A New Look!

Oh my goodness. Has it really been two and a half years since I last blogged? Time flies, as they say, and like most sayings, it has a great deal of truth in it. I’m not entirely certain where the time has gone, but it has, and here I am.

In the past three years I have become an apprentice midwife, started a doula service, helped to found a chapter of BirthNetwork National in my town, started midwifery school, learned how to encapsulate placentas, written two first drafts for two novels, taught two children how to read, and had a new baby. I’ve been involved with groups to improve birth options for women in my part of the country and I’ve learned more about birth politics than I ever could have dreamed there was to even know in the first place. I have become quite active on a wonderful message board with members who encourage me in Grace Based Parenting every single day that I read there and I have made a wonderful circle of friends locally, in real life, who encourage me in the same way.

There have been a great many other things that have happened, of course, but I don’t think I could even begin to remember them all, let alone write them all down in the amount of time I have right now.

So, in honor of coming back (really, I’m going to try and stick with it somewhat this time around!), I’ve chosen a new theme for the blog and I hope that this will help with my motivation a bit more as well.

It’s been a busy last few years, but it’s been a very good sort of busy! The very best kind of busy – the kind that involves children, reading, births, babies, friends, and good food (that last one is extremely important, of course).

Here’s to a new look!

~B.

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Typical Day With My Girls

I just realized that I don’t really blog much about my kids and my everyday life… or even much in general, but I’m working on that! I’m with my girls all day long and I love them dearly, but usually when I sit down to write a post it doesn’t occur to me to write about them. I’m not sure why, but I should write about them more often.

Lolo just turned 2 years old last week. She’s one of the sweetest little girls I’ve ever met. Amazingly enough, though her sister Nayna was barely talking at age 2, Lolo has been using complete sentences for several months now. She loves to talk about anything and everything, especially with her big sister! She’s very excited about the new baby and asks to rub my belly several times every day. According to Nayna, Lolo is expecting a baby girl and Lolo now talks about the baby in *her* belly as well as the baby in mine.

Nayna is a bit over 3.5 years old now. Her hair is still blonde and curly even though both her father and I have straight (maybe wavy-ish) brown hair. She’s fascinated with having her hair put up, especially in two ponytails, and she’s decided that she’s expecting twins – one boy and one girl. She’s very insistent that I’m expecting a baby boy even though I keep telling her that we have to wait and see if the baby is a boy or a girl.

Both girls are still sleeping in our king-sized futon with us though we move Nayna to her own toddler bed in a corner of our bedroom some nights after she’s asleep. Lolo is still nursing even though I’m pretty sure she’s not really getting any milk at this point. Nayna nurses periodically with a few days between each request and she’s very adamant that 4 year olds do not nurse, but 2 and 3 year olds do. That works for me since she’ll turn 4 right before the new baby is born! Tandem-nursing is no problem and I wouldn’t really mind with three, but two is much simpler I think because then they can both nurse at the same time – that part wouldn’t really work with three!

Our typical days are pretty uninteresting really… at least I think they would be to other people. We get up in the morning and eat breakfast – oatmeal is Nayna’s current breakfast of choice – then we play for a bit and read some books before lunchtime. Lunch is usually sandwiches, leftovers, or Annie’s macaroni and cheese (another current favorite that we buy when it’s on sale). The afternoon is when I spend some time online and the girls play with each other.

I also try to get some housework done between lunch and dinner and, when possible, the girls love to help me. They pick up their own toys and help me sweep the floor. Nayna clears the table and Lolo brings her own dishes into the kitchen. When I do laundry they help by handing me clothespins after I wash the clothes and then they put the clothespins back in the bag when I take the clothes down from the line. We don’t have a dryer right now so I’m busy learning the lost art of hang-drying everything and I now understand the rationale behind separating different types of clothing in the wash. It’s much more important when hang-drying than when using a dryer. Both girls love to help fold clothes and Nayna is getting quite good at folding square things like napkins and washcloths. We usually try to get a nap in there during the afternoon as well.

For dinner I usually have to soak some grains and beans or thaw some meat ahead of time to have along with whatever CSA veggies we have handy. Using the dried beans and grains as well as the bulk meat helps us save on our food bills and is actually quite easy, but does require foresight and at least planning a meal the night before. I’m not always on top of it, but the more we get settled in here, the easier it is!

After dinner we usually watch a bit of whatever Netflix DVD we happen to have. We don’t have a television and it’s much cheaper to just watch Netflix on our computers than to have a TV and cable or satellite service. Then the girls take a bath and it’s off to bed where Fred gives everyone foot rubs (what an awesome husband/father!) and he and I usually read a bit before going to sleep. Nayna sometimes reads a book also, but Lolo generally just drops right off after a few minutes of nursing.

Not too bad!

~B.

Addicted to Fresh, Local Food

Hello. My name is Betsy, Barefoot Betsy, and I’m addicted to fresh, local food.

It all started nearly four years ago when my husband and I went to the local farmer’s market and stopped to buy some fresh, local vegetables from one of the farm stands there. I don’t remember what we bought, but I do remember the conversation we had.

Us – What does that sign behind you mean?
Farmer – This sign? (points to the sign that reads, “Ask us about our CSA!”)
Us – Yes. What exactly is a C-S-A?

The farmer then explained that CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and that becoming CSA members meant that we would get a box of fresh, local vegetables weekly for four months during the summer/fall and then we could extend that for two more months if we wanted a winter share.

I was pregnant at the time with my older daughter and getting so much healthy food without having to go to the store and pick it out myself sounded like a great deal! The price was reasonable so we decided to sign up and become CSA members.

I must admit with a bit of shame that the first year we were CSA members… we wasted a lot of awesome fresh, local food. It took a while for us to get the hang of using up what we had in the house instead of running to the store for ingredients while most of the food in our fridge began to slowly turn to mush. I was working full-time so my husband was doing most of the cooking and I couldn’t even make rice without following a recipe.

By the second year I had learned how to cook from scratch instead of needing to follow a precise recipe every time. Not needing to follow recipes made using up what we had already in our house so much simpler and cheaper! We were still wasting at least 1/8 of the food we were getting from our CSA share, but we were learning and it was getting easier and easier every week to use up the food before it became too old to eat.

The third year was the charm and it was also the year that I got irredeemably addicted to farm-fresh vegetables. Finally we managed to use up 99% of the produce we were getting! I figured out a system to keep track of what we had gotten in what week and I also knew how long most of the produce would keep in the fridge or on the counter by this time.

In the end, I believe it was the practice of eating fresh, local vegetables every single day that did me in. I could resist them when we were only eating them 4-5 days a week, but once we got in the habit of preparing just a little every. single. day. Well… that was my downfall.

Now that we’ve moved across the country, I’m about to apply to a new farm CSA program in this area. I’ve been several months without my fresh, local produce fix and I’m jonesing for some good locally-grown herbs, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. The best thing about all the CSA’s I’ve looked into around here? They all will deliver to my door!

Home delivery has to be the best way ever to satiate my desire for food as fresh as it can get – other than having my own garden, of course. However this year is a learning to garden year since it’s a completely different climate and we’re new to the whole gardening thing to begin with. The CSA will be our backup until we learn how to grow our own home-grown fresh food!

I could quit anytime though. Really. I could. If I wanted to. I just don’t want to. Fresh, flavorful food that makes everything I cook taste gourmet – why would I ever want to give that up and go back to the dry, tasteless veggies in the grocery store?

~B.

Driving in a New Town

Learning to drive in a new town is… interesting. We moved to the Augusta, GA area in the middle of December, but I didn’t start driving around until about a month ago because we also have a new car and we weren’t able to move the seat  forward which meant I couldn’t reach the pedals. Eventually we bought a cushion from the Salvation Army so I can sit forward enough even though the seat still doesn’t move… and I digress…

I was very nervous about learning to drive our new car (a ’78 VW bus) in a brand new town. I’m a good driver, but I’ve never regularly driven in a large city or in a town where most of the roads are 4+ lanes wide. I learned to drive in Kitsap County, WA – Land of the Two Lane Roads. Driving on two-lane roads is nice and I really like it, but I found myself at a serious disadvantage when we moved here and I realized that I have virtually no experience driving on large roads.

Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten more practice and am gradually getting more comfortable on the larger roads here. I’m rediscovering that I *am* a good driver and that I can do this! I’m finally starting to feel as though I know where I’m going sometimes without having to print out a long list of directions from mapquest. I’m learning the names of the roads and which roads to avoid during rush-hour (pretty much all of them in Columbia County…).

I’m also getting comfortable with the VW clutch again after having driven an automatic for the last year and a half. I’m more used to having such a large vehicle behind me and virtually nothing in front of me. I’m discovering that VW busses are incredibly fun to drive and almost as fun to drive as a VW beetle – which was my first car.

I’m beginning to enjoy driving again. Life is good 🙂

~B.

Relax, Take it easy, Unwind, Pause

My children are napping, my tea is brewing, and my husband is working. It is that lovely time of my day when I truly have time all to myself.

It is a pause between my morning and evening, this time that I have to myself.

I read, I write, I recharge. I sip my tea.

I forget the laundry that needs to be folded. The dishes that need to be washed. The carpet that, once again, needs to be vacuumed. I concentrate on being relaxed. I take deep breaths.

I ponder deep thoughts. I pray for myself and for others. I ask for patience and wisdom.

The dog is relaxed as she sleeps on the rug. The cat is relaxed as she gazes out the window.

The sun is sinking lower and relaxing in the sky.

I lazily sip my tea.

There will be time later to do the dishes. Time enough in the future to vacuum and fold clothes.

There is not much time for just me, and I take it eagerly when it comes.

There is not much time to relax, take it easy, unwind, and pause in the middle of the day.

I let the silence wash over me like the sun’s rays.

The tea is gone. It is time to plan, to do, to live actively! The pause has done its job well. I am refreshed. I am ready to face the rest of my day.

Dishes,  laundry, carpet, dinner! Children, husband, friends! I can do it all. But not without my restful pause.

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