Tag Archive | natural parenting

Finding Beauty in Motherhood

“Surely mercy and goodness will follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever….”

Yesterday was one of those days…..because I was trying to throw one too many things into the mix. I thought,”I’ll just keep the kids busy with their school work with one half of my brain and with the other I’ll list some stuff on Ebay.”

Right! My dear children could not seem to focus unless I was focused on them. Every time I turned my attention to them they were not busily working on their math. Plus I was trying to keep the little girls from eating us out of house and home, plus making a birthday cake and keeping the house somewhat orderly for an art class that we’ve been hosting on Wednesday afternoons. Finally I gave up in frustration. Then I scorched and ruined a whole four quart pot of chili, I was really looking forward to eating it too! Then Blue-eyes didn’t get home until 7:30. Right at the time my three year old daughter pooped in her underwear.

My flesh was rearing it’s ugly head. I felt seriously like railing accusations at my husband (who knows why, except that at that moment it felt like all my woes were caused by him coming home late) instead I calmly, through clenched teethe told him I didn’t know of any other husband who worked so much and a couple other things. I went to bed feeling like a looser mom and an ungrateful wife.

Joy comes in the morning though. Before Blue-eyes went to work this morning he gave me lots of kisses and promised to be praying for me today. Good ole’ blue-eyes! What would I do without him?

Usually when I start to feel like this I know I need to gather my chicks under my wings and go outside, somewhere beautiful, just them and me and God. Somewhere where I can breathe deep, have the sky above me. My old stand by is the forest. Any other day it can be called the woods but on these days it is the forest.

The smell of pine trees, moss, the earth, calms my nerves and gives me peace. Today I needed this and I wanted to share with you the beauty that I found. I found beauty in motherhood like I always do when I take the time to look.

I’m sure there will be lilacs in heaven. After spending the day surrounded by such beauty our spirits are tempered with grace. Add some Tintin books and art supplies from a garage sale along the way home and we have a quiet, peaceful afternoon and I can work on my blog!

The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland Washington

 

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MDs, NPs, Nurse Practitioners, Doctor Dad…..What’s a Mama to do?

The Lord always is good. For whatever reason this winter has been a season full of doctor visits for our family. (Good-bye, tax return.sigh.but thank you, Lord, that we had it!)

It started out with our daughter’s eczema flaring up. I tried our usual remedies and lots of new ones but was still not able to get it under control. It was spreading, itchy, red and really starting to upset her.

We have had a visit or two to the dermatologist earlier in our parenting career. Pretty much went like this, here’s some steroid medicine, no, we don’t really look into what causes eczema, give us $500.00, good-bye! Oh, and you could add some bleach to the bath water. Really?…..Ummm, no, thanks!

So around Thanksgiving time I decided to take her to see a Naturopathic Physician. She does muscle testing. Not sure how that works but we’ll take her word for it! She finds that my daughter is sensitive to all sorts of foods! Dairy, eggs, artificial dyes and flavorings, add this to the fact that she already has Celiac Disease, which requires a strict gluten free diet. She is already without an ounce of fat and she started losing weight. She was very careful to follow the doctors instructions but even after a couple months things weren’t clearing up! In fact, they seemed to be getting worse.

We decided to try a different Naturopathic Physician. He is really kind and seems to have a lot of knowledge. He listened to us and didn’t even look at her skin much. He loaded us up with vitamins and herbal/homeopathic supplements.  We saw him a few times and still things were not getting better.

Finally one night my daughter came into our bedroom after the other kids are sleeping. The rash had spread onto her face and neck and everyone commented on it. She started sobbing and telling Blue- eyes and me how she is struggling so much. She tells us that she prays everyday that God will heal her and it just doesn’t seem like He hears her. She says that we keep telling her it will be ok and we’ll get it figured out but when? Our hearts are breaking for her. After she goes back to bed Blue- eyes goes into her room and prays for her until she falls asleep.

Next morning, you know it, I am on a mission. In desperation I decide to bring her to the dermatologist. First I call and they say they don’t have an opening for almost a month. Oh no! But wait there actually is a cancellation for later that day. Can we make it? Yes! Luckily Blue-eyes is working in the same area as the dermatologist so he meets us there and takes the other kids to lunch while I bring her to her appointment.

By this time I am freaked out that my daughter actually has some horrible rare skin disorder. The doctor comes in and checks out her skin and makes his diagnosis in about five minutes. Just plain old eczema with a raging staph infection in it. What?! I guess all of our bodies have staph present and sometimes it can infect open cuts. Once staph is present, the skin cannot heal. Because she was scratching, mostly in her sleep, the skin would get new small openings and the infection would spread.

Now, I cannot even tell you the last time anyone at this house was on an antibiotic but we went and filled our prescription and literally, within 48 hours, it was like a miracle taking place! The dermatologist was completely right. Her rash is gone except a little bit of normal looking eczema on her elbows and wrists. She says that the verse that says that “God will not give us more than we are able to bear” has been made alive to her because she seriously could bear it no more and right then God allowed her to be healed. Thank you, Father, for being faithful to my girl!

Then I felt bad for not taking her there sooner but I was doing what I thought was best. Too bad that neither of those naturopathic doctors picked up on that! The word says that God refines us through trials, my daughter and I have talked a lot about what we can learn from this season, compassion, long suffering, and trusting God even when it FEELS like He’s not listening. But I keep telling her that her skin is going to be radiantly healthy and beautiful after all those supplements she’s been taking!

In between times my oldest son had two mishaps that perhaps could have used stitches. Had it not been for doctor Dad, he would have been hauled in both times. One of the many things I love about Blue-eyes, his ability to remain as calm as a cucumber in any situation. Then, one more mishap that was even too much for Doctor Dad, so off he went to the E.R. where he got 11 stitches put in his cheek. Thankfully, in every one of those situations, Blue-eyes happened to be here. When my kid is bleeding profusely I get a little (or a lot) freaked out.

Then most recently, my smaller son had a huge swollen lymph node under his chin. Because I know that swollen lymph nodes can be sign of the dreaded C word. We decide to bring him to the pediatrician. He was pretty excited because this is a rarity at our house. We do not bring our kids to well child visits because we don’t vaccinate and if they are eating, happy and growing I see no reason at all to go.

Because my son had not been seen at this clinic before there was a lot of paper work. Why does it matter if we are Hispanic or white? The receptionist said it is because of grants they get from the government. Hmmm….I still don’t see why it matters. Then I get to the other paper work and I started feeling a little annoyed. What does whether or not we have guns in our home have to do with my doctor visit? And who would check the box that says “yes” and then check the “no” box for the next question. Are they locked up? And what would happen if you did?

After reading through a few more I decided that since the government was not paying for my child’s visit I was not obligated to answer any more questions (Yay! For a while I am free to pay for my own child’s doctor visit.  What a novelty ) .  I was already feeling grumpy when we went back to our room. Then I got grumpier, all over the exam room walls there was propaganda about vaccines and other ways to keep your child “safe”.

I was feeling defensive and grumpy before the doctor even came in. Then she came in and funny thing, she reminded me so much of one of my favorite nieces. She was young and as sweet as could be. She told me the lymph node was swollen because of a small infection on his chapped lips and it’s common for kids to get swollen lymph nodes on their necks and faces. Use Neo-sporin for a few days and it should be fine. (It worked.) She gave me couple of prescriptions for his seasonal allergies, which I definitely won’t be using.

All of my defensiveness fell away and we ended up having a nice visit. she gave me some tips about NPs. She said to beware if they are selling supplements because that can be where they make a lot of their money. She said she has seen some kids on a lot of unnecessary supplements. Good advice, I thought.

I had to laugh at myself a little on the way home. And wonder at the way it all worked out. If someone is well they don’t need a doctor. Pregnancy is not a sickness and home is the safest, healthiest place for the healthy delivery of a healthy baby. But a sick baby needs a doctor. I think well child visits are a scam. Maybe to make us quite sure that we can’t afford to pay for our families own health care. Who knows!?

What is a mama to do? Well, I can tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to feed my family lots of healthy food, let them get lots of fresh air and sunshine. I’m going to call doctor dad if anyone is bleeding more than a little. And I’m going to trust the Lord to lead us each step of the way as we care for His heritage. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3

Oh, and our daughter, the other night before prayers Blue-eyes was tickling her feet and she was laughing and laughing. Just laughing her thirteen year old head off. I was listening in from the other room and my heart was so full of praise! Later he asked me,”How long has it been since she laughed like that?” It’s been a few months! Oh, praise the Lord that “He restores the years (or months) that the locusts have eaten”!

“His mercies are new every morning and His compassions they fail not!”

Baby Lucy in Cloth Diapers Score One for g Diapers

ImageBaby number seven and we have switched over to cloth diapering! Something that even a year ago I never imagined I’d do. First of all I must say that cost was not my deciding factor so if you are looking for the cheapest way to go this blog may not be the most helpful.

Secondly, I believe in a young earth. I believe that the Bible actually is literal in Genesis and means just what it says, that God created the earth in six days. I also believe the scripture that says that “the earth will wax old as does a garment”. I am not trying to “save” the earth. I do not think the earth will be here for a thousand more or even hundreds of more years because it seems that the Biblical prophesies are being fulfilled that tell us the end of time is near.

I wait for the day when Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven with a shout and gather together his elect from the earth and take us to live forever with God. Then it says that the earth will burn and the elements will melt. Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for us, a new heaven and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells.

I don’t know about you but when I read the end of the book of Revelations, heaven sounds so beautiful…….so beautiful! And I can’t wait to go and live where I can see God.

On the other hand we all know that disposable diapers are not biodegradable. We’ve always recycled our cans, glass, cardboard etc. and reuse and reduce. One of my boys has been interested lately in land fills and wondering what becomes of our trash. I’ve been convicted because it’s not something I’ve thought much about. To me I put the stuff in the garbage and the truck comes and takes it away and it’s gone….but is it?

I was thinking one day about diapers from seven babies. What if there was no land fill so we just had a diaper pile out in the back corner. OK  you see where I’m going with this. Ewwwww……….for a few hundred years. I don’t think anyone would use them if that were the case.

My parents raised fifteen children in rural New Hampshire. They were “green” as a lifestyle before it was cool. We raised much of our own food. “Organic” without even thinking about it. My mom used cloth diapers. I remember all those diapers fluttering in the breeze on the cloths line. My mom even milked a cow and made butter. Yum. Reduce, reuse and recycle were the way to go. Not to be cool and progressive mind you but just because it was inexpensive and felt right.

I guess I feel convicted about it. It’s part of the labor of love we call parenting. Less convenient, yes, but how did my mom do it? Well, for one thing her life revolved around her family and home. She was not so busy with things away from home like a lot of us modern moms. Her social life was mainly with neighbor women who were within walking distance. Most of them also happened to be a part of our church family. Oh, those quiet, homey country days! (Were they actually so idealistic, Mom?;) I’m ready to just move on out, milk a cow, hang out the clothes on those long lines…..*sigh)

Where was I now? Oh, yes, cloth diapers! Image

We decided to go with g diapers because they seem to offer the most convenience. The best place to get what you’ll need is on the g diaper website. Our local Fred Meyer stores carry some of their products as well.

They offer a biodegradable, flush-able, disposable liner. (They say flush-able but you have to take the inside of the liner out and throw the outside away, as it is not safe for most septic systems. This seems like more trouble than it’s worth to me.) But the disposable liners work just as well as the LUVS that I’ve been used to. I have not had any problems with leaking, even over night. You can compost the wet liners, not poop, of course. I would love to use these all the time but they are more expensive than I am comfortable spending. You can buy a case of them online, $52 for 128 liners. You would plan on changing them as often as you would any disposable diaper. Fred Meyer’s sells them in a package of 32 for $16.99. I will definitely have these on hand for night time and when I am out in town or anyway from home for a good portion of the day.

On normal days I have been using cloth liners. I just purchased the Gerber brand organic cloth tri-fold diapers. ($6.99 for four) They work well too but need to be changed more often. The g diaper website sells cloth liners that sound more efficient than what I’m using. They sell a six pack for $32, no folding and they have a fleece outer layer that draws moisture away from baby’s skin.

G diapers also sell a disposable thin liner to put over the cloth insert. This is so when baby poops you can just flush it. No swishing in the toilet or anything. Now that is really cool! They come in a box of 100 for $8.99. Lucy usually poops right away in the morning so I would just need to use one a day with her first diaper.

The g diapers themselves come in a pack of two, the snap on plastic pouch is included, at Freddy’s for $29.99, or six from g diaper for $79.99. At least with breast fed baby poop, I need to change the plastic pouch every time Lucy poops making one pouch per diaper not quite enough. You can order extra plastic pouches, six for $22.99.

G diaper website also offers starter kits etc. for a discounted price. That would make a lovely baby shower gift! All this adds up and that is why I’ve slowly been adding in the things I need. But when you think that you can reuse them for a long time, even with other babies that may come your way, it makes it a little easier to spend the money. Last night Blue eyes and I were figuring out how much money we would roughly spend on disposable diapers per year and that adds up too! I think we came up with $300, if we used 5 LUVS a day. So two years would be about $600!

The g diaper website says that you would need 6-8 diapers to fully diaper a baby. Remember if cost is important to you there are other more affordable options. Econobums is one brand that a few friends have been happy with.

The g diapers are machine washable and besides the plastic pouches, are fine in the dryer.       You shouldn’t soak them in water or use bleach. Just put them in the washer with detergent and white vinegar. That will keep the cloth outer looking bright and the whites clean. (I just wash Lucy’s with the rest of our household laundry. Blue eyes thought that was kind of gross but…..I always tell him it’s only baby pee or poop. The things motherhood does to you!) Also a tip from my niece, on a sunny day set your cloth inserts and plastic pouches out in the direct sunlight to bleach them.

When making the switch I would recommend that you keep some disposables on hand for back up until you are sure you have what you need. I do anyways, but you will also need to plan on at least doing a small load of laundry each day. Packing the diaper bag will take a little more forethought as well.

It’s been about a month now and it has been a lot better than I imagined. The hardest part has been trying to stay organized. Sometimes I have a hard time rounding up all the pieces when I need them but more orderly folks shouldn’t have that trouble. Image

One more thing, Lucy, and a lot of my babies have had very sensitive skin. She pretty much always had a rash on her bum, even though I change her often. I am happy to report that things are looking a lot better in that respect. One day I ended up putting her back into disposable diapers for the day and she broke out like crazy! Poor Honey! She obviously had a reaction to something in the diaper.

What is your favorite diaper rash remedy?

An Old Mom Learns a New Trick and Feels Earth Friendly

Our  Beautiful Children 047One of the interesting things about having many children is that you get to mother through a lot of different parenting trends. Some of which I think are funny….hooter hiders (or nursing aprons)? I mean, I keep my hooters decently hidden but I’ve never felt the need to disguise the fact that I have a babe at breast. But then again I’ve been nursing babies for the past thirteen years so it seems quite natural by now.

Anyways…..I have always enjoyed reading a variety of parenting books,  and I glean at least a little from nearly every one! I also like to learn from other families and women that I am around. I hope that I will always be humble enough to continue learning and developing “our” parenting style. Still, sometimes I get caught in the “but I’ve always done it this way” rut.

My dear Grandmother, who just went home to be with the Lord at 86 years old, has told me many times that she remembers the last time she was breast fed by her mother. There is a story to go along with the memory, which is, I’m sure, why she so clearly remembers it. She figures she must have been at least three. She always let me know that she thought it was just fine when my babies were still  breast feeding well into toddler-hood. I’ve really appreciated the encouragement.

To me the modern American idea that babies should nurse until they are one and then wean just doesn’t make sense. There are so many scriptures that refer to breast feeding as a means of comfort rather than simply nourishment. Historical research shows that Hebrew mothers nursed their babies until they were 3-5 years old. Blue eyes and I both feel that allowing our babies to breast feed until they naturally wean gives them a secure emotional foundation to build upon.

Our  Beautiful Children 059Likewise with co~sleeping. I lived with my oldest sister and her husband before I married my precious love and I always thought it seemed so sweet and cozy that their babies and toddlers were welcomed into their bed. Even their older kids were welcome to bring a blanket and pillow and sack out on the floor in their bedroom if they awoke during the night.

Our baby Lucy has slept with us her whole little life and our 3 and 5 year old daughters usually quietly crawl into our bed before morning. I love to wake up to find them snuggled up together in the middle of Mom and Daddy, which prompted us to purchase a king size bed several years ago. On rare occasion one of the older kids will be troubled about something, usually a sad book, such as a missionary story, that has made them really think about some of the hurting people in this world, and want to sleep on our floor. I’m glad they have a place to come for comfort. We are privileged to have them come to us for prayer and a listening ear.

Our  Beautiful Children 045My youngest sister introduced me to baby wearing when she became a mother six years ago. I love her parenting style and have been inspired by her many times. There is a certain time frame before my babies like being down on the floor to explore and move around when I am able to keep them close to my heart, first in a sling and then when they are a little more mature in a baby wrap. My older girls would love to hold and rock and sing to my babies all day, while I cook and clean etc. etc., and they do get their turns! But usually I tell them, “Girls, this is MY baby. She was in my womb for nine months and she likes to be close to my heart (and I like her there as well). When you grow up and get married then you can have your own babies and be the one to hold them most of the time.” Baby wearing has given me a wonderful way to fulfill that desire while still accomplishing many of my household duties.

I have found it to be refreshing to spend time with my dear niece who is a first time Mama. My little grand~nephew is, according to five year old Olivia,”The cutest boy that goes to our church AND the cutest boy in the whole world!” Yup, he is pretty cute! My niece has used cloth diapers on him ever since he was born and at first I thought,”Wow! That is very ambitious of her. I like LUVs.”

As I’ve watched her over the last year though and seen how snazzy the modern cloth diapers are, I have done something that I never imagined I would do, I’ve switched completely over to cloth diapering. I feel so earth friendly,*sigh* and it is working out great thus far. I’m so impressed with it that I am planning to do a detailed blog covering the products I’ve been using as well as some advice on making the switch. I think I’ll have time to put the post together on Saturday morning so if you are interested, please, keep an eye out for it!