Plenty and Pleasantly Busy

I'm a goer. A doer. A task completer. I make lists. I check things off lists. I get a special kind of joy from checking things off my lists. I like looking around and seeing the progress I make. It's been this area of my life that has probably been the hardest adjustment with my new role as Momma. I was blessed that pregnancy didn't slow me down. Heck, the day before Millie was born I was checking things off my list and feeling fabulous. Large, but fabulous. Fabulously large.

But when you have a baby suddenly the things to do multiply by about a billion and the time to do them shrinks by about a zillion. The equation isn't pretty. My time was/is not mine anymore. The days of completing more than one load of laundry, dusting, and whatever else I wanted to do were and are long gone. In the beginning I felt one load of laundry washed and dried became a feat worthy of an Olympic Gold Medal. After all, I did complete it in between dancing around the room, nursing, or changing the diaper of a newborn. And yes, I realize I only have one kid to wrangle. Momma's of the world have moved to the top of my prayer list. We surely need God's grace.

Our hampers became full, our living room was often a clean laundry storage area, our bed remained unmade, and I didn't get to change out my seasonal decor as often (scandal!) My listy, dooey world was a little bit rocked. Don't get me wrong I knew babies were a lot of work and my house and my cleaning tendencies are far from perfect. I knew "my" time was coming to an abrupt end. I just didn't KNOW it. It's just one of those things you don't get until you live it.

It's taken about 5.5 months for me be ok with a kitchen table that isn't clear all the time, a floor littered with baby blankets (and big people blankets), toys, and laundry piling up. My tolerance is higher. However, the questions I was getting from other women weren't helping. "What do you do all day?" "What do you do to fill your days?" and my personal favorite, "Are you keeping yourself busy?" Some days if you came to my house, you might actually wonder these things. In fact right now I'm looking at pints and quarts of canned beans and pear sauce on our table, blankets on the floor, and piles of folded laundry that I'm dreading putting away (anyone else feel that's the worst part of laundry?).

Here's the deal though, when I think back to my childhood I don't remember if our house was cluttered. I do know it was clean, but that other stuff? Nah, I remember baking cookies, building forts, playing dress-up, watching Arthur, singing, dancing, riding bikes, and my room. The laundry and other things didn't make the memories. But the important things did, my brothers, my friends Doug and Lisa, my Momma being home, the red wagon, and the doll named Sweetie Pie. I've got to let the other things go-the things other people say and my own expectations- all for the sake of Millie's memories and my sanity.

The toys will get put away and drug out again. The blankets will get folded and unfolded. The mail will make it to the office and the jars of food to the basement. It will all get done in due time. Or it won't either way-it's not all vital.

So today I answer the age old questions that really aren't "age old". "Are you keeping yourself busy?" Today I loved, I nurtured, I played, and maybe (probably) I became a little more crazy.

P.S. Please don't say the quote about "Good moms having sticky floors and yatta yatta"...I'm sorry, sticky floors are a problem. Sticky is always a problem. 

But mostly and most importantly, I loved and I nurtured and it kept me plenty and pleasantly busy.



A Campin' We Will Go

We took a camping hiatus last summer. Something about wanting to loose my lunch a couple times a day, being extra sensitive to heat, and adjusting to married life, then pregnant life left me with little desire to do much of anything.

But this year my parents have bought a camper and they are kind enough to share and so far all parties have played nicely. Millie is not much of a traveler so having the camper and a lake nearby has been such a blessings and has allowed us "family vacations." They have been wonderful. Jerrel's schedule allows us to go in the middle of the week sometimes which is wonderful-campground to yourself!  

The first trip with Millie back in May left much to be desired. She overheated quickly cried much and slept even more because of all the fuss. We spent the weekend in the camper and learned why you don't take a 3 month old camping in 90 degree weather. It cramps your camping style. Since then-things have gotten better-much better. In fact, we just got home from an almost week long excursion!

We fry eggs and bacon. We enjoy things we normally don't consume. We eat, we get a snack, then we have lunch, after that we get something to eat, then it's suppertime, then we roast marshmallows. Did I mention we eat? 

Our campsite doesn't have fancy lights or decorations, just garland of diapers.

Cloth diapering for a camping trip requires a bit of strategy. I usually wait until the last minute to throw the diapers in the wash before we go, then take them out there wet and make a clothes line and they get to line dry.

We explore nature.

We see nature, we touch nature, we become one with nature. Ok maybe not quite that far.

We take naps and play games. The cardinal camping rule is: do things you don't do at home. This last trip we played scrabble. For someone who loves words so much, scrabble is certainly a challenge. My big moment? Month-double word score. Yippie! 

A walk around the campgrounds as dusk settles us in for the evening. The cicadas start signing abd the smell of campfires creeps in.   

The water turns to glass except for the ripples from fish and the sun slowly sets. 

Baby girl gets sleepy and pops her thumb in. It's then we know it time for bath and bed.

Mornin' comes and we all sleep in-one of the wonders of the world and we do it all over again with a few variations.

And when it's time to go home. Momma and baby have sweet little baby photo shoots while daddy does the heavy lifting. 

Side note: Have you ever heard Jim Gaffigan's bit on camping? You should, it's hilarious.

Ahh, quality time spent with my family in this quiet and peaceful setting makes me happy, happy, happy. We are proof that there are such things as Happy Campers-however we are not too happy to say no to a shower when we get home. Ok I'll stop saying happy now...nope. One more time-Happy Camping!



World Breastfeeding Week

It's been 2 years since I posted my first breastfeeding post. I can't say I've posted a plethora since then. I just read through it though and it's good. If I do say so myself. It's one of the best posts I've written to date I think. I really believe because it's a topic I am so very passionate about. When writing that post Millie was just a twinkle in my eye. I had not a clue of the challenges, love, and joy ahead of me as I became a mother. This post isn't going to be about Millie and I's breastfeeding relationship. No, that will come later. This post will be a bit different.

I have been putting off posting this week. Why? Well because I was tip-toeing around being diplomatic. I was dancing around not being judgmental. I was beating around the bush of not offending anyone. But I have something to say.

Breastfeeding is important. It matters.

Bottom line. The media will tell you that it's really no different from formula. Your Doctor will tell you to supplement if baby isn't making the weight chart. Your life will tell you you don't have time and that it's too hard. And society will tell you that it is weird, sexual, and downright gross.

Don't listen.

Breastmilk is completely different from formula-it's made from cows milk-we are humans-different species. Key word? Different. Breastfed babies are generally longer and leaner, the weight charts are created with formula fed babies included-remember it's different. It is totally and utterly time consuming and it's hard work. There are challenges for everyone. And society? Well honestly look around...why are we still listening to anything our society suggests?

We have women failing, quitting, throwing in the towel-however you want to put it on this sacred act of motherhood and nourishment everyday. Why? I don't believe we can necessarily blame low supply, a latch problem, or the myriad of other issues women cite for ending their breastfeeding relationship. I think we need to focus and blame a lack of breastfeeding culture. A lack of breastfeeding through generations. A lack of education, educators, and resources

So many women don't know their doctor rarely is the best source for information regarding the specifics of nourishment for their child. Women are unaware that hand compressing while pumping is helpful in getting the most efficient pump and hand compression after a pump session may get you even more. Moreover it's not well known that babies are much more efficient than a pump. Supplementation isn't always the best answer and pacifiers could be related to a supply issue-just to name a couple other common difficulties. The challenges and information is endless.

But breastfeeding matters. It helps prevent obesity, diabetes, SIDS, cancer, and death from all causes. It promotes healthy eating habits, helps prevent the risk of breast cancer in nursing women, PPD, and the list goes on and on. These things can show up in all stages of life. So if formula was in our past should we sit around and twiddle our thumbs and wait for them to happen? NO! We should, however, stop downplaying breastmilk and realize the importance it carries.

We should stop being ignorant and degrading and start celebrating, supporting, get educated and empowered! Because, and I repeat: Breastfeeding is important. 

Happy World Breastfeeding Week.

I make milk. What's your super power?



Five Months of Millie

I just got in from rocking my baby to sleep on the porch swing. I rocked and hummed with her while watching fireflies and listening to crickets. It was honestly perfection. When she drifted off I thought "I need to get inside to finish that blog." but then Millie sighed and I looked down at her curled lashes and button nose and thought "Eh, it can wait. I can fudge the date on blogger." So this may or may not have been posted on August 4th. The world will never know. 

Today marks five months of diaper changing, sweet baby smiles, fussing, giggling, sleep depravation, and kisses. More kisses than I know how to count! This month we did all kinds of summer things. We shot off fireworks, hung out at the lake, picked plums, went swimming, shucked corn, canned vegetables, and, camped. It's been a good month!

Hey, who put this chair here?! 
I reported last month that our girl is quite mobile. Well, that has only increased and now her motives are deliberate. I see that pile of laundry...I must demolish it. Oh you have a remote or cellphone, I want it. She can scoot across the room in no time flat. Only when she is upset does she suddenly become immobile. We have to come to her. What's up with that? 

The diapers were the best investment we made. They double as toys and Millie doesn't have a lot of toys. No we don't need more toys. We have clean diapers, in piles, that momma is trying to put away. It works out.  

Like I said we have been swimming and Millie loves it. She swims a bit wants out, walks around with someone for a while, then finishes the evening swimming. I'm going to miss our evenings in the pool when Summer is up. 

The family that swims together stays together. I married the man in the goggles. And had his baby. 

And I'd do it all over again for moments like this.

Our times at the lake have been visiting Grandma and Grandpa camping as well as our own trip this last weekend. Post of that experience to come. Either way we eat a lot, we sleep a little, and play much. 

What Momma?

Sophie is now an honorary member of the family. She even gets her own portrait. 

We love going to the lake. That means that daddy is up and experiencing the day-lit world with us. Sure he may be a zombie...

But he's a fun zombie!

Millie thinks standing on Dad is just the best thing since sliced bread, but she doesn't really know what sliced bread is so it's actually just the best thing. Whew. That was silly. 

Ole' blue eyes. 

See what I mean? Best. Thing.

So this is what a folding chair feels like. 
Going to stores is getting interesting, using remotes, cell phones, and computers is interesting, cooking is interesting with Millie. She wants it all in her hands and then in her mouth. She must know what is going on at all times-needs to be in the action. Sometimes I think I can see her brain growing.

Jerrel is constantly saying "You want to see that?" Then he lets her touch a tree or his water bottle, or a utensil...however it doesn't always end well because she can't really play with everything but I guess she's learning. Or we are playing a mean game with her-Parents of the year!

After all that exploring and learning we get tired. So we lay down and snuggle with daddy.

 Or we say "Ma, I need a snack. Now. Please." My memoire is going to be called "My Life and Legacy of being a Milk Machine."

Baby girl still eats fairly often. Not as often if we are out and about. Night time is still at least every 3-4 hours. She puts away the groceries and so do I!

Baby burrito anyone? She thinks she's pretty funny and cute. And she's right. Millie takes things with her when she rolls-even if it won't roll well, it's going by golly. 

Speaking of movin' and groovin' here's a picture of her up on all fours. This is an action shot, what would happen next is a cousin to a belly flop. See the form of the toes? They push her forward. Her arms just basically lift her. They aren't too strong yet. Sometimes though she shifts to one side or another on one leg and one arm. Doing a model like pose. She's workin' on a sitting position but with the cloth diapers being so round and bulky, they don't always help. When we sit her down her balance is getting a lot better.

I honestly don't have many pictures of her in action on here because the events noted above generally happen while donning her birthday suit. She can actually sit for a bit when we put her there while in her birthday suit. 

 Rub a dub dub baby in a bath tub er sink.

Sister is growing so big and beautiful. Here she is at 4 months and then 5...I think it's safe to say changes happened this month!

Can't wait to see what next month brings!
Love you Sugar!