Being Enough

A bunch of crazy friends of mine and I are about to embark on a 30-day writing challenge called JuNoWriMo (June Novel Writing Month).

It strikes me as I dive into this adventure that writing or really any sort of creating we do is an exercise in courage.  To create requires we put ourselves on the line, bare our souls for others to see.

And it’s damn scary.

When I write a novel, somewhere around the one-third to one-half mark the novel starts to talk back.  And it tells me that it’s a horrible story, that it’s dumb, contrived, no one will ever want to read it, and what’s the matter with me for wanting to write it in the first place.

That spot used to stop me dead.  The story would die and I would leave it to break it up for parts later.  Novel after novel I started only to have them die at almost the same point every time.

Until I learned from Anne Lamott and started to talk back. Read more

Baby stuff: how much is "enough"?

At 8 months pregnant now, some serious nesting urges have kicked in (as in I may or may not have stayed up until 3 am last night looking at check lists and doing baby laundry… I’ll never tell, and you can’t make me!). I’ve been going through shower gifts and getting things sorted and put away like crazy, and have found myself grateful for the fact that even though what I have is a bit overwhelming, it’s not really that much stuff.

See, I decided a few  months ago, back when I was figuring out what to register for, that babies don’t really need THAT much stuff.  I mean, they just eat, sleep and poop, right? And I was developing hives at the sight of all the possible plastic baby stuff that manufacturers were telling me I “needed” to bring into my house.  (Both the expense and the plastic stuff, did I mention I’m not a huge fan of plastic stuff?).

Here’s where we’ve landed on the baby “stuff.”

Babies need:

  • Some clothes, a minimum of 4-8 onesies, 4-5 pair of pants to pull over said onesies, 4-5 jackets or something to wear on top, especially if your baby’s coming in the winter time, and 4-5 pair of socks and mittens.
  • Swaddling blankets (see Happiest Baby on the Block DVD): 4-5 or sleepers. We’re planning to swaddle for about 3 months, then do the sleepers.
  • Food. But fortunately, I’m equipped to handle that need 😉 (Awesome book on breast-feeding, Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, I loved it!), added to that, I got a manual breast pump and am using BPA-free hand-me-down bottles from my sis-in-law so Husband can feed baby too.
  • Receiving blankets: 3-4 for warmth to cover a stroller or carrier
  • A carrier. We’re doing the Moby Wrap for the first few months exclusively, and then may use an Ergo when he gets bigger, tho the wrap is good up to about 30 pounds, so close to a year.
  • A car seat. We lucked out with a two-year-old Graco Car Seat as a hand-me-down. Awesome friends!
  • A place to sleep. We got a Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet.
  • Diapers. We’re going cloth, and after much research have settled on the Thirsties Duo Wraps and a combination of prefolds and the Thirsties Duo Inserts.
  • Wipes. I’m making them. I had a stack of hand-me-down flannel receiving blankets, and I received a bunch more that were more my colors at my shower. So I’m cutting up the hand-me-downs into 7 inch squares and will be top-stitching them together (two squares per wipe) to make reusable wipes (I’ll post on this later so you can see them!).
  • A diaper/wipes pail. Since we’re doing cloth, I’m getting 2 5-gallon paint buckets from the hardware store with lids to make decent sized wet pails. If we decide we don’t like the wet pail route, I’ll buy some Bummi’s Waterproof tote bags to use as pail liners and go from there.
  • A place to set him down downstairs where he can see us and sleep. We’re getting this great baby seat by Baby Bjorn that moves with the baby’s movement. But you don’t even have to have this, you could get a Moses basket or something else that fits your lifestyle to set baby into sleep with you if baby’s room isn’t convenient.
  • A baby monitor.  This is one modern, plastic invention that I’m a big fan of :-)
  • Safety stuff: as in outlet guards, cabinet locks, gates etc, but you don’t even have to do this before they’re born as they’re not going to get into stuff right away.

I honestly think everything beyond this is a matter of convenience or preference, and while neither of those is bad, I think this shortened list is much easier on the budget, and is much simpler.  Plus, your house doesn’t get overwhelmed with plastic baby stuff!

Now, here’s a few more things I want to add as he gets older:

His room is nearly done being painted and somewhat decorated, but there’s still nothing it in. But you know what, that’s okay, cause he’s not going to sleep in there yet, and he doesn’t need everything in there ready the minute he comes out.

I filtered and filtered recommendations to get through this list, wondering if I was already a “bad” mother somehow as I created registries and the stores gave me lists of seemingly hundreds of items I “needed” to try to get for baby.  And you know what, I think he’ll have plenty. Parents through history have so few of these things when raising their kids and yet somehow these kids turned out just fine.  Looking at that, even my self-proclaimed minimalist list seems like so much overkill compared to what some people didn’t use to have and still managed to raise their babies (somehow there are 6 billion people in the world, folks!).

So I’ve taken a deep breath and since we’ve got pretty much everything on the initial list, I think we’re pretty well set in the stuff department (and I might add that thanks to the generosity of family and friends we’ve got more like 25 onesies).  Now, admittedly, we haven’t had him yet, so I may find that there are things on this list that I didn’t actually need, or that there are some things that are dang convenient that I didn’t think of now. However, I’ve talked and read a bunch of different folks that said they didn’t need as much as they thought they did, and their minimal lists look a lot like the one above.

My two cents. :-)

Hand Salve

So in my quest to be more organic and to know what’s in the stuff I use and eat and such (plus I’m still on this super creative kick where I just want to make stuff!), I decided to make my own hand salve today.  I had made a big order from Mountain Rose Herbs and the stuff all got here this week. It’s pricey to do at once, but much less per container of finished product.  Also on the list is home-made deodorant (I’ll post on that after I’ve used it for a while and see how it actually works!), and lip balm, which I made tonight too, but I’ll post it tomorrow.

I got this recipe from A Sonoma Garden, but tweaked it a little bit cause I didn’t have a scale to weigh the ingredients, so I went with parts and measured it with measuring spoons and added lavender to it cause I like the smell…

  • 4 Tbsp Shea Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Essential Lavender Oil (adjust to fragrance preference)

Step 1: Place Shea butter and avocado oil in a measuring cup and heat on medium low heat in a small sauce pan full of water until butter and oil melt (easy double boiler). Stir occasionally.

See, not melted.

Starting to melt…

Melted!

See? It looks like melted butter… oh wait… shea butter anyone?? 😛

Step 2: Stir in Vitamin E Oil and Lavender Oil.

Step 3: Pour into small bowl and place in sink that has several inches of ice water in it.

Step 4: As it cools, whip it to a meringue-like consistency.

Step 5: Smooth into containers of your choice.  I got the containers from Mountain Rose Herbs as well.

Ta Da! It’s awesome.  And I “licked” the bowl by scraping the last little bits off the sides with the spatula and rubbed them straight on my big ol’ preggo belly 😀 (with the spatula) Husband was amused.