Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shampoo bars

I really like No 'Poo and it has been going great. And then I started exercising. I think I've mentioned before that I'm very good at perspiring- so good, in fact, that I've used prescription antiperspirant in the past. I did that until I just gave up and accepted the fact that my body just works really well and I'm not going to be able to fight it.

So when I started walking a month ago, I had to up my No Poo routine with more baking soda. But no big deal. Then last week I started jogging. And again, I couldn't keep up. So I looked into Shampoo Bars because I have had friends who have used those. Yep. Shampoo in bar form- like soap! For your hair! You can get them at farmer's markets or on sites like etsy and support local artisans. I like that I can pronounce and understand each of the ingredients. The one I got also has some essential oil in it for fragrance.

This morning was the first time I've used it and it went well. I want to continue using baking soda. I might work it out that I use the shampoo bar once a week, or maybe less often: once or twice a month. I really liked having a pixie cut earlier this year because short hair is so much easier to clean, but for now I'm keeping it slightly above the shoulders by popular demand. Ok, more like husband request. But "pixie cut" is one of my incentives for a personal goal at the moment, so maybe by my birthday or January, I'll get to treat myself to one again.

So we're trying the shampoo bar for now. I wonder if I should try it in Margaret's hair every once and a while.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Wordless Wednesday: Tandem Nursing At the Keyboard

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Look Ma! No Shoes!

I've recently buckled down against my shoe-wearing habit. Part of it was that Margaret herself hates shoes and I felt like a hypocrite putting them on her when I really don't think she or I need them. And part of it was "What will other people would think if I don't wear shoes?"

Except for exercise, I've been shoe-free for over a week and a half, including at church. Margaret has similarly been shoe-free except at parks because when her feet sink into the sand, she gets scared that she's sinking and cries. I usually keep shoes in our bag for her for instances like that.

I say "except for exercise" because barefoot running requires attention to and learning the correct form to prevent injuries. With my current weak ankle and the fact that I'm running up and down hills and over gravel, I just don't want to bother learning a new form at the moment. I might invest in some barefoot running shoes in the future if I like this barefoot thing.

At church it's a little weird and feels slightly disrespectful even though not wearing shoes is a sign of respect. I think I will knit some slippers for church. I like these.

I have gotten a few comments about my bare feet. The first one was someone telling me my toes will get stepped on. I smiled and replied, "Oh, I have small feet. I doubt they'll find their way under someone else's foot!" Then the commenter kind of muttered something and told me to forget it. While that seems weird, I got the impression that maybe she was embarrassed to point out my bare feet because maybe my feet were bare because I can't afford shoes.

Another person just outright asked me, "Where's your shoes?" She was an older, grandmother type lady, so it sounded like of like a mom asking a child. I just said that I'm going barefoot and it's something I'd like to try. She kept pressing the matter. She really couldn't fathom someone choosing to go without shoes. On purpose. Oh, and apparently the soles of my feet will get tough. I'm trying to figure out how that is "bad" or undesirable. Maybe it's not ladylike?

I've gone barefoot in stores and no one's said a thing. I do wonder about the safety of bare feet on an escalator, but I did it anyway. No one's tried to refuse my money because of "No shirt, no shoes, no service" policies. At least not yet anyway.

I really like it. It's very freeing, not only physcially, but also financially and time-wise. I go through a lot of non-fitting shoes before I find ones that work. Even wide shoes are too tight on me and feet always hurt and get blisters. Now I no longer have to spend time at stores looking for a comfortable shoe! And I don't have to buy extra shoes for matching different skirts and pants and dresses. My feet match everything! And never buying any more shoes for the rest of my lifetime- what a savings! Though, I think I might invest in some anklets since I don't have shoes adorning my feet anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today is my blogiversary and if you look at the archive list in the side bar, you'll notice that it's the big 5.

5 years. FIVE years? I need to celebrate or something, but I'll probably just do some dishes and nursing and reading.

When I started blogging 5 years ago, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was 19, single, and childless. I was in college and I didn't even know that lactivism was a thing. Now I can't seem to get away from lactivism!

Over these 5 years, my blog has been a catalyst for personal growth. I've met lots of interesting people through the Internet and mad some good friends. I've also dealt with trolls and other less than savory folk. I've run into new ideas and learned about sensitivity. I've definitely stumbled and blundered on the way, and sometimes I've shined and written posts that rock.

It's interesting what 5 years does to you and I look forward to the next 5. I've contemplated getting my own url and a hosting service, but part of me really likes the lowly blog set up. I kind of feel like having my own site would put extra pressure on me to be awesome. I'm sorry, but I can only be awesome part-time. :)

But awesome or not, I'll keep blogging. If there's something you want to hear more about here, let me know! Thanks for reading and being patient with me!

Yay for webcams!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Births

Margaret's birth was awesome. It was amazing. I was in labor longer than I probably would have been "allowed," and had a baby later than I would have been "allowed," and even had her in the caul, which would have probably not been "allowed." Her birth was about breaking the rules and coming out on top.

So in the months after her birth, I was on this high. I had just had a baby by myself! And I rocked it. And the fact that she was my first made it even more subversive. People "supported" my birth plans: "but for your first baby..."

I had climbed a mountain that not many people get to climb. Her birth represented a huge paradigm shift for me. I challenged the authority I had been giving power and a world of new possibilities opened up. I am woman, hear me roar.

Isaac's birth was different. There wasn't a paradigm shift because it had already shifted two years ago. I went into his birth thinking I had a lot more time (because I was only 9 days past my due date). Less anticipation. Less expectation. I woke up in the middle of the night and had a baby the next morning and then went on with my life as "normally" as it can continue after having a baby.

After Margaret's birth, I heard women talk about their UCs as something that was just a part of their day. I remember thinking, "How is that even possible? You just stuck it to 'The Man!' How is that just another day in your life?" But Isaac's was kind of like that. I am living a new "normal."

Every birth is different and I'm going to take something different away from each one, even if on the outside they sound the same. That's what so interesting about life.

Gratuitous 2 months and 15 pounds of baby in a sweater I knit picture:

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Wonder Wash Cont.

It's been over a couple of weeks since my Wonder Wash review. I thought I'd update on how it's going.

I have woken up every morning (except for a couple that McKay did it) to do a load. It is still taking about 30 minutes to do it all- counting time to let it drain between rinses and to fill it up for rinsing and for spinning it. While it drains, I usually wash dishes, and get distracted, so I'm not being very on top of the wash. If I were more attentive it would probably be like 20 minutes.

After a week, the diapers were smelling like ammonia again. We had gotten rid of all those smells when we switched to Rockin' Green, so this was a bit discouraging. Ammonia means we aren't getting them rinsed thoroughly. It might be because I kept forgetting to put vinegar in the rinse (I remembered like 3 times, but that was it).

To combat this, we occasionally do 3 rinses instead of 2. We put a white bowl under the drain spout so we can see if the water is clear or not instead of just letting it go down the drain.

We have also started soaking the diapers over night. In the day, we use a dry pail diaper method, but over night, we fill up the bathroom sink and add a little detergent and let the diapers soak. We're hoping this will limit the ammonia smell. It's been working so far. Since I do diapers first thing in the morning, soaking them overnight works for us.

We'll keep going with this. It's a little more work, but we save our quarters! And some of the old Bum Geniuses are old and on their last leg. Washing them this way will keep their life in them for a little while longer. Of course, we still have all the cute longies and soakers I've made, so if they do die, the world won't end.

Also in the diapering realm: we used some grandparent money to buy a Baby Bjorn potty! So happy! And we'll buy a diaper sprayer with a gift card we got for Isaac. Buying all these fancy diapering things feels a little indulgent, but it's fun and we have to spend the money on Isaac anyway.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pop Quiz

Quick! You finally got both kids to sleep for an afternoon nap, but you have only 20 minutes until the small one will start stirring. What do you do?

A) Exercise! You didn't get a walk in, so you were going to do yoga in your "free time."
B) Read- Book Club is Tuesday night (take notes so you can contribute to the discussion) and you are also gathering quotes for this project. It's like having homework all over again. Oh, and you need to finish those library books before they're due.
C) Knit! You have deadlines. There's that baby shower, baby blessing outfit, and now four Christmas stockings.
D) Do the dishes, fold the laundry, or tidy up.
E) Get a small nap in because you've been up since 4am. And unfortunately, everyone else in the house was asleep, so you can't blame the babies.
F) Blog/catch up on the posts in your RSS reader/Twitter, etc.
G) Personal journalling/Art projects

That's why this blog has been less active lately. It's just non-stop, and when I do get things done, it happens at a slower pace because Isaac is usually in a sling or wrap.

I did go walking a few times last week. Wednesday morning I had a meeting for some volunteer work so I walked down to the lake and back. Walking to the park Friday was a good workout too.

As for family things, we finally got a couch! And we bought some Margaret-sized chair for her table. And we failed at making pao de queijo.

Friday, September 10, 2010


This week I've been making a more concerted effort to reconnect with Margaret. At the end of my pregnancy I was feeling really touched out. In labor, I was very sharp with her when I didn't want her leaning on the tub. It didn't get much better after that, either. It has turned into "Margaret, you can't climb on me!" "Margaret, get down!" when I'm nursing Isaac. When she gets into things (like my scissors today- which is really my fault for leaving them where she could get them), I'm a little brusque and rude when I take them from her. And when I move her out of situations, I'm a little too sharp and forceful picking her up. Even McKay has noticed it in the evenings. And I feel awful about it. All my hormones are wired to connect with Isaac and Margaret gets left on her own.

I could tell myself, "Well, I've never spanked her or slapped her hands when she gets into things. Plus, I need to be forceful taking the scissors away because they're dangerous! And I'm not actually yelling, it's just loud commands." But I know that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I think I'm not yelling or I'm harsher than usual because it's a safety issue.

What matters is the message she's getting. If she can't see that I love her when I'm curt with her, even for a "good" reason, then for all intents and purposes, I don't love her. I can see it in her face that she interprets my actions as a withdrawal of love. I can love her all I want in my mind, but if it's not in my actions none of it matters because she's not feeling it.

So this week, I've been trying harder to be patient with her. I try not to show my frustration when she refuses to use the potty before we go to the park. I try to understand that she wants to nurse because Isaac gets to nurse all the time and that she still needs me physically.

What has helped me? I make a lot of games up or sing songs. I'll chase her down and let her chase me like a monster when we get our shoes on (or pants in her case). I try to do hand games with her when I'm nursing Isaac and I don't want to share my lap. I also appeal to the "big sister" side: "Margaret, do you want to show Isaac how to use the potty?" That's a popular one. When she gets in her mind that we're going to the park, she doesn't want to do anything except go out the door. Buck naked. And she doesn't want to potty before we go even though I know she'll need to in 20 minutes. But she does like to show Isaac how to be a person and use the potty and get dressed.

I try to soak in our nursing to sleep sessions and hold her close and let her know I love her. I try to apologize when I know I've crossed the line. And I try to be fun and include her in our daily activities. But it's hard. Isaac is so easy: I nurse him and hold him and all his needs get met, but Margaret is more complicated. What have you done to keep connected with your older kids?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Week in Review

This was my first full week out of my babymoon and I was up and doing lots. I had three walks this week including walking up some crazy hills on Tuesday. It was only 1.7 miles to the park, but I went up 200 feet in elevation- or 20 stories if you need a visual. The round trip was 3.4 miles. Hot and sweaty. Isaac sleeps the best when I do these walks, though. He's much less fussy later in the day. We also got a nice shower afterward. Yay for my shower sling (thanks, Joy!)

No knitting other than working on his blessing outfit.

We did get our new Wonder Wash and have used it every morning. I tried cleaning the house this week, but I've decided that with two kids, I need to reassess my expectations.

I love our CSA. We had eggplant Parmesan for dinner the other day! I love that we get all sorts of varieties of heirloom tomatoes and eggplants and even melons. We have had a watermelon every week for the past month and none of them have been red. Yellow, orange, spotted seeds. Variety is fun.

We bought a couch from some friends, so we can actually sit next to each other for the first time since the move! We are moving up in the world.

Some links from this week:
Why Children Should Witness Breastfeeding in Public
101 Things to do Instead of Yelling or Spanking
Miracle mum brings premature baby son back to life with two hours of loving cuddles after doctors pronounce him dead
And PhDinParenting brought to light how Similac and Nestle have been giving breastfeeding "advice" that deceivingly undermines resolve (it's hard and will hurt for sure!) and the physical ability (supply? after "frequently" nursing your newborn every 3-4 hours, you won't have one next month!) to breastfeed.
On a happier note, a friend of mine is launching a support organization for women who go through miscarriage. They have a Facebook page.

For those of you who get Monday off, Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Doing it Again

Breastfeeding is easier the second time around. It is.

I had read a few breastfeeding-the-second-child horror stories where new problems came up with a second child that weren't problems with the first. Would a newborn would be a whole new mess of craziness? On some levels it is, but there are things that are much easier.

What was hard last time, but not this time

Evenings. Margaret was fussy and gassy in the evenings and we didn't know what to do. I nursed her and we bicycled her legs for the gassiness, but it was still frustrating. I've found that Isaac really likes to nurse in the breastcrawl position and that helps him calm down when he's too fussy to latch in the cradle hold. This has made our evenings much easier. I wish I had known about breastcrawl with Margaret.

Sleep. It took me 2 weeks to figure out how to nurse lying down without my breast getting in the way of Margaret's nose. Isaac took to it by night #2. I was surprised at how quickly he latched on and how we didn't have any airway blockage. He has McKay's nose while Margaret has mine, so maybe it's simple genetics. I've also found that his cranky evenings can be quieted by getting sleep. I need to calm him down before lying down with him, though, or else he just keeps screaming.

Engorgement. Maybe it's because I have Margaret to nurse. Or my body got smarter about regulating my supply. All I know is that I was hurting and leaking and all that jazz when Margaret was 6 weeks old (and older!), but I'm not hurting this time and only leaking a little. It's weird to not be engorged, though. I find myself second-guessing my supply when I know that it's normal to feel less full after a few weeks while still having enough supply. It just doesn't fit with my experience from the first time around.

Nursing in Public. I was new to it with Margaret. And a bit awkward and bumbling. I juggled layers of clothing until Margaret started refusing to eat with cloth by her face at 18 months. This time around, I have much more confidence and I'm not juggling layers. Nursing is easier when I have less to fiddle with.

What was new to me this time

Thrush. Never had it with Margaret.

Tandem nursing. This is a big one. What do I do when Margaret is jealous that it's Isaac's turn? How do I get to Isaac quickly when there's a 30+ pound toddler in my lap? And how do I nurse both of them at the same time? Nursing acrobatics like you've never seen! Every afternoon when I nurse Margaret to sleep it's in a different position. I wish I could take pictures for you all to see. Sometimes we do a double cradle hold, sometimes a double football hold. And sometimes one is cradled and the other footballed- and which one is which changes. The other day I nursed the two of them lying down and Isaac was nursing on the "top" breast and Margaret was on the one closest to the bed. I have no idea how that worked and I can't even picture it in my head anymore. All I know is that it was a miracle.

What I haven't had problems with

Mastitis or plugged ducts. There's always the possibility of running into this later, but so far we've been free of this problem. Margaret can drain my breasts pretty well which is why I haven't had plugged ducts. One of the most exciting surprises is that I've started exercising and I haven't gotten mastitis! My body gives me mastitis when I over do it as a reminder to slow down. I've gone walking/hiking every day this week and a couple of days last week and we're happily mastitis-free.

I wish I could tell pregnant me not to stress about the newborn stage. I would guess that for most women, barring major differences in children and lifestyle, it's easier the second time.

What was harder/easier the second time around for you all?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wonder Wash!

Two weeks ago, I sent McKay a link to this thing called a Wonder Wash. I thought it was an interesting concept but McKay responded with a, "Do you want that for our anniversary?" Wait, what?

We aren't impulse shoppers so his response caught me off guard. I wasn't intending on buying it, just admiring it.

In the end, we decided to buy each other gifts: he got Portal and I'm getting some unknown book that he ordered for me. And we bought a Wonder Wash because it made sense to have one.

How pretty!

I've done 2 "loads" of diapers in it. It can take 5 pounds of laundry, which is about as many diapers as we go through in a day.

We first had to figure how much detergent to use. We use Rockin' Green and after doing some calculations based on how much water a washer uses compared to our Wonder Wash, it turned out that we only need 1/5 of a teaspoon of detergent in a wash. I add a drop of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract depending how I'm feeling and which bottle is easier to find.

You just need to turn the handle at one rotation a second for 2 minutes! I also do two 30 second rinses after the initial wash. I keep forgetting to add vinegar to the rinse, but I plan on doing that in the future.

Then I wring the laundry out and hang it to dry. With toddler interruptions and wearing a baby (I go slower so as not to bump him awake), it takes about half an hour to 40 minutes to do all that. That's about the same amount of time a wash in a washing machine takes, which didn't surprise me and is what I expected. I remember reading in my Women's Studies class that housekeeping takes women just as much time as it did a century ago despite the fact that we have vacuums and washers and Swiffers. Don't modern appliances just make you feel so liberated?

My observations:

You do need to go at the pace suggested; if you spin it too fast, the centrifugal force will keep the laundry on one side of the washer. Going slower means there is more agitation because it moves around in the washer.

It's a nice arm workout. I'm going to be so buff!

The first day the suction cups weren't working well because the counter was wet, but it was nice and steady today. We have granite counter tops.

Wringing out the water from the laundry is the hardest part. I didn't do a good job of it yesterday so the laundry didn't dry by the end of the day. I was more meticulous about that when I did the wash this morning.

I put a prefold under the washer because when you remove the drain tube, you get a little leakage.

The washer will pay for itself in laundry quarters in about 2 months.

This is how much a load is.
You can see we have a variety of flats, prefolds, pocket diapers, and toddler panties to clean!

So far I'm liking it. My plan is to do a load of diapers every morning and hang them out to dry in the sun to get the stains out and disinfect them more (hello, thrush!). We will still be using the coin washer for our clothes and bedding and bath towels.

Disclosure: We bought the Wonder Wash on our own and the company does not know I'm writing this review. Other products noted (Portal, Rockin' Green, Swiffer) were just mentioned in passing.