Subscribe: et cetera
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
baby  beans  bread  brett  day  dough  girls  home  junie  lucy  make  much  nursing  part  things  time  week  weeks 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: et cetera

Et Cetera

Updated: 2018-03-07T18:31:58.627-05:00


Birth Story: Part 2


Part 2:The least epic and worst organized Part 2 of a birth story!I ended up pushing for about 30 minutes. Even though pushing was tougher than with my first two kids, I was still able to chat between pushes and joke about the work I had ahead of me. I felt wonderfully in control and things flowed very smoothly. Finally I got to reach down and grab Camille as she emerged and pull her onto my chest. She nursed straight away- a wonderful booby baby from the start. And guess what? Even though Camille was a full pound larger than my other girls, no tearing. Awesome! While I nursed Camille, my awesome midwife cleaned up the room and got the shower running. When I was ready, I let Brett hold the baby while I peed (isn’t the first pee post-birth fabulous?) and took the hottest, most wonderful shower ever. I got in my pjs, climbed into bed with my newly-larger family, had a snack, the midwife left, and we all fell asleep- just as it should be. Here’s the fun part.As a doula, I know to remind moms to take it slow when they get up out of the hospital bed. As a mom, I forget these things. Cue me jumping up to pee, feeling great.Cue me blacking out and hitting the floor about 5 seconds later.Cue Brett having a freak out that I was bleeding to death.I was fine- my blood pressure just tanked from jumping out of bed. Anyway….The next few weeks were really, really hard. Even as a lactation educator, even as a veteran breastfeeding mother, I had an incredibly hard time. Camille had a shallow latch and I have a strong letdown with a huge supply (likely from tandeming well into pregnancy). My nipples were literally bleeding. I cried through feedings. I cried in the middle of the night because I didn’t want to feed my baby. It.was.awful.I tried asymmetrical latch- it made things worse. I pumped to slow my letdowns- didn’t help. I tried nipple shields- Camille wouldn’t nurse with one. Then ONLY thing that made things a little more bearable was nursing in the laid-back position. It was a godsend. So I nursed, reclined, on the couch until things healed up and Camille’s mouth grew a bit. Now, of course, I’m almost six months out. Camille nurses like a champ, and looks at both bottles and pacis with loathing. She’s big for her age- very different from my other two. She’s very mommy-centric, doesn’t like anyone else to hold her, and wants to be worn in a wrap 24/7. I feel like I’ve learned so much from her already. I learned what it’s like to go to nearly 42 weeks of pregnancy. What back labor is like. How painful breastfeeding can be- even when you’re doing the ‘right’ things and there are no glaring issues. How it feels to be connected 24/7 to your baby because she won’t tolerate anyone else.And I guess, both professionally and personally, that’s a good thing. [...]

Waldorf Wednesday.


That's right, I'm changing things up a bit. As of late, I've been lazy and used Wordless Wednesday as an excuse to just throw a few pictures up here and be done with it. However, I've also been working hard on integrating some Waldorf-inspired activities and concepts into our home, and as my children are currently busy painting, I have a few minutes to jot down one of the ways we're doing that.I'm currently reading through School as a Journey, and am at times both inspired and frustrated. I'm inspired by all the amazing activities the author describes in the book, and frustrated at the same time by the challenge of adapting those activities to the home setting. One of the ideas that really appealed to me was frequent breadmaking. However, a few things occurred to me: how am I going to find the time to make the dough in the morning? How can I make this fun and not a chore? Can my family really eat that much bread, seeing as most recipes make two large loaves? Luckily, I'm already in the habit of baking bread almost daily, albeit by myself. A few months back I purchased a book called "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day." This no-kneading-necessary recipe makes enough dough for 4 loaves of bread, but is easily divided to make two. I can make the dough in just a few minutes, and once it's done and has its initial rise, it keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks, gradually taking on a sourdough flavor. Although it's not whole-grain, I do use unbleached flour, and it makes a delicious light bread with a crisp crust. Now, up until yesterday, I'd never tried playing around with the recipe. In the back of my mind, though, I wondered if I could adapt it to make it both kid- and mom-friendly. Surely this recipe was my key to fun, not pain-in-the-butt baking with the kids. I could potentially make enough dough at one time for a couple loaves of bread for dinner AND a week's worth of child-sized-creations. So I took the plunge. I made the dough and let it rise. I then chilled the dough in the fridge per the recipe- as the dough is much wetter than normal bread dough, chilling makes handling the dough easier. After it had cooled sufficiently, I took out a portion for our meal and prepared it as I normally would. I also took out enough dough for two smallish balls for the girls, which I then rolled in additional flour and placed on a floured table for them.They were so excited to get to work. I'm not exaggerating when I say this activity kept them occupied for about 30 minutes. The girls shaped, smooshed, re-shaped, and smoothed their bread. Lucy found some sprinkles in the cabinet, which added rainbow colors to her bread. I'm happy to report that will the additional flour I added to the dough and the table, the dough didn't stick at all. Once they were satisfied, I placed the bread on the breadboard, let it rest for about 45 minutes, brushed it with butter (a step not in my original recipe), and slid it onto the pre-heated baking stone as usual. I was amazed to see the rolls rise beautifully during baking. Our experiment had worked! Our no-knead bread dough was worked over by four small hands for quite a while, yet still yielded light and delicious bread. I am so happy to know that with little effort, I can stow away dough in the fridge for fresh bread anytime. Now, if only I can remember to integrate a fun baking song! Can't get enough Waldorf Wednesday? Get more here at Seasons of Joy. [...]

Wordless Wednesday.


I love newborn babywearing! 

Camille's Birth Story, Part 1 (Rough Draft)


To backtrack….At my 40 week appointment, I asked my midwife to do a vaginal exam and check my progress. We had been very hands-off until that point, but I had prodromal labor that week, and really felt like I needed a little encouragement that something was going on. Additionally, my mother was visiting, and although she had planned to leave the same day (we never thought I'd go past my due date- haha!), we thought that if there was something cooking, she would change her plane tickets. I was truly very surprised to make it to 40 weeks to begin with, as both Lucy and June were early.In fact, looking at my old blog posts, I was 4 cm by 37 weeks with Lucy, and the same by 38 weeks with Junie. So naturally I expected that my midwife would examine me, find me similarly progressed, and we’d be on our way.Imagine my surprise when I was found to be 1-2 cm at most, with a cervix that was thick and long. I about died. I requested that my midwife strip my membranes still, hoping that it would help things along, and she did her best- despite the fact that I was still posterior. That done, I drove my mom to the airport, said goodbye, and headed back home pretty down about everything.That night, I lost my plug and had another round of contractions. I was SURE this was going to be it. Alas, the contractions died out after an hour or two. The next week-and-a-half were pretty freaking miserable. I was discouraged, I was sick of being pregnant, and I was too uncomfortable to even sleep. My back and pelvis hurt the most (more on why that was later), and made it impossible to lie down without pain. Emotionally, things were even worse. Without getting into much more detail, I felt like I was in a 24/7 pity party. People who were due after me were popping babies out for heaven’s sake! I spent a lot of time researching and trying every labor induction method under the sun, and NOTHING worked. Although we hoped I wouldn’t need it, we had scheduled a 41-week appointment with both my midwife and a perinatologist. Sure enough, I was still pregnant the following week (and more grumpy than ever, I might add), so off I went for my ultrasound and non-stress test. Thankfully everything looked great, so I got the go-ahead from the perinatologist to continue on with my home-birth plans. I headed from there to the midwives’, hoping for a better report than the week before- especially since I had ANOTHER round of prodromal labor that very morning. Sure enough, I was 4-5 cm, with a much more favorable cervix. Cue another attempt at stripping, more cramping, and more optimism on my part. This all occurred on Thursday. Friday came and went. I was really starting to feel the pressure, as I wasn’t exactly sure what our game plan was going to be if I made it to 42 weeks the upcoming Monday. All I knew was that I was going to avoid an in-hospital induction at all costs- however, I was concerned at the same time that we were running out of more natural options, as I had already tried just about everything, to include the cohoshes, with no success. Saturday morning I woke up with a purpose. Despite the nausea that just LOOKING at the bottle inspired, I was going to do it. I was going to go back to old faithful- the castor oil. Off I went to the store to buy the CO, something to mix it with, and snacks.I decided that I wasn’t going to mess around and sip the stuff with a straw- I needed it to be over and done with. So at approx. 11 am, Brett mixed 2 oz (half the bottle) of CO with an equal amount of orange juice, and I shot it. I shot it and drank more OJ and wiped my mouth out and gargled mouth wash and brushed my teeth and climbed into bed and prayed I could keep it down long enough to be effective.Once I felt a little better, I had a small snack. Bad idea. My apple and peanut butter came up about an hour later. Still, I had a few small contractions following my puking episode, and noticed that no OJ/CO came up- which left me feeling optimistic.At about 4 pm,[...]

We're ready.


The tub is filled with my birth kit (red bag), just-in-case prescriptions (methergrine and cytotec), towels/sheets/linens/baby's first clothes (plastic grocery bags), and various birthing goodies, to include my necklace, essential oils, etc (brown cardboard box). Once baby is here, this area will be my second changing station (see cloth dipes in basket, changing pad). I found this indispensable when Junie was first born- enables me to change the youngest in our room without having to go into the girls' room and wake them up. Perfect for nighttime/nap time. There is now a second diaper pail here as well. And yes, those are disposable diapers you see hiding. My kids so far have been barely 6 lbs at birth, and I'm too cheap to buy a stash of itty-bitty baby cloth- so they wear 'sposies until they reach 8 lbs or so.Labor swing! Trying it out- ignore the half-nekkid toddler behind me.Safe place in the living room in which to put down a baby. Contrary to popular belief, I don't hold or wear my kids *all* the time. Emphasis on *all.* [...]

37 weeks.


Too good not to share.


Since I've been so lazy in posting, I'm going to buck the "Wordless Wednesday" trend and actually post something useful. Last year, Brett and I had a lot of fun making Christmas gifts from scratch: knitting (well, that was just me!), making ornaments, and brewing up our own versions of Limoncello and Bailey's liquors. This year, money will be significantly tighter- meaning that we will again be looking to make the majority of our gifts.Bearing in mind that many homemade projects take some time, I was skimming the internet for ideas last week when I stumbled across an awesome idea: homemade vanilla extract! Now, those of us who bake know that *real* vanilla extract is expensive but irreplaceable in recipes. I learned, however, that making your own is both inexpensive and easy. Additionally, you can have fun mixing various liquors with many varieties of bean to create different flavors. The result? A Christmas gift perfect for the bakers in your family that beats the store-bought stuff and is relatively cheap to boot. The only drawback is that it requires preplanning- vanilla extract takes a minimum of 8 weeks to develop, with many recipes recommending upwards of 6 months! So if you want to get started, now's the time. I found lots of primers online, and a few different suggestions for how to brew the stuff. Essentially, you'll need 3 things:1. Liquor- vodka is most often used, but bourbon and rum were also suggested. Basically it just needs to be at least 40 proof (80% alcohol) to be effective. I decided to try a dark rum. 2. Vanilla beans- I found mine on Amazon, but look around to find a good deal. Most of the tutorials I found said you'd need roughly 3-4 beans per cup of liquor, but some people claim they made it successfully with fewer beans and a longer brew time. I filled two quart jars mostly full using 3 cups of liquor and 12 vanilla beans each- for a total of 6 cups of liquor and 24 beans (close to a 1/4 lb). Since vanilla beans are generally sold in 1/4 lb increments, this worked out perfected for me. 3. Something to brew the extract in. I think mason jars are perfect! You can divide it up into smaller decorative containers and add cutesy decorative stickers when you're ready to give them.The process:1. Slit vanilla beans lengthwise. Some recipes recommended scooping the seeds out into the jars as well, but that would require further straining, and I'm lazy.2. Place vanilla beans in jars or container you're using. 3. Cover with the appropriate amount of liquor (you may need to cut the beans in half), cover, and put in a cool, dark spot.4. Wait.Miscellaneous notes:- I made a jar for us as well, as we go through a LOT of vanilla around here. I actually read that you can keep the vanilla indefinitely, topping off with alcohol as it gets low and adding additional beans once in a while. - After the vanilla is ready, you can remove the beans if you wish and place them in sugar for a few days. Voila- vanilla sugar! Helpful links:Joy the BakerBeanillaNaturally Knocked UpAlexandra CooksIf you decide to try it, be sure to let me know what combination of beans and liquor you used, and how it turned out.[...]

We've been busy.


What have I been up to lately (aka why is my blog so behind)? ....prepping veggies for storage (these are roasted poblanos).....filling the freezer for winter.....knitting up a storm. Isn't this a cute little wool sleep sack? Perfect for nighttime cloth diapering! Junie is partial to her honeybee hat. Just two of the many projects I've finished lately. ....hunting eggs- the hens have been sneaky lately. ....chasing after my kids (shown here with their cousin).....taking our first long roadtrip to PA. ....gestating! (35 weeks here- but I'm technically 36 weeks today.) [...]

Wordless Wednesday.


Wordless Wednesday.


29 weeks.


Time does fly.


I was just, I need to update the blog! I had thought it had only been about a week since I had written last- and was surprised to see it had actually been more than two. Story of my life!Anyway, lots of changes and general busy-ness around here.Pregnancy news:- Just entered my third (and longest?!?!) trimester. 28 weeks today- wahoo!- New fun symptom: carpal tunnel. Apparently it's one of those weird preggo things- but I'm sure lots of kitchen/garden work and knitting haven't helped things. I have a brace, but it's a PITA to wear, so I don't wear it as much as I should. Cue curled, numb fingers when I wake up in the morning and annoying burning sensation throughout the day. Household news: - Now on WIC and taking advantage of a fridge bursting with milk. Cue reminder for upcoming post on what I'm doing with it all, and healthy eating on a budget (not like there aren't a million other blogs about that or anything.)- Garden is going gangbusters. Blueberries, green beans, and cucumbers are done, but not before I froze 12 quart bags of blueberries, 20+ of green beans, and untold numbers of quart jars of both sweet and dill pickles. Squash is still here, so I'm busy both sautéing for dinner almost nightly and dehydrating. Peppers are being diced, tray-frozen, and bagged for the freezer. Tomatoes, watermelon, and potatoes are staples as well. I had planned on dehydrating most of the tomatoes, but it's a bigger pain than I expected, so I'm freezing most at the moment. Discovered an amazing tomato/watermelon salad with a balsamic reduction that we've been really enjoying. Corn is tasseling, we have small ears, and should be enjoying it soon.- Already planning both a second planting of some of the above, as well as the fall garden. Think kale, spinach, swiss chard, pumpkin, broccoli, etc.- Going to check out chickens tomorrow- possibly picking up two more hens and a rooster.- Trying to talk Brett into a dairy goat :-)Lucy news: - Thank you, thank you, thank you to the person who mentioned a "pacifier box," aka a special place for a toddler to stow his/her pacifier during the day. I covered a small shoebox with construction paper, Lucy decorated it and lined it with tissue paper, and now the pacis all "live in the paci house" whenever Lucy's not sleeping. We've had it two days so far, and we've been paci-free during the day with absolutely minimal whining. Plan is to have it gone completely for her third birthday.- Lucy is reliably potty-trained. Wahoo! Still wearing pull-ups at night, but she's dry consistently enough that we're going to ditch those soon, too. - Lucy is sleeping through the night in her toddler bed, in her room. Big girl!(note: take and insert cute pic of Lucy here)Junie news:- Junie is talking up a storm- short sentences now. After having a speech-delayed kid first, we get such a kick out of hearing her little voice- especially "wuv you, mama!" She also frequently reminds Lucy to, "share, please!"- Junie is now napping in her crib, in the girls' room. I try to move her there at night, too, but if I'm too tired, I don't bother. Trying to take it slow, but hoping to have her completely transitioned in a few weeks. - This crazy girl loves her baby dolls, all animals, and imitating everything I do. ...and I think that about does it. [...]

Waste not, want not.


The past few months since I've left the military have been a real adventure. New home, new job, new circumstances. To put it bluntly, we are attempting to live on Brett's PhD assistantship alone. Yes, I am marketing for doula clients, but networking is hard work, and I'm not having a lot of luck so far. The birth community is a lot different here than in Florida (likely at least partially due to the crappy homebirth laws here).What that means is that we are bringing in approximately 1/5th of the income we were a couple months ago. That's just gross income- doesn't include the loss of my commissary benefits, health insurance, etc. Now, we are very lucky in several ways. First, we don't have a house payment. Brett's parents decided to invest in a rental property, and that's where we're living now. After we move, it'll be rented out to college students here. If this wasn't the case, there's no way we could be making it right now- our income likely wouldn't even cover the rent on a house. Second, we own our vehicles and thus don't have car payments. We also don't have much in the way of student loans (Brett has none, and mine are very nearly paid off), and we don't carry credit card debt. Just wanted to explain these points, as I'm sure some people will argue that it would be impossible for most to live the way we are now. Given the average debt load that most families carry, they're probably right. I admit that although I am absolutely loving the stay-at-home-mom gig, I would be even more content if we made just a bit more money- you know, to pay for things like better health insurance and the occasional vacation. I grew up in a very, very modest home and am used to getting by- but it's a little harder for Brett. He's a bit spoiled :-) ANYWAY.I've been making a game of finding little ways to save money and still enjoy the things we enjoy: time together, good, nourishing food...Those of you who know me in real life know I'm a Little Women freak, and probably romanticize the idea of being happy with the little things you have. So here are some of the things I've been working on:1. Things I refuse to buy (as I make them myself):   a. Yogurt and kefir   b. Ricotta cheese (important, because pasta is cheap!)   c. Bread (if you haven't already, PLEASE check out "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day").  I also buy bulk flour and other essentials at Sam's.    d. Expensive clothes for the girls (sewing most of the cute dresses is fun and easy)   e. Most processed foods in general (pasta and granola are the exceptions)   f. Disposable wipes. I DID buy pull-ups for Lucy's potty-training and it killed me. Spending that money every week hurt, and reaffirmed my preference for cloth diapers. However, Lucy was big on the pull-ups and it really helped.  2. Other money-saving strategies:  a. Getting the girls signed up for Peach Care (Ga's insurance for kids)  b. WIC (hopefully taking care of this this week). Not ashamed to take advantage of it if we qualify.   c. The garden. This is huge. And time-consuming. And saves a CRAPTON of money. Also helps with forcing us to eat seasonally, preserve food for later, etc.  d. Getting Brett used to the idea that the a/c doesn't need to run ALL the time. Luckily he is working all day, so I can get away with cranking the thermostat up.  e. No cable. We do have Netflix and internet, though.   f. Home birth! My planned home birth cost a fraction of what a hospital birth would. Money wasn't the driving factor here, of course, but it's a very nice perk.  g. Making a menu for the weekly, shopping once a week, and sticking to the plan! I used to be terri[...]

25 weeks.


Wordless Wednesday.


Mulberry Monsters!

From two to one.


Lucy weaned.For all intensive purposes, anyway. She still asks maybe 1-2 times a week, and I humor her, but she seldom even latches anymore.Our first nursing session. It was so cool that everyone wanted to watch.I wish I could tell you a sweet sentimental story about her last "real" nursing. But the truth is, it happened so gradually that I don't remember it. We nursed everywhere- like on a plane.I think that's the beautiful reality of extended breastfeeding and child-led weaning. Nursing has become so ingrained into daily life that you don't think about it- it just is. Because she's not dependent on you for nutritive purposes, you're not keeping track of when she nursed last. Then sessions are occasionally dropped as her interest in everything else grows. Still the nighttime and morning nursings hold her close.Then she starts falling asleep on her own, and creeps into your bed for a morning nurse less and less frequently.I was nervous to start you on big-girl food.One day you realize you can't remember the last time she was at your breast. Thank you, Lucy, for the journey. The past 32 months have tested me, taught me, and brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. We nursed despite the necessary pump and bottles, despite my pregnancy with Junie and the formula supplementation that came with it. We even nursed at Clemson baseball games!I'll never forget the first time you nursed after Junie was born and my milk came back- the joy on your little face. Some tandem-nursing love.And I'll always remember how gracefully you shared your "nums" with your little sister, who, at 18 months, looks as though she is dangerously close to following in your weaning footsteps. I love how you finished your most recent nursing attempt with, "Junie's turn next."One of our daily before-work nursing sessions.Please, time, slow down. All grown up![...]

Lots o' Wordless Wednesday Love.


Dresses I whipped up for the girls.

Baby Nolan #3 at 22 weeks.

Junie likes to garden...

...and so do I! 

20 weeks = halfway!


Finding our rhythm.


When I decided to leave my job and become a stay at home mom (with plenty of doula work on the side, of course), I sat down and came up with some goals for our family, as well as some ideas to work towards those goals. One of those goals was to begin some sort of education with the girls.Now, I'm not a big believer in structured education for young children; I'd rather see my kids playing creatively and exploring outside. Along those same lines, there's absolutely no evidence that children who attend preschool (or any kind of structured activities apart from their parents) develop better socially or academically in the long term than kids who don't. Please don't misinterpret this as judgment for those who send their kids to preschool early- nearly everyone I know does, and there seems to be more and more pressure to do so. These are simply my reasons for choosing not to. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure we will send our kids to mainstream schools when they're older, for reasons too numerous to list here (another blog post for another day).Anyway, after doing a lot of research, I decided that a Waldorf-type program would be a great fit for us. Now, Waldorf-based homeschooling generally doesn't start until 5 or 6; however, if you are familiar with Waldorf, you likely know that it's not just an educational philosophy. It really encompasses the larger issue of family life. To put it bluntly, Waldorf can be really intimidating when you're first starting. So, in our case, I decided to spend the next two years or so learning as much as I can, slowly incorporating Waldorf principles and activities into our daily life. In this way I can prepare myself in the event that we do homeschool, the girls will enjoy the activities in the meantime, and we all will benefit from a gradually move towards the schooling years.I learned about a program offered by A Little Garden Flower/Waldorf Essentials called Thinking, Feeling, Willing. The basics of the program are that it takes about a year to work through it,  it focuses on educating parents on the basics of Waldorf, and it gradually incorporates those practices into family life. It also includes lots of perks, like monthly (seasonally-appropriate) lessons, inner-work for moms, a discount on future purchases, and lots more.Last month I learned about "rhythm" and for the past few weeks have focused on that. I definitely feel that our girls are benefitting from having a daily rhythm, and it helps me to better organize my day. We are also incorporating a seasonal nature table, music, stories, and related recipes into our home. More about that in later posts, too.On a side note, the first couple weeks after we moved were a bit rough. The girls were used to having Brett home during the day- not me- and reacted accordingly. Think two young children wanting constant attention, nursing around-the-clock, etc. Lucy was acting up quite a bit as well- there was a lot of limit-testing going on. Now, though, things have settled down. For the most part, our days are going a lot more smoothly, time-out is working more effectively for Lucy (more on that later), and I am spending a lot less time with instruction and discipline and more time on just enjoying the girls. [...]

17 (er, 18!) Weeks


This post is so named because I took this pic last week when I was 17 weeks preggo, and now I'm technically 18. When you feel as crappy as I do, every week counts. In case you can't tell by the pic, or you just haven't seen me in person in a while (ever?), I've lost almost 15 pounds so far. Yup. Fun stuff. Between the daily vomiting and the constant nausea and food aversions, I just can't seem to eat enough. Not that I really feel hungry much. I hate that I really don't enjoy pregnancy. It makes me feel guilty, and I'm sure anyone who's dealt with infertility hates me (she gets pregnant at the drop of a hat! and has short, easy labors!) But the truth is that while I *love* the process of labor and birthing, and I *adore* my newborn babies, pregnancy itself is just no fun for me. That's what hyperemesis does to you, I guess. On the bright side, everything looks like it's lining up for my homebirth. I have a midwife, my tax refund will cover the costs, and as long as no major complications arise, it looks like we'll be good to go. After years of fighting for it, it's almost unbelievable that I now actually have a chance. When it comes to breastfeeding...yep, both girls are still nursing. I'm sure that's not helping with my weight gain, but I went through the same thing when I was pregnant with Lucy, and I'm confident that I'll be able to eat more soon. Besides, the baby needs so few extra calories at this point, I try not to sweat it. I really feel as though my body would tell me if I needed to wean. I really thought Lucy was moving towards weaning completely...but then my supply rebounded a bit and her interest was renewed. She's only nursing *maybe* once a day, sometimes skipping days, but it's clear she's not ready yet- and that's fine with me. That's the beautiful thing about extended breastfeeding- by the time your kids are older, nursing is so infrequent that you can just enjoy the time you have together and not stress the "are they getting enough?" part. Emotionally, I'd be okay with her weaning now or later. I am only hoping that she is satisfied with occasional nursing once my milk comes back in, rather than going back to wanting to nurse more frequently. I need to get one more picture of them nursing together before she does, though. Junie is still nursing several times a day, and I can tell she's still getting milk. She nearly always nursing to sleep for bedtime and naps, and besides signing "milk," she also calls nursing "nums," which I find adorable. I'm so happy we've been able to continue our breastfeeding relationship with very little stress on my part. She's old enough and so great with eating regular food that I haven't had to worry about her weight, unlike Lucy who needed to be supplemented towards the end of my pregnancy with Junie. Well, that's all for now. Junie is already napping, Lucy is about to doze off, and even though dinner's already cooking in the CrockPot (LOVE that thing!), there's plenty that needs to be done. This whole "stay at home mom" thing is much harder that I anticipated! But more on that later. [...]

I have chickens!


Lots of upcoming posts about our move and new home...but I'm excited to talk about our new pets, so here we go.For my birthday this year, my awesome in-laws gave me the gift cards I needed to purchase my long-awaited chicken coop and run. With the girls in tow, I ran over to Tractor Supply about a week after we moved in to pick up the kit and other necessary chicken supplies.Next, I scoured ads (mainly Craigslist) for chickens. Initially I planned on getting new chicks, but none of the local stores carried the breeds I was interested in, and the minimum order from hatcheries is 25- about 22 more chicks than I was able to handle. Additionally, I realized that chicks would take more equipment and care than I really cared for, and it would be several months before they started laying. For these reasons, I decided to purchase older pullets or younger layers.After a few days, I saw an ad pop up for Ameraucana chickens- exactly what I wanted. Ameraucanas are reputed to be cold and heat hardy, good layers, and handle confinement well. Of course, their most famous characteristic is the fact that they lay blue eggs! Brett made the trip while I took the girls to Mass, and when we arrived home, we met our new hens: Hettie, Bettie, and Nettie.The breeder told us that our girls were *almost* ready to lay. We were reassured that they like their new home when they started laying a few days later. Right now, we're averaging 2 eggs every-other-day, as two of the three are now laying pretty regularly. I haven't eaten any of the eggs yet, so I will update as soon as I do. So far, I've really enjoyed having them around, and I'm looking forward to starting to give them free-range time in the yard soon. [...]

No News is Good News?


Have you ever put something off for so long that it magically morphed into a giant project, 10x larger than it was originally?That's how I feel about this blog right now.Between work, kids, doula-ing, etc, my poor blog's been neglected for so long that even updating it now seems intimidating. But thanks to some nudging (thanks, Elizabeth!), I'll do my best- one baby-step at a time.The past few months have been crazy- and flown by. Since I wrote last:1. We found a new house in Georgia. We're moving this week!2. I separated from the Air Force. Technically I'm on terminal leave until next month.3. Junie and Lucy aged 4 months and are crazier than ever.4. I've attended 4 more births.5. We found out that we are expecting baby no. 3!Yep, Junie is going to be a big sister in September. That means I'll have 3 kids 3 year and under- whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Because I write about it a lot, I'm sure you're wondering: yes, both girls are still nursing. Both are nightweaned, and Lucy is only nursing twice a day now, but we're still in tandem-nursing mode. Right now I'm trying to just go with the flow and see what happens. Part of me isn't ready for Lucy to stop yet, and the other part thinks about the logistics of nursing three (especially since Lucy and Junie each have their own "nummers" and are very protective) and is ready for the change. Oh, and I have purple hair :-) Technically purple tips, but whatevs. Here it is:I guess that wasn't so bad after all- here's hoping for more frequent posting as I transition to full-time stay-at-home-mom status![...]

I'm Dreaming of a....Crafty Christmas! Part 2.


Other cool gifts we're planning on giving this year are homemade "hand" ornaments. Originally I was planning on making these awesome bird ornaments a la Martha Stewart. However, it struck me that our family would probably rather have something more personal than a pretty bird...perhaps, stencils of their grandchildren's hands?

I can remember making hand ornaments in preschool- well, I can remember my siblings making them at least. They were set in plaster and SUPER heavy- Mama had to put them wayyyy back on the branches to keep them from sliding off. Anyway, I know how much she liked them, so I figured, why not combine the ideas of Martha's great, light dough and the handprint theme?

To make our ornaments, I mixed up Martha's dough, which consists of cinnamon, applesauce, and craft glue. The mix smells heavenly, by the way. After letting it firm up for a bit, I rolled it out. To form the hand shapes, I cut the dough around a tracing I drew for each of my girls on cardstock.

After the dough dried, I painted the ornaments and put the girls' initials on the appropriate hands. I also tied ribbon on and wrote the year on the back in marker.

I think these came out really cute and I hope everyone likes them as much as I do!

I'm Dreaming of a....Crafty Christmas! Part 1.


(Obviously my efforts to blog daily are an epic fail. An ER visit for what I thought was an appendix issue turned into the 12-hour migraine-from-hell, and the blogging train derailed from there. To make up for it, the next few posts will be amazing ideas for how you can make great, homemade Christmas gifts that don't scream 'homemade' or have relatives struggling for polite ways to express their gratitude.)Idea #1: Liquor, and/or liquor assortmentMaking homemade flavored liquor is not only easy, but results in a product that is often superior to what you'd buy in the store. This year Brett and I decided to make limoncello, Irish cream (aka Bailey's), and coffee liquor (aka Kahlua.) Because limoncello takes the longest (upwards of a month), it's already brewing away. The Irish cream and coffee liquors are pretty instant-gratification, so we won't be mixing them up until later. I'll post the recipes for those next week.Limoncello How-To, based on original recipe posted by Patty Mitchell You'll Need:15 lemons 2x 750 ml bottles of alcohol, or one 1.75 L jug (our preference) Everclear works the best for this, but a cheap domestic (FLAVORLESS) vodka works too3 cups sugar3 cups waterLarge jars (canning jars work great)Bottles for the finished productDecorating supplies (ribbon, print-at-home sticky labels, stamps, whatever)1. Wash the lemons to remove any wax present. Peel them, using either a vegetable peeler or a box grater. For our method, we used the box grater. Make SURE not to get any of the pith- the white part. It'll make your end product bitter.2. If you're using the 750 mL bottles, divide the liquor between a couple large glass jars. If you're using the 1.75 L jug, you'll simply remove .25 mL (measure using a measuring cup) and reserve for another use. 3. Add the lemon peel to the liquor.4. Hide the jars/jug in a cool, dark place. Shake them up whenever you think about it and let stew for at least 2 weeks.5. Mix up a simple syrup using the sugar and water. Heat on the stove on low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool.6. Add the syrup to the liquor. You may need additional containers at this point- just do your best to divide it equally. 7. Let sit for an additional 2 weeks (minimum). 8. Strain through cheesecloth (or a coffee filter) into clean giftware. 9. Allow to sit for at least another week before using. After that, you'll want to store it in the freezer. 10. Share and enjoy!Endnote: What to do with all those lemons???Brett and I love to cook together, and we go through a LOT of fresh lemon, as "lemon juice" from a bottle is persona-non-grata around here. After we made the limoncello, we juiced all the lemons and poured the juice into ice cube trays. Once they were frozen, we dumped them into ziploc bags. Now we have *real* lemon juice readily available! We also made some candied lemon peels with the lemons that were left after we wore our hands out juicing the first 10 or so. We will be giving those away with our limoncello. Throw in some homemade biscotti and a good coffee and you have a delicious Italian gift basket! Are you having a crafty/homemade Christmas this year? [...]

Poor Bug!


For the first year of Lucy's life, I was *so* diligent about updating the blog with all her milestones. Her first solid food, words, steps...all were duly recorded.Poor Junie! I haven't done nearly as well with keeping up with her development. We've been good about taking pictures, but...her poor scrapbook is months behind. Luckily I had the foresight to purchase a "baby's first year" photography package when she was first born, so I do have some amazing portraits for her.Ironically enough, Junie has actually been hitting all her major milestones *much* sooner than Lucy did. At almost 11 months, Junie:- walks all over the house! - is very vocal: can say mama, dada, bug-bug- enjoys playing with her big much as Lucy will let her- loves dancing to music- still takes 3 bottles a day, but can drink just fine out of a sippy cup- eats lots of solids, including nearly everything we eat at the table- goes to bed when we do, but sleeps in until after I'm out the door for work- usually has one nursing session during the night, after work, and before bed- smiles almost all the time- she has the sunniest disposition! - hangs out on my back whenever she canWe love our Junie Bug![...]