Children, Family, Truth

Dear Mom Who Thinks I Need to Vaccinate My Kids Against Measles

My sentiments, exactly. Thank you, Levi!

Levi Quackenboss

shutterstock_157245107Guest Post by Lazarus T. Jones

Yeah, I’m totally going there. I know this vaccination subject is pretty touchy with the undertones of intolerance, discrimination, and bigotry and all, but after seeing a letter written to a “mom who decided not to vaccinate her kids against measles,” I just couldn’t sit by while parents are thrown under the bus and innocent kiddos get sick and die.

To be perfectly frank, I was a bit offended that this letter wasn’t written to dads too but for the sake of prioritizing stupid, there are more important things to address…like the fact that kids in this country do not “get sick and die” from measles. Hello? When was the last time a kid died from measles in America? Here’s a clue…it wasn’t yesterday. Disney ain’t deadly and neither are the measles.

So here goes.

Dear Mom who thinks I should vaccinate…

View original post 1,263 more words

Children, Crafting, Friends, knitting

The Holy Grail of Knitting Patterns

I learned to knit when I put my children through Waldorf school. My poor son hated knitting and would offer to trade me chores for my knitting his flute bag. I loved it. He did not understand.

I decided the first year that I’d learned to knit fairly well that I’d make them stuffed animals. I bought an adorable pattern on Ravelry, ordered beautiful yarn for each of them and sat down to whip them right out.

elijah

Holy hannah… they were made with tiny needles and there were stitches I’d never seen and didn’t make sense to read. I got the first half done and ended up with a blue trunk/head object that looked like blue fuzzy scrotum. Ugh.

I’d already fantasized about  a darling matching set of hand-knit Elijah elephants dangling out of stockings on Christmas eve/morning. I knew I didn’t have time to spend the time getting them done by the holiday, so I started to search for someone that could make them. I Googled “knit animals, knit toys and knit for children… and found the most amazing and inspirational woman.

Julie Williams, of Little Cotton Rabbits.

Her blog popped up and I fell in love with her little English garden. I grew to admire her as I read about her knitting peacefully with her Autistic son. I loved how she spoke about her daughter. Most of all?

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I wanted one of her little animals so badly I was considering bribing someone who won to let me buy theirs. Julie was a mother and woman first and the demand for her beautiful creations far exceeded how many she could produce. People stole her ideas left and right and still, and whilst defending herself; she did the best she could to knit as many as possible. People began to complain the sales were rigged and whined that they were being intentionally denied an opportunity to have a coveted Little Cotton Rabbit. She would list them randomly and it was the basically the luck of who got there… but there did seem to be people who sat and did nothing but hit the refresh button in anticipation of her listing one for sale. I remember reading a comment from a woman that had three of them. I was instantly bitter and could not believe she would continue snatching the treasures up while some of us didn’t even have ONE yet! I realized I was obsessed.

bunny

I was never lucky enough to win the opportunity to buy one.

She finally had to resort to using a random number generator to choose who got to the chance to buy one. I gave up.  She’s been the first link in my computer for years.

My ex got married a few years ago and my daughter was nervous about her first trip on an airplane without me. She was clingy weepy about it and I wanted to send something small and made with love to comfort her in my absence. I sat down with my needles and copied the bunny I coveted, to the best of my ability. It was absolute hell, but Bailey the Bunny was exactly what my baby girl needed to feel safe. I sprayed her tummy with my perfume and wrapped her in her suitcase. She loved her and I swore I’d never make another one…. until my favorite Aunt had a baby girl. I used the beloved Alpaca yarn I’d had stashed for a special project, and Vera the bunny was sent off with great love.

bailey

I’ve tweaked my pattern over the years, but I always felt a little… wrong about the whole thing.

I’d absolutely copied her pattern as best I could- and it wasn’t to cheat her or avoid paying for something. I couldn’t buy one…. and she didn’t sell the pattern.

Bailey and Vera were gifts of great love and SO hard to knit… but more than that- I’d loved those cotton bunnies for so many years and wanted my little girls to have one.

Along those lines, I’m making all of my Christmas gifts this year and I’m determined to knit something for everyone. I would love to knit everyone something special, though I can’t imagine being able to pull it off this year.  I tucked a sleepy baby in my bathrobe and sat down with my tea this morning to look at patterns on Ravelry. I clicked on the Little Cotton Rabbits page and nearly fell off of my chair.

You can buy the bunny pattern.

bunnyforsale

You can buy the dress pattern.

dresses4sale

There is a Santa Claus.

I bought them immediately and opened directly to the foot, which is knitting purgatory. Baby Quinn’s bunny still only has one leg. I read the instructions and nearly cried. It’s so perfectly neat and beautifully simple. Just like everything I’ve seen about Julie.

I’m both honored and excited to share this link. Go buy this pattern and fill the lives of the little ones you love…

With REAL Little Cotton Rabbits.

I’m still so excited I feel like Santa came early… and seeing the little foxes lets me know that someday… if I’m patient and wait my turn…

She’s going to sell the elephant pattern too.

I’m beside myself with geeky knitter joy that I can actually make my babylove a REAL rabbit, just like the beautiful creations Julie’s made that have evaded capture.

Now I can give my darling knitter friend S the link to the REAL pattern… because I still can’t find one of the 5 post-it notes I wrote my borrowed pattern on.

I’m so incredibly happy to be able to support such a wonderful woman. I have 2 bunnies already started and I’m happiest most of all that two of them will be dangling out of stockings this year!!!

omgcute

Children, Crafting, Family, Farming, Happiness, knitting, Love

Foundation

I have an old cedar deck on the front of my house, and in one spot, the boards are being pulled a different direction by the house. I know a problem when I see one. Thankfully after 37 years I also know when it’s a problem I am not equipped to repair by myself. It’s a foundation issue.

Such was my life. Being pulled in a million directions results in you neglecting the priorities you really want to prioritize. I was scattered. Flailing. Desperate.

Not at all how anyone would like to be described.

And just like these boards of mine, I started from the top and have worked my way down. Ish.

I had faith in love again and was disappointed when it went sour. It happens. I’m definitely jaded at this point and have happily burned my V card. I intend to live out my life with a houseful of happiness. (and a dozen cats).

I’ve learned to recognize when I’m not good at something and let it go. I realized how much I needed my mom in my life, and we’ve never been closer after realizing that it’s time spent, that counts. She’s given me a million things over the years, but the week she spent with me after my baby was born wove the frayed ends of our bond back together again.

Ripping down the foundation means you have to put it back together brick by brick… and you only use the bricks you know to be the best. You pick your favorites and leave the broken empty bullshit in the pile.

When you only foster and encourage the best parts of you, every day counts. I’m living proof of the power of having faith in yourself and the ability to change your life.

I had a beautiful baby in July and she lights my life in more ways than I can describe …while she grins and poops at the same time. I still pinch myself every time she wakes me from the four hour power naps I survive on. She wakes up with a big smile and we get our routine on with a little Biggie Smalls. She’s my little Muffin.

muffin

My day begins with a diaper to change, diapers to wash. Jammies to hang up. Smiley baby to nurse. Lunch to pack.

Her big sister is a full fledged teenager, fighting me when she spots my weaknesses. I love her to bits and remember what it was like with her big brother and realize it’s just how they are. I’ve had a baby in each stage of my life. My teens (19), my twenties (24) and now my thirties (37). It’s all so different and similar at the same time. I have so much more patience now- and I feel bad for my older kids because they had the drill sergeant asshole mom.  The midlife crisis mom. Muffin gets the best of me. The weathered, hardened and tempered steel strong lady I’ve grown into. The mom who know knows dessert for dinner is healthy sometimes. The everything-can-wait-let’s read-another-book mom. The mom who makes the damn kids help in the garden. I’ve learned through success and failure to focus on what’s important and leave the rest behind.

I miss my coworkers. I miss having something to talk about beyond baby smiles, infant milestones and canning…. but I’m loving my life these days. I’m living in the moment and treasuring each one.

yarden2013

I grew that damn enormous acre of vegetables and it’s downright terrifying how many heirloom tomatoes I have. A thousand pounds, perhaps? More? It’s beyond epic. It’s a biomass.

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Gardening while growing a human is not for the faint of heart. I pulled off the impossible. It was spectacular- and froze last week (Thank GAWD) It wasn’t bad while I was pregnant, and actually helped my back feel better. It was soothing while I was nesting and needed more to clean. It’s amazing how many weeds I pulled with a 45 inch waistline. Muffin was born right when it started to produce and things got a little crazy. You can’t take a newborn into the blazing sun and the weeds grew right along with the plants, which I never found time to fertilize.

somanyheirlooms

Thank God, all the angels & saints too… because I would have had to call the gleaners to help take some of it away.

 

pantry

I’m canning with a newborn, which is intense- to say the least. I dice tomatoes… then sing patty-cake. Nap time for baby means running a few dozen jars of sauce, salsa, tomatoes, etc through the canner. My pantry is beautiful, and I treasure these months I’ve been devoting myself at home, full time. I love having all the laundry done. I smile when I see a fresh tablecloth on the kitchen table. I like cleaning light fixtures. I’m contemplating painting. It feels good to make home feel cozy and beautiful again. Getting rid of the excess and only keeping your favorite things results in a nice tidy home full of everything you love most. All bets are off where my crafty stuff is concerned.

One cannot own too much yarn, fabric or buttons. These are facts.

I’m baking again which is sinfully good and terrible for my ass at the same time. I roasted a baby sugar pumpkin from the garden yesterday and I’m making a few pumpkin rolls today. The house smells like a mom lives here again. I can’t even get a thigh in my old jeans. Damn. Pregnancy at 37 doesn’t go away as fast as it does when you’re younger… but I’ll get there. Right after this pumpkin roll… 🙂 I really don’t care, to be completely honest. I’m focusing on being a great mother, being a better friend and appreciating the people and season. There’s plenty of time for working out when this baby isn’t so tiny and new. If this sweet chubby babylove of mine is any indication, my breast milk is more like heavy cream.

hat

I spent nap time sewing for my baby sister yesterday. Her baby is due any day and they did not find out their baby’s gender. It’s fabulously exciting, but a pain in the ass when you’re buying or making gifts. I hope like crazy it’s a girl because her and Muffin would be so close in age. Either way, it was so nice to fire up the Pfaff again. I padded her presents with baby potatoes and actually managed to get it in the mail in time to make it there for her shower… I hope.

I started running again this week after trading a years worth of garden produce for an awesome jogging stroller. Muffin loves it and I’m happy to resume a healthy habit that makes me feel so much better.

Rebuilding a foundation takes time and patience but having strong footing makes all the difference. Ridding yourself of the junk that holds you back and drowns you out, frees up a lot of time to focus on the things you love.

So I’ve cleaned the house, put away enough food for a damn army and knit 4 hats, a sweater and one bootie.

homegrown

I grew a baby, grew a garden and kept stacking away on my new foundation. I’ve only used the bricks that make me a maternal bad ass with a black belt in organic gardening. I threw out the bullshit, burned the trash and life has never been more peaceful.

One of these days I’m going to get around to fixing that deck.

Children, Family, Friends, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!

And then there was Baby.

I watched my due date come and go. It really didn’t matter that I was due on my birthday because I wanted a baby more than anything. Cake was nice… but I’d have given a limb for some bone crushing contractions and a shared birthday.

It wasn’t to be… and the 5th came and went with a nice dinner on my parent’s houseboat on the lake, a pretty sunset and my best friend and lovely Little Red.

I sunk into my overdue status with exasperation. Still perfectly healthy but frustrated by my inability to do as much as I wanted to get done in the garden and battling devastating heartburn. The 6th ticked by without so much as a contraction. The 7th was equally uneventful. I had to relinquish my darling daughter to her dad the afternoon of the 8th and I watched her get out of the car and walk up to the house with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. I’d gotten to the point that I was feeling awfully lonely waiting impatiently for the baby on my own. I blew her a kiss and wiped my tears… and drove home to resign myself to be the first woman to be pregnant forever.

6:00 PM

My dear Miss Classy, my best friend in the world stopped by on her way home from work after I sent her a “I’M SO BORED” text whining about my eternal gestation and inability to weed the carrots. She hugged me, assured me I would not be pregnant forever and she would indeed come out eventually. We laughed and I realized I was having contractions. They were insignificant, but noticeable. It’d been 13 years since I’d felt one, but I noticed the rhythmic tightening. I laughed and mentioned them offhandedly. She went home to make dinner and relax. I went out to weed the dreaded carrots after a dose of Zantac.

I got three feet into the carrot patch when the mosquitos began feasting on me. I realized after I started to truly get pissed off about the mosquitos, that I was having more contractions. I smiled widely and struggled to keep going. After another 2 feet… I gave up and came inside. I fired up the fancy pink iPhone contraction timer my Little Red had loaded on my phone and started timing them.

Twelve minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute. Easy… not painful… and I had some things to get done if it was an indication that the baby might come that night.

8:30 PM

I called Miss Classy.

J- I think I’m in labor. I know I’ve said it forever, but I think tonight’s the night. Seriously. Don’t panic.

MC- I’m not panicking. Do you want me to come now?

J- Nooooo. I’m going to mop and maybe go back out to weed the carrots some more. I need to bleach the sinks again and I’d really love to shave my legs.

MC- Ok, well call me and keep me updated. I love you. Hooray!!!

I got off the phone and turned the music on to dance with my unborn baby girl one more time. The dogs barked excitedly. The cat meowed at me for more cat food. I decided to take a shower.

I called the midwife first.

J- I’m in labor!!! I’m the happiest person in pain, ever!

M- Should I come check you?

J- No, I’m going to mop and make something to eat, I’ll call you when it gets intense.

M- Hooray! We are so excited! We’ve been looking forward to this birth so much! I’ll call the other midwife!

J- No rush, I’m just enjoying it finally being the day!

I hung up and texted to see if my Little Red could come on over.

J- I think it’s the night… can LR come over soon?

X- Sure! They just went to the store, is 45 minutes ok?

J- Absolutely! See you soon!

I called my mama.

J- I’m in labor!!!!

M- OH! I’ll come now!

J- No I’m fine, I’m just excited! I’ll call you when it gets serious. Love you!

M- I love you baby. Congratulations!

As much as I try to deny it…I’m a closet high maintenance girl. I shave… everything. Now that said, there are certain things that are more difficult during pregnancy and shaving is at the top of that list. So I took my time, got a new blade out and shaved. I put my favorite lotion on. Slipped into my favorite clothes and smiled at every contraction… now coming every 5 minutes according to the fancy timer.

9:30 PM

I decided to change my sheets, and was too out of breath. I was hot and my back hurt. I called my dear Miss Classy.
As soon as I heard her voice I started to cry.

J- I think I need you.

MC- I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon.

I called my mom next.

J- Mommy.

M- I’m turning the water off and getting out of my garden clothes. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.

J- I don’t think I can do this.

M- Don’t be silly, of course you can. I love you. I’ll see you soon.

I sent a text to my ex-hubby.

J- Coming soon?

and they arrived in minutes.

I called the midwife.

J- Hi… I don’t know if I’m being wimpy or if I just forgot after 13 years… but this is worse than I remember it and I think you should come check me. I’m sorry if it’s a false alarm.

MW- I’ll come right now. Don’t apologize, I’m happy to see you. Are you out of breath?

J- … … …

MW- Are you having a contraction?

J- Mmmhmmm.

In three minutes, she was walking up to my front door, little midwife bag in hand. I was overjoyed to see her. She was smiling and looked happy and serene.

I was hit by a contraction as soon as she stepped inside the door and I leaned against the edge of my bed and counted backwards from 70. Not sure why… but anything to focus and relax. I smiled at her and she looked a little more concerned. She checked my blood pressure, my pulse and baby Quinn’s heart rate. Then she actually checked me and I saw the surprise flash across her face.

MW- Oh. Honey. You’re already dilated to an 8… closer to an 8 1/2. You don’t have time to fill the birth tub.

J- I’m having her in the bath tub then.

I didn’t wait for an answer, just walked to my sparkling bleach-y clean bathroom and started the water. Another monster contraction, and I saw my Little Red walk in, smiling proudly. I knew in my heart of hearts that the most important thing in my life was to show this young lady love of mine that birth is natural, that women can handle pain effectively, and that birth can be peaceful and on your own terms. She sat down on the toilet seat and I sunk into the water, giggling.

J- Are you worried? Are you afraid? Is it too much? Are you ok?

LR- Don’t be silly. I’m fine. Are you ok? Is it bad? I’m sorry it hurts.

J- It’s the most rewarding pain in the world. I learned that with you and your brother. This pain has the biggest payoff imaginable. I”m sorry if it gets scary. I’m probably going to scream. Hitting a certain tone in your throat helps ease the pain of the contraction. I’m sorry if it scares you.

LR- Mama you can do this and it’s ok if you scream. I would too. I believe in you.

I had another contraction and my dear midwife sat on the edge of the bathtub and checked me, telling me to warn her when I felt pressure… a pressure I was already feeling.

MW- You’re full term so you’re going to be pushing longer than you did before.

J- I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with my son, and 3 times with my daughter.

MW- I’m just preparing you.

And then the vortex opened and sucked me in.

I turned the other way and put my hands on the cool porcelain. I closed my eyes and thought of my dear Grandma Afton, who my baby daughter was going to be named after. She was fearless and feisty. She was the first red haired green eyed woman in my life who told me from infancy that the rules didn’t apply to me. She was the first person to push me to be better than I thought I wanted to be. Waves of excruciating pain tore through me and I forced my hands into relaxed open palms and pictured her sitting next to me, laughing at my doubting myself.

MW- Sink into the water. Breathe. Relax. Believe. You’ve got this.

I heard my grandma laugh.

I squeezed my eyes shut hoping she’d say something to help me survive the impending crash of another contraction.

I heard my dear friend Vera threaten me.

V- Don’t you dare name that baby after me. I hate my name.

I laughed and smiled at my Little Red, who was laughing back at me and shaking her head. The next contraction hit me and my eyes closed again for the last time and I began to push.

I listened only for the voice of my midwife. The woman captain of my lost and tortured ship fighting its way through the biggest storm on record. I heard her guide me. I asked for my dear friend, who put a towel under my head and a cold washcloth on my forehead.

MW- Push right here. Good. Ok, now blow… don’t push… breath… her head is almost out.

J- OUCH OUCH OUCH

MW- Breathe… now push. Now wait. Her head is out, you have to wait for the next contraction.

J- I can’t. I don’t want to have another contraction. I’ll push her out without it.

MW- NO. Wait. Ok, you’re having another one, PUSH.

I felt her leave me. I was momentarily sad. She was like a mermaid in the water and my midwife guided her deftly onto my chest… where I opened my eyes.

10:50 PM  8 lbs 4 ounces, 20″ long

Sweet baby girl ❤️

QVA

There she was. My little beauty. All wide eyes and alert with her tiny hand extended and her fingers curling around the center of my sports bra.

I smiled at the beautiful women I’d chosen to support and love me through the hardest battle us women fight, and they were all beaming and cooing at the bubble gum pink newborn resting on my chest under my favorite towels.

Looking up at me with dusky blue newborn eyes and the promise of more love than I ever dared to hope for.

There she was. At last.

happybirthdayQNaturally made and delivered, at home ♥

Children, Farming, Love, Yarden

Stupidity Payment

ouchie

As the clock ticks down to Baby Q’s arrival, I have a million things left to get planted. I watered for hours yesterday to loosen the soil and today is the big day of mass planting.

However… I made the fatal error of roto-tilling barefoot last week… and destroyed my left baby toe. Everything was going along perfectly… the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was approaching my last pass of the heirloom tomato garden, when I hit a buried plastic pipe, the tiller yanked forward and I stepped right on the pipe I’d just sharpened with the rotating steel blades.

Ya know when something hurts so badly so immediately that you know you’ve really done some damage? Yeah… that’s what it was like.

I flipped the choke on the tiller and stood in shocked silence for a moment, immediately gripped by a stress-contraction. Even little Quinn knew to remind me to go inside, immediately. It takes a lot to make me cry, and I hobbled/waddled over to the outside water faucet to rinse off the dirt and survey the damage. Icy cold water hit like a second stab from the pipe and the water ran red for too long. I knew I was in trouble and I knew I needed to go inside and have my Little Red take a look.

Therein lies the real problem of hurting the bottom of your foot when you’re 9 months pregnant. You can’t even see it to know how bad it is.

I tracked blood across the patio and in through the kitchen, and started to panic a little when I saw how much there still was. I’m days away from delivery and my first concern, as always; is with my children.

Little Red followed me worriedly to the bathroom and had me lift my foot. Her eyes widened and she told me we needed to go to the emergency room. She’s not a kid that worries unnecessarily, so when she says it’s time to go, it’s solid advice. Being the impatient person I am, I wrapped a trash bag around my poor foot and hobbled out to the car. She insisted on calling people, I insisted she get in and buckle up.

Now the funny thing about being so roundly pregnant, is that people MOVE when you walk in to the emergency room. It was the shortest trip I’ve ever had through the ER and the most pleasant as well. They not only move, they take care to make sure you’re resting comfortably and don’t need anything else they never offer you when you are not with child.

I’m not a fan of needles. I don’t like shots at all. I am anti-vaccination…. but I know I’m due a tetanus shot. My darling daughter is raising an eyebrow at me as I negotiate my way out of one until after the baby. I’ve been with my attorney all afternoon and some of his argumentative nature has clearly worn off. My daughter is shaking her head at me while the tiny daughter in my belly kicks happily.

My doc walks in and smiles at me, joining in the head shaking.

D- Flip flops?

J- No… worse. Barefoot.

D- In the dirt?

J- Oh you haven’t lived if you’ve never walked barefoot through the freshly tilled soil… but yeah… perhaps wait until you’re done tilling.

We went through the options and I could see the loophole he was offering.

D- Well you’re really looking at a serious amount of stitches to put all these layers back together. It’s also going to hurt pretty bad for me to numb it.

I see him eye my belly warily and know a window worth climbing through when I see one.

J- It seems to just lie together nicely when you don’t mess with it, couldn’t it just heal on it’s own with a little love and care?

My daughter is wide eyed and her mouth is hanging open.

D- I think it just might. I could glue most of it to hold it while it heals, and you could keep it bandaged, clean and dry and it may heal even better that way.

J- Ohhh…. clean and dry may pose a problem. Could I wrap a bag around it to finish gardening?

D- Actually yes, that’s a great idea! Just make sure to take a lot of breaks and keep it from getting sweaty. It also appears to be broken… so that may slow you down.

I assure him I’ll do my best, the lovely nurse comes in to clean and bandage it, and we are on our way back home in under two hours. I walked in to the house, mopped up the blood, wrapped a bag around my freshly bandaged foot and headed back out to the garden… while my disgruntled teenager followed me, chastising all the way.

The garden got mulched, the beets got watered and I managed to ruin my new bandage in under an hour while my little nurse clucked her disapproval.

Old habits die hard… but at least I’m forced to keep my shoes on these days. The garden is close to being completely planted and despite my ever-growing baby belly- I’ve learned how to reapply the dressing in the last week…

Today: the potatoes get planted, tomorrow the flowers and hopefully in the next two weeks: a tiny baby girl will join us to make our family complete ♥