Monday, September 15, 2014


photo source: oatgasm

every week, without fail, my favorite source for "mom news"

Washington ranks #21 overall in best/worst states to give birth taking into account being #18 in baby-friendliness. Oregon is #3!

mmmm...blackberry goat cheese oatmeal (or ope-meal, as Olive says)

this little friend has been extremely helpful at bedtime. if you're looking for a tiny, elegant, unobtrusive nightlight you can place anywhere (not just in the wall), this is it. I might get another for middle of the night nursing. I've always liked a softer light in those early days and dreaded turning on the full blast bedside lamp.

from the archives:
+ 8/52 (missing my long hair)
+ so that was when we lost the nap (no surprise that coincided with me not doing monthlies anymore)

Blogger Tricks

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


auntie Molly was everything this week - to both of us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

natural bedding for the whole family

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.

Because we just got Olive a new bed (see below) and, of course since I'm now imagining a winter with two children in our bedrooms instead of just one, I've had sleeping arrangements on the brain. 

When Olive was tiny, I finally talked S into a real bed - one we could use for a long time and that would be safe for us and our babies to sleep on. No harmful flame retardants, formaldehyde or other chemicals to breathe in 10 hours a day.

We decided on a cotton and wool futon. Both are pure enough to be worn on our skin and wool is naturally anti-microbial, inhibiting the growth of mold and dust mites. We are lucky enough to live a few blocks from Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company's store and we picked their brains extensively when choosing what kind of combination we'd use. We decided on their futon system of all natural bedding and bed protection.

So the layers go like this, there is the all natural cotton/wool futon and then some sort of cushier topper (ours is a wonderful, fluffy wool). On top of that lies a wool cover (think a very felted wool blanket the size of the bed, like a wool diaper cover for an entire sleeping area) and then on top of that, a quilted cotton cover. The idea is that if anything gets on it that's not supposed to (pee, other bodily fluids, milk, juice, whatever), the cotton cover slows the rate of absorption towards the wool layer which can hold a ton of weight, just not when it gets dumped directly on it all at once. Again, think wool diaper covers. The system works great! It's just as effective as plastic barriers but it's much nicer, and, I'd argue, healthier to sleep on. But it only works when it's there.

I found a Soaring Heart futon on Craigslist for $25 and we used that for almost 2 years. Olive was 3 before she had her first major vomiting illness and oh man, I had no idea. After two nights of frantically grabbing the bowl literally every 15 minutes while she threw up (in our bed) and hoping against hope I wouldn't miss any, I thought we were in the clear. And we were. For two days. 

Then, she surprised us when she had an encore and the wool cover was still drying from the first time. The futon was ruined and I learned my lesson. I now have two wool covers so that one can go directly on the bed while the other is in the wash. They double as extra wool blankets and I store them in the big basket in the living room that holds all our cozy linens. (By the way, Marni's shop is the best place to get the highest quality wool products. I've been her biggest fan for years.)

Which brings me to our current sleeping arrangement. Olive slept mostly in our bed when she was smaller. We have a big bed and she's a pretty still/quiet sleeper and S, in particular, really grew to love cosleeping. As I begin to grow and as I imagine another person I'm bound to spend a ton of time holding (and, maybe, sleeping with), I'm really craving my own space at night. So, Olive's been going to sleep in her room and coming in to ours whenever she wakes up (sometimes this isn't til morning). I get a good amount of solo sleeping and she doesn't feel too far away/knows she can come in any time. And, I hope, by starting now, she won't feel like the baby kicked her out of her bed.

Poor Frida doesn't know what to do. She has always been able to guard the whole family in the same room and now she finds herself torn come bedtime. She usually goes back and forth a few times making sure everyone is settled in their respective areas and then plops herself down in the hallway between us - equidistant to both rooms.

More of the house:
+ home (my daughter and i were both born here)
+ (more) home


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family's home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama's most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I'm Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn't have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia's nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry's recent "home tour," That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she's thankful for around her home. Don't plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada's Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family's newly renovated home and how it's set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen's life is now host to her family's homeschool adventures and a room they couldn't imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she's created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Monday, September 8, 2014

this and that

Just catching up a little...

+ It's superficial but I am totally in love with the new car. I know we're a small club, but anyone who's gone from a 2 door hatchback with a baby (and then a toddler, and then a preschooler) to, like, a real car can understand - it's amazing. And the seat warmers, oh lord. A pregnant lady's best friend.

+ Olive loves school. I was surprised when she got a little nervous on the first day. She's been talking about it so much and I thought she'd just be happy for it to finally arrives, but when she got out of the car her shoulders rose and she looked down at the ground and admitted, "I'm a little scared, mom." I think part of it is her trying to get a grasp on the concept of time. She's referencing "last week" and "day after tomorrow" (etc.) all the time now, even though the exact meaning is usually off. She knows she'll continue on to kindergarten at this school and I think she might have imagined that she was already in kindergarten - something she looks forward to but isn't ready for. But since last week she has asked to go every day, including weekends, so I'm no too worried about her.

+ I am trying so hard to write down all the funny things she is saying these days. This age, in particular, is so ripe for hilarious comments.

On our road trip over to Chelan she turned to Alicia, who was in the back opening her ketchup packet and said, "I'm so glad this is good ketchup and not the bad kind of ketchup that kills iguanas."

We were walking to the car in the morning and she blurted out, "America. America makes the rules!"

She asked me what estimating was and I explained it as best I could (in 3 year old language) and then she smiled and said, "oooooh! I do that all the time."

We were listening to a meditation CD my therapist gave me in the car and when the woman's voice came on she said, "Wow. It's God! And it's a girl!"

+ I went to a very fast first time labor a couple weeks ago. This mama was lucky, yes, but she also worked to carve out time to care for her body and I think that paid off. The morning she delivered her son she called me and said, "I'm sort of crampy - should I go to my massage?" and I was like, "YES." 5 hours later her baby was born. Helping your body stay loose and tension free helps you feel more comfortable, yes, but it can also allow more room in the pelvis for your baby to get in a good position. My long time sponsor, midwife and dear friend Jenn is who I recommend for pregnant and postpartum massage in Seattle.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

16 weeks

I am much better at laboring than being pregnant. Just get in your groove and do it. Let your body take over. Don't worry about anything else. I vacillate between being able to do that and raging against the sensations I feel. Resenting the nausea and overwhelming fatigue. Feeling guilty that I am in no way - physically or emotionally - there for Olive.

I am having a particularly hard time with people who are pregnant and who feel well. I wish I could say mazel tov and move on but I feel so inadequate and jealous. Why is this so hard for me? Why does it wipe me out so completely? How is that pregnant woman JOGGING?! It makes me reflect on the way I talk about my birth and all the women I have known who felt traumatized, disappointed or broken by their birth experience. I never share with clients whom I know had a rocky birth just how easy mine was but I have shared that here, in public, where anyone can read it. I find myself wishing I had been more cautious, more delicate with that story. Because now I find myself on the other side of it - the one feeling debilitated and depressed by my experience and girl, if you love being pregnant, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT.

And what really makes me sad is that I would be willing to have more kids if this part weren't so shitty. In that way as well I connect with moms who had births that left them never wanting to do it again. If I could start at the giving birth part and go from there, I'd have a few more. I hate feeing defined like that by an uncontrollable physical response to carrying babies. I feel helpless.

I have had a run of experiences with rotten food. It seems everything I open has gone bad. Things that look perfectly fine from the outside: broccoli, celery, coconut milk, tofu: all reveal disgusting, putrid contents when I open them - at least one a day this week. I superstitiously worry if it's a sign, if something is wrong with the baby. I'm looking forward to the 20 week ultrasound (we have decided to find out!) just to make sure everything's ok.

My belly seems the same size as 2 weeks ago. My clothes fit the same and no one notices that I'm pregnant. One of my doctors asked to touch my belly the other day and it didn't bother me. I was surprised. It wasn't for clinical reasons, she was just excited and sees mostly babies, not pregnant moms and she said, "I never do this, but can I touch your belly?" Last time it drove me nuts when people did that (mostly because they didn't ask first) but it actually felt sweet. I think I spend so much time feeling badly that when I have a moment to feel special and remember there's someone in there, it's a little relief.

I try to do a thorough belly rub with coconut oil every night before bed. One of the more uncomfortable feelings I remember from last time was the intense burning stretch of my skin and I'm hoping to treat it a little better this time. Having already been pretty big before should help, right? ;)

Weight gain: 10 pounds. 

Man, I never thought it would be easy to keep the weight off in pregnancy but my level of sickness and general repulsion of eating has done it. I can say that my true aversions are mostly gone. With two doses of Zofran every day I can eat most foods, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Still no cravings. I remember last time being crazy for anything orange (especially at this point): orange bell peppers, carrot juice, cantaloupe. Nothing sounds good, still, but I'm grateful to have a fridge full of options and to be able to buy and handle food again.

Here's me at 16ish weeks last time and me today:

It's funny going back and looking at the few photos I took last time. I was certain moonface had already arrived, but I see that, whoa, it hasn't. It so hasn't. And how different could those bellies be?! One's bumping into my chin and one's sitting on my pubic bone.

I'd love to hear from any third time moms who can speak to how they carried each one!