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Extended Nursing: That’s a Wrap!

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The past week has been bittersweet. It’s the end of an era between my son and me. An era I never imagined surviving a year much less three and a half. 

Apollo never took to bottles or pacifiers, so I served as both. My husband couldn’t help with feedings since, quite frankly, he wasn’t the one with the milk-filled boobs; and when Apollo figured out that boobs not only provide milk but pacify too, it was mama, mama, mama, and only mama from then on out.

Throughout the first year I:

-was sleep deprived.
-had sore, cracked nipples.
-leaked a lot.
-was supper emotional (see: sleep deprived).
-dreamt about the one year mark, when I’d begin the weaning process.

But when he turned one, I wasn’t quite ready to initiate weaning. I knew some resistance and crying would be involved, and since I’d become a pro at pacifying his qualms (with boobs) I wasn’t ready to replace this challenge with a new one. We’d gotten into a groove, a routine, and dare I say it, a bond. Besides, we were about to embark on a cross-country move (Hawaii to Maryland) and I wanted to preserve as much normalcy for him as possible.

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Okay, so on our way to Maryland from Hawaii we made a month-long stop in Texas. He bit my nip one day while nursing and it hurt so bad I shouted. It scared him and he wouldn’t nurse for three entire days. Crabbiness ensued and nothing would pacify him. I was afraid it was the abrupt and unexpected (i.e. I wasn’t emotionally prepared) end of our breastfeeding bond. I captured a moment of him resisting the boob. I was an emotional mess. That is probably mascara on the blanket. Ha!

Once we were settled into our new state/home, he was pushing two. What the hey, I thought, I’ll just wait until after his second birthday to initiate weaning. But by then I had read about the benefits of extended nursing for both baby and mama. What? I’m reducing the risk of developing breast cancer? I’m still boosting his brain development and resistance to illness? I’m not particularly crunchy, but that sounded like a sweet deal. 

I’m not gonna lie—I was dead tired. Constant night wakings and co-sleeping in uncomfortable positions took a toll on me. I swear I’ve aged double-time. But his nursings throughout the day gave me a break too. I enjoyed taking a moment to slow down, be present and catch up on my own rhythm (slow and deliberate).

Before I knew it we were celebrating Apollo’s third birthday. The white flag was completely thrown and I decided I’d let him decide when we’d be done. I had long stopped caring about the well-meaning, though misinformed, comments by relatives about how spoiled he was and how he was too big to be nursing. I knew I had already done what was best for both of us.

Last Sunday we were in bed and on a whim I said “Mama’s chichis are tired, and you’re getting to be such a big boy. Let’s just snuggle.” He turned around, went to sleep and that was that.

It’s been a challenging, deliriously sleep-deprived, beautiful, learning curve, but we did it together. Our bond is physical and emotional. It will always be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

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(Side note: I really wish I would have taken more photos of me nursing him.)

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Free FALLing

 

 

Right now I am snuggled up on my couch with a blanket, the fireplace is crackling, the aroma of pumpkin spice candles is conjuring images of pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin EVERYTHING. It’s no secret. I FREAKING LOVE FALL. It’s perhaps my most favorite thing about living on this side of the U.S.

Some of the basic bitch things I like to do during fall:

  • Hike
  • Drink a shit ton of (decaf) pumpkin lattes
  • Hike
  • Get some new sweaters, scarves and boots and wear my favorite ones incessantly
  • Cook a lot of soups, stews and casseroles
  • Hike
  • Eat
  • Hike

Seeing a trend much?

This is why I am devastated that I didn’t do any fall hiking this year. Or at least go out to take photos of fall foliage. I guess I’ve been too busy with my kids (I’m basically an Uber driver) that it slipped by me. This week is a little too cold to have Apollo outdoors for extended times, and even if next week is a little warmer, most of the foliage will have fallen.

 

So today I am just admiring some fall photos of the last two years. Nearly all of them are from around my neighborhood. Gahhh. Why must it be so short lived?

 

What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?

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10 Ideas to Inspire Your Creativity

Your muse goes missing. Inspiration seems elusive. Creative blocks are burgeoning. However you describe it, we’ve all experienced those slumps in creativity. And it doesn’t matter what your niche is, a lack of inspiration and ideas can be pretty frustrating  when you’re  trying to write a book, run a business, or enjoy a hobby.

So should you let the slump run its course or should you catch up to it and show it who’s boss? Do you have your running shoes on? Good. Let’s go.

Here are 10 ideas to get you back in the creative spirit:

  1. Spend a day at a museum. Any museum. Other people’s brilliance and ingenuity will remind you how amazing human creativity is. It is a gift within all of us.
  2. Go to an open mic event at a local coffee shop. Buy yourself a treat, relax and enjoy the beauty of others’ thoughts, ideas and delivery.
  3. Take an art or how-to class. Choose one that is outside of your current niche.
  4. Go to a play or musical. It does not matter if it’s a Broadway production or a local community college production. Just marvel at the pro.duct.ion.
  5. Attend a cultural event. Preferably one outside of your own. You will have fun learning the intricacies of a culture.
  6. Watch any movie by Laika Entertainment. The stop-motion animation studio never ever disappoints. Their creativity, attention to detail, resolve is astounding! (Imagine the patience it takes to partake in stop-motion animation.)
  7. Attend a writer’s group meeting. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, writing and sharing ideas with observant and thoughtful people (cause that’s what we are ;-)) gets the wheels turning.
  8. Go to a costume party. They’re not just reserved for Halloween! You can attend Cosplay, a Renaissance fair or Victorian era party, Diner en Blanc, etc. Anything that forces you to play dress up.
  9. Upcycle/repurpose something. Make it a project to find something cheap or free from a yard sale or thrift store. Repaint and repurpose it.
  10. Go to a bar or winery. Take your notebook of bright ideas with you. Lord knows all we need sometimes is a little liquid courage to get past our inner critic. Enjoy!

Which one of these would you choose first? Also, name something you would add to the list!

Let’s follow each other on Instagram!

My Own Happy Hour

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On Wednesday I decided to forget about the basket of clean laundry hiding in my closet for the past four days as well as all the other unattended things in my house. Even though I am a homemaker above everything else I do, am I not allowed to take off days or at least make my own version of happy hour just like every other kind of worker? After my son weans I am investing in a flask for my nature walks. Ha! How’s that for happy hour? (I kid.)

October was a busy month for my Etsy shop. On top of that my husband was out-of-state and I was incredibly busy driving my oldest two kiddos to-and-fro and taking care of the littlest one. I rarely got a moment to sit and breathe and be present in my surroundings. And even though part of me feels invigorated by October’s sales and I literally want to stay up all night to make all the things, I also feel the need to sloooow down—especially since I’m still not sleeping through the night cause my son is still a mega-nurser. I’m deciding to listen to my body when it says ‘take it easy.’

So how could I choose laundry over the sight of these vibrant colors and the musky smell of damp, fallen leaves? I love, love, love trees more than I’ve ever loved a beach, and that’s saying a lot considering I’ve lived in Hawaii. Kinda makes me sad though that I’m such a forest nymph while the rest of my family is a school of fishies. They love the water. Maybe I was an owl in my past life. Or a monkey. (Yeah, owl sounds better.)

Anyway, my backyard is literally a state park so I decided to take a hike with my son. I’ve adopted it as our own little happy hour.

Enjoy the pics!

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What is your own version of happy hour?

November Over Everything

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I love November. Like, a lot. It’s a time to enjoy all the Halloween candy and fall foliage, good food and family, and the calm before the gift-buying, tree-erecting December frenzy.

This year, my anniversary falls on Thanksgiving. We did not plan for this to happen every several years. We did not plan anything, really! We got married at the Justice of the Peace during my husband’s lunch break. Our “lunch break” marriage is what we call it, and that marriage has lasted 12 years so far (16 all together)! So it feels super-special to celebrate our love, longevity and family of 5 on our “Thanksiversary.” Hehe 🙂

Also, the Baltimore Writer’s Conference is always in November. I went last year and loved the little fire it lit under my write-loving butt. Looking forward to attending again next weekend, perhaps with a few of my writer’s group friends.

Today I plan on taking a little hike in my backyard (which is literally a state park) to breathe in all the dank woodsy smells and hear the squirrels and other wildlife—including myself and my son—crunching the dry leaves beneath our feet. I love you, November.

Happy November, y’all!

Which month is your favorite and why?

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