Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Minimalist: Lateral Move

Last summer we moved from a large 3-bedroom condominium into a small 2-bedroom apartment. We were NOT using all of that space! In the Fall, I realized that my dreams are attainable and I can dream big! I got started minimalizing! By December, we moved across the courtyard into an even smaller 1-bedroom apartment.

Mind you, we are: Husband, Wife, Toddler, and (at the time) a 12yo on a part time basis. At tax time this year, we realized we weren't quite ready to take the leap to a Travel Trailer just yet. I started considering our next move. In the last couple of months I've researched Mother-in-Law houses (impossible to find listings!), rooms for rent via Craigslist, economy apartments (which only seem to be available in bad neighborhoods), and rooming with my brother. He lived with us for a month in our condo.

Living Room in CondoOur Living Room in our Condo

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Surf: Parenting Decisions

Holy cow, Sunday is nearly over and I nearly forgot to do my Sunday Surf! Here is my quick list.

  • Home Birth Midwife Interview Questions as presented by The Adventures of Lactating Girl. I don't really get a choice with my clinic but I'm just happy to even have midwives! Still, this is a very extensive list and I still think I'll take some of the questions from it. It should help make sure my midwives are on the same page with me. And I'm not even sure about HB for me anyway... still, good questions!

  • To Ultrasound or Not to Ultrasound: Reasons Vs. Risks written by Jennifer Lance on Eco Child's Play. Wow... serious topic. And not a whole lot of hard data out there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

First Trimester Fatigue

Admittedly, it has been a rough month even for someone that didn't just discover they're pregnant. As you probably know, my mother had a stroke. Her hospitalization left me unemployed. We were thrilled to get our BFP and I was quite pleased to snag midwives through our local Indian clinic. My ex-husband, the father of my 12yo daughter, passed away on Mother's Day from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. I have had numerous fights with his widow, someone with whom I was once very close. My daughter just moved in with us to stay. So... yeah. Busy.

Not only are these big life changing events, they have all involved a lot of running-around-town type of activity. First there was getting my sister to visits with Mom as well as to her own appointments (she does not yet drive). Then there was my own increase in appointments. I also spent some time driving my daughter to/from relative's homes to spend time with her father's family. I have also done some driving for applying for various forms of assistance (WIC, for instance).

I used to do laundry at my Mom's place. I could usually throw one load in while I was working. While I was still going to her house to fetch my sister, I wasn't spending enough time there to do laundry. I normally do about 3 loads per week. I did manage to get a few loads done, but it took a couple of weeks.

Fast forward to today. I still had a load of jeans and a load of towels waiting to be folded and put away. We needed to do laundry... all of it. I've literally been too worn out to do any of it. I had to put the laundry away so that we could use the bags to wash more laundry. We also gave up and went back to using our on-site laundromat. The new machines look nice, but the increase in price does not.

Sasha in Hamper FrameSasha in Hamper Frame... Again
April 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Attachment Care with Gran

Sasha sleeping on GranNewborn Sasha sleeping on Gran
while Mommy gets a few bites to eat!
October 2009

Also, this is my first week volunteering and doing the NPN WW Post all on my own!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Famous Belly

If you've been here for at least a few months, you might recall my post on Body Image - Getting Over It back n February, inspired by a post by Hobo Mama.

Sasha, sleeping nurslingSasha, having nursed herself to sleep, wiggled down into a comfy spot on Mommy's squishy belly. This is roughly one month postpartum.

Peaceful Parenting just did an article with a poem, all about postpartum bellies. I love to refer to my "battle scars" when talking about stretch marks. I have them everywhere: hips (and saddle bags), butt, pubic mound (my favorite!), belly, breasts... I don't think I have any on my arms. I offered the photo from my post linked above and repeated above. Go check out some beautiful postpartum bellies, shown with pride! The poem is gorgeous and you'll love the final pic, too!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Minimalist: MORE stuff

I still have several boxes stacked in my pile. I've got one box of shoes (it is just where I keep the ones I don't wear very often and where I keep all 3 pair of Sasha's shoes, including the pair she has outgrown). I also have the plastic box of Giftmas and Easter stuff. There is what is left of my playing card collection, my older daughter's toy box... There is 1 box I haven't gone through yet at all. I know it has stuff that also belongs to my husband, which I think is why I haven't done it yet.

That wouldn't seem SOOO bad, but I suddenly feel I should have worked on it this weekend. And that I should have, more specifically, worked with my 12yo daughter on going through the small amount of things in her 3 under-bed drawers and 2 night stand drawers. She moves in with us in 3 short days!

Thankfully, my ex-husband's widow DID spend the weekend going through Ronni's things over there. She sorted out the clothes that didn't fit and got everything else headed to the laundry. I can not TELL you how much I appreciate her efforts! I know what Ronni's floor tends to resemble and it is not pretty! She has sorted Ronni's clothing into separate boxes for pants / shorts, dresses / skirts, etc.

I hope Ronni will meld well with my minimalist ways, but I also want him to feel even more at home here than ever. Our lease is up in August and I'm not sure yet how small our next home will be. I am, however, already on the hunt for our next living arrangements.

I also have a video to share with you today. This guy has transformed a flippin pigeon loft! It became his 258 sq ft apartment! That's right, 258 square feet. It looks SO awesome, but would not work for a family. In fact, he has recently gotten into a relationship and decided the space was great for one, but didn't work as well for two.

Read the original story here.

Happy minimizing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Surf: Full Load

Getting a little bit back to normal around here. I found lots of cool stuff this week!

  • Don't Lasagna Cupcakes sound odd? I thought so too, until I read the recipe. It sounds awesome and looks so pretty!

  • I guess it shouldn't surprise me when I come across a totally new-to-me idea on the internet, but I had never dreamed of healing cavities! Intrigued? Check out How I Healed My Child’s Cavity from The Healthy Home Economist!

  • The Wall Street Journal reported this week on this November's San Francisco ballot.
    prepuce circumcision
    Specifically, the circumcision ban (on males under the age of 18) that will be on it. This is a majorly controversial topic! Some feel that the lack of a religious exemption will hurt the bill while others argue that religion is no excuse for maiming our children. I checked out the poll and so far 73% (nearly 3000 voters) are against the ban versus the 26% (nearly 1000 voters) support the ban. I wonder how many voters are actually in San Francisco. What do you think about the possible ban? I know it would sure simplify arguments!

  • Ready to lighten the mood a bit? How about fast, easy tap shoes for your little ones? I saw this mentioned and actually hunted around on the best link to share. This one looks good, though I saw one with pennies, too... presumably glued onto the shoes. Check out How to make your own Tap Shoes on This Little Project.

  • Do you feel like you've grown apart from your single, child-free friends? I know I went through a separation from my best friend and we continue to deal with it. Sometimes they just don't understand, either. Well here's a comic / article to help explain it. Enjoy TELL ME ABOUT IT ® from The Washington Post. As a mom, I guarantee you'll get a chuckle out of the comic, at least!

  • Back to a little more serious topic again, induction. There are several different ways to induce labor. You could use pitocin, nipple tweaking, sweeping the membranes, just to name a few.
    prehistoric venus lespugue
    It can be easy to be convinced when you just feel so DONE with being pregnant! Especially if you have a doctor trying to "warn" you about the dangers of carrying to full term. Well we should know better! (Though it would help if we were given the truth in the first place.) Please read 39 Week Induction - One Mother's Experience from Mama Birth. I feel bad about letting / having my doctor sweep my membranes (twice) last time around and hope I can maintain willpower until our baby decides its time, this time around.

I hope you enjoyed our full load of links this week! I know I enjoyed them, from the thought-provoking to the amusing to the mouth-watering! Know a link I should definitely read? Share it in my comments, please!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Let go of my nipple!

When I'm not home, Sasha just plays until she lies down and falls asleep. You never know where that might be!

party til ya dropSasha sleeping in the doorway to the other room.
April 2011

If I'm home, though, Sasha most often nurses to sleep. In fact, she always nurses to sleep if the option is here.

Nursing in Family BedNursing in our Family Bed
April 2011

The position shown above is NOT common for going to sleep, though. That is more of a slowly-waking-in-the-morning or still sleeping in kind of position for us. Most often, you'll see Sasha nurse to sleep on the Boppy. Even at night, I just lower the Boppy (with her on it) onto the floor... once I get her detached! And there in-lies the occasional issue. Sometimes Sasha just does NOT want to let my nipple loose! There have been times that I swear she suckled all night long! It is mostly nap time, though, that I can't seem to get away from her.

Then I read about the Pantley-Pull-Off. It is really meant as a way to teach your baby NOT to nurse to sleep, but only to relax. You pull away before she is asleep and let her doze off on her own. I really, really don't mind her nursing to sleep! However, I don't want to be attached for an entire sleep session! So I started trying this PPO thing... and it works (most of the time)! Here is what you do: The trick is to remove your nipple, but also to hold pressure just under baby's chin. It's like if she can't open her mouth, she figures she doesn't need nipple or something! It is like some odd sort of magic trick! It doesn't work every time, but I am loving the successes!

Sasha NursingSasha nursing to sleep at 16 months
January 2011

To read more about the Pantley-Pull-Off and other No-Cry Sleep Solutions, check out the article on peaceful parenting. It is worth bookmarking!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Minimalist: Going Minimalist with Kids

I've been slowly pecking away at Sasha's toy stash while Ronni has thinned out his belongings at his other home. I feel Sasha has too many toys, especially for our small space. We'll now be adding Ronni (12yo) to the mix, full time. So, in the spirit of Going Minimalist with Kids, I have bookmarked some reading...

Sasha in Toy Basket September 2010
Sasha in her Toy Basket

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Surf: Light Week

My ex-husband's service was not held until Friday. Then there was a party in his memory on Saturday night. Point being, between prenatal care, my mother in a nursing center, and driving my daughter to / from spending time with his family, I did not spend a lot of time surfing the net. I do, however, have a few gems for you (I actually weeded a couple out, too).

  • I love weird art stuff. And this definitely qualifies! It is the Incredible Swimming Pool Illusion, you just have to see it. Very cool.

  • Care2 covered a story in which a 4th grader is leading an environmental movement. I'm always in awe of young children making a big difference! This 9 year old found out that 500 million plastic straws are distributed daily and decided this was too big an issue to ignore. Read his story here or go directly to his site: Be Straw Free for more information on how YOU can help!

  • I think we've probably all read explanations of toddler tantrums and understanding how / why they happen. I still feel like they are valuable reminders, though. I don't recall tantrums with my older kids, but maybe they were mild. We're definitely seeing some tantrums with Sasha, but nothing outrageous yet. Still, it is easier to have patience when you keep in mind their perspective. Check out this recent article on Toddler Emotional Development.

  • The Journal of Perinatal Education is working toward advancing normal birth. (It is a Lamaze International Publication.) Take a look at this article on Saying “No” to Induction. It can be SO tempting to be induced or even have your membranes swept to encourage an early birth, especially if you have a medical practitioner whispering warnings in your ear about how big your baby might be if you wait too long. I should have known better. I know that labor will start on its own when the baby is ready! But with the warnings and "concerns," I happily agreed / requested to have my membranes swept. Twice. Sasha was my smallest yet, so she would have been FINE if carried to full term. What wonderful development did I rob from her by causing early labor?

A very short list, but I'm certain you could find something here for you. I enjoyed all four of these (and the photo!).

Friday, May 13, 2011

I got Midwives!

With my first pregnancy, I was a teen and my father sent me to his family doctor (Family / OB). He was an elderly man. I had not met him until my first appointment.

With my second pregnancy, I got luck-of-the-draw another new (to me) doctor through our local Indian Clinic. He was very sweet and talked with me a while before asking me to disrobe for my exam. He is now the Director of Medicine at that clinic!

With my third child, my mother recommended her doctor to me. He was another Family / OB specialist, though much younger than my first doctor. He was a wonderful doctor that supported my hippie naturalist ideals.

So here I am, pregnant again. I've gone back to the Indian Clinic only now... they have midwives! They are actually contracted through a state college locally. I will not always see the same one as they have 3 or 5 contracted there. (I'm not sure which.) Last time around, I had to go a few towns over for my final month of appointments as well as for delivery. We made the trip just fine, but I was relieved to find that when seeing the midwives, birth is done at a local hospital.

I had already gone in last week and done all my tests and medical history. This time I got to meet one of the midwives. She was great and just about as pleased with me, too! There was a PA-in-training there as well. When I said I was excited to have a midwife, the PA asked if my other births were midwife births. I responded that no, I'd never had one. Diane corrected to say "She has had midwife births without a midwife." Love it!

Here are some more fun and interesting tidbits from my appointment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get Out!

Outside, that is.

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I would love to grow some of my own vegetables. I got very interested in container / square foot gardening last year. I checked out some books on it and did lots of online research. I figured I could do container / square foot gardening in our apartment. Then if/when we moved, we could just take the garden with us! This was about the same time that I was looking into living on the road... the one outcome that makes taking a garden with us an impossibility. Also, as the season was upon us, I realized we get NO sun at our apartment. We've even moved across the courtyard and we STILL get no sun!

We do not get outside as often as I feel Sasha should. I have the best of intentions, I really do. I even work less hours now. My older daughter often asks to go outside (and does). Sasha isn't old enough to go out without me. Once I get home and settle into the house... I tend to just stay inside. The fact that I walk in and immediately strip probably exacerbates the issue.

When we DO get outside, I see a major difference in my perspective and patience levels between my last two children. Ronni is now 12yo and when I would take him to the zoo we'd likely be with a homeschool group so we needed to stay together. If we weren't with a group, then I still wanted to take advantage of all the exhibits. Lots to see, lots to see!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Worst Mothers Day Ever

Monday Minimalist has been preempted to bring you this post. It will resume next week.

On Saturday, April 30th, I discerned that my mother had suffered a stroke. I made the 911 call. And so began not only a week of chaos and worry, but also meant I'd (temporarily though indefinitely) lost my employment. I had too much running to do all week anyway to have been at a job.

On Tuesday, May 3rd, a home pregnancy test and later a clinic test confirmed good news: I'm pregnant. On Thursday I dealt with a lengthy OB Intake appointment. Still, exciting news. When I feel down about my mother, it is this positive news that helps keep me happy.

On Friday, May 6th, my mother was moved to another facility (sooner than we wanted her to be moved). We only got 1½ hour notice.

Still just leading up to Mother's Day here, folks. It gets worse. Much worse. Just a few minutes til 4am on Mother's Day morning, my phone rang. My ex-husband, my spouse for nearly 15 years, died as a result of a motorcycle accident. It is my weekend with the daughter that I share with him. After letting her sleep in (later than she ever does here), I was the one to break my little girl's heart. I got to spend Mother's Day consoling her while also battling a stomach bug. Thankfully most of the bug passed while I was waiting for her to wake.

I married him when I was just 20 years old. He had a lot to do with molding me into who I became as I "grew up." He was an amazing artist. I have a tattoo on my shoulder that he designed for me. And I have a tattoo of his art signature on my left foot ~ a signature on his work of art. A tattoo I asked to have for 7 years. That request was not granted until I left him. Still, I am glad I have it.

my foot tattooYes, it is a stick figure.
It includes his first name and last initial.

I wish I could take the hurt away from my daughter as well as her stepmother. I was once closer with this woman that I'll explain here.

My world has faced 3 major life changes in the last week, only 1 of which was in my control and by my choice. I am clinging to that one positive thing in an effort to not stress so hard as to miscarry.

Mostly, though, breaking my daughter's heart and being unable to make it better... is just not a good way to spend Mother's Day. Tell me some wonderful things you did with your family this holiday. Please.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Surf: Snot Suckin' Mommas

It has been a really crazy busy week! With Mom in the hospital, hospital staff pushing us to make certain decisions and yet not updating us on jack squat, and my need to drive my sister to her appointments, in addition to taking her to visit Mom... Then Friday morning I got 1½ hour notice that they were moving Mom to a Skilled Nursing Facility when we hadn't finished deciding on one yet! Insane rush to get my sister and myself there in time to escort Mom and then the 3+ hours we spent trying to get her settled into her new place... Only to have her moved to another room later. It has been a rough week. Most days I get home SO drained it is ridiculous. I haven't cried for a couple of days, though, so that is a GOOD thing!

What? This is a Sunday Surf post? Ah, I should maybe share some links with you then, ya think?

  • Have you heard of the NoseFrida?? I had never heard of it, but I am not exactly a fan of the baby blue syringes the hospital gives you. I don't really even care for the First Aid kit one I got that doesn't actually go all the way up into the nose. So what about this thing? You suck the snot out of your kid's nose! I imagine you would have MUCH better control this way. You just gotta check it out! Anyone out there used it before? What did you think?

  • This week, mamapoekie published 20 Pregnancy Power Foods on Authentic Parenting. She really breaks down which foods pack the most nutritional punch, bite for bite! This is an awesome reference for anyone growing a lil bean!

  • Ready for another laugh? When I was a kid, I swore I'd let my kids eat cookie dough. (And I do!) Childless adults often say never about particular parenting practices. "My children will..." and the like. Check out My Top 10 "Oh, Now I Get It" Moments I am certain you'll be able to relate! And isn't humor really based on truth anyway?

  • My maternity leave only lasted 6 weeks after Sasha was born. I could have had a couple more weeks if I'd had a cesarean... not worth it. When I returned to work I pumped... and then found that I was dry by bedtime! So when Sasha was a couple of months old I learned a couple of things. 1) I did NOT need to pump quite as often as I had scheduled for myself. 2) Oatmeal is an excellent supply booster! I tried fenugreek. After doing more reading, I think I didn't take enough... though I did get that whole "maple syrup" smell that I'd heard mentioned by others. I started eating 2-3 packets of instant oatmeal (I know, awful, but it was SO convenient!) each day, usually as a snack in the evening. It boosted my supply. Plus I cut my pumping at work in half!

    Point being, I keep seeing a recipe mentioned and I wanted to keep it here for future reference. They are (drumroll please) Major Milk Makin' Lactation Cookies. I also recommend reading the attached article which offers some alternative recipes and suggestions on increasing milk supply.

I hope you enjoyed my reading! Please let me know if you have something that I simply must see! I'd also love to hear what you enjoyed about my links. And Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Day

Sasha's First EggSasha's First Found Egg
FIRST thing Easter morning

Sasha & Ronni ~ Easter MorningMy kids going through their Easter haul

Ronni & Sasha ~ Sidewalk Chalk ~ Easter DayRonni & Sasha with their new sidewalk chalk. It was a cool and rainy day, but we had a few feet of patio dry and available.

Visit Natural Parents Network Be sure to check out Political and Social Activism photos at NPN's Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Minimalist: Mothers Day Gift Idea

How do you take minimalism and apply it to a holiday? There are, of course, coupon books you could buy or make. You could get gift cards or create a book for doing the dishes and such. However, my absolute favorite Mothers Day gift, the one upon which I have insisted several times is this:

Jorje & Serena on the SlideSerena & I on the slide
Mother's Day 2009
that would be Sasha under the overalls!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Surf: immoral, wicked and angry... oh, and food!

At 6 o'clock Saturday evening, my mother had a stroke. I don't know more yet. I don't have many links to share. I kind of wish I had more, so writing about them could be a distraction, but I'm not focused enough to actually go digging for links.

  • The opinion section of the Washington Post just ran an article asking Why do Americans still dislike atheists? I'll admit, I did not "come out" as an atheist on my FaceBook until after I saw the movie Religulous. Yes, I tend to hesitate to mention it... because it does carry a stigma. This is an excellent article countering the idea that atheists are immoral, wicked and angry.

  • Doesn't this look yummy?! I was surfing the Sesame Street website, watching martian videos with my family, when I noticed a link to this recipe. I love the color in the photo, love Grover, and think this looks like a great recipe! If you try making Grover's Broccoli Trees in Haystacks before I do, let me know what you (and your little ones) think!

  • I follow some bento communities. I don't much care for nori (toasted seaweed - the black stuff you usually find in sushi rolls). Well this week I found an alternative! A gorgeous alternative! Soy Wraps. I link them here, in case you have a use for them as well. And because they're pretty!

Not a lot of reading, but I do hope you at least checked out the Washington Post article. To all who care to send well wishes, healing energy, or even prayers for my mother, thank you!

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