Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gift Doll Slings

I have really been enjoying sewing a bit lately. It's just a few minutes here and there, but it uses a completely different part of Me than usually gets worked these days.

My friend woowoo mama made her kids lovely dolls, but they needed carriers! So I volunteered to make doll slings for them, and it turned out to be very satisfying to make something for someone else. They aren't perfect, but considering that my only sewing time is either late at night or with a 4 year old helper I've decided to embrace imperfections.

Mailing is nearly as big a project as making, and I'm so proud that I accomplished it in a timely manner - it's the small things in life that can make me feel okay about myself, right? The last minute before leaving for work picture taking session revolved around Fire Boy trying to guard the slings while Wind Girl was trying to dance on them, but I did get a few pictures to share. I didn't even try for pictures modeling the slings - that would have been asking too much!

Hopefully the recipients will enjoy, too!

Wordless Wednesday: Birdwatching Behind the Curtain

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Delurking Day

So I know I don't have many readers, but who's actually out there?? It's Delurking Day, so come out and leave me a comment! I'd love to know who you are!!

Oh, and I'm super excited that Annie from PhD in Parenting quoted me yesterday in a guest post on Raising my Boychick. Great post...check it out....

My thoughts are with the people of Haiti today. I wish that I could formulate my feelings eloquently, but I'm not getting there so simple will have to do. I'm sending out many many thoughts to the people in need.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Appreciation of Reality

midnight moonlight on the snow, by Wandering Dad

It's easy for me to read ideas and theories and decide what our home should be like. What I want for it. How we should behave. How we should clean up. When we should nap. What we should eat. How we should speak. But that's not reality. The reality is at home, where I am not. I can make some of my ideas and dreams into reality, but I cannot magically make all this happen.

So I dream of having a Waldorf-ish style home, with simple mostly natural toys, rhythm to the day, beautiful spaces, appreciation of the natural world around us, positive and supportive environment, so on and so forth. When I look at much of society around us, we are far from the norm....far on the crunchy side. But when I look at the Waldorf blogs and books I feel like we have so so far to go, and it feels somewhat unattainable. Since I am not the primary parent I have only so much control over things at home. And, I am only human. I come home from work exhausted a lot of days, and I only have so much time and energy for change, creativity, and extras beyond the basics of life. In some ways I know this will sounds like a defense of myself for not changing and not being the change I want, but really, I'm not superwoman. I want to come home and have dinner and spend a few minutes with my children not thinking constantly about what I Should be doing to make change in our lives. And evenings are not the best time for "working with" the kids, who are usually clingy and need their mama fix. Some days I find energy for a little extra, a little push forward, or a little inner thought, but many days I do not.

In the past month I have been lucky enough to have a lot of extra time at home for holidays and snow days. It was really wonderful to have the additional time with my family, and it was also a good reality check. I have not had that much time at home since maternity leave over a year ago. And then we had a new baby and all that. Now we are shifting our parenting from babies to toddlers and preschoolers, and we are thinking about how we want to parent and what we want our home to be like. I do a lot of reading (although not as much as I would like), I discuss ideas with friends, and I think about what would be nice and fun and what might work for our family. And I take tidbits home to my husband, the stay-at-home parent in our household. Although in general we agree on parenting, we do have slight differences which come in part from our different backgrounds. We have different personalities and different levels of interest in personal development and internal work. And we have different levels of involvement in the realities of raising two young children.

This recent extra time at home gave me more of an opportunity of be a part of the daily rhythm at home, and to observe and appreciate what goes on there. I found renewed respect for what my husband does. I have deep and great appreciation for him and his work. He not only does nearly all the housework (including laundry, dishes, and toilets!), he cares wonderfully for our two young children, makes homemade meals nearly every weekday, uses cloth wipes on our baby's bum, and wears silk long johns (just had to throw that one in because I like it), but he also does his own tractor repair, much of our car work, does snow removal, keeps track of finances, pays the bills, mows the yard, helps garden, helps my parents cut firewood, does the grocery shopping, does our food co-op orders, helps our son with his speech, takes the kids on fun outings, plays the guitar, stays more up to date than I do on current events and technology, and is supportive of me (and I'm not exactly easy or laid back). At the same time Wandering Dad is finding himself. Trying to figure out who he is and who he wants to be and how he wants to parent and develop as a person. Wow!

I also noted that we have made some big changes at home. The change has been gradual, and it is a work in progress, but we are moving toward that seemingly unattainable goal of a simple, peaceful, beautiful home. Working with what we have and who we have, we have come a long way. And one thing that Wandering Dad and I agree on is that although we are not where we want to be, we at least have a mostly shared dream. I'm sure that my visions of our future are slightly more dreamy than my husband's, but at least we are headed in the same direction. His reality has many more little bums to wipe, many more little hands to wash, and many more little noses to blow. But he wipes and washes and blows with such patience (most of the time) and always with such love. What more can I ask for except slow and steady steps toward our joint dream of peace and beauty?

Wordless Wednesday: After Dinner Music

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goodby to Pumping

Today my workday is different. I am not pumping. I am not providing milk for my daughter's bottle tomorrow. It feels strange. I Could pump. I could lift the pump off the floor and up onto my desk and take out my tubing and hook it up and get out my pump parts and express milk into a bottle. But, I'm not. I'm not going to do it.

I never really thought about "hanging up the horns" as being a big event, but it is. For the last four years I have either been pumping, pregnant, or both. When I finished graduate school and started my first "real" job I was pregnant with Fire Boy. After a way too short maternity leave I went back to work and entered the world of pumping mothers. I was rather lost. This contraption was so strange. I was nervous. It felt strange. At times I had trouble letting the milk down. I was stressed over getting enough milk. My baby didn't take bottles well. I had all the worries of a new parent and all the anxieties of going back to work exhausted and juggling my roles as mother and wife and worker and also providing milk for my baby. I was glad to do it, but at the same time it wasn't easy. It seemed like my workday was consumed by drinking, pumping, eating, repeat, repeat, repeat. We had thrush. We had unknowledgeable doctors. We had doctors who tried to get us to stop breastfeeding. Fire Boy had a dairy allergy. I had a lipase issue. I had post-partum depression. I traveled for job interviews. I pumped on planes, in hotels, in airports, in cars, in bathrooms, in closets, in offices, and at home. We moved. I started a new job. And still I pumped. I pumped for Fire Boy until he was two years old and I was pregnant with Wind Girl and my milk dried up.

I have pumped for 16 months for Wind Girl, and we (Wandering Dad and I) decided it was a reasonable time for me to stop pumping for her. She is much more interested in food than Fire Boy was at this age, and much less attached to the bottle. So hopefully today she napped easily without a bottle of mama's milk (and if she really wants it there is milk in the freezer that can be thawed for her). In some ways I feel like I am cheating her by not pumping. The milk is here, ready for her, and I'm choosing to let it stay there and not express it for her. But also, I pumped for 16 months! That is a long time. She is a big girl, and doesn't really need the milk during the day now. She can still nurse all she wants when I am at home, and the amount of milk she gets doesn't have to be diminished.

Although there are days when I have Really not wanted to pump, times when I dreaded it, I feel so lucky to have been able to provide for my children in this way. And I think part of me needed to be needed in that way. I needed to provide milk. It was something that only I could do. I couldn't be there with them, but I, and only I, could provide mama's milk for them. It has been good for them, and it has been good for me in a way. I am glad I did it!

During this time as a pumping mother I have learned so much. I have learned about pumps. I have learned about traveling with breastmilk. I have learned to hand express. I about breastmilk storage. About bottles. About nipple confusion. About changing membranes regularly. About hand-free pumping. About pumping while driving. About supply. About oatmeal and Mother's Milk tea. And about the need for support and accurate information! I have also learned about cleaning milk out of computer keyboards, about overflowing bottles, about spilled bottles, and about forgetting to but the bottles on and soaking my pants.

Luckily though this all I have had supportive friends and family and the wonderful community at Kellymom. This support helped get us through our breastfeeding difficulties, and helped me develop into the mother that I am. I needed support in my endeavors, and I needed friends who I was not afraid to talk to about things like nipples, breastpump tubing, and baby poop, and who could help me see that reverse cycling was only a phase. It seems that everything is only a phase. And this phase of my life is over. I am no longer a pumping mama.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Window Stars and Birthday Crowns

So I have been making time for a bit of crafty creativity. As a friend reminded me, it doesn't take much to make a big difference! I made these two window stars and have have more in the works. They are fun and easy and add a bit of color to our living room. I found online tutorials for the both the large and small stars.

And here are a few more pictures of Fire Boy's birthday crown (inspired by SouleMama's Creative Family).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Birthday Cake

A few days ago my little boy turned 4. Four! IV. Four years old! Goodness..... He helped to make his birthday cake. We could only find one beater for the mixer - someone ran off with the other evidently. And this is my mom's mixer. We can't find either beater for my mixer. Somewhere there must be a stash of beaters?

And.....I mad a birthday crown for him!!! I did it. I did it. I've been trying to do a bit of crafting in the evenings after the kids are asleep, and it feels good. I got my sewing machine from my mom. It's a lovely machine that she gave to me as a graduation present when I finished graduate school. But I was pregrant with this will man at the time and it took four years before I carved out time to sew. I let Fire Boy pick out the colors for the crown and he surprised me with his picks. I thought about making a fancier crown, but decided to keep it simple, and he was quite satisfied with the result.

Friday, January 1, 2010

green playsilk

Today our green playsilk was a backpack, a coat, a parachute for Fire Boy, a parachute for a ball (man), a doll, a grassy field, a cloud covering the sun (yellow playsilk), and it also had several less defined roles. I can safely say that Fire Boy's imagination is functioning adequately.

(and clothes are too bothersome for Fire Boy - pants either have baggy knees, touch his feet, are too short, are too loose, or too tight. I just ordered him some tights...)