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  • Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

    104

    +In My Head
    Loving the weather right now, though we could use a bit of rain! I finished an actual book made with paper this weekend—that felt good! I’ll talk a little bit about it in the reading section.

    I’m thinking of dipping my toes back into the political realm again. I listened to a Pantsuit Politics episode and got a little bit of information about what is going on in the world but I’m not sure I’m completely ready yet. I have also started trying to listen to NPR and Democracy Now a little bit, but we will see how long that lasts!

    +Watching

    Not a lot these days. With full evenings outside and a child who likes to boycott bedtime, I frequently don’t get to watch on time the few shows I am still keeping up with. Better Call Saul is back for its third season and is decidedly taking its turn into Breaking Bad territory. Yellow tint and all. My dad said he stopped watching after the first season but I think my brother is still on board and so far I’m sticking with the show. It’s a slow burn but I’m really enjoying it!

    Call the Midwife is back again with new midwives and new stories from London’s East End in the early 1960s. I like how the show merges culture from that time and it is interesting to see the slow change from midwifery in homes to midwifery in hospitals and now the show is looking at how even the smaller medical outposts were being phased out for the latest and greatest in medical technology in the form of larger hospitals. I always get wistful after each episode.

    And The Big Bang Theory is hitting it out of the park this season with some honest, if brief, segments with Bernadette and how she’s dealt with everything from breastfeeding to deciding to be a working mom. It is affirming to see that story woven into the show.

    The one show I am looking forward to, with trepidation of course, is the Netflix adapation of Anne of Green Gables. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle a non Meagan Follows, Jonathan Crombie, Colleen Dewhurst saga. I’ve been mulling over an entire AOGG series re-read for a year now and just haven’t settled in to do so. The entire LMM collection is begging to be revisited.

    +Outside My Window
    Hummingbirds sipping from the mimosa tree, bats chirping in the evenings from their bat box along the driveway, deer nibbling from the yard in the evening.

    Plants digging deep and getting ready to go all out with summer’s pending heat and humidity.

    +In The Art Studio

    LOL

    Ok, seriously, I’ve been thinking of getting it cleaned up and in shape because Forest seems like he might be ready to spend 30 minutes at a time in there with me in the coming months. I’ll have to get him set up with his own craft items but I see this being something we can do in the evenings when it is dark again. We’ll see!

    +In The Garden

    Evvvvvverything! Savoring it all and a separate post or posts is/are coming soon!

    +Reading

    As I mentioned above I finished an actual paper book over the weekend, Michael Pollan’s Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education which was written in 1991. I’ll probably write more about it when I do an April and May book report later this month, but it was a treat to read. For a 25 year old book, things haven’t changed and they’ve changed. I think the one thing that really stuck out to me was the language being used around climate change and how less confident people were about using it and stating equivocally that it was human influenced/induced. Ah, a quarter century changes everything!

    I’ve been reading quite a lot lately, though am finding myself in a slight lull right now. That’s to be expected, I always seem to have a pause for a week or two before digging back in.

    One of the more timely and relevant posts, especially for Florida outdoorists and hikers, would be this post from Florida Hikes: Closing the Big Bend Gap. It is about the recently opened gap after a huge swath of timber lands were sold and the trail has had to be rerouted. I think I was hoping it was a temporary affair but it looks like the Forest Service wants to make it permanent, which I think is a travesty to that section. I need to read the proposed reroutes and submit my comments and have got to find some time to do this. One of the proposed reroutes also avoids the Aucilla Sinks which is a HUGE travesty—that area is super cool and worth taking the trail by.

    I’m due for another Florida Trail In The News round up, so maybe I can get one up soon.

    +Drinking

    I just finished a 2.2lb bag of Ruta Maya coffee the other day. I get mine at HEB and it lasts about a month. The price at HEB is steller, about $16 for that bag, a price you don’t find easily with coffee in that quantity. I’m back to a dark roast Starbucks blend for the time being.

    My kombucha scoby bit the dust, again, because I neglected it. I can get another bit from my mom if I want but I’m so bad about being consistent with drinking the kombucha that I don’t know if I want it. I need to look into small batch kombucha brewing. I just can’t drink the amount that the recipe calls for and I’m hesitant to be adjusting ratios. Anyone out there brewed small batches of kombucha before?

    +Loving
    +I pretty much think about plants and gardening when I’m not focusing on other things sooooo….plants it is!
    +Digging into some older episodes of podcasts I love. Some I listened to 3 or 4 years ago but they are great to listen to again.
    +Piling up the books to-read. So many books! I mostly flag them in HooplaDigital or Goodreads.
    +Tomato season is upon us!
    +Blackberry season is upon us, too!
    +Toddlerhood turning into little-kid-hood. Yes, I miss Forest being little bitty but having him talking clearly (for the most part) and being able to follow directions (for the most part) and doing more things a independently has been wonderful. He’s also interested in watching us do things in the kitchen, which is fun too! And in the last few weeks he has been able to behave himself on the dock and fish with Chris, reeling them in, too! This means he get some quality time with Chris and I can have a few minutes to do something else. It is amazing what changes in a few months at this age!

    What’s up with you?

    JDSP Pine Lily Hike 8-22-08 192

    I’ve reached a point in where I could easily just set this space aside and let it float through internet space for the summer. It’s been years—a decade? More??—since I’ve taken any considerable time off, more than a week or two, from writing online. I think we were living in Miami at the time, our little apartment on the edge of Kendall and the Everglades, and for whatever reason I went months without writing. Then I came back, of course, kept going through thru-hikes, field work, and having a baby.

    But I feel like I’m teetering on a ledge, ready to kick the blog into the atmosphere to fly off somewhere else for awhile. I’ve not outgrown it, I love being here, but the problem is my mental space—it’s too cluttered. A combination of the time change and a toddler entering a different life phase has thrown me for a whirl. Something else I’ve come to realize is that I find myself not living in the moment, striving for the next thing, what I ‘should’ be doing. Some of that mental clutter was covered in the Creative Priorities post earlier this month and now that I’ve had some time to sit with it even more, I’m coming to new conclusions.

    I was digging around into my really old archives, looking for something one day, and came across a few posts that were nearly in the same vein as the Creative Priorities post—just written 10 years ago, or nearly that. I laughed to myself because some of the same sentiments I was expressing then I was expressing now. I suppose I just have an overwhelming urge to create and do-all-the-things and the ideas just keep coming. The irony is that I had a lot more free time to dedicate to that back then and I most certainly didn’t dedicate the time I could have to the things that I thought I wanted. The funny thing about all of this is that the things I was doing then, the ones that if I look back at now as the obvious ones that are most important to me, they are practically the same things as the ones that are important to me now, the ones I dedicate my creative time to—being outside (hiking, exploring, kayaking, etc), gardening, photography, reading, and writing a blog. Sure, there are all of those supplemental hobbies that I fit in wherever I can, then and now. Some of them are certainly seasonal or episodic.

    And I guess that last sentence is what I am realizing needs to happen now, to free up some of the shoulds and musts with what I actually feel like doing and what I can logistically dedicate my time to. And so I have to set some of that stuff free for the time being, to come back to it eventually, in a different type of year or another year completely. Looking back at the Creative Priorities post, I think that was where I was heading but it took some more thinking to come to that conclusion. I definitely lead with my gut and my intuition for a lot of my decisions—how I feel about something in the moment is where I typically go. That would be the F talking of my INFJ personality. Of course this can be problematic sometimes where there might be a real goal at hand (see: editing/reworking my book) but at the same time maybe those things can be shuffled to another season, when the time is right.

    As an introvert I spend quite a bit of time in my head, talking to myself, which lends itself to the mental clutter situation, hence writing things out. In all of that thinking time I realized that I spent the last two growing seasons feeling lost because I wasn’t able to garden like I wanted—you know, the first year there was a baby constantly attached to me and the second year was a small toddler who had no attention span, and there was massive flooding and rain events derailing gardening at every turn—and here a few weeks ago I was trying to be upset about not doing other creative pursuits? Seriously, Self, get with it! And so I have come to slap myself back into reality with being in the moment and enjoying what is in front of me. Yes, this sounds incredibly simple, something we should all be doing, but I think we all fall into the trap of not relishing the thing we are doing that we enjoy that is right in front us. That we spend some of our time stradled between two planes, the here-and-now and the next thing we’re going/shoulding/suppose-to-ing/musting to be doing.

    In the mental clutter situation, I’ve also pretty much stopped following politics. I dislike that I had to do this because I really enjoy knowing about politics, but my sanity was really starting to go. The man being dragged off the airplane a few weeks ago finalized that. I found myself getting an elevated blood pressure from seeing the video and the constant asinine commentary from the news and was done. I had already stopped listening to NPR after inaugration and had switched to KPFT, a local listener supported news station that would broadcast Democracy Now in the mornings. But I even quit that. Now it is classic rock or a local 80s and 90s mix. I’ve been listening to CDs and plan to dig out more of them to keep in my car. I’m currently flashing back to 2005-2009, the era in which I was listening to The Weepies, Chantal Kreviazuk, Feist, and Regina Spektor. I may have to load up my Pandora stations from that era, too. I even locked down my Twitter account, which was my last vestige of news. I found myself getting irritated with the same outrage cycle and feeling completely helpless in everything going on and I had begun just unfollowing, blocking, or muting people. It wasn’t fun anymore. I hesitated from deleting it totally but I took the app off my phone and logged off the computer version, making it as difficult as possible to sign in. It’s been about two weeks and it feels great! If I can make it two years (and counting) without reactivating my Facebook account, I’m pretty sure I can go awhile without Twitter. Yes, I know just about nothing of the news (though I just saw someone mention something about national monuments and Bears Ears and I’m going to have a shit fit—-well, crap I just Googled and yes, now I’m just angry. When you are a liberal with gleam in your eye for the second Bush era, something is wrong.) See? I can’t do it. I can’t do the outrage cycle. It’s one damn thing after another.

    With the news out of my mental space, though always lingering back there with some knowledge that I will eventually want to jump back in, I’ve been focusing on gardening and reading. I became interested in knowing more about herbs and herbal remedies a few months ago and have started looking into that more. I have flagged tons of books, not just herbal or gardening related books, to read on Hoopla Digital (they make it so easy to favorite and go back to borrow later!) and on Goodreads. My pile of interesting things to learn about is ever growing and of course I have my own bookshelves to pull from as well. I jumped into the herbal stuff by starting with trying to make a plantain salve. I’ve heard about the healing qualities of plantain for years when used in regards to stings or minor wounds and figured I might as well try something simple like that to start. Plantain (Plantago sp.) is growing all over right now so it was easily found and I harvested enough plants to make a small batch to start. I’m currently in the sit-in-oil phase and will let the leaves continue soaking for another week or so before I finish up the salve. I figured with the new bee hive that it would be worth having it in the house. I was stung on the arm while pregnant and our Bradley birth teacher was at our house when it happened and brought out a salve from her purse that really instantly took the pain away. I never followed up with her to figure out the magical salve but I suspect it was plantain salve. Anyway, I’m just feeling this real need to do more with our plants, to use new herbs and try to be more diligent about effectively using the things we grow to our advantage.

    Well, I feel better after writing all of that. Writing really does begat writing—creating begats creating. There’s a lot going on here in the yard, the seasons are moving right along. I have a lot of photos to process and hopefully I can get some things written this weekend and scheduled for next week. I’ve been listening to Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and have been taking it super slowly. It’s a 16.75 hour listen and I’m only 40% done, not speeding up the audio this time around. It is a book to be savored and I think I’m going to have to find it to have for reflection and re-reading later. It kind of helped push me into this mindshift switch, to return to focusing on being a better steward for the environment. I’ve also got a hankering to return to being vegetarian or reducing my meat consumption, but that’s another post for another day.

    And I’ll sign off my rambling for tonight. What are you up to? Drop me a comment or an email.

    Action items for this week:
    While there are a ton of items that I care about and I’m concerned about everything from civil rights to education, right now I feel like my focus has to be on the environment and public lands. It isn’t that I’m not paying attention to everything else but this is what I can manage to put my energy to and where I feel like I have the most knowledge and vocal strength.

    So.

    First up: The March for Science happening on Earth Day, April 22nd. Satellite marches are all over the country, find one near you!

    Second: Listen to this episode of SheExplores with Katie Boué as she talks about being an advocate for the outdoors.

    Third: Modern Hiker has put together a list of anti-environment and public land legislation being proposed right now. I sent off post cards last week about HR 621 and 622 to my reps and then saw Chaffetz pulled 621—but I don’t think I trust him or that it would not be revived at a later date. I need to get postcard stamps because I feel like I’ll just be sending them off weekly from here on out. I’m pretty sure Cruz and Cornyn will not give a rats ass about them but maybe my House rep will. I don’t see his name in the news too often. Also, a lot of #*%@ went down at the state capitol this week and I’ve got to find some time to get familiar with what’s going on there and get on top of my local reps.

    Fourth: Scream into the oblivion? I guess I will channel my anger into digging in the dirt this weekend.

    What action items are you working on?

    turnips

    It’s been 9 days.

    I want to write so much here but I’ll be honest, it seems silly to write here at the moment. My words are inadequate but I’ll break it down into a few single words.

    Outraged. Scared. Worried. Upset. Angry. Disappointed. Anxious. Horrified.

    Is this where the rest of us become preppers? Because, I’m thinking it may be.

    The optimism after the Women’s March last weekend* has been tempered heavily. I think that optimism and feeling of action was still going fairly strong until Friday and the knife was driven further in and twisted.

    And it’s still there, the optimism of action, somewhat. People are calling and hounding their reps. I made a few calls post election but I’m not a phone person and things are happening so fast that everyone keeps harranging people to call for this and that issue almost daily. The Women’s March has postcards to print for people to send out. I thought I could print those and just sent a round out each week but damn, all of these Executive Orders are flying so fast and developments with appointments are also going so fast that I know calling is the best approach. So, it’s postcards, writing a giant essay of everything I’m pissed about, or calling. I guess I will try to do all of them at some level. There’s also stuff going on at the state level, too, so don’t forget your state and local officials.

    *I did make a Pussy Hat and dyed my hair pink in solidarity. After the B.S. with the NPS and then the EPA (FYI, my job in Florida was funded off an EPA grant) and other environmental agencies I began seeing a Science March being planned. If there is one in Houston I think I will do my best to attend that one. I spent a lot of this week downloading geospatial data for work that I may or may not need in the future. I’ll be doing the same this week because who knows when it will just disappear.

    october 28, 2008: 5/14
    October 28, 2008. I went to canvas for President Obama shortly after taking this photo. I did two canvassing events for him while I lived in Florida and I’m so very glad I did it.

    Some of you, dear readers, are like me today—raw and sober with the reality that what we imagined Inauguration Day being during those morning and afternoon hours of November 8th, that reality will not come to fruition. Instead we’ve watched the last two months as a cascade of warnings from experts, historians and journalists, become realities. Every time I’ve stopped and thought some people were over reacting or I’ve tried to see any kind of nuance I’ve been shaken back into reality with a new story, another behavior, and become very worried about what the next several years holds. I won’t write more but here are some people I follow on Twitter and podcasts to keep you tuned in if you are having a hard time stomaching network stations and sometimes even NPR. I don’t even watch network news unless someone else has it on but NPR sometimes disappoints me and I have to switch to Democracy Now for a few minutes. I think it was quite clear after his press conference last week that the press has a different beast to cover and has got to hold him accountable for the things he says—and more importantly, isn’t saying.

    And if you are either not worried or more apathetic and believe that things will be ok, well, I hope you are right. I hope we’re freaking out for no reason, because I’d like to see that we’re still a country in four years and I’d like to hope that we are still upholding the rights and freedoms granted under our constitution.

    News Stories/Blog Reading

    I’m bad about remembering to bookmark every good article I come across but this is just a few I’ve recently read that stuck with me.

    Scientists Are Frantically Copying US Climate Data via the Washington Post

    Six Astonishing Things Betsy Devos Said and Refused To Say During Her Confirmation Hearing

    David Fahrenthold Tells The Behind The Scenes Story Of His Year Covering Trump—-read this one in its entirety.

    A Social Justice Reading List via Book Riot

    Podcasts
    Pod Save America: This is an group of former Obama staffers who used to podcast under Keeping It 1600 (I never listened) but switched over to this podcast in the new year. Definitely listen to all of their episodes but especially the one with President Obama.

    Slate’s Trumpcast: I may have mentioned this one back in December and I’ll mention it again; it is easily digestible. Listen to the one about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in particular.

    The 451 Podcast: Yes, that’s a play on Farenheit 451.

    Start Making Sense from The Nation: I listen to this one sporadically but a recent episode reminded me to listen more often.

    Pantsuit Politics: I also think I’ve mentioned this one but it is two women, a Democrat and a Republican, sitting down to talk politics. Very friendly and they try to be as nuanced and hopeful as they can be—which can be infuriating when the week’s news is anything but—and the podcast will be a nice balance if you indulge in too much news or just want to stay in tune with what’s going on but can’t handle a ton of news.

    Call Your Girlfriend a show between two friends, lots of feminist and POC discussions.

    Finally, I mentioned it back in 2015, but the episode of the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron that President Obama was a guest on is worth a re-listen.

    Twitter
    For the Twitter folks, even if you aren’t on Twitter most of these people either write for a publication or have their own blog/website so you can also follow them there.

    The Doom and Gloom Twitter people:
    Sarah Kendzior: I have to mute her because she’s usually right in what she says. She says it, he does it. An expert on authoritarian regimes.
    Summer Brennan: She’s not muted but she always knows a lot of interesting things. Also, started the 451 Podcast.

    Journalists/Writers:
    Kai Ryssdal
    Julia Ioffe
    David Fahrenthold
    Judd Legum
    Jacob Weisberg
    Josh Harkinson
    Nikole Hannah-Jones
    Shaun King
    Matthew Yglesias
    Dan Rather
    Tim Dickinson
    Roxane Gay
    Leonard Pitts, Jr.
    James Fallows
    Ana Navarro—a Republican commentator but vocal against you-know-who.
    David Frum—former GWB speech writer, also vocal against you-know-who.
    John Weaver—former Kasich strategist, and also vocal against you-know-who.

    Politicians:

    Democrats
    Kamala Harris
    Bernie Sanders—yes, he’s an Independent but he is a liberal so he goes here.
    Elizabeth Warren

    Republicans
    Evan McMullin late entry into the campaign for president. I may disagree with him on policies but this man is a patriot.
    Mindy Finn VP running mate to Evan McMullin

    Other People In The Know:
    Celeste Pewter
    Emily Ellsworth
    Sara Langhinrichs
    David Steen, PhD—professor and ecologist, promoting snake advocacy and overall science education through Twitter.
    Katie Boué outdoor advocate
    Rachel Held Evans
    Sarah Bessey
    Jacquelyn Gill Ecologist and science advocate

    That’s all I’ve got.

    May the Force be with you.

    The last week has been quite the lazy one around here. Chris and I were off work and the first half of the holiday week was warm and pleasant and we spent a lot of time outside playing. However, by Wednesday Forest’s cough that had started developing last Monday grew worse and we had a camping trip planned for New Years weekend and I didn’t want to go without getting him checked out. So, off to the pediatrician we went. She prescribed some cough medicine—so nice that we’re finally getting into the ages where more medicine can be prescribed for him!—and thought it was RSV or some similar virus and said there wasn’t much we could do but alleviate some of the symptoms with the cough medicine, Zyrtec, and an inhaler. But Thursday came and his appetite started plummeting and a cold front blew through. By Friday morning we knew it wasn’t going to be good to trek to the Hill Country for a camping trip with iffy weather and a sick kid, so we stayed home.

    It’s been a mostly grey weekend with some rain sessions which meant we’ve been inside bouncing between upstairs and downstairs toys and watching a lot of television. I’ve tried to do some of the items I wanted to get done this week but they’ve mostly been the inside goals. My gardening goals have mostly been on hold. But now I’m starting to sneeze and I felt little wonky this morning so I’m just crossing my fingers that I’m not getting sick just in time to return to work! In all, it is probably good that we’ve just been homebodies this week.

    I’ve done a little looking forward to 2017, planning and goal-wise. I settled on my word last week, Peace. In 2015 I chose mindful which was a good start and I learned quite a bit about the word but I think peace could be a good one to grab hold of this year. Another thing I’m using for 2017 is Elise’s Daily Goal Tracker. I’ve loved this goal tracker since she introduced it a few years ago but never bought it. When she sent her November newsletter announcing it was going to be free for December readers I was excited! I modified mine to print small enough to fit into my Moleskine Bullet Journal and washi taped it inside. I actually made four different ones to keep track of various things.

    One thing I worked on over the break was putting my podcasts on YouTube as another outlet for listening. My goal is to also start incoporating gardening videos over there once or twice a week. If you are a regular YouTube user please subscribe! My brother is also planning to do more on YouTube this year so you can check out his site as well. We recently chatted about gardening on the podcast to wrap up our gardening year.

    I got out for a few minutes yesterday evening to pick collards for dinner and took some photos of the vegetable garden. Here’s what is going on out there!

    IMG_0841
    Recent rain brought up the Clathrus fungi!

    IMG_0840

    IMG_0838

    IMG_0839
    Forest got two sets of gardening tools for Christmas so one is now out in the vegetable garden in his very own digging plot!

    IMG_0837
    The okra were in this section over the summer and down below I kept seeing a weed pop up that I would try and pull. Well, the okra have been gone for a month now and I haven’t done much maintenence. Turns out the weed is a lawn orchid, a plant that is not native and usually spread by mulch.

    IMG_0835

    IMG_0834
    We have a serious abundance of greens!

    IMG_0833

    IMG_0831
    Collards | Chinese Cabbage

    IMG_0830

    IMG_0829

    IMG_0826

    IMG_0824

    IMG_0823
    We planted onions on Christmas day as well as the snow peas.

    IMG_0822

    IMG_0821

    Happy 2017, friends!

    wearwhite

    This was an unplanned post. This was me yesterday at lunch. I voted in the morning, wore a white shirt in solidarity because I don’t have a pantsuit that I can fit into, and happily cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton. Tears welled up in my eyes when I was getting dressed; it was going to be a monumental day!

    As the evening wore on I tried to go to bed at 10:30, only Forest woke up and I had to go calm him back to sleep. As I sat on my phone more tears came to my eyes as it was evident it was going to be monumental in the worst possible way. I slept in fits last night. I hoped that the split electoral college outcome was going to be an option, or that we’d squeak by. But no.

    This is a much scarier feeling than in 2000. If you haven’t been paying attention and think Voldemort was blithely running his mouth, think again. There are a lot of people who are very worried, nervous, and scared about someone who was endorsed by the KKK being president. If you think that other people around him will keep him in check, have you seen what some formerly respectable politicians have been saying on social media or real media? Moreover, look at some of his constituents. Words matter. And what happens when words turn into actions?…well.

    I’m going to relish the last few months of the Obama Administration and be so very thankful for that man. And remind myself of what Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high” and make it a mantra for the next four years.

    *comments will be disabled. If you really need to say something, you can email me. Political posts aren’t my thing, so regular writings will return after I’ve had time to sit with this for awhile.*

    The seasonal transition is starting, the inching towards fall and all of the wonderful parts that come with it; pumpkin everything, the wonderful autumn light, cooler weather, a new gardening season. I was thinking back to myself two years ago, with a fresh baby. There I was sitting at home spending most of the time nursing or changing a diaper and watching autumn come and slowly fade into winter. I missed my favorite season. Sure, I attempted to get out and enjoy it when I could but there was no savoring of that season in the usual sense. Does part of me wish there was a little baby to hold now? A little but I’m also relishing another transition, this one of toddlerhood. It’s all I can do to not scoop the kid up and hold him tightly and never let him go because he’s so darn adorable, even in his hysterical tantrum moments. Ok, maybe not every tantrum and trying moment. Sometimes I just want him to understand reason! And patience.

    Nearly two years ago I wrote a post in which I wondered who I was and where I had gone. I recall that after the post had published to Facebook (back when I was on the platform) that many of my friends chimed in that they had felt the same and it took some time, several years usually, for that old self to return—albeit maybe in a transformed way. I was glad for the verification of the feelings but frustrated that no one had bothered to share it with me beforehand. Of course, would I have listened? Would any first-time mom have listened? That said, here I am two years out from that and I can firmly say that I am feeling more like my old self once again. Not completely there of course, but the glimpses are more long lasting.

    There are two other transitions that have occurred in the last week. The first would be that I stopped pumping milk at work. I know, I know, some of y’all are raising your eyebrows at me and wondering how I pumped for two years when most of y’all (who have breastfed) stopped that pumping bit at the first six months or a year. Well, for several reasons I kept going. One was that after I hit that year mark of breastfeeding I set my sights on two years and pumping would keep that up. Sure, I could have stopped and my body would have adjusted to nursing only during the times I was with Forest but I figured that if I slowly dropped sessions and went from there it would be a lot easier on me and I might reach the two year goal. I had dropped down to one session at work sometime in mid-winter so I was only the pumping 3-4 ounces and less than 10 minute pumping session right before lunch every weekday. I looked at my pump a few weeks ago and decided that after Forest’s two year checkup and talking to the pediatrician I was probably going to stop pumping. I had continued because I had wanted to delay giving him other milks if there was a way that I could still give him my own milk for any reason. Thanksfully my situation at work afforded me the ability to continue pumping so I figured, why not? I know some people hate pumping but I never hated it. Sure, it was an inconvenience but it was never something I loathed. So, all of that combined led to the extended pumping and I am glad to be done with it and glad for what I accomplished. There is now no more frozen milk in my house! All of it has been donated!

    The second transition happened the same day as the stopping the pumping. We started sleep-training. I know it could have happened sooner but as the person with the milk and the body parts that have become the soothing mechanism in the house, I was the one who handled nighttime. And I fell into a pattern that was easiest for me because I felt like I couldn’t do anything else. A year ago I had transitioned Forest to his crib and it took a few weeks but he stopped nursing to sleep at bedtime. I’d pat his back or hang out quietly in the room with him while he went to sleep. I still do this because it is easiest at this point but I may change that here in a few weeks—we’ll see. But without fail the kid woke up 3-4 hours later and then every two-ish hours after that to nurse. For a long time I could nurse him and put him back down to sleep but eventually that stopped working and as a sleepy mom I just wanted the quickest result that lead to me sleeping once again, so I would take him to the guest room with me to sleep after that first or second wakeup. Sure, there were times this last year where he would sleep for long stretches, even once or twice that he ‘slept through the night’, from 8pm until 4am, but they were never replicated. Needless to say it was a frustrating situation for everyone in the house. I have never been a proponent for cry it out or some of the other sleep training methods. I read up on tons of them but I would consistently see negative things about cry it out, especially for babies. I had seen many pro-breastfeeding people show that night waking was very common with breastfed kids and there were a lot of biological norms for this. I knew I wasn’t alone. But something had to give and our pediatrician suggested the cry it out for him and well, we bit the bullet and tried it. It was effing hard that first night with the first wakeup. When your kid is crying for you, you want to go to him. We watched on our monitor for thirty minutes and it was miserable for me. But, he gave up and laid back down. The rest of the wakeups that night were on that 2 hour time schedule but did not last more than 5 minutes, with most 30 seconds to 2 minutes before he laid back down. I got him at 4:30 that first night because I really needed him to empty the milk—I wasn’t used to no nursing at night yet—but the rest of the nights he’s stayed in his crib until anywhere from 5:45 (strike that, we’ve had one or two 5am wakeups…I drafted this before those happened!) until 7:30. There are much longer stretches of sleep, short fusses, but he always lays back down. I know if he wakes up after 5:30 without going back down quickly that he’s up for the day. On the days he has slept beyond when we’ve gotten up it has been incredibly odd feeling, to have to wake him up instead of him all of us being up together. It’s a work in progress but at least, for the most part, we’re getting more consistent sleep around here.

    Everything is moving fast around here, words are getting easier to understand, though there’s plenty of whining, too. He may be a toddler but little kid land is right around the corner! I’m learning what to abandon and figuring out what to focus on instead and am constantly trying to make sure I’m trying to balance it all out as much as possible.

    Happy Sunday y’all! Mid September already? I put out my fall decor over the weekend. It’s not much, mostly ceramic pumpkins I’ve picked up over the years but I got a few other fall pieces at Hobby Lobby last month that included an owl and some fabric pumpkins. I’m holding off on the Halloween items until October but honestly? I think I like the generic ‘fall’ decor because I can keep it up through November!

    Here’s a few few reads and listens for your Sunday!

    Reads
    +Stop Asking for Permission from Maris Mohi in regards to blogging or really, just about anything. Just “do what you want to do”. I know for some people this comes easy but for, I think, most of us it doesn’t.

    +A few weeks ago Lisa asked me to send a healthy snack idea for a list she was compiling from other bloggers and the list debuted while I was on vacation. You can check out the 23 snack ideas here! Lots of good ones that I need to incorporate. Lisa is also sending out a weekly newsletter right now with a healthy snack challenge that includes recipes if you are interested in signing up!

    +Evil Weeds from the Florida Native Plant Society touches on the differences from native plants that might be ‘weedy’ like Spanish needles (Bidens alba—I miss that plant!) to true invasive weeds.

    +I was drooling over Julie Zickefoose’s bobcat encounters in her yard a few weeks ago. Her bobcat friend reappeared several times and she got some amazing shots from her window. Pretty awesome!

    +Joan of Rambling Hemlock is back on the PCT after a two year departure to heal her foot and do some work with Americorps. She’s finishing the rest of the PCT and is currently in Washington where she met and hiked for a bit with Anish on Section K of the PCT. What an awesome experience!

    Listens
    +Kelly Starrett on Chase Jarvis’ Podcast Pain Isn’t Normal. Furthering my interesting in increasing my mobility and flexibility and pushed me into getting a foam roller, something I have mulled over for awhile now. This is a must listen if you are interested in bettering your health in multiple ways. Kelly is from Mobility WOD if you’ve ever seen that site.

    +The Working Girl Next Door Part I and The Working Girl Next Door Part II on the Coffee and Crumbs Podcast with Kelsey Wharton of The Girl Next Door Podcast. These episodes hit close to home because it’s about being a working mother and balancing/juggling all of the things that we do as working mothers but also about relationships, kids, hobbies, all of that good stuff.

    *Later edit*
    +I forgot to include this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe with Martha Stewart! Excellent Q&A with her and she seemed so much more down to earth than I think I’ve imagined. I hope she’s got many more years!

    +In My Head
    Another summer is over. I know there’s three weeks or so until the equinox and more weeks after that in which it will still be hot here in Texas, but the sterotypical ‘summer’ is winding down. Forest’s birthday is next weekend and the little baby will be two! TWO! He’s becoming such a little kid and all summer, with an increase the last month, his language skills have been flourishing. I am really loving this age so far because there’s just so much fun surrounding it. Chris has already reframed two to be Terrific instead of Terrible. Let’s hope!

    +Watching
    As I type this we’re watching Peppa Pig. “Sorry Madame Gazelle!” It’s a nice change from Wonder Pets. For myself, I haven’t watched much this month. I did watch Tristan and Isolde the other night which was nice. Usually Masters of Sex has been on during the summer but it isn’t premiering until September. I was dissapointed with the last season so I may or may not watch all of this season. Homeland should be coming back as well later this fall so I am looking forward to that. I will probably be watching more tv again soon so there might be more of an update than this.

    +Outside My Window
    Sunshine and mowed grass! There was supposed to be a greater chance of rain this weekend but that seems, so far, to have not proven itself. Keeping our eyes on Invest 99L (welcome TD 9!) out there in the Florida Straits. Last week when everyone was really freaking out about it, Chris decided to get a small stock of non-perishable food for hurricane supplies. He also found a new generator on sale at Cabelas and ordered it. We haven’t done much or had to do much for hurricanes since we left Florida. Really, nothing. We live about 80 or so miles as the crow flies from the coast so the main effect from a hurricane wouldn’t be as harsh as closer to the coast but there would definitely be opportunities for a power outage with all of the trees around here. The last big hurricane was Ike back in 2008.

    +In The Art Studio
    There’s actually an update here! I’ve been in the studio twice recently and have plans to make it a more regular affair in the coming months. I finally finished cleaning out a storage container of papers that were from various things ranging from college, our wedding, to trips I was going to scrapbook over the years. After I finally sorted out the different types of ‘keep’—stuff to go in a photo album, stuff to keep in another box, stuff that didn’t even belong in the studio—and the stuff to recycle or shred, it is finally a lot cleaner in there. I still need to do some more organiziation. Next plans are to catch up and finish the scrapbook album I started last year that I was going to chronicle Forest’s 2nd year of life. *Insert maniacal laughs here.* I am not a scrapbooker anymore. I like the idea but I need to figure out another option. Mini-albums, certain seasons…something. I’m thinking the second album I have is going to be a December Daily album. I did a December Daily album once back when I lived in Florida. I prepped it all before December and all I had to do was print photos each week and stick them in the album throughout December. I really love having that album now. So, prep an album and take photos throughout December, that’s my goal with scrapbooking now.

    When we were in DFW a few weeks ago I picked up my old potholder loom. I’m now interested in making something out of what I weave on that loom but also interested in making my own bigger loom to weave with yarn. Weaving has been a popular thing on craft blogs the last two years and I was always interested in it but I’m making strides in starting. I bought a plain wooden picture frame at Hobby Lobby last weekend and now I just need to measure out a row of nails on the top and bottom and get started. There are a ton of tutorials out there so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out.

    Art…planning on doing small pieces this winter in a watercolor book I have. More on that soon!

    Crochet…I made a quick pair of fingerless gloves. More on that soon, too.

    +In The Garden
    We had a week of rainy weather so my gardening wasn’t too strong recently. I need to get back on top of weeds in the vegetable garden. I’m also working on reweeding the first flower bed I weeded this summer because weeds are returning. I just need to kind of wrap up the gardens going into fall, clean up the paths, etc. It doesn’t look horrible but definitely needs some cleaning up.

    I found an empty monarch chrsyalis yesterday so that made me very excited that there was some kind of success with our monarch caterpillars this year!

    +Reading
    See yesterday’s book report.

    +Drinking
    A menagerie of coffees. Target had a whole selection on clearance a few weeks ago so I stocked up.

    +Loving
    A few weeks ago Chris went to the HEB grocery store instead of Kroger to get groceries. He came back with Texas farmed shrimp that was on sale. I stopped eating shrimp in college when I learned how detrimental shrimp trawling was in regards to bycatch. At first I ate some farmed shrimp but most of it was from other countries and I learned how bad that was in countries with little environmental regulations. So, shrimp went off the list as did a lot of other fish. Well, we looked into the company that was farming it locally and I am much more comfortable eating farmed shrimp from the US than anywhere else so Chris has been stocking up on it since it is in season and priced on sale right now.

    Fall decor. I haven’t decorated in a few years but I’m going to go for it this year. Not too much, mostly little pumpkins and such, but I’m really excited about making it pretty around here. Resisting urge to decorate too early, so waiting until mid-to-late September.

    Being outside in the late afternoon I’m getting that feeling of my fall coming on. Florida made me really love September-March, well, there it was most like October-April. Aside from some dreary grey days mid-winter, for the most part I love this upcoming time of year. I might have to write an ode to the cool season. (note, cool, not cold. I don’t do cold. Ok, let’s just call it how I like it: 70* and sunny. 🙂 )

    What’s up with you?

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