Baby brother turned ONE!

August 31, 2009 § 1 Comment

It was bound to happen and it happened this weekend. I don’t think I’ve thoroughly processed this thought. A friend came over and brought over Agar Jelly (aka Kanten jelly, Japanese jelly, etc). It’s made from Agar Agar flakes, a derivative of seaweed. “Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it’s dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled.   Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature–it can even set at room temperature.  Agar, like gelatin, is full of protein (though incomplete), but it also contains the rich array of minerals one would expect from seaweed.” (Cooks Thesaurus) She mixed in some fruit and it was so delicious! It’s vegan so it supported my return to dairy-free life.


We were thinking of having a party in his honor but I kept putting off the preparations. It was nice to have our family and one neighbor. Sort of what we did for bilingual baby’s first birthday. Nothing big, just us and one friend.

My interest in Macrobiotics is increasing. It’s interesting to find a way of eating so close to the way we eat in Colombia. Grains, beans, veggies. A good friend loaned me a book called Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford. Pitchford provides food remedies, or ways to treat body imbalances with food. I’d love to have the Spanish version.

My neighbor is really into the macrobiotic thing and I’ve learned a lot from her. It is very intuitive for me, having lived on rice and lentils as a kid. Some of the things that are different for me are the sweets. Fruits are left to be eaten 2-3 times a week. It makes more sense that we would do that in Vermont since so few fruits grow naturally here. However, in Colombia, fruit grows year round and it’s all local! I definitely haven’t cut out my fruit habit (sounds pretty lame to be cutting down my fruit habit) but maybe someday. First I need to find more ways to cook kale, since it grows so easily in this area.

More next on my sad tomato plants. They, along with everyone else’s tomato plants, got hit by some airborne thing and now the tomatos are rotten, the leaves are brown and falling off and overall it just looks sad. I’m wondering if I should pull it out of the ground to give more room for the kale, beets and few carrots. I’m also planning for next year already, seeing that the amount of sun on the side patch is lacking much more than I had anticipated.



August 28, 2009 § 6 Comments

I’ve been editing a couple posts that just won’t come together. Instead of dragging on the process, I thought I’d just list the things that I’ve wanted to write about and fill in later. Summer is so close to being over along with the ease of getting out of the house without having to layer hat, coat, mittens, and boots. In light of that, and along with a large number of bloggers, I’m not that eager to blog. I’ve also been having a really fun time with my kids which leaves me with a lot of food for thought but little time to put those ideas to ink. Baby brother is a riot. He makes us laugh a lot. Bilingual baby and I think a lot of things are really funny, so the three of us are a good match. (I’m not saying it’s easy to be at home with the kids but at the end of the day when they’re both asleep next to me I think of the overall and it’s all good.)

Here’s my list of thoughts:

1. I’m going to homeschool my kids. Unschool to be precise. More on that later.

2. Steamed bread is delicious! Try it. It’ll taste like desert.

3. I have been eating cheddar cheese for the last year and some and now I can’t stand it- my body can’t digest it so I’m back to being lactose-free. It feels great. Though I have to say that eating cheese when my body craved it felt great, too. I wonder what I can eat next time I have a dairy craving? I’ll look into it.

4. It looks like we’re entering a more emotional side to toddlerhood. I’ve been hearing bilingual baby say things like: I’m so sad with you.

5. I started an entry with the title: What’s your comfort food? Mine is lentils and rice.

Teething, Round Two

August 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

Poor baby brother has had a temperature for the last couple of days and has been absolutely miserable. Even when we’ve been around other kids. That’s saying a lot since he’s a very chill person. Right now, he’s have a minute (or two) of lack of discomfort… okay. I wrote that line and immediately heard him crying as he crawled over to me. I now have him on my back and he seems to be doing okay.

The last couple of days it’s been hard to distinguish the beginning from the end of a nursing session. He’s been latched on all day, it seems. At night I think he nurses a lot but I think I’ve got my cruise control on by then and don’t notice the number of wake-ups. It’s one of the blessings of sharing a bed with the fam. On that note, I have to say that the family bed is working out for us. Bilingual baby doesn’t seem to want to transition anywhere else but to baby brother’s side and back. On occasion, she’ll talk about making a tiny bed for herself but it ends up unused. I’ve been thinking about making her a little futon to put on the floor next to our bed. I don’t want her out of our bed but I also don’t want to misread readiness. I suppose readiness will be obvious and what we’re seeing is still a little sparse. I’m just excited to make a bed for her.

Back to the teething. It’s tough, too, that bilingual baby is also reverting to crawling and playing baby. Hers is a need to be close due to all that she’s learning, as much as it’s a call to be as close as her baby brother is to us. Some days it’s harder than others. For the most part, I think I’m juggling just fine on my own. I don’t know that help is openly received by my kids. Last night, bilingual papi did get to do bedtime alone with bilingual baby which is what they did for about off and on during my pregnancy with baby brother.

Gonna run and take a minute shower before the sewing circle arrives. I’m bringing the sewing machine down today and I can’t promise that it’ll be back upstairs by the end of the day. I’ve got too many projects I’ve been meaning to start.

On another note, I noticed that my flickr badge hasn’t been working and I don’t have concentrated computing time to try and fix it and I wanted to share some photos of our recent Chicago/California trip. So, if you’re interested, check out My flickr.

Room enough

August 16, 2009 § 7 Comments

I feel like I’m approaching my blog in a slightly different way theses days. On one hand, I just don’t blog with the voracity I used to have but why should I? My little baby boy is walking and I can’t stop watching him explore. For instance, over the last couple of days he’s figured out that the same skill he uses to get off the bed (feet first) works in other situations as well. He’s using this new skill to cross over the rim of the sliding glass door, get from the porch to the grass and even climb down one step of our stairs! He just figures this stuff out on his own. It’s very cool. As an aside, he’s such an independent walker, too. He doesn’t want all the hand holding I remember providing for other kids (my older one included). So much seems to happen in one day that when I get time to blog I have no idea where to start.

I have had one thing on my mind and I’ve wanted to share it with those of you who have followed my journey as a mom. For you, here is my story:

During the first couple of days of being in California, we stayed at my sister’s house. She had a conference to go to that week so my parents were there watching her two kids (5 and 7 months). This was my first time meeting the 7 month old. He is such a little cutie. In talking with my sister our first evening, she revealed to me that she was feeling at odds with this conference because she didn’t have time to pump. She’d been pumping at work until summer hit and she could be at home and nurse all day. Since this conference, she’d been giving her little boy some formula and she wasn’t sure what to do. I eagerly offered to express some breastmilk to give to him instead of the formula- not so much because I disagree with giving formula but mostly because I was there and I was more than willing. She then revealed to me that she was hoping I’d offer. We were on the same page. The next day I called her to ask where her pump was since I had forgotten to ask for it the night before. By this point, all I was nervous about was my parent’s reaction to my pumping for my nephew. On the phone, my sister was explaining to me how to reassemble the pump which I was instructed to sterilize first. What a pain, I thought. Can’t I just nurse him? I asked and she said it was fine and that she hadn’t even figured I’d go for the pumping to begin with. Again, same page. My nephew was fussing for food. Since I was nervous about how my family would react, I decided to hand express some milk. My kids thought it was an early buffet and came over to help themselves. Very funny. Then my mom told me that in the southern part of the United States, where some of her family is from, the concept of a wet nurse is very common. My dad then saw me doing my best at hand expressing and didn’t say a word. He didn’t even make a face. After talking with my mom a bit more about wet nurses in the south, I told her that my sister had okayed me to nurse her son. So, with my parent’s approval, I picked up my nephew and cradled him close to me and began to nurse him. He wasn’t too sure of it at first. He kept looking at me, nursing and coming off. Baby brother kept coming over to see what I was doing. What little baby did I have in my arms? He was curious. (Not jealous.) And he wanted to join in like bilingual baby had joined in when he was nursing (which I haven’t done in months). By the second nursing, my nephew was part of the nursing team. He was soon falling asleep as I nursed him in my arms, in the chair his mama nursed him in on most days. I ended up nursing him during the day for 2 days and will never forget the experience. I feel so close to him, as if my heart had expanded by nursing him.

Letters to a toddler

August 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

Bilingual baby is getting into this book that we’ve had since before she was born called The Jolly Postman. The pages of the book are formed like large envelopes and each envelope/page has a letter to a fairy tale character. Cinderella, for instance, gets a letter from a publisher along with a book which is the story of how she met HRH Prince Charming. Bilingual baby likes going out to get the mail and we usually spend quite a while playing at our mail box. Also, she’s converted one of our night stands into a mail box for herself and baby brother. Now, with the letters from this book, she’s actually got some actual mail to stuff into the night stand.

Lucky me, I saw this entry into SouleMama’s blog showing a page from her new book. She made a letter satchel for her kid. How cute to make these for the kids but I’ll probably go with buttons or velcro insead of a snap.

News from the front: Baby brother is now walking. He started walking on my birthday (August 3rd) and hasn’t gone back. He’s loving his new skill. I am, too.

A note about my choice of link to the Jolly Postman. I get tired of linking to amazon and wanted to go for something else. This link also takes you to some more activities you could do with an older child that’ll enrich (as they put it) the reading and comprehension of the book and its themes. My kids are way to young for these little lessons and I’d only do them if I felt it went along with their interests. For now, we’ll just stick to the toddler activities of putting the letters in the envelopes and taking them out to read (I mean, skim) their message. Have fun!

Family Compounds

August 4, 2009 § 4 Comments

multi family

After having family from both our sides around us helping with the kids and keeping me engaged in adult conversation, I’m having a bit of culture shock now that we’re back home. Baby brother is having some more teething discomfort and there’s very little I can do besides carry him around and nursing on and off all day. When we had family around all day even if I were holding him all day I could talk to other adults about whatever came to mind.

Some cultures, like the Balinese, have family compounds. Each smaller unit lives in a separate “house” but all of these homes have a central open area in common. I was walking around trying to get the kids to nap a couple of months ago and saw this sign that said, “multi-family” and thought of the Balinese. Life seems simpler within the compound. There are multiple generations within reach and nobody has to make anybody else feel guilty for living far away (ahem!). Children grow up assuming they will do the work their mothers and fathers do and eagerly apprentice from a young age.

I can only assume it would be difficult to adjust to living with several generations having never experienced it; both sets of grandparents had passed away by the time I was 7 years old. Now that my dad has retired from teaching I wish I could be around him all day and my future visits to California will get to be longer since he won’t be going to his old job.

Gotta run. The kale chips are done.

Vacation Wrap up

August 2, 2009 § 3 Comments

We just got back from a two week vacation. It was tiring but also very fun. Tiring only because we drove to Chicago, tried to get in as much fun into a couple of days, flew to California and again tried to get in as much as possible, flew back after a week and then drove back to Vermont. I realized ever more clearly how much more fun it is to be a mother surrounded by others. Daily. Even if we didn’t always agree, it was just more engaging to be around little kids AND adults. Of course, that made me dread coming home where I knew I’d be alone during the day- for the most part. Even if we hang out with friends there are always times when I’m alone with the kids.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy their company but for me it was even more enjoyable to talk to adults during the day, too. Bilingual baby entered a “why” phase, so you can imagine that my vocabulary has been shot in the leg. She also asks for you to repeat explanations of things. I don’t know how many times bilingual papi explained what a silo is while we were driving. I think if he had been alone with the kids he might not have the patience to repeat his explanation over and over. However, with me in the car as well, it didn’t seem that repetitive… either that, or we could just remind each other of how much she was absorbing and how the repetition is something she liked, etc.

We did get to go on outings a lot while we were out. We saw some friends from Chicago that I haven’t seen in the two years we’ve been in Vermont. That was nice. I also got some interest in my pods but had to use scraps of paper to jot down my contact info since my business cards were sitting in our mailbox the whole time we were on vacation. Sigh.

It is nice to be home. Although I thought it was cleaner when we left. I guess homes without kids are way cleaner than my own. What are you gonna do?

Back to basics: making food for the kids all day long, visiting with friends, the babywearing group and sewing. I want to do more repairs and alterations. I need to get the word out.

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