No Place Like Home

It’s so good to be home!

I could almost swear I’ve been living in a time warp for at least the last 5 years. Feeling a bit like Dorothy, learning through leaving that there really is no place like home. It’s as if I just came back from a trip in outerspace, finally back on terra ferma.

IMG_8147

I missed painting-like skies and sounds of rain and thunder more than I realized. They comfort my soul.

Seeing the way my parents’ faces light up when Fox says something clever or when he laughs is priceless.

IMG_8182

I’ve seen my family more in the month we’ve been home than in the last 5 years, when we were living in Indiana. Reconnecting and catching up with old friends is the best. And I’m getting back in touch with myself as well, the person I’ve always been.

I sort of lost myself in motherhood, 1000 miles from family and old friends. Sometimes I have some difficulty remembering who I once was. Hard to determine who I am now. It’s as if there was a break in my timeline. It was hard to make new friends when I wasn’t really sure who I was introducing them to.

Figuring out who I am now is easier in the context of my old friends and family. So nice to be around people who truly know me and where I’m coming from. Not only by seeing my reflection in the eyes of people who’ve known me for years, decades, or my entire life, but also my life in the context of theirs. Friends who once discussed rehersals, and critiques are now speaking of their kids, husbands, jobs, and other adulting things. Look at us now!

So many times over the last 5 years I’ve wished to be able to go out to lunch with my mom like we used to. Just geting to run to the chiropractor and shops with her is a dream come true and I am truly grateful. This past week we actually got to go to the movies, just her and I. (I hadn’t been to the movies since we saw the first Hobbit installment, while I was super pregnant).

Our new house is so perfect for us too. More space than we’ve ever had, large studio, fenced in backyard, all new appliances, laundry room, and so. much. storage! Even our cat, who doesn’t like to go outside, enjoys exploring the screened-in porch. Fox keeps saying he likes it here and “let’s stick around.”

(Pictures of our new place to come in a future post!)

IMG_8269

Of course there are also all the fun Florida things to do! We already got year passes to The Florida Aquarium and are looking forward to going to places like MOSI, theme parks, and Fox’ first trip to the beach! (Excited to go back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Russ too!)

IMG_8518

Burrow & Bloom will be continuing through this blog, my Etsy shop, and I’ll be setting up as a vendor locally around Lakeland and other central Florida locations before long! Custom handmade doll slings and teether necklaces are still available. And as always, if you’re interested in colaboration or consignment just send me a message here, through my shop, or email at burrowandbloom@gmail.com! Stay up to speed by following along on the ‘gram @burrow.n.bloom, Facebook, Twitter, and by following here on the blog!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Gentle TV Shows for Kids – Part 3: Stella and Sam

If you’re just joining in you may want to also check out Part 1 about the show Tumble Leaf and Part 2 on Puffin Rock.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.48.39 PM

 

Funny how things get so much better whenever we spend a little time together!” – Stella and Sam Theme by Emilie Mover

Stella and Sam is the whimsically animated series, based on the books by Marie-Louise Gay, about a little brother with with fuzzy blonde hair and big sister with curly red hair! The show is sweetly creative, gentle, and full of imaginative adventures in and around their country home.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.47.15 PM

Our family enjoys how nonjudgmental the show is. Things aren’t looked at as problems, they’re just things. Stella takes it all in stride and helps her little brother through any difficulties, frustrations, or disappointments. Sweetly, thoughtfully, and creatively!

When Sam is feeling limited by his small size, Stella helps him imagine they’re gaints! Apples are cherries, a caterpillar is a farmer, and you have to be careful not to drop the cow from way up high! To help Sam feel better after subbing his toe, Stella teaches him how to make Laughabet soup, a pot full of things that make Sam laugh!

Stella invents Brother’s Day where she makes a super sweet day full of thoughtfully simple surprises for her little brother, Sam. She even asks the “sky painter” to paint a beautiful sunset for him!

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.47.01 PM

Stella and Sam play through all seasons, in the rolling hills and woods around their home. Jumping in piles of leaves, playing in the snow, using their imaginations in the spring warmth and the summer heat. They even search for the wind, which the find on top of a hill, there’s plenty of playing outside in nature!

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.46.27 PM

Stella and Sam also like to play with their neighbor friends, Felix, Ivy, and Owen! On a hot day they imagine they’re on an African safari! Blasting off to an alien planet to find where kiwi’s come from, playing a concert over in the meadow, along with little farm animals! An imagined trip to China, complete with a friendly dragon!

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 5.20.34 PM.png

We adore how simply sweet Stella, Sam, and their friends are! They’re thoughtful and sweet with big imaginations! What shows do you like to watch with your little ones?

Moms Helping Moms – Mini Sling Giveaway!

Hello to everyone who found their way here through the dancey pants disco hosted giveaway!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.22.17 AM

I’m a huge fan of all and delighted owner of one of Michelle’s babywearing portraits, (pictured below), as well as long time follower of her gorgeously inspiring Instagram photos!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.45.17 AM

It’s such a beautiful thing, moms helping moms and building each other up. Sharing what we love while forging authentic connection and community. Making it possible to do what we love while providing for our families. Expressing ourselves creatively and being there for our little ones.

IMG_2786

Is there anything cuter than a mini babywearer?

IMG_2764

If you haven’t already entered to win your choice of toy sling, handmade by me, head on over to @danceypantsdisco for instructions! Winner will be announced next Sunday, December 6th!

Awkward Social Situations

I sometimes think myself out of social situations before even giving them a chance to play out. Imagining how it will go I skip to the part where I just don’t. Do you ever do that too or is it just me?

The phrase “social situation” always reminds me of this episode of The IT Crowd: Watch Video on YouTube

Why is it that making and being friends is so much easier when you’re a kid? Oh, you like that too? Best friends! So organic.

Now everyone’s so busy. Getting together has to be scheduled and probably rescheduled at least once. Friend time has to be planned around nap times and adult obligations. It’s not like someone just happens to be sitting beside you in class or at lunch. I like things to happen organically. Go with the flow and hey, friends!

Guess you just have to find new ways of doing things in new phases of life. Easier said than done.

When I think of reaching out to new friends, for instance, I can easily think myself into awkward situations where I can’t seem to express myself, fumble it all up, and they think I’m nutty. Ever happen to you?

I also feel like if someone wants to hang with me they’ll ask. Maybe they feel the same way, so we just never get together. How silly would THAT be?

There are wonderful surprises when I stop myself from overthinking things and just reach out. New friendships to start and to grow. It really is so much better to try than to regret not ever branching out. I even find that, in the actual moment, I often feel the opposite of awkward.

Part of me felt like I needed to figure out who I’ve become since moving 1000 miles from home, just year prior to becoming a mother, before making new friends. But I just have to just be who I am now and things will fall into place. Besides, a good conversation can help you understand more of who you are.

So invite that mom and her little one over for a playdate! Meet them at the park! Maybe even go to the party! You just might be glad you did.

Room for Good Things

I was restless. Frustrated by all the things around me I disliked. Struggling to simply keep my head above water. I didn’t realize that I had it within myself to change things. Sure, I believed it theoretically, but it didn’t seem like a real possibility given my circumstances. Not until backed into a corner did I realize I had the power to turn the things I disliked into dreams come true.

When I was forced to leave my job I was relieved of a heavy burden. And in its’ place came so many blessings, rushing in like water once I opened the door. Only by being forced to leap did I realize I could spread my wings and fly. (As cliche as it sounds. Guess cliches are such for good reason after all).

Since leaving my job and working on my Etsy shop full time, home with my little guy, I realize my life is my own. That it is possible to follow my intuition and passions to a much better place that had always seemed just beyond my reach. The process has brought me closer to my husband, son, and my self and I am thankful.

I’m in good company too. So many lovely mothers out there are doing what they love and helping each other up along the way. Building lives for themselves and their families that are whole. Doing what they need and love to do. Being true to themselves all the while.

Fabric I've since turned into Toy Ring Slings or Doll Carriers

Fabric I’ve since turned into Toy Ring Slings

While working on this post Fox was watching Disney’s Johnny Appleseed story. It holds new meaning for me now.

The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For givin’ me
The things I need
The sun and rain
And an apple seed
Yes, He’s been good to me

I owe the Lord so much
For everything I see
I’m certain
If it weren’t for Him
There’d be no apple
On this limb
He’s been good to me

Oh, here am I
‘neath the blue, blue sky
A-doin’ as i please
Singin’ with my feathered friends
Hummin’ with the bees
I wake up every day
As happy as can be
Because I know
That with his care
My apple trees
They will still be there
Oh, the Lord is good to me

You got the stuff to see you through
Why…you got all the seeds you’re needin’
And for pretty darn good readin’…
There ain’t nothing finer than your back
Here’s a mighty handy bonnet
Even got a handle on it
Turn it upside down and you can cook
So come on, son, and get a-going’
Get them apple trees a-growin’
There’s a lot of work out there to do
Oh, there’s a lot of work out there to do

My Breastfeeding Journey

 

While it hasn’t always been easy, it was important to me to get breastfeeding to work for us. We’ve had our share of bumps in the road, but I’m delighted to say we’ve made it to 16 months with no signs if stopping.

This is our story.

 

20140704-154804-56884586

 

The day my son was born a lactation consultant visited our hospital room and taught me how to hand express colostrum and feed it to him with a flexible little cup. Throughout our stay various lactation consultants helped us learn about proper latch and gave us bottle/nipple recommendations for a breastfed baby who was still getting the hang of it. They taught me how to use a breast pump and got me set up pumping for 15 minutes every 2 hours, around the clock.

I am exceedingly grateful for lactation consultants.

Since he was jaundiced we had to set alarms to wake him up for feedings. And we had to keep him awake long to get enough to eat. Tickling him or removing his swaddling blanket.

We had to use donor milk for a couple days, to help get his bilirubin levels down, while waiting for my milk to come in.

I’d wake up my husband and have him start warming a bottle while we’d try to nurse. He’d usually get too frustrated and need the bottle, but sometimes we’d get a good latch and he’d nurse for 15 minutes to an hour.

I continued pumping for about two weeks. I was so exhausted I remember closing my eyes, for just a moment, while pumping and instantly dreaming. I also recall feeling a bit like a cow, hooked up to that machine when I just wanted to hold my baby. (My hat’s off to exclusively pumping mamas).

12 days after his birth, he had a bottle in the morning then successfully nursed the rest of the day. And he hasn’t had a bottle since.

At first I could only nurse sitting up, with the football hold, but we gradually transitioned into the cradle hold and I was excited to learn about laid-back breastfeeding from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. That was a game changer for us. Especially at night. Being able to nurse while lying down meant I could latch him on and go back to sleep, barely having to wake at all.

Once we got on a roll, our biggest hurdle was managing my over supply and overactive let down. My little guy would often arch his back and cry while nursing. It was awful not knowing what was wrong or what to do to make it better.

My husband and I tried to determine the issue and remedy online, but found contradictory advice.

In desperation I called the WIC breastfeeding line and left a voicemail for the WIC peer counselor. She returned my call shortly after, listened to my story and gave me some suggestions to try before our appointment.

I also made a lactation consultation appointment at BABS. It was there we discovered my little guy had a tongue and lip tie. Fortunately it was minor enough that he was still able to get a good latch and, since he was gaining well and nursing wasn’t hurting me, we decided not to have it lasered. It merely caused him to nurse more often, since he’d get tired with the extra effort of moving his tongue.

I learned that block feeding was the answer to our oversupply issue. (Keeping him on one side for a time, still nursing as often as he wanted, then switching to the other side for the same length of time). I had been trying that at 2 hour intervals already, but I had to gradually increase the time I kept him on one side until I was at 5 hours. I think it took about a month to get my supply under control after implementing my block feeding plan with my lactation consultants.

You might think that oversupply would be a good problem to have, (FEED ALL THE BABIES), but in addition to a fussy baby, it made for plugged ducts and mastitis. Luckily the remedy to those issues is more nursing, (and antibiotics for mastitis). What a beautiful design!

At 16 months, we’re still nursing on demand, often to and during sleep. Not only for nutrition, (along with solids), but also for comfort and bonding.

My soft goal is three years. That’s how long my mom nursed me. We’ll continue to nurse as long as he wants to.

My story is not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Everyone is different. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty breastfeeding I highly recommend making an appointment with a lactation consultant.