Tag Archives: baby

In the Garden: Still Preparing!

I knew this year was going to be a slow one in the garden.  After all, Joshua was born when I would typically get going in the garden, so I was a tad distracted this spring.  Anyway, we did make some progress last weekend: Ed finally brought home composted manure from his parents’ cows.  Last year, he had plenty of help ammending the garden soil, see?

soil

Adding manure to the garden last year

Who cares if I had a little trouble dumping the wheelbarrow? I was a lot more helpful last year! Looking at this old photo made me wonder if I’ll ever fit into those jeans again.  But then I remembered those jeans had a hole in the knee and I cut them up to make a skirt, which I never finished.  Oh well, no rush to lose the baby weight, then!

Back to the garden… Ed had no help from me this year, as I was busy with the baby.  I did manage to get outside and take one picture of him shoveling manure. Here it is!

But then I got distracted and instead took some pictures of the baby.  It was much more fun!

I also visited our friend’s garden center and picked up some rhubarb to replace the plant that something dug up, seed potatoes and seeds.  We plan to spend Mother’s Day getting everything planted, at my request!

How’s your garden doing?

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Filed under Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Outside

Baby’s First Nature Walk

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” -John Muir

As part of the National Environmental Education Week Challenge, I decided to take Joshua for a walk around the farm.  I believe that if you expose a child to the environment and teach him to love nature, he will grow up to protect it.

We walked with my mom through the apple orchard, under the covered bridge and by the pond.

At the pond we saw geese, a duck, three turtles and lots of frogs.

We saw daffodils in bloom, picked one and smelled it.

The peach trees were blossoming, and we were greeted by Dukie.

Don’t forget, there’s still time to join the National Environmental Education Week Challenge! Email your post or leave a comment by April 19th!

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Updates

Joshua is now 8 days old!

I’m working on his birth story, which will be a series of posts covering the whole 41 1/2 hours of labor.  I’m thinking it will take at least 5 posts to cover the whole thing.  I’m going to publish it at Our Country Baby, where I also post lots of pictures of Joshua.

We’re working on nursing, and I’m feeling pretty good about it right now.  I went from crying about Joshua losing weight before my milk came in, resulting in us going to the doctor’s office four times last week for weigh-ins and him dropping down to 8lbs 10oz. (teeny tiny!!!), to crying because I’m leaking through 5 shirts a day (at least) and his weight went back up to 9lbs 4.5oz.  They want him to be at least back to his birth weight of 9lbs 8 oz by his two-week appointment next Friday, and I’m sure he’ll make it.

I’m amazed by how much my belly has shrunk in the last week.  Amazed.

We’re sleeping well, with Joshua waking up about 3 times each night to eat and be changed.  I’m very happy about that!

Ed is a great dad.  He’s totally taken over the diaper changes at night, and he loves to snuggle with Joshua.  He’s very focused on taking care of our family and talks about all the fun we’re going to have together in the future.

I’ve totally dropped out of the blogosphere.  If I haven’t been reading or commenting on your blog, just know that I miss reading those updates.  I’m sure I’ll get back to it in time.

The weather here has been great in the last week, and we’ve been trying to get outside when we can.  It’s amazing how fast the day goes by when it’s taken over by feeding and diaper changes.  Where does the time go?

I hope you all are doing well! Please leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to!

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Joshua Daniel

Born March 12, 2010

9 lbs. 8 oz.

22 1/4 inches long

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From Sustainable Couple to Sustainable Family

This post is my contribution to the March APLS Blog Carnival.

With my due date fast approaching (tomorrow!), I’ve been thinking about how we want to raise our child.  In terms of our continued quest for sustainability, I realize that there are some areas of our lives that we’ll have to let slide, while in other areas, we’ll be able to continue on in our sustainable ways.

The first thing to go will be Freezing Our Buns.  We’ve been told on numerous occasions that our house is simply too cold for a baby.  Don’t worry grandmas-to-be, we promise to turn the heat up when we bring the little guy home.  For now, our nighttime temperature of 60 suits me just fine.  Our desire to reduce our carbon footprint and our dependence on foreign oil isn’t more important than keeping our little guy warm.  But not to worry, spring seems to be coming on full force, and we look forward to being able to turn the heat off for the year and throwing the windows open.

I also realize that I’m going to have to scale back some of my from-scratch lifestyle, as the new baby will put bigger demands on my time.  Though I’ve been meaning to get a clothes line and start line drying, I know this summer probably won’t be the time for it.  Since I hate doing laundry now, and I’ve been told our once-a-week laundry regime will change quite a bit when baby comes, I’m planning to continue using the dryer.  I’ll also probably be more likely to use a kitchen appliance than do something by hand, like using a breadmaker instead of kneading.  Even so, I think I’ll be buying bread, and I probably won’t make homemade cheese for a while either.  If these compromises result in more time with my family, then that’s fine with me.

One thing that I’m not willing to change is my reduction in household chemicals.  My “green” cleaners won’t be replaced by the cheaper, more traditional cleaners.  Let’s be honest, I don’t clean all that often (my family and friends will confirm that), so I’m not going through an inordinate amount of household cleaners.  Having a baby is not the time to get relaxed about chemicals in the house.  The same goes for personal care products: I’m going to keep on getting products that are as pure and safe as possible.

I think a new, interesting facet will be working on sustainable consumerism.  Until now, I’ve been what you might call an anti-consumer, really thinking about my purchases before making them.  After building our dream house, it was easy… we were out of money!  However, having a baby brings with it a whole new need to buy things.  Fortunately, I had an amazing baby shower, and we’ve got most of what we’ll need.  But as our baby grows, we’ll need the typical clothes, shoes and toys, and I’ve done my best during my pregnancy to start scouting second-hand stores and learning about toy safety.

Our food choices also won’t change.  Sustainable, locally and humanely raised food is important to both of us, and teaching our son where his food comes from is going to be a big part of his upbringing.  This is one area that I’m determined not to let fall through the cracks as learning to raise a baby takes over our lives.  We’re planning to continue our vegetable garden this year, while scaling back a little to make it more realistic for us.  I’ve decided not to start seeds indoors this spring, but will be getting some tomatoes that my dad started from seed, and starting other veggies right in the garden.  We’re going to grow only veggies that we know we’ll eat on a regular basis so we’ll be able to keep up, and along with our berry patch we should have plenty of produce from our backyard.  Our little boy, before he’s even eating solid food, will benefit from our backyard garden because I plan to breastfeed.  But that’s not all… with a mom’s family farm raising strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, raspberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins, and a dad’s family raising pigs, turkeys, clams, oysters and–for the first time this year–chickens… Well let’s just say this little guy will be exposed to lots of agriculture and healthy local food when the time comes for him to eat it.

But it’s not just about the food: it’s about the experience.  I look forward to taking my little boy on walks around the farm in his stroller or in a carrier, enjoying the outdoors and the animals.  We can also visit the local farmer’s markets and enjoy music and community.  When he’s older, my husband looks forward to taking the little guy out on the boat, helping to gather clams or stealing some time to fish.  The excitement of catching a fish, growing a giant pumpkin, or collecting eggs from our future backyard flock will always be a part of our family’s life.

Overall, I think staying on the path to sustainability has to be about choices.  Major changes in our lives mean we have to reassess what’s most important to us, what to keep and what to let go.  What do you think?

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Filed under Food, Gardening, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sustainable Living

Thoughts on Nursing my Baby

I’ve noticed that most of the blogs I follow use the term “breastfeeding,” but I was raised with the term “nursing” so that’s what I use.

I grew up in a home where nursing was the norm.  My mom was what you’d call a lactivist, but I think the term didn’t exist back in the 80′s (though I’m not sure).  She didn’t go to nurse-ins or anything, but she nursed each of us for an extended time period, sometimes enduring glares or criticism from family or friends.  I’m the oldest of three, with two little brothers who are 3 and 8 years younger than I am.  My mom nursing my brothers was a normal part of my childhood, and she made a note in my baby book that I play nursed my doll when she nursed my middle brother.  Both of my parents came from dairy farms, and so “milking” was a normal part of their lives, and the choice to nurse their children made sense to them.  I can remember watching lots of different types of animals nursing over years on the farm.  Nursing was the natural, normal thing to do.  I’ve carried that belief with me throughout childhood and into my adult life.  I always thought I’d nurse my future babies, no problem.

Until, that is, I started reading blogs.  I learned all kinds of things that were obstacles to nursing that I never knew about.  I never knew that there were such a thing as lactation consultants to help a mother learn to feed her child.  What could she need help for? Isn’t that why both mom and baby have instincts?  I never knew that the doctors or nurses in the hospital would want to supplement with formula if babies weren’t gaining enough weight fast enough.  Maybe that’s because we were all big eaters and gained weight normally, so it was outside of my experience.  I never knew that, on rare occasions, some moms don’t produce milk.  That never happened with animals I saw.  I never knew that there were so many medical and societal barriers to nursing babies. 

So now, with my baby due in about a week, I’m wondering if this whole nursing thing will be as easy as I always thought.  Now that I know all these problems are out there, I worry that my baby won’t latch on right, or that I’ll need some kind of medical intervention that won’t let nursing get off to a good start.  I worry that my baby won’t gain weight quickly enough and I’ll be pressured to supplement with formula.  I worry that I’ll have to put up with criticism from friends or glares from strangers.  So I read, and I learn.  And I’ve regained my confidence that I’ll nurse my baby and it will go just fine.

There are many reasons why I’m determined to nurse my baby.  The most important is that nursing has always seemed like the most natural way to feed my baby.  My mom nursed us, animals nurse their babies, and throughout most of human history, babies have been nursed.  I know from a nutritional and biological standpoint, nursing my baby will give him the best start in life.  I also put a lot of weight on the fact that I won’t have to wash bottles or buy formula (dishes and grocery store trips are high on the list of things I hate to do).  Nursing is also eco-friendly because there are no formula cans to dispose of or worry of chemicals leaching out of the plastic bottle.  Nursing is reliable, and not a problem when the power goes out or there’s no running water. 

I’m happy that my husband, my mom, and my mom-in-law are supportive of my choice to nurse my baby, since I know they’ll all be a source of encouragement if we do run into any problems.  And I can’t wait for this little guy to arrive!

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