Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's Not a Fad, and other Crunchy Confessions

My crunchy lifestyle is not a fad.

I don't get it why neurotypical adults act like I'm infringing on their food safety bubble when I talk about my food allergies. Or my kid's food allergies. Or how diet healed my body. Or how I'm not in chronic pain or suffering from chronic constipation anymore because of my diet. Sometimes I feel like I am practicing voodoo or black magic from the looks they give me!

I try really hard not to be judgmental about other people's choices. But I expect the same in return. I am not standing on the rooftop demanding everyone be paleo; that would be insane! I advocate for paleo and how it changed my life, but I respect other people's decisions and I realize that all bodies are different. My husband feels better vegan. However, he does not pressure me to be vegan! He respects my food choices, and I try to respect his.

Just a few short years ago I was in chronic pain. I suffered from chronic constipation since EIGHT YEARS OLD. I had brain fog, joint pain, and reoccurring miscarriages, just to name a few of the issues I've dealt with since a young age.

After three miscarriages I finally had my rainbow baby. But Reuben did not nap or sleep until around a year old and he cried all the time as an infant. He was covered in eczema. I was frantic to find out what was wrong, frantic for answers and help, not condemnation and sneers! Doctors had no answers and largely dismissed my fears while offering my four month old steroids. I researched on my own. Steroid creams only made his eczema worse.

Reuben, 11 months, Healing
It took me nine months to find out his major allergies and a few short months later, his skin was clear and he started actually sleeping.

I wish I could show those who judge the tears I shed as I held my sobbing, bleeding son, trying to keep him from scratching his eczema, not knowing how to help him. I will never forget how helpless I felt and how much I sobbed to God during that time.

So many people badmouth "the google degree". GUYS, the google degree saved my life. A biomedical group on Facebook saved my son (Recovering Kids Biomedical Healing) and their protocol HEALED my son.

I myself went to western doctors for years. YEARS. They did nothing to help me. I was told to eat more fiber. That made my constipation and pain worse. I was told I had arthritis and there was nothing they could do. Since being paleo (it took six months) I have no more joint pain. I am not randomly confined to bed, barely able to move in pain. I haven't worn my arm brace--a monthly occurrence--in over a year.

So, no. My crunchy lifestyle is not a bandwagon fad. I'm not doing it to prove how I'm so much better then you. I'm not doing it to make you feel bad about how many oreos or cheeseburgers you feed yourself or your kids. If I could digest oreos, I'd eat them too!

It's saving my life. It's saving my son's life. Perhaps you could understand this before you tell me you "hate those food snob all organic people" who have "high minded ideas about food". Do you think I LIKE spending a house payment a month on organic food at the grocery store? I have a (few?) autoimmune diseases. Eating this way significantly raises my quality of life. So take your smug expression over my organic health eating choices elsewhere. I'm happy your body can digest and process every food known to man. Mine can't.

I like being a functional human being who is not in pain. I like having a child who sleeps and who isn't broken out in bloody sores all over his face.

And that is why I follow this crunchy path. It is not a fad. Don't belittle the fierceness of a mama bear researching at 1 am or call her desire to heal herself or her children "misguided" or "playing doctor". And don't ever utter the words "all in her head" or "making it up".  Yes,  I've been told that.

Biomedical healing does not work for everyone; that is not what I am trying to say. But don't limit your choices. I would have tried almost anything to help my son sleep for his mental, emotional and psychical health and mine! We went to doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist. It was a nightmare.

I am my child's greatest advocate, especially when he doesn't have a voice. Doctors can see between 20-30 patients a day . I have only one Reuben and a lifetime to devote to his care. I also have a lifetime degree in learning my own body and knowing my own heath. I can find out what is wrong and I can fix it. I know myself. And there is a wealth of information on the internet at my fingertips.

I'm not saying to believe everything you read on the internet. I am not saying to abandon your doctor. I am just saying that perhaps we put to much faith in overworked doctors who don't live inside the vessel they are trying to heal--and not enough faith in our own hands.

Work with your doctor. Work by yourself. But don't give up hope for healing, even in tiny steps. We are all on a journey towards death, as morbid as it sounds. I know I can't escape the inevitable.

But I know myself best. I can delay my sickness and even heal the body I've been given. I can learn more about how it works and how to care for it.

Thus my crunchy-mindedness is not a fad. No, it is a deep vein of research I have poured hours and hours and hours of my life into. And I haven't even scratched the surface. 

So before you judge why I panic when you hand my son a treat I am not familiar with--before you judge my hesitation to a request to eat out, or come to a meal-related event...perhaps you could just ask why. And listen. Because it's a long story, and there are a lot of tears along the way.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What I Spent April 2017

Another month, another budget.

Bills: $385

Our bills for this month are:
  1. YMCA ($75)
  2. Audible ($25)
  3. Cell phones, mine and husbands ($25)
  4. Electric bill ($200)
  5. Internet ($60)
No water bill this month because it's every two months. I expect it to go up since we will be watering our garden every day now.

Eating Out ($90)

We did great eating out this month! We ate out four times, twice for pizza (they have gluten and dairy free in our town now) and once for Mexican food, and once at Zoe's Kitchen. Win.

Grocery ($797)

I say we did pretty good on groceries this month. My goal is to keep it under $800 and we did that. Next month our CSA starts and hopefully that will lower grochery cost even more.

Reuben ($225)

Reuben needed new diapers and some training pants for potty training. I love our cloth diapers, and I bought some wool covers and a bunch of training underpants from Green Mountain Diapers.

Home ($1082)

This month my car died. We bought a car from a lady at church as well as paid to get new plates at the DMV. It's a nice car. I feel like I'm driving a boat. This will have to be split up into monthly payments so as not to totally ruin our budget. (going to do 136 a month for six months)

Personal Money ($504)

Carolynn ($385)

I bought myself a new diaper bag, some rainbow leggings, gas for my car, a bookshelf for our living room (I love it, isn't it awesome) and some babysitting.

Brian ($119)

Brian ate out at a fast food places on his own, bought a teemo hat (that Reuben is wearing above) and random things on amazon...and a gift for me.

Tithe ($150)

That brings our total spent in January to $3188. We also earned some money. Brian sold a junker car that had been sitting behind our house for $100. I made $75 from selling my foxy tula that Reuben outgrew. I sold some other baby stuff for $30, and I received $40 as a gift from my mother in law. That brings our total to $2943, still $1000 above budget. We have $123 saved for our fence, but that was eaten up, bringing it to $2820. The $820 above budget is because of the car we bought, and I will be spacing it out over the next six months in payments of 136 a month.

Money saved for fence: $0. can you see my crying emoji face? Better luck next month!

The 2017 budget series:

January : February : March : April : May : June : July : August : September : October : November : December

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Week 89

Oh, week 89. How hard you were. We started with finally getting our garden planted. Reuben decided to get FOUR TEETH at once, and also have a growth spurt. Yes, please buy me coffee. Then I got the first draft of my book back and realized I love writing but I hate editing. It's tedious but so good, kind of like pealing off a bandied or receiving shock therapy. I mean, I've never received shock therapy but I can see how they might be similarly humiliating and soul crushing. 

But I am going to push through. I've created a rough draft, now lets shine it up. Why is it so painful?

Also, I don't think this is in the vlog, but my mother in law showed up TWICE this week without calling, and we had a fight. I hate fights. Please call before coming over. Just so I can make sure I'm wearing clothes. Please. Call.

I think she learned her lesson. I need more coffee.

Want to know what I was doing last year? There's video evidence, so here ya go.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The 5 things I've learned in 5 years of Christianity

I was thinking the other day: I've been a christian for five years now! Five is a long time. At least to me.

So I thought I would postulate on the five things I feel I've learned these past five years.

1) Everything I know about God is wrong.

Okay, so I know I'm a Christian now. But that first year--I feel like I had to unlearn more than I learned. Because there was so many expectations, misconceptions and lies about God and Christianity that I internalized over the years. I had to throw it all out the window and start from scratch by reading the bible and learning what God actually has to say. I'm still learning. But realizing my foundations of what I thought God was were wrong was very traumatic for me. I cried a lot. I questioned a lot. It was very healing and very hard.

2) Christians are very diverse and this is frustrating  

Three or so years into my Christian walk I realized that the religion of Christianity is extremely diverse. I mean, I've seen arguments in Christian Facebook groups about the timeline of the tribulation. I've had heated discussions in my church about Calvinism (you are saved forever) and Arminianism (you can lose your salvation). I've seen people throwing out the exact same verses out to support one or the other. We fallen humans do not have the "key" to understanding the bible. So we have to guess sometimes, or assume, or even postulate--because some things are just not black and white. Or are they? Because for each questions you'll find one Christian that thinks it is obvious while another says it cannot be discerned. Add in another Christian who believes the exact opposite and arrive at the conundrum that is Christianity.

This is really frustrating for me as a young Christian. I hate the bickering and fighting among people who should get along. But we can't agree, we won't agree, and that is okay and also hard to accept at times. I...I count myself blessed that I have a God who knows the truth, who knows what is right and what is not--even if I mistakenly infer otherwise. I put my faith in Him to work it out all out even as I blunder around seeking answers. And if the answer can't be found? I trust in the wisdom that He has given me to make whatever decision I need to make. I will make mistakes. I am not perfect. Nor do I know the truth, or even pretend to be able to discern doctrine that Christians have been arguing about since the bible was written.

3) I let God down every day.

I am sinful. Salvation did not erase my sin nature, I still struggle with my own selfish wants and desires. I wish I had a pair of glasses that would let me see the world the way God does, so I could follow him easier. My own eyes see only a limited skyline, and my vision is continually distracted by my own finite, sinful attitude. I have never been more aware of my need for God's cleansing salvation. (If you are one of those Christians that believe you cease to sin after salvation, please reread point two above...and your bible.)

4) My life has been significantly altered by my salvation

I don't know how to accurately describe this point other then what I've stated. I see a huge difference in my spirit and my heart, my conscious and my compassion. I am not perfect, but I can tell God is at work in my life and in my heart. I can tell I belong to Him. I feel a joy in the depths of my soul that I know is rooted in God.

5) The mysteries of the bible are never-ending

There is so much in the bible to learn and read that I will never, even if I dedicated my entire life to biblical research--come to a complete understanding of God's word. This both awes and frightens me.

So that's what I've learned in my first five years of following God.

What have you learned? Was your first five years like mine, or different?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Knitting, Crochet and Copyright Law

I tend to jump in head first without researching. What can I say? I'm impulsive. While this can be an admirable trait, sometimes I need to take a step back and research things. Whatever your hobby is, make sure to research any laws for your state and country before proceeding into any internet-related endeavor! It's very important!

Here is part of my research of knitting, crochet and copyright law, as well as how I've "technically" broken the rules and what I do now to make sure I am working within the parameters of the law.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

My Old Doll House

I had a really awesome doll house as a kid. Well, I think I did. My mom helped us make one with old crates and project board. I stumbled upon these pictures when I was going though some old photos last week, that I'd put on a jump drive and forgotten about! Oh, this brings back memories. My sister and I played dolls for hours and hours every day until I was around fourteen or fifteen years old. We would create elaborate adventures of escape and discovery games with our dolls. They would caravan around the country in the 1800s and go on space exportations to discover lost civilizations.

These pictures from our doll house were from when I was 8 or 9. I really hope I find some of when I was older, because we had a lot more walls up!

The kitchen. I wonder how long it took my mom to draw in all the squares on the wall?

Living room.

This is the kitchen in my sister's doll house. We each had a separate house.

 My sister loves animals. This was her pet room!

Wow, so many memories. And yes, in the above room I did tape Pokemon to the wall. I was obsessed with that card game as a kid!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Knit Ruffle Cuffs

I love ruffles. They are so fun! And I also love this variegated pink yarn! It had to be ruffled, guys. It had to be! Thus, my ruffle boot cuffs were born.

You need DK weight yarn for this project, 240 yards for the large size. Needles used are 3.75mm to knit the cuff and 4.0mm to knit the ruffles. The video can be seen here and you can download the PDF file for free here. Happy ruffling!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Week 87

A week of adventures. I really can't remember what stuck out this week. Planting flowers? Playing with the Roo? Going on walks? Swimming at the pool? Things we do a lot (well, except the garden) but wonderful things even if they are repetitious. This is my life.

One Year Ago is here!

Friday, June 2, 2017

What I Read April 2017

I read a measly 10 books in April! I've been reading up a storm this year so I really slowed down this month. Like really.

In the Meh Book Category:

I didn't like most of the books I read this month. It was a pretty disappointing month, to tell the truth. I thought Deadly Flowers by Sarah Thompson would be really good. I was planning on giving it a five star review until half way through it just went downhill fast. Suddenly there was a lot of mysticism and all the bad guys turned out to have something lame in common (no spoilers), and the main male character just up and left the narration 75% of the way through for absolutely no reason. And I still don't get the demon-that-looks-like-the-love-interest part.

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Logsted was just creepy. Really creepy. Too creepy for me. The twist at the end, where what you think is a loving character turns out not to be loving at all...through me for the biggest loop. Dislike.

The worst book I read was The Falconer's Knot: A Story of Friars, Flirtation and Foul Play by Mary Hoffman. It was truly awful, full of stock characters with no emotional depth and every trope known to mankind. And it wasn't written well either. I couldn't finish it.

I also read Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy. Is she crazy or is she crazy? And isn't it sad? It was too sad. I don't recommend. Also, I remember reading this as a kid because of the backwoods girls...but I don't think I finished it. At least, it wasn't memorable enough if I did.

In the YAY Category:

The only book I really read that I liked was Hannah by Kathryn Lasky. And it's not even a particularity good book. I just happen to really like that genre no matter how many tropes there are.

I'm also currently reading a gardening book that I really like by Deborah Martin (Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden) but I haven't finished it yet and have not even started gardening, so I can't report on it's usefulness. Right now I just feel apprehensive and overwhelmed. But a lot more informed than I was sans book...

Honorable Mentions:

I read Ophelia by Lisa Klein and liked it okay. Ophelia is interesting and lovable and intriguing, and I liked seeing the world though her eyes. I want to read more by Klein, but it wasn't love if you know what I mean. It was enjoyable, for sure, and entertaining, but not...memorable. I enjoyed my one read through and won't be picking it up again.

Another honorable mention is Winnie-the-Pooh. I adored it, but it's a kid book. And that about sums it up. Maybe if I'd ever read it as a kid it would be more memorable to me. I did give it five stars, but I'm not bubbling over with excitement about it. I do want to read it to Reuben. I'm just not into idealistic chapter books anymore. That ship sailed when I turned eight. 

What did you read this month? To see these and other books I read, check out my goodreads here. Also, I am always open to book suggestions!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Spent March 2017

Can we just talk about how hard budgeting is before you read this months budget? Ugh. I don't even know what happened. We spent way over our budget of $2000 a month (we are trying for $1800 but didn't even get close this month). What did we buy? More on that below. Ugh.

Bills: $1140
Our bills for this month are:
  1. YMCA ($75)
  2. Audible ($25)
  3. Cell phones, mine and husbands ($25)
  4. Electric bill ($200)
  5. Internet ($60)
  6. Water ($80)
  7. House Taxes (we own our home) (675$)
I forgot we'd be paying our home taxes this month! This pushes our bills up wayyyy over what I budget. Good thing we also got our tax return back this month or we'd be in the red. I also got a question about our electric bill. Is it really $200 a month? No, its not. I budget $200 for it a month but in the summer it can be as low as $75 and in the winter it can be as much as $300. I just forget to update the exact number, but I always know we budget $200 for it. Same goes for the water bill. Sometimes I forget to look at exactly how much it is (husband manages those two bills and pays them) but I do know we budget $80.

Eating Out ($190)

We ate out too much AGAIN. Poop. We are only supposed to spend 100$ eating out a month. Fail. But, I did enjoy a really fun date night with the hubs at our favorite place--as well as a lot of weekend meals. This covers five times eating out, and one of those times we paid for a friend as well as for ourselves (hi Jon).

Grocery ($1087)

I'm not even halfway though the budget and we already hit $2000. Thanks, taxes. I have no idea how we spent this much on grocery food, but my receipts tell the truth.

Reuben ($40)

Finally something under budget! We budget $100 for Reuben each month for growing expenses, toys, trips, or doctor visits he needs. This month he got two (new to him) pairs of shoes, and some summer clothes (he needed more shorts) and also a friend was selling her kid's gently used winter clothes on facebook in 3T so I grabbed them up.

Home ($687)

This isn't a category we usually have, but since we got our tax return back we decided to spend it starting a garden in our front yard. We bought pressurized wood to build a frame, dirt, an electric rototiller, and chicken wire to put around the garden so deer don't eat all our food. This garden starting business was more expensive than I thought it would be, but it's only a starting cost. We won't be spending this much on it yearly! I'm glad its almost done (haven't put the wire up yet). Kudos to husband for doing the majority of the work. I mean, I did watch the Reuben, but husband dug out the raised beds, hauled everything... and built everything.

Personal Money ($595)

Carolynn ($505)

Yes, I know. I know. I spent like 80% of the personal money. I'm sorry. It happens. I hired a babysitter four times ($160) bought myself gas twice, some socks, some yarn, some clothes and some cloth pads.

Brian ($90)

Brian bought an essential oil to try for his anxiety, as well as a book, gas for his car, and breakfast from McDonald's.

Tithe ($200)

That brings our total spent in January to $3939, almost $2000 over our budget of 1800. Are you shocked? I am. However, we received a tax return of $2000, bailing us out so we didn't have to take anything from our savings account. This saves $61 for our fence, bringing our total saved to $123. We had hoped to save our full tax return for the fence but as you can see above, we literally failed at that. At least we saved something. Right?

The 2017 budget series:

January : February : March : April : May : June : July : August : September : October : November : December

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Week 86

Easter, allergies, and lots of paleo food. I really cracked down on my snacking this week, because I've been having some blood sugar issues. I hate brain fog! Paleo fixes it, but I am a lazy potato. However, this week I threw away my lazy attitude and paleofied everything! I also started sewing a sweater again with some bulky yarn! Fingers crossed I actually finish it! I'm so nervous. Mostly because my last sweater...I gave up after halfway.

One Year Ago is here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Crochet Books I Own

I don't own many crochet books. I like to make up my own patterns, as I think my dyslexia and impatience (I am a very impatient person) make following other's patterns difficult. But, here are my thoughts on the three crochet books I own, as well as tips on what to look for if you are just starting out!

Contrary to what you might think, you don't need to own any books to be good at crochet! That's right, not one! It all really depends on how you learn. So don't worry if you don't have funds, or space to store heavy fiber art books! Just look at what you need, and what you use, and go from there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

House Tour 2017

I do a house tour every year. I've been doing them since I lived at home with my parents in 2010, although it was a room tour at that time! You can see all my house tours here. The past four have been video tours, the first few are picture only, before I started YouTube!

My favorite thing about our house right now is our big yard. I didn't include the yard in this video, but it's in a few of the others. I love the grass, and Reuben loves all the space to explore!

Enjoy our wonderful house tour below. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Reuben's Favorite Books

Library books can be hit and miss for a toddler. Have you ever noticed that? I find about 50% of the books we check out he just isn't interested in at all, and will wiggle out of my arms to go get another, or just close the book and say "all done". And it's for many different reasons. Some have too many words. Some are really uninteresting. Some have pictures that just don't translate well for little ones.

But some are perfect. And this post is about Reuben's top three library books that he loves, and that we check out over and over and even request holds on!

The first one he really enjoys is The Bear Ate Your Sandwich. Even I enjoyed this one! There is a cute little twist at the end, and the whole tale is well drawn and well written. I don't tire of reading about how bears make it to big cities to steal sandwiches from little girls.

When we picked up Panda Pants at the library I read it six times to Reuben in the first day. Daddy does the best voices, and also read it to him a lot that day too! It's written like a conversation, and it's really easy for a toddler to understand and grasp. Also, the drawings are vivid but not cluttered: perfect for a very distractable toddler who gets overwhelmed by lots of colors and prints easily. I did get tired of reading it so much (he like LOVES it to the point of obsession) but we will be checking it out again.

reading panda pants to himself
The last, but definitely not least book that we enjoy is There's a Bear on my Chair. This book also has simple, clear pictures that are done well. And the words are large and easy to read. But my favorite part, as the parent reading the book, is the rhyme! The story rhymes and flows well and is fun to read aloud to my toddler. Who loves pointing to the mouse! And also, the mouse's sweaters are to die for and I must knit a miniature version!

What does your toddler like to read? Please give me suggestions! Hunting through rows of books at the library with a squirmy toddler is difficult. Usually I just grab and go, and we end up with a lot of duds.
Have you read any of these?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Week 85

This week: daddy filmed Reuben's morning routine and I decluttered a lot, as well as talked about what is going on in my heart and in my marriage.

We also did an Easter egg hunt. Do people really tell their kids that some mythical bunny brings them gifts? I was honestly shocked out of my bubble a bit. I wouldn't tell my kid that. It just sounds wrong. And weird.

Anyway, Hope you enjoy the vlogs and the tiny glimpses into our lives!

One YEAR ago we were here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Your Planner is not a Coloring Book

Lately I've felt...rather lacking in the planner department. I mean, search certain hashtags and you can see everyone's Erin Condren planners and Happy Planners all dolled up like they are going to the 24th annual Planning Awards or something. While my planner is just hanging out on my desk, you know, being half scribbled in by my toddler and holding my next dentist appointment times.

I feel like today's planner game is way over the top I the only one who still wants to use a planner as a planner, and not as a scrap/coloring book? Am I the only one who only has ONE planner? Some of you people have two or three! What, do you have two or three lives too? How many things do you people do in a day that it requires more than one calendar book to keep track of? At a certain point you would need a calendar book to keep track of your planners...

Above is an actual snapshot of my planner.

It's a planner. I use it as one. I scribble in it. I cross things out. I write big. I write small. I never use stickers, washi tape, or cut outs. It's not pretty. It's functional. And that is how I feel it should be. So everyone else who is glaming up their daily to-do list and colonoscopy appointment reminders--I have to ask you...why? Are you really going to keep your last year's day-to-day listacules and remiss over your exercise reminders and work consultations? Even if you bedazzled it with rose stickers that were 4.99 each and washi tape that came from Japan's scrap booking black market?

Does your hastily scribbled "return library books" or work-reminder to "meet with Fran over spreadsheet revamp" need floral stickers or elephant washi tape? Really?

I simply don't have time to doodle trees on my calendar. I mean, I barely have enough effort to remember to write down that I have a play date or an doctors appointment--much less spend time recalling my monthly planner color scheme!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewing Lace on a Crochet Boot Cuff

Awhile ago I got an e-mail from a friendly subscriber about creating a sew-in lace crochet boot cuff. She wanted to know how to sew lace to something she'd already crochet. I told her I would give it a shot, and thus this crochet boot cuff pattern was born. This is geared towards beginners, and I hope you like it!

You will need 100 yards of worsted weight yarn, 2 yards of machine lace, a sewing needle and a 4.0mm crochet hoot for this pattern. I used KnitPicks brava for this: a 100% acrylic yarn, but wool will work well too.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Reuben 22 Months

Reuben is getting so big. I will probably say that until he turns 18! He is so wonderful. He has a sweet heart, and a joyful spirit. His favorite things are his Daniel Tiger doll and his ball pit. He also loves going outside and begs every day for me to "go outside look at birds" (his words, not mine). I love being outdoors with him when it's cool!

 He wants to climb on everything. He's still sleeping in bed with us and still nursing. I don't mind at all! We did try to transition him to a bed in his room around 18 months but I hated getting up and down when he woke up every night. Now I just nurse him back to sleep, except for the rare times he decides to get up and stay up (those times are not fun). I can't wait for him to turn two! I can't imagine being the mom of a two year old. It sounds...strange. Will it really be two years since I had a baby? Woah.

He's so curious about everything. I love having adventures with him. Ever since he was small, we would tell him we were "going on an adventure" when we left the house. Now when we start to put his shoes on he says "going adventure going adventure" and my heart just melts!

Reuben is 22 months and I am amazed. I love you Reuben Alexander!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Week 84

We had a mini-vacay (a staycation) this week, as my husband took two days off work! It was fun. Reuben had a cold, so we stayed home a lot but we still had a really good family bonding time. I also pulled out the ball pit again (you may remember it from very early videos, I put it away because playing 100-ball pick up six times a day is not fun) but he isn't dumping it out as often as he used too! Yay.

It was a full week with my squish and my husband. Enjoy!

One year ago is here!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Lie of CIO

Last week I attended a local mom's meetup at a coffee shop. Sleep was discussed. Sleep is always a hot topic in my mom groups--I think its the number one issue. Does your child sleep through the night? How much sleep are you getting? Does he nap? How long? 

We were all sharing our stories, moms whose babies sleep six hours, moms whose babies sleep two. It felt wonderful to be around other mothers of young children who were going though the insane sleep deprivation of raising babies. Reuben has slept through the night three times in his entire life. Each time I made a facebook post about it!

But one mom said her baby always sleeps through the night because she leaves her son in his crib for six hours, walks away, and closes the door. I was shocked. How old was he, three? He must be older. She confessed she'd been leaving him alone in his crib since two months. He was eight months now, and "proudly slept or played in his crib the whole night" allowing her sleep through the night without fail or interruption.

She went on to explain that it had "only taken him three days of screaming to learn to be quiet". She used words like "sleep training" and when asked, said he needed to "learn to self soothe" and that his crying was only "being manipulative". He'd been changed and fed. What more could he need?

I mentioned to this mom that an infants digest breast milk quickly, causing many babies to wake to feed during the night. I also told her that sleep is developmental like walking and talking, causing all kids to meet the milestone at different times. I even told her that babies stomachs are really small and that is why they need to feed more often as little tummies just can't hold much as adults can.

She pointed to her son sleeping in his stroller. "He's fine." She said, "and I need sleep. His pediatrician says he should be sleeping through the night by now, so I'm doing what is best for me."

I turned back to my friend at my table to discuss other things, but this conversation has haunted me for weeks. She's doing what is best for her? What about what is best for him?!

I don't believe mothers should let their babies or even children cry it out or "self soothe". I don't even self soothe and I'm an 31 year old adult woman! I'm upset right now and here I am complaining on the internet, not soothing myself in my own room alone. When I am upset I still call my mom or my husband or a friend. Interpersonal relationships--the closeness of people and friends and family is what is soothing to me. Not being alone in a room with the door closed, shut away from the people I love. If I was crying at night and my husband just left me to cry, it would be devastating to me mentally!

That's what I think mothers are missing here. The mental needs of their children. I believe that infants, children, adolescents and adults have mental needs. Feeding and clothing a baby meets their physical needs, but our offspring also have mental and emotional needs that need to be met. Leaving a young child in a room alone when they are distressed and crying is not meeting their mental and emotional needs.

And how can a two month old baby be manipulative? Am I missing something here? If you let your kids cry it out for nighttime, why not other times? What makes nighttime so special? When my kid gets a booboo on his leg I don't let him "self soothe". When he falls over I don't let him "self soothe". When he gets afraid I don't let him "self soothe". So why would I suddenly feel he needs to "deal with it on his own" when he cries just because it's night time?

My toddler can be selfish. He can be whiny and cranky and a handful. But I don't put him in his room alone to deal with that. I teach him by example how to deal with his emotions. By picking him up when he cries I can teach him to pray when he is afraid, to talk to an adult or a friend, or I can simply just be a shoulder to cry on. This does not mean he gets everything he wants or is spoiled. I simply am there for him the way my husband is there for me, or my mom is. We teach our children little by little how to eat: they don't just "get put somewhere self-eat" do they? We teach them how to navigate the world little by little. Why would sleep be any different? (it's just because it's hard for us Mom's isn't it! It's about US, not about them. But they are the ones who suffer, alone)

We have lowered the parenting bar to the point that everything is acceptable because we don't want to judge. But we need to inform mothers of what they are doing to their children and the possible consequences. I think it's no wonder we have huge mental health issues as adults when we don't even go to our kids when they cry. These babies need to be taught how to soothe, how to seek soothing in others and how to work through their own emotions and metal issues. They need to see good examples of this put into practice from loving mothers and fathers and friends and family, not put in a room for 6-7 hours to "cry it out" and "self soothe". They need to know they can come to us. How can they know that unless we show them? How can they feel safe enough to come to us if we don't come to them? I do think cio plants seeds of mistrust and doubt in our kids. It tells them they have to deal with their mental issues on their own. Of course there are many factors behind mental health issues, but abandoning our infants and children when they are dealing with stressful situations definitely could lead to mental and emotional trama!  

If you need sleep as a parent call on your community to help you. Call on your friends and family. Let husband stay up every other night. Try gentle sleep training methods. Cosleep, or bed share. Room in with the baby! Do whatever it takes to mentally and emotionally meet your child's needs. You are their mother. If you or another parent does not meet their needs, there is NO ONE else to do it. They are alone.

We are doing mothers across the nation a disservice if we are not there for them and they have to resort in desperation to letting their kids cry it out.

Don't like my philosophical argument against cio? Here is a great article, and this links to some scientific studies. Cry-it-out is defined as leaving your infant or child to cry alone for longer than 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Crochet Toddler Elf Hat

I love these elf hats! I made one for a friend in blue, and one in gray for Reuben!

I also made a video tutorial if you'd like to make one for your toddler. You will need worsted weight yarn (200 yards) and size 4.0mm crochet hook. It's an easy crochet if you are an intermediate, and a good one if you are just getting started working in the round. Good luck!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Week 83

I've really missed daily vlogging so I decided to start up again! It's full on summer here and we are enjoying the warm. Welcome to my life! This week was Brian's birthday. We also went to a lot of play groups and visited a nature center. Enjoy!

One year ago is here. I also filmed a Q&A for my daily vlogging channel, and you can see that here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why I charge for some patterns

Why do I charge for a few of my patterns? Most are free, but a select few of my crochet  and knitting patterns cost $1.99 - $4.99 to download. Why is this?

The short answer is because my time is worth something, sometimes. For a longer explanation, see the video below!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Learn to Knit

I made Learn to Crochet a long time ago, and have been meaning to making how-to-learn knitting videos for awhile! So, this is the year. Below you will find all my knitting tutorial videos for a beginner knitter, from casting on to working colorwork. Good luck on your adventures in knitting! Feel free to post any questions below or on my YouTube video directly. Happy knitting!

The above five videos go over the basics of knitting. The next videos below go into detail about intermediate knitting skills, and into the nuances and depths of knitting. Good luck! If you complete this course you should be able to knit most of my patterns! Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, April 28, 2017

What I Read March 2017

Once again, I did a lot of reading in March, and I read some good and some really bad books. But most importantly I was entertained while nursing a toddler! That's what really matters.

In the Meh Book Category:

I read Mimus my Lilli Thal. I am not sure where this book went wrong. For one, it's strangely dark but the main character seems oblivious to the darkness. His inability to be very much upset over his predicament annoyed me. Also, the book was all about miming. And crazy kings. It just does not seem feasible to me that whole nations would go along with crazy tyrannical bloody kings!

The Doldrums is a middle grade book I read. It's interesting, but one thing that annoys me about many middle grade books is that evil characters are just mindlessly evil and oppressive to the shining main character. We need to overcome that trope. I also found the three kid's misadventures highly skeptical, and odd.

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas was a real let down. It meandered here and there and was so so so long and drawn out. I really was hooked from the first two chapters but by the middle I was just confused and bored, to be honest. The ending was cliche and not exciting in the least bit. None of the questions and mystery's were really answered.  I was disappointed.

In the YAY Category:

You know when you read a book and it's a good book because the writing is amazing? That would be Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. This book was just good because the writing picked me up like a lazy river and gently carried me away.

Another book I really enjoyed was How To Train Your Dragon. Now, I have seen the movie and I expected them to be at least a little alike. But HTTYD the book and HTTYD the movie are SO DIFFERENT. First of all, in the book they don't ride dragons. Most dragons are small like dogs! And Toothless is not a nice dragon. He's a whiny, tiny curmudgeon who basically makes Hiccup's life more difficult, not less. But the book is so cute, and witty, and well done! Also, Hiccup has a friend in the book named Fishlegs who is my favorite character of all times! Hiccup does something really nice for him in the second (or was it third) chapter that stole my heart. So, thoughts: read the book, don't watch the movie. Or don't think of the movie even as related to the book.

My favorite book that I read this month was The Unbound by Victoria Schwab. This is a sequel to another book I read called The Archive by the same author that was also amazing. Most of the people who reviewed her second installment on goodreads didn't like it. I don't know why. I LOVED it. It's very dark, a lot darker read than I usually partake of, and it's...gritty and hard in a psychological way... but it was a good book. Only thing I didn't like was the love triangle that seemed kinda forced and like the author just added it because she thought it should be there in her young adult book, or something. But I still gave it five stars because woah. I loved it. I plan to pick up more books by Schwab...just because this one was that good. Also, the cover art. Swoon.

I also really liked The Poe Estate. This is the third book in the Grimm Legacy, and if you remember I was not a fan of the second one--but the third one was amazing. I highly recommend it. It has non-cheesy and semi-creepy ghosts and a lot of literature tie-ins to Poe and other authors that I enjoyed. I also was pleased that this book didn't follow the "person comes to work at the Library and stumbles upon an adventure" arc that the first two did. Change is nice.

Honorable Mentions:

I also read How to be a Pirate and How to Speak Dragonese, books two and three in the the HTTYD series. I'm listening to them on tape, and they are read by David Tennet and yes, it is amazing to hear the tenth doctor read me a story, that is all I'll say about that. Also he does Toothless' voice perfectly. Per-FECT-ly. I highly recommend the audio books for these!

I also liked Gateway by Sharon Shinn. I really love her writing, but her love stories are getting a little dull. She creates these amazing worlds and then fills her novel with...instalove? No thanks, so it's just an honorable mention.

What did you read this month? To see these and other books I read, check out my goodreads here. Also, I am always open to book suggestions!

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