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Sleep and Us: A Long Road

Annabelle has always disliked going to sleep, and she comes by this honestly. Staying up late was one of my favorite things to do as a child and, as much as I love feeling rested, I still have a hard time shutting down virtually every single night. There’s always so much I want to do! Parenthood has changed this slightly, making me value sleep much more and work a bit harder to get it. Still, I stay up longer than I probably should on a regular basis.

As a newborn, Annabelle almost always nursed to sleep. When she was a few months old, she started nursing almost to sleep, and then unlatching and letting out a wail before settling right in to sleep in my arms. It was almost as though she was saying, “I’m going to go to sleep now, but I’m not happy about it!” She always went to sleep somewhat late at night and slept in each morning, which was perfectly fine for me. Left to our own devices, the husband and I are both  natural night owls, and it seemed that she would be, too.  Continue reading

Preparing for a Second Child: Examining Routines

It seems that going from one to two children can rank among the most challenging transitions that many families will ever face. For Annabelle’s sake, as well as our own, we’re trying to prepare in a number of different ways and I’ll be sharing those with you as we go along in an informal series I’ll call Preparing for a Second Child. Continue reading

Pardon Our Mess

I’m thrilled to announce the completion of my brand new site: Vibrant Wanderings

When I started blogging at The New Mommy Files almost a year and a half ago, I chose a name hastily, thinking that my only readers would be family and a small handful of friends. I did not expect to find the incredible community that I have in blogging, and I did not expect to find myself so passionate about it. This is my creative outlet – it keeps me sane, and it helps me flesh things out. I love it, and I want the name and the look and feel to be something special, not just something I came up with at two am and decided was “good enough.”
And so we move. Many, many thanks to the lovely Lisa Chau who has worked tirelessly with me to create the new site and tweak it until it was just right. If you need help with a site design, she’s your gal. I toyed around with the idea of hiring a web designer for months, and even talked with a couple, but in the end realized I had no idea what I wanted or what to ask for, so I stayed put. Lisa offered to create a new design for me, and the only guidance I could offer was that I wanted something “nature inspired.” She answered my vague request with the most perfect site design I could have asked for, and I am so very grateful. She’s awesome. Plain and simple.
Anyway, I’m hoping the change is easy as pie and your subscriptions are uninterrupted, but if anything looks funky in the next day or two, forgive me and please don’t give up! Changing the name of a facebook page with more than 100 fans is not an option, so that is one difference. I’d be delighted if you joined me on the new facebook page!

Also, if you’re curious about the name selection, you can read all about it: here.
Photo Credit: Antti Kaakinen

Journey to a Disposable Free Household

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.


Photo Credit: Ray King
Used by Creative Commons License

I have been on a journey to be kinder and gentler to the environment since long before my daughter was born, but her birth and the decision to cloth diaper definitely gave me the extra push I needed to take that journey more seriously. I knew from the start that I would use cloth in combination with elimination communication, but as I researched my options and learned how easy it was to use cloth, I took things a bit further.

Using cloth caused me to think more about other single-use items in our home and I have slowly been replacing these with options we can use again and again. The most obvious switch was from disposable to cloth napkins, but later we moved away from our use of paper towels for cleaning. I was surprised to see how easy it was to use cotton cloths in their stead, even for things like mirrors and windows. Making one small change at a time has made the switch to cloth for all of our household needs an easy one. My most recent change has been away from disposable feminine products and it was quite easy thanks to my “Keeper Cup.”
As I gave more thought to the products I was using to wash our diapers, I also began to examine all of our household cleaning products and that has been instrumental in my switch to a chemical-free household. Not only is this safer for my family, but it has me buying fewer products in disposable containers. We do use a large amount of vinegar that comes in plastic gallon jugs, so my current eco conundrum is how to reduce those. The change in our choice of cleaning products in turn made me look at the products I use for my own self care: shampoos, soaps, and other cosmetics. I have slowly made changes in this area as well, switching to products that don’t contain harsh chemicals and that use less packaging and disposable containers.
By no means am I perfect, and I’m sure that my family is not making all of the “right” choices, but the point is – we’re thinking about it, and we’re making changes one at a time as we see a need. Cloth diapering has been a giant stepping stone in our journey toward awareness and conscious, mindful living in our environment. 


freedom of cloth carnivalVisit
Natural Parents Network
for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

What’s New Wednesday: The Illusion of Permanence

Things are downright crazy around here, but mostly in a very good way. I wasn’t able to post on what’s new last week due to some blogger issues, so I have loads to say about the girl, but I also have loads of sleep to catch up on, so I’ll try to keep it simple.

First, a winner. Remember how my blog turned one, and I decided I wanted to buy a special present for one of you lovelies as thanks for a year of support? Well, the time has come. I went ahead and counted everyone who commented, not sure who was wanting to enter and who wasn’t, and the winner is: tinsenpup. I guess the next step is to ask her if she actually wanted to win. If not, I’ll be getting with the next in line soon. Thanks again to all of you for being so wonderful.

Now on to the Girl

I was reading this week about the illusion of permanence, and the reality that everything is continually changing, continually flowing, despite our perception. Often something appears to be the same as it was when last we looked at, but in reality, it has changed. As the parent of a toddler, this is a very easy concept for me to understand.

Annabelle looks like the same child from moment to moment, but with every experience, every interaction, every breath, she is changing.

The most noticeable recent change has been in her ability to communicate, which has increased by leaps and bounds. I now find myself having full on conversations with her through context, signs, and her minimal-but-ever-increasing vocabulary.

I’ll share with you one such conversation:

In the kitchen, Annabelle is standing on a stool and I am holding a brick of tempeh. She decides she would like down and begins grunting to get my attention. I say, “It looks like you’re ready to get down. If you want me to help you, you can say, ‘help, mama.’” She says, in her squeaky, singsong-y, perfect toddler voice: “help.” I walk over to help her and she begins signing “cracker.” I say, “Oh, would you like a cracker?” “Yeah!” “Okay, I’ll help you down and we can get you a cracker.” I take her off the stool and go to the pantry for a cracker. She becomes frustrated and refuses the snack. “Hm. I thought you wanted a cracker.” (Pointing) “Cracker!” “Ah! Does this tempeh look like a cracker?” “Yeah!” “I need to crumble this tempeh. Would you like to help me?” “Yeah!”

We sit down at Annabelle’s table with a bowl to crumble the tempeh in to. I break off a corner and ask her if she’d like to try it. She shoves it into her mouth at the same time that we hear the sound of an airplane overhead. She gasps and points upward, as is her custom, and I say, “Do you hear the airplane? I hear that airplane, too!” She begins simultaneously chewing her tempeh and signing “more.” I say, “I’ll give you some more as soon as you finish what’s in your mouth.” Her mouth is so full that she can hardly chew, but again she signs, “more!” “Eat what’s in your mouth, babe.” Again, she signs “more,” but this time points upward right afterward, then signs it again. “Ohhh, you want to hear more airplanes!” “Yeaaaah!”

It’s a good thing she’s becoming so communicative, because she is also increasingly adamant about having what she wants. She erupted into cries and screams at bedtime earlier this week because she was flipping through her farm book and couldn’t find the page with the picture of a donkey on it.

Several new teeth, including one molar, now adorn Annabelle’s Cheshire cat-like grin. Speaking of cats, she has grown incredibly fond of them in recent weeks. She adores all from afar, but tenses up when a large one comes near. Kittens, however, get just as much hands-on love from her as do her friends. Speaking of friends, Annabelle has invented her own sign for “Hunter” and she does it nearly every time we get in the car, hoping we’re on our way to visit her bestie.

When I stop to reflect, I always see just how much she has changed, but I seldom stop to realize that Annabelle is changing even as I look on. A good reason to watch closely, I suppose.

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