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Today

Everything goes wrong the day before vacation, right? So far today:

  • Realized I don’t have everything I need to make some things I MUST freeze this morning, so I need to go to the store again.
  • The car battery died 40 minutes before my son’s doctor’s appointment (with a new doctor, who I really wanted to see before vacation).
  • The computer charger stopped working, so our only personal computer is out of commission.
  • The meat for the stew I want to make is still frozen (ironic, considering I need to half cook it and get it frozen solid again before we leave).
  • There was a shooting across the street from my son’s school (where he’s in a morning “hang out” camp) and he was on “lock down” for two hours.

Due to that last one it’s now mid-afternoon and I am super behind! (The kids in the school are okay. There was an incident in a house across the street from the school so the building went into lock down. I was following the details in order to gauge when the authorities might let us have our children, but once I found out they were evacuating I stopped caring about the story. I grabbed my child and got out of there! I’m sure Mr. Handsome will keep me posted on any details of the event, should they be released.)

But, I think, maybe, I need to slow down a bit. I’m trying to be super prepared for this vacation so everyone is happy and nothing goes wrong… but I have to remind myself that things will probably go wrong, and there will probably be times of “emergency” like if we don’t have buns for hot dogs or something. I have to remind myself along the way that these are not true emergencies.

If I don’t finish making these last couple things, there will always be food along the way. It may not be perfect food, but it will not be the end of the world. I’m going to try to scale back these last few hours of prep time and remember why we do these family vacations in the first place: to be with our family and have fun.

 

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Disclaimers

Yesterday’s post laid down a whole lotta my opinions on some fairly heavy stuff: diet changes, health issues, parenting. I thought today would be a good day to step back and issue a few disclaimers. This will probably be a good reference page for me to link to when my posts get all opinionated about things (which I suppose is the very nature of a blog, right?). Anyway, here are some things to know:

  1. Everybody is different. If you’ve read my pregnancy posts on this blog you’ll know that I love to say that what works for me or my family may not work for you. The choices we make as individuals and as a family are the choices we feel are right for US. You made need something else. Hell, I know I need different things than my husband or my kids sometimes. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution to anything. Except for maybe drinking water… staying hydrated is good for everyone, right? If you think something that we’re doing isn’t right for you, don’t do it. I’m not here to say, this is what I think everyone should be doing and if you’re doing something else you’re wrong. On the contrary! I’m here to say, this is what I’m doing right now in an attempt to make my life and the lives of my family members better. If I feel like something is good for everyone, I’ll point it out, but if you pay attention I think you’ll see that’s pretty rare. I try to keep my mind open!
  2. What we know now is not what we knew then. With just about every new thing I learn I think, oh my damn, what have I been doing to my family all this time? All the time we didn’t know about GMOs, all the time we ate “convenience” foods, all the time we didn’t have family meals together or all the money we’ve wasted or all the needless products we bought. Sometimes I really want to beat myself up and punish myself for all these wrongs. But you know what? They weren’t wrongs. They weren’t wrong because they were the best things we knew how to do at the time. We didn’t know there was a better until we opened our minds to it. We can’t regret the things that we had no power over. Sure, you could say, well how come you didn’t become “aware” sooner or of course you should have known those frozen chicken nuggets were bad. Hindsight is 20/20, is it not? Mistakes are not recognized as such until they happen. Who says, oh I’m going to go make a giant mistake right now? No one, and especially not one who is genuinely just trying to get a child to eat something. We cannot change the past. All we can do is try to be better.
  3. Sharing information or even encouraging improvement is not judgement of others. I follow some breastfeeding and natural parenting pages on Facebook and it seems like every time an article comes out about the benefits of breastfeeding or the dangers of caesarian or tongue tie or whatever, there are always people who are commenting and basically saying, “Why are you trying to make me feel bad about what I did?” And they’re missing the point. The point isn’t to say, look how bad you screwed up, you should have done it this way! The point is, NOW we know better, so let’s educate people so we can do better next time. It sucks to find out after the fact, hell yes! Is it better to learn that there is a better way or is it better not to learn and therefore potentially make the same mistakes again? I think the former is better. I think it is better to learn. Learning is what I want to do now, and through this blog I will document it. And come up with words other than “better.”

Finally, I leave you with this image that one of my Facebook friends posted. It doesn’t have too much to do with the above, but I really liked it.

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PS – Today I updated the About page, the site header, and my list of blogroll links which now shows the blogs I actually try to keep up with and have provided me with inspiration. They’re like a backup of the bookmarks on my phone now!

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go, amiright? Baby2 is almost two years old and I haven’t written a proper blog post in nearly a year. I’ve had a couple draft posts going that I picked at from time to time, but I just haven’t felt as motivated to write as I did when I was pregnant.

This quest to find motivation has been on my mind a lot lately. In pregnancy I was so motivated to write, despite being tired, swollen, all my free time taken meeting my exercise goals, etc. Maybe pregnancy just provides such good fodder for my writing muscle… but it isn’t like life right now is boring! Maybe pregnancy provides the focused subject that I lack now. Maybe there’s just SO MUCH that I could write about now that I can’t focus.

Other than being a good writing subject, I’ve also thought about pregnancy as being like a goal, with giving birth being the ultimate culmination of all the hard work of growing a baby. It has all these sub-goals and milestones that are really great for making me feel like I’m progressing toward something.

Goals are good; everybody says so. I’ve never used them much in my personal life, though, other than the big goals like finish school, find a job, find a partner, buy a house, etc. Were those really goals or just things I wanted? Or things I thought I needed to do? They’re “life checklist” things – they aren’t focused goals (to me).

Lists are really by bag – they’re how I typically stay focused and organized. But as I examine that approach now, it suddenly hits me as reactive. I want to get shit done, but I want more than that. When I look back at the end of the day, or the decade, I want to be able to say that I did something more than keep the kitchen clean and the family fed. Not that those aren’t important things! Or that I’ll stop doing them, which can’t really happen! Lists are important, but I’ve leaned on them too heavily and completely forgotten about goals!

Lately this bug has caught me. I have a need to always have a project going on, but this is more than that. I want a project with lots of little sub-projects, that takes a long time to complete, that not only gives me a sense of accomplishment but provides something for my family and maybe even my community as well.

There are a few things I’m working on right now, but I think they make really nice sub-projects that could contribute to a bigger goal. First, I’m driving big diet changes for the family: reducing processed foods, reading/researching ingredients, making more from scratch. This leads directly into my second “thing:” growing food. We’ve kept a garden for the last couple years, but we finally have space for a lot more so I’m working on growing my skills there. Third, and directly related to the other two, is that I’m trying to make stuff whenever possible. Not like, craft with macaroni and shit (not to bash if that’s what you’re into) but “make stuff” like making my toothpaste and bread.

Those three projects have a lot in common I think. The third is the closest to my overall goal, which I just kinda figured out now* is – I want my household to produce more than we consume. More “stuff” needs to go out than come in. I’m not talking about creating an Etsy shop or simply spending less than we earn – I’m talking about using what we have, selectively buying what we need, re-evaluating what we actually need. Re-evaluating what we actually need – that is a big one too.

I want to use this blog to document my latest creation. I want to post more again – maybe not as much as I posted during pregnancy, maybe more, I don’t know! Clearly I haven’t worked out the logistics yet. I was just now able to articulate my goal! I hadn’t been able to really do that until I started typing. This blogging thing is good for the goals I think. Anyway, I’ll save the logistics for the next post.

For now, I have a goal so I’m going to toast to that!

*Although to be fair, I did start this post a couple days ago 🙂

 

Hello!

Hello blog! I have missed you! Where did the time go? All of a sudden it has been 8 whole months since I’ve posted. But I’ve been thinking about you often. Things have gotten in the way – mostly the loss of my precious iMac last fall has kept me from writing (I dislike posting from my phone). Chasing a toddler and 11-year-old around hasn’t helped much either!

I’m resolving to post more – for real. I have all kinds of thoughts in my head that I need to get down here. I’m working on a post that I’m really excited for, about how I’ve evolved in my parenting ways so much since little miss Baby2 came along. Sleep rules – what the fuck are those?

I will post more soon, I promise. But wouldn’t you know – someone is calling for boobies at the moment!

11 Months

 photo null_zps749c6dbd.jpg Sweet Baby2 is nearly one year old, I can’t even believe it! She is doing so much lately, too. A couple days before the big 11-month mark she started clapping, which is just adorable! She claps when people around her clap, when we say “Yay!” and even when she hears a round of applause. Most of the time she will drop whatever her little hands are around so she can give a proper clap. She smiles so big every time.

Baby2 and Kiddo1 are really into playing together now. Kiddo1 has even left the computer screen a few times to join her in a particularly amusing activity (whatever it might be at the time).

She’s even faster with her crawling now that she was last month. Sometimes I swear someone comes by, picks her up and puts her in another place while my back is turned because she can get from place to place so fast! At 11 months, she has just barely started walking around the furniture, she moves a bit cautiously. But she’s certainly getting the hang of it! 

She’s always loved when I hold her and we dance together, but now she’s working on a few of her own dance moves. She’ll stand and hold on to something and twist around or do these little dance-y squats. It’s kind of like jumping but her feet don’t move. I swear sometimes she even moves to the beat! Sometimes she “head bangs” too – or at least it looks like it, she nods her head with such excitement!

 photo null_zps5c368974.jpg She loves to go to the swings at the park. We put her in the swing and she giggles so much! It’s so fun, and the weather is just so perfect for afternoon swining at the park.

Baby2 is still not a big eater, but she is getting more real food in her. A little more every week! She takes in the most food when it is pureed for her and we spoon feed her, but she loves holding a strawberry and gnawing on it for awhile. Now that it is warm I think she’s especially loving to hold a cool object and chew on it – strawberries, carrots, an unopened package of string cheese. You know, whatever catches her fancy.

Speaking of chewing, we officially have a tooth! Officially the tooth sprouted after the 11-month mark but I’m too excited not to include it in this month’s wrap-up. A picture will come next month, though, since the little tooth has just barely broken through her gums at this point and she won’t open her mouth for a picture (let alone just let me look at it). I have to run my fingers across her gums to find it. So… if it is so difficult to get to the tooth, how did I discover it, you ask? Well, she bit me. While I was feeding her (so it wasn’t my finger that she bit!). I yelped in pain, she was surprised I yelled, she cried a little, she went back to nursing and she hasn’t bitten me since. Thank goodness! It didn’t hurt too bad because the tooth is really just a few sharp bumps on her gum at this point, but still, sharp little bumps. And I was surprised to feel something sharp during an otherwise not-so-sharp activity!

I am excited and sad that we are quickly approaching her first birthday. Watching a child grow is the best thing ever, THE BEST! But as each milestone passes, the pride and joy I feel is accompanied by mourning. The milestone we celebrate will never be reached by that particular child ever again. We’ll never go back to a her newborn body melting into my chest as she sleeps. We’ll never go back to the first time she rolled over (LINK!) or the first time she clapped in amusement. At the same time, the passing of one milestone or the closing of one phase opens the door to another. And those new things are what make life with children just so exciting. We can predict so many things about our babies, but we just never know exactly what they’ll do unless we let them get there.

10 Months

Baby2 is really active now. She wants to move all the time! She will make her way over anything that gets in her way:

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She is determined to get to her destination! She won’t even let the frilly dresses we put her in get in the way. Sometimes she crawls more on her toes to get around the extra fabric. She is a quick crawler, too. She loves scooting right over to her brother or trying to get in his room. Everything about him is just so interesting.

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She pulls herself up to standing on anything and everything that she can. She’s especially good at it when she’s in her crib and doesn’t want to take a nap!

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Her naps are going okay I think. She’s been in more of a somewhat predictable rhythm this month. Still one good early morning nap and maybe a mid-day one as well. Her naps took a turn for the worst when she had her first cold, though.

Her cold lasted for 8 days and it was probably worse on Mr. Handsome and I than it was on Baby2, at least when you consider the emotional state her cold put us in! She just had a runny nose and small cough, but it was so sad to see her cough! Sad and cute all at once. She hated having her nose wiped, but luckily it never got really red or chapped.

The problem with her naps was that she couldn’t breathe very well through her nose, so she couldn’t use her pacifier when she went down for a nap. She had a hard time settling herself down to sleep without something to help her sick self feel better.

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Otherwise she was such a good baby for being sick. In this picture with the yellow pajamas she was a couple days into the nose/cough cold but just as happy as can be. We are so very lucky.

Nighttime sleep is a little better, although we still get the longest periods of sleep if she’s next to me. I certainly feel more rested lately and less like the “zombie” that I felt like last month. I’m not sure if last month her sleep was really interrupted by teething or something else, but this month it is better. She’ll wake up one or twice during the night but she always just eats a bit and goes back to sleep. Not too bad.

She is getting more practice at eating “real food,” but she isn’t into it yet at all. She seems to like having a chunk of food and nawing on it, but she really just gums a piece so she doesn’t get much actual solid food in her. Purees go okay when we try, but she usually needs lots of encouragement in order for her to consume much. Lately I’ve been clapping for her after each bite and that seems to be enough motivation to take the next one.

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Next post I’ll talk about a trip Baby2 and I took together recently plus I just might finally post about the 9-month breastfeeding milestone!

Having a Small Child

Baby2 is a Small Baby. I don’t mean a young baby, I mean she’s physically little. We haven’t had her nine-month doctor’s appointment for the official weigh-in (due to the crazy admin staff at the office) but I imagine she’s about 14 pounds, which puts her in the lowest percentile for weight and about the 15th percentile for height. Like I said, she’s little (and as you can likely guess, I hate percentiles. I hate having my perfectly healthy baby compared to other babies. But I digress).

Our pediatrician is not worried, as Baby2 meets all her development milestones, has a regular output of wet and dirty diapers, etc. Plus, Dr. P also had a son of her very own with the exact same growth chart as our dear Baby2. That experience of hers is probably helping us a ton, because Dr. P is super supportive at every visit when I voice even the smallest concern about her size.

We had an awful pediatrician with Kiddo1 (and we were too naive to think we had the option of finding someone else). Kiddo1 was also a Small Baby and our ped made us feel like the scum of the Earth because of it. I stopped going to well-baby visits after awhile and made Mr. Handsome take the lashings (in my defense, I did have to work!).

So we’ve been here before, in Small Baby Land, with Kiddo1. And man, people made us feel SO BAD about having a Small Baby. Mr. Handsome’s parents actually asked us if we fed him. Can you imagine? And Mr. Handsome was a Small Baby too! Size IS fairly genetic. We are not big people. Yet, our own parents questioned our practices.

Now with Baby2 I feel a bit better about her size because I know it’s genetic, I know she’s healthy, etc. I worry less than I did with Kiddo1: I attend all the appointments, I don’t lose sleep with worry (I lose sleep for other reasons, though, of course!).

Yet no matter how fine I feel in my own mind, there’s still a gaggle of people who just seem to LOVE to tell us how small our baby is.

It’s like someone pointing out a zit on the tip of my nose. Well hello, Captain Obvious. I had NO idea she was small! Yes, I see how your two-month-old is bigger, how wonderful for you. Could you maybe stop to think for a second how I may be feeling about having a Small Baby? Could you think that maybe there’s a reason she’s small? That maybe it is painful for me to even think about, let alone have it pointed out time and time again?! (The reason is genetics, and that is not painful, but what if she had a disease? Or was a premie?)

We were at a friends’ house a couple weeks ago and they must have said half a dozen times in a five minute period that she’s “just SO SMALL!” They are bigger people, they had big babies. Fine. But why must the obvious size of our baby always be pointed out? Whether it’s family, friends, or totally strangers, people love to state the obvious, and it is driving me crazy.

I no longer worry about her, instead I worry about other people. What will they say? What will I say back? I just avoid strangers most of the time, especially old ladies. They are THE WORST, mostly to Mr. Handsome (I think they secretly love tearing the confidence away from excellent fathers).

She’s little, but she’s little AND PERFECT. And I need to remember that I shouldn’t have to defend her, or anything about our family (including our genetics!), to anyone.

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Her shirt says, “Little and Perfect.” I think so too!