Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Childs Prayer.

I distinctly remember driving down the long, dark road through the Waialua pineapple fields, back to my house on the North Shore, while singing my favorite, most beautiful Primary song:

A Child's Prayer:
Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far a-way, but I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now, Something that Jesus told disciples long a-go: "Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.

Pray, he is there; Speak, he is list'ning.
You are his child; His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer; He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of Heav'n.

click here to listen to the song itself.

I was 22, and driving my old, tan Toyota pickup truck. Probably coming back from a lone shopping trip in downtown Mililani. I remember knowing in my heart that there had to be some kind of plan for me, but I had no idea what. I didn't know what I was supposed to do next, where I should move, if I should move, who I should date, where I should go to college...all the deep, confusing questions that weighed so heavily on my mind at the time. I remember being so upset...then started singing this song. As tears streamed down my face, I felt God's loving arms around me, and I knew that He knew, and that He would direct me where I was supposed to go. I will never forget that moment.

This evening as I was driving back from Micah's work, a 45 minute drive down a long, dark road through mountains, all these same types of confusing questions started weighing down on my mind. I was starting to feel so upset, and confused. Where will we go? Where should we move? What do we do next?
Then I looked back at our two, wonderful, little boys in the backseat, and realized that God has never let me down. Look where he has led me to, look what a wonderful life we have. I never in a million years, driving down that pineapple road, could have imagined being where I am today--with a loving husband and two amazing children. I think that Micah and I are so very blessed, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.

I sang my favorite song again, driving down that dark road tonight. I looked back and the boys had gently fallen asleep, and I knew in my heart that we would be taken care of, once again.
I love you Micah, and I can't thank you enough for working so hard for our family. Life is really hard sometimes, but God already has all the answers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Babywearing Workshop Recap

I was so busy at the workshop--I forgot to take pictures--except for two, at the very, very end. However, what I can't say in photographs, I can say in words!
The workshop was a huge success!
A few really awesome things were: that we had people come from the community that I had never met before, that everyone who came seemed to really need it and want to learn, that there was a really good, positive vibe in the room, and everyone had fun! My favorite part was that we had about 4 Moms who were due this week-- and very eager to learn new ways to care for their new babies. What an exciting journey babywearing will be for them!

Micah was a huge help, as well, making sure our kids were happy, and helping with his personal favorite carrier-the Mei-tai. I was grateful I had Sonja and Erika helping, too, because there was one point where I was like, "This is a babywearing frenzy!" Wraps, ring-slings, mei-tais, pouches, flying everywhere... then happy, sleeping babies settling in for naps.

A first-time babywearing Mama trying on a wrap. Seems to work out wonderfully, i think!

The last of our lingering crowd:

We will definitely have to make this a tradition, and do these as much as we can!
Happy Babywearing!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Babywearing Advocacy

I had the opportunity recently of helping with some photos for the International Babywearing Conference, coming up in June. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me that babywearing is something I know a lot about, and need to share more about!

Me and baby Odin, 6 months prego.
Photography by Bonnie Bunnel

For the photo shoot we had a few of my already-babywearer-friends come model baby carriers, and then some of the photographers friends came and modeled some, too. However, neither the photographer nor her friends knew anything about babywearing, so I felt like an expert in my field! It was great to be needed; running around making sure slings were properly fitted, safely secured, and used the way they were designed. The pictures turned out really great, and I felt a sense of pride in helping that happen!
Afterall, the pictures are being used for the conference, which is being held to help educate and empower families, in the art of wearing their babies. What a great cause!

Photography by Bonnie Bunnel

I would definitely like to be more of a babywearing advocate! Currently, I really like to bring up the benefits of babywearing at almost every LLL meeting, I wear my babies until they outgrow the need, I make carriers and give them away, and I share my BWing know-how with friends and strangers in the supermarket.
However, I realized that there is still so much more I could do to be more of an advocate in my community.
So I decided, "Here is something I know a bit about, and most people know nothing about--I need to teach a workshop!" (And not just one time--every few months.) So, my third workshop in three years is coming up April 26th. It is open to the public. I am excited to teach about babywearing to whomever shows up! Wish me and those helping me luck, especially that someone will come who really needs it!

Heather and baby Kameron, Mei-Tai

Rebekah and baby Kiah, Ergo

Sonja and baby Katie, ring sling

Photography by Bonnie Bunnell

To me, babywearing is more than owning a device to carry your baby in. It is much more than that. It is a continuation of the bond I felt during the 9 months of growing a baby in me. It is bringing a baby into the world and then holding his sweet smell and soft skin close to my heart. It is feeling the warmth and rhythm of his heartbeat against mine. It is always knowing he is close, and his needs are being met. It is being able to soothe him easily when he's crying, nurse him while I'm walking or out and about, take care of older siblings while he's sleeping or fussing, and look down at his sweet face while he looks up at mine.
There are a many, many benefits of babywearing--not just the convenience of having hands free to do housework, shopping, and exercise--but it also fullfills the natural, instinctual needs I have to nurture and be close to my babies. I could never imagine carrying my baby in a car seat. Never. It didn't sit well with me. And I think more and more Moms and Dads are finding that they don't want to be a part of that growing, cumbersome trend, either. Babywearing is about being close, and many parents are finding happiness in that closeness!

Happy Babywearing!

Click here on Bon's blog for some babywearing shots we did!

Click here on Bon's blog for the 2nd photo shoot pix!
Click on the IBC website to see all the rest! Under "Gallery"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Holy Black Cow

I accidentally bid on a cow at a livestock auction today. How did this happen, you might ask? Well, every Thursday there is a Livestock auction near my house, where they auction off sheep, goats, cows, horses, and pigs. You sit in this large room, on wooden bleachers, while they parade the animals through one by one. The auctioneer is yelling and hollering numbers, while people hold up their hands to bid. Anyone can go as spectators and just watch all the action. The kids loved it! We sat there for an hour and watched all sorts of breeds of livestock baaaaaa, and maaaa, and mooooo, and get sold off to new owners.

Then, right in the middle of a bid for a black cow, I excitedly saw a friend walk in the door. I lifted my hand and waved---and suddenly I was a bidder. Crap.
The whole room looked at me. The auctioneer stopped the bid. "Maaam, this cow is yours for $160.00, unless someone else bids on it." Crap. Then he says,"This is how we bid around here, so unless your going to take this cow home, I suggest you keep your arms down." Then the man behind me bid $162.00. Saved!

I don't think I'll be back there for awhile. I'm not one to get easily embarrassed, but this time I really felt the fool. Lesson learned: keep your hands down at a live auction. Any live auction. You might end up with a cow, or something worse.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Domestic Artist

My friend Kat always refers to herself as a domestic artist, and I have to say, I've fallen in love with this phrase. She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom, of 3 children, who has found happiness in perfecting her domestic skills. And not only because she feels she has to, or needs to, but because she has looked at her life as a form of art--that everything she does can be done beautifully and meaningfully to benefit her growing family. I've always admired her for this.

I realize that many of us didn't grow up sewing, or cooking, or baking, or gardening, or decorating our homes, so it is somewhat of a skill we learn along the way, as adults. Micah bought me my first sewing machine 4 1/2 years ago, and I looked at it with the fear and anxiety of a kid on his first day at school! But slowly, as I've been plugging away at little projects, a sewer has emerged. I have been lucky to meet other friends along the way, who take pride in their various domestic abilities. It has been a blessing to learn from others, the many diverse arts of being domestic.

Sometimes, as I'm plunked down on the ground, folding the largest load of laundry you've ever seen, I think about what it means to be a domestic artist.
Most days I don't have the time to dive into creative projects of artistic flare and fancy, but even the mere fact that my home is organized, comfortable, and homey-feeling, gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. (I never said totally clean!)
And the little details I see around me; clothes hanging on the line, warm bread in the oven, homemade curtains hanging in the windows, an organized closet, made-up beds, and two little boys running around in my superhero capes, make me feel like a true domestic artist.

This is one title I want to strive to live up to, because it makes me happy. :)
What's your favorite "domestic art" you've acquired over the years?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Betcha didn't know.......

These kid's smiles can light up my whole day!

That Disneyland is much funner when it's free, especially when the Spring Break crowd is there, and lines are long. But, we had fun, fun, fun!! Look at these happy faces:

That I am a large, large, woman, whose swimsuit doesn't really fit.

That this little cousin, Aleksandr, is the cutest!! And we got to see him blessed last week in CA.

That our kids love playing with their family in CA. And Uncle Aaron makes a cool fireman.

That we made a goal to finish the entire Book of Mormon by July 15th. And already my life feels happier, more balanced, more spiritually driven; finding strength in Jesus Christ.

That we have no idea where we will be living 5 months from now, and I'm not sure I like it. But I know a few things for certain: We will all be together. We will meet new people and explore new places. We will have a secure income. We will still make our kids brush their teeth every day.

That I have stopped hoping our baby is a girl, and am just accepting the fact that it could be a boy. But, just in case i am sending these vibes into the universe:

That I am so grateful to God for everything he does for me. I have been really inspired by this blog lately. Lost their baby at 10 weeks old. How could you live? They have shared their journey with everyone, and give people strength in their experiences. Thank you to these wonderful people for sharing.

Have a blessed day my friends! :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Excited to Birth Again!

We have chosen a midwife and are excited about her. She's the soft, grandmotherly type, who looks you in the eye when she talks, and makes you feel warm when she enters the room. She came over to our home for a casual interview, and we knew as soon as she walked out the door that we couldn't imagine anyone else at our home birth.
She's very hands-off, but competent. She's very professional, but not interested in the profits of the birthing business. She's knowledgeable and expereinced, but expects us to be just as involved and informed. She's just what we want.

(Little Z holding baby O)

We had our first pre-natal appointment, at 20 weeks. The baby sounds great, plenty of fluid and movement in there. I feel healthy and strong, and ready to give birth again.
I am 24 weeks along now.

It's weird thinking about giving birth again. I get all jittery and excited, and my dreams are full of pushing babies out! I am especially excited to birth at home again--for so many reasons........

(Little O)
We had decided before our first baby was born at the hospital, that we would be well informed, and we would make the major decisions regarding our birth. We learned very quickly to ask "why?", when we were told to do something at the hospital. We realized that hospital protocol can really interfere with a healthy, normal birth. It was important for us to be able to make our own choices--even if it meant standing up for them.
Sometimes when I'd talk to people, I'd get the impression that they'd wished I’d just go along, do what I’m told, not make a fuss, be a compliant girl-- Why are you doing things different? why are you being so difficult? Just let the experts do their thing......
It was really disheartening, and discouraging.
There was this woman at church who would ask me every single week, "So what does the doctor say about the baby this week?"
She seemed to completely undermine my ability to think, feel, and choose for myself. Like the doctor had the last say on everything to do with my body, our baby, and our birth. I always thought how nice it would have been if she asked each week," How are you doing? How do you feel, and what is your body telling you about your growing baby?"
These simple questions would've allowed me to open up and talk about my spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical journey, as I was preparing for my first birth. How cool that would've been to share that bond with a woman I really liked. But she didn't get it.

When we decided to birth at home, I realized that many people wouldn't understand. There is so much fear and misunderstanding surrounding the natural process of childbirth. It's really nice for us now, to be at a place where we don't need to care what anyone else thinks.
In fact, one of my favorite quotes is, "To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against." by Christina Baldwin.
I love this quote because it reminds me that I don't need to react negatively to what everyone else around me is doing--even if I disagree passionately. When I get to choose for myself how I want to birth--to birth at home-- I am at peace. I don't have to find myself surrounded by negativity, reacting to everything that I am against. Instead I find that I am excited, jittery, and cheerfully waiting for the arrival of our baby! I am also listening closely to my body, praying for guidance each day, finding happiness in the closeness our family feels as we prepare for our baby together, and lovingly accepting all the opinions I get from the world around me.
There is no fear. There is no doubt. There is no negativity. Just pure excitement!

(little Z)

We believe it's still important to continue to ask "why?", even now. We trust our midwife, but in the end we know that it is our birth. We are grateful for a midwife that completely respects that fact.
And If an unlikely emergency occurs in the course of this next birth, we will know that we asked "why?" all the way to the hospital, and made the best choices for our baby and me. And we will be grateful for the assistance we receive there.
But, in the meantime, we believe that birthing at home is the safest, most comfortable, most wonderful way to bring our baby into the world.

I am excited! We are excited!
(I realize I switch back and forth from I, we, our. That's because Micah and I feel inseparably the same.)