Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Dear Delilah,

February 20th has long been a significant day for me. It is my "half-birthday," and since I had a summer birthday, I always used my half-birthday as an opportunity to bring treats to school and celebrate. It's been a long time since I've celebrated a half-birthday (33 and a HALF just doesn't have that ring to it, y'know?) but this date has become significant for other reasons.

On this date in 2009, four whole years ago now, you were conceived. This is the date on which my beloved daughter, the daughter I'd always longed for, was created. You were so loved, from the moment we found out we were pregnant with you, and that love has grown and blossomed in ways neither your father nor I could have anticipated. There are many nights after you go to bed at night that we look through photos of you, from infancy to present day, and talk about how smart, funny, sweet, and beautiful you are, and how overcome we are by our love for you.

The significance of this date doesn't end there; last year on this date, you nursed for the last time, weaning at just over 27 months old, a few months past my breast feeding goal of 2 years. On that day, I didn't anticipate that I'd be sitting here a year later, a few weeks into my second and final breast feeding journey with your brother. In preparing for his birth, we looked at books and talked about how he would drink Mama's milk, but you didn't seem to remember having done so yourself. I had read that older children who had weaned would sometimes ask to nurse again after seeing their infant siblings eating, and i wasn't sure how I'd handle that if the time came.

Looking Very Grown Up!
February 2013
Last week, that time came. As we sat snuggled up on the couch, reading a book while your brother was eating, you asked if you could have some "boobah milk." I hesitated for a moment. I had read that often, older children just want to know that the answer is yes, but won't even attempt to nurse. Others will attempt to latch on and get frustrated, having lost the ability to do so. Still others will just gently touch or kiss the breast. As I contemplated saying "yes," I was filled with uncertainty. I wasn't sure I'd be comfortable with it if you did attempt to nurse, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about getting bitten.

Ultimately, I said that you could try if you really wanted to, but that it might not work. You smiled and leaned in close to me, looked intently at my breast like you were trying to figure out what to do, and then finally you giggled, pulled away, and hugged me. I offered to express some milk into a cup for you to taste if you wanted, and you enthusiastically agreed. Upon tasting it, you exclaimed "yum!" taking just a small sip before putting it down and losing interest.

Since then, you've asked for milk two other times, and each time, again took just a small sip of it. It has been a few days since you asked, and in those few days, you have taken to nursing your stuffed animals and dolls when I feed Canon, and have even requested the use of my pump a couple of times!

While you don't seem to remember breast feeding yourself, I'm grateful that you have had opportunities to see other babies, including your brother, eating at their mother's breast, so that you will grow up knowing that breast feeding is a normal way to feed babies. I am so proud of the little girl you are growing into, and the way you have embraced your little brother. The transition to our new family size has not been without some challenges and growing pains, but your love for your brother is clear.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parenting Two: A Fresh Start

Welcome to the February edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - New Beginnings cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month's topic, our writers consider where they are with their New Year's Resolutions or new ventures of 2013. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.
Leading up to the birth of my newborn son, I spent more time than I'd like to admit fretting about how I would adjust to parenting two children. How could I possibly maintain my commitment to attachment parenting with an infant while simultaneously meeting the ever-changing needs of my high-energy three year old? How could I keep my daughter occupied and engaged in the early days when my son would need to be nursed and held around the clock, without relying too heavily on the TV? How would I have any energy left to ensure that my own needs are met after meeting the needs of my children?

*breathe in*
*breathe out*

My anxiety reached its peak as my husband's full-time return to work last week drew near. On top of the fears I'd cultivated during pregnancy, I would now have to figure out how to parent both children while recovering from a surgical birth!

After a few deep breathes (okay, and a few crying jags) I realized that I could go into this new beginning with stress and anxiety over meeting some standards of parenting perfection that existed only in my mind, or I could see it as an opportunity for a fresh start. While it's only been a few days, by relaxing my standards, I have been able to celebrate small successes rather than berate myself for small failures.

If we've spent the day having fun, does it really matter if we don't change out of our pajamas? If everyone has been bed, does it matter if one of those meals was a box of Macaroni and Cheese and a can of peas? If everyone has been kept safe and warm, does it matter if I don't get a shower until after my husband gets home? If the diapers get clean, does it matter if the rest of the laundry (and let's not even talk about the dishes) pile up for a few days, If everyone's basic needs, including my own, are met with love and care, does it matter if I'm not perfect?

Ultimately, no, it does not.

This transition to parenting two children is just the first of many transitions in this new chapter of my life. If I can embrace this new beginning as an opportunity to be gentle with myself and my family as we adjust to the realities of our new family size, the growing pains will be fewer and easier to manage. As I grow into my expanded role as a mother, and as I heal and recover from birth, there will be more days that we get dressed in real clothes, more days that every meal is home cooked, and more days that the laundry (and dishes) gets done. In the mean time, I will cherish this time with my children, knowing that I'm doing the best I can, and that my best, while not perfect, is certainly good enough.

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living into their lives via new beginnings. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Clearing the Clutter!
  • Using Special Time to Simply Connect - Amber at Heart Wanderings begins to focus on simply connecting with each of her children for a few minutes of Special Time each day. A deeper connection and sense of joy, softening of emotional outbursts, and less sibling rivalry have resulted from this practice.
  • Redefining Simplicity - Living within our needs - Survivor from Surviving Mexico talks about how moving from a first-world country to a third world country has changed her family's perception of simplicity. Adapting to this new life has not been easy, but can be done with an attitude of gratitude.
  • Changes - Sustainable mom writes about how she is bringing back a beat to a rhythm that has been falling apart.
  • Listening to my Kids - Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs is seeking peace and freedom after over-scheduling her daughters.
  • Thankful to Begin Again - Mercedes @ Project Procastinot learns a lesson from her twins.
  • Changes for a New Year - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is concentrating on making small changes this year in an effort to make better habits.
  • Parenting Two: A Fresh Start - Joella at Fine and Fair embraces the transition as her family grows as a new beginning by being gentle with herself and realistic with her expectations.
  • Finding Balance - At Authentic Parenting, Laura looks at where she's gotten fighting depression and spiraling to a more harmonious life.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

No Bake Energy Bars

Over the past few months, I have cobbled together a few different "no-bake" bar recipes to find the perfect, easy, delicious energy bar! They take about 10 minutes to whip-up and are stored in the freezer. The longest a batch has lasted me is a couple of months, though I'm sure they'd be fine in the freezer for up to three months. These energy bars are perfect for labor snacks, postpartum snacks, after-school snacks, or any time you need something to grab and eat in a hurry. They are so easy to make that little ones can help, too!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.5 Cups oats (I use rolled outs, but any oats will do!)
  • .5 Cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • .5 Cup raisins, craisins, or other dried fruit of your choice
  • .5 Cup Chocolate chips
  • .5 Cup Peanut Butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • .5 Cup Honey
  • .25 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds (I use ground, but whole seeds are fine!)
  • 2 Tbsp ground Flax Seed
  • 2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Tsp Cinnamon
These are easily made vegan by using vegan chocolate chips (or substituting carob chips) and vegan protein powder (or omitting the protein powder) and substituting maple syrup for the honey.

The Chia, Flax, and/or Hemp seeds can be omitted if you don't have them on hand.

For a lactation boost, add a few tablespoons of Brewer's Yeast!

What You'll Do:

  • In a large bowl, mash the banana
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  • If the mixture seems too wet, add more oats; if too dry, add more honey
  • Press mixture into a container or pan with raised edge, approximately 9X13, lined with wax paper or plastic wrap
  • Freeze for at least 2 hours
  • Remove from pan and cut into bars (square or rectangle)
  • Wrap each bar in wax paper or plastic wrap and store in freezer bag or freezer-safe container in freezer (bars will soften at room temperature)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Sister

Dear Delilah,

When I found out I was pregnant with who turned out to be your little brother, one of the things I looked forward to was seeing you grow into a big sister. As a big sister myself, I know well both how challenging and rewarding it can be as relationships with siblings evolve throughout childhood and into adulthood. We did our best to prepare you for your brother's arrival by including you in midwife appointments (you loved to help "check baby Canon"), talking about how things would change, and reading books like What Baby Needs and Mama, Talk About Our New Baby. You've always been very gentle and loving with babies, but I didn't know what to expect when there was a new baby right in your home, 24/7.

Greeting Canon on Grandma's Lap
You grew so attached to the idea of "Baby Canon" as a baby inside of my belly that I wasn't sure how you'd react to see him as a real, live baby on the outside of my body. On the day Canon was born, your Grandma brought you to the hospital in the afternoon to meet him. You entered the room quietly and cautiously, your eyes growing wider as you exclaimed in surprise: "Baby Canon came out!"

You repeated, "He came out!" as you gently touched his cheek and kissed his head. After gazing at him briefly and kissing him a few more times, it was business as usual as you checked out the hospital room and asked about all of the wires and tubes attached to me.

Your first meeting was brief, but the next day, you spent the afternoon with us, the four of us snuggling, reading books, and Daddy taking you for walks around the hospital and to the cafeteria for ice cream while Canon and I rested.

When we were all reunited at home, you truly blossomed ad a big sister. You are so gentle and sweet with your little brother, and eager to play with him. Every morning, the first thing you do is ask where "Baby Canon" is, kiss him, and tell him you love him. You are fascinated with nursing, and often proclaim how much he loves "boobah milk." You proudly help me by bringing me wipes, burp cloths, and my water bottle, and are interested in every aspect of caring for your brother.

You are taking this transition in stride and adjusting beautifully to our new family size. It seems impossible, but you've grown up so much faster these past couple of weeks, it practically makes me dizzy. As much as I wish I could stop time and cherish these moments forever, I look forward to watching you and Canon grow together, play together, learn together, and laugh together. I look forward to watching you teach and guide him. I'm even looking forward to the trouble you'll get into together, and to breaking up your fights.

I never imagined how much my love for you could grow at the same time as I fall in love with your brother. This step in the evolution of our family has introduced a brand new dimension to my love and appreciation for the beautiful, kind, gentle, loving spirit that you are. My sweet little girl, you continue to blow me away and capture my heart each and every day.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Home Birth Cesarean of Canon Patrick

Note: After Canon's birth, a friend linked me to the Homebirth Cesarean* (HBC) site. Because the rate of planned home births resulting in cesarean birth is so low, those of us who have had these experiences fall between a crack of sorts. We aren't exactly homebirthers, but we aren't exactly typical cesarean birthers, either. The months we spent planning and preparing to birth our babies gently at home, and the time we spent at home laboring in the care of our midwives bind us to the home birth community we hold so dear, while our surgical deliveries simultaneously alienate us from it. I have embraced this term, Homebirth Cesarean, to describe my birth experience, and I hope that sharing my experience will help my HBC sisters to process, embrace, and celebrate their own beautiful birth stories.

The timing and order of events is hazy, so all times are approximate and to the best of my memory. :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Simply Living Blog Carnival: February Call for Submissions

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

It’s been a month since the New Year began, and for most that means that any new resolutions have gone by the wayside. Have you started something new in order to bring about a more simple lifestyle? What prompted you to look at simple living? Share one of your New Beginnings with us.

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by February 12. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on February 19.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.

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