Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pumping for another Baby

A friend had just emailed me this article a week ago. It is about a baby who was able to depend on donations of breastmilk, from a community of caring mothers, in a time of dire need.
I was deeply touched by this article, and thought, "How sad for this family, and how neat for this community of caring women to be able to help."

Then several days ago I received a phone call about a newborn, abandoned baby, in need of mothers milk. Although this baby would be going to her new, adoptive parents in a weeks time, I was fortunate to be able to round up a small community of women who could donate a weeks worth of breastmilk. I had instantly thought of this article, and it helped me to organize a group.
(I was surprised to see that I could even pump 4 ounces, with my 15 month old super-nursling.)

It was touching for me to see mothers so eager to share what they know is a priceless gift for any baby.

I hope these women know how happy I am to call them friends.

What a nice God

One year ago today we packed up everything and threw it all into a rented, Uhaul truck. We had been talking back and forth about leaving our home, for weeks on end. Micah had already started work in Southern Utah, and I was staying with the house and kids up in Idaho. He would drive home every other week on his off-shift, to see us. It was hell. We missed him so much, and I remember being so ready to move on. And Micah was so ready to stop commuting 800 miles to work every week.

We finally decided to abandon ship, pack up, and just go! It was a crazy, spontaneous decision. But it wasn't poorly made. It was a decision based on trust between us and God. We had prayed long and hard about this one, asking God to help us do what was right for our little family. So although we went forward in darkness, there was a huge light guiding our way, under the direction of a loving Father in heaven.

Prayers answered.


A week before we left Idaho I posted something on thebabywearer.com about meeting like-minded folks in South Utah, as we would be moving there. This wonderful woman piped up and told me about a forum for Cedar City folks. That is where I met this other wonderful woman, Rebekah, who offered for us to stay at her grandparent's ranch while we looked for a place to live. She said we could sleep in the barn, or in a tent outside. At first I wasn't sure. After all, we didn't even know these people, besides some chatting on the forum, and a few pictures on a blog. But deep down I knew this was one of the answers to my prayers.
When she sent a picture of the place we'd be staying, I instantly knew it would be wonderful.





So one year ago today we packed up everything, threw it all into a rented, Uhaul truck, and drove to Rebekah's grandparent's ranch.
We slept in the "green barn", which turned out to not house animals, but people. We slept comfortably on double beds in a small room. It was hot, but cozy. I felt right at home. And Rebekah's grandparents turned out to be some of the nicest people I've ever met.
**Rebekah was actually moving there with her family at the end of August, so I was also excited to get to meet her later on.

So, while Micah was at work we spent our days chasing lizards, swimming in the lake, and looking for apartments.

And kept on praying.


We found an apartment through this same forum. Another nice girl spoke up and recommended an apartment, which she rented from the same landlords. The words "cheap" and "large backyard" was music to our ears.
We moved in July 14th.

Waiting for the light.


Those first months here were very lonely, and extremely hard. Probably some of the most difficult times I've ever experienced. I had never felt loneliness like this before. I missed my husband so much when he was gone. When he was out in the field I couldn't talk to him. I had to learn patience that I didn't know was possible, as I had the kids all week long by myself.
And I didn't know a soul. It seemed like no one understood what I was going through. I would often cry myself to sleep after I got the kids to bed, just aching for someone to talk to, or to come over and be my friend.

All I could do was pray, and ask for God's continued guidance. I knew that He knew that this would work out. So even though it was so hard, I waited in this aching darkness, for it to all get better.

God is light.


One year ago, is long gone. In fact, it's hard to even remember those feelings I had. In fact, the other day I was telling Micah, "Remember when we first moved here? Those are such happy memories! We were so excited to move, and everything just worked out so well!!"

Well, they really did! Months went by and we could surely see God's hand in our lives, as he helped guide us and lead us in the ways we needed.

We live in the perfect apartment, which suits our needs just fine for the time being.
I even made a sand pit for the kids to play in, in our big backyard.



We've made the most wonderful friends. I have so many wonderful people in my life to keep me busy and happy.




(Rebekah and Sally)

Micah isn't working long shifts anymore. He got a more suitable position, so we have our family back together more often.



I absolutely love it here. The people are nice, the mountains are beautiful. There's plenty to do, and see, and experience. Everything worked out exactly as it should have. Sometimes it is really hard to see ahead. It's those dark times that we just have to trust God, and go.

There is a wooden plaque hanging on our wall that I made for Micah.
He said in a letter to me, while we were going through this hard time,
"What a nice God, to bring us to this place that we really like."



WHAT A NICE GOD TO ALWAYS ANSWER OUR PRAYERS.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Mothers Blessing



There is a beautiful, traditional ceremony, held in honor of a woman before she gives birth to her baby, called a Mothers Blessing, or Blessingway. It is a celebration of a mothers right of passage to one of the most important roles she'll ever take on in her life- motherhood. These ceremonies are meant to honor the mother-to-be, pamper her with love and affection, give her strength and encouragement for her upcoming birth, and give to her the sister/mother/woman energy that helps so many of us during our last weeks of pregnancy.

A Mothers Blessing is often in place of the typical baby shower. Where at baby showers you might find silly games, cake and cookies, and oodles of gifts for the baby, a Mothers Blessing is focused on the powerful transformation a mother is going through, as she prepares for the arrival of her baby. The commercial emphasis is eliminated, as women unite together to focus on what this mother may truly need at this special time in her life.

I was able to attend a Mothers Blessing this past year. I wanted to share a little bit about how unique this was, not just for the mother-to-be, but for me and the guests as well.

To honor this mother-to-be we had her sit in a nice, comfy chair, crowning her head with fragrant and beautiful flowers. I watched as her grandmother, and her sisters took turns massaging her feet, while soaked in a foot bath of essential oils and rose petals. We sat in an intimate circle and told stories of how this woman had touched our lives, and how much we loved and adored her.
Each guest brought a bead, where we put them all together for a "labor" necklace. Each bead represented a blessing for this mother; a message of happiness and peace for her upcoming birth. We tied strings around our wrists, promising not to remove them until she gave birth to her baby. This simple act reminded us each day to think of her needs, and send some positive vibes her way. We each brought a delicious dish of healthy, colorful, and vibrant foods. We sat around eating, talking, and laughing throughout the evening. Towards the end we gave the mother gifts. Something especially for her, to enjoy.

It was a simple ceremony, yet filled with so much meaning.
I left the party feeling excited for her new baby to come, but that much more excited about my role as a mother. I think it is amazing to see women coming together like this to celebrate motherhood. After all, those baby shower gifts are fun to open, but there's nothing more memorable than getting your feet rubbed when your 35 weeks pregnant, by a roomful of friends.

Oh, and the giant Gingerbread Goddess with all her gingerbread children?--that was what I created for the party. We dipped those babies in cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmm good!

There is tons of info on the web for finding out more about throwing a Mothers Blessing. Each one can be different, catering to the needs of the mother. Most importantly, have fun, and remember that being a mom rocks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot Sauce Baby Food?

I got this in my email in-box via a friend of my moms. It made me laugh out loud. Perhaps because hot sauce is a hot subject in our family, considering my dad has collected over 500 varieties of different, sizzling hot sauces, displayed proudly in his office until the hot sauce accident of 2008. (gallon of Tabasco, spilled onto carpets, tons of effort of cleaning products, stinky workplace for months = very sad dad)

So maybe this is what Grandpa Bill would feed my kids if he were here. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Call me "Micah"

Our kids call their dad "Micah". It took me a while to warm up to this concept. I had dreamed my whole life of being called Mommy someday, so when my husband declared that he would like his kids to call him by his first name, I was disgruntled.
"Why would you do that?", I questioned. "Daddy, Papa, Dad, those are all terms of endearment that bring a meaning of love and respect to a home", I argued.
"Not so" says Micah, "those are arbitrary terms that have nothing to do with who I am as a person."

Okay, okay, I thought, we'll see how it goes. They can call you Micah, but don't blame me when we're out in public and people think your not the father of my children, or when Zadok grows up and forgets your important role in his life, or when all the other kids are calling out Daddy, and you feel left out.........

Years have gone by and I've forgotten all about this argument.
It feels there has never been more love in the world, than the love between our sons and their "Micah". They adore him and love him more than anything I've seen, and I've realized that it's not about a title, but about a relationship.

Micah is simply, an amazing Dad. Micah is gentle, patient, and understanding. Micah is playful, funny, and creative. Micah reads stories, rides bikes, wrestles, and watches Star Wars. Micah cuddles, and gives hugs, wipes away tears, fixes owies, and takes time to listen. Micah prays, teaches lessons, explains theories, and answers questions. Micah recognizes that his sons need a
father who is present, aware, always there for his children.

I think this world may need less Dads, and more Micahs.

Happy fathers day to our "Micah".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Funky town

I like funky, little towns. You know the kind that are full of progression, innovation, and creativity. I like little, funky towns where people collaborate, and support one another in environmental, political, and social change. People in these towns tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

I find myself drawn to these types of places, especially when there's a movement for positive change, (in a community that may be on the verge of suffering from cowboy-ism or Walmart-ism,) there are people there who see the potential for a different and better way of being.

There is a huge draw for us to move to Oregon and be a part of this movement, because there are more like-minded folks to collaborate with. While visiting Eugene I was impressed to see a community (not the entire community, but their is definitely a majority here) of folks dedicated to self sustainable living, recycling and re-using, businesses with ethical, eco-friendly practices, programs for kids that raise awareness about political and environmental issues, a whole "green" phone book for folks who want safer choices, and farmers markets galore. A big one for me also, is seeing parents who don't look at you funny when you talk about parenting practices such as:
extended breastfeeding (beyond a year)
cloth diapers
homeschooling
drug-free births
baby wearing
selective vaccination
co-sleeping or family beds
full-time parenting
Eating whole foods

Things of which I feel strongly and passionately about.

Coming back to my little, Utah town, was a culture change, of course. However, I wasn't discouraged. I came back very enthusiastic to give as much to my community as possible, in hopes of future change. I came back wanting to support the little movements happening here, and encourage others to be more aware, and more conscious of
progression in our little world.

On a side note, I don't think you need to be categorized as anything to make our world a better place. Don't let that awful term "crunchy" deter you from making happy choices for your family. :) Be a part of the little movements in your town, and hopefully we will all see a gentle, more peaceful world ahead. Oh, and funky! (I just like that word.)



With my sister, at a local farmers market, Eugene, OR

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ahhhhhhh Oregon

Just fresh off the plane from my trip to Eugene, Oregon! Ah, I just love that place, and had such a bitchin time! I just spent the past 10 hours traveling with two small children, on two small planes, through three small airports. You'd think I'd be pooped out with seven small headaches, but I am wired. Maybe it's because coming back from a trip always brings fresh perspective! Or maybe I'm excited that my wonderful husband shampooed the carpets while I was gone! I walked in the door and my house didn't smell like the eternal fart anymore. Yipppeee! I love you deary!

Or maybe I truly realize that every time I leave and come back, I am different.
I think that It doesn't matter where I go, or how long I'm gone, but seriously, every time I go on a trip, I come back a little bit changed. And change is good. At least for me. I don't know that I could change for the worse. I mean, I guess it's possible. But in this case it's not possible. I came back feeling better than ever.

I had such a wonderful trip and so much I'd like to blog about. But I will leave with this story, because it is way past my bedtime:

As I was descending into St. George with two sleeping kids on my lap, I sat there wondering how I was going to get them, my two carry-on bags, two duffel bags, a skateboard, and two car seats, off the plane and into the parking lot. As I was just starting to feel overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, an angel appeared. Not a real angel, you sillies. Well, at least I don't think it was?
It was a really, incredibly nice, passenger guy in a business suit, who insisted on carrying all my bags to my car. I was so grateful! I kept thanking him over, and over, and over. It was just such a nice thing to do! And the kind of thing that makes you want to spread the good karma around some more.

Off to spread some good karma, To be continued.


The airplane adventures of Zadok, Odin and the Mama!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Laundry is my Life

I've come to the conclusion that everyone does their laundry different. It's one of those things you don't really think about, but it's true.
For instance, some people really love fresh-out-of-the-dryer sheets, others prefer line dry. Some people use fabric softener and dryer sheets,some people don't know what those are. Some people add aromatherapy oils to every load, some people buy fancy detergents, some people make their own detergent. Some people get their laundry done
for them, some people leave heaps of laundry on the floor for days, until they decide it's time to wash. Some people love doing laundry, some people hate doing laundry.

This post is about my laundry. The way I do laundry reflects some personal opinions, and other things are just plain preferences...the way I like to do them, just because.

First of all, I have one laundry basket. Once that laundry basket fills up, it's time to wash laundry. That happens every 3-4 days.
Second of all, I separate my lights and darks, and dirty dish rags.
(Cloth diapers are on their own cycle. Once my cloth diaper bucket fills up, I wash them usually every 2-3 days.)

We make our own detergent using mild ingredients you can find at most stores.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 cup powdered PUREX bleach
1 cup Borax
1 cup plain baking Soda
1 cup finely grated detergent-free soap
(like Zote or home-made soap, or anything without a lot of perfumes)

Mix it all together in a tub. You can double or triple the recipe to make a big batch. I triple it and it lasts me 2-3 months.

2 tablespoons of detergent per each Large load of laundry.

So what are the benefits of making it yourself?
Clean clothes, no soap residue, hypo-allergenic, low-cost, great for cloth diapers because no soap build up.

Okay, back to doing laundry.

In the cold, wintry months I have no choice but to use a dryer. There's nothing nicer than warm towels to roll in, on the living room floor. However, once the sun starts shining mid-Spring, I use a clothes line. I love the smell of sun-dried clothing.
And here's another thing I love: Hanging clothes. I love to stand there with my big basket of laundry and hang them up, one by one. There's something therapeutic about it that relaxes me.
I am also kind of particular about how to hang up my clothes. Each clothing item needs to be folded over the line in the middle, and each item gets it's own clothespin. Don't ask me why. I guess it's just my way.




Since we live downstairs and our only access to the backyard is all the way up the stairs and thru the back gates, I got myself a laundry backpack! Check out this gem of a find! My very own laundry back-pack!


I also really like to have a cute and functional baggy to keep all my clothespins in.
I was going to sew something, then thought of using overalls. I turned these little overalls inside out, sewed the legs shut, the turned it back in, and cut off the extra fabric. Voila! Clothespin holder extraordinaire!


I like doing laundry, I really do. It's not the worst chore out there for me. In fact, it can be enjoyable if you make it more than just a chore, but a way of life.

(I thought I should add, however, that I absolutely hate folding it and putting it away, unless I can watch Conan O'Brian while I do it. Then it's doable)

The Trike Fairy

Remember this sad post? Well, the family tricycle crisis was fixed by the one and only Trike Fairy! Our Trike Fairy saw a sad situation, wanted to fix it, and she did. And why? Because she has the biggest heart ever, and she's a sucker for kids! Well, our kids are extremely happy they have tricycles to ride.



Thank you Christi! We love you!!!!

(p.s. We finally got a reply to our craigslist lost and found add. But no, it wasn't our bike truck being returned, it was some crazy asking us if we wanted to get together for a play date. Ummm, no thanks)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stakes

Stakes in the ground mean we now know the exact measurements of our land. They mean we can start the next phase of planning where exactly our home will be built. They mean that Micah will be out there digging a lot. They mean I can truly imagine which mountains our desert home will be facing.


I choose these ones. Zadok calls them the red and blue mountains. I call them beautiful! I've always wanted giant windows facing East, to greet the sunshine in the morning. I visualize many bright mornings welcoming the sun into my home, from up over these red and blue mountains.



Perhaps our goats, chickens, and sheep will go over on the right side. Micah is mapping everything out perfectly, down to the last tree. Apple trees, peach trees, cherry trees, plum trees, you-name-it-trees, will be planted on this land.



It's a hard, long road ahead, getting this home built. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. Every time I feel discouraged or feel like it's going to take too much work, I think of my bathtub. At the end of this road there's a huge bathtub, with shooting jets, bubbles, and enough room for...well....for my body to actually fit into it.
Here's a picture of my current bathtub. 18 gallons of squeeze. It's my motivation in wanting to work hard on this house. "bathtub! bathtub! bathtub!" (that's my mantra)



Well, I sure am excited about those four stakes in the ground. That's four sure!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Anatomically Correct

We've always called our body parts by the correct name. It just seems purely logical to do it. Elbow, thigh, head, ears, ankle, penis, knee-cap, vagina...... They are all anatomically correct terms for parts whose functions we use every day.

This past weekend a child therapist specializing in sexual abuse treatment, came to our church meetinghouse. She further validated our use of correct terminology,, as well as opened our eyes to some other important issues.

She gave a special lecture on how to prevent sexual abuse from happening in the lives of our children. It's a "sick societal disease", she stated, "where people think it's okay to touch the private parts of children, and not think about the lasting, damaging effects."
Children who have been abused in some way will often spend a lifetime in self loathing, self degradation, spiritual darkness, and may even become perpetrators themselves. Thus a vicious cycle of victims and perpetrators is born. Children become confused, withdrawn, and unsure about themselves. If you have been a victim yourself, then you know of the darkness that comes with these feelings.

She gave some really good advice for parents. First one being, don't ever think your child is immune from being a possible victim of sexual abuse. It could happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone; even those you love and trust.
So what do we do?
We arm our children with the information they need to defend themselves.

So if they get themselves in a situation, they'll know exactly what to do.

Here's some high lites:
Talk to your children about how special their bodies are; that God made their bodies just for them.
Tell your children that nobody should ever touch their body parts (penis, vagina).
Talk to your children about strangers, and how talking to them is not okay, unless they are with a parent.
Make sure they know that if a stranger offers them toys or candy, walk away and tell a parent.
Talk to them in a relaxed and loving way, using anatomically correct terminology.
Never, ever use nicknames for our private parts. Why? When you think of all the nicknames people use, they all sound like toys or play things.
Never joke around or make fun of our private parts.
Talk about this stuff every 3-4 months. Once in a lifetime is NOT enough for children to remember what to do if they find themselves in this situation.

I was grateful for this lecture. It was good for me to remember that I always need to prepare my kids for a world of uncertainty.

Oh and most importantly, if you've been a victim of abuse, get therapy. It will change your life for the better.