Newsletter – May 2015

My Darling Children!

We’re on to May! What an exciting month! We’re having so much fun this spring playing in the water, going to lagoon, and playing at home. It’s so much fun to be outside after the cold of winter, but it’s already starting to get hot!

Twig, you’re a hoot. We’ve been talking about spelling your name and you love going around chanting M-E-R-E and even finger spell it, but you insist that Mere in your name, not Meredith! Every time I try to say your full name is Meredith, you politely disagree. Then maybe not-so-politely disagree. Clearly, that silly birth certificate thing is wrong.

You also really started playing with Banana this month. Mostly you like to sit back and let Peanut do the big sister stuff, which is fine, but over this month something shifted. Now you love to be the one to make him laugh. You ask to have him sit in your lap, which is pretty comical for how big he’s getting. You pick him up, which is both comical and terrifying from my perspective. He just adores you too.

Peanut, you finished kindergarten this month! It’s pretty bittersweet because we both just loved your teacher, but you’re super excited for next year. You already met your first grade teacher and you thought she was just great. I also think you’re enjoying being at home over the summer, though you often complain of being bored.

You also lost a tooth this month! Your very first one, that has been loose for ages. I noticed that your adult tooth was actually coming in behind the old one, so I told you that you needed to wiggle it a bunch and started wiggling it myself too. I think you were avoiding wiggling it because you didn’t like how it felt. Anyway, all that wiggling finally paid off and it came out. You even took it to school to show everyone. Then, of course, we realized the one next to it was loose too!

Lastly, you started reading aloud to your sister. I just love it. She doesn’t always stick around when you take a minute sounding something out and sometimes you don’t want her to listen, but other times I come upstairs to find you both enthralled in a book. It’s awesome.

Banana, you hit a lot of milestones this month! Out of nowhere you started clapping and waving, both of which you just love to do. You smile so big when you’re clapping your hands! You also really got your pincer grasp down, which means nothing is safe! You find every little thing on the floor and, of course, it all goes straight to your mouth!

We also discovered that you love watching videos of yourself this month. At first I thought it was just because it’s a baby, but you don’t enjoy videos of other babies on the same level. You especially love videos of yourself laughing. I wish I could get a video of you laughing at yourself laughing!

Love you all!
Mama

Pressing Pause

I’m pressing pause on blogging. Honestly, it’s become more of a chore than fun. I feel like I’m not making a difference and, honestly, I don’t even know what difference I want to make. I’m tired of the hateful comments from past posts when I was more of a lactivist and I’m tired of feeling guilty that my blog that has the word “lactating” in it doesn’t have more breastfeeding content these days. I’m just tired. So I’m officially going on break. I’m not sure if/when I’ll come back. I just felt like I owed those of you who follow the blog an explanation rather than a sudden disappearance. Hope to see you all soon.

Newsletter – April 2015

Childrens!

April! It’s spring! We had so much fun this month. We spent a lot of time at the Treehouse Museum, Lagoon (got our season passes!) and just running around having fun. Both of the girls started gymnastics this month and have been loving it.

Banana, you had a really fun month too! You turned 8 months this month and you’re really turning into an older baby, if that makes sense. You play games with us now, you show obvious preference in people (like getting super excited when daddy comes home), and you do pretty funny stuff. My favorite lately is when you crawl around with something in your mouth like a puppy dog. So cute! You also love “feeding” people food (or anything else!) in your hands, blowing raspberries back and forth to each other, and starting cruising on furniture this month. Slow down with this almost walking stuff!

You wanted to dress up like Elsa to go pick up Peanut from school.

Twig, you’re pretty awesome too. Your favorite song is Kitty by Presidents of the United States of America and you request it virtually every time we get in the car. Then, of course, you sing along as loud as you possibly can. It’s adorable.

You also started drawing real pictures of people this month. People with bodies and legs and eyes, not just squiggles like before. I can see the gears turning in your head when you’re drawing. Actually thinking about how things look.

In sadder news, you got stitches this month. A freak accident of you falling over half asleep and perfectly hitting your cheek so it split right open. I felt so awful. You, after getting past the initial pain, were a real trooper though. You held so perfectly still for your stitches and even for removing them when he had to dig a little to get the stitch knot that was under a scab. Now we just have to spend the summer keeping your scar out of the sun and hopefully it’ll go away with age.

Peanut as a baby owl in a “Participlay”

Peanut, you’re obsessed with getting a “moving robot.” I knew that you wanted one, but I had no idea the extent of your obsession. When I was volunteering at your school, I saw back in February (as part of Dr. Seuss week) that you said you’d tell Thing 1 and Thing 2 to take you to Target and buy you a moving robot. You’ve been finding things you can do to help people and earn more money towards your robot (the one you originally wanted was $100, but you’ve since researched with daddy and found the one you like best is $70-something). You’re so excited to get one!

You also got a library card of your own this month since you can really read now and you’re taking full advantage of it. Every week, instead of going to story time with your brother and sister, you go to the children’s section and sit and read. Then from reading you choose 10 or so books to take home (often more with holds). You also choose to just sit and read a lot of the time. It’s still a struggle to get you to read anything “assigned” to you, but you love reading in general and are above average with your ability. It’s so much fun to watch you grow into an avid reader, just like mom and dad. Speaking of being just like mom, you also insisted on cutting your hair short like mine this month. And it’s crazy cute on you.

Until next month!
Mama

Preparing to Pack School Lunches

School starts for Miss Peanut one month from today, which is just absolutely crazy to me. Regardless, it’s time to start really preparing a few things. Honestly, I’ve been preparing things for a long time, like slowly buying things off the supply list her teacher has up on her class blog so it’s not so much at once. And even longer than that, as long as I can remember really, I’ve know I’m going to pack her lunch to school.

Peanut eating lunch at our local Free Summer Lunch program

First I want to say that I know schools do what they can. Many of the lunches are free or reduced and even before accounting for that, it’s not like the school gets a lot of money to work with when it comes to buying and prepping food. And I know that to many families that school lunch is a godsend. That’s not the point.

Twig eating lunch at our local Free Summer Lunch program

The point is that “good enough” isn’t what I want for my family. Our nation’s school lunch (along with many other things) is in a sad state. Looking at the lunches my girls had at the free summer lunch program, there are definitely some good parts and none of it is what I’d consider horrible food, but there are a lot of what I call “sometimes” foods and I just don’t want my kids eating that every day at school. Our school lunch system a lot of improving to do, so in the meantime I’ll take care of her lunch myself.

So here’s the game plan. First, of course, the meal plan. We’re still loving our Super Healthy Kids meal planning service and I’ve happily noted that pretty much every lunch is easy to pack. Of course they’re also loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. I even asked Peanut this week if she wants to do school lunch one day a week (a suggestion I read on Super Healthy Kids) and she said no, she’d rather have my yummy healthy lunches every day. Happy mama here! I’m sure we’ll revisit this concept once she sees her friends eating school lunch, but for now I’m planning on packing it 5 days a week. If she changes her mind, I’m going to stick with Wednesdays as our school lunch day since my husband gets tacos that day and maybe Twig, Banana, and I will have leftovers or go out to lunch ourselves.

Our Laptop Lunchbox bag

Our Laptop Lunchbox

Next, the gear. I have a Laptop Lunchbox that I used myself while I was in school (and I’ll happily buy a second one for myself when I go back to school next year, they’re great!) and extra containers. Since the lunchbox is an older version, the new containers don’t fit in it (they’re a tad bit taller), but that’s not a big deal. I also have one of their lunchbox holders that has plenty of room up top for the other containers. Peanut is super excited to use it!

I’m also planning on getting a bunch (well, maybe not as much as this lady!) of cute bento stuff to make her lunches more fun. I’m sure we’ll hit the point where she feels bored or sad or whatever and these can definitely make lunch more fun. And I’m sure she’ll love them because she loves cute stuff. I’m also planning on printing off lunch notes (and writing my own at times) to give her a little fun pick me up.

Lastly, the plan. I will pack (or at least start packing) lunch the night before, as suggested here. That’s my biggest plan for actually getting her out the door on time. We also have been working on getting ready before breakfast (they have a “before breakfast” to do list that is pretty much just getting ready for the day) so that I’m not constantly harping on her to get dressed and brush her teeth and can focus on getting breakfast on the table and the last bit of lunch packed.

So there it is! Our plan for school lunch this fall. I’ll check up with ya’ll later about how it’s coming along. I’m sure there will be some more obstacles along the way since we’ve never had to pack a school lunch before! She’s getting so big!

Do you pack school lunch? Any tips or tricks you’ve learned?

Goodbye to All the Hair

We’ve been chopping hair all around these parts over the last few months and now we’re to the point where everyone has the shortest hair they’ve ever had! Some of us just keep getting shorter and shorter too. Thought I’d share some pictures of all of it here today.

Peanut Long Hair

Short Hair 1.0

Short Hair 2.0

Twig

Long Hair

Short Hair

Banana

Long Hair

Short Hair

Me

Long Hair

Short Hair 1.0

Short Hair 2.0

Husband

Long Hair and Beard

Short Beard

Short Hair (though this wasn’t on purpose, the stylist was really awful)

Some Quinoa and Part of an Avocado

It’s Food Waste Friday! This week I feel like we did a pretty good job. Not 100% waste-free, but a lot of good work. First, the bad.

Some quinoa got wasted. I was planning on using it Saturday in a recipe, but then we ended up doing a different one that had been skipped earlier in the week. It was already pushing it time-wise to use it in Saturday’s recipe, so I decided that it was better to be safe than sorry and this was trash. The good news is that we’ve found that we do sometimes like quinoa (depends on what it’s in) from some of the recipes in our meal planning service, so go go healthy food!

And second, part of an avocado. I was able to salvage some of the insides for the recipe I was making today, but the outer edges were all slimy. Yuck. It’s hard to get through avocados in our house because, while I absolutely adore them, my family is more on the fence. I work hard to make sure that they get used up before they go bad now (and I buy less of them than the meal plan says to), but this one just got away from me.

In good news, I was able to use up all of our leftovers from meals that needed to be used this week. We still have some meatballs, but they have a few more days, so I think we’ll be good. I also worked on saving parts of meals that the kids didn’t want to finish, like when Peanut decided she didn’t want any more orange. I gave it back to her later (after storing it in the fridge, obviously) and she ate it happily. And this is all with two produce drawers so full that I have to use shelves for the extras every week! I love that we’ve gotten to a place where what we buy at the store is at least 50% from the produce section.

Now just to keep this momentum going for next week! Anyone else working on reducing their food waste? How’d you do this week?

Dear Me of 7 Years Ago

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself

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 written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Dear Me of 7 Years Ago,

You don’t know it, but you’re about to get knocked up. I know that the timing isn’t quite right. I know that it’s all going to get very scary and overwhelming very quickly. But I’m here to tell you that it’ll all be alright. It’ll be more than alright.

Your heart is going to implode. And what will be left in the wreckage will be a new, better heart. One that holds infinitely more love, patience, and meaning. As you take this new, beautiful of baby in your arms, you will break. The you you’ve always known will cease to exist because there just couldn’t possibly have been a you without this person. You have a new sun to revolve around. And it will happen again and again. And even with lack of existence, implosions, and revolving around more than one sun, it’ll somehow make sense.

You’ll find yourself. The person you were always meant to be. You’ll find new passions, you’ll get new perspective, your priorities will change. You’ll figure out what really matters in your life and let everything else fall away. You’ll be a different person than you would have been had these little people never come into your life. You’ll be better.

I’m not saying it’ll be perfect. There will be hard times. Oh believe me, I know the hard times. Sometimes all the time will be a hard time. That’s okay. Having just read a letter from myself another 7 years from now, I can tell you it’ll be hard then too. But it’s more than just hard. Parenting will challenge you in ways that cause you to grow. Parenting will teach you that you can do hard things.

So me, get ready for a whirlwind. Your life is going to be flipped upside down and it’s going to be amazing. You’ll never regret it for a second.

Love,
Me

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she’s come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
  • Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
  • A Letter to MyselfThe Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
  • A Letter to Myself — Holly at Leaves of Lavender offers a missive to herself in the past… three years in the past, to be precise, when her little one was only four months old.
  • Dear me: Nothing will go the way you’ve planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
  • A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
  • Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she’s about to enter called parenting.
  • Talking to My 18 Year Old SelfHannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
  • Dear highly sensitive soulMarija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits – one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
  • Talking to myself: Dear Pre StoneageparentStoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
  • Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
  • My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she’d figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that’s when her first baby was 6 moths old).
  • A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment post partum.
  • To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
  • To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.