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keeping feet

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step out on the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you'll be swept off to.

Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2018 16:19:55 +0000


Stuckey Farm Adventure!

Fri, 11 Oct 2013 19:23:00 +0000

Fall.It's not my favorite season. I don't love fall. I love spring, with similar temperatures, and more mud- but Fall to me is Dying while Spring represents life. Fall is the foreboding of Winter, which I hate, while Spring is the Hope of Warmth after long Winter days.That said, this fall is redeeming itself. Mostly by still being in the high 70s while approaching the middle of the month. Also, this:Stuckey Farm near Sheridan, Indiana is having their annual festivals through October. We got a sneak peek, and explored the corn maze, picked apples, found a pumpkin, and Elliott Can't. Stop. Talking about riding on the tractors. ("Tractor pulling a trailer!", "Little tractor!", "Bumblee tractor!") It was a blast. Totally worth the trip to the country.We can always pick up a bag of apples at the grocery store, but to let my toddler grab the low-hanging fruit from one of the rows of trees heavy with apples? Makes a much better memory.[...]

A Letter to The Other Mom

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 14:18:00 +0000

Dear Mom Who Just Got Out Of Her Minivan at the Mall Park,

You see me here, sitting on a blanket with my 6 month old & 2 year old, sharing a healthy picnic of apples and carrots and raisins and peanuts and cheese, and you think I might be judging you, since your kids clamored out of the car with Happy Meals in hand to sit at the picnic table, boasting to us "It has a TOY!" as they walk by. I know I'm being self concious, thinking about what you think of me, hoping you don't think I'm parenting at you. Trust me, I'm not. Let give you a bigger picture.

What you don't know is, this isn't actually a leisurely picnic. This is me sitting with the kids for just-a-minute-until-dad-gets-here, when I'm handing off the toddler and running back to work. The food we're eating isn't because I feed everyone in our house whole organic foods and shun the drive thru, its because, for the minute I was home, these were the easiest, least-prep things I could find to throw in a container so the toddler wouldn't melt down from hunger. I threw together a lunch meat sandwich for the adults and sped out the door. Do you see any drinks? Nope, forgot those. To be honest, the blanket was an afterthought, to pretend like this outing was a fun picnic rather than Mom just heading back to work for a couple hours.

I overhear that it's your 5-year-old's birthday. I love that you & their dad let him pick his birthday dinner, and he and his brother seem pretty excited about it. The park is a great idea, too. In 2 years, I'll be where you're at, a houseful of big boys (and you have one more baby!), and I hope to being doing as great a job.


The Mom Also Having A "Picnic" With Her Boys at the Mall Park(image)

LONG Overdue Update

Fri, 30 Aug 2013 17:45:00 +0000

That baby I was going to have? He's six months old in just over a week. The birth was beautiful, really quick, and as good as I could have hoped for in a hospital. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. Ian Charles joined our family March 8, and we love him to pieces.LaboringDaddy caught! (because the midwife wasn't in the room)Proud mamabirth photos by sk momentsIn the midst of Baby-Being-Born, our store urgently needed to be moved to a different location. So, that happened a couple months later, during the last week of my maternity leave. Just THIS WEEK we got a sign at our new storefront- hooray!NEW SIGN!Over the last few months, everyone's managed to settle into the New Normal. Elliott's a Big Brother, and exploding with imagination and stories. Knock on wood, he's also potty trained, save an accident once every 2-3 days. WAY fewer diapers to wash makes this mama happy! As a follow-up from the last post... yes, Elliott and Baby Brother are still sharing Mama's Milk. Elliott declares every morning "This is MY side; that's Ian's side!" and everyone piles on the couch at once, waking up lazily. It makes me a bit later for work, but I'll take the cuddles while I can- I know they're fleeting, as this toddler turns into a Big Boy so quickly.This is how we look most the time I'm home. Just keeping it by Schwebach PhotographyAs for Baby Ian, he's awesome. I didn't think it was possible to have an easier baby than Elliott, and we somehow got one. Also, it was a shock to us- he's a red head! He's not growing as quickly weight-wise as his brother did, but EVERYONE who sees him (strangers!) all make the same comment (after pointing out his red hair): "He's so TALL!"In the hospital5 months oldThis summer was JOYOUS. We kind of threw bedtimes out the window and had a blast going to parks, playing in the yard, going to the fair, going out to eat... basically I am loving the portable baby + somewhat-independent toddler phase when out & about. The store is keeping us busy, for sure, and I've been busy at work, but we've spent evenings together as a family loving life. Maybe I'll blog some of the adventures, but they'd be sorely outdated if I did. I miss writing, and I miss recording the joys of babyhood and toddlerhood. This poor undocumented second child. Hopefully he'll get more than just this one blog post in his first year![...]

A Confession

Sat, 09 Feb 2013 19:16:00 +0000


Cuddling with Mama's belly
He's adorable. He's TWO. He's fun and super-active and growing by the minute. This morning, he was singing some combination of Apples and Bananas, ABCs, and The Hokey Pokey in the backseat. He chats on and on about his friends, trains, cars, and whatever he just spotted out the car window.

He's a big kid- he plays with his friend who's a year older than him, and they look about the same size. He's in 3T shirts, and his 2T pants don't quite cover his diaper. His 32 lbs matches what some kids twice his age weigh.

Elliott is about to be a big brother. Sometime between any-day-now and 5 weeks from now, he's got a wake-up call coming he's probably not ready for. He's not going to be excited to share his Mommy.

You see, Elliott's still nursing.

Not every day, but most days. Sometimes only once a day, sometimes three times. Sometimes when he's very upset, or hasn't seen me all day, or just woken up, or is ready for bed. He's a great eater, so it's not for nutrition that he's nursing. He still needs the comfort, the closeness.

As I watch him trot off to Sunday School or the babysitter or to various family members' houses, I know I'm not stunting his growth or 'keeping him a baby'. He's as confident as any two-year-old, and has never dealt with separation anxiety or a fear of new people (except for Santa). I suspect our relationship is stronger thanks to extended nursing, and he trusts we'll always come back for him, so has no fear in new situations.

He's not ready to give up on nursing, though.

I hate apologizing for this. Our culture dictates that babies wean when they get teeth, or hit their first birthday, or 'can ask for it' (as if newborn cries and grunts aren't 'asking for it'). These are all culturally-constructed milestones supported by effective marketing of formula and baby foods, but not at all in line with actual biological, developmental or medical markers.

I'm thankful that I have friends who have nursed their toddlers longer than I have and who I can learn from, including friends who have been in the same situation of having a baby and a toddler sharing Mommy's Milk. I'm glad there's an online community that I can read about, too, to know that I'm not a weirdo. Even celebrities nurse their toddlers- and this goes a long way to normalizing it in the rest of the culture.(image)

48 questions.

Tue, 29 Jan 2013 20:16:00 +0000

Totally stealing these 48 Questions from my local blogging friends, and stealing the idea to have my toddler answer them from Casey... Here we go. In Elliott's words (if he was thins godo at putting sentences together.)1- WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?My first name, my parents just liked. Not after anyone. My middle name is after my great-grandfather's middle name. It's also the traditional name of one of the three wise men, and I was born around Christmas. It just seemed appropriate.2- WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?Probably when I bumped my head. I can take lots of tumbles, but bumping my head makes me cry.3- DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?I do. Especially when I get to write on things I'm not supposed to.4- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?Bologna. Ham. Roast Beef. I'm not picky.5- DO YOU HAVE KIDS?I have bears, and a couples horses, and a baby doll.6- IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?Yes. I like everyone, and everyone likes me, so it would have to work out.7- DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?Not YET.8- DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?All the pieces of me are still attached.9-  WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?Yes, I practice off the couch all the time.10- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?"O's" are my favorite, followed by Chex, though lately I've been on a Wheaties kick.11- DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?"Untie"? Velcro FTW.12- DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?Have you SEEN my throwing arm??13- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?I really like frozen yogurt.14- WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?What they're driving. And whether they're wearing a hat.15- RED OR PINK?Pink.16- WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?The fact I'm not tall enough to reach the fun stuff.17- WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?Grandma & Mimi. and CaroliJosh.18- WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?My jumping technique doesn't quite have both feet getting off the ground yet. I'm still practicing, though.19- WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?Black Sketchers20- WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?Yogurt.21- WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?MOO-SIC. Pandora Toddler Radio, specifically.22- IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?Blue.23- FAVORITE SMELL?"Clean diaper"24- HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?Haven't had a chance to vote yet, but I like my free check-ups when I get to go to the doctor. I get a sticker!25- MOUNTAIN HIDEWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?Beach. I like water and sand and not-falling-off-cliffs.26- FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?Football!27- HAIR COLOR?Light brown.28- EYE COLOR?Light blue.29- DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?Nope. I like to point out who does & doesn't wear glasses, though.30- FAVORITE FOOD?Peas. Sunflower seeds. Grapes. Eggs.31- SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?Daniel Tiger.32- LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?I think I sat through most of The Lorax?33- WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?Orange34- SUMMER OR WINTER?Summer. I like to go on wagon rides, play at the park, and see my chickens.35- FAVORITE DESSERT?"Bear Cookies"36- STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?Cardio. Have you SEEN me dance?37- COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?Computer. I totally don't get why I can't get the TV to do stuff when I swipe my finger on it.38- WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel.39- WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?No mousepad. See the finger-swiping above.40- FAVORITE SOUND?MOO-SIC. Mostly, my electric keyboard playing the demo songs.41- FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?Pandora Toddler Radio.42- WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?Denver, CO.43- DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?I can count to TEN. Also, recognize the letters R, K, O, S, M and L.44- WHERE WERE YOU BORN?In a tub in Indianapolis.45- WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?In a little farmhouse on an acre, north of Indianapolis.46- WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?Green! When I was born, it was not green. My dad re-sided it and he is awesome.47- WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?Which car? I always specify the color. I like riding in the Silver Car, but will settle on [...]

A Muffin Story

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 13:54:00 +0000

(image) (image)
Yesterday, Elliott was playing with one of his toy pianos, and it started playing "Do You Know the Muffin Man?"

I sang along, and he decided he wanted to eat a muffin.

I told him we didn't have any muffins, would he like to cook some?

He immediately went & pushed a chair over to the counter to help.

He helped pour and stir the dry ingredients, then lost interest.

I finished up, got the muffins in the oven, and started on dinner (pasta).

He wanted to help with that, too, but I told him he couldn't stir it because it was hot, so I offered apples leftover from making muffins instead.

When the muffins were done, he wasn't that interested, and I realized I had forgotten some of the seasonings in the midst of trying to keep the mess to a minimum. They weren't bad, though, considering.

Elliott's seen his favorite characters on TV help cook or make things, and now he wants to try, too. I think I'm going to like this toddler/preschooler age of discovery, trying-new-things, and impromptu science projects. I'm in my element. 

Also, it's obvious If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was written by a mom in this stage of life.(image)

33 weeks, round 2.

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:03:00 +0000

I just read this, written at the same point in my last pregnancy as where I am right now, over 2 years ago. Go ahead, I'll wait here while you catch up.

So what's different this time around? I'm still feeling great, have lots and lots of energy, ready to meet Baby- but not nearly as ready as last time, at least on the surface: the car seat isn't installed, the swing doesn't have batteries, and isn't even in the house yet, clothes are pulled out but not washed (Do I really need to wash them??), the pack & play where he'll be spending his firts many months isn't set up, I'm not sure where the bouncy seat is.

Or maybe we're MORE ready because we know more what to expect, and know that all of that isn't as urgent as I thought- we just need warm arms, some onesies, diapers, and a car seat. Check, check, check, and, well, like I said, not installed yet but at least we've got it. We're close.

Ready to tackle being parents of two? I'm a bit nervous about it. Elliott doesn't sleep through the night every night, and when he does wake up, he wants Only Mommy. Not sure how New Baby will deal with that. Also? I try to talk to Elliott about what's coming- sharing with Baby and loving on Baby and all that- but he has no idea what's about to hit. He knows his shapes and colors and the names of cars and animals and foods and a few letters- smart as a button, but this new Baby Brother's gonna throw him for a loop.

For comparison's sake: 33 weeks, Nov 2010, first pregnancy:


31 weeks, Jan 2013, second pregnancy:


Failing (or not?)

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:27:00 +0000

Some days, I think I'm failing. I had all these ideals-
No screens before 2!
No Happy Meals!
Books, everywhere, all the time!
Egalitarian toys! Dolls and kitchens and trucks and blocks for BOTH boys and girls!
Home-cooked meals all the time!

And then reality hits. I hear my not-yet-2 year old asking
Watch Elmo? Watch Abby?
Watch Dora?
Watch Dee Tiger? (Daniel Tiger, the new Mr Rogers, rebooted)
Daddy's phone? Mommy's phone? (so he can open the PBS app and watch more videos)

He eats entire fast food kids meals, then asks, "More fries?"

We have dolls for him, but they stay at the store for the most part & don't come home. He mostly wants to play with cars and balls, and almost can name more types of vehicles than I can.
Dump truck!
Mail truck!
Police car!
Fire truck!
Cement truck!

I'm not a total failure, though (and I do realize the things above aren't necessarily failures! Just reality.) He's talking well. He eats all sorts of foods beyond the typical toddler favorites. We *do* read to him, and he has his favorite books he requests at bedtime. The tantrums are few. He's happy, healthy, and active. He loves his Mommy, Daddy, Grammy, Poppy, Grandma, Pappaw, uncles and aunts. He sleeps all night in his own big-boy bed. He still slows down long enough to snuggle on occasion. He knows how to be nice to pets and babies.

That last one is especially important, since he'll have his very own baby brother here in 4 months, give or take a couple weeks. We get to do this 'toddler boy' thing all over again!(image)

Nursery Rhyme

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 18:15:00 +0000

"Sugar and spice and everything nice; that's what little girls are made of."

"_____ and snails and puppy dog tails; that's what little boys are made of."

  • Snips
  • Ships
  • Sticks
  • Snakes
  • Slugs
  • Frogs
The Internet disagrees on what the rhyme should be.
(What, the Internet disagrees on something??)
 I vote "snips", though I don't know what that means. 

Elliott votes "sticks".


Brain dump

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 16:19:00 +0000

Mostly, I've been at work, or sick, or taking care of someone in the house who has been sick, or helping run the store. Mostly I haven't been cleaning my house or putting away laundry. The days have been full and busy, but good. Except for the sick days- those haven't been so good.Did I mention we weathered a bout of chicken pox? This parenting badge isn't one that many in our generation will earn- most kids get the vaccine before they come in contact with the disease. I have NO IDEA where we caught it, but Elliott was a trooper, and we came out of it just fine. Bonus: no shots!The store's going pretty great. I love meeting all the other cloth diapering families in the area. It's FUN. We're learning how to keep things in stock before the shelves go bare, and are only having moderate success. Right now, we're pretty well stocked, and looking forward to adding new products that people have been asking for. I'm been doing my best to learn how to run a business' social media presence, and feel pretty good about how it's going, even though I'm not blogging as often as I probably should. Josh is doing the Actual Real Hard Work of running the business; I get to do the fun stuff.Last week, I took a couple days off my Real Job to staff a booth at a local kids' consignment sale for our business, to hand out cards and sell diapers. Mostly, I sold swim diapers and training pants, and handed out a LOT of cards. I saw lots of moms I know from church, college, high school, even. I saw a glimpse of the world I very rarely see- the daytime lives of other moms.Elliott has solidly crossed the line from Baby to Toddler. His words are still few: dada, dog, duck, woof woof, nose, "oosh" (for shoe), uh-oh, "wa-wa" (for water/food), hi, bye-bye. He says "ow" for hair, because I say "Ow" when he pulls my hair. He can point to his (or someone else's) nose, eye, ear, mouth, foot. He makes awesome Vroom noises when he plays with his toy car. He runs. He walks backwards. He's not a big climber yet, thank goodness. He isn't a terribly picky eater yet- he likes vegetables and beans and meat along with the normal toddler diet of cheese and Cheerios. He still loves to nurse, and is very adept at using the sign for nursing to let me know what he wants. He signs "all done" too, sort of.We're getting outside as much as we can. I am not complaining about the record warmth we've had- it's ridiculous, but wonderful. And, the big Toddler Milestone he reached last weekend- he got the keys to his first Cozy Coupe:We're off this weekend (after the store closes) to a mini-getaway with Josh's family. It will be fun to spend time with everyone. There's an indoor pool/water park at the inn we're staying at, and it's silly how excited I am about Elliott's new swim diaper in a camping print. This nice warm weather has got me excited for camping already!Until the next time I blog (with my awesome once-a-month average lately), check out this article on why being a mom of a boy matters. I had thought of this before- there's Mother/Daughter Teas, Daddy/Daughter Dances, Father/Son Camping trips, but what do Mommy and Son get to do? The bit of research into why a Mom matters in her son's life was some encouragement today![...]

On Figuring Out a Shoe

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:40:00 +0000

Nevermind that he has no socks on, he's determined to figure out how to get the shoe on.

It's pretty much the cutest thing ever when Elliott tries to say "shoe" and it comes out "oosh"(image)

2012 Family Projects

Mon, 23 Jan 2012 19:47:00 +0000

My immediate family has Big Plans for 2012! All these plans are in full swing, and that's kept my from blogging, since I've been busy. I can't wait any longer to tell you of all the excitement!

My sister and brother-in-law are leaving TOMORROW (on a jet plane, don't know when they'll be back again... No. Really.) for Hong Kong, and a bazillion other places- for the better part of the entire year! Here's their loose plan:

width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
 What are they doing? They quit their jobs last month, moved out of their downtown Chicago apartment, and they're spending the next 11 months traveling the world, seeing what they can, and experiencing it all firsthand. I can't wait to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and their blog.

 Wait, did I say follow along on Facebook? I did. I joined Facebook last month! More on that in a minute.

My dad is going on another type of journey- he's reading through a thought-provoking list of books and doing some serious soul searching. Also, he's blogging his journey (and he joined Facebook too!) I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I invited you over there to join in the discussion with him- he's one of the wisest people I know, so I'm enjoying his insights.

And, then as for us... we've been busy with a new project for 2012 and beyond, too. We bought a business! The local cloth diaper store, Toasty Baby, was put up for sale a few months ago, and after much deliberation, we decided to take the plunge and become business owners. Josh is running the day-to-day stuff and will be manning the store during daytime hours (starting tomorrow!) and I make cameo appearances to teach the Cloth Diaper 101 classes to parents considering cloth diapers.

I've been trying to create social media "buzz" around the business the best I can manage, and, in addition to the Twitter account and the blog, part of that effort includes updating the business' Facebook page. I hemmed and hawed and finally joined Facebook! Since I'm there, I decided to go all out. Feel free to friend me, and I'll probably friend you back, unless I totally don't know you and your profile picture looks creepy :)

With this business, we've had to learn so much, and are still learning. Keeping everything straight isn't easy, but we're trying! Getting thrown in to it all was (and is) a bit overwhelming, but definitely exciting. When we've gotten a chance to talk to customers about cloth diapering, it's all been worth it. That part is really fun!

Also, if you need any cloth diapers, or make any kid or parenting related product, or have an idea for a natural-parenting-related product we should stock or class we should host, send it my way. I need all the help & ideas I can get!(image)

A year ago...

Mon, 02 Jan 2012 12:17:00 +0000

A year ago, I wrote a post entitled "A week ago". It was Elliott's birth story. My birth story.

A year ago, a baby was born
- a baby who is no longer a baby.

A year ago, a mother was born, too.
    And a father.
        And a couple new grandparents and great-grandparents, and a couple seasoned grandparents and a great-grandma. And aunts and uncles and cousins and a huge family were awaiting this birth.

Those first few quiet weeks, shrouded in the fog of sleepiness and winter and staying-close-to-home seem like an eternity ago. This year, the weather is warmer and our sleepy brand-new newborn is a flurry of toddler activity.

I am different.
I am a year older (today!)
I have a year of parenting under my belt.
I have had my life changed by a new person, whom I still look at and periodically marvel and the fact I managed to keep another human being alive for an entire year. Unbelievable.

Still all so unbelievable.

This mother was born a year ago, but so was an activist. An advocate for mothers and women and children. Josh laughs at me when I get up on my soapbox, but I can't help it. I've learned that motherhood is hard and parenting choices are hard and women and moms and kids need all the help they can get, to be able to make the healthiest, more informed choices they can. I've found a new passion this year.

It's been fun. It's been worth every minute. The year to come is surely going to hold new adventures and new challenges. I have no doubt our little family can tackle them head-on. 2012, bring it on!

(image) (image)

A Year With Elliott Casper, in pictures

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 14:54:00 +0000

Birth story One month - PicturesTwo months - PicturesThree months - PicturesFour months - PicturesFive months - PicturesSix months - PicturesSeven months - PicturesEight months - PicturesNine months - PicturesTen months - PicturesEleven months - PicturesTwelve months - PicturesHAPPY BIRTHDAY! How Elliott has grown:  It's all so unbelievable to this mama. Has it really been an entire year?[...]


Sat, 24 Dec 2011 14:46:00 +0000

When designing our Christmas card, 'Joyful' seemed like the right word this year. The day after Christmas last year, we were met with a belated Christmas present who has brought us Joy ever since. I had no idea what happiness awaited us. Joyful, indeed.

We're celebrating with family today and tomorrow, then partying on Monday for a first birthday! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend!(image)


Mon, 19 Dec 2011 15:57:00 +0000

I haven't been here.

The last week or so, I've not been that busy. At least, when you look at my calendar, it doesn't look particularly packed full. Every spare minute, though. I've been watching my baby.

I've been keeping an eye on him. I've been doing my best to treasure the moments. He's getting so big, so fast. This "toddling around" thing, along with his upcoming first birthday (in a week!) has made me realize he's only going to be little for a very short amount of time. I'm basking in cuddles, knowing they won't last forever. When he's all grown-up, I tell myself, I won't regret holding him too much.

So big- walking, trying hard to talk, eating grown-up food
yet so little- still nursing, napping and sleeping with his butt in the air. 

I just don't want to forget.

This little guy, where did he go?


On Pumping

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 21:42:00 +0000

I've started and erased this post a whole bunch of times. I don't know why- it's not like it's an exciting or emotional topic. I think it's that there's so much I want to say. How to get it out in a logical manner is escaping me. Here I go to try again.Since before Elliott was born, I knew I was going to pump. I knew I'd be going back to work, and I knew I wanted him to have breastmilk exclusively. It was healthiest for him, healthiest for me, and the least expensive option. But, while on maternity leave, I kept putting off getting the pump out and giving it a try. Hooking up an intimidating piece of machinery to my sensitive parts (especially in the early days of breastfeeding) was not something I was at all eager to do. As the weeks ticked by, though, I knew I needed to take the plunge- it's recommended to introduce a bottle between 4 and 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion or preference. On the other hand, it's also said that a new mom's body is figuring out how much milk to make in the first 6 weeks, and that early pumping can cause oversupply. On the day Elliott turned 6 weeks, I braved the scary machine, and Josh fed him his first bottle. Turns out, none of what I was worrying about was as big a deal as I was making it out to be! And thus began my pumping journey.Fast forward 10 months. Before I returned to work, I spent the mornings pumping one side while he ate on the other. This milk went into the freezer for an emergency stash. I returned to work at 10 weeks postpartum and found a limited amount information online about how to do this "pumping and working full-time" thing (which is why I'm writing this post- more information needs to be out there!) I muddled through, and I'm thankful it worked out. I started out pumping into bottles, pouring into bags; then pumping straight into bags; now I pump into bottles and leave it there- I was tired of continuously buying bags. My freezer stash grew slowly, and was needed very, very rarely- it is just a buffer in case Josh runs out of milk at home, or we need extra to take to a babysitter or the church nursery. I started out pumping three times a day. I'd pump four times a day for a few days if it seemed like my supply needed a boost. Now I'm down to twice a day, and Elliott's eating lots more solids for lunch. I expect I'll stop entirely at the end of the year, when he's one. The flexibility of my work schedule and my employer has made pumping as easy and painless as possible. I know I am lucky.I've had stay-at-home mom friends marvel at my pumping regimen, amazed I could keep it up so long, lamenting how much they hate the very-occasional pumping they have to do. I surely don't feel like a hero, though- I've just done what it takes to feed my baby. It's not my favorite, but not awful, either. It just is. The heroes, in my eyes, are the moms who pump around the clock for their babies who are unable to nurse, or the moms attempting induced lactation and adoptive nursing. They are rock stars. What I learned:Kellymom is a great resource. The information I found there got me started on the right foot about everything from how to pump to how to store milk.Instructing the bottle-feeder is one of the most important keys to success. If I'm pumping the right amount, but the baby's caregiver is feeding too much, I'll never be able to keep up. Josh was great about following Elliott's cues, letting him be done when he was full, and not over-feeding."Wait for the second let-down". I don't remember where I heard this tidbit of advice, but it was so necessary for me, when I get impatient and wanting to be anywhere but sitting in a room b[...]

Eleven Months

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 19:24:00 +0000

Super-Slacker Mom here. Elliott's been eleven months old for almost a week, and I haven't commemorated the occasion with a blog post. Well, here it is!

We're only holding his hands so he
doesn't run out of the picture

As usual, this was a big month. About three weeks ago, I finally declared Elliott "Walking" as opposed to just taking steps. He's off! He loves his new-found freedom to get places while carrying toys (or, lately, while waving a spatula around. Can't do that while you're crawling!)

This kid, sometime this month, turned into a toddler. I mean, I don't think it's just the walking thing. He's copying us more and playing games. He likes tickling Daddy as much as Daddy likes tickling him! When he's in a shirt, pants and shoes, I forget he's just a little baby, and I expect him to come over and have a conversation with me about the merits of sippy cup design. (He doesn't, but if he did, he'd wax poetical about the superiority of the straw cups to the ones you have to tip.)
Our lazy Thanksgiving morning

He celebrated other Firsts this month- his first Halloween and his first Thanksgiving. Halloween was somewhat anticlimactic, since I didn't let him eat any candy. It was an excuse to go visit family- which always makes for a good evening.

Thanksgiving was celebrated twice: once early at our house with my side of the family, and once in Lebanon with Josh's side. He was a good eater at both parties, and demonstrated his love for green beans and corn. Thanksgiving morning was a dream, for me. I turned on the Macy's parade, watching closely for my alma mater's marching band to make an appearance. Elliott danced to the almost-constant music and played in the living room. I let him play with his beloved spatula while I fixed a couple dishes for that afternoon. Something about the slowness of the morning, the quiet, the fun- I did my best to treasure it, since I get so few slow mornings.

One month until this little guy has made a full trip around the sun. One month until I have been wearing the badge "Mom" for an entire year. Wow.


Small Business Saturday

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 21:46:00 +0000

Shop local! Shop handmade! Shop small businesses!That was the theme yesterday!Earlier this week, Elliott's First Christmas ornament arrived in the mail. I ordered it from Amy Miller Designs on Etsy- not local, but handmade, and a small business. I couldn't be more delighted. I feel like it commemorates both his first Christmas (on the 25th) and his first birthday (on the 26th).Yesterday was the big adventure. We hopped on the Holiday Shopper's Train, thanks to tickets I won recently. Elliott's first train ride! He LOVED it! Mostly, I think he liked looking out the window without being in a car seat. He squealed most the way there. The short train ride went from one nearby town to the courthouse square of our own town.We got to the Noblesville square and made a beeline for a restaurant we like- Courtney's Kitchen- conveniently right next to where the train dropped us off. After breakfast, we just meandered in and out of shops with craft and antiques, mostly. Elliott's favorite store was The Wild, a children's book and toy store. Amazing. He played with the train table in the back (spoiler: he's getting trains for Christmas) while I looked at everything and resisted buying the entire store.The local visitor's organization had free hot chocolate & visits with Santa going on in their office. Though the hot chocolate was unnecessary- it was as beautiful & warm a day we could hope for at the end of November- we stopped by. I wanted to try to get a Santa picture. Turns out, we got the classic baby-and-Santa picture. By "classic", I mean, he was terrified of the large, strange man. I'll admit, I laughed.We ended the jaunt with a trip to Alexander's for ice cream and a train ride back to our car. Such a nice day!See all my Small Business Saturday adventure pictures.[...]

Giving Peas a Chance

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 16:03:00 +0000

This is an unnecessarily long video from a couple weeks ago of Elliott eating his vegetables- peas, in this case. Also, talking about vegetables, flailing his vegetables and giving his vegetables to the dog. He's practicing healthy eating here and fine motor skills- double WIN! I was getting over  a cold, so my voice sounds funny.

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I never realized how much our house relies on natural light until I started trying to take videos in the evenings when I'm home. They're all so dark.(image)


Wed, 09 Nov 2011 18:36:00 +0000

A friend of mind got married last weekend. (Elliott's first wedding!)

I met Katelynn in high school. She was a part of a PE class I helped with, and sometimes came to the campus ministry groups I was involved in. We had the same lunch period for a while, and the two of us sat together- and this is when I really got to know her. I was (and am!) blown away by her faith, her commitment to prayer, and her ability to overcome whatever hardships and obstacles thrown her way.

And she has way, way more than her share of obstacles.

Since high school, she and I have hung out or talked once every few months, catching up on life. She's been my most loyal friend- and, I, admittedly, am not a particularly good friend when it comes to staying in touch. She didn't give up on me, though, and anytime we got a chance to talk, it'd inevitably be for hours.

And then! A boy entered the picture! A boy I've known even longer than Katelynn, at that. A boy that is also a committed prayer warrior with a huge heart, who has overcome his own set of challenges. I don't know why I never thought to get these two together- but, God didn't need my help. He had it planned all along.

And, then, Saturday, against all odds, they got married. The bride was glowing. The look on the groom's face when he saw her made me melt. These two were made for each other.

I can't look at these pictures without getting a lump in my throat. I'm beyond happy for them.

As a bonus, they'll be living just 5 minutes from my house, and going to church with us! Hooray! (image)

On raising a geek: The Force vs. The Federation

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 13:05:00 +0000

This year for Halloween, Elliot is borrowing a Yoda costume from a friend. Here, you see him using The Force to stand and walk from the ottoman to the coffee table. Here, he's using The Force to levitate a box of Cheerios. I didn't get a picture of the box, sorry- they spilled everywhere.Something I need to clear up, though- even though he's in a Star Wars costume, we're a Star Trek family. We'll raise Trekkies, without a doubt. We don't even own the Star Wars movies. When he does see them, I'm sure this costume will make more sense to him. For some, introducing your kid to Star Wars is a big deal. For us, the politics of the relationship between the Federation, Klingon, Cardassian, Romulan and Vulcan cultures will probably take a more prominent role in our household.He already loves the Next Generation theme song!He makes a cute Yoda, but pulls off a pretty cute Star Fleet recruit, too! Unfortunately, the Star Fleet uniform fit him in March, rather than for Halloween.[...]

Ten Months

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:15:00 +0000

Yesterday, Elliott turned the big 1-0 (months). Double digits!I missed posting since I was home sick with a sore throat and probable fever. Everyone else in the household (well, except for Casey) seemed to not be feeling well either. That didn't stop Elliott! After a late-afternoon nap, he took off. He was everywhere- mostly cruising all the way around the coffee table as fast as possible. Then he started a new experiment- could he get to pieces of furniture he couldn't quite reach while still standing? Oh, he tried. He took steps- just two or three- without holding on to anything. Sometimes he'd make it. Sometimes he wouldn't, and fall on his knees or hands. Even when he fell, he'd giggle, and we'd cheer. He's an adventurous soul.When Elliott learned to crawl, it was like a switch turned on- there was no gradual gain of mobility- he went from not crawling one day, to full on hands-and-knees crawling the next. While getting his coordination, there were some bumps- mostly on his forehead, caused by our wood floors. With walking, I'm a little worried about bigger bumps, since he'll be falling about 5 times as far (6 inches vs 2.5 feet). I also wonder if he'll "take off" like he did with crawling, or if this will be a more gradual milestone. I also wonder what needs to be childproofed that I haven't thought of yet.His Tooth Count is holding steady at 6. I thought he was teething for a week or so, but there's nothing to show for it. He's sleeping better at night. He had his first hair trim this month, so now his bangs are no longer in his eyes, and his hair is no longer halfway down his ears. He's eating lots, and taking less from a bottle. I think he'd like it if we let him subsist on Cheerios.Last weekend, I boxed up the 12-month clothes. The 12-month shirts still fit, but are too short. We've discovered that 18-month overalls don't even fit. Also, where does anyone find the room to store all this baby clothing? He's on his sixth size, and an entire wardrobe is needed in each size... it's getting ridiculous. I need to find a baby boy to lend out these clothes to, and free up room in my closets!Yesterday, Casey was locked in his crate because I had just gotten in the house and hadn't let him out yet. I sat down to check email, and look, and the dog is now wandering around. Curious. "Unlocking the dog's crate" isn't a developmental milestone I expected Elliott to reach so early, but apparently he had different plans. In other news, Elliott really likes playing in the dog crate, just like every other kid that has come to our house. In and out, open and shut. All day long.It's been a big month, but I suppose they all have been, and will all continue to be. Watching him grow and learn is so much fun![...]

Thinking about Christmas...

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:21:00 +0000

This fall, every time I've walked into a store full of Christmas decorations, I've had a little pang in my chest. The reminders of Christmas are also reminders of an upcoming birthday... Elliott will be a year old! I'm not ready for it.

It seems that we do Christmas cards approximately every-other year, and last year they didn't happen. We've never done a photo card, and I've wanted this year to be our first. It only makes sense- we have a new person to introduce! When I start browsing the Christmas cards, though, I see the birthday invitations, too- maybe I should save the annual photo card for the First Birthday Invites? Or maybe both?

I take a ton of pictures, as you well know, since I regularly bombard the blog with them. What you may not know is, I have very, very few prints of these pictures. It's just in the last couple weeks I've printed any pictures at all of our almost-10-month-old! Bad mommy. (To my credit, I did create a Shutterfly photo book in addition to getting some prints. That should get me some extra credit or something.) A photo Christmas card would serve the dual purpose of wishing loved ones a happy holidays AND getting them a printed picture of our family, which pretty much none of them have.

Now to figure out where and when to get a nice family photo taken...

Do you want the chance to make photo cards from Shutterfly, too? 

  • Jump on the Groupon deal expiring tonight (10/21) - 40 5x7 photo cards for $40
  • If you have a blog, and would like to write a post about your Christmas cards, register here for 25 free cards.
  • Enter here to win 25 photo cards! Leave a comment with your family's Christmas card tradition- I need inspiration! I'll pick THREE winners next Friday, October 28.
(Disclosure: I was provided with photo cards and prizes by Shutterfly. As always, these words and opinions are my own.)

Packed Full

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 15:36:00 +0000

We just had a crazy busy weekend. All really good stuff, just busy.

Friday, Ashley, Paul, and Savannah rolled in, and we got to share a meal with them. They were staying the weekend with us, and we got to chat with them until way past my bedtime.

Saturday morning, I got up early-ish to make a dish to carry along to a get-together later in the day, then Elliott accompanied me to a baby shower for Josh's cousin. This new little guy will be the closest in age to Elliott, of the local cousins & second cousins. I expect they'll be best buddies at future family reunions and Christmas parties!

From the baby shower, we headed home to let the dog out and pick up the bean dip, then went straight to Marion, to a college-friends reunion. The group that showed up for dinner was bigger than ever, and it was so refreshing be able to catch up with everyone and watch the ever-growing group of kids play together. I wish we could have had more time!

We headed home from Marion late and went straight to bed, because Josh had to be at church early-early Sunday. After seeing off Ashley & crew, I only had to leave for church sort-of early, to pick up a friend on the way there. After church, we went to lunch with my friend, dropped her off, and hurriedly got ready for the last event of the weekend, dinner with our bible study group. We still had a few things to pick up from the store & prepare!

Dinner and discussion was great, and we were home somewhat early. After the dishes were done and the house was sort-of put back together, we just collapsed into bed. Big weekend. 'Tis the season.(image)