Of big boy beds and packages from the other side of the world

1471. Aaron making Cedar’s big boy bed.

1472. How much Cedar loves his bed and that he helped with the “scoos” (screws).

1473. The bittersweetness of his first night in it.

1474. Aaron getting to go to his finish carpentry workshop.

1475. Our first weekly at-home date night…so nice in spite of being exhausted.

1476. Chipotle brought home.

1477. Watching “Prince Caspian” in my love’s arms.

1478. Canning applesauce with my husband.

1479. An even number of jars canned (to satisfy my OCD-ness).

1480. An unexpected box of goodies from New Zealand.

1481. Hand-me-downs for the babies and Mommy.

1482. New jewelry…some made from paua shells.

1483. A wrap shirt dress…on the very day that I was bemoaning the fact that none of my old ones fit me anymore (they weren’t made for nursing mamas!).

1484. Cedar wanting to wear bright red pajama pants with cars on them and a pair of blue-striped gloves when we went for a walk.

1485. My apple pie turning out very yummy despite forgetting to make enough crust for a top too…so I covered it with crumbled leftover cinnamon roll biscuits.

1486. A spur of the moment garage-sailing excursion.

1487. Adding more 50 cent dresses to Genoa’s little girl dress collection.

1488. Finding a four-person tent for $6.

1489. Aaron finding a push lawnmower.

1490. Holding a real conversation with Cedar.

1491. Cedar saying “Meat. Fun” when I told him that we were having steak for dinner.

1492. How much reading loves us singing/reading his Baby Beluga book…

1493. …and then he tries to sing it too.

1494. My recreation of an artichoke and turkey/chicken panini from Panera.

1495. Most of our Azure order arriving…including my natural “Nutella” (finally!).

1496. Strauss Family Creamery yoghurt.

1497. Cedar matter-of-factly helping himself to another Fig Newman.

1498. My love watching the kids so I could sleep another hour.

1499. Genoa FINALLY napping solidly after several days of not.

1500. Anticipation.

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Of good food and Winnie-the-Pooh

1441. How much fun Cedar has playing with all the little cars he was given.

1442. Talking with a friend about baby stuff (and discovering that we both had planned to use the same very rare baby name!).

1443. Genoa’s huge smiles and her little gasps when she’s excited or happy.

1444. Little legs and arms flailing in excitement.

1445. Growing times in our marriage.

1446. Having good friends over for dinner.

1447. Amazing steak.

1448. Chocolate pasta with raspberry sauce and whipped cream for dessert.

1449. Cedar recognizing me humming the Winnie-the-Pooh theme song and asking to “watch Pooh?”.

1450. Throw-together dinners of leftover quinoa pilaf and a skillet mix of ham, onion, kale and apple.

1451. Playing games with Aaron’s sisters.

1452. Making pumpkin cream cheese bread.

1453. All our lights making our cottage so cozy in the cool, dark evenings.

1454. Sharing and praying with my sisters in Christ.

1455. Scrambled eggs.

1456. Cedar singing “up, down, up, down” from Pooh.

1457. Going (organic!) apple picking as our little family.

1458. Searching for a certain type of apple with Aaron.

1459. Tidy rows of trees.

1460. Cedar and Genoa in their sun hats.

1461. How, when asked where he was going when he walked off, Cedar replied “appa piteen” in a tone of “Duh, Mom!”.

1462. Talking and dreaming and planning with my love.

1463. An hour on the lake with Aaron’s family.

1464. How excited Cedar was watching Daddy being pulled behind the boat on the tube.

1465. How much Genoa moves around on the floor.

1466. Aaron ordering his new Chromebook.

1467. Fun cribbage and Draw Two games with my love.

1468. Aaron’s amazing bread.

1469. Eggplant melts.

1470. A lovely evening with my husband.

 

On being a crunchy mama

Today I’m over at YLCF, talking about one of my passions…natural parenting!

My desire for homebirth stems from something I’ve been passionate about for a long time: doing things the natural way.  “Natural” can have many definitions, but for me it means doing things without unnecessary interventions and using things that are minimally processed and free of chemicals, etc.  In my late teen years, my tendency towards legalism caused me to take it to an unhealthy extreme, but since then, God has been breaking me of that bondage and teaching me balance in all things.  It’s still something I’m very passionate about, but I’m learning to not let that passion rule my life.

However, having babies brought this passion to a whole new level as I realized that the decisions my husband and I made were now affecting these little people on whose lives we had such an impact. It wasn’t just me any longer, and that caused me to look even closer at the decisions we were making in our lives, both consciously and without realizing it. Every day we make choices, even when we go along with the status quo, and I wanted those choices to be what was best for my children, even if it seemed a little weird.

Read the whole post here…

Of gardens and family photos and faraway friends

1411. Catching up on laundry.

1412. Our new Turkish-looking duvet cover.

1413. The bittersweetness of pulling up the summer garden.

1414. Our candle lantern hanging by the back door.

1415. Catching up on some Internet reading.

1416. My new hanging spice rack/cooking area (I love IKEA!).

1417. Knowing there is grace even when it seems like I’m tired all. the. time.

1418. Having an extra pizza from the ones I made the night before so all I had to do for supper was throw a salad together.

1419. Finally being able to do a whole workout session without being interrupted and having to move on to something else.

1420. Sunset-coloured roses from my guys.

1421. Talking with a close friend that lives in Minnesota.

1422. That singing with Aaron at the local crisis pregnancy center fundraising banquet went so well despite several complications.

1423. Finding some good stuff at the MOPS rummage sale…

1424. …like a denim jumper for Genoa, just in time for our family pictures.

1425. Finding cute dresses to put away for a couple years.

1426. A really fun family portrait session in the park.

1427. Anticipating seeing the photos.

1428. Spending Sunday morning at home together.

1429. Pumpkin pie French toast.

1430. Going to the local plant nursery with the kids.

1431. Planting our fall garden.

1432. Being able to help plant since I wasn’t nine months pregnant this time.

1433. Wearing Genoa in her first back carry.

1434. Seafood pasta and artichokes for supper.

1435. Avocados for 77 cents each.

1436. Genoa putting herself back to sleep twice after fully waking up at night.

1437. A phone call from a friend on a long faraway trip.

1438. Brisk mornings.

1439. Chatting with a friend that I haven’t talked with in a long time.

1440. Chubby polka-dotted legs.

 

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff – Part Three (an addendum)

About a year ago (almost exactly), I put together a two-part post on baby stuff that I had discovered and really liked since Cedar was born. Part One was on stuff for 0-6 months and Part Two was on stuff for 6-12 months.  Cedar was only about ten months old at the time and a certain friend, who shall remain nameless, mocked teased me about posting a list that went past how old my baby was, especially if I found anything else I really liked before Cedar was past twelve months old.  With that in mind, I would like to clarify that the majority of the stuff in this addendum has been stuff that I’ve discovered and really liked since having Genoa.  So there! *smile* Though we ended up not buying much more for a second baby, there definitely have been a few things that have come in very handy when juggling two little ones.

Ergo: I’ve long been a wrap girl, and for the newborn days, that is still definitely my preferred mode of babywearing. However, for most of the families I’m around, they all love their Ergos.  So for a long time, I was very against ever getting an Ergo since that’s what everybody else had (yes, that’s immature).  But, during my pregnancy with Genoa, God worked on my heart and broke me of that pride, and so I asked for one for Genoa’s baby shower.  Several of my friends went together and got me this lovely green one…and after a few weeks, I was hooked.  Like I said, I still prefer wraps for the newborn days, and my Bali Breeze wrap is still the coolest babywearing item for our hot, hot summers, but especially as Genoa gets older, I find myself reaching for my Ergo more and more.  It’s just so fast to put on compared to wraps, which is a good thing as you’re trying to keep track of a busy toddler while you put on the baby.  I especially appreciated its versatility during a recent shopping trip to IKEA.  Genoa started out in it, but after awhile wanted to get out so she could face front for awhile.  I was able to just unbuckle the top strap and leave it fastened around my waist, ready for whenever she wanted to cuddle back in it again.  It was so much nicer than having to figure out where you’re going to put several yards of fabric while shopping.  So, yeah, I’m very glad that I finally got over my pride in this regard…as I now am happily joining the ranks of Ergo-lovers.

BabyLegs: For the past couple years, I’ve heard of BabyLegs on different natural baby stuff sites.  They sounded cute and convenient, but I was never a big fan of legwarmers on boys so I didn’t try to find any when Cedar was little.  I had kind of forgotten about them until about a month ago when my mother-in-law gave Genoa some…and they were great!  Not only do they look absolutely adorable on her chubby little legs, but they’re so much easier to deal with when changing diapers.  Also, as the seasons change, we have cold mornings that warm up a lot by the afternoon and the BabyLegs make it much easier to layer warmth and not have to go through several outfits during the day.  I also recently used them on Genoa’s arms to protect them from the sun during a trip to the beach (it wouldn’t have worked that well if it had been a hot day, but it was breezy and cooler).  They can definitely be pricey, but I’ve found a couple at a local children’s store that were majorly marked-down.  I also know of several mamas who made their own out of clearance knee highs and the like.

Bouncy seat: Before I had Cedar, I was of the hard-core babywearing mindset that you should always wear your baby and never use any kind of “baby-holder” (YAY for all-or-nothing personalities!).  After Cedar was born, that mindset wasn’t too hard to maintain.  It was winter and so I cozily wore in him the Sleepy Wrap (now called the Boba Wrap) most of the time, and I loved it.  When he got old enough to enjoy playing with toys, he would spend a little time on a blanket on the floor.  And when I got pregnant with Genoa and it wasn’t as comfortable to wear him so much, by that time he preferred being down so he could explore anyway.  But then I had Genoa.  She lived in the Sleepy Wrap for about the first six weeks, but then we started to move into our intense CA summers and wearing her for any prolonged period of time was very hot for both of us (even with the gauze wrap).  That, and, as thankful as I am to be able to wear her when I need to deal with Cedar, it honestly is much easier to change his diaper, help him onto the potty, etc. when I’m not wearing Genoa.   So…at my husband’s suggestion, I had to swallow my pride yet again…and we bought a bouncy seat.  !!!  One of those supposedly horrible “baby-holders”.  And it’s actually been really nice to have.   Having a place to put her while I’m doing something with Cedar is convenient and she really enjoys it.  And, at least in regard to her big brother, it’s a lot safer when they “play together” because I don’t have to worry about Cedar accidentally falling on top of her, etc.  I’m still a big fan of babywearing and use it often, but I’ve just tempered it a little with what works best for our family.

Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer: In the past several years, we’ve had kind of a sad history in regard to thermometers. My parents gave us a nice one when got married (as part of an inside joke), but for some reason it never worked very well.  Several came home with us from the NICU and there’s always been one in each birthing kit.  But those always end up stopping working after a couple uses.  We’re not sick very often, but especially with babies, I wanted to make sure to have a thermometer that consistently worked (novel concept!).  After reading many different Amazon reviews, I finally ended up going with the Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer.  I didn’t really get a chance to test it out until after Genoa was born.  Because I had tested positive for Group B Strep and hadn’t used the antibiotics during labour, we needed to monitor Genoa very closely for the first couple of days to make sure that she didn’t show any signs of infection.  I took her temperature with pretty much every diaper change for awhile and that thermometer was great.  It only took a couple seconds (and for some reason, it always calmed Genoa down when she was upset because she was getting her diaper changed) and was very accurate.  It’s been used pretty regularly since then and has continued to work great.  I’m very thankful we finally found a thermometer that liked our family!

Graham Gardens’ Tailfeathers Zinc Cream: I mentioned this cream in my post on cloth diapering, but it bears mention here too. In short, this stuff is amazing!  It has helped heal every single rash I’ve put it on…even when other creams couldn’t do it.  And, one of my favourite features…it comes in a tub so you can get every last bit out (and control how much you use), something that never happens with the stuff that comes in a tube.  Love this stuff!

Hyland’s Colic Tablets and Chamomilla Tablets: I’m planning on doing a post soon on natural teething remedies since it’s something that I’ve had lots of experience with in the last year and a half.  But I thought I’d mention two remedies here that I think every mom should have on hand.  Hyland’s Colic Tablets are great for when the baby’s stomach is full of air from nursing too fast, etc.  We’ve also found them pretty effective for teething pain too, if you don’t have other options available.  And I started using Hyland’s Chamomilla Tablets after the FDA took the Teething Tablets off the market (don’t get me started on that though!).  Chamomilla is the main “ingredient” in the Teething Tablets (and in the Colic ones too) and seems to work pretty well for teething pain and the general irritability associated with teething.

Sippy cup update: Not that any of you were particularly interested in our sippy cup saga, but I’ve found a couple other good toddler cups that I thought I’d briefly share about.  We loved the Thermos sippy cup we bought for Cedar, but after about a year or so, it started to get moldy in places that we couldn’t clean. I’m all for buidling kids’ immune systems, but I didn’t really want Cedar regularly drinking out of something with black mold in it!  We ended up getting Thermos’ next size up from his old one and taking the inside valve out of it.  Because of that, it’s no longer leak-proof, but it also is much easier to clean.  And then, on a friend‘s suggestion, we also tried the EIO Glass Kids Cup.  If a toddler has been used to a normal sippy cup that regulates water flow a bit more, this one is a little hard to get used to (there’s no valve at all, just a slit for water to come out of), but Cedar is getting the hang of it.  We especially love that one for smoothies since it’s very easy to clean and the thicker nature of the smoothie slows down the flow a little bit.

Well, there you have it!  Some new baby things we’ve discovered since having two.  Do share some of your favourites as well…

A crunchy minimalist’s guide to baby stuff:
Part One: 0-6 Months
Part Two: 6-12 Months
Part Four: An Addendum to the Addendum
Part Five: The Boba Baby Carrier
Part Six: The Travel Edition 

Soup weather

Though it’s back up into the eighties now, last week we had several days of true autumnal weather…it was lovely!  Starting the mornings with wool socks and a fire in the woodstove, wearing sweaters and scarves when walking outside, pumpkin spice candles glowing in the mornings and evenings…there was even a day or two of rain.  It was glorious!  Obviously this meant cool weather fall-ish food so I made some incredibly yummy pumpkin pie cupcakes that we topped with maple-syrup-sweetened cream cheese.   And for the meal preceding those, Aaron requested the honey mustard lentil and ham soup that I came up with a couple years ago.  I considered that quite a success since, when we were first married, Aaron was a self-proclaimed soup-disliker (“hater” might be too strong) and I’ve been slowly trying to win him over during the past couple years…and I think it’s working!  So, in celebration of the coming fall (it takes awhile here in CA…but at least the 100 degree weather is over for now), I decided to share this soup recipe.

Honey Mustard Lentil and Ham Soup

Roughly chop several onions and place in a large soup pot with a stick of butter.  Peel a head of garlic (don’t chop) and add to the pot.   Cook on medium high heat for awhile, until the onions start to brown.  Roughly dice some ham (I use Trader Joe’s Sliced Rosemary Ham…it’s actually lunch meat, but it’s the only ham I could find that didn’t have any nitrates/nitrites and wasn’t majorly expensive…it’s really yummy!) and add to the garlic and onions.  Add 3-4 cups of dry lentils (if you rinse them, make sure to let them drain for awhile and possibly dry them a little [or don’t rinse them at all…appalling, I know!] since extra water can keep them from browning) and brown everything for a couple more minutes.  Add 8-12 cups of strong chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Stir in a large spoonful of whole grain mustard and several big glops of honey.  Add some thyme, rosemary, sage and freshly ground pepper.  Cover and let boil for awhile, until the lentils are tender and starting to separate…if there’s too much water and you want a thicker soup, remove the lid for part of this boiling time.   Ladle into big bowls and serve with fresh bread.  Mmmm!

Gifts from a busy week

Even though I do know that it’s actually two days after Monday, I still like to add the “multitudes on mondays” button at the bottom of the list because if I didn’t my OCD-ness would freak out because this list would be different from the other ones. !!!  My excuse for the tardiness is that we had a super busy weekend traveling to the coast for Aaron’s cousin’s wedding and we didn’t get home until late Monday evening.  Then there was groceries to put away, stuff to unpack and tired babies to put to bed.  And I spent yesterday doing FIVE loads of laundry, plus diapers, finishing unpacking and trying to put my house back together since we left in kind of a rush.  So there you go.  But don’t worry, this list only goes through Monday…so that way it’s still not different than the other ones.  Whew.

1371. Pumpkin spice candles.

1372. Cedar and Aaron running manly errands together.

1373. Having Aaron’s sister and her boyfriend over for supper.

1374. Quiet days following busier ones.

1375. Rain, rain and more rain.

1376. The first fire (in the woodstove) of the season.

1377. Pumpkin pie cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

1378. Honey mustard lentil and ham soup.

1379. Our little cottage…so cozy in the rainy cold.

1380. My white IKEA candle lanterns glowing vanilla-scented light in the morning.

1381. My love making me tea.

1382. Close friends getting engaged.

1383. An impromptu fun trip into town…no grocery shopping at all!

1384. Good discussions in the van with Aaron.

1385. All the fun good-quality toys they now have at Barnes & Noble…so many things I wanted to buy for Cedar and Genoa.

1386. How much fun Cedar had wandering around Barnes & Noble.

1387. A simple supper at Panera.

1388. Trading sandwich halves with my love.

1389. A free pumpkin spice latte because of Aaron’s Panera Rewards card.

1390. Driving home through a lovely dusk.

1391. Genoa watching me with her huge blue eyes while she falls asleep in my arms.

1392. How much joy Genoa’s smiles bring to so many random people we meet.

1393. Scarf weather.

1394. Wearing my merinos.

1395. Having our Australian friend over for dinner and learning so much about that amazing country.

1396. How patient my husband is with me.

1397. The beauty of organic produce.

1398. Spending time at the beach as our little family.

1399. Nursing Genoa in a little secluded stairwell between shops.

1400. Driving around the redwoods for an hour so the kids would nap.

1401. The random little dewy garden outside the rehearsal dinner location.

1402. An excellent breakfast prepared by Aaron’s aunt and uncle who we were staying with.

1403. The loveliness of the redwoods.

1404. The most amazing reception food I’ve ever had.

1405. Cheesecake.

1406. Shopping at IKEA.

1407. Walking into Chipotle with Cedar on my back in the Ergo and holding Genoa (Aaron had gone in to order while I changed their diapers in the car).

1408. Finding a new (green!) long-sleeve shirt at Costco.

1409. Genoa staying asleep in the van while Aaron unloaded it and I put away groceries.

1410. The loveliness of being home.