Newsletter – April 2014

Hello Girls and Baby of Unknown Sex!

Peanut at story time.

Back to our catch up of newsletters! This month mommy and Peanut finished up the semester (ending preschool and getting excited and nervous for kindergarten in the fall!) and we started spending every day together! It was stressful at times, but overall it’s been a great change.

This meant that we started to do fun things like going to story time. The last time we went, Twig was just too nervous to go sit on the rug. Now though, you love it! You love to sit right next to Peanut or on her lap and Becca, the storytime teacher, is one of your favorite people.

Speaking of books, you were obsessed with Green Eggs and Ham. All Dr. Seuss books are great in your eyes, but we read Green Eggs and Ham EVERY night before bed. You also adore Winnie the Pooh in any form.

Twig’s new tea set.

We started giving you allowance this month too. I wasn’t planning on starting so soon, but you get upset every week when Peanut would get hers, so I finally gave in and let you get it too. You definitely don’t get it like Peanut does, but it’s only $1 a week anyway (half your age) and 25 cents goes into your piggybank. You surprised me though and actually bought something you really love, which was a tea set. You had a little jump start to your allowance with the money from Easter (just change that we put in the eggs) so you actually had enough to get a secondhand porcelain tea set. You still play with it all the time too (though a few pieces have been hot glued now).

Practice run for your Merida hair.

Speaking of Easter, you were awesome with it this month Peanut. We asked you not to grab every egg you found so your sister could find some too. You took this as you should help her find eggs. And not only that, but you alternated back and forth with every egg between you finding it and Twig “finding” it. It was so cute and considerate of you!

This month I asked you what you want to be for Halloween so I could get started on costumes before Banana was born. I asked you this month so you could have some time to decide, but you immediately decided you wanted to be Merida from Brave and you stuck to it! For a moment you pondered being a hobbit, but it was only a fleeting thought. You even talked Twig into going as one of the little bears, so we’re doing a full Brave themed family costume! More details to come. :-)

Another great thing this month is that I felt you move on the outside Banana! That also meant that your sisters and daddy could feel you of course. Problem is that you just would not kick Peanut! She was so excited to feel you, but every time that I got her to come over you’d stop kicking! We told her that you just loved her too much to kick her. We also had an ultrasound to check on you (after our bleeding scare in the beginning of mama’s pregnancy, I needed the reassurance) and continued to not find out your sex.

Well that wraps up the month of April! Love you all!

Sunday Surf – Adjusting to a New Normal

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Banana is 3 weeks and 3 days old! Wow time is flying. He’s already looking and acting less like a newborn and more like a baby.

And as a family we’re getting back into our routines. Every morning my husband drops Peanut off at school (after either I get her ready or he does if I’ve had a rough night with Banana and need to sleep more). Banana usually sleeps all morning, either on me or in the swing, and I play with Twig and get her ready. Then at 11am we go pick up Peanut from school, spend some time at the park or running errands or just hanging out at home. Lunch around 1-1:30, then naptime (thankfully Twig started napping again) and quiet time for the girls, Banana usually naps here too (even sometimes in the bed with Twig for a while). Usually Peanut gets some mama time after she finishes quiet time (an hour) and before Twig wakes up from her nap (usually 2 hours) and we read books, play games, and do her homework. Then more playing and daddy comes home at five, we eat dinner and hang out and/or watch a show as a family. Obviously weekends are different, but it still follows the general formula.

The adjustment is going much better this time than when Twig was born. I’m sure that’s in large part my lack of postpartum depression, which is still baffling to me. I’ve had a lot better support this time around, especially from my husband and in-laws. I’ve still felt a little bit overwhelmed and a few times I’ve gotten that barely keeping my head above water feeling, but I think that’s normal for this time period. I’ve also been getting a decent amount of sleep most nights (yay for breastfeeding and co-sleeping!), though Banana having a minor cold through a wrench in the works for the last few days. Even then it hasn’t been terrible. Anyway, on to the surf!

The magic way I get crabby evening baby to sleep.

I got bangs!

Peanut just adores him.

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking them “So how was school today?” at Simple Simon and Company. We’ve been using some of these and it’s working really well. I’m still getting used to Peanut being in a school that doesn’t have a one way mirror window. We especially like to use #1 thus far.

13 Great Things to Say to a Sleep Deprived Parent at Belly Baby. This list is great! I love that it has so many positive reinforcement messages for the parents. When parents, especially first time parents, are constantly told that their baby shouldn’t need to be held so much/needs to stop using mom as a pacifier/should already be sleeping through the night it undermines the parents’ natural instincts. Telling someone how wonderful and happy their baby is and how they’re doing a great job can make all the difference.

5 Things Not To Say To A Woman With Postpartum Depression — And What To Say Instead at The Huffington Post. Like I said, I’m not suffering from postpartum depression this time (yet. knock on wood), but this is great information to have for anyone who is around a mom who does have PPD (which is likely you, as something like 10% of moms have it). I especially like the one about how your symptoms are not you, but just your symptoms. I think it would have been nice to hear some of these things after Twig was born (and thankfully I didn’t hear any of the bad ones!).

And a funny little video Things You Can’t Do When You’re Not a Toddler.

My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.


And for another addition of My New House Mondays, except not a Monday (hello Carnival readers!) and really not such a new-to-us house anymore. We’ve been in this house over four years! And we did our flooring on the main level two years ago! Two years. It’s amazing how time flies. Anyway, it’s been on our list of to-do’s ever since to do the hallway upstairs and hopefully our stairs (one set going up and one going down, as our house is a split level), depending on the amount of laminate flooring we had left once the hallway was done.

Last fall I got ambitious and tore out the ugly carpet in the hallway and on the top set of stairs (bottom set of stairs lost it’s carpet when we did the other flooring). That left us with white wood stairs. Not something that I would even dislike if it weren’t for the condition of them. Biggest issue being that two of the stairs on the bottom set were cracked all the way through the middle. I tried different methods of holding the crack together so I could paint over it, but it just broken right apart again. The next step was to go put a piece of 2×4 underneath them to brace the crack, but we never got that far. My husband finished the hallway laminate early this summer and came up with a plan to completely cover our stairs in the laminate, even the risers! So finishing our stairs went onto the before-baby to-do list.

Our biggest issue came from the noses. They were incredibly thick and rounded, so even if we put the noses that match the laminate on top of them, white would have shown through the bottom. This is where my husband’s brilliant plan came in–we cut them off! I thought it was kind of crazy at first, but it worked out really well.

Top set of stairs minus their noses.

It took some very precise measuring (which, as you can see, still wasn’t perfect) and cutting with a circular saw braced up against a piece of wood. It was kind of terrifying, but also awesome. Since it didn’t reach all the way to the sides, we used a jigsaw and dremmel to cut off the rest.

Lower set of stairs post-circular saw and pre-dremmel. (Please forgive the blurry husband foot)

Lower stairs minus noses.

Then once the noses were off, it was mostly a bunch of measuring. We cut eat piece of laminate to the precise width of the stair (checking to make sure it fit and trimming again if necessary), then did another the same way for the riser. The riser was cut so it was level with the top of the background riser and the tread so it was the correct size that the nose would fit over the top of it without a gap in the overhang (or underhang?). It sounds more complicated than it was, really. We just had to piece it together like a puzzle and do lots of cutting and measuring. The hardest part was using the locking mechanism of laminate to lock the two pieces together at a 90 degree angle. Once we had that in place, we used liquid nails on the back along with a nail gun to secure them.

Upper stairs in the process of being put together.

Our final step is to do the very top riser. If you look closely at this last picture, you can see that the bottom of the hardwood flooring shows past the nose a bit. Since this is the case, we need to make sure that we have a perfectly straight and nice looking line on the top riser. So my husband is going to take the last two pieces to his co-worker’s house and cut them on his table saw to get the nice clean cut. That part we didn’t accomplish before Banana arrived, but I still consider these stairs complete (since my part of the work is over). Yay new stairs!

“Completed” lower stairs.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Newsletter – March 2014


Back to catching up with our newsletters, now we’re onto March! Peanut, you turned five this month! Yay!

Riding your birthday present with your birthday girl pin.

Speaking of your birthday Peanut, this is the first year you really understood it was coming. Months and months before your actual birthday (really I think it was just a few months past your last birthday) you told me you wanted a surprise party. I told you this meant you didn’t get to choose a theme or anything and you were okay with it. You spent nearly every day this month counting how many more days until your birthday and you were completely surprised when you came home from music class one Saturday to your Frozen themed party. For how much you loved that movie, I just couldn’t go with any other theme.

Pointing to the house you painted in the class painting at your art show for preschool.

This month we also “read” (or rather listened to the audiobook) The Hobbit. One day on the way to school you were nervous about staying during nap time, so I told you the story of The Hobbit. It took us three or four days of the time from when we dropped off sister to when we got to school to tell it. You loved it so much that I decided we should get the audiobook. You loved that too. We spent nearly the whole month listening to it. In the end you told me your favorite characters were Bilbo and Gandalf, quickly followed by naming every character you could remember. You also started making up languages this month (mostly just speaking jibberish and calling it a language). Wonder if the two are related?

Last photo with our chickens before they went to a new home.

You also started another level of independent play this month. You’re a very social little girl, so independent play has never really been your favorite thing, but suddenly you started really enjoying your alone time. You just sit and color by yourself, stay in quiet time (and really seem to benefit from it) looking through books on your bed, even playing pretend by yourself making little dolls talk and do silly things. It’s like some magic switch flipped.

Twig, this month (similar to last which you did with the color blue), everything was two. You would bring me any number of things and announce proudly that there were two. If I asked you how many, two. Maybe it’s because you figured out you were two? Regardless, it was pretty dang cute.

This month your vocabulary just exploded. Suddenly you were saying words I didn’t know you knew every day and speaking in actual sentences. You coincidentally became really interested in books this month and would actually sit still long enough for me to read them. At the time of me writing this, reading books is now one of your favorite things.

Banana, this month I finally felt you move. It took so much longer than it did with Twig that I was convinced I must have an anterior placenta, but my ultrasound showed it low and posterior. Once I felt you move though, it was pretty constant movement there on out.

That’s all I have for this month! Love you all!

Banana’s Birth Story

40 weeks 0 days

After having tried everything reasonable (chiropractor, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, long walk, sex) to have another 20th baby, I had given up. Around 10pm, I had sex (which is also how Peanut’s labor started) and I felt crampy and had contractions after, but none of this was out of the norm for what had been happening for weeks. I joked that if I went into labor the next day (after having tried so hard to get our third 20th baby), I would be pissed. My husband jokingly said we could fudge the birth certificate.

I went to bed around 11pm and woke to contractions every so often, but that also wasn’t out of the ordinary lately. I don’t know how often I was contracting and they weren’t intense enough to take me out of my sleepy haze.

At 2am, I woke feeling really crampy and needing to pee. When I peed, there was some blood that was enough to drip, but not mucusy, so I figured it was just from the sex. I also figured the crampy feeling was just from the sex, so I heated up my rice pad and laid back down in bed with it on my uterus. That helped the crampy feeling, but made it clear I was also contracting. Still not much different than what’s been happening for weeks, so I stayed in bed and tried to go back to sleep.

Relaxing with some needles in my arms and legs.

Around 2:20 or so, I realized that the contractions were getting more intense. I was still skeptical, but decided to move Twig (who had come to our bed sometime before I woke up) into her room and tell my husband (who was sleeping with Peanut in the girls’ bed) to come into our room. I told him I didn’t really think that it was time, but that he should come sleep in our room.

Standing made the contractions much more intense though and it was starting to become clear to me that it was, indeed, time. I had a few more contractions on the bed on all fours (my midwife said that laboring on all fours would help prevent the cervical lip I had last time) and then told my husband it was time to call the midwife.

At 2:56 he called her, but from my perspective it seemed he was doing it more as a precaution. She had told us that she would rather come out ten times for false labor than miss the birth. I heard him ask her on the phone if there was anything he should look for to see if she should be coming and she asked if I wanted her to come. I said yes and she said she was on her way. He also called his mother who was on duty to watch the girls while I was in labor and she also headed this way.

I tried being on all fours during contractions on the bed, but it wasn’t comfortable, even when I rested my head on the bed. So I laid on my side on the bed and had a few more contractions. During one of these I felt the baby move down and started feeling an urge to push. I told Curtis as much and he called the midwife again to see if she was close, that was at 3:26. She said she was just a few minutes away. I really wanted to get in the tub so Curtis asked if I could and she said yes, so I climbed in. I had told him earlier to make sure it wasn’t too cold, as it was with Mere’s birth, so he erred on the side of hot. It was too hot though and I said so right when I got in, but once I had my legs in I couldn’t get out, so I just dropped onto my knees. He added some cold water with the hose and I had a couple more contractions in my standard position of all fours resting with my arms and head on the side of the pool. I still felt the urge to push, but kept from actively doing it.

The midwife arrived and my husband climbed in the pool to sit in front of me and hold me. I asked the midwife to check me because I didn’t feel like it could already be time to push. She checked and said listen to your body. I actually asked her if that meant it was okay to push (I wanted direct confirmation) and she said yes. So I pushed with the next few contractions and then I wanted to feel how close the baby was, which was almost crowning and still in the sack. I asked my husband where the girls were and he said his mom was trying to wake Peanut up (she’s a really deep sleeper). I told him to get them in here and he yelled to his mom that it was time now. She was finally able to get Peanut awake and they came in just a few minutes before the baby was born.

I pushed another couple times and felt the ring of fire, but pretty much pushed through it until the baby’s head was out. At this point I think the midwife saw another possible shoulder dystocia because I felt her manipulating the baby. I pushed again and the baby came out, sac still completely intact! That’s two babies born in the caul! The girls both yelled “it’s a boy!” He was born at 3:40am. My husband, with Peanut and Twig each holding onto his hand helping, cut the cord (his first time!).

I just cried and kept saying “we have a boy!” and things of that sort. He was absolutely covered in vernix, despite being two days “late.” He didn’t cry though, so the midwife told me to start rubbing his back. He let out a little cry, but still wasn’t breathing right, so the midwife stuck a tube down his throat and sucked out the excess fluid in his lungs. She later said the fluid probably didn’t come out because the birth had been so fast.

After that he started breathing better. She told me to wait to nurse until we were out of the pool just in case. I wanted to birth the placenta in the pool though, honestly just to avoid the possibility of getting my bed all gross, so I waited and held him. Once the cord stopped pulsing, I pushed out the placenta and then we got out of the tub and nursed on the bed. We finally got our boy.

Gideon James
August 21st, 2014 3:40am
9 lbs 4 oz
20.25 inches long
14 inch head circumference

Sunday Surf – Latching On

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

In case you missed it, Banana is here! It’s a boy! Yay!

With the arrival of this little man, Lactating Girl is officially lactating again! I’ve been happy to be back at it after a 6 month hiatus, but it hasn’t been that easy this time around. We’re still working on perfecting our latch, so today I’m sharing the links I’m found helpful over the last week.

Nursing at just under 24 hours old.

Nursing while taking a cosleeping nap with Twig (who loves to touch his head).

Breastfeeding your newborn — what to expect in the early weeks from Banana, after pooping meconium three times in the first day, did not poop for another two days. It had me a bit worried and this information from Kellymom helped me know what to expect and keep calm. Of course he did finally poop (a lot) and he’s been a pooping champ ever since.

Healing Tips for Nipple Cracks or Abrasions from I realized on Sunday that I had a crack on one of my nipples. This info helped me to heal it as well as realize it meant that there was a bigger issue going on (latch in our case). We’ve been working on solving the cause as well as the crack and it’s going much better now.

When Latching from BreastFeeding Inc. The pictures here were super useful for reminding me that baby actually needs to be latched on the lower part of the breast rather than in the center. The things you can forget in 6 months!

Breastfeeding Videos from BreastFeeding Inc. This is a whole host of videos showing all things good and bad about breastfeeding. If you’re having a particular issue or don’t know if something is normal, watching these videos can help.

Deep Latch Technique from The Pump Station and Nurtury. Once I realized latch was an issue, I had to remind myself of what a good latch is. This site has pictures of a wonderful way to get baby to latch on that has been the biggest help for me with getting a correct latch. I’ve found that basically latching onto the bottom half of my areola and flicking in my nipple at the last moment (done easiest if wet) works great.

And last but not least, the winner of the wool diaper cover is Kerresa! Congrats! I’ll be sure to share a photo of the cover she designs before it ships out to her.