My peach

pregnancy and peachesA blog I follow, Mama Said, just posted a poem that shot me back in time.

This summer I went to the orchard with my mom and Peeper. I was almost 8 months pregnant, and the baby girl growing inside me kicked and stretched, making me wince—and smile.

We had come for the cherries (and the farm animals, which Peeper simultaneously loved and feared), but it turned out that peaches were in season, too. We made a short detour on the dusty road, pulled over and found ourselves under a canopy of trees buzzing with sweetness and potential.

I didn’t have a bucket or a spare bag, so I balanced the peaches I picked on my belly. And I couldn’t resist—I bit into one (or, ah, several). I ate them surrounded by branches heavy with fruit, and the juice dripped down my chin and stained the shirt stretched taught over my big belly.

They tasted full—alive, vibrant, practically bursting with flavor.

Peeper was less interested in fruit picking than she was in feeding the goats, so we left not long after that. I drove us home, my sticky hands leaving smudges on the steering wheel, as Kiwi squirmed inside me and Peeper sang “Old MacDonald” in the back seat.

My life felt like those peaches—full and vibrant in the sweetest way.

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Build your ideal nursing station

Newborn Breastfeeding - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Newborn photography by Capturing Grace Photography

When you have a newborn, approximately 90% of your time is spent breastfeeding. (I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that verifies this. Hold on while I find it…)

In the first few weeks when Kiwi was perennially attached to my boob, I was lucky enough to have lots of family around. “Can you bring me my water?” I’d ask the second she latched because of course I never remembered to bring my trusty water jug with me.

Water isn’t the only thing you’ll want on hand while nursing your newborn. After all, you’ll want to be comfortable during those hours you spend nourishing that tiny baby.

Here, then, is what you’ll need to set up the perfect nursing stationContinue reading

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Toddler DIY: Coffee filter bouquets

Toddler craft coffee filter flower bouquetNot long ago, we learned our next-door neighbor was sick. She had surgery and was recovering quickly, but I wanted to send over something to show we’d been thinking of her.

Naturally, I wanted to involve Peeper. We set to making a paper bouquet of coffee filter flowers.

Peeper is still too young to understand why we were making the bouquet, and thank goodness. How wonderful to be unaware of things like cancer, anesthesia and prognoses. But it’s important to instill the value of doing nice things for others, so we made our own thinking-of-you package instead of buying a bouquet or card at the store.

Toddler craft coffee filter flower bouquetOne of the nice things about these coffee filter flowers is you almost definitely have the materials on hand. What’s more, it’s ridiculously easy and simple enough for even toddlers to do.

What are you waiting for? Even if you don’t know someone who’s ill, you do know someone whose day would be brightened by a hand-made flower or two. Continue reading

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Wipe out diaper need 

Diaper changing pad - Ten Thousand Hour MamaIt’s a cliche that babies go through a lot of diapers, and for good reason.

Eric and I had been through the ’round the clock diaper duty with Peeper, but somehow we had forgotten by the time Kiwi was born. It seemed as if just when we changed Kiwi, she’d wail, letting us know she was wet again.

Before long, we’d run out of those impossibly tiny newborn diapers (the one size I hadn’t stocked up on). So off the grandparents went to the grocery store—and came back with a package each of the leading brand. (Eric’s dad didn’t know which I preferred so he hedged his bets.)

Unfortunately, for too many families, the constant diaper changes aren’t just an amusing, if exasperating, rite of passage into parenthood. Diapers are crazy expensive and aren’t covered in assistance programs like WIC or food stamps, so moms and dads may have to make do with fewer than their little ones need.

In fact, a staggering 5.3 million children don’t have enough diapers—putting them at higher risk for infection and rash as their parents wait longer between changes and even dry out used diapers for reuse, I learned from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). What’s more, the lack of disposable diapers sometimes keeps kids out of day care—and parents out of work.

AWHONN is partnering with Kimberly Clark and the National Diaper Bank Network to provide free diapers to the one in three families who struggle to buy enough diapers in the Wipe Out Diaper Need campaign, which runs this week.. If you have extras that your littles have outgrown, you can donate to food banks, assistance programs or a diaper bank (find one nearby here). You can also donate here (that’s what I did; $1 buys six diapers that go directly to families).

When I change Peeper and Kiwi’s diapers lately, I think about all those moms and dads who need to wait a little longer before changing their babies so they don’t run out completely. Instead of bemoaning another wet nappy or even a blowout, I’m grateful that we have enough.

This post was not sponsored or solicited. I found out about the campaign and chose to write about it because many people, like me, didn’t know about the problem of diaper need.

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Two months: Kiwi

If the first month of Kiwi’s life was figuring out what the heck we were doing with our newly expanded family, the second month has been about getting to know this beautiful, engaging, curious tiny person.

I can’t get enough of her.

Baby two months oldI memorize the locations of the freckles on her head. Before too long, her hair will grow longer and I’ll never see them again.

I admire the delicate curves of her ears. They remind me of the swirl of a seashell or the whorl of a knot on a tree.

I feel her gentle breath on my skin as she breathes in and out.

I know the telltale fussiness that tells me she needs to burp (which is different from her tired, hungry or overwhelmed fussiness). And I can feel the burp inside her before it bubbles up. (“Good burp!” Peeper congratulates her every time.)

Baby Sharknado Continue reading

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For the love of grandparents

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” -Welsh proverb

To see my girls adored by their grandparents is to witness something pure and beautiful.

The four of them—Eric’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Gregory, and mine, Nana and Grandpa Shempy—light up when they are with Peeper and Kiwi. Peeper’s shenanigans especially inspire laughter and the kind of fun unique to little ones.

Two grandmasGrandpa Oregon zooTwo Grandpas with granddaughters Continue reading

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Life > Blog

Balancing life with two kidsLong time no see, Blog.

I’ve been writing here much less frequently since Kiwi was born. Well, duh, you might think. I do, after all, have an eight-week-old and toddler to take care of, plus a husband to occasionally talk with, plus a full-time job writing. (Cleaning and cooking have completely fallen by the wayside, too. Our house is a constant disaster.)

My hiatus is perhaps to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I like this blog. I enjoy writing it, sharing it, connecting with other people and building a community of other bloggers and readers. It doesn’t bring in a cent and probably isn’t advancing my career in any way, but it has become something that’s important to me.

As moms, it’s easy to let go of the things we enjoy—but that don’t tangibly contribute— especially in the hazy first months of a baby’s life. But we shouldn’t.

Even though this blog centers around my family, it’s for me. I am a writer, and writers write. Sure, right now I’m writing and editing full-time, but this is fulfilling in a different way. I get to say what’s in my heart (or in my sleep-deprived mind, at least).

At some point, I’ll regain some of the balance that’s missing. In the meantime, I haven’t completely forgotten about my tiny corner of the internet. I’ll be back.

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