Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Whew! The whirlwind of fall is almost over! October brings my daughter's birthday, my birthday, two sister's birthdays, and Halloween. November is Thanksgiving, and then on to Christmas. They are all fun, but require much work! I'll have to admit that I'm ready for Christmas Eve, not only for the festivities, but because it means that all my work has come to fruition! Here's some glimpses into our lives over the last month.

My little cat on Halloween. Her adamant choice!

At the zoo for the first time, the day before Thanksgiving (the PERFECT time and weather to go)!

Posing for her Christmas shot. This was her favorite. She looks so angelic, but I had to work hard to shoot around and crop out the 10 band-aids that she put on her arms for fun the day before. Ha!

I have also been in full-fledged baby mode. I sorted through and organized baby clothes (looks like the seasons won't match up, but we'll see!), and have been doing some serious decluttering and organizing. It all makes me all the more committed to keeping things as simple as possible around here. It's just too much work to have a bunch of stuff!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Spend Month

September and October were VERY expensive for us.

Between our maternity deposit, car repairs, house repairs, and October birthdays, we blew through a ton of cash.

AND, my car was broken into this week and purse stolen. Luckily, I didn't have much cash and no other valuables were taken. Then, the next day, our dishwasher stopped working.

Add that to that the fact that our couch AND recliner have also broken in the last three months, which we haven't even begun to think about replacing, and we're feeling a bit financially overwhelmed.


Guess I will need to sell some of the things we're getting rid of (rather than just giving away).

To get us back on track, I'm instituting a "no spend" month for November, except for necessities and groceries.

My only exception is for Christmas shopping. BUT, this year I'm going to pull out the cash we've budgeted, and NOT go over it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Baby Bump (16 weeks) And Other Fall Fun

Things are calming down around here! I feel "normal" again, and am hitting that second trimester energy surge (only a month late :).

This is Bug and I dancing to some bluegrass at the NC State Fair.

And here's my 16 week pic, although I'm actually 17 weeks today. I am much bigger this time around. My belly wasn't this big at 30 weeks with Bug! But, I LOVE looking pregnant. I think pregnant women are incredibly beautiful, and think it's really sad that so many women feel "fat" and are sensitive about belly comments. I never feel better about my body than when I'm pregnant!

Yes, that is our super-cool 1972 Chevy Malibu. It was my husband's grandfather's and it is really fun to ride in, although I don't trust the seatbelts with our carseat. It's a hot car, though, and that's said by someone who usually could care less about cars.

Time to go enjoy the cool(er) NC weather, although it will still be in the 80's this week! At least we're done with 100+ weather!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My 30 Year Goals :)

How in the world did I turn 30? There is no escaping my grown-upped-ness now! I like to try to set some goals at every birthday.... so here are mine for my 30th year! I'm trying to make them a little more realistic this year, but it's so hard!

In no particular order...

1. Learn to use 50 Spanish words and phrases.

2. Sew or alter 10 items of clothing for my daughter, child number two, or myself (ummm... have to learn to sew first!

3. Teach at least one full Lamaze class series (put that certification to good use)!

4. Figure out how to market and add selling slings to business.

5. Get to a healthy weight and strength through good eating and a positive exercise routine (which means to lose about 20 pounds... although I think it's too negative to set "weight-loss goals").

6. Keep releasing all the clutter in our home (and storage units)! Get to the point where we only have two small units and every room and closet in our home is functional... aka not packed with junk!

7. Create and maintain flexible and effective routines and rhythms for our home.

8. Build up to the habit of meditating 15 minutes or so a day.

I'm tempted to go on, but I think that's plenty for now!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back to Planet Earth

I think I'm re-entering Earth's atmosphere!

The last few months have been a blur of nausea and fatigue... and trying to be there for my daughter when I really just want to zone out!

But, I think I'm at the end, finally, now that I'm 14 weeks pregnant. Not quite normal, but feeling better :).

One big event of the last few months is one I never thought would happen so soon: weaning. I want to write more about this later.

About my peace with it and also some of my regrets.

But, it's done. It was the best decision for all of us, including my almost three year old.

I'm really ready to move to the next phase of this pregnancy. I want to enjoy and connect to it, which is always really difficult for me during the "stomach-flu" period.

I've also been giving away an average of 3 garbage bags FULL of junk/treasure every day, which has been really freeing. We had planned on selling most of it, but I've just given up on it.

You know, I've always said that it really does come back to you, anyway. For example, after giving away 5 bags of stuff that I probably could've gotten $50 for, max, someone offered me all their winter maternity clothes... which is worth waaaay more than that!

Plus, I didn't have to spend precious hours and energy doing a garage sale, craigslisting, or ebaying. There is such peace of mind in just releasing things.

Finally, my camera is STILL out for repairs. Grrrr.... It came back to us once unfixed, and Best Buy better hope that it's returned to me repaired this time! Mama bear is extremely frustrated to not be able to take pictures of all the happenings of our household!

Friday, August 27, 2010

All Out

This isn't going to be pretty.

I'm very, very tired. And, I thought the first trimester was almost over... and then I went to our first appointment at the Birth Center. The midwife said she thought I wasn't 11 weeks, more like 8. So we decided to go for an unplanned ultrasound, which showed she was right.

Apparently, when you're still nursing, it can delay ovulation pretty dramatically in your cycle (even if your cycle is regular) and throw off the dates.


Speaking of nursing, my almost-three-year old nursling is kind of driving me crazy.

It makes my skin crawl to nurse right now. La Leche folks said that's actually really normal at this age and during pregnancy, which does make me feel better, but it is still driving me nuts. My little girl is nowhere near ready to wean, but I'm finding myself wanting to stop. What to do?

Getting sleep has become my numero uno priority, but it's hard to come by. My daughter is not a sleeper... to say the least... and I think my sleep needs actually exceed hers right now.

And, of course, my husband's doctoral program and super-busy-ridiculous-workallthetime job as an assistant principal has geared up for the year. Which means I have exactly 2 hours-ish of downtime in a week.

I have got to find a 12 year old to come be a mother's helper!

I also need to figure out how to get my daughter to relax and play some on her own. She is so very wonderful, bright, curious, and intense. She also wants my constant interaction and total and complete attention during the day... except when the tv is on. It's very tiring.

I never thought I would be a parent who would allow more than the briefest tv watching, but I am completely embarrassed by how much we've been watching lately. I think not being able to get outside as much (105 degrees with high humidity is just too much with the nausea) is giving us way too much time with too little to fill it, except mommy the entertainer.

I'm feeling the need to make changes in our rhythm and routines, but am really unsure how I can go about it without a major battle.

This motherhood thing can be really tough.

But, on a positive note, Bug is finally sleeping all night regularly... uninterrupted sleep is amazing. AND, I'm nowhere near as sick this pregnancy as I was with my last pregnancy... which is not only great, but in my family's history it means BOY! Of course, the ultimate positive news is that this is a healthy pregnancy, which will result in another beautiful soul in the world! If only I could keep that in mind while feeling mired down!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

It has been years since I've gotten a full night's sleep.

The first 18 months of Bug's life, she woke up 10-20 times... every single night... which, I discovered, will actually turn you into a crazy person.

That diminished until she was about two, but still stayed around one to three times a night.

Last night, though, for the first time ever, my sweet girl slept from the time I put her to sleep until 6:30 a.m., her wake up time!

Just in time, too, because the first trimester pregnancy sleepiness is really building, and I'm finding myself somewhat desperate for sleep. I'm not sure what made the difference... maybe it really is just developmental.

I sure hope this continues!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Don't Jinx It!

I'm holding my breath!

During my last pregnancy, I was so sick.

It was not normal morning sickness. It was throw-up-every-hour-and-be-nauseated-24-hours-a-day sickness. It was lose 15 pounds in the first month sickness.

It was very, very difficult, and one of my biggest deterrents to getting pregnant again sooner.

However, I'm going on 8 weeks, and having almost no illness! It had been going for weeks at this point last time... and kept going until about 22 weeks.

I've had a few waves of it, and absolutely must keep my blood sugar up or I do feel nauseated, but it's been very manageable!


I don't want to jinx it, because I know it's still early, but I'm hopeful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lentil Tacos

Originally, the recipe came from http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/, but I've made several changes to the original.

It is a really inexpensive meal to make, very easy... and healthy too! My husband, a very picky eater, loves it. We actually prefer it to its meat alternative. Enjoy!

Easy, Inexpensive Lentil Tacos
3/4 cup dry lentils (the brown ones)
3/4 cup brown rice
4 cups water
4 boullion cubes (I use chicken or beef, but you can certainly use veggie... or just salt!)
4 t chili powder
1 t cumin
2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder

Rinse the lentils and remove any debris. Put all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Give it a good stir, then turn down the heat to medium and put the top on. This will smell wonderful as it cooks! I usually take a peek and give it a stir every ten minutes, and it will take 20 to 30 minutes for the water to be absorbed.

Add your favorite taco fixings to complete the meal. We usually do small flour tortillas with cheese, tomato, and onion, but it tastes great on a crunchy taco or just by itself!

Favorite Family Recipes: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These are the best! They're very easy and sound impressive :). The Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is the only thing that's "specialty," but it's pretty inexpensive. You'll get 3-4 meals out of a bottle, and we have ended up making this recipe fairly often. It's GREAT when you feel like takeout, but don't want to dish out the cash. The original recipe is from the Sun Maid Web Site.

1 pound ground chicken
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 to 2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (even my rural Food Lion has this)
Cilantro, if you have it on hand, to taste
Bibb or iceberg lettuce

1. Brown the chicken and onion together with desired salt and pepper.

2. Reduce heat to medium/medium low. Add the peanuts and raisins, and cook for @5 minutes, until they've softened up a bit.

3. Add the chili sauce and lemon juice, and cook a few more minutes.

4. Peel off washed lettuce leaves and serve like a lettuce burrito! Yum!

*** Note: The original recipe called for Bibb lettuce, but that stuff is pricey. We've tried different types (romaine, green leaf), but iceberg actually works the best!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Woo hoo!

I thought I was, but we got the positive test today... number two, here we come :)

I'm due March 14th, which will work out really well with my husband's school (he's an assistant principal) and school (he's also a doctoral student) schedule.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm maybe pregnant... no positive test yet... just many signs and, the obvious one.

The idea alone, though, has really made me contemplate how things will
change so, so much when another one is around.

Our first one was such... a miracle? A joy? Is there a cliche' that doesn't apply?

How in the world did she go from such a little thing to a walking, talking, independent almost-three-year old?

I'm feeling really emotional about her loss of babyhood... and at the possibility of introducing another whole life to share our time together!

I'm wondering if there are any good books about introducing siblings? Any personal experiences to share?

I have absolutely no attached/gentle parenting friends (boo) and am feeling at a loss for how in the world to cosleep, nurse, etc. with two (Bug is still nursing... although truthfully I would like to at least phase it out some!).We really struggled with Bug to figure things out, and I'm determined to learn from others a bit more this time around!

(Listen to me, I'm such a planner that I'm possibly not even expecting and already trying to create a list and cross it off... ha!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Bad News Is...

That my camera is broken (ish)! There's some kind of flash delay that makes all indoor photos dark. Boo.

The good news is, that it is still covered by the Best Buy accident protection plan, the best money ever spent.

I always hear that those insurance plans are a waste of money, but we've earned it back 10 times over with everything we've ever bought there!

I'm not sure if that's a testament to the quality of their products or the clumsiness of their owner.... :)

I'm holding onto my camera for some outdoor festivities of the next few weeks, but am sad that the pictures for the fun that's been going on at our house since my husband is home for the summer (the biggest perk of being a school administrator) have been so dark.

Driving boats at the museum...
Writing in the sand, although combing it proved more fun.

A little watercolor painting...

And more! We made some rose petal beads, which turned out well, but the photos are so dark I can hardly tell what the picture is!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tomato Funeral

First it was the beetle invasion (actual beetle from garden).

Then it was the branch that fell during a thunderstorm. Right on top of the raised garden. The only area that I have put time and money into in the entire yard.... and that I love dearly. (This picture is after it was moved.)

These are just a sample of the tomatoes that fell off all 10 of the tomato plants when said branch fell. Almost every tomato was knocked down... and were so close to having more tomatoes than we even knew what to to with!

Rest in peace beautiful little tomatoes. Tell your brothers and sisters that you hope they make it, too! :)

(The garden did survive... although I had to pull out 4 of the plants... we'll just have to wait for the new little tomatoes to come in)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Discovering Waldorf: Rhythm

There is energy in this universe.

It sings and it dances. It laughs and it cries. It heals and it hurts.

It's rhythmic.

Morning and night,

Spring, summer, winter, fall

Ocean waves, blowing leaves, singing birds.

Sweeping, baking, and hanging laundry to dry.

It fills those who open to it and give it away.

And it's the strongest in a child, my child.

And I will knit us a blanket with it.

Warm and tight.

This Man

I am so thankful my daughter has a wonderful father!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Modern Dollhouse

I am very excited to have finished my modern dollhouse. Full credit for the design goes to Made by Joel, whose crafty ideas area always inspiring!

I can't wait to make the furniture for it!

Swimming with the Snakes

Yesterday was oneofthosedays...

Bug was fussy from the start (that's what happens when you don't fall asleep until 10 p.m. and wake up by 5:30 a.m.).

Then, a thunderstorm came and blew a large branch right on top... right on top of the one 8 foot by 8 foot section of my yard that has been lovingly and carefully tended (not to mention hundreds of dollars poured into), my bountiful square foot garden.

I happened to see it, and it literally sucked the breath out of me, I was so shocked.

I should have taken a pic with the branch on top, but didn't because I was so desperate to see the damage.

It's hard to tell how much will survive.

Before it fell, I had started moving mattresses and bed frames to create the "great co-sleeping room of 2010." For some reason, the branch made me all more determined to finish.

As I was pulling out a bed slat, it caught and then suddenly released.... taking a huge part of my thumb and slicing my fingernail in half.


I didn't need stitches or anything, but it hurts.

And, I completely understand the need for opposable thumb.

Truthfully, it's been on of those... weeks? months?

House has rotting wood... at least $1000 repair. Recliner broke (now just a chair), nice couch just caved in on one side, toilet screws corroded and leaking on floor and under toilet (slowly).

I know none of these are tragedies, but it has been like water torture around here.

And how did I end the day? I went here and got some white habotai silk scarves to dye with Kool Aid. Thanks so much to Childhood Magic for the great idea.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Weekly Rhythms

"What day is today, Bug?" I asked my sweet little girl.

"Tasty Tuesday!" she replied, "and we're going to make bread and butter today!"

This is our first week using a weekly rhythm and I am astonished at how well it is going!

We made a rain stick with materials we had at home and just ate a lunch of fruit smoothies and homemade bread and butter.

My little two-year-old bug can already tell me the days of the week, and she's really enjoyed the simple projects we've done.

Here's our rhythms for each day:

Music Monday: Make instruments/play guitar/sing/dance

Tasty Tuesday: Cook something child friendly

We-Create Wednesday: Art or craft project

Things to Know Thursday: More focused learning project (ABC's, etc.)

Freestyle Friday: Field trip or random fun project. This may change to "farm friday" if I can make contact with an organic farm to go pick some produce each week (we live in a very rural area).

We haven't gotten to the weekend yet, but will eventually add to those days as well. I love, love, love having a flexible plan for the day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hitting My Stride

I've never exactly been conventional.

I love building, putting things together, and creating. I am the one in my house to assemble the grill or fix the toilet.

We co-sleep (yes, on purpose), breastfeed an almost three year old, and believe that kids actually need plenty of love and attention... a focusing of energy that fills them and prepares them to love themselves in the future.

I teach Lamaze and have definite ideas about mainstream birth practices.

I believe in eating food that nourishes, and pretty much ignores the current food pyramid. We're trying to buy more and more organically.

I've recently fallen in love with the Waldorf philosophy of education (or what I know of it!). I love it's combination of structure and rhythm with freedom and creativity!

But, I've recently realized that much of my frustration since entering motherhood is that we're not set up for our lifestyle. I guess we didn't realize it for so long because, where we live, no one does things like we do.

We have a queen bed that we co-sleep in that's still up on its frame, and always has been. It's been so uncomfortable for us at night that my husband sleeps most nights in another room. We don't really have an area dedicated to learning and creating. We have toys and art supplies that don't really support our philosophy of education.

I think what's most frustrating now is that our investment has been in things that don't support our lifestyle. Plastic, worthless toys that our daughter almost never plays with. Dedication of space to things that aren't really important to us, mainly just because I wanted them to look "nice" and "conventional" to guests... which is just silly.

So, the next two months are going to be about centering, focusing, and reorganizing for our little family.

My first step will be reorganizing our bedrooms.

What once was: 1. master bedroom 2. guest/toy room 3. office

Now will be: 1. sleeping room 2. real play room 3. reading room

I think we can start this with almost no money spent! Now, if I can only find a Bamboletta doll on ebay for $20 :).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Morning Routine

Our morning routine is a work in progress, but it's definitely a start. Most of it starts from flylady.com!

  1. Wake up and cuddle... sing some Bob Marley to my Bug (Don't worry, about a thing) ;)

  2. Stumble to the kitchen and make some coffee for myself, chocolate milk for Bug.

  3. Let her watch TV while I check e-mail.

  4. Take a shower if I'm not going to the gym (child care is only from 9-11) or get dressed for exercise.

  5. Get Bug dressed and ready to roll.

  6. Make the bed, swish and swipe the bathroom counters and toilet, and start a load of laundry.

This gets us to breakfast... I want to add some yoga in, too, but haven't been able to make it fit without feeling too rushed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Daily Rhythm

Figuring out this whole stay-at-home mom thing has been really tough for me.

I want to be organized, but strict schedules just don't fit with my personality or parenting style. I can't even tell you how many times I tried, and failed, to follow some google-found schedule another parent or guru created. Flylady.com has been helpful with the cleaning, but hasn't quite addressed other parts of my day. So, most of the time, I have been just plain frustrated.

Recently, though, I discovered the Waldorf philosophy on parenting and education, and it really resounds with me. I'm still learning the basics, but I love their idea of rhythm in the home.

A daily rhythm provides predictability to the day, but is also flexible enough to accomodate real life... unexpected events, illness, or just plain fatigue. I've realized that rhythm, or lack of it, is my main problem. I just don't naturally do things in a consistent, steady way.

It relies on the idea of breath. During the day, events are structured to expand or contract. And, there is an emphasis on maintaining a peaceful, unhurried pace to the day.

For the first time, I really thought about what was important to me in a day, what needed to happen every day, and how I could juggle the responsibilities of home, family, and my part-time work.

So, I finally have a routine! It's really simple, and based on times that I'm almost always home. I have a morning routine, a routine for each meal time, and a before-bed routine. I also have weekly rhythms... things I do on the same day each week most of the time. It helps me be more centered, balanced, and productive without feeling like a task master.