Saturday, October 29

speaking of my tendinitis...

I did something really amazingly stupid this morning which ended in a true disaster (well, kind of). Marius and I have a heavy, wooden framed queen-sized bed. Against my better judgement, I decided to attempt to lift it on my own to pull out my winter clothes. Because, of course, I am too proud or stubborn to ask for help with something like that. This brilliant idea ended with no winter clothes. As I lifted the bed, I felt a disk slip in my lower back. It's always a shock to discover parts of your body you aren't quite aware exist in such a profound way until you manage to injure them. I was on the floor so fast - it was a sharp reminder that I am not 17 years old any more and am in terrible physical form in comparison.

I wasn't able to take Iris to her Halloween party today, for which I feel horrible. She would have had such a good time. If I hadn't done something so obviously stupid... anyway, I spent the entire day on the couch with an ice pack on my back. Poor Iris was rather confused as to why we weren't going for walks or playing. If I keep my back perfectly straight, the pain is very minimal. It's gotten much better since the initial injury this morning, but I am still very much out of commission in a way I've never quite experienced before.

So, not the kind of disaster that resulted in an ER visit (though it almost was, I was very close to going in but then discovered I could indeed still walk). Not the kind of disaster that calls for one of my family members to come stay with me to help care for Iris... but still bad to the point that I can't be or do anything remotely resembling my normal self. I can't bend over at all. I can't make much of any movement other than stiffly doddering around. Apparently, Ibuprofen is determined to become further acquainted with myself. I  just hope there is no long term damage done.

Friday, October 28

wonderful autumn!

Autumn is my most favorite time of year. There is something to savor about each season - flower buds peeking out from under the muddiness of spring rain; the salty, tanned skin of summer; the bright crispness of freshly fallen winter snow. But autumn somehow seems to roll all of my sweet excitement for life into a cozy woolen ball of delight.

PhotobucketIris and I woke up around nine this morning, ate a breakfast of toast and coffee for me, and then headed outside for our morning walk. We stepped out and immediately, the cold breeze felt so freeing on my face. The grey sky seemed not bleak, but quiet and flat like a smooth stone against my fingers. Iris toddled around for a while, surprised at the harshness of the "ruh-ruh-ruh" cold before retreating to my legs and raising her arms to be picked up. There's something wonderful about feeling her tiny, cold hand in mine, and holding her close to my protective warmth.

I love dressing in cozy layers and pulling on a pair of boots. I love the complexity of mulled cider and the smell of homemade pumpkin bread baking in the oven. I love cuddling cold feet together under a blanket. I love watching the animals getting ready for the winter. I love curling up on the couch with my baby, and feeling her little hand pat my arm lovingly as we watch a movie. The kitty snuggled up to my feet just makes me so happy. Maybe it's the genetic drive to prepare, store and create a place of warm comfort which leads me into a deeper contemplation of myself every autumn. It certainly does explain the cozy, homemaking feelings!

Here is my fantastic little toddler, Iris - partially bundled up and very ready to go for our walk this morning!
Welcome to the south, Autumn!






the wrapping disaster.

So, I know that I promised some videos of wrapping with our new Didymos at the end of the week... you know, about a week ago. Oops! To be honest, I actually did try to take a video of doing a ruck carry with Iris but it did not end well. Not because the video was bad, but because I'm still hurting from it! It's looking like I may have to resell our beautiful wrap.
Love this fabric and it's so cozy for winter.
The issue is my tendinitis, which I developed a couple of years ago as a results of a very poor diet and not taking care of myself - at least, this is what I suspect. The activity and motion it takes to wrap a piece of fabric over four meters long around myself and a baby who's balanced on my back is more than enough to aggravate my left shoulder, which is the worst. Almost a week later and I can still barely move my arm in the morning. I get pain shooting down my arm and have to take a good 800mg of ibuprofen to be able to function almost normally! It's so frustrating to have this kind of issue at 24 years old. So - take care of yourself now, people! You are not immune!

I haven't decided whether to keep the wrap. But we can only use the two most basic front carries and that's a lot of money (140 big ones, in fact) for very little versatility. But good god is it gorgeous! I don't want to give it up! Should I keep it and use it however we can, or should I sell it and get a mei tai or even start the tattoo fund I've been meaning to get around to? Decisions, decisions... I wanted this to work out so badly but it just hurts me way too much! RIP ruck carry!
Iris nursing in the wrap... and my toothbrush says hello!

Thursday, October 27

this is how I am real.

I do my best to keep this blog positive. The downside to this is that some may consider this one-sided, always-happy story to be "not real". I feel that I can sometimes come across as a perfectly pulled together mother, potentially even as a "tiger mom". I talk a lot about how cute Iris is, about all the things she is learning, and I post a lot of pictures. I never talk about my frustrations with being a parent. I never talk about my self-doubts or about my own childhood. I never talk about our bad days. 

This is partially because I don't want anyone to read this blog and think that I am complaining about my daughter, or whining about my life as a stay at home mom. I don't want to come off as selfish or as though I'm heading for parental martyrdom. I fear that writing about my bad days and my negative feelings may be loathsome or hurtful to read, not only for you but for Iris when she reads this one day. I read some mother's blogs and feel that they do these things. I've even had to stop reading a few blogs that I once loved because they became so profoundly negative and almost hateful towards their children through their writing. I never want to be that. I certainly allow myself my emotions - my anger, frustration, exasperation - but I don't feel the need to share that with the world. 

A few days ago, I had a short spell of depression. I was missing Marius so much that it hurt. Iris was excessively high needs, cried all the time and wasn't sleeping. I felt completely overwhelmed with the fact that I am raising a child on my own, and that I am without a way to get around on my own (for those who don't know, I don't have a driver's license.) I hadn't been able talk to Marius much at all for the previous two weeks. I was so tired. I just wanted some time to myself. No child hanging off me screaming for milk, no house to clean, no nothing to do. I wanted to curl up into myself and hide away from my life. I cried for the first time since Marius left, almost two months ago. 

I spoke to a friend and finally to Marius about it, venting my feelings a bit. Then, I cleaned the kitchen. As I cleaned, it dawned on me. These feelings were real, but they weren't accomplishing anything. They weren't bringing me to a place I wanted to be. Strong emotions, particularly anger, are often described as "consuming." What one must realize is that these emotions aren't who you are, as overwhelming as they may seem. I (the me that is not my emotions) have the power to choose my perspective at any given moment. I realized all over again, as I do shortly after being flooded by strong feelings, that I can choose to sink or swim. I can choose my own happiness or unhappiness. 

I choose to hug my crying baby. I apologize to her for lacking empathy. I look down at my hands and am thankful to have them to hold her. I breathe. I enjoy the feel of my clothes against my skin; the soft whisper of the air against my face. I feel the beating of my heart. I choose to live in the moment. I choose to be grateful that I am alive. Then, I am unconcerned with the trying moments that life can bring because there is so much more to take pleasure in. I appreciate the dedication Marius has to his job, and I know that my patience will bring him back into my arms. I rejoice in the sound of Iris' cry; I know that years from now I will yearn for that tiny, weeping child to sweep up into my arms. 

This is why my blog is a positive place. This lack of negativity is genuine. The downs of my life are cursory and insignificant in the face of the absolute excellence that is my existence. Why would I share such tiny pits of sadness when there is plenty of ripe fruit to savor? This is how I am real. I choose to fix this blog around the ever flourishing ups in my life. To those who consider such to be "not real," I wish the realization that they too could have such an experience of life, if they choose to. 

first thing this morning...

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Wednesday, October 26

Target babies!

Lena and I go to Target... very often.
Today she spotted this double carriage and we decided to experiment!
It was kind of like pushing a truck around, but the babies enjoyed it for a short time before becoming disgruntled and uncomfortable. So adorable while it lasted!

Jane is unconvinced.

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Iris is demonstrating her royal-style wave to the camera.

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Oh, my beautiful baby...

Tuesday, October 25

a look back v.2

Iris snuggled up against Marius.
I just love her little open mouth. She still sleeps like that sometimes!

Monday, October 24

so tired.

I am so exhausted today I could just cry.
I stayed up late to talk to Marius last night, then Iris was up about 12 times.
I guess I've been spoiled lately with infrequent wakings; this should be a walk in the park for me!
Iris' fever was down to nothing this morning, so we went out for a short walk.
The fever has returned this afternoon, just above 101.
I'm really beginning to wonder how long this is going to last.
I am stumbling around the house in a fog; I couldn't even manage to properly peel boiled eggs for lunch!
And I have an eye twitch that won't go away... so annoying!
Anyway, here are some pictures from our walk this morning.

The hat she's wearing in the pictures was knitted by the wife of one of Marius' friends. Just adorable!
Iris' friend, Jane, is coming over today for a visit while her mom goes to an appointment,
so hopefully they keep each other entertained!!

music monday.

Iris' most favorite song!
When I sing this to her she replies with a huge smile, "Paaaaaahya!"
Oh, my heart.

Sunday, October 23


My baby girl still has a fever and isn't feeling quite herself.

She's otherwise healthy and happy, just sleepier than usual.

This is her favorite sling for cuddles.

Maybe this will help...

Is this how to take my temperature, Mama?
I hope my baby feels better soon.

Friday, October 21

a warm head and a pink coat.

It's 8 o'clock at night and I am sitting alone on the couch. Iris fell asleep twenty minutes ago, almost an hour earlier than usual. My baby had a low grade fever of 101 all day, but we brought it down to 99.0 with a dose of Tylenol. I gave her some more before bed and may have to give more throughout the night to be sure it doesn't spike while we are sleeping. Bed-sharing really pays off at times like these; I will be by her side all night long in case she needs me. 

I think the cause of the fever is teething. She has always taken the process and pain of teething very hard, since she got her first tooth at five months old. She had a low grade fever last weekend too, so it's not completely out of the blue. I'm glad I decided to buy some Tylenol then, or I wouldn't have any in the house. She is acting completely normal otherwise, maybe a bit sleepy compared to her usually vibrant state. She ate plenty of fruit, avocado, cheese and drank plenty of milk today. I'm not concerned and we will be going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow, as planned, unless something changes. I'll just be sure to wear her in the wrap most of the time and ensure she takes it easy. Like today, we spent most of our time cuddling in bed or lounging on the couch watching movies - whereas usually we would be outside at the playground or running around.

We did go out early for a short walk this morning, though. It was in the 40s - cold enough for Iris to need a real coat and hat to go outside! I had to get a video because she just looked so darn cute! 

Near the end when I say, "you want to fly?" means that I grab her hands and swing her over the step and over to the next block of sidewalk. If you watch again, at the end she looks up at me and bounces with her knees a little bit, asking me to fly - too cute! She adores it and much of our "walking outside" now consists of her leading me back to the step, trying to get me to swing her into the air!
Hope my baby is feeling better tomorrow for her big day picking out pumpkins with her friends!

Thursday, October 20

new dexterity.

links I love.

Yesterday morning, I tried cake in a cup for the first time. Coffee cake in a cup, to be exact. It literally took about 5 minutes to make and has all "real" ingredients! Iris took a few bites of it too. It will definitely be a regular breakfast in this home from now on! 

I bought these cat treats for the Kitty a few weeks ago at Trader Joe's. He loves them so much more than the typical brands you can buy at the supermarket. They actually smell like fish food, which is weird. I find myself treating him a lot more often now that Marius is away and he's lonely and feeling a little bit neglected.

Kitty sad, even though I was playing with him at the time.
I'll be starting to work on our PCS (which stands for Permanant Change of Station) soon, as we will be leaving for Germany early next year. Many things need to be organized and prepared for our overseas move and I'd rather not be doing it all last minute. This blog has some great suggestions about the things which can be taken care of early on. 

My friend Lena and I made this Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew last week. It was sooo good. I recommend it with some toasty bread for a cozy autumn meal. We just used normal chili powder instead of the ancho type, both because we couldn't find it and thought it might make it too spicy for our babies.

I think I'm going to buy these boots in black. My other pairs of boots are very worn and falling apart at this point, though I do wonder if I can get them fixed as it's mostly issues with the soles. Anyway, the price is right on these and they look nice... but these zippered boots are lovely and these red suede boots are brilliant...

I ordered this book for Iris last night. She already has a few books by this author, Karen Katz, and she loves every one of them. I plan on collecting all of them because she gets that excited about the illustrations, especially the 'lift-the-flap' books. She already has this Halloween book and loves it.
Nap time in Mama's arms.
A lot of my older sweaters have little holes in them. No idea how it keeps happening, but I suspect it's my rings catching on them. I found this great tutorial recently on darning. New project!

If you're looking for a good laugh, go here. You won't regret it, assuming you have a sense of humor!

Autumn is starting to make an appearance here in NC! This weekend, Iris and I are going to a local pumpkin patch with a few friends! Iris is going to love running around, and it's supposed to be a perfect 60ish degrees. Definitely looking forward to that; I'll be taking lots of pictures of Iris and her little friends!

Tuesday, October 18

autumn sensory bin.

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Dry oatmeal, an avocado seed, and a collection of dried leaves and seeds.

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It was really quite aesthetically appealing...

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First, dump it all out.

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"Whaaat is this stuff Mama!?"

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"I don't know about this..."

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"I guess the bin seems pretty harmless..."

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Tentatively poking at everything.

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Deciding on the twig and the avocado seed.

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Exploring texture.

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"You want me to play with that stuff? Fuggedaboutit!"

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Found her teddy bear!

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Giving him a big hug.

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"Mr. Bear is going to help me!"

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"Mr. Bear, you sit next to me, right here."

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"Now help me spread this stuff everywhere!"

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All done!

a look back v.1

My sweet baby at a few weeks old.
She always looked so cozy and comfy in that rocker.
I love how it looks like she's flying.

Here she is in the same chair and position... one year later.
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Monday, October 17

12 month old nursling.

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I love this picture so much.

my hemp indio.

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This is my Didymos woven wrap, bought used from a lovely mama on the The Babywearer
Didymos brand wraps are hand loomed in Germany.

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There is a multitude of colors, weaves, fabrics and patterns available - mine is an Antracite Hemp Indio! 
The fabric is 50% hemp and 50% cotton with a gorgeous black and white weave. 
It's a size 5, which means this baby is over 4 meters long!

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 I can already tell how wonderfully comfortable and durable this wrap is going to be long term!
I've definitely fallen in love with its versatility and how cushy and supportive it is.
I'll be posting a video soon about how to do different types of wrapping with it - both with Iris on my front and on my back. Should be entertaining for all!

guest post on the teeny tiny mommy!

I'm being featured by my friend Kelly today as a guest poster on her blog, The Teeny Tiny Mommy
I talk about the ways I teach Iris new words and concepts, 
so go check it out here!

music monday.