he? I didn't know him and I was entirely responsible for him?

I made the decision not to be discharged later that day, to wait until the next morning. I don't know if it was the right decision, but it sure seemed like it at the time. We had been up for over 24 hours when Bubby was born and I hadn't slept much after his birth either. I felt like one more night at the hospital might be a good idea. Looking back, things were so much easier when I was able to come home and be with my family, my whole family. I wonder if we would have been better served coming home that same day. Surely there were no complications to keep us there.

That night was difficult as well. It was quiet, just me and Bubby. Glenn and Beanie had stayed most of the day, some family had come to visit, my sister came again later that night. But, as it was dark and evening fell it was just Bubby and I. I was alone with this little person I barely knew.

I felt really bad about all this until a friend commented on my Life Lessons from my Children post that she hadn't felt love at first sight either. It clicked that it was okay I didn't feel this immediate connection with Bubby. Of course, our attachment has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year.

I wonder how things would have been different if I'd given birth at a birth center, had a home birth, etc. If I'd gone home the day he was born. If...if....if. I know I'll never know. I'm not sure it matters. In fact, I'm sure it doesn't. I love my son and I can't imagine life without him. And I'm learning to accept that it's okay it wasn't love at first sight.

Sunday Surf: March 27


Here, here to my 2nd edition of the Sunday Surf. Here are some of the best posts I've read in the last week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Now What?

Bubby had his one year well check on Wednesday. Everything looked great! He was 21lb 13oz, so he's gained quite nicely mostly all on breastmilk. He still only eats the smallest pieces of food (think crumb-sized), but he is doing better with textures so we just need to keep plugging away with solid foods. I'm not really worried about it, but it is sometimes hard to see other little babies eating anything and everything in sight and see little Bubby gagging on a piece of quinoa. But, now he eats avocado, chicken, shredded apple, rice, banana, Rice Krispies -- lots of different textures so we just keep on working with things. For awhile I was wondering if we'd be looking at feeding therapy in our future so it's a good sign that he seems to be doing better.

We talked with our pediatrician about Bubby's food intolerances. She said that because his issues are largely gastrointestinal (if not entirely, he may have had some hives with soy but we are not sure they were related) there really isn't any testing we can do at this point. I want to look into that a bit further because I have friends who have had testing done by their naturopath. At this point, I wonder how accurate they really would be anyway since Bubby has never consumed the food that he reacts to. Our pediatrician encouraged trying the usual suspects again and seeing how he reacts. I'm just not sure. I don't see the harm in waiting longer. I plan on nursing for quite a while still, so there isn't any hurry (or need) for him to have cow's milk. We both seem to feel better not eating wheat. The soy is kind of a pain in the butt to worry about because it's in everything, but since we eat basically whole unprocessed foods now it's not as much of a concern. I just feel like we're in a good place now and why mess up a good thing?

Glenn and I have to chat about it some more. He leans toward trying soy, which is the one allergen we haven't re-introduced since the main elimination diet. I'm leary. When we initially reintroduced soy during the elimination diet we didn't think he had a problem. Weeks passed and then we noticed that he was getting hives and his gastrointestinal problems were back. I re-eliminated soy and both problems went away. I haven't touched soy (in any form) until very recently when I started taking some vitamins that had soy lecithin in them. My counselor thought it was important to start up with my vitamins (along with added Vitamin D and Omega 3s) and I figured the benefits outweighed the negatives right now. He hasn't shown any signs of a problem with it, so that's good. I think if we're reintroducing soy I have plans to go to my favorite Thai restaurant.

I don't know. I'm a bit rambly as this is weighing on my mind.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Discovering Clarabelle


When we go to get Beanie's haircut she asks about "Clarabelle." I wasn't sure what she was talking about; I thought maybe she had named one of the animal rides (they have lots of coin-operated rides at the little mall we go to) Clarabelle. Last week we headed to the zoo and, as we walked through the gate, she exclaimed, "A big Clarabelle!!!"

Ah, Clarabelle was Beanie-speak for carousel.

Mystery solved.

I'm linked up at Natural Parents Network, Hobo Mama, and Accustomed Chaos so click on over for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today.

In the last 24 hours I've cleaned vomit off of my shoes, Glenn's shoes, and Beanie's shoes. The driveway. The car. Changed the sheets. Changed four vomity outfits. Combed vomit out of hair. Been sneezed on. Been spit up on. Changed poopy pants and poopy diapers. Done extra laundry and then some. Nursed a cranky one-year old off and on for nearly two hours straight while he fought falling asleep, kicked at me, pulled my hair, practiced nursing acrobatics, kept his sister awake and woke his dad up twice (or was it three times).

But, you know what? I also watched my son take his first steps. I held my daughter as she snuggled up next to me and fell asleep on the couch.

And those two things more than made up for all that other junk. Well, those two things and a hot shower.

Motherhood. You win some; you lose some.

Menu Plan Monday: March 21






I really need to get back in to menu planning. It saves us time, stress, money, etc. So, we're giving it a shot this week after being kind of lackadaisical about it lately.

All menus are wheat-free, dairy-free and soy-free, or easily adapted to be.

Indonesian Chicken

Sunday: Kielbasa, red peppers and potatoes
Monday: Indonesian Chicken (I use balsamic vinegar + a dab of molasses or Coconut Aminos to make it soy free)
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday: :Leftover Buffet
Friday: La Bamba Casserole
Saturday: Bean Soup

Gourmet Bean Soup (totally stolen from the side of our bean container)
1lb dry bean blend (ours is a blend of beans, peas and lentils)
1lb turkey Italian sausage, sliced into 1" pieces (I want to try the recipe without this, but Glenn isn't too jazzed about that idea)
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 12oz can diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato sauce
1/4tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves (I've always left these out)
1/4tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
8c water or chicken stock (I always use chicken stock)

In a stock pot, saute onion and sausage in olive oil until sausage is lightly browned. Add garlic and bell peppers. Saute an additional two minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 2-3hours. Remove bay leaves. Glenn and Beanie top theirs with Parmesan cheese and eat with crusty bread. I think I'll get some bread from Wheatless in Seattle.

I'm linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie so click on over for more menu planning ideas.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Talking About Death

Beanie usually watches a "night-night show" before bed, usually Kipper or Harold and the Purple Crayon. It gives me a chance to nurse Bubby down for bed and she loves her "night-night show."

One night this last week, I emerged from nursing Bubby down to find that she and Glenn has been discussing death. I wondered when this discussion would come up because one of the Harold episodes involves his pet goldfish dying. Luckily we haven't had to deal with any death here (knock on wood), but, of course, we knew it would come up sometime. Maybe nice to discuss it with a cartoon leading in to it instead of the death of a loved one, I don't know.

After she went to bed Glenn and I talked about it a little more. It's hard to explain death to a three year old. We both said we felt like it'd almost be easier to say, "Oh yes, you die but then you are surrounded by all your family and loved ones and you go to this great place...." But we don't believe that. You die. You live on in people's memories of you and in their hearts, but there isn't any place else for you to go.

I don't know. I don't really have any answers or anything of that nature. We're just trying to keep it age appropriate. I feel like I need to pick up Parenting Beyond Belief and give it another read. I guess I just thought I'd throw it out there and see if anyone had any enlightening ideas for me.

Sunday Surf: First Edition

I keep thinking I should join in the Sunday Surf with Mamapoekie. Mostly because I link a lot of posts on my Facebook, posts that perhaps would be more interesting to my blog readers than to many of my Facebook friends. I still link them on Facebook. I figure it's my personal page (I keep thinking maybe I need a Facebook page for my blog, but then I remember I'm trying to cut back on my online time, not increase it) and I can do with it what I want. I also figure that you never know who might gather a tidbit of useful information from a post I link. They also might hide me on Facebook, but I suppose that's another problem all together.

So, without further ado, here's my very first Sunday Surf -- the best of what I've read in the last week (plus a few extra goodies from earlier this month):

So, there you go! A little bit of reading for you to enjoy. If you've read something really great this week post a link in the comments so I can check it out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March of Kindness: Following Beanie's Lead

March of Kindness
It's the end of another week in our March of Kindness with Code Name: Mama (and amazingly I'm actually getting this post up on Saturday!). Something we've really been trying to focus on, not for the March of Kindness but just all around and for the last few months, is spending one on one time with Beanie, playing with her and following her lead.

My counselor told me the following about how an older sibling might feel about their new brother or sister:


Imagine that your partner puts an arm around you and says, "Honey, I love you so much, and you're so wonderful that I've decided to have another wife (or husband or partner) just like you."  When the new wife (or husband or partner) finally arrives, you see that (s)he's very young and kind of cute. When the three of you are out together, people say hello to you politely, but exclaim ecstatically over the newcomer. "Isn't (s)he adorable! Hello sweetheart... You are precious!" Then they turn to you and ask, "How do you like the new wife (or husband or partner)?" (more on siblings here)

I also am almost done reading Playful Parenting (which I really can't recommend enough!) so we are taking those ideas and running with them.

All this to say that this last week we really had some good times with Beanie. I'm sure things are easier because Glenn has been on vacation the last ten days so we've had lots of opportunities for one on one time with the kids. I thought for this weeks wrap-up I'd share a few of the things we did to really make Beanie feel special and important (which, of course, she is, but I think it's been a big change having a needy little brother):

  • Wednesday afternoons are always busy for us; I have my counseling session and then a chiropractic appointment immediately afterward. Then rush home, eat dinner, etc. Apparently this week while I was gone, Beanie fell asleep while cuddling with Glenn on the couch. As soon as she woke up she said, "Let's go to the park!" I could think of about a dozen other things to do; my counseling sessions have been hard (which Glenn assures me means they're working), I'm nervous about my chiropractic benefits running out, we needed to make dinner, I wanted to relax, etc. But, off we went to the park. And we had a great time!
  • After Bubby's morning nap on Thursday, Glenn and I were sitting on the couch discussing what we should do with our day. Beanie walked out and said, "We should go to the zoo. We can see lots of animals and maybe some penguins, too." Again, the laundry list of things that we needed to do (like laundry) crossed my mind, but we packed lunch and headed to the zoo.
  • This morning, Glenn took Beanie out for a Daddy-Daughter date at the pancake store (aka a local restaurant). This was the perfect Daddy-Daughter date since I can't eat at the pancake store anymore. During breakfast, Beanie mentioned that it was sunny out and she'd like to go the "Clifford Park" later in the day. We incorporated that into our plans. And -- bonus -- some friends were close by and met us there. Perfect!
I think that it's easy for us, as parents, to get caught up in the want-to's and need-to's when, in reality, the thing we really need to do is care for our children and help them grow to their fullest potential. The best thing we can do is follow our child's lead and let them know that we really do think what they want to do is important too.

Other random acts of kindness this week included waking up early and making coffee and breakfast for Glenn, making a big pot of pasta sauce and freezing half for a friend who just gave birth, and making sure I was able to take some time for myself.

I'm also going to show some love to fellow March of Kindness bloggers after reading this awesome post from Zoie at Touchstone Z. You should too!

What random acts of kindness have you performed lately?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Cake





I'm linked up at Accustomed Chaos, Hobo Mama and Natural Parents Network (where the theme is healthy eating but, hey, the cupcakes were gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free!!), so click on over for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Bubby!

One year ago at 3:43 A.M. I met this guy:

Bubby. 1 day old sleeping on Daddy.



Today my baby boy turns one.

Bubby, enjoying some gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free cupcake.  


 Happy birthday sweet boy!

I've been reflecting a lot on his birth, the last year and etc as his birthday approached. I had all these posts I wanted to write leading up to his birthday, but other things came up. Like enjoying Glenn's vacation. And preparing for his birthday party (which I am happy to say I was able to enjoy fully even though the preparations and the thought of so many people -- man, family adds up fast --  in the house made me more than a bit anxious!). And baking and testing out cupcakes.

Cupcakes! 
I really wanted to make cupcakes that Bubby and I could eat and that people who didn't have to be gluten-, dairy- and soy-free would enjoy, too. I think we were successful. Or everyone was lying to me.

My sister always celebrates "birthday week," so maybe I'll get around to those posts sometime this week.

I can't believe I have a one-year old!

If you haven't read Bubby's birth story, click here for a good read.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Week of Kindness.

March of Kindness
It's the end of the second week of our March of Kindness with Code Name: Mama. I feel like I can't really remember what we did every single day (I guess I should keep a list on a notepad or something!) -- maybe because we were busy preparing for Bubby's first birthday party (more on that later).

I've been trying to talk to Beanie about our random acts of kindness. She is all about her brother's birthday right now and was so helpful with preparing and getting things ready for the party. She also was very thoughtful and wanted to go and pick out her very own present for Bubby. She has this sweet pea baby, which she has affectionately named Sleeping Baby. Bubby loves playing with Sleeping Baby so Beanie thought it would be a good idea to get him one too. I was impressed she thought of that all on her own so I took her shopping to the local vitamin store where I knew they had sleeping babies and let her pick one out. She picked out a pink and purple one and I did guide her to a different one, not because I care if Bubby has a pink baby, but because I didn't want them to get their babies mixed up. As soon as Bubby saw his sleeping baby, he had a huge smile and has been playing with it ever since.

Probably my favorite random act of kindness this week was arranging for my dad and step-mom to come watch the kids so Glenn and I could go out for a cup of coffee. We don't get much (really any) time to the two of us, so it was really nice to get out and chat over a cup of coffee. I think we get stuck in our roles of mom and dad and too often neglect our roles as husband and wife. We've really been making more of an effort to reconnect and I was glad we got to get out just the two of us.

I also messaged a friend and we met up for coffee today as well (two cups of coffee still weren't enough to keep this mama awake after losing an hour of sleep and suffering from insomnia all night long). It's nice to get out and chat with a friend over coffee, makes me remember that I'm not the only one feeling overwhelmed. I think it was good for both of us to get out sans kiddos for awhile!

So, those were the highlights of our week of kindness. I'll try to be better about remembering what all we do. This last week was definitely a busy one!

What random acts of kindness have you performed lately?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top Ten Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Know

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

Nursing Bubby. Pacific City, OR. 2010
I've been helping a few friends who are expecting in the coming months, trying to arm them with information and empower them to have successful breastfeeding relationships with their new little ones.  The majority of new moms, nearly 76%, breastfeed initially, but breastfeeding rates at three and six months are disheartening at best. The reasons moms quit breastfeeding are many, but when a mom really wants to breastfeed but is unsuccessful it can often be attributed to one of the Booby Traps, as outlined by Best for Babes. Unfortunately, misinformation and lack of support can be commonplace for breastfeeding moms.

Knowledge is power. These are good reminders for those who consider themselves breastfeeding "pros" and great tidbits of information for those who are just beginning a breastfeeding relationship. Here is my list of the Top 10 Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Know (in no particular order).

10. Breastfeeding works based on supply and demand. Remember Economics 101? Your milk supply works the same way. In the beginning, you will likely feel like you don't have enough milk. Keep putting baby to your breast; nothing stimulates milk production like skin-to-skin contact and nursing. Just when you feel like things are getting regulated, your baby may hit a growth spurt. It will feel like all you do is nurse. It will feel like your baby is always hungry. Keep nursing. Your baby is nursing so often to stimulate your milk supply. It works the other way too, sometimes you may feel like you have too much milk. Just keep nursing, follow your baby's cues and your supply will regulate. I really think the supply and demand relationship is somewhat magical, it's amazing how it works when the breastfeeding dyad is allowed to do their "work" unimpeded.

9. At birth, your baby's stomach is the size of a marble. It will seem like you don't have any milk and, at first, you don't! Colostrum is specially designed for your newborn; it's the perfect first food and it's all they need. It can take up to a week for your milk to come in, especially if baby was early or born via c-section. Keep nursing; it's the fool-proof way to stimulate production.

8. Get support. My biggest supporter, by far, has been my husband. He's been my cheerleader in hard times. Tell your friends you plan on breastfeeding and enlist the help of friends who have had successful nursing relationships in the past. Make sure extended family knows you are breastfeeding. It can be hard for new moms whose mothers and grandmothers didn't breastfeed; they don't have the familial support or knowledge they might seek. Find a La Leche League (LLL) meeting close by and attend.

7. There is a learning curve to breastfeeding, even for moms nursing their second (or third or fourth...) babies. As a first time mom, don't expect to get it right immediately. It takes time. You have to learn and so does your baby. I considered myself a seasoned breastfeeder when my son was born, but it took some time to get used to nursing a newborn again -- way different than nursing a toddler! Give it time.

6. The breast pump is never an accurate indicator of how much milk you are producing. Ideally, as the mom of a newborn, you should ditch the pump. Unless your situation dictates that you must pump, put it away until your supply regulates. The pump is never as efficient as your baby, so looking at the ounce or two that you pumped can be defeating if you think that is all your baby is getting when they are nursing.

5. Nurse on demand. Watch for your baby's hunger cues and feed him them. Babies indicate hunger by smacking their lips, sucking on their hands, rooting around, squirming, the list goes on and on. Watch your baby, not the clock. It may seem like he just nursed, and maybe he did. Nurse him anyway. Nurse your baby on demand whether it's 3:00 A.M. or 3:00 P.M. Babies need to eat often; their stomachs are small, breastmilk is easily digested, they don't understand day and night, and their sleep cycles are shorter than adults'.  Nighttime nursing is necessary for babies and for your milk supply. Nurse on demand (I can't say that one enough!).

4. Ditch the free formula samples. Since the WHO Code for the marketing of breastmilk substitutes is routinely violated by formula companies and isn't enforced in the United States, many expecting mothers are given formula samples. Don't accept them. Donate them to the food bank. Whatever you do, do not have it sitting on your kitchen counter as you initiate your breastfeeding relationship! I promise you, there will be times you doubt that your supply is adequate. Your baby will act like she wants to nurse, but you will have difficulty getting her to stay latched (awake, focused, etc). That little can of formula on your counter is going to help that doubt grow in your mind. It's going to call to you. That is exactly why you can't have it sitting there! I assure you that if there really is a need to feed your baby formula, then someone can head to your nearest grocer and get you some. I've always said that breastfeeding (especially the first time around) is a mind game. You have to trust your body.

3. Trust your body. The nice thing about breastfeeding is that you were made to do this! It's hard sometimes. You can't see how much milk your baby is drinking. Bottle-feeding mothers can say "My daughter eats x ounces of milk x times a day." You can't and that's okay. Nurse on demand. In the vast majority of cases mom makes enough milk and baby gets enough milk. You have to trust that it's happening.

2. If your doctor, nurse, lactation consultant or pediatrician says you don't have enough milk, your baby isn't getting enough milk, etc, then make sure to get a second opinion. The sad but true fact is that many nurses, doctors and pediatricians aren't all that knowledgeable about breastfeeding. See an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. A good measure of your milk supply and your baby's milk intake is whether or not they have adequate wet and dirty diapers -- watch the diapers. Make sure your pediatrician is using the WHO growth standards (based on breastfed babies) and not the old CDC charts (based on formula-fed babies). Breastfed babies gain weight differently than their formula-fed counterparts. There's a bell shaped growth curve for a reason -- by definition, some babies will be at the high end of the growth curve and some will be at the low end of the growth curve. That's how a bell-shaped distribution works.

1. "Never quit on your worst day." A friend gave this advice on an online forum when I was first nursing Beanie and I thought it was great. There will be bad days, frustrating days, tiring days. Vow to stick with it for one more day. Then one more week. See how things are going then and reevaluate. It's funny how an easier day (or even just a new one) can give a whole new perspective on things.

Did I miss anything? What is one piece of advice you always give to new breastfeeding mothers? 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March of Kindness: Week One Round-Up

March of Kindness
***I meant to post this yesterday, but oops! I thought it would be nice to do weekly round-ups on Saturdays, but this one will have to be a day late!***

As I posted earlier, I decided to join in the March of Kindness hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama. This is a round-up of week one. It's been a somewhat slow start to our month of kindness, but I'm trying to keep in mind that the acts we commit don't have to be great or earth-shattering (trust me, they won't be!), but rather small acts that show others that we care.



This week I was kind to my husband. I told Glenn to go into the bedroom and eat his lunch and relax when he got home from work. Doesn't sound too big, right? But, the fact of the matter was that it was an extremely hectic morning here and I really wanted to close myself in the bedroom for some peace and quiet when he got home. He's had a really rough week at work though, and I knew he needed it more than I did. This week I was kind to myself. As the kids napped and Glenn watched some television, I snuck out for a solo trip to the library. It was nice and I'm really excited to start reading the copy of Naomi Aldort's Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves that I picked up. This week I was kind to my father. To say we have a strained relationship would be putting it mildly and things have been especially difficult as I work through some things with my counselor, but I called and had a good ol' chat with him on his birthday. This week I was kind to my sister. She broke her foot and can't drive, so Glenn picked her up after work on Saturday and brought her to our house to visit. We went shopping, had a girls date with Beanie, and cooked her dinner.

So far, so good for our March of Kindness. What random acts of kindness have you performed lately?




Friday, March 4, 2011

The Preschool Predicament

It's March and, as a parent of a preschooler, that means we should already be enrolled and have our plans set for the 2011-2012 school year. Except for one thing...

...We aren't doing preschool.

Gasp.

I'll be honest and say that I really gave it some good thought, not because I thought Beanie needed to learn and socialize away from home but because, with my PPD, I wondered if I was going to be able to give her what she needed. It seems there is so much pressure put on children (and parents) and at younger and younger ages. I met a mom whose son had just turned one and friends were asking if she'd thought about where he'd go to preschool. A friend told me that when they moved here others told her they needed to start preschool at 2 1/2 because kindergarten was so competitive. Kindergarten? Competitive? Surely five year olds aren't all about competition at school. Is it the parents? The public school system? I don't know.

We've decided to home preschool Beanie for sure. We lean toward an unschooling approach to preschool learning and I just don't really see what she needs to know that Glenn or I can't teach her. We can socialize through our playgroups and through classes at through parks and recreation and the like. There's other factors like the fact that many preschools are church based (something weren't not interested in) and the fact that any preschool except for a co-op is probably cost-prohibitive for us right now (and, really, if we're doing a co-op why not just be at home?).

I'm excited that our AP moms group is working to put together a co-op of its own. I don't know how it will all pan out, but I have high hopes because there are quite a few of us who are interested and a lot of good ideas floating around. I think that it really could provide a bit of needed structure to our learning. I also think it will be nice for Beanie to learn from other moms and for her to be interacting with the same group of kids on a consistent basis. I'm really excited and it makes me feel even better about our decision not to send her to preschool.

While we're in limbo with the moms group co-op I'd like to add some structure to what we're learning about. Do structure and unschooling go together at all? Whatever. It's not about the labels. Basically, I'd like to set aside some time a few days a week to sit down for "learning time." We can play it by ear and see where we go with it. Right now my idea is to rotate through days about letters, numbers/math, science and arts & crafts. Not all of these have to be sit down activities of course. We learn about numbers when we're at the grocery store or when we're baking. We talk about science when we discuss weather and bugs. She's really been into drawing and painting lately, something she didn't hold much interest in before. I feel like we've deforested a rain forest with all the paper she's gone though, but what's a mom of a three year old to do?

I'm excited about where this next year of learning will take us. So far, our plan is to go to public school for K-12, but we'll see where we end up with that, too.

Do you homeschool/unschool/etc? What are your favorite resources?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: The Real Housewives

As I talked about before, during the PPD Chat on Twitter we were talking about realizing that no one is perfect. Many times, moms have this image of what the "perfect mother" is. In my mind, one of the things the "perfect mother" has is a spotlessly clean house. Of course, no one really does (or they have a really good housekeeper!). A few people (including myself) talked about feeling bad or guilty when seeing pictures on blogs, seeing people saying "this was a bad day" and having a good looking kitchen, living room, etc in the picture. I know I had to step away from some blogs for awhile, especially those that were making me feel guilty about reaching the unattainable Super Mom image in my head. I know people often put their best faces forward, so to speak, on their blogs, but today I'm keeping it real! It was suggested in the chat that we post pictures of our perfectly imperfect houses and our happy, smiling children.

My perfectly imperfect kitchen
My perfectly happy boy, who could care less about the kitchen counter.

Check out My Postpartum Voice to see more messy houses and happy kids. I'm also linked up at Hobo Mama and Natural Parents Network, so click on over for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Redefining "A Good Day"

Pacific City, OR 2009
I've been thinking about what it means to have "a good day" since the PPD Chat on Twitter yesterday (which, as an aside, I finally figured out how people chat on Twitter!).

So often our expectations of a day impact whether we see it as good or bad. Usually those expectations are set based on what we want to (or think we need to) accomplish and how we want others to perceive us. For example, I used to have this checklist of things that "had to" be done, usually before hubby got home from work. The laundry list included everyone eating breakfast, tidying up the house, getting out for a playdate or errand, getting Bubby down for his nap, and learning time for Alexa. Difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish when Hubby gets home before noon most days. It was that expectation of perfection, the thought that there were all these things I "had to" do, all these things that other mothers seemed to be able to do without trouble.

But now I've started to redefine how I think about good days. A good day is when we all get up (hopefully not too early) and eat breakfast. Maybe I get a couple chores done. Maybe not. The kids and I play in the playroom. I leave my phone in the other room. I don't think about what I "have to" get done, the blog I want to compose, or the bills that need to be paid. I enjoy my time with them. Maybe we get an errand done. Usually not. The kids are usually dressed by the time hubby gets home. I'm usually still in my sweats unless we've gone out with friends.

And, you know what? That's a good day. Good days (and good mothers) aren't defined by clean kitchen counters and problem-less days. It's about really taking the time to be present and enjoy the day, hiccups and all.

What's your definition of a good day?

Back to the Basics Batman.

Or not Batman.

Whatever.

Over the last couple months (maybe since NaBloPoMo?) I've struggled with writing because I enjoy it and writing because I want to be heard. I've also struggled because, well, life has been a struggle and many things on my mind seem more appropriate for my counselor than my blog.

But, it's a new month. It's March! In February lingering illnesses prevented us from going out and doing much even thought I was feeling a lot better emotionally. I'm hoping March is our month, that we can really enjoy it. I'm looking forward to a great month with my family (and Bubby turns one this month! Eek!), my friends and my blog.

Forget statistics, followers, and all that other savvy blogging nonsense. When you love to write it shows, and that is what attracts readers to your blog. I guess it helps to have something meaningful to say, but I'd like to interject more oh-my-gosh-guess-what-happened-to-us-today stuff, too.

What do I have in store? Honestly, I really don't know. Just some good down-to-earth blogging about the things I'm passionate about...

We'll see how it pans out.