Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My first recycled wool longies and homemade pants!

I'm so proud of myself I just had to share. For our wedding I was given a sewing machine by Mark's cousin. Very exciting. The problem was I had never successfully used a sewing machine. I tried once in High School but couldn't figure out how to get the bobbin treaded. So this summer, in desperate need of cloth wipes for diapers, I opened the machine and taught myself to sew. With the help of an instructional dvd I was able to sew several cloth wipes but sorta ended there. About a week ago I pull out the machine into the living room and started working on some wool soakers I had cut out this last summer. Success!!! I've now made two soakers; one for Ian and one for Cai. Two longies (wool pants). And two incredibly cute pants made out a thrift store weave shirt. I'm so excited. The soakers and longies are made out of two 100% wool sweaters. The longies are made for the sleeves and I used a pair of pants (one from each boy) as a "pattern." With some help from some instructions found online it turned out to be relatively simple. The soakers are cut from a pattern I found online this last summer. Although I can't for the life of me remember where now. The pants I created using a pair of pants as a guide. These I'm the most proud of, being that they were made with out a real pattern or any instructions other than my own commonsense. The boys are wearing their new pants today. And now I just need to lanolize the wool so they're ready for to use for diaper covers. :)

So wool is my new obsession for diapering. Wool is a wonderful product. It absorbs so much moisture while still feeling warm and dry. Yet it's both breathable and cool in warm weather! We've been using wool at night with Cai for months now. I had knitted a soaker sack before he was born that we used. Plus we have a wool cover that a friend is letting us borrow. We the soaker sack ended up in the diaper wash and then the dryer. It felted and now is so small. And the wool cover still worked, but not for night. Night time diapers are too bulky and it doesn't fit. :( Luckily I had started on knitting another soaker and finished just in time. The soaker was just dry when I realized the sack had been felted. I knit the soaker using Tiny Bird's free pattern which is knit flat. It turned out really nice. But I think my next one I'm going to need to adjust. The butt of the soaker is really big and awkward. Plus the waist is alittle snug despite being suggested for a 12-18mo. I'm now using the Tiny Bird's pattern for longies. Very fun. I'm loving knitting. It's so meditative and yet I feel very productive when I'm done with a project. :) The recycled soakers and longies are very fun to make as well. Just in a different way. At first I felt almost guilty cutting into a perfectly good wool sweater. But now that I finally finished them it feels good to put a sweater that wasn't been worn to good use. Plus I just found a great idea online for the scraps. Another mother used cut her scraps into squares that she was going to make into a blanket! I thought it was perfect. Now I'm on the look out for great wool sweaters to make more soakers and longies.:) If you have any 100% wool you don't want pass it my way! I'll put it to good use.

For the patterns I've been using for knitting visit
For simple instructions on making longies out of sweater sleeves visit

Ian in his recycled soaker. I don't have any pictures of Cai in any of his soakers yet :(

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pretend Play

I woke up yesterday to the sound of Ian pushing a tidy cat cat litter box across the hard wood floor of our room. The tidy cat box is used in the bathroom for dirty diapers. Ian was pushing it making a vroom noise. He then looks at me and say "I mowing the lawn." He turns his hand next to the lid and turns the "lawn mower" off. He then turns his hand again and begins to pull the cord to start the "mower" up again. And off he went to mow the lawn some more. What started this game? It has been at least a month since we have mowed our own lawn. I'm not for sure. But I'm also not sure it matters. The fact was he had created something out of something else all by himself. Now this type of pretend play is not exactly new for Ian. I see him use his imagination all the time. I think what struck me was the action of using the tidy cat box as a lawn mower, having not been around someone mowing the lawn in what feels like quite a while. It's amazing how little brains work. :)

The great part about yesterday was the constant pretend play we seemed to do. After "mowing the lawn," Ian took his giraffe and put him in the swing to swing. When I told him I wanted to go out he then started looking for my red sling to carry his giraffe in. B/c I knew my sling won't fit, I created a sling out of a baby blanket for him. He used that sling all day. And has been using it all morning as well. So cute. And so nurturing. Every once in awhile I'll hear him say "giraffe crying" and he'll start pacing the floor in order to calm the giraffe down. Yesterday afternoon after Ian's nap, Cai was fussy. So I put him in my sling and started dancing back and forth in the living room. Ian put his giraffe in his sling and walked and danced with me. :) I would ask him if his giraffe was crying and he would replay "no, fussy." It has been the most wonderful, beautiful thing to watch. His imagination is beyond my comprehension. If only I could see the world through his eyes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Conscious Giving

Below I have posted a letter I wrote indicating my desire to be environmentally conscious this holiday season. I'm sharing it here for two reasons. First to enlighten those I did not directly sent it to. And second, to hopefully help others to share their convictions on such matters. I would invite those interested to share this letter with their families (either like is or edited to fit you). I put alot of time, research and thought and really want to share it. While the wording is almost entirely my own, I do need to credit Jenn Savedge author of "The Green Parent." You can check out her blog at http://www.thegreenparent.com
May this holiday season be full of thanksgiving as we both give and receive the gifts and blessings of each other.

Dearest Family and Friends,

In the past year I worked at being conscious of my daily life habits, especially in terms of spending and consuming,  and their effects on the environment and the world as a whole. As the holiday approaches, I am driven to continue to be conscious of these habits. Thus I want to find ways to continue with holiday traditions and celebrations while still being environmentally friendly. While I am not asking you to change the way you celebrate the holidays, I would greatly appreciate you respect in my beliefs and convictions. Therefore, I'm asking you to follow some simple guidelines when considering giving gifts to myself and my children.

  • Shop Preloved: Preloved items are wonderful because as the saying goes One Person's Junk is Another's Treasure. When shopping for pre-owed items please consider what we need or want. If we have no use for it than we are less likely to appreciate the gift. This is not fair to you or us. Also be sure that items are in Good Used Condition without ripes, holes, or missing or broken pieces.
  • Shop Local: Buying local not only boosts your local economy it also reduces emissions and packaging involved in shipping.
  • Shop Recycled: Look for items that contain recycled materials. Also along these lines, look for items with limited to no packaging and packaging can be recycled.
  • Unplug: Try to avoid gifts that require electricity or batteries. 
  • Make It Yourself: If you have the skills create a homemade gift. We'll love it.
  • No-Waste Gifts: Gift cards, tickets (movies, theater, etc), or club memberships would be wonderful.

Finally when shopping for new toys please look for the following.
  • Simple toys- without batteries that foster creativity and stimulate imaginative play
  • Natural materials- such as wood
    (sustainable certified), bioplastic toys (plastic made from natural base components such as corn) or cloth (organic when possible). Look for solid-woods, as pressed wood is made with a glue that gives
    off toxic fumes, and
    nontoxic paints.
  • Avoid PVC plastic (aka polyvinyl chloride)

I thank you in advance for being considerate of my requests. If you want ideas as to where to look for items I have listed some website at the bottom.
We so deeply appreciate all the generosity and love you have shown our family. I look forward to seeing many of you this holiday season.

With lots of love,

Preloved items-
    www.craigslist.com - search your city or neighboring cities
    www.diaperswappers.com - go the the FSOT forum- great for  kid stuff

Eco friendly businesses for everyone-

Kids & toys-
    www.healthybabyboutique.com - a Newton based, mother owned store - you may choose In Store Pick-Up and I will pick up and bring to where we are celebrating

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fun with paint

So today is my husband's birthday. And unfortunately, all week the whole family has been fighting colds. Tis the season, I guess. I was worried I wouldn't be able to do anything special for him b/c of my lack of energy. To add to the drama of today, Ian decided he would not sleep during nap time. Luckly, when I did finally let him get up from nap he was in a fairly good mood. And I found alittle energy. So I thought it would be great if we painted something for Mark. The other day I had gotten an end roll of paper for the newpaper office. I rolled it out on the floor on top of a plastic tablecloth and got out the paint. We painted hand prints all over a sign saying Happy Birthday I made. Than we rolled out a free piece and used our feet. It was so fun. The great part was letting Ian get all messy. He is really quite a clean kid. He hates, I mean hates having his hands dirty. Even today, it took him a few minutes to really get into paining. First he used one finger. Then we it had paint on it me to clean it. I just demonstrated how to wipe the paint off on the paper as part of the painting. He than got excited and he even initiated putting his whole hand in pant to make hand prints. I was very impressed. He was so cute. The best part was watching him slide his foot around the paint and then sliding it across the paper. Afterwards we had a bath and enjoyed the purple water from all the paint on our body. :) Best of all we were able to make something for Mark and he seemed to like it. I'm even thinking of using the foot print panting as wrapping paper come Christmas. Being that it is news print paper it is very thin so it should wrap nicely. And I'm sure grandparents will get a kick out of homemade wrapping paper. Of course all the energy painting and cleaning up meant I am really tired tonight. But it was worth it. Now if only I could actually fall asleep. I'm only still up b/c I know I'll just lie awake in bed. ARGGGG!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

La Leche League conference

So today was the La Leche League of Kansas area conference. For those who are unfamiliar with La Leche League, "La Leche League [LLL] is an international, non-profit, non-sectarian organization that has been supporting women and their breastfeeding choices since 1956." [taken from www.kansaslll.org] I love these conferences. I'm a member of the Newton LLL group and went to my first conference a year an half ago (they are held about every year and half alternating between spring and fall). This conference was particularly exciting because the feature speaker was Dr. Robert Sears. For those not familiar with this name, Dr. Robert Sears, along with his father Dr. William Sears and his brother Dr. James Sears, is a while known pediatrician and author. All three have a practice together in California. Dr. Robert Sears is the author of "The Vaccine Book." It was very exciting to have him at our conference. The conference is held in the Grand Prairie hotel in Hutch, so we decided to go stay the night and have a mini vacation. It was very nice. The plan was that we get to the hotel, eat dinner and I would go the the opening session with Dr. Sears while Ian and Mark swam in the indoor water park. Unfortunately Dr. Sears' flight was canceled. Mark and Ian did swim although the big slide and lazy river was under construction and close, and the small pool with kid slides was so cold Ian was shivering the moment he stepped in. They did swim in the normal pool and Mark sat in the hot tub with Ian sitting on the edge playing with the bubbles. :) Luckily for me and the conference, a Kansas LLL leader is also on the LLL international board. So she gave a presentation on how powerful breasting can be for women and stories she has gathered in her study and work with breastfeeding mothers. She had a wonderful slideshow of pictures and art of mothers nursing their children. I think the most powerful statement was that it doesn't matter whether a woman nursing for one day or for two years she remembers that experience for the rest of her life. She told a story of a woman who couldn't remember who her daughter was but could remember breastfeeding that daughter as an infant and toddler. The story touched my heart. That the experiences of breastfeeding can last so long. At the same time I am saddened by this thought. For those women who have excruciating experiences and memories of breastfeeding those experiences are carried with them for the rest of their lives. My hope is that for those women who only breastfeed for a short period, whatever the reason, realize that they can take pride in those experiences. Even a week of breastfeed a baby benefits them.

Anyway, I did get to hear Dr. Sears talk today. He caught a late flight into Wichita last night. This morning I even had breakfast with him. I didn't realize it was him until I had sat down at the table. We didn't really talk much, mostly we ate and tried to wake up :). But we did talk about how much syrup a baby get on them in their infanthood (I was wearing Cai in the sling and yes he gets lots of food on him when he is in it). My first session this morning was with Dr. Sears on vaccines. It was very informative. He explained very briefly what diseases we vaccine for and very limited information on why. He then quickly went over why some parents are wary of/ choose not to vaccinate and how we can vaccinate safely when we have more information on the vaccines and the diseases they are for. For an hour session it was very very informative. I really want to look into the information more. Dr. Sears uses an alternative schedule to vaccinate his patients that ensure they get all the vaccinations just two rather than up to four at a time. This means for the first 6 months babies get two shots month rather than the three to four every other. The benefits of the alternative schedule according to Dr. Sears is that they only get one live virus at a time and only one aluminum vaccine at a time. He explained that our bodies usually only come into contact with one virus at a time and thus giving only one live virus vaccine at a time is easier on the body. The aluminum he explained in relatively small in one vaccine. But builds up when contained in multiple vaccines. Giving only one containing aluminum limits the amount of aluminum in the body. All very interesting points. Dr. Sears ended with precautions to parents who choose to not vaccinate as well as the reminder that something like 99% of kids actually handle the current vaccine schedule. His push to use an alternative schedule is to ensure that those 1% whose immune system can't handle the current schedule can be safely vaccinated.

The rest of the conference was good. Not nearly as interesting as my first session. I went to a session on toddlers. But mostly I felt like I was more helpful to other parents than they were to me. Meaning I felt I was doing or had tried most of what we discussed. Mark said it makes him feel like we are doing something right that we are already using so much of what we heard discussed in the various sessions. All and all we had a good time. Plus is was so nice to get away, even to Hutch for awhile. :)

If you want to check out more about Dr. Robert Sears and/or more about his information on vaccines visit


or click on the title of this post

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

I woke up today bursting with energy. I don't think I ever knew how empowered I could feel by an election. Despite the fact that Kansas (to no ones surprise) went to Senator McCain, I feel like my vote meant something. My opinion matters. After eight years (ok only six since before I was 18 I really didn't pay much attention) of feeling like my opinions and concerns were being ignored by Washington, I feel my voice is heard and echoed in others. My excitement bubbles as I realize that others not only in my city, my state and my country celebrate the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president, but that parts of the international world also find excitement and hope in these results. Yet while my joy beams out my fingers and toes, I understand that the the future is not all singing and laughter. Tough times are still ahead. And while I have great hope as to how President Obama (gosh that feels good to write!) will handle our desperate economic situation, our less than wonderful international relations, etc. etc, I know that things will not magically become better for our country or the world. New leadership only means a possibility to change the current path. My greatest hope is that President Obama will not only change our course but with this change will bring about a sense of peace rather than the fear and sadness that so many have experienced. Now I realize that there are many, including some of my own friends and family, who are not thrilled with the election results. My hope for them is in the coming months they can realize that
while Obama may not see eye to eye with them on every issue, he does want to work for the common good of the country. And always remember, while the position of president holds great power it also is very limited. We, as a nation, hold more power. We as individuals united in common goals create change. So what ever it is we are fighting for we must never give up. We must continue to dialogue and work together for find solutions to better ourselves, our society and our world. And yes, I realize that this is easy to say since my candidate won. But hey I've been saying it for six years. I understand and know how it feels to think my opinions and actions do not matter or make a difference. And this election has proved that people can come together to create change.

A friend's facebook statue reads "I have children that won't remember that race was ever a barrier." Obama's election as president is not only exciting because I believe he is going to be a great president who will do great things for this country, but because he is the FIRST black president. I'm constantly reminded how images and symbols create reality. I'm currently reading Sue Monk Kidd's "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter." She talks about how our language and images of God as male shape our perception that God can only be male. Without an image or language of a female God we have no way of perceiving this form. I find this true in other aspects of life. When we only had white, males as president it is hard to imagine a president outside of this image. President Obama changes the image. And thus opens possibilities up for so many new forms of leadership. It's all very very exciting. Yeah for progress!!!!May this change move us forward to better things.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

He used the potty!!!!!!

Tonight Ian actually used his potty. We haven't really been pushing potty training. In fact other than offering the opportunity once and awhile we really try not to make a big deal out of it. Our thoughts are that if now is not the right time then we can't push our wants on him without making it harder for us. But tonight he not only sat on his potty he actually used it. We got him to sit on the potty while I read "Once Upon A Potty" and "A New Potty" (a little critter book ). He sat there while I read both twice. Then he got up, walked into the bathroom (we don't have enough room in our teeny tiny bathroom to put his potty so it's sitting in the changing room right outside the door) and stood on his toes in front of the toilet trying to pee standing up like Daddy. It was so cute. We we got the stool and had him stand in front of the toilet. So then we went back and forth for awhile. Finally we started running the bath water as it was time for bath. He then stood over his potty and peed right into it!!! SUCCESS! True it took probably half an hour and lots of encouragement and help. But this small feat makes me so excited. I don't think we're going to be potty trained anytime soon. But I do think it will be sooner than I originally thought. If anything tonight got him to not be scared of his potty or the big toilet. And it pushed us all in the right direction. My little baby is becoming a little boy so fast. :)


For those of you not in the Wichita area, 1.97 is the price of gas. That's right. $1.97 per gallon!!!!! When I saw the price yesterday I could not believe my eyes. Actually I guess it was Wed I saw gas at $1.99 and decided I just had to call someone and tell them. I mean who would have thought that gas would go under 2 dollars ever again. So I called my mother. My brother happened to be with her and he was so mad b/c he had just filled up his car at $2.07 or something. At that point I thought surely it won't get any lower. But it did. It's strange to me that just weeks ago gas prices where up in the 3 dollar range. Even stranger is the idea that we're in this massive economic crisis and yet gas prices are dropping???? Not that I'm complaining. I'm loving the low cost. I just wish it would stay till Christmas when we drive to Goshen. Somehow I doubt it though. I mean surely it will go up again. I just hope not in leaps and bounds like before.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Church Retreat

This weekend was church retreat. I love church retreat. The church goes out to Camp Mennoscah. We camp, we play, we worship. It's great. So on Saturday we packed up the car and the kids and drove out to camp (about an hour and 1/2 drive). Ian got to help Mark set up our tent. Yes we camped in a tent. I know we're crazy but hey it was fun! Mark made sure to bring Ian's toy hammer so he could help hammer in the stakes. :) Cai seems to love looking at leaves. Every time I laid him down on a blanket under the trees he would just stare up and coo. So adorable. Food at retreat is always wonderful. Homemade pizza on Sat; amazing coffee cake, along with breads and cheese for breakfast on Sun; and Chili for lunch. YUM!!!! Desserts were cookies, brownies and popcorn balls. It is so fun to eat, talk and enjoy everyone in such an informal setting.

I think I have two most favorite events of the weekend (Although I thoroughly enjoyed it all). First: Contra dancing. It is so fun to contra dance. I'd never done it before. But the best part was Ian. I couldn't dance very well with him in the big circle. A couple other moms and their sons (who are around Ian's age) and I all formed our own circle and danced. We tried to follow the instructions only keeping with our boys rather than changing partners. The kids were so cute and we all had a great time. Second: Camp Fire at our tent area. Several of the parents, of school aged kids and younger, got together and talked around the fire. It was wonderful to laugh and talk with everyone. Especially since I felt like some of those around the fire I haven't had a good opportunity to really get to know. The sky was so beautiful, the fire warm and the laughter merry. I could not have asked for a more perfect night.

In the worship service on Sunday, we all were led in a guided meditation where we were to picture an image from the weekend that reminded us of God's presence. At first my mind went straight to the night sky. The stars were so vivid and bright. But as I continued to picture the image it flipped to show our fire circle from above. We were asked to draw this image to the best of our ability. While the drawing is not the best. I wanted to share mine, because the image is still strong in my mind. Retreat could not have come at a better time. Despite being exhausted from the weekend, I feel somehow refreshed and renewed.

You can check out our pictures of the weekend at
or click on the title of this post

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My crazy life

So I feel like it's been forever since I've gotten to sit down and write something. While part of life are calming down, others are not. For instance, while Cai is not screaming as much, he seems to be fussy during Ian's nap time. Meaning I get very little down during what use to be my break. The other factor in that is Ian is not always sleeping at naptime. I've gotten him conditioned to stay in his room. I'm so grateful for this small step. But when he doesn't sleep it means I only get a hour of rest/ me time. And when Cai is fussy during that hour I get no time to do anything. ARGGGG!! Today was pretty good though. I actually got thank yous written for all the wonderful gifts Cai was given at birth and all Ian's birthday gifts. I did most of them though email. I found a great program that allowed me to create ecards for free. It was fun to create them. Plus it save paper thus helping both our budget and the environment by not creating more paper waste. :)

So other than not getting me time. Life has been ok. Cai is smiling and cooing more and more. It makes my day when he coos at me for several minutes. Ian is talking more and more. Mark was just noticing the other day how Ian can put 6 to 7 words in a sentence now. It's so cute when he is trying to form a sentence. He will start to say something. Then stop. Look up in the air and them month what it is he want to say until he feels he gets the right words. So much going on in the brain of his.

Well it's getting late. I need a shower and then some sleep. Hopefully it won't be so long before I sit down and write more. I need the release. But time is so hard to find.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Joys of Grandmothers

So for the most part it has been a pretty good week. My mother-in-law has been here since Wed. It has been great to have her here. I'm amazed at how much I was able to accomplish with her around. Wed, the first morning she was here, she and Ian played in the backyard for at least two hours. The great part, despite the fact the Cai was fussy, I got the diapers washed, at least another load washed and dishes done. Having the extra help has been a blessing. Not to mention that Ian is just soaking up the extra attention. He really loves having Grandma around. What I'm also very thankful for it the fact that he warmed up to her so quickly. Being that she lives states away we don't see her as often as my husband would like. So I was afraid Ian might play shy at first. But no, he has wanted nothing more than to play with Grandma. It's so cute at night when I'm putting him to bed and he say "play Grandma more." I have to reassure him that she will be here tomorrow to play with. Of course I'm not for sure what will happen when we have to take her to the airport on Monday morning. I'm going to hate to have to explain that she has to go home. Sure we'll see her and my father-in-law at Christmas. But not only is that two months away, two months is a long time for a two year old.

Cai too has done fairly well with being handed off to Grandma at times. Tonight my husband and I got to go on a date without kids! First time I've left Cai with someone other than his dad. We went to go see the movie "Burn After Reading" in theaters. It was entertaining. Not what I expected. In fact I walked away feeling like the whole movie was pretty pointless and didn't go ANYWHERE. But like I sad entertaining. So if you like dark comedy, don't mind blood (not excessive blood but blood) and are okay with pointlessness than you will probably enjoy it. Or maybe not, but I'll recommend it just the same. :) Anyway, it was nice to go out. And the boys were great while we were gone. Cai slept and Ian played. All and all a good day to end a good week. Too bad my extra help leaves in one more day. :(

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall Fest football

This last weekend was Fall Fest at Bethel College. I love Fall Fest. Especially now that I don't have to work the booths. I get to go, see old friends and enjoy. It was a beautiful day for it too. So Saturday night we went to the football game against Bethany. We got there right before half. Mark had told Ian when we got there he could play football, but he forgot the football. I was really worried we would have a tantrum. I didn't think the game would actually hold Ian's interest. I was so wrong. Ian loved watching the game. He would get so excited about a play. When a play was over he would energetically shout, "Football again!" Mark would explain the plays and while I'm sure he didn't understand all of it, he seemed to understand some. Right before a play as the teams were setting up, Ian looked at me and pointing towards Bethel's goal said "football that way." It was very cute to watch him get so excited. In all honesty, I think Ian watched more of the game than I did. Though I'll admit I was there more for hanging out with friends than watching the game. I'm so glad he enjoyed the game. It even makes me what to go to another home game just so he can enjoy it. :) Oh, for those who care. Bethel won, although I can't remember the score now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The art of disciple

As I believe I stated in a previous post, the honeymoon period of having Cai at home is completely over. And Ian's good behavior has gone with it. Now Ian is not a bad kid. In fact, he is still just as charming to the causal observer as ever. I know this is a sign of good mothering, but gosh the acting up at home is going to kill me and my husband if something doesn't change. The really odd thing is, I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to consistent disciple. I've never felt I really had to use it before now. Sure there were the occasional melt downs, the occasional time outs and even the minor blow ups on my part. But all in all, I felt that our house was pretty tame before (or at least in comparison to now). In many ways, Ian's acting out is only his way of getting attention. And unfortunately it's working. The more my husband and me get frustrated the more Ian continues to do what he is doing. All of this has thrown me into research mode. And I think I've found a winner. This week, while at the library, I found a book entitled "Love and Logic Magic" (I can't remember the authors and the book not here with me to look. I know, I'm lazy). Anyway, while many of the 'techniques' and ideas are not exactly new to me, there are so many great stories about how parents used these idea that I feel I too can put them to practice in an effective manner. There are four basic principles, I'll only post about the first two.

Principle Number 1: Boost self- concept. Principle Number 2: Share the Control. These are acheived by giving the child control over their life and showing them that they are capable of making good decision and able to do things themselves. Giving control is done by giving them lots of choices in ways that do not hurt anyone. The idea is that if you give them lots of choices through-out the day then when the big choice come along they will let you make the decision for them. So today I thought I would try it. I've been giving Ian the chance to choose things from what he wears, to what he eats, to how we went about going down for a nap. And so far I'm already seeing an improvement. At lunch Ian wanted a chip. So I gave him the choice of 1 or 2 bits of his banana before having a chip. He enthusiastically said 2 and went on to eat three bits before asking for the chip again. Had I told him to eat even just 1 bits before he got a chip he would have fought me. When I gave him the choice there was no fight! :) We'll see how things are tonight at bed time ;). I think if we can put this into practice this on a regular basis things will start looking up. I'll post more on the other three principles and techniques as I read more and we start putting them into practice.

Update on Cai. He's doing fine. Still very fussy, but I think mostly he knows what he wants and Mom and Dad haven't figured out how to read all his cries on the first try. Thus he gets frustrated and cries louder. All in all, we are doing okay.

Monday, September 22, 2008

He smiled!!!

That's right. Tonight Cai smiled at me. I mean really smiled at ME!! The I'm awake and happy to see you smile. The first deliberate smile is so amazing. Cai is so beautiful when he smiles. Plus it makes his non- smiling face look somehow more pleasant. Not that he wasn't a beautiful baby before. But somehow now that he has smiled his face just seems different. I don't know that I can explain it accurately. It's doesn't matter what the difference is really. The main joy is that it made the whole day and last week seem ok. Trying to calm all his crying and fussing is worth it to see that smile.

I came to the conclusion today that Cai is just a higher need baby than Ian was. And when I look at it though calm eyes, I see that this is actually an advantage. Ian got all my attention as an infant because he was my first priority. He was the only one. Cai doesn't get all my attention because I have to juggle meeting his needs with meeting Ian's needs. Cai's persistence to be held, rocked, and nursed means he gets my attention in as close to full form as I can give. His instances to not be left alone for long periods of time in a bouncer, swing or crib means he gets carried in a sling or held in my arms most of the day. Sometimes this makes me feel guilty that I'm not paying fuller attention to Ian. I'm still figuring out how to hold Cai and play with Ian simultaneously. But I'm getting better. My sling has become my greatest tool. Cai gets to be close to mama and I have two hands to play or read a book. So while the fussiness has not really decreased and there are moments when my only thoughts are making though the next min, hour and or day, we are surviving this trying time, learning to enjoy the present while looking forward for what lies ahead. In truth, Cai's persistence on getting his need/wants met is not necessarily a bad trait to have later in life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reality strikes and strikes hard

When I was preparing for bring home Cai, I seriously thought the hardest adjustments would take place the first 4 to 6 weeks. Well 6 weeks have pasts and boy was I wrong. My expectation was that in the first weeks we would be up all night with a screaming baby and a toddler who was awake because of the baby. That Ian would be have some struggles with adjusting to limited attention from me. And finally that if I could survive the first month, it would all be easier after that. Cause surely after a month we would find some sense of normality. WRONG!

Reality One: The first weeks where a breeze. (or at least realitively speaking)
When we brought Cai home things when pretty smoothly. Ian seemed to love being "Big Brother" He showed off his toys. He wanted to hold "baby Cai." And with the exception of a few jealous moments here and there, Ian was great. In addtion to Ian's wonderful adjustment, Cai was a fairly easy baby to begin with. While the first night home was horrific. I ended up rocking him till 4 in the morning. It turned out that it was just because my milk was coming in and the change in texture and taste throw him off. The next night (as well as every night for the next couple of weeks) where so smooth. Cai only woke to nurse every 2 to 3 hours. Not bad for a newborn.

Reality Two: Six weeks have past. Things are not easier.
Unfortunely for me my easy baby has quickly turned into a high-needs baby. In the last several weeks Cai has become hard to console. Fussy time has moved from the predictable evening period to almost anytime he is awake. Quite wakeful periods have been reduced significantly. I've come to realize he is almost colicly. Although I hate to actually put that label on him. On top of all this I am not experencing my first case of thrush. Oh boy! Luckly, I have discovered it early enough and our nursing trio is being treated. My hope is that if I can get ride of the thrush that will help with the crying. Although I pretty sure gas is the other source of our problem.

The real delema this puts me in is trying to continue outings. I can't survive without getting out of the house at least 3 times a week. And I don't mean going out and playing in the backyard. I mean leaving the area of our house. Putting myself around people. Luckly two of these outings are already planned. Tuesdays we have music group, which is a group of stay-at-home parents from my church that get together weekly to sing and play. I love this group. I get to talk with other adults whom I enjoy and Ian gets peer interaction. I love it. On top of that I never have to feel guilty if Cai is fussing. In fact I have help. Our other weeking outing is to the library. Toddler storytime is Friday mornings. Ian loves this. His friend Zoe, who is only a few months older and from church, also goes. They get so excited to see each other, even though they usually have just seen each other at music group. Anyway, we love library time. Plus after we get books both for him and me (Today I got books on calming colic babies. We'll see if it helps) we go get a snack downtown. Usually it's a muffin or cinnamin roll to share and coffee for me. I so look forward to this outing too. The problem is that if Cai gets extra fussy, the type where I can't console him very well, I feel guilty. Like somehow I'm distrubing other people. It's mostly at the libary where I have the understanding that you are suppost to be quite. Even in the children's area that tends to be noiseir due to toddlers and other children running around, I feel guilty for having this crying/screaming baby. But like I said I'm not going to stop going. Just have to figure out how to know when to let my guilt go and when to just call my loses and take Cai home.

Yep reality is so much different that expectations. But in the end we can survive even this. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of those days

So today was one of those bad days. The kind of day where I truly wanted to throw something out my window or smash something to bits. Where every time I thought I could take a break, one or both children demanded my attention. It's days like this that I wonder how on earth did the human race last this long? The very fact our parents didn't destroy us and themselves is a miracle.

Here is my real pet peeve though. People asking if Cai is a "good" baby. Well he is not a bad baby. But he is not an easy baby either, especially of late. For the past two weeks fussy time as expanded from evenings to all day. Morning, noon and night it feels like is potential for Cai to have a screaming fit. Part of the problem is he doesn't burp easily. So he gets gas in his tummy and it hurts, thus causing the crying. But sometimes I get him to burp and he still cries. The constant crying won't be so bad if I only had him to take care of. But Ian needs my attendtion too. It's hardest when I'm alone. I feel like I just can't let Cai cry. I want to hold him, so at least if I can't console him, I can assure him I'm there. This posses the biggest problem at nap time. Ian wants to nurse at nap time. So today I nursed Cai, burped him and when I thought he was calm laid him down in bed while Ian and I laid on Ian's mattress. Of course not 30 secs later Cai is crying. So I begin my count to ten signally to Ian our nursing is coming to an end for now. He gets frustrated that I'm counting because he is not done. So then I had both screaming at me. I not comfortable nursing them together. And I'm not ready to wean Ian completely. But my "mother bear" instict is to take care of Cai first. I mean Ian can eat apples and other foods. He understand that when I say I'll be back or there in a moment that I will be. He understands (for the most part) that I will take care of him. Cai is still so depedent on me. I just feel torn.

Luckly for me today was also my La Leche League meeting. That group of women has come to be a wondeful assest and support group. Just walking into the room made me feel calmer. It is so reassuring to know that other moms have gone through similiar situations and surrvived and that other moms are currently going through similiar situations. It's also nice to be reminded of why I continue to breastfeed. And that I have not only support in doing so but encouragement to nurse as long as the relationship feels needed. In a society that thinks I'm crazy for tandem nursing, it's nice to have this nonjudgemental support and encouragement.

Well this rant has made me feel better. I'm off to bed. It is way too late.
Good nite.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Being present

There is nothing that makes me feel both relieved and guilty all at the same time more than one of my mother's sermons. Luckily, I only visit her church a few times a year. :) Today she spoke about what it means to be present in mind, body, spirit. She started out admitting that she did not always pay full attention to her children. I guess when we were really young we would pull her face towards us with both hands and states "Mom listen to me." As we got older we just stopped talking when we felt we we're being heard. Here is where I felt relieved. Relieved that my own mother, who I admire so much, did the exact same thing I catch myself doing to my son.
And here is where I felt guilty. Guilty that I often do not give my children the attention they deserve. Of late being fully present in Ian's live has become more difficult. Like most two year olds, Ian is full of energy and life. He is constantly moving from one activity to the next, only still when he is sleeping (although that could be argued). And he want me to be apart of every exciting, new activity. The problem lies in that my attention is pulling in many directions. Cai needs so much of my time and energy. And I find myself wanting to be fully present in caring for Cai the way I was with Ian. I remember feeling that the most relaxing thing in those early months of Ian's life was sitting down in the rocker and nursing him. I was able to be fully present in that moment. Enjoying the smell, touch and sounds of this little miricle in my arms. In my desire to enjoy these precious moments with one child, I feel I'm losing precious moments with the other. How do I find a balance? How do I ensure that each child feels fullying cared for and loved? I guess I just keep working at it. For now I guess I just have to consider myself lucky that Ian is pantient enough to share my attention, while being demanding enough to bring it back to him. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

EarthMama meets blogging

With so many friends recording there wonderful adventures in blogs, I have decided I too can tell the world (or at least my friends who read it) about my adventures. True, compared to going to Japan, or even Germany, my life is tame. But hey living with a two year old creates adventures around every corner. Add a one month old to the mix and I have lots of exciting tales to tell. Take for instances this current moment. 2 year old Ian is running around in circles singing the ABC's, while the baby is finally quite on his daddy's lap. Just moments ago he was screaming at the top of his lungs, and I had already feed him and put on a clean diaper. Life is a constant roller coaster. I'll have plenty to tell.

Ok so one of the main reason I thought I would start a blog is because I hope it will allow me to share these early years of my children to those who can not be as close as they/ I want. I was watching Ian loving put his bear to sleep on the floor thinking how I should record this event somehow. Of late I often see Ian mimicking my actions with his stuffed animals and dolls. How wonderful it feels too watch him climb into my rocker with one of his bears (or other animal) and nurse them while rocking. He smiles and quitely pats them on the back. It makes my heart swell. Somehow it makes the hard days just alittle easier. Maybe I am teaching Ian something, even when I can't spend as much time with him as I would like.

Well more later. Peace.
EarthMama Kristin