Friday, July 31, 2009
do we all fit in our little 3 man tent? no.
do we need gear? yes....everything from cook stoves/coolers/stuff.......
So for all you camping folks out there: What is your favorite, must have camping item?
It has been years since we last tented it.....hmmm....pre-kids?? (I know, I know....but seriously...4 kids+moving+renovations+homeschooling=VERY busy!!) We are determined to be fully outfitted so that we can make camping a regular event...at least a few times a year. I find it kinda odd that we haven't been in so lone...Adam and I both LOVE camping/ kayaking/ canoeing/ hiking.
First on the list: a tent that will endure weather/many ups&downs/ruff and tumble kiddo's and big enough for our growing family (8 person)
my thought: Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 Tent
a bit more $ but it seems super durable and I can order it the Mountain Equipment Co-op.
hmmm...okay outdoorsy folks...I need your expertise!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
tears roll down my cheeks as my husband reaches out to touch me...sooth me....
his presence invites me to spill.
I am open here in a way I don't understand.
I am angry.
I want to help but my hands, tied behind my back, do little that I can see.
when I call..his voice every day seems farther...or closer....like I could reach out and touch him...but the miles stack up like odds against me and I fear them.
I fear their ability to hold me captive like some random psycho bank robber holding me on the other side of a panel of glass.
and then, from somewhere within me comes the cold....the sniffling cold that tells me the miles aren't the only odds I have to dance with. Patience of a new sort is being tested in me as I bath in oil of oregano...pleading for this to go away so that I can traverse the hills and valleys just to say
"I love you"
"your not alone....see?? I am here....here to do nothing more then be..."
i don't know
be your daughter....and you my father...everything else can fall away...the pain...the cancer...the chemo...years...money...time...miles.....it all means nothing
but I love you...that means something.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
He says I look beautiful.
Maybe its the sweaty, tousled hair, the rosy cheeks and shinning eyes.
Maybe its the vulnerability that illness brings.
He says I look sexy.
He wraps his arms around me and kisses my sweaty forehead.
I laugh, hope he doesn't breathe in to deeply.
Sweat gives off more then a shinning glow you know.
He says laughter is medicine.
He is my Patch Adams and I already feel better.
Sure my breast is still inflamed, my feverish body is still exhausted, my head is pounding with an evil migraine that somehow always accompanies mastitis in my world.
But I am smiling.
My heart is whole and I feel lifted by what he gives me. I can feel my body relaxing and I KNOW that if I can truly relax my body WILL heal.
He comes up beside me munching an apple.
"I know this sound cheesy" he says "but, I really do eat an apple a day."
Did I mention that he NEVER gets sick?
"Just wondering....do you?"
I smile as the sun reflects on his juice splattered lips while he chews, grinning.
No....maybe an apple a week. What is this, hubby's right about everything day??
It is gloriously bright this morning.
I am smiling, as I reach for an apple.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Loss is powerful. It seems to have a butterfly effect...touching so many more then just those directly involved.
All week I have been reading about Imagine adoption's bankruptcy. I have read countless blogs, families who are of the 500 clients who have been thrown into a sea of chaos and uncertainty. Families who have put their hearts and souls into the adoption process...their children...their future. Who have spent thousands of dollars and even more hours waiting for their referrals, waiting to pass court, waiting to travel and pick up their children.
We had planned to go through Imagine when we begin the process of adopting our future children. This is one of the rare moments when I am thankful that we haven't begun yet.
I have also spent the week writing letters, signing petitions....praying.
Taking a pro-active approach is so important. Please write your MLA, your MP, the Minister of Immigration and Deb Matthews, the Ontario Minister for Children and Families. Here is a copy of the letter I sent. Feel free to cut and paste portions or all of it.
I am writing to you from my home in the south Cariboo, and I am urgently requesting your support with respect to the dozens upon dozens of families currently in turmoil (financially and emotionally) due to the recent bankruptcy filing of Imagine Adoptions.
I am writing as a mother of 4 who had planned to begin our Ethiopian Adoption through Imagine in the next year. I know there are families who have “passed court” and were awaiting travel notice to pick up their children… and who’ve now been told their children are in limbo, in Canadian transition homes in Addis Ababa wherein their financial accounts have been frozen and they may not be fed or taken care of to the standard of care they deserve. I know of a local (Okanagan)family in which the mother-to-be is now en route to her daughters in Addis Ababa to make sure they are cared for until the fiasco can be sorted out and the citizenship papers finalized. Meanwhile, her husband and father-to-be remains at home trying to provide the financial means to bring this adoption to a close… all the while worrying about his wife being a single mother in a foreign, third-world country. Also many families who have invested thousands of dollars and are in the process of waiting for their referral. This is heartbreaking for these families. International adoption tests our patience and will at the best of times. But there is a huge need here...143,000,000 orphans world wide. These families have gone through the struggles, emotional ups and downs...and now this.
I am urging you to please help expedite the citizenship legalities so these families can bring their beautiful children home. And for the families who never got to the “court” stage, I am urging financial help. They have invested tens of thousands of dollars, and years, into their dreams of building a family, and are now empty-armed.
Also, please take the time to read through this petition and sign it if you support it.
Here is a link to my friend Justine's blog. She has written in great detail about what is going on.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
D is my nephew. He captured my heart when my sister called and said "guess what? In 2 hours there will be a 6 week old baby living in my house!!"
"really?!!" I squeal...tears start and I don't even know anything about him yet. It doesn't matter because I love him already. We go on a mad dash to prep her very un-ready house for baby. I call a friend (hugs) who has a bunch of baby stuff in storage and she totally outfits my sis with all the goodies one could possibly need for a baby. We load it in my truck and I drive it on up. I open the door and officially melt into a pool of "I love D" mush on the floor. I wonder if I put him down at all during that visit?? Oh, I must have because I had my sweet ball of baby Noah who was only 1 at the time. Anyway....
He is my chocolate kiss. My smiling bliss. I can't imagine him not being my nephew.
When I started think about this post I was feeling kinda guilty that I haven't written about my other nieces and nephews yet. I have 2 nieces, and 5 nephews...all of whom I adore and love in a big, huge...auntie-jenns-the-next-best-thing-to-mama kinda way. All of whom deserve there own posts, which I will write at some point when the urge is overwhelming.
Yesterday my sis dropped of her 5 littlest ones while she took B, my oldest nephew (who's officially taller then me [5'9"] and only 12!!) to his first summer camp.
The older kids went and played outside, 2 year old M had a nap and D and I spent some time chillin' just the 2 of us. (a rare and precious moment)
D helping with the recycling...he sorted everything nicely into the toy basket but absolutely had to turn this one, uncrushed box into his super-D helmet!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Glass eyes on your sad face
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Willow and Noah peeking from within their snazzy ride
Sunday, July 5, 2009
As you know we are a home learning family of 6. We survive quite happily on the income my husband makes as a door craftsman. If you were to measure our income against that of the majority we would be placed in the "low income" category. But understand that for us, this is a conscious choice. I could easily go out and work, bumping us up into a higher tax bracket, but for our family it is more important to have me at home with our children. And so we work within our budget to fulfill our needs.
Now not only are we on a strict budget but we also have very high standard for ourselves and our children. It is soooo important to us that they way we live reflects what we believe. We realize that our most powerful vote is done with our dollars. We do not support places like Wal-Mart or McDonalds. We do our best to buy local, organic, handmade, recycled and "green" as much as we possibly can. So what does this look like in the daily lives of our family?
Well, the cheapest way to diaper is, well, to simply not diaper at all! It may sound crazy but Elimination Communication (EC-ing for short) is actually very easy and extremely rewarding. You can start at any age, so even if you're adopting an older baby it is fully possible..and sooo great for bonding! We started EC-ing with Noah when he was 4 months old and had it down within 3 days. We decided after 6 weeks that it wasn't for us as it required so much time and I was very bust homeschooling 3 older children, but I have many friends with 1 or 2 small ones who LOVE it and wouldn't go any other way so..... Check out Diaperfree Baby!
Cloth Diapering has worked best for our family and is what I plan to do with our babies when we adopt. It is cheap, economical, easy to do and gentle on babes skin (use a natural detergent and vinegar) and usually leads to early potty training as they can actually feel when they're wet. We also used wool soakers with Noah which I loved!! (no, they we're not itchy) We used Longies in the colder season and shorties in the summer (or just diaper free). It was great too because he only needed shirts...the soakers doubled as bottoms and are sooo super cute! I did some trade work with a local knitting goddess (canning, wool, shoes) who did a bunch of shorties and longies for Noah..all it cost me was $30 for the wool!
cloth diapering links:
Motherease (we swear by the one size that fit from newby to potty training!)
Aristocrat Wool soakers (the only leak free soaker for night time that we've ever found)
Kozy Designs make beautiful, high quality soakers...Noah still wears his favorite longies as pants even though he's been out of diapers for 7 months!
Diaper Shower makes cleaning poopy diapers a breeze!!
For those who find the art of cloth diapering daunting (its really not as hard as you think!) or for when your traveling etc they're are all kinds of eco options. G-diapers are my fav....compostable/flushable and made from tree pulp...a bit pricey but we only used them for nights when Noah was older or for long outings. Other good brands include 7th Generation chlorine-free disposables, Nature Baby Care (I have a friend who uses these and loves them)
As far as wipes go, we buy bulk packs of baby cloths (about 30 does the trick) and just toss them in the wash with diapers.
This is our single greatest expense. We eat mostly organic, cook from scratch and buy in bulk when ever we can. (we are part of an organic food co-op and buy sugar/grains/beans etc. is large quantities) With babies there are very few things we buy that are any different then what everyone else eats. We buy Natures Path organic Kamut Puffs (nice and cheap!) for an easy finger food, organic Arrowroot cookies by Healthy Times...that's pretty much it. Sometimes I'll by boxed organic rice or oat cereal and a large jar of organic apple sauce (unless I have some made) and use that for a quick breakfast. For the most part we stay away from pre-made baby foods...even organic ones. The nutritional value in these foods just can't compare with what your baby gets when you make their food yourself. One of the easiest ways to do this (aside from just feeding them what you're eating) is to do up small batches and freeze them in ice cube trays. Yam and quinoa, rice, tofu (or meat) and veggies, fruit and oatmeal...all of these things can be quickly reheated in a little stainless steel measuring cup (NO MICROWAVE!!!!!!) and is ready for baby to enjoy in minutes! Good convenience foods for baby: avocado and banana come in their own handy, dandy packaging! puffed kamut or sliced/grated fruit/veg in a small container (like these). We use a stainless steel sippy cup for water, spent $15 once and have had it for nearly all of Noah's life! (oh, did I mention we only eat out about 4 times a year?? that saves us a huge amount of $$)
Remember you can save huge amounts of money by growing food yourself and canning! Farmers markets often have awesome deals on bulk organic produce and you can preserve you own salsa/pasta sauce/canned fruits for a fraction of the cost of buying pre-packaged stuff! Not to mention that it tastes amazing and you feel good doing it!
Breast really is best! Not only does breast milk have everything your baby needs, it is also free!! Yay! You can breast feed your adopted baby as well! For more info/support go to Le Leche League International! This is what I plan to do when we adopt but I understand that it can be hard to have a full milk supply right away. As far as bottle feeding goes I have never personally done it, but plan to supplement when we need to. My kids have all been breast fed so my personal experience is limited to what I have learned through my sister who has adopted 2 babies. She has used organic formula and glass bottles with both. She does not use a microwave but warmed her babies bottles in hot water. Holding and skin to skin contact are key for bonding while bottle feeding...heck bottle feed in a sling and you can still have one hand free to push the grocery cart!! (can we say multi-tasking!)
Toys and "Stuff":
Less is More...this is the lesson we in the west seem to need to learn over and over and over...in every aspect of our lives. We are constantly trying to declutter/downsize/purge. So why the, I ask you, do we bombard our children with mountains of crap thinking that it will somehow give them fulfillment?? Haven't we already learned that the opposite is true?? hmmm.... I am just as guilty as the next person. I went up into the children's loft to help them clean a few years ago and was blown away by the shear amount of stuff!! Mind you, its not junk. Not cheap plastic stuff...but STILL it stuff...so much stuff!! We had practically the entire natural toy store up there! Who on God's green earth needs that many toys? And the answer...No One! Why? Because they DON"T play with it! Children become overwhelmed they don't know where to start and can usually be found playing with the same toys over and over (if they play with any at all) This goes for baby props too...bouncy seats, exersaucers, things that light up and beep.....ewwwwww!! I have yet to see a baby, surrounded by overstimulating toys who wouldn't rather play with a canning jar ring, spatula and bowl!!!
So, what did we do? We purged. We went through every single thing and whatever they hadn't played with in a long time we packed away. After a few months the kids and I looked at everything and decided to donate it because they realized that they didn't need all of those toys and they wanted them to go to children who don't have the privileged life that we have. (I love that our kids think we are rich!! ;) )
Now, when a holiday or birthday comes we get the children 1 gift each. (and we save so that it is a high quality gift) Something we have put a lot of thought into, often something we have made (like the kids wooden kitchen or Willows Waldorf doll) We usually get them 1 gift to share as well, high quality art supplies, games or books. They have never asked why they don't get a mountain of gifts, they have never felt like they were somehow missing out. We don't experience the overwhelmed sensation that comes (usually followed by a melt down) with excess. It is one of the best choices we have ever made.
I am a huge advocate of baby wearing! I truly believe that it is best for both mama and babe in so many ways (maybe this deserves its own post?) The bonds that are created by constant contact can not be described unless its is experienced. To always know you child's needs, often before they ever need to cry to express them, is an amazingly empowering thing! When I see mama's carrying around those bulky, heavy bucket seats, rocking them to try and calm the crying baby while trying to fill something out at the bank or pick up the dropped item off the floor I just want to run up to her and hug her and say its OK...here try this (hand her a sling) and watch as her world is transformed. All the baby wants is her, to be carried. But how do you carry baby and big bucket seat?? (you can't)
I have heard many mama's say (and I have said this myself) "I Have tried slings and they just don't work for me." This is not a surprise when you look at the slings out there on the market. Bulky padding, thin fabric, tapered ends. Not good, sucky actually. Not to mention there are few resources to teach you HOW to carry a baby in a sling...sheesh! Spend a bit extra for a carrier that actually works (stay away from snugli!) The best sling I have ever used was made by a local lady...one of her prototypes. She made it out of a woven fabric that has they right combo of stretch and support. The closest thing that I have found to it is the Maya Wrap or the Ellaroo . I have also used the wrap style carriers. I did enjoy them but for me, the quick convenience of a ring sling was the way to go. I carried Noah in his sling exclusively until he was 1, and then I traded off with the Ergo.I can't say enough about the Ergo!! It is an amazing carrier and as soon as baby starts to feel heavy in the sling it is the ONLY way to go! I have tried high quality frame packs, slinging him on my back, wrapping him on my back and nothing disperses his weight like an Ergo. I can haul fire wood for 2 hours, hike, grocery shop, cook dinner...anything and everything with him happily seated on my back. I have only just now started feeling him after about 30 minutes and he's a very big, almost 3 year old!
Check out the Learn Baby wearing to learn all the many ways you can wear your baby!
Carseats: The most economical way to do the car seat thing is to buy and all-in-one convertible that goes from newborn to booster seat. We don't need to buy a bucket seat just because the come with every stroller set out there. This is a great way to save a bit of $$ and if you buy your convertible on sale..well, even better!
Strollers: The only time I use a stroller is when we go ice skating. So, if you plan to do baby wearing and you don't ice skate you can easily go without a stroller! I do think that if we adopt twins (can you hear the hope in my...um typing?) that I will buy a twin jogger so that I can run with the babies while the older kids ride. Check out craigs list, ebay or freecycle for deals on second hand strollers. My last 2 strollers have been bought/traded second hand and where in amazing condition! (and even got passed on after me!)Freecycle: for those of you who have never experienced freecycle before, check it out!! Sorted by location you can join a network of people who like to pass things on...for free!! Every morning I get an email from my freecycle community with a list of "to give away" or "wanted". People take what interests them and pass on what they don't need. It is amazing how much kid stuff gets passed on through our lil' freecycle community!!
Clothing:This is one of those areas where people can go a little crazy. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a sweet pair of shoes or an adorable dress just like the next guy BUT I use restraint....a LOT of restraint. I choose to buy 95% of our clothes second hand...I love thrift shops and consignment stores...so many treasures. You get the bonus of fantastic find plus the moral satisfaction of knowing that you are making a green choice by using something that is already there! (not to mention that, as far as non-organic clothing goes, they have already been washed many times and most, if not all of the heavy dyes/chemicals/fire retardants have been removed!)
I also save anything that is in good condition for the next child in line. If there is no "next child" then I find someone who can use them or donate them to the thrift shop. It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear mama's say "oh, you have a child of such-n-such a size? do you need clothes because I have bags taking up space in my closets!"
This is where I splurge. I LOVE good quality footwear. Our babes stay in soft soled shoes until they are 2-ish. Our #1 favorite for spring/winter/fall is the Padraig slipper. (see if you can spot 3 of our kiddos on the website!) Our whole family wears them...we are in love! lol Sooo cute, so warm. When our kids go outside in the winter they were their Padraigs inside their Stonz booties (even in -25!) We also wear Robeez when we don't need something quite as warm.
hmmmm...now that I've practically written a book I'm sure I've forgotten all kinds of key tips. Oh well, if you have a question that you think I mught be able to answer feel free to ask!
Friday, July 3, 2009
I am covered completely in goose bumps, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks, for the third time this week!
I have been moved in ways I can't even describe by watching these amazing families go through the struggles and joys of waiting..."waiting with the infinite patience of those who have little choice but to wait" (~ from Cutting for Stone by A.V.)
I have been moved by the courage of these families as they reach across the world with hearts so completely open, welcoming in the kind of wonder from which dreams are made..the very best dreams. The deepest, truest kind of LOVE...big, big love...love divine!
So here I sit, celebrating for Julie and Steven...people I have never met...in such a deep way. Welcoming into their family FOREVER a sweet little Chunk of Love and a darling Degas Ballerina in a Blue Dress. You can read about their amazing journey over at The Eyes of My Eyes are Opened!
Congratulations guys!! You are such an inspiration to me in more ways then you can imagine!
(The Wish Bearer sure is making her rounds this week!!♥♥♥)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I found this so moving. It really puts things into a tangible perspective!
(note: I am not endorsing Loving Shepherd specifically, but I believe that this really needs to be seen by EVERYONE so that the masses can begin to understand how extreme the situation is!!)