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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

I’ve always taken breastfeeding one day at a time. When people ask me how long I’m going to breastfeed SweetPea(19m) I always say “at least until tomorrow” because honestly I don’t know. I try to keep my goals small and congratulate myself on each day I make it through. Breastfeeding is hard and there are certainly days that I don’t want to do it anymore, but I keep going and on days like today when my little one has a fever and is inconsolable I know I can offer her the breast and instead of being in complete misery she can find some small comfort and fall asleep.

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Recently my 11 month old daughter started doing this funny little move where she puts the back of her hands together and then moves her arms outward like she’s swimming the breaststroke. It’s a very cute little bit of motion, but I had no idea where she learned it from.

Until one day she did it while watching television with her Dad and we realized that she was mimicking one of the characters on a children’s show we let her watch sometimes. It was all very cute, and we ooed and awed over her brilliance as only parents can.

But then reality sank in and I realized that my precious little baby had turned from a cooing face sleepily peaking out from the safety of my arm to a fully fledged toddler sponge, ready to absorb any bit of information that comes her way… no matter what it is.

I’d always planned on limiting her exposure to television, and one of the first steps we took was to opt out of having commercial TV and to only watch things that could be acquired without advertisements (DVDs, Netflix etc.), but now it’s time to really step it up and examine what sort of media is right for her and our family. Where I used to happily watch anything that didn’t portray violence or disturbing noises now I have to wonder if the unhealthy female insecurities of my favorite guilty pleasure dramas are going to soak right into my little girl’s brain and have negative affects on her in the future, or if the drunken, thoughtless sex implied by college kids in the latest witty comedy is going to lay a ground work for promiscuity and low self-esteem.

The more I think about it the harder it becomes to figure out where to draw the healthy line. I want to shelter her from things she’s to young to be introduced to, but I don’t want her to grow up naïve of what the world can actually be like.

And in all honesty I think it will be better for all of us to cut back on the drama and entertainment of other peoples fictional lives and focus more on nature and wildlife documentaries that allow us to expand our knowledge and nurture our interest in this planet.

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This week we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to see a pair of Patagonian Cavy Kits at our local Zoo (The Sequoia Park Zoo). Only a week old they had just been released into the display enclosure!

Sweet Little Nursling

Our resident Red Panda woke up from his nap just long enough to watch us walk by.

A Black-Headed Ibis in the open air menagerie preens it’s feathers

The Pink Flamingos got a little feisty as we were about to leave. All in all it was a wonderful visit!

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This is my couch.

(Click to enlarger)

I’m one of those people who likes things relatively neat and tidy. In the morning I  wake up get my Hubby off to work and straiten the house; make the bed, fix the couch, pick up the toys that kind of thing.

So this morning as I was getting around to my weekly vacuuming I decided to build a little fort out of the couch cushions for my SweetPea. She loved it but I kind of wish I would have let them be, because now I know of the unspeakable things living under the cushions in a house with a toddler.

I never in all my years of being responsible for the cleanliness of a house have had to Vacuum underneath the couch cushions! It seems absurd, but now as the mother of a lovely little toddling person I find myself vacuuming the couch once a week and regardless of not letting her eat snacks while sitting on it I still find crackers, cheese, and bits of smushed blueberry in its squishy depths

There is no photographic evidence of the blueberry because I cleaned it up immediately instead of photographing it first, but next time I’ll get it for sure.

What sort of messes do your children make?

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After 8 months of having a child living and breathing on the outside I’m starting to feel like I might actually be regaining some of my individuality, like a sliver of that person I was before I dedicated my life to new life is getting a moment at the surface to breath.

Now don’t get me wrong… I love being a mother and I’ve wanted to be a mother for far longer than I would like to admit, but somewhere in the midst of morning sickness, birth and raising a baby I became a new person and in my new roll as a Mom I very quickly lost the time I used to spend being me.

But at 8 months old SweetPea has become so independent, happily exploring and playing on her own, and I’ve found myself with “freetime” a strange and bizarre concept I vaguely remember from my previous life.

The other day I was able to spend time baking in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes while she happily played with a wooden spoon at my feet for an hour! A whole HOUR! And from that hour I got the most delectable, savory, moist, wonderful scones I have ever been so lucky as to taste. Pumpkin Scones to be exact which you can find here if you’re interested.

When I was pregnant and my Husband and I were talking about parenting and finding the style that paired best with our feelings and beliefs we were instantly drawn to attachment parenting a philosophy that mirrored our own parenting desires and promoted comfort and independence in our child, and I am so happy to be seeing first hand how comfortable and secure we have made our daughter by earning her trust with closeness and reassurance.

As time wears on and SweetPea learns more about herself and her independence I am blessed with the opportunity to rediscover the person I am as a mother and as myself

And the real cherry on top of my parenting Sunday would have to be Yoga! With her new found sovereignty SweetPea will happily crawl about our bedroom happily playing with toys and trying to crawl on top of me while I get to spend 15-20 minutes a day releasing stress and practicing Yoga a pastime I could never consistently fit into those precious hours she spends napping each day.

Thank you so much for reading!

 

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After SweetPea was born when we were getting ready to leave the birthing center I strapped her into her car seat for the first time; She didn’t much seem to care and she slept the entire 2 hour drive home despite me poking her every 3minutes to make sure she was still breathing.

It went on like this for the first few months. Every time I put her in her car seat she would instantly fall asleep and not wake up until we reached out destination it was lovely.

But then one day on the way home she didn’t fall asleep instead she cried the whole way, and then it happened again, and again until I began to dread taking her anywhere that involved a lengthy car trip.

My first solution was to start leaving the house right around when she’d take her first nap of the day. I’d fill her full of breast milk, strap her into her car seat and hope that the 2 miles of bumpy dirt road would lull her to sleep; this worked almost every time, but once we made it into town and she woke up the rest of the stops were agony and the ride home was filled with the sound of sad screaming baby.

Last week my Hubby and I took SweetPea to visit his parents who live 3 hours from our home. I knew I could count on SweetPea to sleep for the first hour of the drive so I set up a playdate with a friend who lived in the first town we pass through, after crawling around on the floor and having lots of fun we headed out for the next leg of our journey and she was so exhausted she fell asleep almost immediately, and continued to sleep until we were about a half hour from our final destination. Now normally what I would do in this case is stop for a minute, check her diaper, fill her tummy and put her back in her car seat. Sometimes this works, but most of the time she starts getting upset before I even have her buckled in.

But this time when we pulled over we were at a beautiful beach park and I decided to try something new. We got out of the car and watched seagulls and waves crash for a while before changing her diaper and having a snack. When I put her back in her seat she was happy and made it the rest of the way with only a few unhappy outbursts.

Prior to SweetPea’s birth we would always drive from point A to point B only stopping when absolutely necessary, and always trying to make the best time possible, but with a 7 month old baby getting bored and restless in the backseat we very quickly learned that this was no longer possible.

So we went to the beach everyday of our trip, and didn’t stop there. Since finding out how helpful it is to stop and wear SweetPea out before continuing on our car journeys we’ve seen so much more cool stuff than we every had before. We saw Lions, Tigers and other wild cats at Great Cats World Park, we road in a gondola through the redwood trees at the Trees of Mystery, and we even stopped at a Medieval Festival on our way home the other day when previously we would have just passed it by, and thanks to our new found need to spend time out of the car we got to watch men in full armor jousting on horseback. As sight we would have other wised passed by.

Thank you for reading.

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This summer has really got me thinking about global warming and the affect humans have on the earth. Normally at this time of year I’d be outside in the baking sun working on my tan and swimming in the river, but instead I’ve found myself wondering if the sun will ever come out and if the rain will continue to fall right through September and back into the fall. It’s not just the summer that’s got me thinking. Over the years of growing up in Northern California I’ve noticed a lot of change in winter as well. Ten years ago I would wait all winter just hoping for snow which rarely fell bellow the 1,500 feet elevation we lived at, but over the last few years and this year in particular it’s snowed several times a year instead of not at all, including a small unexpected snow flurry in late May.

Before becoming pregnant I could have cared less about global warming and the state of the earth. I was aware of these things humans were doing to endanger the planet we lived on, but I didn’t really feel like there was anything I could do because I was only one person so I didn’t do anything, but then my husband and I created a life, a life that was growing inside me every day coming closer to being a living, breathing part of this worlds, and I began to wonder just what type of world it was that I was leaving her.

It all started one afternoon when my husband came home from work and mentioned that a coworker and his wife used cloth diapers on their daughter and that it sounded like a great idea. I rolled my eyes and informed him that if he wanted to be in charge of washing dirty diapers and scraping poop into the toilet he was more than welcome to choose the diapering style for our yet to be born child, but I would not be going through all that extra hassle.

But being the curious person that I am I couldn’t leave it at that. I had to find out more. So I set my browser for google and searched cloth diapers. I was prepared to find what I think most people who know nothing about cloth diapering are prepared to find, a bunch of nonsense about flat white pieces of cloth, diaper pins and the dreaded plastic pants…

Oh how incredible wrong I was.

I was immediately transported into a new world, full of diapering concepts I had never fathomed. There were All in One (AIO) diapers that were the equivalent of a disposable diaper that you could just wash, there were diaper covers in every color of the rainbow, and not the nasty plastic pant kind of my childhood either, these were high tech with snaps and Velcro, and they were made from fabrics that didn’t crinkle when you touched them. The possibilities were endless and the online pro cloth diapering community was HUGE. I read blog after blog written by mothers just like me about their experiences with cloth diapers and how much they loved them. I learned tricks and tips to keep your diapers fresh and found a handy sprayer (like the one on a kitchen sink) that attached right into the plumbing behind the toilet and allowed you to spray poop right into the bowl and flush it away. Amazing.

I was convinced and over the next few months I ordered enough supplies to keep my unborn baby’s bottom covered until she was old enough to stay dry. After she was born through a little bit of trial and error we found the best system for us and cloth diapering has gone wonderfully all 6 of the months she’s been alive. (Check back for a post on our cloth diapering system)

And from the day I ordered my first cloth diaper I realized that besides being cheaper, cuter, chemical free and softer against my baby’s skin, cloth diapers were as an added bonus better for the environment and by choosing to use them we were keeping something like 5,000 disposable diapers out of a landfill, and preventing the need to produce the chemicals and pollution caused by the manufacturing every one of them.

After the birth of my daughter and as she grows before my eyes I’ve realized that I am not just one person, as a wife and a mother capable of influencing the people in my home I am really three people and that by making better, wiser decision for my family and promoting environmental responsibility in my own home I am raising my daughter to believe that this is the way you live and that minimizing your negative impact on the world is what you should be trying to do everyday. So with these thoughts our adventure has started and we begin to find the best ways to live “Green” as a family in hopes that one day through the inspiration of us and our children others will choose a more environmentally friendly path for themselves and continue to share what we have learned until we’ve made a real difference.

And though the steps may be small, like going No-Poo(shampoo free), or choosing a simple household cleaner such as baking soda and vinegar over chemical laden name brand cleaners, I hope that by making enough of them we’re able to make a bigger difference and raise a person who loves and respects the world she lives in enough to take the steps necessary in order to better preserve it.

Plus making the right choices for the environment also turn out to walk hand in hand with the best choices for your health and for your body! Talk about an added bonus!

 
Thank you for reading! Please feel free to Comment.

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