Monday, December 27, 2010

"Loving the Little Years"

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the TrenchesIf you have small children and need encouragement, you need this book!  I read it cover to cover Christmas day after unwrapping it and I am sure it will become the kind of book that I'm regularly picking up for good reminders, wise words, and good encouragement.

This is not some abstract tome on how important little ones are... or some nostalgic musings of a grandmother looking back at her precious little ones (and forgetting all the rough days.)  No - Rachel Jankovic has 5 kids, 5 and under, including 2 year old twins.  She's not looking back to when she had lots of littles, she does right now, and is in the trenches... and giving encouragement to others.

She is one of the co-bloggers over at Femina, as well, if you aren't already a reader over there.  :)

(Full disclosure: Amazon link is an affiliate link. But I'm telling you about the book because I genuinely love it.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the Week Before Christmas...

 Our Christmas cards this year!  
Paperspring generously sent me a gift certificate and we loved this simple and classy design. 
 ...and this is the closest I'm going to get to a blog post, since I'm up to my elbows in sugar cookie dough, fudge making, and wrapping paper! 

A very Merry Christmas to all of you!

 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,

   because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
   in the house of his servant David
 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
 salvation from our enemies
   and from the hand of all who hate us—
 to show mercy to our ancestors
   and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
   and to enable us to serve him without fear
 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

~ Luke 1

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Home Again

We went to a glorious wedding this past weekend.  Here I am with the Best Man, our 2 1/2 year old, our 18 month old flower girl, and an obvious bump!  #3 is much more obvious now at 17 weeks, I feel like I really "popped" these last few weeks.  

The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a lot of fun!  Lots of dancing, eating, and catching up with people I hadn't seen in a long time.  Of course, there is never enough time to spend with each person so I got home wishing I'd had more time with them all, but it was still wonderful to see them.

Nathan likes weddings.  Especially weddings with cake.

Of course, babywearing was a big help while on the go.  Here we are at the mall... Nathan was going to walk but when he saw Miriam on my back he wanted to be worn too! :)  That ended up being better anyway since we were navigating escalators and went down a large staircase as well.  We attracted a lot of double takes (maybe because we were both wearing?) and had three different people come up and ask us about our carriers! 

On the way home, we hit Ikea!  It was amazing, even though we only had time (and energy!) for one floor.  But that is a whole post of it's own... ;)

Today I'm printing out Martha's Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, reading The Nester's post on Pottery Barn Hacks for Thanksgiving, and washing curtains, cleaning ceiling fans, etc, before decorating for Fall.  I'm behind, I know, and I thought about just skipping it entirely (like all the stores seem to have done!) and decorating for Christmas... but I love fall decor and even though I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year (whew!) I still want to have the house feel like fall.  So I'll be burning my pumpkin pie spice candle and hot gluing fall leaves to everything today! ;)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rains and it pours...

My camera died first. Now the computer is in the shop. Since my main blog content lately appears to be pictures, the first hampered my blogging quite a bit. Obviously the computer being out of commission too is the big preventative, though...

But I have a busy week coming up with preparing for some travel, a wedding (!), and I'm trying to think ahead and work on handmade Christmas presents. I want to make the kiddos some puppets, as well as making Miriam a stocking... any tutorial links or tips on the puppets much appreciated! :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Calling all Babywearers

Every family has a story, and babywearing is part of ours.  After Nathan was born, babywearing entered our lives, and we are profoundly grateful for the connection, bonding, and ease of the babywearing way of life.  From chasing cows to coping with a child in the hospital, babywearing is an integral part of how we parent.

 Nathan's now 2 1/2, and most of the time much happier to be on his own two feet (which is fine, since he's also 30 pounds now), so he isn't being worn any more...but I cherish all the memories of kissing his sweet head while he was snuggled up securely in his sling or mei tai.

By the time Miriam came along, I'd found my babywearing groove, and was excited to be able to wear her a lot more than her brother.   Tandem babywearing  made our year of 2 under 2 much, much easier. When she  was born, Nathan had been walking for a week. There was no way he could toddle all the way across a parking lot, far less walk through a store.  And if you've ever tried to navigate a stroller through a crowded, treasure laden thrift store (start by getting in, the doors aren't automatic!), you'll understand why strapping 35 pounds of baby to your torso is comparatively easy.

 I didn't want to be home-bound just because I had two very small children, and thanks in large part to babywearing, I wasn't.  And I not only shed the baby weight pretty quickly (try squatting down to get a can on a bottom shelf at the discount grocery with 35 pounds of extra weight and you'll see why!), I enjoyed making fun memories with them at the same time.

When we found out #3 will arrive next spring, one of the wonderful things we started looking forward to was wearing a snuggly little newborn again!  My husband laughed at me when I said that... and then later said he's really looking forward to getting to babywear a newborn too!  He loved the Moby wrap, and this time around I'm trading another carrier for a pretty indigo Moby.  Can't wait!

I know I've been rather silent around here, between morning sickness, a horrific cold *achoo!*, and a broken camera, so you might be wondering what brought me out of the woodwork.

Babywearing is in crisis, and just as babywearing helped us, we need to turn around and help the babywearing industry stay beautiful, vibrant, and diverse.
While I've made many of my own carriers, not every mama can, and we need a variety of big and small babywearing businesses that can provide those families with the tools they need.  When I'm stopped on the street and asked about my carriers, frequently I say, "I made this one, but you can buy a similar one from (fill in the blank depending on the type.)"  Often that person will write it down or take one of my babywearing cards with more information.

Losing those businesses due to expensive testing, prohibitive regulation, or sheer bureaucracy is not acceptable. 

What if I can't refer them to somewhere they can buy a similar carrier anymore? Or if eventually even sharing patterns and tutorials for DIY carriers is curtailed because of regulation?  How will that harm babywearing?  I don't know and I don't want to find out.

The CPSC is trying to regulate the babywearing industry, and there's a risk more of our favorite carriers will disappear,  like Hotslings.  Babywearing is a parenting choice, and by restricting our access to carriers, the CPSC is going to limit our ability as parents to choose what we feel is best for our babies.  This is totally unacceptable.

Please go connect with the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance on Facebook to stay updated.  A recall of a major baby carrier (at the moment unnamed) is being forced through this week.  The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance states that this is a safe carrier and the CPSC is very much in the wrong to be forcing a recall.   More details here, please take the time to read and act.  If this can happen to one carrier, it can happen to them all.  All our carriers are in jeopardy.  

If you are represented by any one of the legislators listed here, PLEASE call and write them! 

Also, if you're a blogger, the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance needs you... please go here and read their call to action!  We need to be vocal right now about how important babywearing is to us! If you write a post, be sure to post it on the BCIA Facebook page AND add to the linky over at Adventures in Babywearing... one linky participant will win a Sakura Bloom ring sling!   And if you share your babywearing story and link up at the Wrapsody Baby blog you'll be entered to win a Gypsy Mama microfleece wrap (perfect for fall!)

Whether you wore your babies, would have wanted to, are a current babywearer, want to babywear someday, or just plain care about people having the right to make their own parenting choices without heavy handed government intervention, please take the time to act.  For the small businesses. For the parent's who need their hands back.  And for the babies... and their babies.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High Fashion

All Nathan!

Still in his jammies, Nathan found his suspenders!  He was thrilled.  Pardon the breakfast yogurt on his shirt!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Extended Rear Facing

The minimum age that a child's car seat is supposed to be changed from rear facing to front facing is one year and twenty pounds.  However, rear facing past that point is still safer.  Just think about this for a moment...
When a child is in a forward-facing seat, [in an accident] there is tremendous stress put on the child's neck, which must hold the large head back. The mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%!  A small child's neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash.  The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward - stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord.  The child's head is at greater risk in a forward-facing seat as well.  In a crash, the head is thrown outside the confines of the seat and can make dangerous contact with other occupants, vehicle structures, and even intruding objects, like trees or other vehicles.
Rear-facing seats do a phenomenal job of protecting children because there is little or no force applied to the head, neck and spine.  When a child is in a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all kept fully aligned and the child is allowed to "ride down" the crash while the back of the child restraint absorbs the bulk of the crash force. The head is contained within the restraint, and the child is much less likely to come into contact with anything that might cause head injury.-" (source)(emphasis added)

Cosco Juvenile Scenera Convertible Car Seat, Stone
Nathan's current seat
It is safer not to turn your child's carseat forward facing until you reach the rear facing weight limit on the carseat itself, which on a convertible carseat is usually around 30 pounds.

Both of ours, The First Years True Fit and the Cosco Scenera, go to 35 pounds rear facing, so both Nathan (29 months) and Miriam (16 months) are rear facing.  There are even some carseats, such as the Graco My Ride 65 Car Seat, Safety 1st Complete Air that can rear face until 40 pounds, and the Sunshine Kids Radian80SL goes to 45 pounds rear facing.

Some people think that you have to turn them around when their feet touch the back of the seat, but that isn't true.  We've found that Nathan is quite comfortable crossing his legs. Occasionally  the objection is made that a child might be at increased risk of broken legs if rear facing.  I am ok with that, if true, because in the event of a severe accident in which my child was likely to suffer an injury of that magnitude rear facing he would be at higher risk forward facing.   There's a little saying that goes "Broken leg? Cast it.  Broken neck?  Casket." 
 Basically, the longer a child can ride rear-facing, the better protected his or her spinal cord is in the event of a collision.  - Joe Colella, Former Child Passenger Safety Training Manager for the National SAFE KIDS Campaign

"The most common misunderstanding is that a child is ready to travel facing forward when his neck muscles are strong enough to support and control his head. However, when a car hits something at 25 to 30 mph, it will come to a stop at a negative acceleration rate of from 20 to 30 G. Because of the time lag between when the vehicle stops and an occupant stops, and the fact that the head of a forward-facing adult or child is still free to move relative to the restrained torso, the head may experience as much as 60 or 70 Gs acceleration for a brief moment. Even the strong neck muscles of military volunteers cannot counteract such forces. Instead, the rigidity of the bones in the neck and strength of the connecting ligaments (not the muscles) hold the adult spine together and keep the spinal cord intact within the confines of the vertebral column.
Very young children, however, have immature vertebrae that are still partly made of cartilage. These are soft and will deform and/or separate under tension, leaving just the spinal cord as the last link between the head and the torso. According to documented research, autopsy specimens of infant spines and ligaments allow for spinal column elongation of up to two inches, but the spinal cord ruptures if stretched more than 1/4 inch. Real-world experience has shown that a young child's skull can be literally ripped from her spine by the force of a crash."- from, here

And just one more quote, this one from a post on the subject:
 "toddlers between the ages of 12 & 23 months who ride rear facing are 5 times safer and 75% less likely to experience serious injury or die than their forward-facing peers."
I'm not a safety expert, a car seat technician, or a crash test expert.  I'm 'just' a mama.  I know that I can't protect my children from all harm, but considering that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S it is definitely worth a little bit of thought and research to consider how we can best keep our children safe while traveling.  Because it doesn't matter how safe a driver you are - you cannot control other drivers and you cannot predict whether a drunk driver is going to come flying through red light at a seemingly empty intersection.  You can only take steps to keep your child as safe as you can.  Keeping your little one rear facing is an easy way to make them safer. 

We haven't found rear facing past a year to be inconvenient or a hassle at all... it's a really simple way of making our kids a little safer in the car! 
Are your little ones rear facing still?  
Did you know that it was still safer, even past the age of one? 
What are some good safety resources you've found?

Update: As of April 2011 "the American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat, which can be found on the back of the seat.  Previously, the AAP advised parents to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, up to the maximum limit of the car seat, and this has not changed.  But it also cited one year and 20 pounds as the minimum for flipping the seat, which many parents and pediatricians interpreted as conventional wisdom on the best time to make the switch.  The new policy clarifies the AAP's recommendation, making age 2 the new guideline -- a real game-changer for parents of toddlers.

A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing." -CNN, AAP: Toddlers in rear-facing seat until 2

We are still rear facing two carseats, with an almost 3 and almost 2 year old.  Nathan is getting very close to the weight limit, so he will probably need to forward face soon after 3, however.  

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Three means... the small people will outnumber the big people.

Three means... Miriam won't be the "baby" anymore.

Three means... a whole new adventure.

Three means... getting to babywear a newborn again, (and give EC another try.)

Three means... a baby!

Expected next May!

Please pray for a healthy pregnancy... and feel free to leave your best morning sickness coping tips, as I'm already having trouble keeping things down.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

In our home, we try to keep things deliberate and simple.  That approach gets a bit more complicated when we add in budgeting, like for our food purchases, but basically our food approach is pretty simple.

1. Life is too short to eat things that taste yucky.
2. Life is too short to obsess over what we eat, after all, we're going to die anyway.  Our efforts can be better used on things that will last eternally.
3. Life is too short to further shorten it by willy nilly consumption of unhealthy industrialized food, and we have a responsibility to our children, and to God, to try to leave things better than we found them.

So basically, we try to eat healthy - real foods, local foods, sustainable foods - we try to eat frugally - home made foods, from scratch foods, bulk foods - and we try to eat practically - simple foods, nutritionally dense foods.

Nathan approves.
One simple way that we try to be healthy is by making sure that the fats in our kitchen are good fats.  We avoid all vegetable oils and shortenings, and prefer butter, olive oil, and lard.  And, we've been exploring coconut oil as well!

Tropical Traditions was kind enough to send us some of their delicious coconut oil for review purposes.  We LOVED it.  If they had sent us five gallons instead, we would have eaten it all and died of happiness... so I guess it's a good thing they didn't or we wouldn't still be around to share how good it is! ;) 

As a nursing mama, I've noticed that my energy levels are better when I make a point of having plenty of good fats in my diet.  I know a mama whose midwife specifically recommended to her to take a tablespoon of coconut oil every day to make sure that she was getting enough good fat in her diet!  I know that personally, I would much rather take that tablespoon in fudge, but either way coconut oil is a great fat to be consuming and I have felt that for me personally it was an energy booster.

grilled cheese sandwich with coconut oil... yum!

We still need to sit down and do the math to see just how large a place coconut oil will have in our pantry and diet. 

But, as this very tasty jar of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil confirmed for us, coconut oil definitely will be a pantry staple from now on around here!

Ways to enjoy Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil:
  • on bread!
  • in fudge!
  • use for popcorn - this is particularly amazing & Micah's favorite oil to use for popcorn now
  • in baked items - just substitute for butter or other oils
  • use on a grilled cheese sandwich

Is there any coconut oil in your pantry? :)

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it unless I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.  I am not a nutritionist or medical professional and any opinions in this post are merely my own opinions and are not to be construed as medical or nutritional advice.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Loving Right Now

  • The rainy day today, grey and drizzly, and the contented rumble of the thunder in the distance.  Maybe it has to do with being raised in a desert, but rain always makes me happy.  It is making me especially happy today because the grass has been getting crunchy and yesterday was pretty warm, so the rain has cooled things down and the grass will green back up again.
  • Anticipating fall.  I love fall.  Pumpkins, cozy sweaters, scarves, and the changing colors... as well as the crisp, cool weather, which pretty much requires a big chunky mug filled with some hot substance.  Also, jewel tones, especially dark red.  And bronze.  And that smell, that really organic, leafy smell, of everything settling in for the winter.
  • My Lisa Leonard necklace* which reads ". and like olive plants thy children . " It's part of Psalm 128 (the version in the Book of Psalms for singing, which I first memorised).  Here is the complete Psalm (KJV) -
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. 
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

She has lovely vintage images that she shares.  Great source, especially since she tags them well and it makes it easy to find what you're looking for if you're working on a specific project.

    Summer flowers


This FACE!

What are you loving right now? :)

* (partially paid for with a gift card to Lisa Leonard, thanks again Lisa Leonard, MomSelect, and Mom Magazine)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Tube is Gone

The dialysis tube is gone! 

In two weeks he can go swimming and take baths again!

Monday we spent most of the day at the hospital... including of course monkey.

Miriam went to get lunch with Daddy and returned sound asleep!  I wolfed half my lunch in the hall and then ate the rest later.  We couldn't eat around Nathan as he was beginning to get quite hungry but couldn't have anything of course before surgery at 1pm.

He had a lot of fun playing with this VERY noisy truck.  The surgeon observed that he would not want to have that toy at his house, and I totally agreed.  It had buttons for hammers, jack hammers, and other noisy tools, and was loud.  

Surgery went smoothly, we were able to come home Monday night, and he has been recovering great.  The biggest challenge has been keeping him quiet.  I have no idea how they expect a healthy, energetic two year old to take it easy for a few days.  If they really wanted him to stop climbing things and running around and all that they should have sent me home with a sedative for him!

Today we met with his wonderful kidney specialist... who said that he is doing great and that we don't need to see him again for six months.  I was surprised since we'd been on monthly meetings.  That's a big jump!  But obviously it shows how well he is doing! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

paint it turquoise! paint it turquoise!

It wouldn't be fair to Martha to blame her for my recent spray painting spree, but I do just love this cover and since it has turquoise in it it seemed a fitting photo to kick off this post!

My husband recently bought me two cans of turquoise spray paint.  So far I have painted two lamps, two dinner plates, a glass bottle and lid, a few clothespins, a disposable diaper box with the flaps cut out (they make great storage bins, they even have handles!) and the lid to a kitchen canister.  :)

I had forgotten how relaxing it is to watch something transform with paint.

How refreshing it is to create something that will stay that way... unlike the good dinner or carefully made bed or folded laundry or clean dishes, all stacked in place.

Those things all have their own unique sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, but there is an added satisfaction, for me, in knowing that unlike many of my tasks which are done over and over and over, this will stay and look good (hopefully) and not revert to it's previous state.

 Although sometimes an undo button might not be such a bad thing, like when I accidentally did not cover quite enough of the sidewalk while painting the second lamp.  A friend suggested I spray paint it grey over the turquoise, but my husband objected that it might look as if I had covered up graffiti on our sidewalk.  I refrained from saying that technically he would be within reason to consider my spraying the sidewalk turquoise as graffiti, but I think he has enough reason to roll his eyes at my liberal use of spray paint without that, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway. Without further ado, here is one of my projects that I'm particularly pleased with.  I purchased a set of two of these lamps at a garage sale for $3 quite a while ago, and we've been using one as our office lamp.  I didn't like it, though, and I had originally planned on spray painting it all white... but then I had the turquoise... and I thought it would be really cheery and fun with it.

I have a quick tip for you if you're spray painting a lamp... if you have a dead light bulb (the one in our office lamp was dead - thank you procrastination!), then put it in/leave it in before painting.  It will save you the trouble of masking the round hole there to keep from gunking up the light bulb socket! I saved the turquoise bulb from the first lamp and used it on the second.

I love it.  :)  It makes me smile to see it, especially since I switched out the (rather staid) shade that had been on it with this funky one.  It seems to fit with the turquoise better.

Have you revamped anything lately?  :)  Do you think one can ever have too much turquoise?  And do you know of anything that needs sprayed turquoise?

'Cause I'm looking around my house persuading myself that everything I see does not need to be turquoise... or does it...

Also, if you haven't seen House of Turquoise... :)