Your dear husband is probably wondering what this ‘self-gift’ is all about so please be sure to read this letter out loud.
This year I am gifting myself the power of “HELP NO.” (Get it, ’cause it sounds like “HELL NO.”) But really it is a two part gift of “HELP” and “NO.”
Let’s start with the gift of “NO.” Too many times you say ‘Yes,’ or more frequently say nothing at all and therefore OK, when you really mean “No.” And the two people who suffer the most because of this are you and Bill. You because you end up doing things you don’t want to because you previously agreed to it and then you’re angry and resentful or depressed. Bill because he is the one you most often say ‘Yes’ to when you really don’t want to because you think it’ll make him happy but you just end up angry and passive-aggressive with him.
So this year it’s time to start saying “No” (including to yourself). Which means you’ll have to start really taking the time to think about things before you respond instead of just saying “Yeah, OK, whatever.” I know! I know what you’re thinking! This requires time: time to put Ellie down, put your to-do list down and get in touch with yourself to know what it is you truly want. This bring me to the next part of the gift: “HELP.”
You need to start asking for help. Help with Ellie, help with the dishes, help with whatever it is you need help with so that you can get these 10 or 20 minutes EVERY DAY. These 20 minutes help you to stay sane and happy and in touch with your truth. And really, 20 minutes a day ain’t a lot to ask. 20 minutes a day for one year is less than 1.5% of the whole year! That’s a helluva deal for increased happiness. And it doesn’t always have to be Bill whom you’re asking for help. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You have wonderful family and friends who would LOVE to watch Ellie for 20 minutes or take her for a 20 minute walk. You are not superwoman and that is perfectly OK. In fact, it’s normal. So this is my gift to you – the power of “NO” and asking for “HELP.” Use it wisely.
All my love,
P.S. Eating better and starting yoga again might help too. <3
Happy Holidays Everyone! May your days be full of love, laughter, and joy! <3
First and foremost: if you don’t know what elimination communication is, you can read about it here, here, and here.
Second, I don’t feel like I can talk about our elimination communication journey without talking about our ‘diapering system.’ I really don’t like that name for it because it makes it sound intimidating and complicated when it’s really quite easy.
Our ‘Diaper System’ includes:
–osocozy unbleached prefold diapers (about 24-36): about half of our stash is size 1 and half is size 2. At around 15 lbs the size 1, according to my husband, are too small but I think they’re fine.
-homemade flannel wipes (about 24): I followed this tutorial here. This was a great first sewing project for me because it was easy and if I messed up it was okay because they were just going to be wiping a butt anyways.
-1 squirt bottle of water: I use this for wetting the wipes
-2 homemade fleece prefold belts: I followed these instructions. I only have two of two different sizes but I should probably make another bigger one.
-4 thirsties duo covers: before Ellie was born, I bought one of every cover I could find on Amazon. Thirsties ended up being the one that worked best for us. Because of the gussets on the legs, we’ve never had any spills outside of the cover. We have two of the small size and two of the bigger size (which she isn’t in yet).
-1 container of coconut oil for diaper rash: Y’all, it really does work.
-1 backpack aka diaper bag: this includes one wet bag for holding soiled diapers while we’re out and about and 1 peribottle for wetting wipes if there isn’t a sink handy.
homemade flannel wipes with hipster party robots
On a regular day at home Ellie wears just a prefold and diaper belt, no cover.
Ellie in her prefold and diaper belt (we use the ‘angel wing fold‘) Also. NOM NOM NOM TOES.
Having hardwood floors throughout our new home (we just moved last week) makes this easier since the prefold soaks everything up but the outside still becomes wet. Our old home had mostly carpet so I kept Ellie on a towel or playmat. But now that Ellie is in the pre-crawling stage and moving about quite a bit, I’m extra thankful for the hardwood floors.
Having just the prefold and belt at home is so much easier than having the cover on as well. This way, I just pull the front part of the diaper out of the belt and flip it backwards and she’s ready to EC.
At night, we put a cover over the prefold and belt to protect our bed. We used to only have a prefold and belt and her bottom half was on a folded up towel but we were going through 3-4 towels a night so we switched. We still use the towel method for naps even though she almost never goes during a nap. It’s more just a back up. We also put a cover on any time we leave the house.
Ellie in her Thirsties duo cover and T-shirt (btw, baby t-shirts are so hard to find!)
Now onto our elimination communication (EC) adventure. I didn’t start EC in earnest with Ellie until I emerged from my post partum fog around 1.5 months. I started out using mostly bowls and had a fair amount of success at night. I also had many misses. I guess you would have called us part time ECers.
After a while, Ellie started to use the restroom every two hours or so at night. Although cosleeping made it easier to respond to her needs vs a crib, we were all so exhausted. Eventually, exhaustion won and I became a lot less responsive at night and Ellie started to pee in her sleep and not even wake up for her diaper change. This is where we are currently with nighttime EC – nonexistent. And I am perfectly okay with that because it means we all get more sleep. Ellie still wiggles when she wets herself so her diaper is changed fairly quickly. She’s also gone down to only a couple of changes at night instead of 5 or 6. She’s also stopped having bowel movements at night which is awesome. She saves those for first thing in the morning now. 😉
Our EC during the day has also changed quite a bit. When we started looking for a house and then packing and moving, EC got put on the back burner and I would only catch once or twice a day, if that. We did, however, still change her diaper as soon as it was wet so she wouldn’t lose her sensitivity. And how would we know it was wet, you might ask. Ellie let us know… Loudly. 😉 At that point, we also switched to ECing over the toilet as this was easier than rinsing out bowls. The position I find easiest is a cradle hold while I sit backwards on the toilet. Although, as Ellie gets bigger, I think I’ll have to start using the tiny potty seat insert instead because I’ve nearly fallen off the toilet a couple of times. :/
Back to the story: The EC ‘slowdown’ went on for at least a month and coincided with Ellie’s new grunting noises which the husband and I found very perplexing. After the move a week ago, I have finally been able to get back to a more dedicated EC practice with Ellie. I was worried that Ellie would resist or have forgotten EC but I am happy to report that that is not the case. 🙂 In fact, sometimes after she’s gone, she’ll look at me and smile as if to say, “Finally!” And those ‘mysterious’ grunting noises? Yeah, she was trying to tell us she had to go! Some of the new rules I’m using and having success with are:
1. offer potty before and after sleep (including naps)
2. offer potty when I change her diaper (often times, she’s not done!)
Overall, I’m still thinking of EC as a fun experiment that has the added bonus of (usually) making our life easier and our daughter happier.
After many years of wanting to, I finally shaved my head and I’m loving it. Here’s why:
It was on my list. Ever since my high school English teacher showed us a picture of her shaved head, I’ve always wanted to do it. Why hadn’t I done it yet? Fear. It feels SO GOOD to throw fear aside and do something I’ve always wanted to do. It is incredibly empowering and joyful. I still giggle with glee when I see myself in the mirror. Which leads me to…
I feel so sexy! Confidence and sexiness go hand-in-hand and doing something even though it scared me was a huge confidence booster. Bonus: my husband finds my new hairdo super sexy too!
It’s so easy. I have a 2 month old daughter so I’m all about quick and easy right now. No hair getting in the way while breastfeeding or carrying her around. It’s the ultimate mom haircut but with a little bit of badass thrown in. Also, with this hair, I’ve gotten my shower time to well under 10 minutes. Good for my baby and the environment!
Earrings. I finally get to show off my beautiful earrings that were always hidden behind dark hair before. It’s a whole new jewelry world!
It feels awesome. I love rubbing my hand along my head and feeling how soft my hair is. I love feeling the water from the shower hit my scalp and the wind blow through my hair (which is amazing in this Texas heat!). It’s a completely new way of feeling and I love it.
Overall. I give shaving my head 5 beautiful, bald stars. I highly recommend.
One of my good friends is looking into unschooling her son and asked for more information about it. My husband and I knew we would unschool before we even had kids and will definitely be doing so with our daughter. These are, in my opinion, some of the best unschooling blogs out there (in no particular order).
4. Penelope Trunk: work at home unschooling mom. I used to read her blog for about 3 years – there is a lot of good info here. She uses a lot of studies and science. Be warned: she is very frank. She’s not afraid to overshare or offend people (which is part of the reason I like her. lol)
Her website: http://education.penelopetrunk.com/
If you look at her menu under education, she has things like ‘why I homeschool,’ ‘Curriculum or not,’ etc.
[OCTOBER 27, 2015 EDIT: After having this blog in my feedly for a few months now, I can tell you with certainty that she has great content.]
6. Beyond Moi: this is by the founder of theleakyboob.com and her husband. This is not actually a homeschool blog but they do homeschool some of their kids and most of what they talk about aligns with unschooling, i.e. trust your kid.
“The world is changing. We need to give children the permission and guidance to find a new way to gain the skills and experience necessary to build a good life, not just a successful career.” Yes, yes, and yes. Unschooling at its finest.
I’m not sure I could have said it any better so I’m linking it here. Enjoy!
The husband and I recently took a weekend-long babymoon to Galveston, TX while I was 37 weeks pregnant. We learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of a having a successful trip – our lessons are here for you so that you might get the most out of your vacation, whether it’s a babymoon or not.
Vacation somewhere close to home. This one seems pretty obvious, but I’d thought I’d throw it in anyways. Because I was in my 3rd trimester and only 3 weeks away from my due date, trips to distant lands were out. Galveston is only an hour away from Houston so if something were to happen, we could be home in a very short time.
Think about the kind of vacation you really want and choose your city and hotel accordingly. Do you want it to be more about relaxing or exploring? For us, we wanted a relaxing babymoon so that we could rest and reconnect before our little one’s arrival. If it’s relaxing that you want, then it might be best to choose a smaller town with only minimal attractions and more relaxing activities. If you’re looking for a more exciting and exploratory babymoon where you can share some new experiences, a bigger city might be a better fit. For us, we kind of halfway hit the mark on this one – Galveston is great for sleeping late, relaxing beach walks, sitting in rocking chairs and drinking beer (for the husband), but it has also turned into quite the party town, which we were not in the mood to do.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money for it to be nice or considered ‘pampering’ – value is what matters. We, foolishly, did not follow this one. We ended up spending quite a bit on a historic hotel and, in the end, it wasn’t worth it. The hotel was catered more towards the party goers of Galveston and had jazz music in the lobby until 10pm. After that ended, the bar in the lobby was still open until late and the voices of the inebriated could be heard in our room all night. Not great sleep makes for a cranky, pregnant wife.
When planning your day, take into account your limits and needs. This includes things like: is there a restroom that I can get to within 5 minutes (or less)? Can I get snack and water within 5 minutes? One thing that does help is carrying a large, filled water bottle and snacks everywhere. Also, take into account the level of physical activity that will be required. My little one dropped the day before we were scheduled to leave so walking far distances became something I couldn’t do. Also, the closer it gets to my due date, the more naps and rests I seem to need which is something we had to account for. I’ve also been more sensitive to heat and sun exposure during the pregnancy – another thing to account for.
Plan your food ahead of time if you can. This was one of the best parts of the trip – eating yummy, yummy food so go ahead and get excited about it by planning ahead. And don’t try and drive around to find a good food place when preggo is already hungry – have a place to eat and get there. Be okay with some disappointments – there are always risks in trying new places, even with good online reviews. And if you’re not up for disappointment, it’s okay to go to some chain restaurant that is familiar. Also, try to plan ahead for some healthy food options. During my pregnancy, I’ve become accustomed to eating quite healthfully and was disappointed by the choices at most restaurants. By the end of the weekend, my body was seriously craving some collard greens.
Lastly, ask for what you want. I had a great day on the first day of our trip because we ended up cuddled up in the hotel room watching Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t care if it seemed lame, it was what we wanted to do, so we did it!
“Fun, joy, and love is who you are. It is the natural you. Just give in to that[…] Share love with everyone, in the form that your soul tells you is most appropriate to the moment and to the kind of relationship you have with each person – and with yourself.” –Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God for Teens
This pregnancy, being our first, has been a whirlwind of changes and some fears have crept up in the process. Fear of judgment in my choices about parenting and birth. Fear that I’m not doing enough or not doing it right. Fear that things won’t go ‘perfectly’ or be what I think it should be. Fear that I won’t be strong enough to birth this baby. Fear that my body will betray me. Fear that I will betray myself.
After recognizing that all these fears were present (and bogus), I needed to put something better in their place and so I’ve created a few affirmations to do just that:
I am enough. I am strong, wise, and grounded.
I did my best and my best is enough.
I have done and am doing the best I can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for my baby and my best is good enough. This baby will be whole and healthy and exactly what this baby is meant to be.
I listen to my inner wise voice. I stand strong in my truth and power.
I love my body. I trust my body. I am grateful for my body. My body is enough.
My body is producing the perfect size baby for me to birth naturally and easily.
I listen to my inner wise voice and all is well.
I am strong and resilient. I persevere.
I have faith in my strength.
I love and accept myself just the way that I am.
I honor my inner wisdom and stand strong in my power and truth.
I am a good mother.
I love this baby. I honor this baby. I am so grateful for this baby.
I honor and embrace my excitement and joy for this baby.
Whether or not you are pregnant, may these affirmations help you to recognize how amazing and strong you are as well. <3