Thursday, September 29, 2016

Week 53

Week 53 wasn't so good--we struggled. Reuben pushed buttons, I got frustrated, daddy worked late and I had a surprise babysitting gig. I also argued with my husband and things were stressful.

But you know what--God is still good. And we got through it. I am so blessed with a wonderful, steadfast patient husband!

If you want to see what I was doing one year ago, go here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Flamingo Fingerless Gloves

I came across the idea for these from Belle Brita's Instagram page. I've wanted to make her a pair of gloves for awhile now--and she loves flamingos! Of course, I had to make a full tutorial. You can download the free PDF file if you would like to make these. They use fingering weight yarn and 2.75mm knitting needles.

The videos can be seen here, and the PDF is here on Ravelry.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Your Opinion Does Not Matter

We live in a day and age where the majority of us (in the United States, at least) have been raised to believe we are special snowflakes. College taught us we are unique--"only one of us in the whole world". We've been conditioned to think we'd grow up and be fallen in love with, and be given a job just because we "have a degree". We grew up listening to music that catered to this kind of thinking, music that celebrated our inner beings, reinforcing the fact that we are special and unique.

We are not special and unique.

Hear me out. We now live in an internet age where kids and adults tell other humans to kill themselves over a YouTube video. Don't believe me? Just read YouTube comments.

We live in such a judgmental age. Many times when I see friends and family post things on Facebook, I just wait for the snap judgements roll in. People aren't even nice! I made a post about delaying vaccines for my child when he was born and was called a child abuser. A child abuser. Instead of sending me some factual evidence for me to read and consider, I was named called and attacked for simply stating I wanted to wait to start vaccines until my son's two month appointment and delay the one they give at the time of birth. I was a new mother. I was vulnerable and confused. And suddenly I was being compared to people who beat, molest or endanger their children.

After several more of this sort of comments from friends (and strangers) alike over my choice to home school, I have come to the conclusion that we as a society place to much weight on our own opinions and are no longer giving people the space to form their own, much less breathe.

I myself have done this same thing. One time a friend of mine responded to a meme I placed on twitter about the cry it out method. I am not for the cry it out method for my own child, and I honestly don't think anyone should do it. It feels wrong to me. But you see, instead of treating this other parent with respect I steamrolled her with information on how she was damaging her child by using the cry it out method. I thought if she just understood or read these articles she would change her horrid ways and be a good mom like me! I was wrong. I really do believe sleeping through the night is a developmental thing, and that babies should not be left to cry alone. But I shouldn't shame other moms for choosing this for their own children. I myself have been shamed and ridiculed several times for decisions I have made for Reuben. It's not fun. (And can't we just all agree to drop the "good" and "bad" from the word "Mom" and just BE MOMS?!)

That brings me back to opinions. We all have them. We all proclaim them on the internet. And in a world where most have access to this hub of information, our opinions overlap and jostle each other, their gleaming edges sharpened to razors for maximum effect. We want to show people how right we are and how wrong they are. We want to be on top.

So where is the line? Certainly sharing isn't wrong. I am all for transparency and for people to share what they feel comfortable with online. But alas, even that can fall into error as many think publishing personal details on the internet is wrong and harmful. So where does the line of opinion fall? I would say we would all agree that telling someone to "kill themselves" or wishing an anti-vaxer's kid "catches polio and dies" are statements that are definitely on the "wrong" side of the track. Yet they still happen. All the time.

I'm here to propose a different sort of answer to the problem. Your opinion doesn't matter. My opinion doesn't matter. None of our opinions that we hold so dear in our special little snowflake hearts matter. And also, humiliating and shaming someone is never the right way to address a safety concern (i.e. every comment on a picture you post of your kid in his car seat). Loving and supporting our friends and family is what should matter! Not winning a facebook or internet argument!

And yes, I realize the complete and utter irony of writing my opinion about how opinions don't matter. Feel free to leave a comment detailing the manner in which I should die below. I'll laugh, and you'll feel like you've put me in my place--so it's a win-win, right? Wrong.

Let's all keep our opinions where they belong--in our own personal bubbles. It's not our job to go around attempting to pop everyone else's carefully considered choices. Maybe we should all try some tact.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Week 52

This week marks ONE YEAR VLOGGING! WOW! If you want to see me a year ago, go here! I trust you won't judge, as (clearly) I know nothing about vlogging now...and thus a year ago I knew even less. Hahaa. I can't believe it's been an entire year! REUBEN IS HUGE. He's a toddler now. HE'S GROWN SO MUCH

*pause for much crying and reminiscing*

Anyway, this week was horrible. Reuben decided to get teeth (seriously WHY) and thus mommy is very sleepy. And crabby. And sleepy. And daddy worked late every day. Please send chocolate. And sleep. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Swallowtail Shawl

I loved knitting this shawl--until the nupps. Next time I for sure will crochet the nupps on instead of knitting them. Nupps are the bane of my existence. I won't be doing another project with them for awhile!!

Besides the nupps, this was a pretty straightforward knit. I picked Berroco Folio as my yarn (65% alpaca and 35% rayon) and am quite pleased with how it turned out. It's a minty Easter-green color and it's very soft, but durable. This shawl will adorn my person many days this fall.

This pattern was called "Swallowtail Shawl" and is free on Ravelry. Have you made it?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

It's My Fault: My One Parenting Mistake

So last month Reuben started climbing up the couch to our kitchen island. This kitchen island was a previously baby-proof sanctuary for phones, iPads, hot adult beverage and other miscellaneous parent-only items. Because, you know--he used to not be able to access this area.

Let me tell you, when your parenting safe space is being invaded by tiny little human whose one and only goal seems to be to drive you insane and make you move (and lose) every important item in your house--it takes parenting to a whole other level. I kept forgetting not to put items on the island, making it much harder for my little human to resit couch-scaling.

photographic evidence
In short, for three days it felt like my life was over.

Add in some teething, general toddler grumpiness, husband's overtime and a sleep deprived mama (because teething) and it's a recipe for disaster!

For three days I repeatedly pulled Reuben off the couch mid-heist and reprimanded him only to have him laugh in my face and try to climb again. We bought him a slide so that he'd have a safe item to climb on. He hates it. And I was at my whits end trying to figure out what to do: should we try to move our couch? (it's huge and L-shaped) or should we just let him climb and fall? (no no no)? I was exhausted from managing him and he didn't seem to understand the world "no" yet.

And then one day I just decided to keep him in his bedroom with me and play there.

It was the most peaceful day ever. He didn't climb on the couch because he wasn't in the same room as the couch. I didn't have to tell him no. We read books and played quietly together. He didn't have a meltdown because I had to take away my keys or other item: they were safely in the living room.

That's when I finally realized the one parenting mistake I'd been making from the beginning. You see, I've always approached parenting as needing to make my son obey/do something. This is all wrong, at least while he is a child. He can't understand things! He doesn't know! And he has all the emotions but none of the control. How can I expect him to control himself, a mere toddler of 13 months? All those days I spent catching him doing the "wrong thing" of climbing the couch and removing him and chastising him...when I could have just removed myself and him to a different room so he wouldn't be tempted by what he didn't see.

I can't control my child. But I do have control over myself. This is when I realized most of Reuben's tantrums and "problems" can be avoided by making changes to my own life, not his! Do I want to minimize Reuben's crankiness? I shouldn't try to go out of the house during his nap time. Did I leave the gate open on the steps? How can I be mad at him for trying to explore? Do I not want him to climb the couch? I can easily remove us to his play room or go outside for a bit until he (and I, lets be honest) calm down. Do I want him to have an easier morning? I need to stop whatever I am doing when he wakes up and breastfeed him. It helps him calm down and wake up easier. It's a minor inconvenience for me (I'm usually blogging/editing/knitting and thus have to stop) but it makes the morning with him so much smoother.

In short, it's not him, its me.

I've had such great success by shifting his world around him instead of trying to shift him. He's thirteen months old. He doesn't have much patience yet, through I do hope to teach him some as he gets older. I, however, am an adult.

I don't know why I expect a little boy to be consistent like an adult or be able to discern from right or wrong as an toddler. I mean, he's barely hatched. To say it out loud makes it sound lame, but that is how I was treating him. And it did nothing but escalate our family into frustrating parent-child circumstances. 

Parenting. Where your child teaches you things.

(someone please put that on a shirt)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Week 51

So much happened this week. Where do I even begin? For one, Reuben started climbing. ON EVERYTHING. So we tried to buy him some things to climb on, because the couch is not safe for a toddler to perch upon. Of course, he hated the slide we bought. Toddlers. GAH! Also this week is the FIRST WEEK I've had sex without horrible sob-inducing pain. I am so happy about it. Such a burden, lifted. God is good! How was your week?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thai Ginger Paleo Meatballs

I love meatballs. Since we do a lot of food prep around here, I make meatballs at least twice a month. Usually more. I've tried almost all of the meatballs in Well Fed 2, and while I like most of them, I also enjoy being spontaneous and making up my own recipes.

This is one of those.

Preheat oven to 360 degrees f and cover two pans with parchment paper. This makes about 30-40 balls depending on how you portion them.

Thai Ginger Paleo Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 4 tablespoons coconut aminos 
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger or a one inch piece of fresh, grated ginger 
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 eggs (I used duck, I am sure that chicken would work fine as well)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon powdered garlic or two cloves garlic minced 
  • handful of mushrooms (I used shiitake) about 1/2 cup roughly chopped
Mix all of the above starting with the beef and pork. Make sure well incorporated. I use a tablespoon to portion it into balls, and arrange on a baking pan. Bake at 360 degrees f for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Week 50

Just another week in our life, a real, raw week. Lots of baby wearing, some real life talk, and some adult-appliance buying!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I Want to say to Formula Moms

Every single time I meet a formula mom they apologize to me for feeding their baby. This has always struck me as odd. There I am, usually, quietly feeding my baby. There they are quietly feeding theirs.

And yet every single time I have been in this situation, the formula mom always tries to explain herself. Like I am sitting there thinking she's a horrible parent for giving her son or daughter a bottle while I give mine a breast. Like she's internalized that breastfeeding is natural and "more right" and formula is "unnatural" and shameful.

These are some things I've always wanted to say to these moms.

1) Formula is not evil. Every "formula mom" I've met has a story of how they tried to breastfeed and how for some reason it didn't work. Sometimes it's not enough support. Sometimes its because of misinformation their doctor gave them about breastfeeding. Sometimes its because they have PCOS or diabetes and their illness didn't allow them to breastfeed. Sometimes they fought tooth and nail to breastfeed but it just didn't work. So they now use formula to feed their babies. But lately we act like formula is the new evil. Like moms who choose formula are choosing to feed their baby poison instead of food manufactured to be fed to babies when breastfeeding doesn't work/isn't desired.

2) You are not a bad mother. You are also not "lesser" of a mother by using formula. I don't know why we have this reverse shame thing going on. Years ago breastfeeding moms used to be the ones ridiculed. For the most part our American culture is very accepting of breastfeeding. But we can't have a culture that accepts breastfeeding to the degradation of formula feeding. We should support moms regardless of how they feed their kids.

3) If I can feed my baby anywhere, you should be able to feed your baby anywhere too. Without being shamed by anyone. Without having to explain yourself to me or any other person. People who are feeding their babies should not be lectured on what form or method others think may be better for their little ones. Obviously, if I am feeding my tot in Target, I've already made an informed decision on how to feed my little one. Same goes to those who bottle feed. I don't think telling a formula mom that "breast is best" is supportive in any way. Save those kinds of talk for when she is in the midst of making that choice. After the choice is made, that kind of thing will only shame her. Trust me, all the formula moms know. They don't need to hear it again. And again.

You are a mom. I am a mom. Let's not divide ourselves like this. I am not a "breastfeeding mom". You are not a "formula mom". We are just moms and we are equipped to make decisions for our offspring. Every mom knows what is best for their own bodies and for their own children. I think we should offer sound, evidence based advice free of misinformation and expectations and empower all moms to make their own choice.

Let's keep on feeding our babies and take the stigma out of it.

I will if you will. And there is no need to apologize.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Be The Village

I've heard up and down and around since I popped out offspring that "it takes a village". I think most people use this phrase as either a jab or an excuse.

I've had moms tisk at me while grocery shopping "it takes a village" dripping from their mouths as they watch my kid have a meltdown on the produce isle. Sometimes they say it with a simper, like my failed parenting isn't that bad because "it takes a village".

I've heard other parents use this term as an excuse for lax or halfhearted parenting, like the village will pick up the slack somehow and their kid will turn out just fine despite their lazy attitude.

I was all too aware of the village when I went out to get my license renewed. Because I lost it. So naturally I went to get a new license one Friday morning, my 12 month old son in tow.

Reuben was fine. He was toddling around, people were smiling and congratulating me on having such adorable offspring. But all too soon he was running everywhere throughout the very small waiting room while I was desperately trying to fill out paperwork and remember my number and watch my kid all at the same time. It was quite stressful.

As I was trying to intently recall some personal information from the depths of my mommy brain and impart it in written form, Reuben decided to stick his hand in the trash. I realized this ten seconds later to my absolute horror and sprang up to grab him and chastise him.

One lady, next to me, the one who when I arrived had been so kind to complement my son on his adorable face, turned to me and said she'd been wondering when I was going to get him. "Parents these days, they just let their kids run everywhere. You need to be more watchful" She said.

I felt very small in that moment. But at the time I really didn't know what else to do. The room was pretty crowded with other people who were also visiting the DMV that day and I wondered if they too thought my parenting lax. I finished my paperwork. Reuben cried once or twice so I nursed him. You try nursing a toddler in a room full of strangers. Two people stared. To make it all worse, Reuben would not stop trying to get to the trash for the rest of my visit. Even when I was finally at the counter, explaining my lost license predicament, he would not behave. Several times I had to stop mid sentence and retrieve him. He would not remain in my arms but screamed so I set him down, trying to finish as fast as I could, because holding a kicking, screaming toddler is harder than chasing one.

And then I went home and cried.

Hindsight is everything. For one, I wish I had asked that lady why she hadn't seen fit to warn me when Reuben had started to get close to the trash. I was trying to do two things at once. She, and everyone else in there, let my son stick his hand in a trash bin without saying anything to me, his mother. They let him almost eat paper from the bottom of a trash can. I feel sick even thinking about it.

This is only one example of many I could choose to tell. And my son is only one. I have to be subject to this "village" for many more years to come, and I'm already tired of it.

This is why I think the village is a joke.  Everyone is always saying it takes a village but no one wants to be the village. That's "other people's" job. Their job, it seems, is to sit back, judge you, and enjoy the show. Or smugly tell you how to do better.

We need to be the village. Do you hear me? You should be the village you expect from other people. Our society is way to caught up in our own drama and we all need to learn to love others better, with intention and without an ulterior motive. Start small in your own community. Branch out from your own home and family. But above all, give yourself grace and give strangers ever more grace in abundance because you don't know their background or circumstances. And you don't know what they might need, either, but I can tell you they don't need you to watch their kid play with trash. They need your help. We all need help.

Motherhood is isolating. The village could make that better, but instead they make it worse.They point fingers when they could be offering a helping hand. They turn away in pride when they could kneel down to assist. And then they have the audacity to lecture you about how much water is in your boat while you are drowning. You'd think they'd get a bucket or something. But no, you should have known better than to try and sail when a storm was coming. If only storms were subordinate to the whims of personal desire. 

I believe it is the job of "the village" to support families. It is not the job of the village to raise my son. It is not their job to point out everything I am doing wrong. I think their role is one of guidance. And I think the village is mostly non-existent these days, full of judgmental men and women whose actions and worlds speak of malice and careless attitudes, not of comfort or compassion. We judge instead of love.

It takes a family to raise a child. It takes a village to support a family. Be the village you want to see.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Week 49

Another week. This week I got rid of all my dishes (they were all chipped) and am the proud adult owner of a new set! I also went over what it's like to try and clean house with a baby. It's not fun. And it's even harder to film yourself while attempting to clean and explain your process too!

I also go over our stance on vaccines, a very hot button issue. I never knew it was such a huge thing until I started researching it! Apparently everyone has an opinion on how I should raise my child. I obviously trust my doctor and myself enough to make the decision. Who knew?

Enjoy our week!