Browsing the archives for the parenting category.

Emergence in the life cycle of our foods, even with small children

We strive to buy grass fed, free range meats, some of you already know this and also strive for the same thing. We’ve been on the bandwaggon for about four years now, we started by committing to a beef, pork and chicken CSA – it was great. All humanely raised, naturally fed and local.

Since our CSA meat provider discontinued service we have been forced to discover the availability of other meat providers. Remarkably they are often quite affordable too! Admittedly, good, humane meat is a bit harder to find than simply visiting your local grocery store but it really isn’t impossible and is certainly worth the effort in our opinion. (more…)

Over 300 lbs of produce, first steps and sleeping at night…

As thanksgiving approaches much reflection and taking stock of things has been happening. The time has flown by with all the gardening, child rearing and the explosion of my client base. There hasn’t been much time for solitary thinking or blogging, until now.

We hauled in over 300lbs of garden fresh produce and about 8 dozen eggs since August for our own enjoyment and sustenance. That doesn’t even count the 3 large boxes and 1 wagon full of green & ripening tomatoes in the garage right now. Prior to August we weren’t keeping record of our harvests but there were pounds and pounds of berries among other things. It’s crazy to see just how much food you can eek out of a garden. (more…)

Two sisters are now sharing a room

October 24th 2012, I wrote this:

One gloomy fall day, on a mom’s whim, two sister were laid down to nap.
They giggled and romped instead, didnt even bonk their heads!
Sleep they did not but mom got a break even if they were in the other room, still awake.
After rejected naptime they did sleep. At bedtime, right away they fell fast asleep!
Since then they’ve been sharing a room. It’s good but sad because it means soon,
two big girls will be independent and strong, less and less they’ll be needing their mom.

All week 13 month old Adalyn has been sleeping in the room with 3 yr old Everly. We aren’t sleeping through the night yet, Adalyn still wakes about once a night to nurse… but the waking happens far less than it used to when she was still sleeping in our bed.

Amazingly, Adalyn’s waking and crying in the middle of the night doesn’t wake Everly, and for the most part, Everly’s shenanigans (when not carried out in Adalyn’s bed) don’t seem to keep Adalyn awake.

This whole month we’ve been  trying to inch closer and closer to more nighttime independence, we aren’t trying to force it- just encourage it. This may be going far better than we imagined.

What worked for you in terms of bring about nighttime independence?

My compost pile has been moved to my kitchen floor because of my baby…


It is true…

Most times thoughout the day I’ve got a smattering of food under Adalyn’s chair. Thankfully I had the forethought to lay a kitchen towel under her seat… and I can just shake it off out in the yard for the chickens so it’s all good…

… but this messy baby eating stage isn’t doing wonders for my housekeeping morale. Help!

To Adalyn on your first birthday

A year ago today our lives changed, we became a family of four in the wee hours of the morning and many witnessed this live here on the blog.

We weren’t sure the day would ever come. From perceived improper positioning to going beyond the arbitrarily determined due date, we were all on pins and needles about how and when you’d arrive. Happily all went well with your arrival out at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee.

I’ll admit, the fact that your birth was so public really has been my excuse for not writing out a birth story. I mean, it can be seen live so it kind of makes writing the story seem silly, one day I’ll do it for you though…

This past year has really blown by! Getting to know you has sure been full of surprises. You are a spunky one we think. :) You act strong willed and pretty set on how you think things will playout, your reactions when things don’t go as expected is the evidence.

Also, you are a pro at expressing emotions (which has made for some great pictures). Laughing, crying, smiling, shouting and clapping are your favorite expressions… even pouting surfaced as early as 6 months old. It’s sort of cute and silly to see you lay your entire head down on the floor in front of you while in a sitting position to pout about something. You’ll be a great actress one day if you choose that path for yourself.

Adalyn, you are playful and strong but also vulnerable and sometimes needy. Writing that makes me think (and I know you’ll hate this cause I hate being put in that box by my own mother but…) you are like me in many ways.

At one year old you have 4 teeth and have mastered the one-legged scoot across the house using your right foot, both hands and left butt cheek. We aren’t sure you will ever crawl “properly” but we aren’t all that “proper” here, so who cares? Did I mention the strong willed part??? Because even in birth you wanted things your way, LOL. You crowned with your head (obviously) and fist/ arm poking out. You basically grabbed Pamela’s, our midwife’s, hand at crowning.

You love to play with your big sister, even in the newborn days there was a strong sisterly bond. Everly can sing you twinkle-twinkle-little-star whenever you are upset and you immediately stop crying, every time.

As for mommy and daddy, your favorite calming activities are breastfeeding, massages (head, neck, hands and feet). When bored you love to have the music put on so we can all rock out. Sometimes I hold you and we dance around in circles, other times you sit on your bottom and scoot yourself in quick circles. You love to spin!

You love your daddy and his bouncing or “flying” of you. You love to shout “dada!” or “dada, nana!”  when you hear his voice (even when you should be sleeping). It’s almost like you are instructing him to get you or feed you.

You still don’t say mama when you need something from me, your stand by is just to resort to the generic cry. For teething or tummy pain, the ole standby right now is breastfeeding and co-sleeping which is interesting because, for as independent and strong as you are in some areas you’d think that would surface in other areas, but it doesn’t right now. Daddy explains it as “having a tough exterior but a soft sensitive inner side”.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the NIGHT before your 1st birthday you actually slept through the night! It’s the first time since those sleepy newborn days that you’ve slept all night. What a wonderful thing for mommy and daddy. *tear* our Addie is growing up :(

Seriously, you are this unpredictable little mystery. Each day we pick up on more and more of who you are. The routines are getting clearer and we are all gradually figuring each other out. It’s been a crazy year and you’ve grown so much… Though your eyes are the same, they are deep and wise and familiar.

I am excited to witness all the changes and growth that you’ll undergo in the next year as you become a toddler. Happy birthday my sweet Adalyn!  You are the missing puzzle piece to our family and we love you very much.

My sneaky attempt at encouraging nighttime independence…

Bob Marley tunes can be heard all throughout the house…

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Bob Marley is the soundtrack for bedtime for Everly and has also begun with Adalyn, except they are sleeping on opposite ends of the house… Still. You see, just today I just moved Adalyn’s bed about 10 feet from my bed. Before she was sleeping about a foot from my bed and some nights she’d even sleep in my bed when she was waking every hour or so.

She’s still not sleeping though the night, she’s waking about twice a night (once before I fall asleep and once in the week hours of the morning while I am asleep) on her good nights.

No, this isn’t a blog post about wanting to “get” my baby to sleep all night.

I know there are good (and normal) reasons for baby to NOT sleep all night long. However, this night-waking-knowledge doesn’t make me happy about the nighttime wakings… it does keep me from trying to artificially alter or supress her own individual nighttime needs. This is how we’ve made it 11 months with sometimes hourly night wakings.

I moved her bed so that we can ease in to some night independence, she is almost a year old now. However, she’s had a slower start to things since the gut health issues tied us up so much in her newborn months. Her rolling, sitting and crawling as well as her physical growth (like teeth, weight gain and height) have also been slow coming.

Things are picking up now that we have found the right path but I know that this lost time (spent crying 24/7 and not leaving my arms, ever) from the newborn days impacts all we are experiencing today.

The last year has been a long road but things are now settling in place, I think. Of course, once we get this all straightened out something else will throw us for a loop, like 3 yr old craziness.

 

Easy 5 Min Cloth Diaper Elastic Repair Trick

I’ve been on a mission to repair all my cloth diapers. You see, they are 3 years old now, they’ve been washed a TON since Everly was a baby and now Adalyn is using them and for the most part they are working great… The laundry tabs are a bit haggared but still work and they are just a bit stretched out but aren’t an issue for short periods of time.

The main issue is I’d like Adalyn to be able to wear them without leaking overnight but the leg elastic is so loose that abundant wetness isn’t being kept in the diaper any longer. So I got my cloth diaper repair kits from the diaper manufacturer and have been meaning to gradually repair them but I’ve been super intimidated about how to thread the new elastic through the already-sewn-closed holes. The last thing I have time for is disassembling and reassembling 24 diapers. So I’ve been brainstorming…

Yesterday I finally figured out how to make this repair easily, after trying a few other bloggers trick for the repair. Here is how I did it:

Firing the machine back up and CHIGGERS. Gah!

We just returned from a much needed family vacation (aka. break from the homestead hooligans & technology). We went to Slade, Kentucky for some outdoorsy, mountain fun. Nathan planned the whole thing complete with a cozy cabin rental, a sky ride and hike to a natural bridge, some swimming and lazy area exploration took place.

We stopped many times on the way to and from destinations for preschool potty breaks and baby nursing/ changing needs. We also needed to stretch our legs and run some steam off at times so we would pull over, lay out our picnic blanket in a public area, eat and relax before continuing our road trip.

After the first night in the cabin we both awoke to itching and reached for the bite cream. By the second night it was apparent we had chiggers. You see all the bites in normally covered areas like my poor butt cheeks and bikini area were the telltale sign.

After much scratching, hot tub dunking, googling chiggers and itch cream applying we loaded in the car set & out to buy some chigger cream and some wine… The problem we soon encountered was were were in a dry county in kentucky. This means NO ALCOHOL SALE, period. This is another head shaker for us west coast natives out here in the midwest. Sweat tea, dry counties, bible thumping, midwife hating and the list just goes on and on…

Anyway, once we finally got our $9 bottle of Beringer Zinfandel I shared on Facebook that we were…

“hoping an overpriced, cheap bottle of wine from a few counties away will take the edge off the chigger bitten private parts up in here.”

Everyone clearly thought we’d been naked in the forest or something. LOL. What is worse is the rampant misinformation about chiggers that the internet and the local people imparted on us.

“Where did you go to get chiggers?” or “Just put clear nail polish on the bites” or “Pour bleach or gasoline on them”

We learned that chiggers don’t stay in your skin so the nail polish, bleach or gasoline to suffocate them isn’t necessary and the “track marks” people say you’ll have (as a result of their travels under your skin) aren’t reality.

By the time you are already itching them they’ve likely gone. Turns out as soon as they are brushed or scratched they fall off but their saliva and digestive enzymes that were injected in your skin formed a stylostome in your skin that continues to irritate and cause itching. Also, the digestive enzymes and saliva cause itching and will even ooze from the bite spot or blister as the bite heals. This isn’t a chigger bite lesson though, so for more interesting chigger reading material you can read “How Chiggers Work” by Wilson, Tracy V.

So back to the point I was trying to make, the kids didn’t get any chigger (or any other bug bites). Strange huh? So I am thinking it wasn’t our outdoor picnics and hiking that got us feasted on… but that it was the bed Nathan and I shared at the cabin instead. None of the kids shared our bed so this could explain why Nathan and I are suffering but that girls are not.

For treatment we are really upping our consumption of  pascalite clay to help bind and remove the histamines from our bodies. Also, for me, soaking in epsom salts in a HOT bath while vigorously scrubbing the bites with a nail brush seems to end itching and draw the toxins out nicely. It gives me long lasting relief (longer than the bite creams) and it appears to be drying the bites up nicely too.

Now that we are home and away from chiggers all the clothes and pillowcases are being freed of possible chiggers and we are firing the homestead citchn back up.

After a few days away I’ve got no fermented beverages going, no bone broth simmering, no bread baked and the crap food of vacationing has sure left us feeling less than our best digestively speaking.

To catch up, today I have gluten free bread rising, I am making a sourdough starter, I have water kefir brewing, beans are soaking and bone broth is simmering. It feels like I am slowly firing back up the homesteading machine known as “the living kitchen” and I am curious to see and learn about your kitchens. If I could only take a peek and see how you do things, where your fermented stuff sits, where are your SCOBY’s stored, how you prepare beans or bread or bone broth.

What are you fermenting or making today? Care to post a picture of your fermenting or in progress food items today? Here are mine: 

Parenting Dellirium: Laughing at yourself is best in these situations.

This week has been one of unexpected brain fogginess. I really have nothing specific to blame it on. Maybe a lack of Omegas in the diet or something similar? Stress or sleep related? Who knows!

Anyway, it all started with arriving at playdate this week with Adalyn only partly dressed. The thing was I actually had a semi-full nights sleep this time, so there was no excuse. At playdate,  when I lifted her skirt to change her diaper I discovered the still-fastened-inside-the-dress-bloomers hanging from the inside sides of her dress. I discovered this In front of all the other playdate moms, we all had a nice laugh about it.

I have no idea how I managed to get the dress over her head, get her arms in the arm holes and diaper her without noticing the still attached bloomers inside the new dress. At least I managed to remove the price tag from the dress I guess, but still…

Then later in the week another mom and I are searching high and low for a kombucha SCOBY that I’d brought and left for her at the playdate house… we can’t find it anywhere! Eventually we go home and decide it’s gone for good.

Now, normally in my sleep I am known to work magic, like choreographing dance moves or thinking up solutions or finding lost items. At 4 am on Saturday morning it hits me- the SCOBY I brought for Jaqueline on Tuesday that is was determined missing on Friday is actually…

… still in the arm rest console of my HOT car!

“Omg! It is still in the car? How hasn’t it exploded through the sealed glass jar yet? Is it dead?” I think to myself in a groggy semi-sleeping state.

This is a big deal because a kombucha SCOBY is a living organism of bacteria and it makes a carbonated, sweet yet tart beverage out of the sweat tea it is stored in. Kombucha can and does explode for many people when left sealed and forgotten. Just because you’ve forgotten about it doesn’t mean it stops growing.

Turns out I’d tucked it away Tuesday on the way to playgroup so it wouldn’t spill in transport and then totally forgot about it, for 3 days.

Upon retrieving it Saturday it amazingly still looks great and shows no signs of “going south”. Makes sense since kombucha ferments at room temperature anyway. But it’s been 100 degrees each day, the car must have gotten way warmer. I am amazed but figure the heat probably killed it. This bay call for a little kombucha experiment in the future.

Anyway, the point of this post: I am a bumbling idiot parent this week. *waves*

I’d like to blame it on a long week of disrupted schedules and wacky sleep but truthfully  OR I must be losing my mind.

Luckily I can always laugh at myself and all the silliness. Everyone needs a good laugh now and then, right?

On Breastfeeding: Snorts, Hickeys and Nipple Hats

As a new mom, I’m becoming familiar with an endless list of tasks, habits, developmental milestones and adorable facial expressions. I’m also getting to know my breasts in a completely new way.

I always planned to breastfeed. I was breastfed, and the health, financial and environmental benefits so greatly outweighed the formula route that I never considered not breastfeeding. Despite the surprisingly high number of women I knew who “couldn’t” breastfeed, I never second guessed my decision to try. And once I make a decision, I’m pretty determined to see it through.

Of course, I also like to get the full range of information before embarking on a new adventure, especially if it involves my body. So my husband and I signed up for the breastfeeding class. I took as many notes as I could on technique, troubleshooting and potential problems. My husband asked more questions than anyone else there, and we left with all the confidence of parenting experts who have never actually been parents.

When our daughter was born several weeks later, I made a point of putting her on my breast as quickly as possible. That little girl knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it, and I was thrilled that we seemed to already have feeding nailed.

Then, when the adrenaline wore off and I began focusing on the details of feeding my baby, I realized that my nipples were red, black and blue, one of them sporting a rather large hickey. And they hurt! This was not ideal.

In the meantime, my daughter became more aggressive. Between her little snorts and powerful suckling, it was declared that she had a “shallow latch,” meaning that she wasn’t taking enough of my breast into her mouth. The result was a nipple that had been repeatedly pressed between a strong tongue and a hard palate, thus the inflammation, bruising and hickey.

I worked with two lactation consultants and came away with improved technique, and more importantly, nipple shields. I like to call them nipple hats, because that’s what they look like. They’re soft, BPA-free plastic shields that suction to the breast over the nipple. They allowed me to keep feeding my baby without letting her cause further damage. They also taught her to open her mouth further, thereby taking more into her mouth. After a few weeks, we stopped using them altogether. Three months in, breastfeeding is pretty much second nature.

A shallow latch is a common problem, and certainly not the only one. According to Womenshealth.gov, other typical challenges include too much or too little milk, engorgement, plugged ducts, infections, and flat or inverted nipples. In most cases, working with a professional, natural methods and continued feeding are the best ways to resolve these issues.

I realize now why so many women seem to think they can’t breastfeed. In all honesty, I had the same fear early on, and was only saved by the wealth of resources available to me. Had we not taken the class, I might not have known so much help was ready and waiting.

For now, the nipple hats are still around should we ever need them (teething time?) and I’m blissfully hickey free. The snorts, of course, we’ll be keeping for a while.

 

Author Bio:
Katherine E. Reilly Mitchell is a freelance writer for the site Assistanceforsinglemothers.com, a website that provides resources, tips, and strategies to help women in business grow their companies. She also maintains a personal blog at http://www.humantextuality.com/.