November 30, 2009

Secret spy glasses,

a box full of candy,

talking parrots,

buttered cornbread muffins,

and a dolly that opens and shuts her eyes.

crackerbarrel

Gotta love the Cracker Barrel.


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November 29, 2009

Girl, Uninterrupted.

girl


There's so many voices, little ones heard around me, written on paper, and on the internet. Sitting across from the table, at my knee, by my side, through my phone.

I want to be a good listener, I want to know peace in the stillness, and am reminded of how much I love my uninterrupted moments.

I'm trying to be mindful and put thought before I interrupt someone else's moment. Their story, quiet-ness, feelings-sharing, or nothing-time.

Even my kids'.

Especially my kids'.

Sometimes there's just too many words.


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November 28, 2009

If I were to post a holiday guide,

it might look something like this (hint hint, Santa):

Licorice-Slate silk essential sling from Sakura Bloom [$198].


Mei tai/asian style carrier from Baby So Smart $78


I might have finally convinced hubby that I need this handsome set for our bathroom. (Yes, I'm serious.)
Ryan Berkley matching male and female squirrel plywerk panels [$40 each] from Fawn & Forest.


So tiny, so cuuuute!
Waldorf Leafbuddy [$27.50] by germandolls on etsy found via Natural Kids Store.



Five lovely pieces safari set [$28] by little alouette on etsy found via Natural Kids Store.



Mad Hippie repair butter [$24.99]

Mad Hippie is a socially conscious company-10% of all profits to Conservation International- and their product is an all natural blend of the best antioxidants and free radical combatants, that help heal aging skin, while building future resilience to damage.

Mad Hippie would love to offer a 20% discount to you. Email sales@madhippie.com if interested, and they'll send you a bill via paypal.


Cupcake '10 -just hanging out with bloggy friends in Oregon, WI during my BIRTHDAY WEEKEND Jan 9-10. [$20+] (registration available until December 11th.)


So, I'm probably not very good at the holiday guide thing, but anyway.

In all actuality, this Christmas my family is focusing on giving less material things and instead creating handmade items for gifts and spending more quality time together.

I'm really looking forward to it. But it's always fun to window shop and drop hints to Santa, of course!

[I was not given product or paid to post about any item listed above. For fun, I chose to feature advertisers from my sidebars and a fun event I'm a part of, but they never pay to be a part of my content, which is my own words and choices.]


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November 27, 2009

Scenes from a happy thanksgiving.

thanksgiving banner by Carter
thankful gobble thankful.
          Grampy & Gray
          that used to be me up in his lap.
                  read a book with Mimi
                  no tv but lots of books to read together.
                          Mimi & Ivy
                          where's your monkey there he is!
                                  Ivy & Mommy
                                  shh shh shh
                                          hubby does the dishes
                                          hubby does the dishes (a lot) and for this i'm very thankful.

                                                  Dad
                                                  my dad. this just in: i possibly could live just to see him happy.
                                                          we are thankful for...
                                                          so much.


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                                                          November 26, 2009

                                                          You Won't Catch Me On Thanksgiving Day



                                                          Originally posted 11/25/07

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                                                          November 24, 2009

                                                          I wasn't going to write about it.

                                                          Thanksgiving week is usually a sensitive time for me, which is silly, because it's Thanksgiving. And I have plenty, more than I could ask for, really, so much to be thankful for.

                                                          But, several years ago (six to be exact) Noah had his first seizure. And for a very long time, I couldn't think up a good thing about Thanksgiving. It reminded me of hospitals, and missed celebrations, of dread, and heartache.

                                                          So whenever the holiday would come near and people would discuss their Thanksgiving plans I'd tense up. I couldn't wait for the day to hurry and make its appearance and leave quickly here's your shoes and coat, Thanksgiving.

                                                          The other day I realized that I wasn't feeling that tension. I was thinking about Thanksgiving with a normal breathing pattern. There were no flashbacks, or if there were, I could control them.

                                                          And I thought, relieved, I'm not going to write about it this year.

                                                          But here I am anyway, writing about not wanting to write about it.

                                                          Because that's what writers do.


                                                          I don't even know that life. I'm so thankful I'm not stuck there anymore.

                                                          Amidst all the distractions of life and living and perfecting my avoidance skills I'm afraid I've gotten a bit stuck here, in my new now. The very things I prayed for, the normalcy of the new normal, are the very things I mistakenly call burdens. Or irritations. Such bothers.

                                                          I prayed for Noah's healing, and for my own healing of broken-heart and broken-mind. And I've been healed. I've had faith, I've practically let faith slip through my fingers, and I've hugged it tight again.

                                                          We dance close, and we walk just inches apart until, faith, how did you get way over there?

                                                          Cut to me clasping my Bible for life and promising to do better this time.


                                                          Some day I'll glance over my shoulder at today. And be so thankful I'm not stuck here anymore.

                                                          That?, over there?, that I'm not going to write about? got me here. And now, what I'm living through today, is what will take me, well...

                                                          wherever I go next.


                                                          I can truly mean it this year, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving and all its coordinating accessories and unpredictable shenanigans.

                                                          I wish you a happy one.

                                                          What are you thankful for?

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                                                          Thoughts on mothering an eight-year-old.

                                                          He put his hand in my hand.

                                                          It was small, still a child's.

                                                          I tried to act like it was nothing, looking out of the corner of my eye.

                                                          I felt little butterflies inside, this kinda feels like the first time a boy ever held my hand. The magic. The wonder.

                                                          As he grows taller, past my shoulder. His legs never ending and skin and awkwardness and smiles and teeth. I try to suppress thoughts of me ever not being enough for him. Of me ever embarrassing him, of me being his MOM.

                                                          We are about to walk into a school event and he's taken my hand. He doesn't care. I squeeze it tight. I never want to let go.


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                                                          November 23, 2009

                                                          Bottoms Up

                                                          I thought it would be a good time to check in regarding the cloth diapering.

                                                          It's still going really great. I've been cloth diapering Ivy for 11 months now and finally I've really lost the desire to shop for more diapers. Maybe this is unusual, as I know there are many cloth diapering pros out there that have been doing it for years and are still addicted to adding to their stash, but for me I'm good with what we have for now.

                                                          clothdiapercowgirl


                                                          So, I thought I'd share my current favorites. Please note, I've bought all my cloth diapers myself and have never been paid to mention any of these products.

                                                          In the beginning, I really loved Bum Genius one-size diapers but after a few months I really stopped enjoying the velcro closures and how the diaper washes up. The organic Bum Genius with snaps are okay, but I think my favorite right now are the Fuzzi Bunz with snaps (Ivy is 24 lbs and in size M). They've really maintained their softness and I like how they've washed up, and how they fit her with the snaps. (I bought mine on sale at diapers.com and you can save $10 off your first order of $49, including free shipping with my code: ABWdiapers )

                                                          I used to really love the GroBaby diapers, too, but the same thing has happened with the velcro closure- definitely not a big fan with how these have washed up. The soaker inserts have gotten kind of stiff and aren't my favorite anymore.

                                                          I do find that it's convenient to use those soakers with the essential saltes baby or esbaby diapers I have. (I found that the esbaby all-in-2 inserts leaked HORRIBLY but I love the outside diaper cover, so I use the GroBaby insert with the esbaby all-in-2 cover and they don't leak.) That is one thing I like a LOT about GroBaby- I don't think they've EVER leaked.

                                                          So, as we've gone along with our cloth diapering journey, I have found what works for us and adapted to that. I always cloth diaper at night and if I'm using a Bum Genius I like to add the newborn insert for extra protection.

                                                          If I were to start over again, I'd probably get the Fuzzi Bunz with snaps (only drawback is that they are not one-size) and then some GroBaby with extra inserts and use those inserts with some cute diaper covers from esbaby. (You have to have some cute ones in your stash and they have the most beautiful ones I've seen.)
                                                          I'm not good with knowing the number of diapers you'll need, but if you're starting out with a newborn I'd say at least 15 diapers and then several covers with inserts.

                                                          I do have the unbleached Indian prefolds that I don't like to use and so I really don't ever use unless I'm really behind on the laundry. They have to be used with a cover and I still use a Thirsties or Whisper Wrap cover with those. They are mostly an inexpensive back-up to my back-ups.

                                                          As far as washing goes, I am still using Maggie's Soap Nuts. I've found that to be the best for washing and not having a smell. I usually get them on Amazon.com.

                                                          Here's my other posts on cloth diapers that you might find helpful if you're just starting out:

                                                          Totally Bummed
                                                          Theme From The Bottom

                                                          And as much as I say I'm good with my stash, I'd love to hear what your favorites are if you cloth diaper, too! Because, well, after adding in all these links I'm itching to buy some more now.


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                                                          November 22, 2009

                                                          The Imperfectionist

                                                          We left my in-laws' house after an early holiday celebration.

                                                          My wonderful Mother-in-law cooked a perfect meal and my children would only eat bread and large knifings of butter. And then cried for ice cream and popsicles.

                                                          Every single time we go over there, they do not eat.

                                                          They just whine and beg to get down and when's dessert? and whine whine whine.

                                                          Do they ever eat?

                                                          Yes- at home! at restaurants! at school! at my parents' house! THEY EAT! I PROMISE YOU.

                                                          But here, where we would like to appear somewhat like good parents? As they scuffle and hit each other at the nice dining table? With cloth napkins and gold napkin rings.

                                                          They turn into little people I do not know and my heart goes into a panic that OH MY GOSH WHAT IF THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE REALLY LIKE?

                                                          What if these ARE the children I've created. What if this IS the behavior that I've instilled in them with my awesome parenting skillz? What if this is IT?

                                                          What if there are no take-backs?

                                                          OMG.

                                                          We get home, arms full of leftovers, and at dinner time the kids eat. They eat the very things they refused to eat at Grandma and Grandpa's.

                                                          They sit and talk respectfully to each other. There is no whining here. They are happy! And I almost grab my Flip video as proof to show the in-laws.

                                                          Well, Gray still stomps and pouts and demands A FORK! for his ice cream instead of a spoon.

                                                          (Of course I rewarded their awful actions today with ice cream- what kind of Mother do you think I am?)

                                                          *Nervous laugh*

                                                          Please don't answer that.


                                                          *****************************************************************************

                                                          I wrote the above and then shuffled the kids off to get ready for bed.

                                                          They washed their faces and brushed their teeth after only one asking.

                                                          I beat the world 8 castle of Super Mario Bros. on the DS for them and earned the title of Bestest Mommy and Mario Player Ever. They made Ivy laugh. We talked about Easter and what it means...

                                                          In their own words:

                                                          Like how I wasn't good at Grandma's today? And wanted that chocolate popsicle?

                                                          Like how I cried? And we were a little bad?

                                                          God gave his only son for us, because we aren't good sometimes. He's the only perfect one. We aren't.

                                                          My heart beats fast and I am so proud of these children. They aren't perfect. And neither am I.


                                                          Originally posted 4/12/09.

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                                                          November 21, 2009

                                                          Anywhere But Here

                                                          peek

                                                          I have written some stuff I'd love for you to check out over at Real Moms Guide if you're in the mood:


                                                          Hoping for a boy or girl? (Many Moms deal
                                                          with the secret of having gender disappointment)


                                                          How to shop like a pro on Black Friday (I won't be anywhere NEAR a store that
                                                          day, but this is for those of you that will.)


                                                          And over at NWIparent:


                                                          I like soup (And I hope you'll share your soup with me.)


                                                          Also, my friend Michelle at Scribbit would like you to enter to win the HP TouchSmart 600 COMPUTER.

                                                          I said I'd mention it here before I even realized how awesome the giveaway was and so I entered myself. If you could see the ancient computer I am blogging on right now... (I am so glad you can not see it).


                                                          HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway


                                                          Now I'm off to lunch and a movie (go on, guess which one.)


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                                                          November 20, 2009

                                                          this little light

                                                          lillulu
                                                          little lulu


                                                          I haven't really felt like talking or writing or even picking up my camera, but I did today at Love's house, and Ivy struck a pose. And pictures are worth a bunch of words, right?


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                                                          Sakura Bloom Triathlon: Round Three!

                                                          Hi Triathletes!

                                                          Time for the next challenge! Starting today and closing in two weeks, your challenge with the Essential Silk sling is to create a video. Your video can be creative, fun, instructional, all of the above, or have a different focus altogether: it's up to you to decide what genre or approach will best capture what you want to share with others about your latest Sakura Bloom sling.

                                                          The video can be submitted via email and/or posted to your blog. Creator of the winning video will receive a $100 Fawn & Forest gift certificate.
                                                          Have fun and we look forward to seeing all of your videos!
                                                          Lynne



                                                          More about the Sakura Bloom Triathlon.

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                                                          November 19, 2009

                                                          Sakura Bloom Triathlon: Round Two Winner!


                                                          Lynne from Sakura Bloom detailed Round Two's photo challenge as not just a babywearing photo looking for pretty smiles, but photos that capture the joy of carrying your child in a sling.


                                                          Donya will receive a $100 gift certificate given by Fawn & Forest.

                                                          See all the photo entries here.


                                                          The contestants' third batch of slings are shipping out now. Tomorrow we'll announce Round Three's challenge!


                                                          What is the Sakura Bloom Triathlon?

                                                          Visit our contestants' blogs:


                                                          Marvelous Kiddo
                                                          DGVE Law
                                                          8 year olds & Babies
                                                          Crooked Eyebrow
                                                          Crunchy Yuppie
                                                          tout-est-des-roses
                                                          4 little men & girly twins

                                                          And now, I wanted to post ONE of my favorites of your favorite babywearing photos you linked to or shared with me (this was hard, and if I get the chance to ask you ALL for permission, I'd love to post them all. So be looking for an email from me!)


                                                          Keli doesn't win anything, but I did learn that she is in a contest at Greeblemonkey (scroll down to see entries) if you want to pop over and vote! (Voting ends tonight!)


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                                                          Sakura Bloom Triathlon: Round Two Photo Entries

                                                          Here are the Round 2 entries! I'll post the winner as soon as all our judges have made their decision! And as you can tell from these amazing photos. THIS WILL BE DIFFICULT!



                                                          Check back in a bit for the winner announcement! (I'll also be posting my fave of your babywearing photos, too! - Which was also equally difficult!)

                                                          And FYI, the opinions and comments on this post will bear no effect on the judges' decision!


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                                                          November 18, 2009

                                                          Favorite Babywearing Photos: My FAVORITE Photo

                                                          My favorite babywearing photo, circa 2008.

                                                          This photo brings tears to my eyes, I love it so much.

                                                          It's from our first photo shoot as a family of six, taken by Beth.

                                                          I'm wearing Ivy as a newborn- she was just 1 1/2 months old (look at her cute little face peeking out!), in my favorite newborn carry (tummy to tummy) and oh the feeling of holding a baby close. This is babywearing for me.

                                                          The sling in the photo is an UpMama sling which is a ring sling with a wider pouch area (and it has a pocket in the tail. Gray used to stuff that pocket with leaves and other things he'd find at the park. And when I gave it to Beth's sister Sarah to use for her new baby the other day, I found $5 in that pocket! YAY!)

                                                          Anyway...

                                                          [The winner of Round 2 of the Sakura Bloom Triathlon will be announced tomorrow, and I'll also feature my favorite from the photos linked in the comments on this post.]


                                                          The winners of the pouch giveaways:

                                                          Hugamonkey goes to Melody!

                                                          Petunia Picklebottom goes to Elita!


                                                          THANK YOU for your prayers and support for my friend Anissa and her family. There has been some GOOD news in the updates! But please note she is still in very serious condition and needs prayers prayers prayers.

                                                          I decided to go ahead and post as I planned today. Anissa would want us laughing and enjoying life this very moment. All good things to come, I just KNOW.

                                                          Thinking of you, Anissa!


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                                                          Prayers For Anissa

                                                          I had at least two other posts I was going to post today about babywearing, but I just can't think about anything other than my friend Anissa Mayhew right now.

                                                          She had a stroke (her second) yesterday. She is just like me and you (only way funnier) - she is 35 years old, has three children (including one that just celebrated her 1 year anniversary off chemo!) and I heart her so much.

                                                          Just the other day we were planning her visit to our cupcake shop when she visits family in Indiana next summer, she told me Ivy is NOT ALLOWED to grow any more until then, and now?

                                                          She's in the hospital, needing our prayers and support for her rapid recovery.


                                                          UPDATES: There's been updates HERE by Anissa's husband and the latest update as of now (around 4:40 pm CST) is BETTER news. Please Pray.

                                                          I will be sure to post any good news I hear, but Twitter has been all lit up for her with the hashtag #prayersforanissa if you want to check in.

                                                          She's the head of the website Aiming Low and they have a post here: Hope For Anissa about how you can help her family, especially if you live in the Atlanta area.

                                                          If you wrote a post about Anissa, you can leave your link at the Aiming Low site as well as:

                                                          IzzyMom
                                                          The Spohrs Are Multiplying




                                                          Anissa, we love you. I slept AWFUL last night, tossing and turning, checking my phone, and praying praying praying for you.


                                                          I know you will get through this.

                                                          Of all people, Anissa. You will get through this.

                                                          Love,
                                                          Steph


                                                          Photo by Mishelle Lane

                                                          November 17, 2009

                                                          Ivy Sings Songs

                                                          Well, she kinda sings along, in her own way, with motions.



                                                          Ivy LaRue, 14 months old


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                                                          My Favorite Babywearing Photos: Ring Slings

                                                          My very first sling, photo circa 2006

                                                          Before Gray was born I had already changed my whole parenting style to something more "attached" and planned to wear him in a sling. I had gone to a La Leche Meeting while pregnant and saw other Moms wearing ring slings and I was IN LOVE. Had to have one. So, I found one on ebay for $15!

                                                          I still have this sling, I will always have it. I wore him in it the day he was born. Even though it was only $15, it is worth the most to me.

                                                          (Kim, the maker of that sling, now has an etsy shop here- KimzKreations.)



                                                          This is one of my other favorite ring slings. You'd think it would be mainly for its beauty, but it also wears like a dream. No matter which carrier you love most, no matter how much or how little it costs, I hope you feel good when you wear it.

                                                          I did not buy my Sakura Bloom slings myself- they were given to me by Sakura Bloom as a gift- nothing was asked for in return. They do make a great gift. :)


                                                          Just a few of the reasons why I love ring slings: They are adjustable. They are super easy for a quick in & out and an easy on & off for Mom. Ring slings give a great snug fit. They are the perfect sling (in my opinion) for newborn and fantastic for when your baby turns into a toddler. They are very pretty, in all different styles, patterns, silks, cotton, linen, and more.

                                                          I'm posting
                                                          my favorite babywearing photos this week leading up to the announcement of the 2nd round Babywearing Triathlon winner tomorrow (and also when I will be posting my favorite of yours that has been left in the comments on this post.)

                                                          Also, I'm giving away two pouch slings (enter by tonight.)

                                                          By the way, this goes for all my favorite babywearing posts this week- I was not asked, paid, or given any product to post about any of these slings- they are my personal faves and what I've chosen to post about!

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                                                          November 15, 2009

                                                          Favorite Babywearing Photos: My Mei Tai

                                                          Wearing my sweet Gray, 2006. He was born to be worn.



                                                          Ivy's first trip to the beach this summer, in the mei tai.


                                                          My mei tai (say it like MAY-tie) is an original Freehand Baby carrier that I got it off a Mom barter group online several years ago. It's one of my most very favorite carriers ever.

                                                          I recommend the mei tai when baby is around 3 months old on up to toddler age. It evenly distributes the weight on your back and hips and is great for long-term wear.

                                                          I'm posting my favorite babywearing photos this week leading up to the announcement of the 2nd round Babywearing Triathlon winner (and also when I will be posting my favorite of yours that has been left in the comments on this post.)

                                                          Also, I'm giving away two pouch slings (enter by Tuesday night.)


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                                                          November 14, 2009

                                                          My Favorite Babywearing Photos: In A Baby Bjorn!


                                                          I know! I KNOW! Baby Bjorns are not a popular carrier of many die-hard babywearers. But, just like many babywearing Moms, I started out with the Baby Bjorn.

                                                          (I am 99.999% sure you say it like Baby Be-yorn.)

                                                          I registered for it when pregnant with my first baby because that was the thing to do! I just HAD to have the "metro black" style. I used it for walks and times a stroller wasn't convenient. But not much more. It hurt my back. It wasn't that fun to wear. And once the babies were too heavy, forget it.


                                                          But, I have fond memories of that Baby Bjorn.

                                                          The photo above (circa 2002) is a VERY YOUTHFUL me (with very red hair) wearing Carter when he was just 3 months old. I had been helping out decorating for a party at church all day and wore him in it the whole time. I was able to keep him with me and do lots of other things. People marveled over the fact that I was doing all I was doing while wearing my baby!


                                                          Another time not long after that photo my family spent the day at the apple orchard and I wore him in it the whole time then, too.


                                                          I've since learned that the Baby Bjorn is not ideal for long-term babywearing. It's not the best position for baby's hips and groin area. It's not the most comfortable carrier for Mom & Dad. And having baby facing out (the most common way people wear their Baby Bjorn) not only can be overstimulating to baby, it also throws off the wearer's center of balance.


                                                          But, for some parents, the Baby Bjorn is the best way or their favorite way or the only way they wear their baby. And you know, babywearing is babywearing.
                                                          It keeps baby close to Mom, it encourages attachment, allows for hands-free, and the list goes on.

                                                          I loved that Baby Bjorn. And look where it's taken me.
                                                          :)


                                                          I'm posting my favorite babywearing photos this week leading up to the announcement of the 2nd round Babywearing Triathlon winner (and also when I will be posting my favorite of yours that has been left in the comments on this post.)

                                                          Also, I'm giving away two pouch slings (enter by Tuesday night.)


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