Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tandem Moments

Tandem nursing Ivy and Piper. I will never forget the looks on their faces that day. The gentleness on their faces, and the way they shared what they love the most.
It might seem like an odd angle. And it is. I wanted to try something different though. I'm quite pleased with it.

This was Ivy's first meeting with Piper. I had auntie hold the baby,
while I greeted Ivy who had greatly missed me while I was gone the two days at the hospital. It was the very first time she had gone without nursing. She was eagar to have what she missed out on! I missed her so much while I was gone. This picture captured perfectly what I was feeling.

My very first attempt at tandem nursing, caught on camera. Can you see how nervous I was? A brand new baby, and a toddler who missed me so much.

There was never a more tender moment than that first nursing session with my girls.

Pipers Birth Story

My January Due Date Club is being deleted on MDC, so I'm moving some posts over here so they won't be lost forever. A bit late, but here is Pipers birth story!

Piper Anastasia was born January 12th at 10:37pm, weighing 9 lbs 1.8 oz and 20 and
3/4 inches long. *To the left is my last profile picture. It was taken while I was in labor and trying to get things moving faster. We went for a walk in Portland at the Eastern Promenade because it was a gorgeous day outside. Its one of my favorite memories about that laboring Piper.

The doctor stripped my membranes at my 9:15am appointment, I was 4 cm's. They hooked me up to the NST machine and saw contractions were 4 minutes apart. Then the whole building lost power on what was an oddly warm gorgeous 50 degree weather day (for January in Maine) They sent me to the hospital to be admitted. Chris had to drive 45 minutes home to drop off my dd with my SIL and then drive back. I wasn't prepared to wave goodbye to my toddler. I hadn't even told her today was the day, so I was very teary as they drove away.

After we got there, the hospital told me they were having a really busy day and that if I wasn't in active labor they couldn't keep me. They suggested I go home. My OB didn't want me going home since its so far away, and with my history of fast labors she didn't want to risk it. So she told us to walk around and meet her at the office later. So we walked. And walked. And walked some more! I have blisters on my feet from walking so much. 3 hours later we met her back at the office. I was still having surges, but they were not painful at all. She checked me and I was 6 cm's dialated now. She sent me back to the hospital and called over there to tell them they were not allowed to send me home because I was indeed in labor.

By the time we got to the hospital it was about 7:30pm. I hung around for about an hour doing the monitoring and whatnot. My doctor came in and broke my water around then because she was positive it wouldn't take long after that. Around 9pm the surges were getting pretty strong in my back. Babe was still posterier and I was feeling it! I sat on the birthing ball for a bit, but found that it didn't distract me enough. Instead I walked the hallways a few times. I opted to

try some Nubain to see if it would take the edge off. It didn't really do much except make me a little dizzy, but at least it didn't have the same after effect that Stadol had in the past. (emotional instability) Still, as far as taking away any pain.. nada.

I decided to try the jacuzzi. Lovely big jacuzzi. Except I couldn't tolerate the jets. They bordered right on super annoying to me, so I turned them off and just labored in the water for about an hour. I remember the nurse coming in and watching me quietly. Dh was sitting next to the tub quietly as well. I was tuning everyone out and focusing on this glowing circle in the water. It was probably a light fixture reflecting on the surface... but it looked exactly like the fullmoon glowing. The tub was green, so when I got into the zone.. it looked like I was looking out on a lake at night. I consontrated on that moon and used it to ride each surge. It was around then that I noticed I was a bit shakey. The nurse asked, "Whats different Ana? Something changed."

I asked to get out of the tub, and when another surge hit.. I found myself hanging onto my husband and pushing. I finally made it back to my room, quickly before another one came. The nurse watched one more contraction and paged the doctor to come in. She was there in a flash. She checked me and said, "Hmm... only at 7cm's.. still quite a bit to go. Head is still not engaged" I started to whine a bit and said, "I can't do this." (thinking to myself.. this is

usually how it feels at the end! What do you mean I have a ways to go!!?) I pushed during the next surge uncontrollably. The doctor looked when I did that and said, "Oh but you ARE doing it!" and then whispered to the nurse, "She's pushing the baby down now." She got on her gloves and said, "I only put this stuff on when its almost over." Aparently my cervix looked to be 7cm's... but when I pushed it was a full 10 cm's and the babys head crowned. Two more pushes and she was out!

I was able to push the way I wanted to. Oddly, I found myself sitting on the bed, lying back... but tilted to one side. One leg flopped open and the other straight. I was gripping one side of the bedrail with both hands and bearing down that way. I didn't arch my back this time, and my tailbone didn't crack either!! The doctor was really good about keeping her hands down there and helping to guide the head so I wouldn't tear too much. I did tear along the same scar

tissue from the other two, but not nearly as much and not into my urethra this time! They did offer hands and knees, but for some reason this time that way didn't appeal to me. They let me labor how I needed too and it was perfect. They asked me to stop pushing and told me when to push slowly.. and I listened and pushed controlled this time. It was wonderful!

From 7cm's to the birth of Piper... less than 2 minutes. This labor was even shorter than my last one. Much more prodromal labor, and a few more pushes... but I tore much less. Only a few stiches, but my "down below" area feels pretty good! My abdominal muscles however... whew! Pushing that baby down and out in less than 2 minutes took every muscle I had I think!

She was also my biggest baby yet! Gorgeous DARK??? hair! Tons of it! Mellow disposition so far, awesome nurser!

My dd's have not met her yet... I'll let you know how that goes!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Summer Solstice! (Midsummer, Litha, etc)

Ivy and I said good morning to the sun outside our window when we woke up. We dressed in bright yellow clothes and made pictures of the sun on paper, using dried flowers for the rays of light. We made up a song and sang it all day long. This was the chorus. "The sun is hot and its in the sky. It means that it is summertime. Happy Summer Solstice! Happy Summer Solstice! Happy Summer Solstice! Happy Summer Solstice!" We picked out a sweet smelling incense and burned it while we read books from the libraray about summer.. Summers Vacation, (wonderful pagan books!) Earth Mother, (beautiful!) Summertime, and Circle Unbroken. We had snacks of apples, bright colored oranges, and sunflower seeds. And then we called and emailed people we loved to wish them a happy Summer Solstice.

How did you celebrate?

Monday, June 19, 2006

You Learn Something New Everyday

I really would like to share this with you all as I'm pretty excited. Please forgive me for the length, when I get excited I tend to type type type!

My husband was finally able to SEE Unschooling in action today!!! I am so thrilled! This was what our day was like... (keep in mind dd 8 goes to public school and is not homeschooled. Ex husband wants her in school so we agreed to that since we split 50/50 but she spends the week with him. My other 2 children will be unschooled. They are almost 3 and 5 months old right now.)

This morning Sierra was watching a movie, Charlie's Angels. (for some reason she loves it and thinks it hillarious. LOL I find it funny watching both girls do the "Charlies Angel pose" ) She started asking questions about the stunts and how they were possible. So we talked about stunt doubles, and how they use computers to do many of the scenes. We used the computer to look up things I wasn't sure about and she was excited to learn that stunt doubles use gymnastics moves all the time. She is a gymnist and loved learning that there is yet another way she could pursue a career doing what she loves.

We looked up Charlies Angels goofs and went through the movie scene by scene, catching all the mistakes they made while filming. (cables showing, cameras reflected off things, problems with continuity, etc..) We'd watch one, laugh, pause it and read about the next. It was awesome trying to catch all the bloopers together and she learned a lot about behind the scenes film making in the process. Also she is still in that fantasy vs. reality phase where she questions which is which, so it was good to be able to talk about what things in the film were absolutly NOT possible to happen. (for example, in the opening scene one of the girls parachutes and catches a man falling, then she opens her chute up and saves them both. Its physically impossible to open a chute up while holding someone, the force would throw them from you, which is why they use harnessess.)

In once scene there is a scene of the characters filming a movie. (a movie in a movie) She gets shot, they yell "cut!" and the character gets up. Sierra wanted to know how that works so we discussed tricks like how the fake blood gets on shirts. She asked if anyone has ever accidentally gotten shot for real. (the fantasy vs. reality thing again) I said "Actually, they have" and we Googled and looked up all information about Brandon Lee and the filming of The Crow. During that we ALL learned the difference between a "dummy" round, and a blank, and the importance of gun safety and proper maintenence.

Later in the day she commented that the word Mississippi was so long it had to be the longest word ever. We took turns spelling it. I could spell it fast, and she tried to do it as fast as I could, it ended in fits of giggling. I let her know that it was a huge word, but that there was an even bigger word. So then we talked about the word Antidisestablishmentarianism and how it was the largest word in the english dictionary. She wanted to know what it meant so we looked that up too. Supercalifragilisticespialadocious (spelled fantasically wrong I fear) is longer then antidisestablishmentarianism, but its not considered a "real" word because it orgininated in Mary Poppins which is a fictional movie. We counted how many letters were there and she practiced saying it to *wow!* all her friends.

Dh walked in and said "Long??! I know something thats long!! The longest river in the world is the Amazon!!" I decided we'd double check to be sure and lo and behold we learned that the Nile is the longest and the Amazon is the second longest! Dh learned right along with us! We looked up pictures and saw how pretty it was and we all agreed some day we'd love to visit Egypt. We found out that the Nile is 4160 miles long! We talked about what the word "amazon" means. (and she said, "Oh! I know! Its where you buy your books right? )

Shortly afterwards, my husband came up to me and said, "Wow! So thats how it will be huh? Thats unschooling..." I nodded and smiled. He continued, "I really enjoyed today. I learned a lot too and it wasn't a bit schoolish at all. I think raising them this way will be a lot of fun for all of us."

I am totally thrilled with how today went. My daughter brought things up that she was interested in, and we found the answers together. One thing drifted seamlessly into the other, and dh even had his hand in the "strewing" when he introduced the comment about the longest river. We were talking about the LONGest word, and she was talking about the Mississippi river (which IS the longest and largest in North America!) so he found an "in" to introduce some new info. Even though his statement wasn't correct, it was jumping board for more learning! I loved that I was able to see the learning moments in our conversations without forcing it to be learning, and it was wonderful! I know not all days will be like this, but I was in awe at how easily it came and how natural it felt.

I think the difference between today and some other days is.. I was connected. Sometimes I'm not. My brain has trouble shifting between events. If I'm reading, I'm reading! If I'm trying to think about whats for dinner, I'm trying to think! And sometimes I miss opportunities to answer questions or to help with finding answers. I know I won't always have 100% of the time to answer things and BE THERE in the moment, but it really felt good to have a day like this.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Timeline in Pictures

If I can only remember to have this picture taken every single year, it will be the most precious gift I can give to myself. Its almost surreal to look at both pictures and realize that not only have my kids grown so much, but another has been added to the scene! (and we have a different couch! *g*)

Just a few pictures I took over the last week. Ivy and I first thing in the morning. She looks cute. I, however.. do not. Mental note to self: no pictures before my coffee. Ever again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sierra's 8th Birthday Party

Here is the awesome cake the girls and I made for Sierra's 8th birthday party! It will go down in history as the most messed up, falling apart cake EVER. Sierra giggled the whole time. Our guests said it tasted good though. LOL

I decided that if we couldn't have the party we wanted to have, due to most everyone not showing up... then we'd have a backwards party where Sierra helped me with all the arrangements including the making of the cake. She did her own decorations too. I think it worked out well. It took a few minutes to get over the looks of judgement from out guests, but they were kind. The girls had fun doing it, which was the point. Here's a close up of the "falling apart" portion of the cake. No one took a bite out of it, it just looks that way. LOL
I have found out in all of this, that my true calling is not a baker.

Our group photo shot of most of the people at the party.

The birthday girl! She made out pretty well with clothes, not too much *stuff* but thats okay because we don't need extra stuff. We did an arts and crafts project with all the kids, they made bookmarks with foam and shells, feathers, felt, markers, glitter, etc.. all that messy stuff they enjoy! She seemed happy and that was the ultimate goal of any birthday party. I just wish they weren't so stressful!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fighting for Breastfeeding in Public

Its a rather old post now, but for a week or so Myspace was full of people against breastfeeding in public. I spent hours educating ignorant people about what breasts are really there for. Below are some of my happy replies..

Breasts are not sexual. They are food for babies. A penis is sexual. A vulva is sexual. Urinating is not the same as feeding your baby. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I would absolutly welcome any mother into my home who breastfeeds, even if she does so in public. =) I commend mothers who nurish their children when they need to, and don't cater to other peoples ignorant feelings. Other countries don't have this issue. America has sexualized breasts. Nursing mothers are reclaiming them for what they are made for. You're right. It is beautiful and sacred. And I can cherish that moment as much as I want to, no matter where it is.

What you deem a private thing, is obviously not for everyone. Breastfeeding is legal and an inherant right of women. So is covering up. Are there laws against people wearing bikini's on the beach or thongs hanging out the back of pants? Why not? They offend me. I don't like them. In life there will ALWAYS be things that you dont like. Turn away and dont look then.

Seriously. I don't mean to be rude, and I apologise if it comes off that way.. but I really am tired of people telling nursing mothers that they are not considering other peoples feelings, or being descrete. Its an opinion! Some women don't think women should wear pants either. Or wear their hair down. Or shave. Or work outside the home. etc etc. They are breasts. They are nipples. WE ALL HAVE THEM! Why are men allowed to not wear a shirt, and yet women have to? Why are their nipples allowed to see the sun, but ours must be covered up? Because of the unneeded sexualization this country has done. Nothing more.


If a child asked why the ladys shirt was up, the mother could always say, "She's feeding her baby breastmilk." ???!!! OMG! Ever consider the truth? Why do people feel the need to shelter and hide it? THAT is what prepetuates this stupid sexualization! We need MORE public feeding, not less!

Not all children can drink from a bottle. And not all mothers can pump their breastmilk. And some of us can pump, but we choose not to. Remember that? CHOICE.

I choose to breastfeed. I choose to breastfeed my 3 year old and my 4 month old. I choose to breastfeed them in public. I choose to not cover up when I do so. I choose to not pump. Most mothers I know pump only because they need to be away from their baby, not because they are in public. And really.. why should they go through all the extra effort (and it is!) to pump their breastmilk, just so some stranger won't be offended.?! Also, switching between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding CAN have a negative effect on the child. Many children wean far too early because of it, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you why breastfeeding is so important and desired. Obviously if the mother has chosen to breastfeed, then she doesn't want to do anything to impact that relationship... but you'll expect her to pump and possibly lessen her supply, cause discomfort or pain, more time wasted, maybe more money spent for a better breastpump and even cause nipple confusion and early weaning, all for strangers comfort??

I don't think so.


I become aroused when someone touches the back of my neck too. Or when I get a back rub. There are many erogenous zones across the body. My nipples also become erect when I'm cold, or the wind blows. It doesn't make them, my neck, back, or nipples, sexual objects. By your thinking, that would mean that mens nipples are sexual objects as well, becaue they do get erect with stimulation as well. Why then, are they allowed to have them exposed?

If a male got an erection on the bus, I'm quite sure no one would know it! You don't think it happens all the time?? LOL Please! Penis's and Vulvas are sexual parts. You put them together to have intercourse to make babies. Mkay? Breasts are there to FEED the baby that you make. You can't even compare them so stop trying.

If everyone ran around naked, I'd be perfectly fine with that. At the very least, legalization that made it legal for women to be shirtless like men would make me happier.


And in almost every single state, except a few.. breastfeeding is EXEMPT from those laws. The states that don't say it, simply don't have any laws protecting it. There are no laws that say its illegal in the US. And in fact, its a constitutional god given right and also protected Federally on federal property.

If you don't want to see other women breastfeeding, or you don't want your child to view it, I suggest you stay inside your home, or build a nice little Anti-public breastfeeding commune for yourself. =)



And in the summer? It gets HOT under a blanket! I wouldn't put my baby through that no matter who it made happier. After a few months my children wouldn't stand a blanket over their heads either. And all it does is call attention to the breastfeeding woman next to you. Seriously people.. open your eyes! I'll bet there have been women breastfeeding right next to you and you didn't even know. Because most mamas are able to do it descreetly anyway without blankets or things.

How many of us do you really think WANT to show the world their breasts? Personally, I don't even wear a bikini at the beach. When my daughter was born I used to sit in the car to nurse. I used to go to bathrooms and straddle toilets. And guess what? I missed out on so much. One shopping trip took hours because I had to keep going back to the car. Babies are not always predictible. They go through grow spurts and times where they eat every 5 minutes. Its simply not practical to sit in a car every time they're hungry. Early motherhood is hard enough... don't make it harder by secluding yourself because you feel you have no choice.

I got myself a decent sling, and I nurse her everywhere no matter what I'm doing. (the exception is driving. I don't ever take her out of her carseat while the car is moving.)

Its odd with all these arguments against public breastfeeding lately, or people demanding others to "cover up." I've been breastfeeding for 3 years straight now. I am currently tandem nursing a 3 year old, and a 4 month old. Not ONCE, has anyone ever said anything to me. No one has even looked at me sideways. And in the beginning, during those times I would nurse in the car.. I did it because I was scared of other peoples reactions. I did it because I was ashamed of accidentally showing anything to strangers. I had never seen anyone else nursing. Ever. I couldn't feel comfortable with my choice, because I had no one around me to normalize it.

After a while of hiding, I decided I couldn't do it anymore. It took awhile for me to really FEEL comfortable nursing in public.. but after I mastered it. Its very liberating and freeing. No one else controls how I think, or act. Why should they control where I feed my baby? And like I said, I have never even heard one remark or comment. No one has ever stared at me or made feel ashamed. So where are all of these people who think its rude? I certainly didn't see any in the smiling faces that walked past me, or the mothers who gave a wink.

I now make sure that I breastfeed wherever and whenever I need to. I don't flash my breast around by all means, but I'm no longer worried if I accidentally show a tiny piece of white skin.

I'm feeding my baby. Nothing more. And yet, it IS doing something much more. Its making it normal for others around me. Its giving other people an alternative. Its showing little girls who walk past me, that THAT is what breasts where made for. Its teaching little boys the ultimate respect for women. And most importantly....
Its supporting the other nursing mother who might be too ashamed to sit down with her crying baby and feed him because she's in a public place. And perhaps my confidence will give her the confidence to let her fears of offending people go, and do what comes naturally... nurture her baby.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Baby Cuz is All Grown Up

Today I went to Andrews high school graduation. Where have the years gone? Seriously. Everyone says it, but until you live and look back it doesn't really seem important.

Andrew is the second one of us kids to graduate, me being the first. Anyone who knows anything about our family, knows this is a huge accomplishment! So, I love ya Andrew and I am so very proud of you. I know no matter what you do in life you will be great!

The speakers at the graduation however were pretty boring. My ex-husband was also on police detail there, and his MIL as well, so they were patrolling in front of me the entire time. I was with my uncle, and his ex-wife (my aunt whom I don't speak to much either) was also there. It was the day of the ex's! So we stuck together.

I took pictures of Piper during the boring parts to keep myself occupied! Even though my aunt snuck up behind me and punched my arm hard enough to bruise, my ex was there, and my other cousin came to the celebratory dinner with us..acted friendly, then talked a ton of shit behind my back later... it was a good day. I am glad I had the chance to go.

Here's a few more pictures from the day...

This is the infamous family. Andrew of course, then the cousin that hates me Matthew, my aunt Barbara, and my grandfather. I was hoping I'd make it out without contact. As you can see... that didn't happen. Eh. The sacrifices I make for Andrew..

...he owes me..

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Learning Through Playing

Here's a few pictures of the things we've been doing lately. Ivy has been painting every single day. She's really into it right now. She uses big brushes, little brushes, sponges, stamps, fingers. You name it! Sometimes we only put out one or two colors, and other times we put them all out.

I'm so impressed by how much she has grown these past six months. She can count to 20 with only one or two extra numbers thrown in for good measure. She can sing her ABC's and to my amazement, she knows them all. I was blown away. I owe that one to Sierra and her endless singing that she does loudly and offkey, despite my pleading with her to lower her voice just a tad. My bleeding ears were not in vain however, because now Ivy knows her ABC's!

Stringing beads is another activity that Ivy likes to do. While Mama makes hemp necklaces, Ivy makes her own too with jumbo wooden beads. She calls them her snakes. ;-)

She likes to sit down right next to my chair and make her snakes.

Oh! I also picked up a bunch of wooden food for her to play with, and she absolutely loves it! I have decided that I'm going to slowly start to weed out her electronic plastic toys, and replace them with wooden ones. Her imagination has soared since I've bought the few things I have.

Since we will be Unschooling the girls, I'd love to be able to get any many learning/exploring things as we can in the next few years. For Ivy's birthday next month we'll be getting her a wooden kitchen set. I really wish I could afford the solid pine handmade ones, but wow! They are $$$. If I had the money to spare I really would get them though. And the Haba website is a dream to shop at! I love looking at all the realistic wooden foods. I'll be getting her some more of those soon too.

Blessed be!