Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall - Gardening

As the season has changed, so has the format of the blog. I'm trying to find my stride here and thought fall, and all that it brings would be a good time to experiment a bit.

We found a four-leaf clover on Saturday. Lucy, her Gigi, and I all went for a walk to enjoy the cool weather. It was the first one we've ever found here. Lucy contemplated eating it.

Something about this season always excites me. There is a different smell to it, a different feeling in the air. This is Lucy's first fall and her daddy and I are both hoping that she enjoys it as much as we do. Wes asked yesterday if we could move somewhere that it was fall all year 'round. I wish that was possible. Although I suppose we wouldn't appreciate it quite as much... and when spring comes to the mountains, I'm tempted to think that it is my favorite season.

Here are the butternut squash we harvested on Saturday. The daddy and baby. There was an acorn squash which most resembled me, but we ate it before I photographed it.

Some of the leaves are already changing, and I've been hearing that it's going to be an early color season because it's been so dry.

Here is a volunteer squash of origin unknown. Hopefully, it will be tasty. It just sprouted out of our compost pile so I guess it's something we've eaten before.

And, for some reason the strawberry on our porch may start producing again. The ones we got early this summer were small but sweet.

And our collards are popping up. These are the ones we're trying in containers. The ones in the garden are much more impressive - probably because they were started earlier.

Here is the last sunflower of this year.

The rest have already had their seeds harvested for planting next spring and for feeding the birds this winter.

Enjoy this new season.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meet the Chickens

We have seven chickens. Originally we had eight but one has mysteriously disappeared. We fear it may have become a subterranean chicken, scratching, pecking and laying in the bowels of the earth. There does seems to be an epidemic of fowl disappearances among those who keep chickens which has more than anecdotal evidence.

Here is the amazing chicken coop that my dear husband built out of salvaged materials, including part of my swing set from when I was little:

The second picture shows the coop with the nest box access door open - which makes collecting the eggs super-easy.

Right now we are getting two to three eggs a day. They taste so different from store-bought. They taste of the earth, fresh air, grasses, and insects the chickens eat.

Adventures in Milk Donation

So I've decided to become a human milk donor... I haven't yet been approved because it requires extensive medical testing - my DNA swab was sent off yesterday and my blood sample today. So keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out there.

The milk collected goes to premature infants in the NICU - babies whose key to survival is being able to gain enough weight. Previously, the milk supplement was always cows' milk. Now, these babies can get even more of what they need. The company I'm working with is run by two sisters. You can see all the amazing stuff they do at
Milkin' Mamas

In my pre-mommy life, I donated blood and platelets frequently and was able to be more philanthropic. I think it will feel really good to be able to do something for other folks again - folks other than my immediate family.

The phlebotomist was a strange bird. She kept commenting on the political signs in the front yards in our neighborhood. (They sent a traveling phlebotomist to my house.) And she kept narrating everything she was doing in a non-specific way. "This goes over here. And then this goes on top of that. Now we'll move this." In any case, she drew my blood successfully.

After she left I got really weirded out - I didn't ask to see any credentials. What if the real phlebotomist shows up later? Was the needle sealed?

Felted Cube

I am trying to learn to knit. Tackling the traditional projects seems a tad blasé... I am knitting a crimson red poncho for Lucy that is taking me... much longer than it should. And, I've been itching to felt something. So today I started knitted squares... eventually there will be six which I will felt and so together to create a cube to stuff with poly-fill and a bell for Lucy.

The fabric hanging off the bowl to the right side is the first finished square. I've cast on the second and worked two knit rows. I hope this works.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Little Accidents

I am borrowing this phrase from the late, great Bob Ross to describe and talk about conception. Specifically, the conception of our darling (sleeping, for now) daughter.

Wow, what a surprise. And, I hesitate a moment to say, shock. My mother and father tried for several years to conceive a baby before finally carrying a pregnancy to term (me). I was told it would likely be quite difficult for me to have children as well - which was fine. I thought I didn't want children. I was taking birth control pills.

For four nights, I woke with terrible abdominal pain. My husband insisted that I go to the doctor - he wouldn't leave for work otherwise. They did a pregnancy test - and when it came back positive - my jaw literally dropped. As did my mom's - she was in the exam room with me. I protested - "But we're moving to New York in two months for grad school." As if, somehow, that made it impossible - and it would reverse the doctor's statement of fact.

All this to say that I was mistaken. I do want children. Lucy has made everything better. Now, I too, am new. This world around us seen through her eyes is truly delightful.

Should I feel guilty to have this blessing I didn't want? I do. I do when I see our friends who've known their whole lives that they wanted to be parents and are devastated as another month passes with no sign of pregnancy.

Our lotus is blooming - another miraculous event. We've been watching and waiting as the flower stalk emerged and grew. Now it has popped and we'll enjoy the beautiful bloom for the brief time it's here. Hopefully we'll collect the seeds and have another plant or two next year.

The fall garden is going in very slowly. I am trying to remain optimistic. But, getting everyone together on what actually needs to happen is a battle.


So, my dear husband had some sad news for me this morning (actually he told me when I was asleep last night and I apparently replied but just-in-case he told me again this morning). David Foster Wallace is gone. We both feel as if we lost someone we know. What a shame to lose such a talented writer long before his time. So many literary greats have blinked out over the last few years. And with the snuffing-out of each one, we feel a little more alone in this world. We lose a voice which rose above the cacophony to describe our situation, to allow us to understand a bit of our own existence. I guess I want to say "Thank You" to all of them - DFW, Vonnegut, George Plimpton, and Hunter S. Thompson - off the top of my head. You are sorely missed.

I keep hoping it's all a ruse.

Check out his
commencement speech
for Kenyon College 2005.

Think on it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birth Story

No exciting "A Baby Story" moments here.

Our dear daughter Lucy was born March 4 (progress day) at 9:36 AM. It was a Tuesday.

We had been working late on Sunday night painting our hallway - trying to get those last few nesting tasks accomplished. (Zero VOC paint) I woke up Monday with mild contractions, which I mentioned to the midwife at our weekly checkup. We came home and I tried to take a nap, it having been drilled into my head that labor is hard work. No nap for me, the contractions kept getting stronger.

I was ravenous. We had a huge dinner of black beans and rice and oven roasted tomatoes and homemade tortilla chips. I was still hungry so I called my mother (who lives next door) and she brought me all kinds of fruit - pineapple and blueberries. Then, I ate a hardboiled egg. I vaguely remember snacking a bit more... but on what I have not clue one.

Wes and I headed to bed and tried to sleep. Again, no sleep for either of us.

Again and again we had been told not to ask ourselves when it was time to go to the hospital, but to ask when I was no longer comfortable at home. I reached that point at 4:30AM.

We arrived at the hospital at around 6:00AM. There was a storm on its way. The wind was whipping through the mountains and so Wes had to drive quite slowly. My mother rode with us - the two of us in the backseat and let me squeeze her hands for the contractions.

Labor was progressing rapidly for a first-time birth - I was seven centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. I was placed on fetal monitoring briefly (although it seemed like ages) while they filled the birthing tub.

I had this beautiful vision of giving birth in the tub - being able to help birth my baby in the water. Well, it was not to be. I said I wanted the water hot... but it was... hot. The work of labor combined with the temperature made the tub unbearable. Before anyone could stop me I was out of the tub and back on the bed.

Once the relief of the heat was gone, the contractions were even harder than before. The midwife had me get onto my back - a position that they tell you avoid in natural birthing circles - but this was a bit different. I was flat on my back with my legs waaay up in the air - Wes holding one and my mom the other. I talked to Lucy telling her I needed her help and my wonderful husband and mother and midwife encouraged and praised me.

My water still hadn't broken... And suddenly while I was pushing it broke and shot across the room - hitting the midwife on its way.

Soon, her head was partially out and I was able to reach down and feel it - making her all the more real and giving me the motivation I needed for those last few pushes. And out she came, sucking her little thumb and, I'm told, quite purple.

Immediately, Wes placed her on my belly. And this soft, wet, squishy creature was part of my life. She had the most delightful smell. She just felt so good. Lucy was here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mommy Brain

This syndrome begins "Pregnancy Brain" and has progresses to "Mommy Brain." I am writing about the phenomena surrounding caring for another human being and the incredible strain it places on your mental aptitude. The symptoms include, but are not limited to: the inability to carry on an adult conversation, the loss of math skills (we're talking grade-school level here), and general ineptitude. Surprisingly, subjects' symptoms seem to disappear when questioned about their own children.

The first trimester I was tired and oh, so very, very dumb. The second semester, still tired but a bit better in that department... still quite stupid. Well, I had my baby and just about the time things started to improve after the birth of said child from within my body and the hormones began to subside. I could almost carry on a conversation of pre-pregnancy caliber again when sleep deprivation began to take its toll.

I don't mean to imply that I am or was the intellectual or conversational equivalent of... Mommy Brain has struck again. Most days ask me my age, name or any other relevant information and I won't have a clue. I may stare at you expressionlessly. And yet, through all this I can remember every aspect, every detail concerning my child.

Monday, September 1, 2008

First Things Second...

Allow me to introduce myself... I am a twenty-six year old mother of one beautiful daughter, my husband is my best friend and until recently I was a student of writing. I was a bit of a party-girl. I was a server. Now, I am focusing on all things natural family living. We cloth diaper (it's easier than you might think). I am ecologically nursing. I am really into babywearing. We try to eat organic, locally produced foods. And sometimes we fail miserably. I am getting back into crafting... sewing, knitting, for now and other endeavors as the days go on.

So, as I discover and investigate new information regarding trying to raise a child in an environmentally-friendly, sustainable, nurturing way I will share it here. Hopefully, you will find it helpful or interesting or at least not nauseating.

Here we are, the mei-tai style carrier is made by BabyHawk.

They allow you to customize your own. You can choose your fabric, color, add a toy ring, and a pocket if you so desire. I will say it's a bit pricey, but it's been worth it, even considering our meager budget. It's comparable to an Ergo, but perhaps a bit more stylish.
She loves it. Seriously. When she sees me pull it out she starts wiggling and smiling. And I can't tell you how much more I can get done.

Let's see a bit of information about me: check. A little about my family and what we like: check. Some information concerning a product that helps me as a mother: yep. An adorable picture of my little one: A-OK.