Thursday, December 30, 2010


Josephine's present; a handmade broom from

The night before my family Christmas party I was up past midnight finishing a doll for my newborn niece, but he came out beautifully.

Kevin surprised me by lighting up a table-top tree so it was ready when I woke up Christmas Eve. We had been hesitant to put up a tree because of our two dogs, cat, and curious toddler, but Papa Bear found a solution even after he had been at work all night. He's pretty sweet on me.

And here's Jo playing with the best present ever- loud, crinkle-y wrapping paper.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, It's Winter

I finished this scarf yesterday and just in time! It is getting some cold here in Maine. I had seen pictures of an 'infinity'-style scarf online, but I didn't work from a pattern, just sortof 'winged it' and came out with this:
Does this mean I'm ready for my etsy shop? Maybe... someday... when Jo gives me a little more time to craft. For now, I'll just enjoy the time I have.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What's up with Babywearing recall?

Teething and grouchy.

Just recieved this message from, it's pretty scary. Babywearing needs your help!

I want to spread the word and add my personal feelings about babywearing. Having a wrap to carry my daughter in didn't just make groccery shopping easier, it changed my life. When Jo was little she would cry for hours at a time at night when I was exhausted and my husband was at work. I felt helpless and stressed out. My pediatrition recomended that I put her in the wrap and bounce her on an exercise balll. Nothing soothed her more for months.

Now that she is a toddler and she's all go, go, go, GO! I barely keep her in my arms when she wants to walk. But when I put her in the wrap her body relaxes. She leans into me, snuggles and will nurse even if we are in a busy place. Because wrapping has been a part of our lives since she was 6 weeks old, it's farmiliar and comforting. For her and for me.

Josephine wearing her 'baby'. I hope she still can when she has a child of her own.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Love List

I'm inspired this week by Kris Carr's wonderful CrazySexyLife blog. Here's my list of what I've been thankful for this week, what's yours?

1. My mother. I know, I know, it's cliche, but I am! This week my mom watched Josephine at her house while I took my dog to obedience class. There was a tornado warning- yes tornado here in Maine, and my mom took my daughter in a wrap into the bathroom with her flashlight and life jacket. Like a boyscout she wanted to be prepared so nothing happened to our little Josephine. How sweet is that?

Note: The tornado didn't touch down near us and the thunderstorm passed us by without doing major damage. Which I'm also thankful for.

2. Fudgsicles. Yep, oldtimey ones that come by in an ice cream truck. That darn thing comes by my house at least once a day all summer long. This week I was having a rough time right when I heard that song, "Ba da da ta da ta da ta...." After rushing around for my wallet (while Papa Bear was saying, "Are you serious?) I ran outside and waved that truck down like a 2nd grader. Yum-o.

3. Free-to-the-public places like libraries and playgrounds. (Thank you, women's movement.) Sometimes, ok often, with a toddler my house is just too small and we need to get OUT. These places let Jo move and let me see her in a different space and a new light without stressing about her safety. I can just enjoy her and let her be herself. (Which I think she enjoys, too.)

Make your own list!

p.s I'm also thankful for the 'save post' feature on blogger. This post was originally called, 'Thankful Thursdays", but I'm just finishing it now and it's no longer Thursday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Josephine's Birthday Gift

This is the doll that I made for Jo's birthday. I really loved making her. Her neck is too loose and I want to make another one right away to try to attach the head a different way. Making the hair way my favorite part. I couldn't find an online tutorial that I loved so I sortof made it up. I made a 'cap' for her like you would crochet a hat. The sewed that to her head and wove individual strands of wool yarn into it. It took forever and I am so proud. I think that handmade things are meant to be imperfect and the most important bit is that Jo loves her little doll and she's already brought us so much joy.

Long Days

I would like to start by not apologizing for not posting in a while. I am blogging without obligation and I know that other mums will understand anyway.

A nomad friend of mine, Stephanie, has started a blog about her hitching, farming, exploring trip around the country. I am struck by how different it is from my blog. And, of course, how different her life is from my own. Her life is a picture in motion and travel. My life is so often about stillness, sameness. Who was it that said about parenting, "The days are long but the years are short"? That is exactly what it feels like. Some days, and nights in particular, drag on and on and on. And yet here we are, one year down. The first year of my daughters life has slipped past unceremoniously. One long, nodescript day rolling into another.
Sometimes I am jealous of my friend's ability to move easily about the country not responsible to anyone but herself. She describes a day on the "loneliest road in America" and I think of how I long for, if not loneliness, at least 'alone-ness'. I gave blood last week and was delighted to be able to lay down for 15 minutes and not have to take care of anything or anyone. Giving blood was a treat! That's something only full-time moms could understand, I think.
Even as I envy women with more freedom and less obligation, I know that my own life is enviable. People look at me and long for family like me. I am rooted here, in a community. I am responsible, not just for my family but for my town, my state, my country. I cannot just get up and leave which forces me to change my world to more and more resemble the world that I want it to be. For my daughter, too.
And Josephine. I have Josephine and I know just how blessed I am and how many people wish for what I have. The short years and the long days.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Motherhood Is Hard

Mothering is hard. In other news: Water still wet. I know, this is an obvious statement and it's nothing that hasn't been written about/blogged about/talked about before. But really, it's tough. I find it emotionally more difficult than I ever could have imagined. My daughter, who I adore, need, need, needs me. All. The. Time. She is very social and enjoys other people but when she is upset, tired, sick or just having a rough time, she only wants me. Not my husband or my mother, who generally offer amazing support, but me.

I remember when she was itty-bitty, four weeks or so, and I so longed for some sign that she recognized me. I would search for recognition in her eyes when I picked her up, I hoped that she might stop crying because I was holding her, but she didn't.

Now I know that she knows me. I try to be mindful of it, to enjoy and appreciate it, even as the childcare staff at the YMCA is pulling me out of my workout again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Road Trip

I want to share this wonderful picture I took on the three hour drive up to Acadia National Park. My husband, daughter, and boxer, Tesla, and I went up for 3 days for our wedding anniversary. As usual, we had some of our best times on the drive. How my idea of a 'road trip' has changed from when I was younger.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sitting down to dinner

One unexpected benifit of Josephine starting solids has been that I get to sit down to eat dinner, too. A formality generally reserved for the weekends when my husband is home, it's been nice to take the time to enjoy food with my little one. Here she is 'eating' (ok, playing with) peas. And my favorite dinner: farmers market veggies sautaed with very, very spicy salsa. Yummmm.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easy Home-made Granola Bars

I always keep granola bars in my car for emergency hunger. (Which happens a lot when you are breastfeeding!) It can be tough to stop and get out when you have a little one (finally) asleep in the carseat and the other option, drive-through, isn't good for anyone.
Unfortunately, granola bars themselves have lately become just health-nut candy bars and expensive ones at that. (I am also not convinced that there really should be over 20 ingredients in a granola bar. What is 'natural flavor' anyway?)
So, like with so much else in my life, the thing to do seams to be a switch to homemade. I was surprised at how easy these were to make and REALLY tasty! Much better than store-bought! Enjoy!

I got the inspiration for these from MotherEarth news here. But here's my own spin on it:

3 cups rolled oats (I guess instant could work)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey (the MotherEarth version also uses sugar, but I found it to be almost too sweet with just honey. I might put even less next time.)
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (the only ingredient should be 'peanuts'!)
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread the oats on a baking sheet and, once preheated, bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
While that's cooking, heat the butter, honey and peanut butter in a saucepan on low heat and let it simmer while the oats toast. Like so:

Pull the oats out of the oven and stir in raisins.

Take the honey mixture off the heat and add the vanilla. Then pour the hot liquid over the oats and stir until it's well covered. Push this down into a greased pan and then back in the oven for another 20 minutes. That's it! Wait until they are cool to cut them up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Advetures in Babyproofing

See those shoes, dvds and books back there? Oh, yeah, they're not safe.

The fact that I haven't been spending much time online the last two weeks can be explained partially by the unseasonably warm Maine weather but, more importantly, by Josephine's new found crawly ability! She had been moving herself around quite well for a while but just hadn't been able to move arm and leg together in a forward motion. Well, those days are over. Not only can she now crawl, (and fast!), she can also pull herself up on furniture, people or walls and walk around as long as she is holding on to something. The speed with which she learns and changes has always amazed me. But this has changed my life.

Nothing is safe anymore. If it is within her reach- she will pull on it, put it in her mouth or try to climb up it. We have gated off everything that we can, but in the end the easiest, safest, sanest thing to do is just get rid of stuff. So I have been packing up things we don't use, giving away things we don't need and generally continuing our 'downsizing' journey. And then sometimes, it's just better to get out of the house and play outside!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


As a guilty pleasure I read Redbook when Josephine is sleeping. One of their recurring features is "Mommy Strategies" where mom 'experts' give advice for common mom problems. After the advice, which is generally very good, there is a description of the mom like: "Jane, 32 Portland Maine". More and more as I read them I notice that their ages are closer to mine. In fact, some experts are even younger than me. With just one young child, like me. It's odd but Could I somehow be considered a 'mom expert'? I had a feeling it was possible when I started to find myself giving advice to pregnant women in the grocery store when they stop to coo at Josephine.

I spend a good deal of my time still feeling so lost. Feeling like I need some guidance at this mothering business from someone who knows what she is doing. But really, at least to those pregnant women, I am an expert. With the problems that come with children under 9-months at least, so far.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leave Josephine's binky alone.

Here on Papa Bear's shoulders.

Don't mess with my daughter's pacifier. Please, I know that her 'plug' obscures her smile. Yes, I know that she'll probably still be sucking it when she's 4 years old, walking and talking with it sticking out of her mouth. Thanks, but I'm not worried about her overbite. No, I don't think that she needs to learn to comfort herself without assistance. And no, it doesn't interfere with our nursing relationship. (We didn't give her one until she was 4 weeks.)
Is it bad for her to be comforted? Is it wrong that she sleeps longer? That I am not the only one who can get her to sleep? Mothering isn't about making it as hard as possible for mothers. You can't tell how well you are doing, as a mother, by how much you are 'sacrificing'. I think it's ok to use things that make my life easier. Particularly when those things also make my daughter cry less in her carseat.

Here she is again, in a wrap, with her binky.

Monday, March 8, 2010


It's 12:30pm and Josephine is finally down for her 'morning' nap. I told myself that as soon as she fell asleep i would get up, switch laundry, put away the dishes that my husband washed last night, make yogurt and pudding for the week. I didn't. Instead I picked up my knitting and let another episode of ER roll.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't Distract Them!

I took Josephine to the doctor by myself this week and, like the slacker-mom that I am, forgot to bring any toys or distractions. So we had to sit in the waiting room with nothing to do. Instead of being bored or fussy though, Josephine started climbing on me and examining the chair I was sitting on and the window behind me. She didn't need to be 'distracted' or entertained. She was entertained enough by her own simple curiosity. I realized that she would have been missing out if I had remembered some toys for her. And I would have missed out on something too.

I am trying to remember now that children learn more, enjoy more and explore more when we don't force stimulation on them so much. Even AP parents who don't use tv or battery-powered toys are still too often quick to shake noisemakers in their face or try to settle them with rhymes or stories. I will try to relax more and let Josephine entertain me.

Here she is with one of her favorite "toys": my phone.

What great things have you learned from your children once you gave them a chance to teach you?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

If you're not an activist, you're an INactivist.

Last night Papa Bear and I watched The Cove. It's an amazing documentary about secret dolphin slaughter happening right now off the coast of Japan. Every year over 20,000 dolphin and porpoises are brutally, needlessly and inhumanely murdered in the small fishing community Taijji. Their meat is then harvested and sold, illegally, to the Japanese public, poisoning them with toxic levels of mercury. Please see this film. (it is available through Netflix) And then take action!

Don't look away because it's unpleasant. If we don't do something, no one will.

The film also opened my eyes about what amazing animals dolphin really are. For more information on them, and other ocean mammals, as well as some truly beautiful photographs from dolphin in the wild, check out

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thinking About Returning To College

From a journal entry:

Going back to school would be
- exciting
-scary as all hell

I am afraid to try and fail again. Maybe I didn't do well before not because I was immature and anxious but because I am not smart enough or just not cut out for school learnin'. What if I still don't know what I want to do?
What if I don't want to do anything?

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Nurse In Public

Papa Bear, baby bear and I went to visit his parents in Florida last week. This is what I wrote while traveling.

The TSA website has special instructions for 'pumping and nursing while traveling.' I understand that trying to pump while flying could be difficult but I just don't see the need for additional instruction for nursing. Part of the joy of nursing is that it doesn't require any extra planning. I don't have to pack anything, sanitize anything or worry about forgetting. It's not that I am immodest. Ok, maybe I am immodest. It doesn't bother me if you see a part of my breast. It doesn't bother me that it might make you uncomfortable. It really doesn't bother me if you can tell that I am nursing. In fact, I hope you can tell. I hope that your children can tell and they ask you to explain to them what my baby is doing. I hope to help normalize breastfeeding for women and girls who want to nurse their babies in the future. Maybe seeing me unashamed, casually nursing in the airport while still going about my life uninterrupted, will encourage them to do the same.

I was gazing down at my nursling in JFK last weekend and it occurred to me that Josephine doesn't know that breastfeeding is controversial. She doesn't feel scandalous or outrageous. She was just absentmindedly stroking my hair, playing with my necklace while doing the most natural thing she can do. She gets hungry, she nurses. She feels tired or uncomfortable, she nurses. To her the idea that breastfeeding in public could be wrong might seem as odd as judging someone for snuggling or rocking.

No pictures from this weekend, but here we are at the Commonground Fair last summer nursing in a wrap;

Monday, January 25, 2010

Josephine's First Doll

I finished Josephine's first doll this week. It really was a labor of love. I like to sew by hand so I stitched over everything twice to make sure she can't rip it open. We'll see how it holds up. So far, she seems to like it.

On Yogurt Making

My favorite thing about yogurt making is the time that it takes. You can't rush the process, there is no way to make milk cool more quickly. The 'convenience' foods that we have today are so detached from their original state I don't even recognize them. The idea that we can get more than just the simplest foods just from opening a box is such a new idea, we forget that we haven't been able to do it for very long. Maybe we shouldn't be able to. Food-making takes time. Patience, after all, is not a skill that we are born with. Just ask my six month old daughter. It's a skill that we cultivate. With practice, patience grows.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Honey Baked Lentils

Josephine and I have been snowed in for a few days. The best thing to do on a cold day, I've found, is cook something warm and fragrant. This recipe hits the spot. This is the first time I've made it and I found it delightfully sweet and hearty. This is based on a recipe from the happyfoodie blog. Here's how I made it;

Preheat oven to 350. Throw all ingredients into a pot.
1 cup of lentils
2 cups of water
1 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp of honey (put the honey in your tablespoon right after the oil and it's slip right out)
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 clove of garlic
1 onion
couple of carrots

(I think this would be great with any winter veggies that you have on hand. I would add more next time a make it.)
Cook, covered, until tender about 90 minutes! That's it- enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to make your own healthy cereal

If you are looking for a healthy cereal you might be surprised at how little options you really have. (Particularly after reading about grain extrusion. There is a great article here.) I thought I would be stuck with oatmeal forever until finding this great recipe in a raw food book. It's actually very easy to make a great, simple, healthy, crunchy cereal by sprouting and dehydrating raw buckwheat groats. It takes some planning but the real active work is minimal. Here's the play-by-play;

1. Take your buckwheat (usually available by the pound at natural food stores) and soak them for at least 4 hours. I generally just throw them in a bowl of cool water when I get home from the store and then move on to step two before bed.

2. Rinse groats and let them sit in a strainer (or sprouting bag, if you have one) Every few hours (or whenever you remember it) rinse them again. Don't just pour water through the strainer, dump them into a bowl and stir it around with your fingers to get them a good rinse. They will have this film coming off them and that's good.

See the sprouts starting to stick out the bottom?

3. After a day or so you will have sprouts! Like so;
See all those beautiful little tails? That's how you know it's ready!

4. You can really start eating them right now. Use them like you would use bulgur in tabbouleh or any salad really. But if you want them to keep and be crunchy in your morning cereal- you need to dehydrate them. I don't have a dehydrator so I just put them in my oven on the lowest setting and let them go for about 4 hours or until they are crunchy. (Think grapnuts) You might want to stir them a few times to make sure they come out even. And that's it!

Throw them in with your favorite nut/animal/soy milk and enjoy! I add raisins or other dried fruit, but that's a personal call. If you make them really crunchy they will keep forever in a mason jar. If you like them a little chewy eat them in a week or so or keep them in the fridge or they will get funky. Stay well.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here is my sweet girl. The inspiration for all my crafting, cooking, writing and whole-living. And now she is awake again so I have to go tend to her.