Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday my darling Sadie Caroline!

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be."

Today was such a great day for both of us! Sadie's birthday present to me was sleeping in until 7:30 (rather than her usual 6:15 a.m.!). We cuddled and nursed in her room to start the day while listening to my labor music; the playlist I was listening to one year ago. We danced and read books with Daddy before heading downstairs to see her birthday present.

She loves her beautiful kitchen that we ordered from hammerandnail's etsy shop. He even sent us a homemade apron as a thank you for being his first customers!

We had breakfast and talked about the day and then got dressed to go to storytime at the library which she does every Tuesday and Thursday.

She wore her purple birthday crown so that everyone knew it was her birthday and Miss Mary Jo even read the birthday book and everyone sang Sadie Happy Birthday. Sadie took two great naps and ate really well (which for a one year old makes for a great day!).

Sadie heard from lots of loved ones today and got three renditions of Happy Birthday over the phone. Several of the messages and emails Sadie got today made her mama cry. What a lucky girl she is to have so many people loving her to pieces.

When Dad got home we all played and got dinner ready in the kitchen (including Sadie in her kitchen). We nursed and Daddy put her to bed without a peep.

What a perfectly wonderful first birthday for my sweet girl.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Birth Day

One year ago today, I went into labor. And while this Thursday will be all about celebrating Sadie and this first, amazing year of her life, I think today will be a day for me to celebrate her birth.

It's surprising to me how often I think about Sadie's birth. I would say at least a few times a week I find myself remembering something about those four long days of labor, the hours of pushing, the unwanted c-section, and the foggy days of recovery and new parenting immediately after she was born.

Words cannot describe the wonder of growing a child inside your body and going through the hard work of bringing that child into the world. Perhaps it's because I became such a "birth junkie" during my pregnancy that I find myself recalling the experience so often. Perhaps it's because it ended in the one way I absolutely didn't want it to end. Perhaps it's because as a nursing mama I have a lot of time to sit quietly and ponder the wonder of my daughter, and that inevitably leads me to remembering her birth. Perhaps it's just because it was the starting point to this wonderful first year of Sadie's life.

When I wrote my birth story in the month after Sadie was born, I meant it when I said that I had no regrets, and that I felt like I had a positive birth experience. I certainly didn't experience the trauma and depression that so many women in this country go through after an unwanted or possibly unnecessary c-section. My feelings about Sadie's birth are still positive overall; however, over the past year I've found that my feelings about it are very complex. And I'm definitely still processing all that we went through during those long days of labor.

I'll admit that every time I hear about a woman who casually agrees to pitocin to induce labor, continuous fetal monitoring which keeps her on her back in a hospital bed, and an epidural so that she doesn't feel a thing (and I seem to hear these stories VERY often), and still ends up with a smooth, easy, vaginal birth....I have a very strong physical and emotional reaction. My feelings range from anger to disappointment to sadness. Again, as Brian said so well in the days after my c-section, it just doesn't seem fair. Every time I look in the mirror and see the scar from my surgery, or feel a twinge of pain along my abdomen when I get really cold, I am reminded of how unfair it is to work so hard (SO HARD!) for something and not get what you want.

I know that Brian and I prepared as much as we possibly could have for the birth we wanted. We were educated and mentally prepared. We chose a birth team including our midwives, doula, and a wonderful hospital which gave us a great chance of achieving a natural hospital birth. I try to not let myself dwell on this train of thought too often, but I do wonder what, if anything, I could have done differently to have a different outcome. Is there anything else I could have done to achieve the natural, drug-free, gentle and peaceful water birth I envisioned for Sadie? What if I'd spent more time during my pregnancy positioning Sadie for labor? What if I'd stayed home and never gone to that hospital? What if I'd stayed calmer and slowed my breathing and focused more on communicating with Sadie during labor? What if...?
I know that is the lesson of's unpredictable. And what a good life lesson too. You don't always get what you want, even if you really want it, even if you really deserve it, and even if you work really hard for it. Many people may brush these feelings aside with a comment to the effect of, "well, all that really matters it that Sadie is here and she's healthy and happy". And of course that's the most important thing of all. But I do not discount the importance of a woman's birth experience and the central role it plays in her life as a mother and in her life as a woman.

I still feel joy when I remember Sadie's birth. And I feel joy when I remember her labor. Even the scariest, hardest, messiest parts of Sadie's birth journey are some of my fondest memories. Brian seems to remember the hardest parts of labor and pushing in a very different light than I do. Just recently, when asked at a party about when he was the most scared he's ever been, he mentioned those hours when I was blacking out between each push. I suppose because I wasn't seeing myself as an outsider, I still get a sense of my strength as a mammal, as a human, as a woman, and as a mother from those moments. As hard as it was, and as weird as it sounds, I miss that. I miss those moments. They were the most genuine, real, powerful, spiritual, loving moments of my life, and sometimes I find myself wishing I could experience them again.

I'm glad that Sadie's birth is still so prominent in my mind and in my memories. I think I'll probably take this day every year to reflect, remember, process, and celebrate the miracle of birth and the miracle of my Birth Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cooking Up A Storm

I love cooking so much! It's funny that when I first moved out on my own I swore I would never be a good cook like my mom...I just didn't have it in me. But I love my kitchen and I love cooking in it. I love making healthy, delicious, interesting recipes for my family and friends. Some recent meals we've enjoyed....
Homemade springs rolls and citrus brown rice salad with edamame.

From here

In this cookbook

Green chili and chicken posole. Hominy is my new favorite canned vegetable! (Is it a vegetable? I think it has something to do with corn, right?) Recipe from the Food Network Magazine, which I thoroughly enjoy. Found here.

And the most exciting recipe recently is this...homemade pho! It really did taste like pho! The secret to the anise pods! Who knew??? Also from the FN Magazine, found here.

While this is all fine and good, I'll admit that in order to make all these fun, delicious meals, my grocery bill isn't as low as I'd like it to be. So my new goal in the kitchen is to continue making great meals, but to learn how to be a bit more frugal about it. I clip coupons and try to look for what's on sale. I don't buy a lot of packaged food. What other suggestions do you have for me? Buying in bulk? Buying local? Buying fruits/veggies in larger quantities and freezing? How can I still eat interesting meals (not just rice, pasta, etc...) and lower my grocery bill?
I'm hoping to start a small garden this summer and be able to grow my own peppers/squash/lettuce/tomatoes/and herbs. Herbs are expensive at the grocery store! But especially in the winter months, the ingredients I like are not cheap. (I know when it comes to produce that's because they're being sent all the way from South America or wherever.) Not only are there the personal finances to consider when buying grapes in January, but the carbon impact of a purchase like that.
So, we'll see...I'm on a mission to stay within my weekly grocery budget and still have fun in the kitchen. Wish me luck...

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Steps!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

One Small Change: February 2010

In January, as part of Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change challenge, I made a commitment to bring more cloth into our daily lives and subsequently reduce the amount of paper and plastic products that we use and therefore throw away. I happily continued using my reusable grocery bags, lunch bag, and coffee cup.

I bought some reusable produce bags from Qwerty O on I love these bags! I think the clerks at the grocery store are somewhat annoyed (because I end up putting more than one type of produce in a bag together), but I've been really happy with the change.

Although I always used to save my plastic grocery bags when I still used them, I'll admit that I never saved the produce bags, which meant they went right in the trash. What an easy and important change to make!

We also used cloth napkins all month, and we will definitely keep up this habit! It was fun to go to my local thrift store and choose a fun and funky assortment of cloth napkins. We usually use them for a few days and then put them in the wash.

I actually didn't buy or use a single paper towel all month! (which wasn't really part of the plan...but it just ended up that way) The only time I felt the need to have a paper towel around was when heating food up in the microwave (to minimize splatter, you know), but I ended up either using a plate to cover the bowl being heated, or just let a little splatter happen.

I also purchased some cloth sandwich bags from Qwerty O's Etsy shop. It was great to buy them from this shop because they're actually sewn by her daughter who is saving all the money she makes from their sale for college!

So, I didn't actually use these great bags this month...but that's not because I was using plastic instead. I just don't really use baggies that often, and lately have been taking salads for lunch, which I don't need the bags for. But I'm happy to know that I have them to use instead of plastic baggies.

Overall, I am very pleased with the small changes we made in January.

So, for February, I'm turning towards our energy use. Actually, in January (without planning to), we turned our thermostat down three to four degrees. When Sadie slept over at her Grandma and Grandpa Peterson's house at the beginning of the month, the room she stayed in was much cooler than her room at home. And she slept through the night for the first time in months! So, we immediately turned our home's temperature to a more reasonable 66 degrees (from my preferred 69/70 degrees) and we've kept it there all month (I'll admit it's because Sadie has continued sleeping through the night and I'm convinced that's part of the reason...poor thing was just too hot!).

So...along these lines, I'd like to continue making small changes that will affect our household energy use. I plan to be more conscious about turning off lights that aren't being used. I also want to start evaluating the "vampire" power use in our home. Vampire power is the energy that small appliances use when they are plugged in, even if they are turned off. Studies have shown that this energy can account for around 10% of residential energy consumption! The easy ones to start with will be cell phone chargers, microwave, computers, and hairdryer.

I look forward to making this one small change in February!