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None of my three daughters have been interested in baby food.  After my first was born, I decided not to fool with it at all.  So, with Ivy and Gwen and by default with Deladis, I have practiced baby-led weaning.

Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. The term was originally coined by Gill Rapley, a former health visitor and midwife. – Baby-Led Weaning: The Mush Stops Here

The term “weaning” is used in the British sense on this website and does not mean ending nursing (breastfeeding).  It simply means introducing solid foods.

Deladis’ first swallowed food was cucumber.  Ivy’s was avocado, and Gwen’s was peas.  For Gwen, it is more about exploring the texture and the taste of the food.  She rarely swallows it.  I have noticed her increasing the amount going in to the stomach little by little.

I also do child-led weaning.  “Weaning” in this use means end of nursing.  Child-led means that the child dictates when the breastfeeding relationship will end unless the mother becomes uncomfortable and ready to wean prior to that time.  Deladis stopped nursing at 2 years and 6 months.  Ivy did at 2 years and 2 months.  It worked out beautifully for our family.  My girls have rarely needed antibiotics and are generally very healthy and strong.  I love nursing my babies and fortunately I’ve had an relatively easy go of it.  With Deladis I had some difficulties in the beginning, but once they were worked out, I had no more problems.  The key is when problems do arise to seek help if your remedies do not solve the problem.

Child-led weaning is actually in tune with the American Academy of Pediatrics breastfeeding recommendations.

Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk,” published in the March 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.

Anyhow… all this to say that this is what baby-led weaning looks like in our home. 🙂  Happy Sunday!

Yep, I "gommed" up a strawberry.

Yep, I “gommed” up a strawberry.

And now I get a bath in front of some nice moist heat and a picture window looking out on the sunny Sunday!

And now I get a bath in front of some nice moist heat and a picture window looking out on the sunny Sunday!

 

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Today I gathered the three of you around

to apologize

Not a new path, but a re-commitment

To your youth

the path we now walk together

until your womanhood

forging your own

A re-commitment to your soft skin

your innocence

the sweet knowing that peers out from behind your eyes

An acknowledgment of the importance of

now

that Spirit entrusted me with your well-being

The original intent

going back to the ground from which I was formed

you were formed

To learn there

in the warmth of a sun cut by the limbs of trees

A re-commitment to out foremothers

their well trodden path

not a new path

 

Today, Confluence Herbals and Spiritual Coaching is born, and I feel the relief and exhaustion that comes after the labor that is listening to Spirit.

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

I’m so excited to share with you an article that was published in The Daily Yonder last week!  I wrote it!  Closing Maternity Wards: Costly and Risky… click on the picture below to read the article.

My darling nephew - brand new

The article was also picked up on www.kentucky.com!  There has been some discussion on both sites.  I’m so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to write this article for this publication. 🙂  I hope you will take a look if you get the time.

I am so excited to announce that a radio documentary that I have been working on these last few months is going to air on this coming week’s edition of Mountain News and World Report on the local public radio station WMMT.  The topic is cesarean awareness and how it affects the women of the Kentucky mountains and nationwide.  We interviewed a local obstetrician, a certified nurse midwife, and a certified professional midwife on the topic, as well as a local mother whose daughter’s life was saved by cesarean surgery.

The airdate is August 1st (Sunday) at 10:30am EST and again on August 3rd (Tuesday) at 6pm EST.  You can listen locally at WMMT 88.7 and also online at www.wmmt.org where you will find a link for listening live.  The piece will also be available for download after the airdates if you click on the link for the Community Correspondence Core.

This issue is close to my heart and the piece is airing right after the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued revised guidelines that are more supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean.  It also airs on the week that we will celebrate Deladis’s 5th birthday and my 5th year of motherhood. 🙂  I hope you will get to celebrate with us by listening to the piece.

Be blessed,

Kelli

“You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.”

– Cochise (“Like Ironweed”) Chiricahua Chief

I’m going to try to speak straight here and everywhere.  We can manipulate language in so many gratifying and harmful ways when we are fluent in it.  We can make the truth read/sound a thousand different ways.  Sunlight too, comes to us in unique and varying ways.  It can be just enough to warm us on a day between fall and winter.  It can beat down on us relentlessly with its burden of heat and sweat.  When words touch our hearts they feed us – our state of being.  They allow us to form opinions, to react emotionally, to prepare for great triumphs or damaging winds.  To render ourselves steadfast.  Cochise just asked that we talk straight.  We talk straight so that our words feed our hearts like sunlight.  So that there is fairness all around.

Summer has become that overbearing master once again.  Restricting us indoors.  The garden is out of control, though still producing well.  Peace from the summer sun is hard to find, and you become a worshipper of conveniences like air conditioning.  Deladis absolutely hates the summer sun, and though she wants to play outdoors, she cannot.  Her skin is really sensitive because of the eczema and she sweats which makes her itch.  Her face turns apple red, and then she starts to feel poorly.  Ivy is restless from being cooped up like the hen and diddles.  She takes an evening run through the living room and into the kitchen, slamming against the door and back again, like clockwork, everyday sometime after dinner.  We only have a wall unit a/c and a fan, and we don’t turn it on until about noon everyday, and turn it off again at night.  Our cabin is not extremely cool.  We try our best to acclimate for summer and winter.  We tend to freeze or burn up when we visit our family.  But, right now, indoors is the safer place for us.  This is the first summer since living at The Confluence that it has been this way.  Though I remember many summers like this.

The sun zaps my energy.  As a child I tried to play softball, and would end up vomitting on the field because the sun makes me sick.  I’m no different now.  It’s why I love the mountainside.  The shade.  The cool breezes.  The altitude.  What is harder on me this summer is that I’m not well.  I’ve been reluctant to post about it here.  I am a believer in what you put out into the world is what you will get back.  People tend to avoid those that don’t feel well… or pity them too much.  I’d rather not deal with either of those things.  Writing about it here is more about talking straight.  Writing about things being difficult, my patience being short, or my being tired all the time would be just complaints without being honest as to why.  I don’t want to complain.  And, I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself. 

John and I do without some things in order that the girls can have them, or that I can stay home and be the primary caregiver of the girls.  One of those things is health insurance.  So, I’ve put off seeing a doctor for a detailed workup of my health for sometime.  However, we’ve saved and worked it out so that now I can, and I am relieved.  I’ve been so angry at the fact that I should be healthier than I have ever been in my life.  My lifestyle, my diet, my physical activity are all joyful and healthy.  Yet, I feel awful many days.  I have horrible headaches that don’t go away, sometimes nagging for days.  I’m always tired.  It’s a challenge to keep up with my chores.  My moods are up and down.  I have stomach aches.  I’m dizzy…. etc…  The doctor says at this point she knows that it is my hormones and my glandular systems that are causing the trouble.  Nothing contagious.  Nothing that keeps me from doing my best.  Tomorrow, I go for a blood draw for something they are calling a whole panel.  This will give her a whole picture and then we’ll go from there. 

I’m excited at the thought of feeling better.  Of restoring my body to proper function.  Healing mind, body, and spirit.  Wholeness.  I know any improvement I experience comes from my Creator, and the journey is of most importance.  It is a way to grow.  It is to be accepted and worked on from a place of peace.  Being able to just go through the outward movements of going to the doctor, getting results, is allowing me to release the anger at the problem.  I’m hoping it will help me to be still as well.   

I suppose I’ll write some about it here because it will be my focus for sometime.  And, as the summer brings other exciting things I’ll have share some of those too.  Opportunities are everywhere right now.  I don’t know whether to chase them all or pick and choose. 🙂  The Creator will give me the work of my day upon the unfolding of it.

Introducing Little LuLu

Have I ever said that I prefer cats to dogs. This one is a darling.

Hi everyone!  I wanted to invite you to my “birth” blog today to check out a three part series I have been working on.  The first post is on the history of childbirth in eastern Kentucky.  I hope you enjoy it.

http://birthtrueblog.wordpress.com

In my twenties, I didn’t think much about self improvement.  I would have laughed at anyone suggesting a self-help book.  I read little on spirituality, and honestly didn’t have a clue where I fit in.  I figured I was who I was by that time and I had to learn to endure the faults, the neurosis, and the walls that I had built for myself.  What I did dwell on were the negative parts of my childhood.  I couldn’t seem to move passed them, and I felt like I would need to muster all the strength I could to move on down the line.  I also clung to the good parts of my childhood.  They stuck to me – bittersweet, moments of bliss that were only to be glanced at here and there.

After becoming pregnant with Deladis, I realized that life was much more than existing in a past you can’t change.  I realized that there were things I didn’t want to pass on to my daughter.  Things that can be excused in families.  All ___ (insert family name) are mule headed.  Oh, you get that temper from your Uncle ___.  You’re always depressed, just like your ____.  Things that are chalked up as inherited personality traits, that can very well be negative if given the right circumstances, but given a different environment can be worked with and made into positives.  Instead of saying, that’s who I am, it’s in the blood, we can work to stop the scars that are passed down through generations in families.  Those scars don’t have to be a curse.  The fact is, you don’t have to live with them anymore the moment you choose to see them for what they are and no longer choose to accept them.  Not that it isn’t hard work through them, but acknowledgment that there is no power there to hold you.

I didn’t completely understand my great desire to become a better me after becoming a parent.  I would catch little thoughts as they passed through my mind that would hint at why.  If you keep losing your cool, your relationship with your child will erode. Do you ever want her to wonder if she is loved? Then, there is the whole aspect of parenting daughters as a woman.  Stop downing your physical appearance in front of your child.  You don’t want her to spend her whole adolescence thinking she is an ugly duckling or not feminine because she doesn’t like makeup or spending too much time on her hair.

Eli, The Good the most recent novel by the eastern Kentucky author Silas House came out in September 2009.  My grandmother went to North Carolina to hear him read and to buy me a signed copy of the book.  I thought that pretty dang cool of her considering she was supporting an independent bookstore and she was buying me the best kind of material present I could ever receive.  Silas House is my very favorite author.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this novel.  I had heard him read an excerpt at the Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Writer’s Workshop evening readings over the summer.  I appreciated the segment he read.  I soaked in the frankness of the tone and took up the imagery, making a movie in my mind, as the best books do for me.  I relished in his audible voice, true to his accent and unapologetic.  The kind that makes you even more proud to be who you are because someone molded from the same clay as you is making a difference in the world.  I was ready for this book.

I opened it and began reading, noticing immediately that this novel was very different from his first three (a series with the same family as characters).  It was different in feeling and much different in tone.  It was told from the voice of a ten year old child, Eli Book.  While the setting was obviously the mountains, it was more universal.  It felt like it could be many places.  Immediately, I felt like that child could have been me.

I went through the first half of the book wondering where it was taking me.  I didn’t grasp it fully because at times it was a very uncomfortable place to be, but as I moved onward I understood that was exactly the point.

By the end of the novel, I felt like I had been on a life transforming journey.  The kind that is a one way ticket.  You go from beginning to end and never look back.  The end of the novel held the juice for me.  Eli’s father dealt with demons brought back from the Vietnam war.  A war he had gone to fight still being only a child.  Eli’s mother clung to the love she found with his father because she had not known love as a child.  There was Eli and his sister both feeling the very same way, but coming to the understanding that what they were feeling was not the reality of their life, but the feelings that their parents were carrying with them and projecting out onto their lives.

But then he saw me.  I just stood there, feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness wash over me.  I had felt alone all my life, had felt as if my parents only saw each other as they moved through the world, thought they loved each other so much that there was no room to love me.  But now, by the way Daddy looked at me, I knew better.

His faced is what convinced me.  He was so hurt to see me there, to know I had seen all of this.  So I knew, once and for all, that he did care if I existed or not.

Eli, The Good by Silas House, Chapter 25, pg. 265

It was that moment in the book that sealed the deal for me and my commitment to becoming my true self.  The self that is uninhibited by my circumstances or past.  This was the point that gave me hope.  The hope that despite my shortcomings and my personal pitfalls, my children will at some point be assured of the fact that I love them and I love having been a part of giving them life.  They will know it because it is true.

All the things that I am doing are not only for myself at this point, though I believe looking inward is important  for people in all walks of life.  It is for my family.  From the choice of Waldorf inspired education, to moving up in the head of no where, to making our traditional culture a daily part of our life, those choices were made to help my children experience childhood.  We can grow up so quickly.  My spiritual studies, my yoga practice, my writing and reading, making the choice to become a childbirth educator, are all part of ending a cycle and embracing my natural state of well being.  Disease is not our natural state.  It is dis-ease.  Feelings of inadequacy, depletion, and blaming are not natural.  These are things that can be healed.  These are things that with mindfulness can be made whole in beautiful ways.

I want to bring my children up in a healing environment.  I want to do all I can to insure that I leave little baggage for them to carry into their adult life.  Any baggage they will have will be theirs, personal and part of that which helps us become independent of our parents.  It will be the stuffs of a beautiful life and the tools to make it a complete one.

I’m wonderfully optimistic about the year to come.  I think I’m finally coming to an understanding of what it means to let go and let God.  To kick off the new year, I have decided to start a series of posts on things we have a right to know about (in fact in many situations our life depends on it), but for whatever reason they are kept “secret” whether through planned secrecy or by tactful exclusion of information.

John and I spent the evening on the couch last night watching our new Netflix arrival – Food, Inc. .  I’ve been waiting on this movie since it came out a while back.  This film demystifies our current system of industrialized food and the problems that arise from our expectation of fast and cheap food.

It was a little over a year ago now when a prolonged illness of mine prompted me to switch our diet to a traditional foods diet as proposed by The Weston A. Price Foundation and authors like Sally Fallon and Nina Planck.  Since then, I have noticed a tremendous change in my health and well being along with that of my husband and children.  I have lost and maintained a 100 pound weight loss (though I was already losing weight before changing my eating, I contribute most of it to traditional foods).  I have more energy.  My gums no longer bleed when I brush or floss my teeth.  But, the most noticeable for me is my relationship to food.  I no longer fear food making me fat, because I know that what I am choosing to eat is real food and not something fabricated in a factory.  I enjoy my food and I eat plenty of it.  I’m eating things the diet industry tells us will make us obese and sick – butter, bacon, red meat, and whole fat dairy.

This approach to eating (I don’t call it a “diet” in the terms of how most of us view the word) has changed my life so completely that I can’t help but get excited about sharing it with others.  However, all to often I have noticed people don’t want to hear the truth about where their food comes from, and I tend to get tuned out.  Instead of accepting that there is a problem here and we are in need of huge change as a society, they continue to eat from the conventional store shelves food that more often than not is some kind of factory made variation of corn or soy bean products and they wonder why they are sick with things like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, or obesity.  Why is that?

The fact of the matter is that we have a right to know where our food comes from and under what conditions it is being processed for our consumption.  Our food is life.  What we put into our body directly affects how we are able to live our life.  However, now that our food supply is being controlled by just a few multi- million (billion) dollar corporations that treat their farmers and factory workers like second class human beings, who don’t care at all about the health of the animals they process for meat, and treat our meat, produce, and dry goods with a variety of chemicals to give them unnatural shelf lives, we are being kept in the dark of food practices that if they were public knowledge would incite the citizens of this country to demand a change.

The truth is that 1 in 3 children in this country born after 2000 will develop diabetes1 in 3 children in this country are either considered overweight or obeseLow-income Americans (under $30,000) a year find it hard to afford a healthy diet.  This comes along with the idea of fast food being cheap.  You now can buy chips for a lesser price than a head of broccoli, and then there are dollar menus at fast food restaurants.  The question of food availability also arises.  Living in rural Appalachia, I find it extremely difficult to find food I feel is appropriate for my family, and I have to make too many compromises.

Our country is facing an epidemic that is inexcusable.  We owe our children a better chance at a healthy life than this.  We owe it to ourselves as well.  While industrialization has brought about many good changes in our way of life, when its principles are applied to certain more personal areas of our lives, we find we are detrimentally affected by its lack of concern for the greater human good as opposed to the low cost production industry holds so dear.  A few profit from the loss of many.

After viewing this film and others like it, I can’t help but encourage others to become informed as well.  Know where your food comes from.  Know that in one pack of ground beef there is meat from 50-100 cattle.  Know that most chickens raised for commercial slaughter for companies like Tyson never see the light of day or feel grass under their feet.  In fact, they are lucky to be able to bear their own body weight on their brittle legs.  Know that the tomato you are buying that is so pretty and red was shipped to your location in many cases over thousands of miles, and picked while still green.  It was ripened chemically.  Know this, and decide to change it.  There are farmers out there with answers to this problem.  We can have normal, affordable, healthy food.  We can live without the fear of food related disease.  Arm yourself with knowledge.  Then, cast your vote for the foods you want every time you choose your purchases at the grocery.

There are those times in all of our lives when it seems like things fall apart one after the other.  The Haywoods are experiencing that right now.  I wanted to come on today and post something cheery or at the very least poignant.  Not possible.  I write it as it is – moment by moment and right now it just isn’t flowers and fluffy clouds.

We are all fighting colds.  John actually stayed home from teaching music today.  That is something he wouldn’t do without a good reason, not even if I think he has a good reason.  He is sick.  We are all exhausted.  Then, yesterday, our refrigerator decides to give out.  It took us awhile to notice and by that time we lost a lot of what I had stored in our freezer.  😦  I had stuff that I had stocked up on from our trip to Lexington and Whole Foods some months back.

What saddened me the most are the blackberries that I had picked all summer and hoped to turn into blackberry dumplings had completely thawed and were dripping all over the freezer.  The gas company took all my blackberries out with the new road.  I was waiting for a special day to celebrate those wild blackberries.  I quickly hopped online and posted to my favorite traditional foods forum and soon got a response to make a berry compote.  I had flour soaking for pancakes this morning, so that is what I did.  Berry compote is good on pancakes.

I had never made it before or had it that I can recall, so I referenced an online recipe and made it my own.

Berry Compote

  • Approx. 36 ounces of berries
  • 2 tbsps. of butter
  • 5 tbsps. of honey

Put everything in a warm skillet and cook down until you have about half the liquid you had in the pan after the initial heating.  Refrigerate and enjoy over ice cream, pancakes, or yogurt.

We ate it this morning and it was delicious.  I’m sure it did us good with all those antioxidants.

Instead of spending this day to rest, John went out to find a decent used refrigerator.  We scored one for $200, and he got it inside after having to take the back door off of the hinges.  I feel sorry for him.  It’s a two door.  I’ve never had one of those before.  This isn’t a good time for us to spend extra money either, but it happens I guess.

I’m praying.  I’m having some discipline issues too with Deladis.  Four is proving to be the hardest age yet for me and my mothering.  Discipline is something I have never been good at with young children.  Having impatience as your big dragon doesn’t help much either.  I’m sifting through that with tears.

Someone really cool once said… “There is always a calm before the storm.”  It’s storming now, so that tells me a calm is coming soon.  I’m looking for even the smallest patch of blue sky.

I sat in the living room with Ivy in my lap watching the fog come up the holler this morning, and wondering how the rest of the weekend will play out.  The gas company is still working on roads and new pipeline.  The yard is becoming a mud pit, and I am ready to have the peace back around here.  Today, I caught about five of them hovered around the chicken coop.  One of them was giving one of our roosters hits off of his cigarette.  I quickly went out on the porch to make myself known.  I was about to have words with him, but I was able to restrain myself, and they just as quickly left our yard.  I know that when all is finished, it will be better for us and easier on the vehicles, but right now, it’s hard.

mud

I’m having to keep the girls inside for the most part.  Today, it was so beautiful, we had to venture out for a quick swing while we caught some quiet.  What you see here is the new road.  We had to move the swingset.  The road took our compost pile, all my wild blackberries, and my bird feeders that I made with the girls.  However, it will prevent us driving through a large part of the creek.  Hopefully, we’ll have a bridge over the deepest part at some point.  Right now with the rain, we can’t park anywhere near the house.  We are parking about a football field’s walk in the mud from the house.  The dozers and inloaders coupled with the type of work they are doing has kept us out of the hills this fall.  Usually, we are in them most days.  I had wanted to take pictures of the trees and all their colors.  The leaves are pretty much gone now.  I took this next photo from the yard, catching a patch of trees that hadn’t been so blown by the wind.

red

I’m trying to look on the bright side of things.  John has described this month as the month from “hell”, and for him it probably has been.  October is my favorite month, so I’m giving its redemption my best shot. 🙂  I went to the produce stand on Wednesday and discovered that as long as there is something to be sold and people buying, they will be open!  They carry some local goods like potatoes, honey, sorghum, and other canned items.  The rest of the produce is trucked in from North Carolina, but it is a family business and small.  It is an outdoor stand.  Though the produce is not organic, its flavor is magnificent.

Here are some of the winter items I stocked up on, just in case they close.

produce

In that basket are apples of all sorts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and butternut squash.  I plan to peel, slice, and freeze some of these apples for fried apples through the winter.  Some of the green ones will make an apple pie.  I have Mutsu and Granny Smiths.  Sweet potatoes are something John and I have never liked until we started cooking more traditional/whole foods.  Now,in this area, most sweet potato dishes that are served are very sweet, almost like a desert.  Brown sugar, margarine, and marshmallows are added along with other spices.  It makes it taste wrong to both John and I.  However, we have found that we love them fried in butter with nothing added except occasionally a little nutmeg or cinnamon.  I thought about making sweet potato chips with some of these, or baking a few.  Yum!  I can just see the melted butter.

I also got a few huge cabbages for sauerkraut making, and a box of the nicest onions.  The red ones in the picture are the best tasting onion I have ever put in my mouth.  They are so sweet.  The little ones are PeeWee Vidalias.  I’ll have to report back on those.

onions

Before John left today, we talked about cooking.  Neither of us can remember when I made a dinner last.  😦  I cook breakfast every morning.  It is the family meal we rely on.  This month we have been apart most of the time for dinner.  I don’t cook when it is just me and the girls.  They eat so little that we just eat lunch type foods.  I miss dinner.  That is why I bought the butternut squash.  I have never had it, and I want to make something different.  I want to eat things that are in season.

This morning, I made fried apples from the fresh apples I bought yesterday.  The girls and I really enjoyed them.  It is a traditional Appalachian food.  Many families had apple trees on their little hillside homestead.  I’ll post my recipe on the favorite recipes page.

apples

Thanks ladies for the well wishes for the girls.  It is a minor thing – cold like.  I’m thinking either from all the wet weather or the sitting in the car cart at the mall when we went for my birthday.  It is that or the mold issue.  We are still working on that.  The ventilation has brought some help, but not quite enough.  We are looking for a dehumidifier.  If that doesn’t work…  I hope that isn’t the problem.

It is more than a blessing to be able to live in this holler and in this cabin.  It is perfect for us.  Our landlord is a true friend.  I wish so much that it wouldn’t have to ever come to an end, even when things are a bit off kilter.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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