Friday, April 29, 2011


During Liza's pregnancy I never once worried about adding a baby to our family.  I didn't worry about Henry not being the center of attention.  I didn't worry about not feeling love for the little bundle growing in my belly.  Rather than dividing my love between two children, I firmly believed my love would multiply with our new addition.

I also didn't worry about their sibling relationship.  After all, the big brother/little sister relationship is the perfect setup, right?  Big brother watches over little sister and keeps her from harm. It couldn't be better. Upon learning that our baby was Liza rather than O'Bannon, I immediately pictured them in high school and thought how lucky Liza is to have a loving and caring big brother like Henry.

Then, life happened.  My expectations of endless love were met and exceeded.  The watchful big brother expectation?  Not so much.

Henry turned 2 when Liza was only 10 days old.  Not sure about other 2-year-old little boys but mine is certainly not consistently loving and caring.  He has his moments of sweet hugs, kisses and pats.  But he also has his moments of pushing down Liza just because he can, ripping toys out of her grabby little hands, pointing his finger in her face and telling her 'no no no' and general devastation if she touches him or invades his personal space.

Sometimes I think about what Henry would be like if Liza wasn't in our lives.  I would certainly have more time and patience for one-on-one interaction without a baby in tow.  He wouldn't have the lure of a little sister to harass, therefore drastically cutting back on poor behavioral choices.

What would Liza be like if she were the one and only?  How much of her personality and demeanor is determined by her birth order?

No matter the tears and shrieks and the peace she enjoys during his naptime, Liza obviously worships her brother. And, no matter the "no hold Lila, hold me" Henry says on a daily basis, he loves his sister and doesn't remember life without her sweet little presence.

I'm glad my kids have each other to entertain, to harrass,  to mold, to watch and to learn from.  I worry about a lot of things as a mama but I never worry about my kids' sibling relationship.  I anticipate rough patches in the future and hard times being big brother and little sister but I never ever question the fact that they will love and respect each other as the years unfold.

How do you feel about your kids' relationships with their siblings?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

deep thoughts.

1. Have you noticed my new facebook function on the leftside bar?  Do you like me yet?  I like you.

2. The great snows of winter have evolved into the great storms of spring.  Great as in really really awful.  My town, my family and my house have been lucky through the  multiple rounds of tornadic weather but many lives have been lost and many homes destroyed.   A town without power, a husband out of town and a dead cellphone makes me thankful for Mandi inviting us to spend the night at her house and a new day with beautiful blue skies makes everything in life seem a little easier and less stressful.

3. I hit the jackpot at the thrift store today!  The goal was to find a pair of swimming trunks for Taylor.  Goal accomplished along with 4 outfits and a sweater jacket for Liza to grow into, a fleece Lands End pullover for Henry, a pair of Thomas the Train pajamas, a cute pair of heels for me and several board books.  I *heart* thrifting.

4. In addition to great deals at the thrift store, I also had a lovely conversation about homebirth and midwifery with a mom of 6 who noticed my Mississippi Friends of Midwives bumper sticker on my car.

5. I've been working on my blog post for May's Carnival of Natural Parenting.  This month's theme is about gardening with kids.  An interesting topic to write on considering I don't like gardening.  Last month's topic of gentle advocacy was much more my style.

6. Liza is hitting new milestones everyday.  She pulls up on everything, crawls like a proper baby, sits from laying down and has 8 teeth.  Busy.  Busy.  Busy.

7. Taylor leaves on Sunday for an out-of-town conference for 5 nights.  The upside?  Henry will love me the most while Taylor is gone.

8. Hand sanitizer bleaches hardwood floors.  Fact.

9. Henry's new reason he can't do pretty much anything he doesn't want to do?  "It's too big."

10. I have a new nighttime addiction.  Fake caramel corn.  Pop your corn.  Melt a chunk of butter, a bunch of brown sugar and a dash of vanilla in a pan on low heat.  Stir into popped corn.  Eat by the spoonful.  5 minutes to a ridiculously sweet treat that I will never make around Henry because he loves plain popcorn and I don't want him to know what he is missing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

a science museum.

Upon entering the McWane Science Museum with one kid in the carrier, one kid firmly in my grasp, an overloaded purse and a confidence that typically can't be shaken, I wondered if I wasn't a bit over-ambitious when I saw the hordes of school-age children unloading their buses..........

Luckily, it turned out just fine.

I only lost sight of Henry once but he was quickly found doing exactly what he should be doing.
Always a nice treat.

We touched a shark, went grocery shopping, pushed, pulled, twisted and
ate our lunch in an area clearly designated as a non-eating area.

It was a lovely few hours in an amazing museum I wish resided in our little town.

The words, "I wanna go YaYa's house" were the perfect way to end our perfect visit.

rethinking emotional signposts.

During Liza's pregnancy, I consumed every thing I could find about natural childbirth.  I read blogs, books,  drug information inserts, birth stories.  If it was childbirth related, I was all over it.  The majority of Liz'a pregnancy was spent preparing not only for a natural childbirth but preparing for a natural childbirth in our local hospital.

To have a successful hospital natural childbirth, you need to be prepared.  Prepared to buck the modern trend of a highly managed and highly medicated birth.  Prepared to know which interventions are okay and which interventions need refusal.  Prepared to politely yet firmly communicate your needs with nurses and the on-call doctor.

And, prepared for the only thing that worried me about birthing in the hospital....when to actually leave your house and arrive at L&D.

Worried is an understatement.  I was scared about arriving at the hospital too early.  Scared my labor would slow down with the cold sterile hospital environment.  Scared my blood pressure would sky rocket.  Scared a doctor would push pitocin.  Scared I would lose resolve for the birth experience I so badly wanted.

So, I took refuge in the emotional signposts.  I told Taylor told time and time again  I did not want to leave our house until I was throwing up, shaking and freaking out, per emotional signpost #3.

That was my "leave the house" plan.  Throwing up.  Shaking.  Freaking out.  And, I have to admit, it was a rock solid plan.  The point during my labor with Liza where it would have been appropriate to leave the house was when I started throwing up, shaking and freaking out.

Exactly as I envisioned.

Now, almost 9 months later, I am left wondering.  Wondering if my vision hadn't included self-doubt and freaking out, would the self-doubt and freaking out occurred?

One of my favorite bloggers, Birth Without Fear, recently gave birth unassisted at home after two previous c-sections.  She describes the labor and birth as long and intense but she birthed without fear.  No self-doubt.  Nothing but living in the moment and giving birth with only her husband in attendance.

My friend, Mandi, commented on my emotional signposts of labor post about why fear and self-doubt even need to be considered a part of natural childbirth.

A facebook natural childbirth page recently posed the question of whether or not homebirth labors have "transition".  It intrigued me to read how many women wrote about giving birth with no expression of self-doubt or thought of failure 

My friend, Kaitlin, experienced 26 hours of natural labor.  When I asked about transition, she told me about a few moments of sadness.  No self-doubt.  No fear.  Just a little sadness.

My husband frequently comments on synchronicities in life, small and large.  His keen ear and eye for synchronicities have led me to believe that when something is meant to be learned it will present itself again and again until the lesson is noticed and absorbed.

My recent lesson:  rethinking emotional signpost #3 - self doubt.

My labor was fast and furious with exactly 5 hours from the first contraction to a beautiful baby girl in my arms.  I never truly lost faith in myself although I definitely let the emotions rule and there was that brief period where I was content staying pregnant forever if the pain would just go away.  Taylor was supportive although a bit freaked out himself.  I was in excellent hands with my midwife's care but she did not provide the emotional support I so direly needed.

What if I hadn't been so prepared to feel self-doubt when labor got tough?  What if I had only filled my mind with positive thoughts on transition?  What if I had focused on the birth stories where the women remained confident and continued meditative breathing and peaceful thoughts throughout the longest and hardest contractions?

Would it have been different?

There is only one thing I know for certain.  

I needed a doula.

To be continued.

Monday, April 25, 2011

easter morning love.

Love the Easter baskets.
Henry:  wooden puzzles, coloring book with colors, Lentil a book about a harmonica playing boy
Liza:  kitty cat board book -- the girl is crazy about cats!

Love Aunt Cindy's old school camcorder!

Love the hullabaloo involved with 4 young children's Easter baskets.

Love the determined grasp of the Easter basket.

Love that the determined grasp of the Easter basket took place at the beach.

Love Meme and her love of our sweetest girl.

Love Pops and his enthusiasm for all things Henry.

Love that this was the best posed picture I could get with our kids and their grandparents.

Love that this was the only family picture of the whole weekend.
Okay, I don't love that.
It's pretty terrible.

Love recreating the teaching years by reading the Easter story to the family.

Love this amazing beach house.

 Love Carla and Cindy for working hard to make this weekend happen.

Love Love Love the new tradition of Easter at the beach!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

seedlings: in two ways.

Looking out the kitchen door at our summer vegetable garden makes me think of my little family:

 I think how our garden wouldn't exist if it weren't for Taylor's hard work and careful cultivation.  I think how this is the first summer Henry can understand where food comes from.  I think how Liza will love exploring new foods grown in our very own backyard.  I think how I am glad we have this little plot and a local summer CSA to ensure we will be eating chemical-free locally grown vegetables all summer long.  I think how I pledge to weed and tend to our garden every.single.summer yet never lift a finger or dirty my knees.   Then I think about how Taylor works so hard in the garden and maybe this will be the summer I help out.  But, then I realize maybe I am most helpful just thinking and pretending about helping.  After all, I did pull all that dill out last summer...

I also do a lot of thinking about how different plants grow at different rates.

The beans are always the first to sprout and develop into real plants.

The peppers are the slowest to sprout so Taylor won't be eating his hot peppers until the fall.

The okra starts out slow but quickly grows into skinny little towers that will inundate our house with the one vegetable I can only tolerate when it is deep fried...

And this cute little plant of which I have no idea what it is, is just doing it's thing and taking it's time before it gives me a tell-tale indication of what vegetable it will produce for us to eat.

And, the more I think about our garden, the more I realize these plants and my babies have a lot in common.

They need need need.

But, they also give give give.
In their own time, they give back in their own unique way.

You can't rush them.
You can't change them.

All you can do is tend to them the best way you know and hope your little seedlings sprout into big productive plants one day.

But I won't lie, I'm not too worried about the future of our little garden or our little babies.

Both are very well tended to.

Friday, April 15, 2011

hello, soap nut.

My laundry detergent grew on a tree in India.

Fruit of a Sapindus tree, soap nuts contain saponins which are natural occurring surfactants.
An ancient answer to harsh commerical detergents that is even safe for cloth diapers.

Do I like it?
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Washing clothes with soapnuts is as easy as placing 5 nuts in the little cotton bag and throwing it in the washer when you start a load.  I use the same soapnuts for 5ish loads and then put the used nuts in a jar of water that I am saving for some future yet-to-be-decided purpose. 

 The only catch when using soapnuts for cloth diapers is that you have to remember to remove the bag for the final rinse.  With the use of soapnuts, I have officially learned just how important that final rinse is for cloth diapers.  Trust me.  Remember to take out the bag unless you want every diaper to leak with the first pee.... 

Prior to soapnuts, I was washing clothes and diapers with my homemade detergent of equal parts borax, washing soda and oxyclean.  I liked that detergent better than the formerly used All Free & Clear; my clothes seemed nice and clean but whites were quite dingy, things just didn't seem soft as I would like and I had a hard time deciding on an appropriate measure for each load. 

 I am glad to say soapnuts has fulfilled all my washing needs......clean clothes, cloth diaper safe, 100% natural, cheap, and easy.  The only way it could be better is if I was collecting my own soapnuts from a Sapindus tree in my backyard.

likeminded little buddies.

These buddies are likeminded little individuals.

Playing, eating, swinging, digging and....refusing to look at the camera.

See Tripp's "T" stick?  
It was pretty obvious Henry doesn't know his letters when he held up his "T" stick.

He even plays with his underwear hanging out with..... like HenHen.

What made Henry's 'bobo' awesome?  
His Tripp buddy had a matching 'bobo' on the same exact knee.

What made his 'bobo' awesome to me?
The fact he fell because he was running around in Isabel's too small and wrongfooted pink rainboots.

Henry might love playing at the park on a beautiful spring morning but he loves his friends even more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Liza in a 8 month old nutshell.

A few days ago, she started saying "cat".  She knows exactly what a cat is, she knows the sign for cat and she can say the word!  To say the least, we are quite proud of this little accomplishment.  Ca Ca Ca Ca Ca.  

She pulls up and is starting to cruise on furniture.  Her little legs are steady and she hasn't fallen on her face in a few days.  Thankyouverymuch.

This morning, she frantically began opening the bottom kitchen cabinets.  And....the babyproofing begins  again.

She still loves food but sadly, eating her fill of veggies seems to keep her up at night with a gassy tummy so she is exploring fruits, eggs, and carbs.  She is a true mama's girl with her innate love of carbs.

Sleep is going quite a bit better with one long nap during Henry's naptime and significantly longer stretches of sleep.  Is the coinciding nap time my favorite part of the day?  Why, yes, it is!

Girl has 7 teeth and is a vampire no longer with her top teeth officially showing.

She is cute.  She is sweet.  And, we love her!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

my boy busy playing.

What do you do when your house is a wreck and it started raining as soon as arrived at the park?

If you are 2.5 and your name is Henry, you:

Organize Christmas raffia you found in the closet.

The Christmas raffia is fun for a while but the rain quickly dries and the great outdoors beckons.

You would think I jogged with all those fancy jogging strollers.....

But, the real fun starts when a rope tied to the neighbor's tree is discovered.

  It took him a while to forget I was taking pictures and not insisting on viewing each picture a millions times but he finally got into his groove and I got some sweet pictures of my little boy for the first time in months.  Now we just need to make his cooperation and my persistence and patience a regular occurrence.  But,  wouldn't that magic formula make everything in life a little easier?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

watching and wearing.

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My husband spent his senior year of college studying abroad in a Germany.  Like any good college kid living in Germany, he made lots of new friends, drank lots of good beer, listened to lots of good music, ate lots of doner kebabs.....and noticed how the German mamas strapped their babies on with a long piece of fabric.  When his best friend back home announced he and his wife were expecting a baby, Taylor went into a children's boutique and picked out a beautiful woven wrap for the new parents.  That wrap was well-loved and well-used with the couple's two babies and our friend was sure to pass it on to us as soon as Henry was born.  A wonderfully thoughtful present come full circle.

So, basically, German women introduced Taylor to babywearing.  Taylor introduced his friend to babywearing.  And, his friend made babywearing a reality for me because we were way too broke and I was way too cheap to buy something I thought wasn't a true necessity.

Little did I know that babywearing really is a necessity.  Seriously.  How do women not wear their babies?

Now, I am the mama wearing my baby in a college town.  Not only am I wearing my baby in a college town but we also live smack dab in the middle of the college neighborhood.  As in, we are surrounded by college kids, their expensive namebrand dogs, their loud parties at 3am, their propensity to pee in our yard.....and lots of young adults who will become parents in a few years.

And, considering I have a very busy toddler and an increasingly busy baby, we take lots of walks.  Walks in which I wear my baby as I push my toddler in a plastic car with loud screechy wheels.  Trust me, you can't help but look up to see what is causing the forsaken screeching as we stroll down the sidewalk.  Add to the fact that I am one cute mama and have two cute kids, we get a look from almost every pedestrian and driver on our street.

It's funny to me that I loudly advocate the benefits of extended rearfacing, homebirth and cloth diapers but I find that simply wearing my baby speaks for itself.

And, I am sure at least a few college students are listening.

My husband certainly did.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo 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:
  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

taking pictures.

It is so easy to take sweet pictures of Liza.
I say "boo" and she smiles. 
She can't run away.
She can't say no.
She just smiles.
So sweet.

I can't help but constantly post sweet pictures of her.
I mean, really, she is so flipping cute it hurts.

But, everytime I take sweet pictures of Liza it makes me a little sad.
Not guilty, just a little sad.

Sad that Henry doesn't like me to take his picture anymore.
I try.  Really I do.

But, it rarely goes well.
He either turns his back or starts crying.
Quite obviously, neither scenario leave me with quality pictures....

Of course, it won't be long until this little sweetie is the same way.
But, until that day comes I will continue to snap snap snap pictures and 
refuse to feel guilty that Henry's current life is not nearly as photo documented as hers.

Tomorrow's goal:
Take the camera to the park and get some action shots of Henry.
If he can't see the camera, he can't refuse the camera.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things I'm glad I've learned.

1.  I'm glad I've learned to appreciate my kids getting older.  When Henry was a baby every milestone brought sadness and was a reminder that he was no longer a little baby.  It took too long lamenting the passage of time for me to learn that every stage of childhood is wonderful in it's own right.

2.  I'm glad I've learned taking my time and not rushing through the day makes every thing more enjoyable.

3.  I'm glad I've learned not to resent laundry and dishes.  I conquered my hatred of folding clothes about a year ago when I started folding clothes straight out of the dryer rather than letting baskets of clean clothes sit around until I didn't know what was clean or dirty.  And, I recently simplified laundry even more by eliminating separate hampers and now all dirty clothes go into one set of divided hampers in the hallway.  I finally got in control of my dirty dish situation by doing running the dishwasher at night, emptying it in the morning and putting dirty dishes in the washer throughout the day.  This is a very big deal in my life.

4.  I'm glad I've learned taking my time and not rushing through the day makes every thing more enjoyable.

5.  I'm glad I've learned Liza is endlessly contented watching out our front windows.  She loves watching all the action.  And, quite frankly, I consider watching out the window a hobby of mine as well.

6.  I'm glad I've learned I don't need to work outside the home to feel fulfilled.  I'm actually still confused why I ever thought a job would make me feel good about myself.

7.  I'm glad I've learned Henry really responds when we leave planned events (library story time, friends' houses, the park) when he doesn't "act right".  He is definitely learning and growing from every life experience.

8.  I'm glad I've learned to charge my phone every night rather than having an endlessly dying phone battery,

9.  I'm glad I've learned the joys of buying and selling used diapers on facebook.  Although it is quite possibly crossing the hobby line and becoming an addiction.  I think it is a sign of a problem when I sell diapers I like and use on a regular basis simply to buy more diapers.

10.  I'm glad I've learned I have the best job in the whole wide world.  Okay, maybe I've always known this but I am so glad my job is to raise these two precious little children the best way I know how.

Have you made any realizations, big or small, lately?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

emotional signposts and liza's birth.

My hospital birth plan clearly states that I do not want my cervix checked during labor, unless requested by me.  Why?  Because that number means nothing.  Seriously.  Knowing your dilation, effacement or station means nothing, except for one thing.....a baby is coming at some point in the (hopefully near) future.

Once you realize dilation isn't an accurate measure of your stage of labor, you learn to depend on your emotional signposts as your guide through labor:

Emotional Signpost 1:  Excitement  
August 7, 2:15am -- I woke up with contractions 2.5 minutes apart and I was THRILLED!!!  To say my emotional signpost was "excited" does not come close to summing up my emotions.  I was finally in labor 9 days past my estimated due date, my contractions were already very close together and I would be meeting my baby girl soon.  Yeah.  I was excited.  I called my midwife and updated her on the progress, sat on my exercise ball and watch the first half of a movie on Hulu.  Taylor got out of bed and began preparing the birth tub.  At this point, I realized  I was highly regretful that no one was there to photo-document our big day so I decided to be photographer......and exactly one picture later, it was obvious to me that I had entered the next stage of labor.

Emotional Signpost 2:  Seriousness
Time is a blur at this point but I remember feeling so thankful for the million birth stories I read during pregnancy and thinking how much I loved this stage of labor but how awful it would be if I didn't know what was happening to my body.  Between contractions, I paced our little house thankful to be home and not in a sterile hospital environment.  During contractions, I faced a corner next to Liza's bedroom door, swayed my hips, breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth and visualized my baby girl moving lower and lower.  I could feel the contractions becoming more intense and I knew transition was nearing.  I was scared of the unknown but I trusted my body to safely bring our baby earthside.

Emotional Signpost 3:  Self-Doubt
I remember standing in our dining room making a very low tone and telling myself that transition was here.  Immediately, I threw up in a bowl my midwife had near and asked if it was okay for me to get in the tub.  My body was tense and I couldn't relax.  My mind was reminding me that I knew transition would be hard and I must not submit to the pain.  It was bad.  I could not relax.  I could not breathe.  I could think perfectly clear thoughts but my logical brain could not convince my emotional brain to calm down.  We moved from the tub in the living room to our bed.  There, I began to focus and remembered the task on hand was to push a baby out.  And, exactly 5 hours from my first contraction, Elizabeth Ophelia was born on her parents' bed.

Did you experience these emotional signposts during labor?

Monday, April 4, 2011


What's so wrong with shampoo and conditioner?  
Shampoos commonly contain detergents which strip the hair of natural oils so that your hair gets that 'squeaky clean' feeling in the shower.  Google the facts for yourself and you will come to this basic conclusion:  detergents = bad, natural oils = good.  

What do you need?  
Baking soda and vinegar -- I use apple cider vinegar because I love the smell but white vinegar works just as well.   Think about the baking soda as shampoo and the vinegar as conditioner.  Baking soda washes away the grime by opening up the hair cuticles and vinegar closes and softens the cuticles.

What do you do?  
1. Gather your ingredients and find a method to pour the liquid into your hair while in the shower.  I had these two squirt bottles on hand from a time when I asked Taylor to buy me two spray bottles.  Yeah, I had a good laugh when I saw these "ketchup" bottles that hearkened back to my post-childbirth days.  A cup would work just as well although these squirt bottles are really ideal.  

2. The basic ratio is one tablespoon of ingredient to one cup of water.  Before I get in the shower, I dump a tablespoon of baking soda in the bottle and add a cup of water, then add a tablespoon of vinegar to the other bottle and add a cup of water.  Initially, I had little lines on my bottles indicating the tablespoon and cup marks but they quickly washed off in the shower and now I just know my measurements by sight.  

3. Wet your hair.  Add the baking soda mix to your hair, scrubbing at your roots and rubbing all the way down to the tips.  Wait a minute or so before you rinse your hair.  Pay close attention to really scrubbing your roots during the rinse because baking soda looks suspiciously like dandruff if you don't rinse well.  Repeat with the vinegar mix.

*You will likely notice a "detox" period in which your hair recovers from years of chemical washes.  Depending upon your hair type, your hair might seem greasy or dry for a few weeks.  Personally, my hair seemed a bit greasy but balanced out within a few washes.

* The one tablespoon: one cup is the basic ratio.  Different hair types and different water types might call for more baking soda or more vinegar.  It's really just a test of trial and error. 

* The goal of no'poo is for your hair to be weaned to longer periods between the baking soda and vinegar washes and eventually look good with  just water washing.  I've been using this method for about 2 months and I no'poo about every other shower and do a water rinse in between washes.  Granted, I don't shower every day so this equates to using the mixes 1-2 times a week.

If you know me in real life, you might be thinking:  Ummm, Laura, your hair is always in a braid or in a knot on top of your head.  Why would I go to you for hair suggestions?  Yes.  My hair is always in a braid or a knotted up on my head for a number of reasons, not limited to the fact that Liza loves pulling my hair and my hair is so ridiculously long that I am waiting a few more months then chopping it off and donating my braid to Locks of Love.  But, my hair is softer than ever before and is the least frizzy of my entire life.  

No'poo is:  
Better for my hair by allowing it's natural oils to do their thing.  
Better for our budget because baking soda and vinegar is ridiculously cheap.  
Better for the envirorment by reducing my personal use of plastics and harmful chemicals.

Do you no'poo?
Would you no'poo?