Home Again!

The last two weeks we’ve been on the road visiting family.  We drove to see some cousins, then up to a family reunion, then to my sister’s house, then to my in-laws’.  Seeing as we had no car in England, I’ve never been on a road trip whilst pregnant and the kids aren’t used to long road trips. We’d driven up with them for Christmas, though, and learnt their limits, so this time we broke the trip up more, stopping at hotels along the way and then staying with family when we arrived. As it turns out, breaking it up was really good for me, too. I ended up driving the entire time because I get motion sick more easily when pregnant.  I have the ability to make myself motion sick whilst driving when pregnant, so having me drive made it less likely that I’d feel ill.

So, what else did I learn? My children have a holiday limit of about a week before asking to go home.  Of course, going from place to place every few days and meeting loads of family make for overwhelmed kids, even though they had fun.

I was also reminded of how much I love cooking my own food instead of eating out.  Of course we had home-cooked meals when staying its family, but when on the road of course we had to eat at restaurants.  Dear restaurants: salt is used as a flavour enhancer. If you cannot taste the real flavours of the food, you’re using too much. Now, I know I like a lot less salt than many Americans and in fact I don’t cook with salt; because of this, I’m sure I’m more sensitive to salt than many, and I find that I really can’t tolerate much salt (all my college friends can now laugh at the irony, since I used to eat loads of salt).  Also, portion sizes are fairly ridiculous when I’m unable to take the rest with me because of being on the road. Oh well.  And of course not all restaurants are bad at this. This one, for example, was wonderful.

All in all, it was a nice holiday, though it’s good to be back, too.

Book Recommendation

Those who know me know I don’t generally read baby books. I looked the things given me in the Bounty pack when I was pregnant with Kieran, and promptly got scared and cried, certain that I couldn’t be a mother. From that point, I pretty steered clear of baby books, choosing to follow my instincts and what worked for us. This meant throwing out some preconceived ideas I had and ignoring the well-meaning advice from others if it conflicted with what felt right. Of course I looked up information if a question arose, or asked people for advice, but always with the idea that I would do what worked for us. Over the years I’ve researched a lot, and discovered that my parenting style has a name (Attachment Parenting), but I’ve not sat and read an entire baby book.

Until now, that is. I somehow saw that Megan Massaro and Miriam Katz of Attachment Parenting International had written The Other Baby Book and that it was available on Kindle. My curiosity piqued, I decided to download and read it, and I haven’t regretted it. The first thing that struck me was the introduction, where they are clear about the book not being a hard-and-fast rule of parenting, but simply some evidence-based practices that you can take or leave according to your own needs. Tha right there is refreshing, as so often the parenting “experts” seem to imply you must follow their way, regardless of what you and your child want (it’s entirely possible the other “experts” don’t actually imply that, it is just my impression from the snippets I’ve seen; I put expert in quotes because I think the best experts on a particular child are that child’s parents).

The book covers such things as birth, safe co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, elimination communication, relating with love, and going with the flow. The authors are quick to point out that there is no one set way of doing these things. Neither are they condemning of those who don’t do things a specific way. Instead, the authors simply seek to give evidence-based information so that parents can decide, which is what I think is best. The book also helps dispel some notions about attachment parents, since there is no guilt trip in these pages, nor does one get a sense of smugness or superiority.

Now, I’ll concede that my positive take could be influenced by the fact that I do practice attachment parenting, but I’ll also point out that I don’t do everything in this book. I keep trying to convince myself to do E.C., as I know all the arguments and benefits and such, but I haven’t made myself take the plunge yet. There are other examples, too, but never did I feel condemned or inferior for not doing everything listed in the book. Instead, I came away with more food for thought, but the sense that I needn’t adopt any practices I don’t want. I will therefore willingly endorse this book as a good resource for any interested.

Crafty Thursday

It’s hot here, and I don’t feel like knitting that much.  So I haven’t worked on any large knitting projects, just this flower headband.  I need to make more, I think.  I’m definitely making at least one more, since I have a turquoise headband and some pink yarn for another flower.  I still need to finish tacking this one onto the headband, though.

I finished Charlotte’s fairy skirt.  We went back to Joann’s and found some chiffon with shiny circles on it (not quite like sequins, but similar).  I got half a yard and ran a gathering thread through the longest end until it was the same size as the top of the skirt.  I then sewed that on just below where the elastic would go, and then added the elastic.  I cut the bottom of the chiffon at a bit of an angle and tried finishing the edge with just a zigzag stitch, but that isn’t keeping it from fraying, so I need to do a different hem.

Pregnancy Tea

From the beginning of this pregnancy, I knew I wanted to actually drink some red raspberry leaf tea this time around. Red raspberry leaf tea tones the uterus, which is obviously beneficial in pregnancy. Incidentally, it also helps with menstrual cramps, something I wish I’d known years ago. I’d also heard that nettle tea was good to drink, since it helps with bloodflow and has vitamin K. I was more cautious about that since it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar, but since my blood pressure hasn’t been as low this time as with the last pregnancy, it seems fine to me.

Knowing what I wanted, then, I set out trying to find a good place to procure these teas. During my search, I stumbled upon Blessed Beginning‘s site, which sells a tea blend for pregnancy. I like patronizing family businesses and those run by work-at-home-mums, and the price and blend (red raspberry leaf, nettle, alfalfa, spearmint, oatstraw, rosehips) looked great, so I ordered from them.

My tea arrived a few days ago, and I have to say that I’m enjoying it. I drink it with just a little local honey and find that I’m breathing better now. I had been having a little trouble breathing, as I sometimes do in this area, pregnant or not, though of course it can be exacerbated by pregnancy. I only drink one cup a day, not the two recommended, since I jus started drinking it, but it works out. I’d recommend it thus far, though I can’t yet say how it affects labour, of course. The benefits of the various herbs can be found on their site, though, so you can see if it looks right for you.

Book Nook

One of the books on display at the library at our last visit was Saint Patrick and the Three Brave Mice by Joyce A. Stengel. I was intrigued, as I don’t often see good children’s books on Saints. (photo source)

According to legend, St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. In this book, he is helped in this quest by three mice who bravely retrieve St Patrick’s bell from a crafty snake. It’s a nice way of introducing children to the legend, and since St Patrick is indeed dressed as a Bishop in the book, it also serves as a good conversation starter on Bishops and Catholic Saints so parents can delve into the true story of St Patrick. The story itself is nice, and he illustrations are beautiful. I’d recommend it.