Thursday, September 1, 2016

All Summer Long

Today is September 1st (ok honestly it's late enough at night that it's probably technically the second by now but regardless it's the start of September) and I have been waiting for this day all Summer. Why? Not the start of school, or the return of all things pumpkin spice, but because I can finally stop feeling guilty over the fact that all I can think about is the coming Autumn.  Besides planning for the arrival of an October baby, my focus all Summer has been only on the Fall.  My rhythm has been off and I have had no joy in this current season.
From one of last year's Autumn adventures.

I should start by explaining that Summer is my least favorite season; I love it for what it is and some of the things it brings.  But I just don't do heat, or humidity, or that burning thing in the sky that replaces the sun.  I enjoy planting a vegetable garden, but we didn't have the new beds built in time this year.  I love our yearly reenactment camping trip, but we didn't take it this year for various reasons.  I look forward to cool grass in my toes, evenings under the stars, fresh air, but it has been too hot and humid for even being outside in the evening.  And yes being very pregnant and even more heat intolerant is not helping.

Looking out from the top of Bowman's Hill Tower,
Washington Crossing PA
And so I have spent all Summer waiting for the days were the evenings become longer and cooler, where it's acceptable to start putting out gourds and making apple flavored desserts (my vote for the true flavor of Fall).  I look forward to returning to the outside, opening the windows again, and not hiding inside.  Soon my internal rhythm will once again sync up with natures and all will be at peace. And then there will be cool weather and blazing trees, and I'll really be happy.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Healing Through Breastfeeding

First Latch
It's World Breastfeeding Week, and I wanted to take a little time to share with you my breastfeeding story.  I am very lucky I have been blessed with an easy breastfeeding journey; it's what helped Jellybean and I bond, and it was the balm that helped sooth the emotional wound from her birth.  In the hour between when she was born via cesarian section and when I finally got to hold her I felt like my body had failed me, and that I had failed her. In the happiness of having her safely here I was depressed and a little angry.  And honestly those feeling continues for more than a few months past her birth.  But the moment she was placed in my arms she nuzzled in close and latched without much help.  I felt relieved, I felt elated, I felt like I could in fact do this mothering thing, despite the extra intervention to get her here.  I still worried that somehow her birth would leave a mark on our relationship, that some how we would not fully bond.  She has proven me wrong.

Nursing a Toddler
Not only did my champion nursling take to the breast easily
, but my milk came in quickly. With in a week she was over her birth weight.  We never suffered thrush, clogged ducts or nipple confusion.  Her and I became a fairly inseparable pair.  Even though she willingly went to other people to play and socialize when she was tired or hungry there was only one answer and one person she wanted, Mama and her milk. Our biggest nursing hurtle was trying to get her to take
a bottle or a binky, she never really took to a bottle and only picked up the binky as a toddler when she started weaning.  I was fortunate to breastfeed her a few weeks past her second birthday before my body decided it needed to focus on feeding the little baby growing inside my belly and not the wiggly little girl on my lap.  I look forward to being able to nourish and bond with another little nursling, and pray that it will go as smoothly as my journey with Jellybean.

It has been a few months since she fully weaned, and while she will now except others for comfort she is still my ever companion.  And if she could articulate it properly I think she would tell you that she is part of me, or that I am part of her.  But either way we are an extension of each other, and that is more than just because I am her mother.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Growing Some More

Our very subtle baby announcement came a month
before we moved in to our new home.
Things have changed since I last sat down and looked at my blog. We have finally move into our new house even though it is still unfinished (but that's another post). And we have been blessed with the surprise of adding one more to our family.  This little mama is growing another little person.

I was hoping to use this as an opportunity to write post upon post about being pregnant, and waiting for baby.  But honestly this time is a lot different.  Our whole situation is different.  We are just as excited, but there is no time for naval gazing and reading about baby names when you have a house to complete and are trying to keep a toddler from climbing the drapes.  We haven't been as social and I'm not working outside the house; so there is no one to ask how I'm doing or if they can touch my belly.  I am not having a baby shower and there is no long registry.  I haven't been as good about eating a high nutrient diet or doing my prenatal yoga.  There is no birthing class or pile of Mommy Magazines.

And part of me feels really guilty.  I really thought it was going to be a magical little time, like it was with Jellybean. And I wonder if some how this little boy is just getting gypped.  I know he will be just as health and loved as Jellybean, but I do still worry that some how it is effecting him.  I guess part of my job as a mother is to worry about these things. But really I just feel guilty, and sad for him.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I have been under a lot of stress lately.  I mean a whole mess of stress.  And I wish I had something philosophical to say about how it makes us stronger.  Or something spiritual, like how it brings us closer to God.  But all I can really say about stress is that it makes me fat.  Yep I eat my stress.  If I've had a bad day my husband gets a text requesting emergency cup cakes be picked up on his way home.  Or I'll make myself nacos at 10 o'clock at night.  And to add insult to injury, when I'm stressed my cortisal levels go sky high and I start holding on to weight with even the healthiest of diets. The only thing stress brings me closer to is the next size up in ladies wear.

So, I am stressed.  I'm eating crap.  I'm not sleeping. I'm getting depressed about getting fat. And my chronic, but usually controlled, pain causing disorder is now flaring up.  Fabulous.

I know how easy it is to get stuck.  But right now I'm not ready to go back to healthier ways.  It's partly because I know no drastic change is going to make it through Christmas which is days away at this point.  Part of it is because I know it will be easier when things become less stressful.  But really I'm just not ready.

How We Got Here: Or Why the Summer of Transition Has Turned into the Autumn of Indigestion.

Before we were married my husband and I moved into a little cottage on a lot that was equally woods and field.  The house was a little ramshackle and the yard overgrown, but we loved it and we cared for it and made it our own.  We rented from a family friend of Turi's with the understanding that we would be offered to buy it below market value when the owner was ready to sell it one day.  Mean while three years pass; we have weathered a hurricane cutting up 30 trees that fell during it, replaced the crumbling front steps and patio with a new deck and made the interior livable.  We also started a family and quickly realized one bedroom wasn't enough.

So in March we started looking at houses to see what was available.  At the end of April our landlady informed us she was going to sell the house the following spring, listing it above what it was worth and well above our price range. So we started house hunting.  And it was exciting

Our hunt became a comedy, we saw houses with no floors, houses with no roofs, houses with no septic tanks or water hook ups. We knew we were looking at fixer-uppers, we knew we were going to have to put a little sweat equity in and that this was never going to be our dream house.  But we thought we would be able to find something with 3 bedrooms and a garage. We did, it was lovely; a passive solar house with and acre of land three bedrooms plus a finished basement and an amazing sunroom. We were out bid.  We try again, look at more homes. And find a beautiful 1800's home with three bedrooms, a huge attic, and half an acre of land that backs up to a small river. And it was taken off the market the day we put an offer in.  I lost track after seeing our 45th house. We made no plans for the summer, just in case we would be closing and working on our house.  We didn't take our beloved yearly vacation. We didn't plant a garden.  And we didn't find a house.  My excitement has turned into disappointment.

August comes along and our landlady tells us she has sold our cottage and that we have to move out by October 31st.  Panic sets in.

We still had no house. And so we continue looking.  In fact we see one house for the third time.  It was at the top our our budget before we even thought about remodeling, the taxes were high and it had no kitchen and very little yard.  But we both loved the house, it had enough rooms and a garage. It also had a roof, and was hooked up to water and sewage.  We were running out of time and options. So we thought about it, prayed about it, and crunched the numbers.  We put together a low ball off, hey it had been on the market for over a year, might as well try.  And that day, it goes to auction.  Now I am just frustrated.

Turns out it is an online auction, like eBay for houses, and we can still take out the style of mortgage we were planning on.  And the opening bid is way less than our original offer.  Great.  So we wait. Then we bid. Then we wait again until someone out bids us.  Then on the last day of auction we get into a biding war.  We place our last bid, the auction ends and it looked like our bid didn't make the dead line.  Shortly after Turi gets an email... we are the highest bidder.  We won. We have a house. But wait, the reserve was not met, the seller can still reject our offer.  And so we wait again.

We finally hear back from the seller. The house is ours, we have to close within 45 day.  We do a happy dance, sign our contract and FedEx a deposit.  45 days is not a problem, we have a mortgage guy ready to go, we have the paper work ready and we need to move in before that anyways. I'm starting to get exciting again.

Days go by, then a few weeks.  We find out our mortgage requires a licensed contractor to do all the repairs.  We can't find a contractor.  Then we learn we can't move in until all the work is completed.  We still can't find a contractor.  I check in with our mortgage guy, he is sitting on our paper work.  Oh, he won't even start the filing process until we have a contractor. We have a meeting with a HUD inspector, we finally find a contractor, our mortgage guy still hasn't filed our papers.  I am so frustrated by now.

He finally files them.  And we have to wait again.

It's mid October, we start packing and looking for a place to stay for a few weeks while we finish rehabbing our house.  We are still being told that it shouldn't be too long.  But just incase we found a short term rental and the biggest storage unit I can find.  Our intrim rental is scary, like hasn't been cleaned in years, leaking pipes, windows falling out of their casings, scary. We have no choice, so we move our bare essentials into the 400 square feet of the most inhabitable part.  And our relator files for an extension on our closing date, because our mortgage guy is still sitting on our paper work.  Now I'm really scared.

We are assured that we will be able to close by Thanksgiving.  Our loan was finally approved.  We had to talk to their closer about a few final things, but we'd close by Thanksgiving.  Two weeks later our mortgage guy still hasn't sent our paperwork to the closer.   We file for another closing date extension.  Our paperwork finally gets transferred, we get insurance, we file more papers and we have to wait 10 days. But WE GET A CLOSING DATE. Thanksgiving happens and everything seems to be back on track if delayed a bit.  I am starting to feel grateful.

Come to find out everyone on our team missed the fact that there was an extra fee, equal to a commission payable to the auction company at closing.  Our closing date is cancelled.  So I spend a very tens evening verbally giving our mortgage guy what fore; he forfeits his commission and applies it to the fee.  And after less than pleasant afternoon lawyering our lawyer, she goes and gets the auction company to decrease their fee.  We scramble to make up the difference.  Our closing date is rescheduled.  I think there may be a new permanent knot in my stomach.

The day before our closing they find out their is still a lien on the property.  Our lawyer takes care of this before even telling us.  Apparently she was scared to tell me.  And the morning of our closing our realtor possibly bribed the fire chief to come do an inspection she was originally told was not needed. I'm so glad I didn't know about either of these things until they were taken care of.  We do our final walk through and go to closing.

At the office we were met by our realtor and a closing agent from the title company.  No one from the sellers side, no one from our mortgage company, and not even our lawyer.  This seemed odd.  We were told to bring our I.D.'s and a check book.  First thing the title company asked for was a bank check.  A certified bank check.  For the entire amount of our closing costs. It's only 3;30 pm and our bank is down the street.  So I go to the bank and Turi starts signing (he had more papers to sign).

Finally. Finally we have keys in our hands.

We still have to go through the rehab process, and our contractor is not ready to start.  And we are still living is a scary rental. But we own a house.

This has been a nine month process, and I very much feel like I'm at that point in a pregnancy were I have passed my due date and I just want to go into labor and be done with it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why I Wear

At Old Sturbridge Village
Babywearing, for some it's just something they do, for others it is a way of life.  For me it is a life saver.

When I was a new mother, healing from a cesarean and home by myself all day with a new baby who wanted to be held, babywearing is what allowed my to do that.  Holding Jellybean in my arms on the couch or in the rocking chair was doable.  But when I got up I just couldn't.  I couldn't even stand up while holding her, and putting her down standing up and then picking her up was only slightly better.  Carrying her anywhere was hard and painful.  Babywearing is what allowed me to comfort and bond with my newborn, it kept me from using muscles that weren't ready to be used. It kept my tiny little girl happy and and from crying.  And it occasionally allowed me to get something to eat.
A Fancy Night Out

Now that I am healed and doing better babywearing is a joy.  I have enjoyed my sister's rehearsal dinner at a loud and fancy restaurant, while Jellybean slept safely tucked away in my wrap.  Jellybean has explored Old Sturbridge Village, met an ox and a sheep, watch the turkeys, nursed and napped. All while safely being worn on me.  We have hiked, gone to historical reenactment events, Black Friday shopping and late night parties all while babywearing.

Babywearing has even allowed me to keep my child close while at work. Saving us the cost of daycare and all the headaches that go with finding a loving care giver.

I would not be able to to the wife, friend, sister,
or mother that I am without babywearing.

Getting Ready for Our Walk

Babywearing allows me to be me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Great Book Scheme

I have a plan, like all of my plans it is a cunning plan. And hopefully unlike most of my plans it will be fully carried out.  I am calling this plan The Great Book Scheme.  After a few years of not writing, and not reading anything beyond a book on nutrition, pregnancy or birth, and early childhood development my brain has gone soft; so I am endeavoring to read again.  I mean truly read, and challenge myself. There are rules and guidelines. And I would love for any of you to join in with me.

The rules:

  • I will read 18 books a year, that is a rate of 1.5 books a month.  Not counted in that number is The Bible which I will also start reading (I have done this before and plan for it to take three to four years to get from cover to cover). 
  • Any book reasonably over 500 pages counts a two books; for example Little Women is only one book, but War and Peace is two. 
  • I can re-read books that I read in college, because well it's been a while and I don't remember half of them (which is another reason for this exercise).  
  • And I have to follow the Guidelines laid out for choosing books. Thirteen of these books have specific requirements and should be chosen at the start of the year.
The Guidelines:

  • Two books must be poetry.  They can be an anthology or a single poet, and can be read slowly over the course of the year.
  • Two books must be classic novels.  I know this is a little vague.  By classic I mean something you would read in a college literature class, the ones you think of that define a genera or a style, the ones everyone should read.  And 'modern' classics do not apply.
  • One play by Shakespeare. I have a love-hate relationship with the Great Bard, but all in all he has been very influential on the English language and I just need to suck it up and cope.
  • One medieval primary source or scholarly text on the period.  I am a member of the SCA and would be remiss not to read something about my field each year.
  • One spiritual work.  I'm Christian, of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, so this will be works by the saints or other religious people from the Catholic or early Anglican churches.
  • One on food.  Mostly whole food or traditional food cook books or food history.  Who doesn't want to learn the long history of salt.
  • Three 'self betterment' books.  These will be non-fiction, how-to type books on child development, gardening, finance, anything that I wish to learn about for real life application purposes.  Honestly it's really just more of what I've been reading the past few years.
  • Two Great Books. These are any of the Great Books of a classical education that do not fall into any of the above categories.
  • Five free choice books. These can be more from the categories from above or they can be that book a trusted friend insists I read.  These books won't be chosen at the beginning of the year like the rest, but can be picked through out the year as I feel the need to continue reading on a topic or need a flight of fancy into cheesy modern fiction.
I may sound like a lot, and it could very well be.  But the point is to challenge myself.