Snow!

What a surprise when over six inches of snow blanketed my parent’s hometown yesterday. It snowed nonstop from about 10 AM until well past 10 PM, which meant a white, winter wonderland awaited the kids this morning. 


To say we were underprepared for winter weather would be an understatement.  No gloves, no snow boots/pants/coats.  It didn’t matter though!  We layered up with what we had and stomped through the neighborhood as soon as we were done with breakfast. Snowy days tend to last only about 24 hours (it was already melting off the trees when we were outside today) so I’m happy we were able to be outside and enjoy the snowfall while it still felt like real snow.

And, to compare:


Scott might be in for a slight adjustment once he returns to this continent.

Write A New Story

I was laying in bed yesterday morning, in between alarm-going-off and actually-getting-out-of-bed.  Pondering all the things that were to come that day, I remembered that my husband was leaving for a three day trip in a few hours.  Immediately I flashed back to all the other trips he’s taken over the past few months (our work usually keeps us pretty local but he’s had some commitments over the fall and winter that took him all over the place), what had happened during those times apart, and a slow wave of anxiety started to rise inside my chest.  We had been sick.  The power had gone out.  The kids missed their dad.  Memory after memory crashed through me as I began to dread the upcoming 72 hours while he was gone and we were here.  The suddenly, like a splash of cold water, this thought appeared in my mind.

Write a new story.

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Before my day had even begun, I was allowing the past to determine how the future would unfold.  Thanks to a decent understanding of my DISC profile, I know that a high S (that’s me!) tends to evaluate future events in the light of what’s gone before, so I had a pretty good idea where this ruminating was coming from.  Nonetheless, this simple thought rang out: Could I write a new story for myself, my family, my life over the next few days?  Did I need to let what had happen influence what could happen?

Write a new story.

It’s the morning of Day 2 and the story is halfway over.  I’ve struggled with the blank pages and new pencils, but what we’ve written so far isn’t half that bad.  After all, it’s ours and it’s new and there’s still more to write.

When the kids are sick

Our little ones have been fighting a cough and cold this week.  Yesterday Madison woke up super early crying about ear pain.  She didn’t relent for about three hours, yelling, “It HURTS!” while adamantly refusing anything I tried to do to help her.  Finally, after essential oils, heat compresses, hydrogen peroxide, and Tylenol, she settled down and dozed for about 10 minutes on the couch.  Miraculously, she woke up happy and pain-free.  Hallelujah!  Even more miraculously, she actually fell asleep during our afternoon quiet time (which hasn’t happened in close to two years) and slept for almost an hour and a half, snuggled next to me.

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It’s hard for me to see my kids sick.  Not only because they are in pain or miserable, but because I’ve come to believe the lie that their physical wellness is directly connected to how well I care for them.  If they are sick then I did something wrong.  We take a slightly alternative approach to wellness and health care in our family (not a lot of doctor visits or prescriptions…using a lot of oils and other natural approaches) and I harbor a hidden fear of being ‘found out’ that blazes to the surface whenever my kids don’t feel well.  That someone will point a finger and accuse me and I’ll be helpless and defenseless.  As if I can control how their body responds to every germ or virus that may pass their way?  I know where the root of that fear comes from (I haven’t written much about my family’s story lately, but there were strong themes of accusation and helplessness woven all throughout) and as I stood in the shower yesterday I decided to confront it head on.

My kids are not sick because I didn’t something wrong.

They are being cared for because I love them.

I’m not in control of their physical wellness, but I can choose how I respond to them when they are feeling icky.  My response to their pain reveals the depth of my love for them.

I hear them hacking and coughing as they wake up this morning.  It’ll be another day of teas, oils, and restful play.  I set my intention to care for them.

Because I love them.

Why yes, you can have a homebirth in Mexico – Part 7

Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4/Part 5/Part 6

Here are some thoughts I had during my prenatal care with Angelica, the midwife who attended our homebirth in Tijuana in November 2014.  These excerpts are from an email conversation with a phenomenal woman who has dedicated her life to humanized birthing in Mexico.  She has (and continues to be) a pillar of support and source of knowledge for the birthing community in Mexico and beyond.  Although we have never met in person, I consider her a dear friend and close confident with all things pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how my partnership with Angelica Granada is going during this pregnancy. We ‘officially’ switched our care to her about two and a half months ago, and since have had two home visits with one coming up next week (we also met with her twice before that to get to know her and her approaches to care). We have decided to not see an OBGYN concurrently with her care (unless, of course, something occurs during the pregnancy that warrants their care). I am intensely appreciating her approach to prenatal care – it’s very hands-off, trusting of the mother and baby, yet at the same time with attention to details.
The home visits (which I LOVE that she offers) have consisted of a conversations about diet, exercise, how I feel, how the baby is moving/growing, and then blood pressure, measurements, listening to me and the baby, and taking a few notes. Then we usually start discussing a question or topic that I have in mind and go on from there. No lab work, blood draws, weigh-ins, or excessive paperwork to fill out. Actually, I haven’t filled out ANY paperwork with her yet, except for writing my name in her spiral notebook where she keeps her client notes. She has a few methods/practices that I’m not completely in agreement with, but willing to let those go for now and deal with them when/if they arise
In comparison to what she DOES offer, DOES practice, and DOES believe, those few points are quite minimal to me. I still plan on having something in writing about our desires before, during, and after labor so we can agree on and refer to it. In describing her training and expertise, I would say she is much more a traditional midwife than a modern midwife – traditional in the sense that she is trained/skilled/knowledgable, but still influenced by the current medical approach to childbirth and pregnancy that remains here in Mexico. Does that make sense? I’ve found that doing supplemental research on my own in regards to diet, care, preparation, etc, has been much more helpful than simply just asking her ‘What should I do for…’
It’s almost painful for me to think of the situation that a midwife like Angelica finds herself in – even if she WANTS to expand her knowledge, WANTS to access the latest evidence-based findings, WANTS to update herself with approaches or practices or techniques…where does she turn? To whom can she go? And even if there is someone/somewhere, how would she even know it was available or know how to access it? And would it even be in a language she can comprehend? Not speaking against her competency or intelligence as an individual in any way, but just reflecting on what I’ve observed in the medical community since living here for the past 12 years.

Here are the things that have made my heart sing with joy (and relief!) as our relationship has progressed:

  • she is totally okay with no internal exams
  • anyone can be at the birth. the birth can be AT HOME (a setting in which she has practiced many times)!!!!
  • she has some knowledge of herbs, teas, etc for the pregnancy and labor
  • no episiotomies, but she can do sutures if needed after the birth
  • if i want, she is fine with leaving the placenta with us
  • i can birth and labor in any position
  • i can eat and drink during labor
  • after the baby is born, s/he goes straight to the mom to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible to help stop the flow of blood, contract the uterus, and promote attachment and bonding
  • completely promotes and supports breastfeeding
  • placenta is birthed on it’s own time (no traction or pulling)
  • so far, she hasn’t mentioned a total time limit for labor (unlike the dr with my previous pregnancy here who mentioned freidman’s curve as his point of measurement for a successful labor)

As I read that list I think, ‘Well, DUH!’ But then I have to chuckle and smile and shake my head in gratitude that I will be ‘allowed’ to birth this child as I was created to do.

It wasn’t long before we met and passed all three due dates we had for this pregnancy – one from the doctor, one from the ultrasound, and one from Angelica.  They all were at the end of October, but from the moment we found out we were pregnant I had a sense that it would be a November baby.  Maybe I convinced myself to wait?  Maybe she needed those few extra days inside me to gear up for her big day?  I’ll never know why but I do remember being at peace with whenever labor decided to start.

Birds of Prey – skeletons

We love DK Eyewitness books!  They are the first ones I search for at the library when Hunter chooses a new lapbook topic.
Hunter asked if I could write the first part of the sentence (which he came up with on his own) and he would write the final word.

 

Our first day back at homeschool after the Christmas and New Year’s break.  Madison had a cough so she stayed home from preschool (which also started back up today).  Leah went to campus with Scott around 8:30 AM so she could attend her toddler’s class.  We settled into school about an hour ahead of schedule which meant Hunter did a ton of school work today. It also gave me a glimpse of what homeschooling two kids could be like if we decide to go that route when Madison graduates preschool.

Along with his core curriculum (reading, phonics, math, Bible, history, world studies), Hunter chose to study birds of prey a few weeks ago for his current lapbook.  Today’s topic was skeletons.  Quite fascinating, if a bit morbid. 🙂  This final picture makes my heart sing…when they like each other, they really like each other.

Sometimes we have ‘those’ mornings

Where the kids simply settle.

Where calm, peaceful sounds of cooperation fill the air.

Where giggles float and whispers flitter.

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The rustlings of creativity.

The tinkering of new things on the cusp of coming to life.

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Do these mornings happen every day?

Of course not.

Yet they do happen.  I want to pause, remember, and capture the serenity that fills our home when they do.

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muffin recipe inspiration here

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Playing by Herself

There’s a running joke between my husband and I.  Our little Leah attends preschool on our ministry campus two mornings a week and her teacher usually fills out a “What I did today” sheet to let us know what happened in class.  Without fail, every single time, hers reads:

Leah ate snack and played by herself.

That phrase has become our sweet catch phrase for our sweet girl.  Maybe partly because she’s the third kid, maybe partly because she’s an observer, learner, and watcher.  Either way, Leah tends to blend right into any situation and quietly goes about her own thing.  It’s one of the things we love most about her because it’s just so her.  Whenever my husband will ask me what the kids did today, or if I’ll text him while he’s out on a Daddy & Kids adventure, we always answer with what the other kids did and then add, “Leah at snack and played by herself.”  It brings a smile to our faces and reminds us of how much we love our littlest girl.

Because Leah does eat snack and play by herself so much (haha!) it’s not often that I have time to offer her my full, undivided attention for long periods of time.  When we took a trip to the local science museum this week, I realized it was a perfect opportunity to soak in every second of Leah’s quiet way of doing life.  We joined up with some cousins and their parents and the older kids quickly paired off with each other, leaving me to enjoy Leah-Lou all to myself.

She found her way through each exhibit, quietly observing what all the other kids were doing and then carefully choosing how she would interact.  That red shopping cart?  It did not leave her side once she discovered it.  Racing up and down the “Kid City” walkways, she would put her head down and stomp along with all her might, pausing only to poach fake vegetables and fruit from other unattended carts (and their corresponding unassuming kids).  Her favorite finds were two heads of cauliflower and a banana.

She loved building a carbon atom and also was fascinated with some sort of electricity device (science isn’t really my thing).  After watching a few older kids and adults push buttons and turn levers, she confidently slipped between them, hoisted herself onto her toes, and did exactly what she saw everyone else do to make the sparks travel up the length of the plastic tubing and into the top of the display.

For most of the morning I just watched her be Leah – this tiny person who has fit so perfectly into our family.  The little one that has healed so much of my heart gave me another moment of joy by loving someone just the way they are.