Monday, November 30, 2009

Babywearing babes

One of the sweetest, heartwarming things is seeing the little ones imitate their Moms and Dads in good parenting! When little boys and little girls are tending to their dolls, baby-ing their babies, and practicing doing what their parents do--they are becoming little nurturers.

It's been neat to watch my friend's little ones growing up and imitating their parents. I see little girls nursing their dollies, little boys pushing strollers, and babywearing babes carrying their precious cargo around- just like Mom and dad! It is so sweet!

I think the way we teach our children to love and nurture will help them to define what kind of parents they want to be. We live in such a generation where babies are objectified; carried almost non-stop in car-seats, (like luggage!), and then bottles are propped to get more "stuff" done. It seems that babies are being pushed away more often than they are held.

The warmth of human touch, the closeness of a mother or father's breath and body, the rhythm of body movement, the bonding and closeness, are all a priceless time in that first year of life +, for parents and babies alike.
When a Mother is having issues with milk supply, one of the best pieces of advice is to carry her baby in a sling. There is a hormone called Oxytocin, which is also referred to as the "love" hormone. When a nursing mother carries her baby next to her warm chest, that hormone is triggered, and more milk is produced. Amazing!

These are several of the toddler size Mei-Tais I've sewed this past year and given to the children of babywearing friends. It's fun to watch them imitate their moms and dads. Weather they are watching their parents carry new siblings, or they have been carried themselves, I think they will always know and remember that babies are meant to be held close.

And lets not forget babywearing boys. This picture is from a year 1/2 ago, but Zadok used to love wearing his baby "just like Micah."
We hope to be positive role models for our kids, so they will want to be nurturing fathers to their own sweet babies, someday.

For more of my thoughts on babywearing, there's a little label to the right over there titled "babywearing." Thanks Adria, Sophie, Keira, Ashlyn, and Zadok, for sharing your babywearing pictyres with me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Birthday Hobo Baggie

I made my first "Hobo" bag last week for Micah's birthday. He'd been asking me for one for quite a while, but I wasn' feeling motivated to try something new, so I kept putting it off forever.

My Mom taught me how to make Hobo bags. She sells them at the Hana, Maui farmers market, sometimes. She makes them in all sorts of funky, cool Hawaiian fabrics. She does custom orders for friends. My mom often finds something she likes to sew, then goes crazy making a million of them. (Like her homemade Christmas pot holders) I'm the same way, and have been wanting to make something else besides my millions of baby slings.

So, I attempted the Hobo. I started cutting it out several days before the birthday, then was calling my Mom frantically asking questions about how to piece it together!
Well, here it is! It was actually really easy to do, and Micah loved it. Phew! It's really fun trying new things!

And a matching pen role holder! (More on those later)


Friday, November 27, 2009

Proud Milestones

It seems that every time I am having a hard time understanding the changing behaviors of my kids, and then after letting myself get all frustrated and caught up in the woes of parenting, they suddenly reach these huge developmental milestones!

I've had this discussion with several friends who feel the same way; Right when you are exasperated beyond belief and think your children are going to go through these rough phases forever, they suddenly hit you with all these amazing new skills. All of a sudden they are doing, and saying, and behaving in new and exciting ways! And now you're going, "Who is this kid? He's all grown up and awesome!"

Maybe that's where the term "growing pains" comes from. I can relate to it, in my own adult life. I know that the months or weeks before I reach some new epiphany or a much needed realization in my life, I am almost always going through a challenge or trial. I'll find myself frustrated as I go through that difficult learning curve, then WHAM- I'm a whole new me, with new ideas and understandings!

That must be what it's like to be a kid, because you are constantly learning, growing and changing! There must be moments of struggle and frustration within yourself as you are discovering who you are and what you can do in this world. And then-WHAM- you've reached new milestones!

I hope I can remember to be patient and understanding, as my children go through these hard phases, and then reach the amazing milestones. That's all part of growing up, I suppose.

Here's a few of the big steps Zadok has taken this past month, as he's been growing and changing before our eyes:

*He's taken crayon-coloring more seriously, and has been focused on completing an entire page in a coloring book.

*He's become less shy and more extrovert. (He made up a song and sung it for his entire class at church.)

*He wants to do more things "all by himself." (like build a snowman, put on his own clothes, make his own food, and play toys (gasp!) alone)

*He's been playing with his little brother more, and finding fun things for them to do while Mom is busy. (Like teaching Odin how to fly)

*He wants to be a different character every day (not so new), however, his characters have become more descriptive and complex. (Like, "today I am a Ornithomimus dinosaur, who is a carnivore, who has the defense mechanism to run fast.")

*He makes up funny stories and songs, that make us laugh.

*He says beautiful, heartfelt prayers all by himself. He knows that his Heavenly Father loves him very much.

*Last week, he wanted to give our weekly Family Home Evening lesson all by himself. He talked to us about snails, did a puppet show, and had us sing songs. It was fantastic, and brought tears to my eyes.

*He has a favorite friend who he can spend hours and hours playing with.

Our little baby is grown up! He's not a baby anymore, he's not a toddler anymore, he's an actual kid! And we are proud parents!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Excited for Recycling

I learned a sad fact last Earth Day, which was, that only 30% of Utahns recycle their unwanted waste. This number has haunted me terribly, considering there are 2,736,424 Utahns living in Utah, all consuming, using, and disposing of waste each day!(July 2009 census)
Utah is one of the most`beautiful, most natural, States in the U.S., yet there are people taking advantage of this beauty, and not thinking of the effects their trash has on the world. It doesn't seem right. It seems like you should need a special permit saying, "I RECYCLE," in order to go skiing in the mountains, hiking in the forests, or boating on the lakes. I cringe when I go upstairs to throw out my garbage, only to find my neighbors have filled the trash can with plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. I wish that they knew how simple and effective it would be to just recycle.

To make recycling even easier, a big recycling plant, called Pure Recycling, just re-opened here in Cedar City! They had a grand opening party, with free food and music. But the greatest part was touring the recycle plant. Just seeing the great, big machines, and piles of bottles and cans, made my heart happy!

Inside the recycle plant here in Cedar City.

Some more bottles to recycle!

Dancing and grooving to some live music.

Micah gave Z a tour of the plant. Recycling is something that we will teach our children, is a normal part of life.

Recycling is much like getting the chance to birth something new and beautiful in the world. It's definitely something to get excited about. This pile of junk really struck me as we were walking out. All this stuff is going to be sorted and turned into something new. Now imagine this junk in our landfills instead; seeping into our rivers and oceans, polluting our soils, and turning this beautiful world into a giant junk pile itself. That's not what I want, do you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When I was 11 years old, I lived down the street from a place called Sharks Cove. This particular cove is world-famous for it’s snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s coral reefs are filled with bright, tropical fish, and underwater beauty, which can only be seen once you plunge beneath the bright blue waters of the pacific ocean.

As a child, my brothers, sister, and friends spent hours and hours exploring these reefs. Our entire summer months, and even after school days, were spent swimming and diving amongst these breathtaking reefs and corals. Once we dove beneath the calm waters of this cove, we entered into a beautiful world apart from everything else.
Sharks cove became a second home to us, as we practiced diving deep; swimming with the sea turtles, poking at the vibrant colored sea urchins, collecting sea shells and other treasures, swimming circles with the massive schools of fish, and letting the sun warm us as we lay on the rocks.
One of our favorite pastimes was swimming through underwater caves. There were quite a few caves at Sharks cove, all different lengths and sizes. None of them were very long, and we could all swim through them with minimal diving experience. After so many years of swimming, holding our breath underwater became second nature to us.

There was “crab cave”, which was a tiny cave with an air pocket at the top, filled with black crabs. There was “turtle cave”, where all the sea turtles took their naps. It wasn’t very long, and you were almost always certain to bump into a turtle as you swam through. There was “elevator cave”, which you had to swim down about 10 feet, swim through a small opening in the reef, then shoot up to a small hole at the top of the rocks. There was”L” cave, shaped like an “L”. This was my personal favorite, because there was a sea current that pushed you through it real fast so that you never had to hold your breath very long. All of these caves were fun and brought us hours of enjoyment.

However, there was one cave I didn’t go through. It was called “Big Blue”. My brothers went through it, my sister went through it, my friends went through it. Even the tourists coming to the cove for the first time went through it. But not me.

This cave wasn’t much unlike the others. It was rather short, you didn’t have to hold your breath long, and was right there in the cove. But there was one BIG difference. In order to get to the entrance to the cave you had to walk over the rocks to a crevice. Then you had to sit on the edge of the crevice, with your legs dangling into the opening of the cave. Then you had to slip down into the water of the opening of the cave, which was pitch black, and to an 11 year old girl— this spelled scary.
Everyone told me, til they were blue in the face, that it looks scary at first because you can’t see where you're going, but once you dive down into the blackness, a tiny blue light appears. Just follow the light until it gets bigger and bigger, and you're almost out.
Okay I thought, “Dive down into pitch blackness, keep swimming, hold my breath, see a tiny blue light, start swimming towards it....” Yah right! I might as well die right now!

Years went by and I never did Big Blue. I would keep telling myself,“I can’t do it because I can’t see where I’m going.” “I need to see where I’m going and then I’ll know I can do it.”

One Saturday Morning I woke up before everyone else. I grabbed my diving mask and headed down the street to the cove. I started walking out to my usual jump off point then stopped short. It was a beautiful, calm day. The water was crystal clear and sparkling. The breeze was calm and peaceful.
I walked out upon the rocks to the opening of the Big Blue cave crevice. I sat on the edge, I dangled my feet into the pitch, black water, I put on my mask and I dove down. I was so nervous. I was so scared. I wanted to stop myself. I wanted to say, “You can’t do this, you have no idea what’s going to happen, you can’t see ahead, you are going to fail.” But something changed inside me that day, and I jumped right in.
Swimming down into the blackness felt like forever. It seemed I was just swimming deeper, and deeper, and deeper, until finally--the tiny blue light. I swam towards the light, it got bigger and bigger. I stopped for a moment and looked around and saw why this cave was called BIG BLUE. The blue light illuminated the cave so brightly, that I was suddenly surrounded by the prettiest, blueist, ocean colors I have ever seen, on every side of me. It was a moment I will never forget. I then swam towards the light of the sun and finally popped my head up on the other side. I DID BIG BLUE!

From that day on I couldn’t understand why I had been so scared and so hesitant to do it. Once I had done it, I could just keep going, and do it over and over. I never questioned myself again. But I know why I was so hesitant, because I couldn’t see where I was going.

There are many times in my life where I can’t see where I am going, and I feel myself tense up again, just like I did in those days of Big Blue. Right now, as Micah is finishing up school, and we will be applying for jobs, I can honestly say I am scared. We moved to Cedar City without knowing what was in store for us here, and fell in love with it. We made plans to stay here forever. However, the hope for a job opening for Micah is really...just hope. We don't know where we will end up, and I feel like my legs are dangling into deep blackness again.

I know there is something beautiful, bright, and wonderful in store for us, wherever we go, I just need the courage to take that jump again....deeper and deeper until we see that tiny light.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy, Crispy, Children, Please!

I used to think I was a natural chef, with a distinct eye for the culinary arts. Some personal favorite recipes I had developed over the years as a single woman on my own, were waffles, lasagna, oatmeal cookies, and bean soups.Mmmmmmmm!
So when we first got married I would try making all sorts of delightful goodies for my new husband. However, over the course of several months, I noticed that he would turn up his nose at my cooking, or even worse, offer to cook every meal!

I realized one day that I had been living a substandard lifestyle when it came to cooking. Somehow I had trained my taste buds to like dry and crusty waffles, runny and tasteless lasagna, brick-hard oatmeal cookies, and undercooked beans! (To name a few.) I was a horrible cook! My pans were always burned with black charcoal, caked to the bottom, I never followed the recipes correctly, or payed attention to the time, so my food was never quite done right, I let my noodles overcook until they were mush, and I didn't know I was supposed to drain the grease from the browned meat...and on and on. Poor Micah!

It's funny to look back on the past and see how much you've changed. I am a much better cook these days, and realized that all it took was some knowledge, some practice, and the right inspiration to want to do it right. Even though my foods had been edible, they just weren't the best they could be.

Maybe this is a far stretch for an analogy, but I've been feeling like a rotten parent lately, and was wondering if I am living a substandard ideal in my parenting, without knowing it.
When I became a Mother it was natural for me. I immediately fell in love with my babies and wanted to nurture them and care for them. I really want to be with these little guys every day, and help them discover their world. They are amazing!
However, sometimes I feel like I am doing a tremendous job, then I get into a situation where I have no idea what I am doing! Like I am confidently cooking a delicious sauce, only to discover it's burnt on the bottom! I don't want to feel like Super Mom, only to find out my kids are doing pretty good, but are slightly burnt on the bottom. I don't want to keep doing what I'm doing, only to look back on my past to discover how
much better I could have been. (even though I know this will happen regardless, I still want to be better now, darnit!)
I have been struggling with my 3 year old lately, trying to figure out his changing behavior, and how I can handle things the best. I guess I am on a personal crusade to have yummy, happy, crispy children who grow up to be happy adults, rather than crusty, burnt ones who hate their lives and despise their Mother.

I got online last night and ordered some books that I think will help immensely. I've read every Dr. Sears baby book about sleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and mending boo-boos, but I realized I haven't read much about the development of independent, and obstinate 3 year olds.
I got Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Discipline Solution", "Raising your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy, and "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence J. Cohen.

These books I trust because they are approved by the La Leche League International board, whose leaders are big on being gentle and loving in all we do. And that's the direction I want to go. I've been feeling angry, frustrated, and often mad, and all because of my lack of understanding in how to handle certain situations that come up.

Some good books, some great talks with my husband, some natural-born instincts, some love, and lots of prayers....this is the recipe I am following right now.

What tools do you recommend for becoming the parent you want to be?
Any good books you've been inspired by and would suggest?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Robot

Witchy, Witchy
Screamy, screamy,
Happy Happy Halloweeny!

Our camera broke about a month ago so we became completely dependent on friends to capture our Halloween Day for us. (Thanks Erika for the pix!)

We had such a fun day. Zadok decided 2 weeks prior to Halloween that he wanted to be a Robot. So, we got a cardboard box, spray painted it silver, then went to the thrift shop and picked out all kinds of gadgets and circuits to glue on. We even found a real push-light so he could light up at night. He loved it!

Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that trick-or-treating with a walking box isn't the most pleasant. First of all, he had to walk very slow because the box confined his legs. Secondly, when walking up steps to retrieve candy from doorsteps, he couldn't lift his knees very high, and often tripped and fell forwards. At one point he fell onto his back and couldn't get up. He lied there on the sidewalk frantically waving his arms and legs before a parent could rescue him.
It reminded me of the little boy in "The Christmas Story", who is stuck in his giant snow suit. I tried really hard not to giggle because he was just so upset. Zadok was just the cutest robot ever. Sufficed to say, we didn't stay out too long, which is probbly better because we don't really need all that candy.

What a fun Halloween! A party for the littles at a friends house, trick-or-treating, and a good nights sleep at the end! Can't wait for next year!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

World of too-much Knowledge

"Only read and study what is pertinent to my life. The world of knowledge is overwhelming, and gets in the way of necessity and truth."

I've been thinking all day what my statement means to me and thought I should clarify for myself what I mean by it!

Basically, there is so much out there to learn and discover in this great world, that I find that I get overwhelmed easily if I try to do it all. I go the library and check out 8 books that I'll never find time to read, I get on the Internet and bookmark 15 articles that I want to research and learn from, then go on to meet new people and wanting to pick their brains until I know every last thing about them. But there just isn't time. There just isn't necessity to know it all. By sticking to the most pertinent things, I am learning and doing what is most basic and necessary for me at the moment. I love to learn. However, I know that now is not the time to learn to play guitar, or read all those novels stacked up on my shelf, or run a marathon. Not with small children. Oh no, no, no, not with small children!

So that''s what I mean. Usually I am led to the things I need to know and learn. This past month Zadok has led our family to learn more about dinosaurs, because of his intense interest in them. It's been a fun journey to the Mesozoic era. I am currently trying to teach myself to sew these pencil rolls for Ugandan children. Odin is learning his colors. He gets so excited about the colors blue and yellow! As for Micah, I think he already knows everything. :)

I don't think I will get to learn everything I want to in this lifetime, but for now I am learning the most necessary and truthful things I need to. (Like if you leave Odin in the kitchen for 5 minutes unattended, there will almost always be a huge mess)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

30 days of Happiness-- The End

Well, I started this 30 days of happiness journey 30 days ago, and I have to admit that, (If I could give myself a scholastic grade here for a moment), it would be a C+. I did the assignment, but didn't follow the directions completely. Not that I couldn't find 30 days of happiness in my life, I just couldn't find the will to blog like I used to, for 30 days straight, nor could I find any reason to be happy on one particular day. Ahhhhhhhh. Oh well.

It's been almost a year since I started my blog and I've really quite enjoyed it. It has definitely been a big adventure for me in so many ways, and it came into being at a time that I needed an extra creative outlet. It has been a lot of fun.

I've learned more about how the world wide web works, for example. I've also learned about the world of blogging and bloggers, and blogs galore! I've learned that there are some really neat blogs out there to read and learn from, but I don't have the time in my life to read them all. I like to read my friends blogs the most. :) I've learned that there are people who read my blog who I don't even know, and people who read my blog that are my neighbors. I've learned that my most devoted blog readers will always be my parents. sweet. I've mostly really enjoyed the feedback I've received from my writing. Writing has always been something I've really enjoyed doing, and I have loved the outlet that blogging has provided for me, in that way.

I've also learned that there is a season for everything in my life, and it's a good to learn when something needs to come to a close, or slow down considerably. More and more I find myself being pulled in so many other directions, and feel less and less of a need or want to write on my blog. (Quite literally, Odin is pulling me into the living room to help him put all the caps back on the markers as I write.)
So, perhaps I will just post every once in a awhile. Okay? Okay!!

(a happy picture of yours truly)

So, back to happiness. This year is my 30th year, and it has been great. If I live to be 90 years old, I have already lived 1/3 of my life. Isn't that a good reason to find true happiness and stick to it? I feel like the past several months I have been sorting out the nitty gritty of it all: what I truly need, to be, and to stay, happy for the next 6o years. I'm sure this list will add-to, as my journey continues, but this is what I have figured out for the first 30 years, and will continue to believe and do for the next 60:

*God is my foundation for everything good in life. My relationship with him is an absolute priority. I need to trust Him, love Him, and talk with Him every day.
*I need my Husband to live with, to laugh with, to cry with, to discover life with.
* I need to raise my children and give my all to them; with love and tenderness.
*I have to be outside every day, to feel the sunshine, breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.
*Friends bring such joy to my life. I want to spend time with those who care about me most.
*Keep good relations with my family, and let them know I care.
*Be conscience of neighbors and associates around me who need my help. "Charity never faileth."
*Only read and study what is pertinent to my life. The world of knowledge is overwhelming, and gets in the way of necessity and truth.
* Don't develop a cyber life. I am most happy when I stay off the Net and stick to simple things like reading a good book, playing with my kids, and cooking a good meal. (Although fascinating, fun, and informative, If my time starts to get too sucked into cyberspace, I start to feel depressed.)
*Physical exercise is my happiness fuel. I don't ever want to under-play my need for exercise. It's an absolute daily priority for me.
*The word of God is as necessary as water for me. If I don't read my scriptures, I feel an unquenchable thirst inside my soul. The word of God has the power to nourish me daily.
*Teach my kids what is most valuable to me through example.
*Be consistent in everything I do.

May you all have a very happy day!

(a photo of some Jacksons. Check out Micah's bad-ass motorbike in the background)