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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!

 

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

On the second, I started a post about the fact that I have actually made some New Year resolutions for 2013.  I was excited while writing, and at the same time feeling a bit ridiculous.  Gwen started fussing and I stopped writing.  Then, yesterday was a difficult one for us.  Ivy has started crying a lot throughout the day on most days for reasons so numerous that I’d have to write a book to describe it all and then some she just makes up on the spot.  I’ve been told that it is middle child syndrome, but I’m not satisfied with that answer.

It was the first sunny day in weeks, so I made sure the girls went outside for a bit of play.  However, Deladis decides that since they play in the creek during the summer, it would be a good idea to wade the creek in January in her new snow boots and Ivy in tennis shoes.  I had a hard time with patience and the fact that I thought she would know better.  There coats were thrown off in the floor.  Their wet clothes thrown in the floor.  I sit Gwen down to pick that up and to remind them that they also know where their clothes go, and she cries.

She doesn’t like to sit on her own much.  I have about 10 minutes before I have to get her back up.  She, like Deladis, is a spirited child.  She doesn’t like to take naps, though she’s a decent night sleeper.  Generally, a lot like her biggest sister.  Like my sister reminded me that evening on the phone, “You’ve never had a laid back child.”

This was after Deladis cried during our first day back at school because she didn’t complete something perfectly.  I wrestled Gwen through her fusses while trying to read Deladis her lessons, shifting Gwen from floor, to lap, to clothes basket.  Right after, Ivy cries like a wild banshee because I ask her to tell me her ABCs.  She says, “I’m too scared.”  Same little girl that will dance in front of 100 people, won’t say her ABCs for her mother who is just curious at how well she knows them.

By the middle of the day, I was feeling like a failure of a mother.  For sure, there was something bigger that needed to be fixed.  I needed to just stop daydreaming about plans and things I needed to get done.  The pile of dishes in the sink.  My New Year resolutions, and pay minute detail to what spurs these fits.  I felt bad for believing that I could tack yet more things onto my already determined to do list when I was already not doing that well.

Yet, I found reassurance from a group of mamas on Facebook.  I realized that if I can turn it into a positive it is fine.  I’m not failing, just seeing room for improvement.  I talked to my sister, who rubbed her two laid back kids in my face, while talking about how grown up the not so laid back one is getting to be. 😉  And, I felt better.  Not like it was the end of all I wanted to accomplish, but still just the beginning.

See, it is easy from these blogs and social media posts… and from mothering forums… Pinterest… to think that this parenting/homeschooling gig is a great accomplishment.  But, what we often miss out on is how dag gone hard it can be sometimes.  For, on this, we mostly see the end results.  Our kids dressed in the play costumes, with their basketball trophy, the cool cake we made for their birthday, all the boxes of stuff I’ve managed to purge out of our cabin.  We don’t see as often the work that got us there.  And so, when the results simply aren’t there on any given day.  It can feel like a loss.  What do we have to post about that day?  Sure don’t want to sound like you are complaining.  There is no room for complaining in such a blessed life.  How dare you feel like raising your voice or crying?!

The truth is… my list of resolutions is boring.  I have quite a few, and I’m not cutting it down.  The interesting stuff is the doing.  The grunt work.  For that is where our accomplishment is – the fact that we get up in the morning ready to do it all again.  We’ve not abandoned our post.  We’ll be there for those beautiful little souls when we wake up in the morning. Deladis always gets up before me now days.  We haven’t and aren’t giving up.

As my friend reminded me of tonight.  “I just think of it like this.  Such a strong willed child will one day grow up to make one heck of a strong woman.”  Amen, sister… Amen.

So, this year this blog is about the doing.  Forget what I plan to do.  I’ll share with you and record for my girls what we actually do and how we get it done.  That’s the point – right?

Below is the start of my resolutions post….

I’m not one to make resolutions in the New Year.  I never really have, or if I did I wasn’t serious enough about it to remember it right now.  2012 was a special year for me.  I had my third daughter at home in one of the most beautiful experiences possible – an HBA2C.  I accomplished something so very amazing for me and my beautiful daughter, our health and well-being, and am forever changed.

tired

I called it my Jesus year.  I was 33 for most of it.  I discovered just how powerful a spiritual practice can be.  I had the chance to pull back, reassess, and now I have come out with a plan.

My last post was all about my inspiration to be re-motivated for most of these resolutions.  Many of them aren’t new, but things that have served me in the past, and will again.

1. Recommit to eating a Traditional Foods diet.  (Being pressed for time and tired during the last months of pregnancy I haven’t been cooking from scratch as much as I’d like.)

2. Simplify our living space.  Look what I am purging so far.  I’m just getting started. 🙂

IMG_2261

3. Organize what is left of the cabin and create a sanctuary for living.  I’m making a designated school and office space in the living room!  Our space is small and if you’ve followed me when I wrote here before, you know this is something that I am constantly working on.  Yet, in this case, I have a new strategy, and am approaching it from a different mind set.  It’s going to be fun!  I’ve gotten some tremendous inspiration from some DIY homebuilding friends who have built a beautiful home at minimum cost and almost all on their own.  I am still inspired by this home I toured in New Echota a few years ago.

My favorite kitchen of the day in the Worcester House at New Echota

My favorite kitchen of the day in the Worcester House at New Echota

4.

“This is messy work. We cannot simply attend a meeting, carry a sign at a march, have our name listed in the minutes, make one or two follow-up phone calls, then give ourselves a pat on the back. Our efforts require experimentation, failure, learning curves, self-criticism, and the constant examination of new ideas. We cannot compartmentalize a little “civic corner” of our lives; rather, we have to examine every day how each of our actions can build a better, more nurturing society for everyone. And for the time being, until this new, life-serving economy is more fully developed, it may continue to go unnoticed, and it may receive a certain lack of respect. But true civic engagement is not about taking credit for a job well done. It is about making the world better for the next generation in an enduring way that honors our deepest beliefs and greatest hopes.” – Shannon Hayes (author of Radical Homemakers)

     This is why I have come back to blogging.  I’ve been away from here for more than a year now.  In that time, I have tried to grow my birthing business locally.  I have supported my husband in opening his own tattoo shop.  I have grown and given birth to another daughter (HBA2C) and gotten her through her first 4 months.  I have been schooling my oldest -Deladis – through 2nd grade.  I have been taking classes with Stephanie Dawn to become a Sacred Birth counselor.  Aside from homeschooling and giving birth, I have done a lot of things that were focused on growing us from outside of our home.  Growing us into a better financial stability.  I dared to dream of us living this life of radical separation from what is considered “mainstream” all the while having the income to support us repairing and expanding the cabin, getting a newer vehicle, affording health insurance for John and myself, and travelling with our girls.  I also still see myself as being able to contribute to the bettering of my community, region, state, and country through various efforts.
     It isn’t that I shouldn’t continue to dream of us having the income to do those things, or me the ability to be out in my community to make a difference.  Some of those things have to be done as my girls will continue to grow up and John and I will continue to grow older.  The problem comes with my patience.  I thought that if I worked super duper hard, those things would come.  The fact is, that working hard isn’t always the key to financial gain or even satisfaction.  I’ve found myself disappointed, disconnected (despite Facebook time – LOL), and wondering what all the effort is about.
     While I have made some pocket change, I haven’t contributed enough to our income to really matter all that much.  I enjoy my work so very much, and I feel like it is important work.  I know I am going to keep working when opportunities do arise, but what I know now is that those opportunities have to be ones that aren’t a strain to my efforts with my girls and something that consistently takes away time I should spend with my husband.  We chose to take a cut in income when we had Deladis.  Then, after Ivy was born, we chose to move home.  Both of those decisions were made because we felt that my being home was more important than having a lower middle class income and we felt we could more fully express ourselves and parent our children living back where we both began – southeastern, Kentucky.
   So, what I realize now is that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, and that statement will never stop being cliche.  I won’t quit dreaming of those things that took my focus more to business and social networking, it is just that the path should be revised.  I should be patient.

Witch: And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to visit me in my loneliness.
Dorothy: What are you gonna do with my dog? Give him back to me.
Witch: All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time.
Dorothy: Oh please give me back my dog.
Witch: Certainly, certainly, when you give me those slippers.
Dorothy: But the Good Witch of the North told me not to.
Witch: Very well. (To her winged-monkey captain) Throw that basket in the river and drown him.
Dorothy: No, no. Here, you can have your old slippers but give me back Toto.
Witch: That’s a good little girl. I knew you’d see reason.

– The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I’ve seen reason.  But, as we all know, the witch loses in the end and so will frustration.  My work here at home with these girls is radical world change in the making.  Creating a lifestyle that presses boundaries, breaks walls, and reinvents the common experience, that is being the change.  Every day I am being the change.  Some days are better than others.  But, each day we should strive for balance.  Creator didn’t lead me down this path for naught.  What I have recognized is that each and every step is important, and it isn’t always going to be as I envision, nor will it always be in my time frame.  It isn’t going to look the same for me as it will others.  Each day is new and has its own work.  I have life and I have it abundantly.  I’m never left without, and to struggle to gain something I haven’t lost in the first place is pointless.

     So, I’m trading in the pointless for the things that matter.  I’m going back to our original vision, while bringing my work full circle into that vision.  There are women and families out there that can use my services.  They will find me and it will work out in amazing ways.  I can do what I so much enjoy – educating and supporting.  I don’t need to scroll down Facebook to socialize.  I can blog, and get to know people as I had done before here.  I can share our experience in full and read about the amazing things others are doing without getting disgusted at the pettiness.  (I’m not putting down Facebook.  Just looking to re-examine the overuse and wrong use of it.)  I can do what I enjoy so much – writing.  I’m going to play with my new baby who somehow is almost 5 months old already.  I’m going to listen to Deladis read and read to all three of them.  We are going to hike.  I’m going to cook good food.  I can do what I enjoy so much – being a wife and mother.  There will be yoga, and reading, decluttering, and music.  I can do what I know I will enjoy so much – make my home and body a sacred space.  I can.

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.

This is a pen and ink drawing John did of me picking through the carrot harvest in October.  It was close to my birthday I think.  I’m ready to take this stance any day now for planting season.  It was spitting some snow today though, after a glorious weekend.  Deladis can’t seem to get over our “family time”, and honestly her mother can’t either.

It seems like our “family time” is too here and there.  This weekend I think we were all ready just to be there for each other, and it felt perfect.  Saturday we went to the Mexican restaurant to eat, then to play with some ferrets at the pet store.  After that, we went to the Isom Vendor’s Mall where I found a book that I had checked out from the library, hadn’t finished, and was hoping to buy at some point, for two dollars.  It was one of those things where the Creator is putting things and people in my path to show me that this new path I have come across is ok and worth exploring.  I now own a copy of the book.  Then, we went to an ice cream shop in Vicco where Deladis got chocolate chip cookie dough, and Ivy birthday cake ice cream.  Deladis said, “This ice cream sure tastes fresh.”  Next, we went to a music store for John some strings.

Sunday, we went to church, came home, had supper, then walked up on the cemetary hill for a sweet snack.  Lars and Lucky followed us as always.  We sat, talked, and enjoyed the moss and the view.  Deladis said, “I just love our family time.”

While it seems so simple, it isn’t.  It feels new.  It feels good.  John and I both got a little more regular paying/scheduled jobs after Christmas this year, and this has allowed days like this weekend.  This change has put us both to thinking, as change can often do, about what is possible, and what our priorities are.

Family and faith should receive most of my time.  One day I’ll be eye to eye with two grown women, and I don’t want to wonder where those days in between went.  I can scramble and fight, and try to do my thing, but if the thing isn’t the right fit at the right time, no amount of scrambling or fighting will get me anywhere.  The time I gave to that goal, will be for naught because I was too set in my ways to think of an alternative route.  Or a more favorable goal.

I’m excited about the days ahead.  The possibilities and even getting out of this tight coat I’ve been wearing for far too long.  Spring has sprung.  The bushes outside have buds.  There are more activities to be found.  And we are renewing ourselves – as a family.

One new thing I’m doing is offering online Lamaze Childbirth Preparation classes and Early Pregnancy classes for any woman anywhere with any schedule. 🙂  Thinking outside the box.  For more information http://birthtrue.wordpress.com/online-classes-e-courses

2010 proved to be a very trying year for us.  I was almost glad to see it go.  2011 has already proved to bring with it great change.  Not only in our lifestyle and goals, but for me – my very being.  The end of 2010 had us reconsidering everything.  Our bank account was hacked and we lost all our money.  Ivy got really sick, and we found out we had E.Coli in our drinking water and coliforms in our well water.  Ivy is still dealing with stomach issues because of that.  I am taking the girls to my mother’s or John’s mother’s for their baths, and we are drinking store bought water now.  We re-evaluated our money making efforts, and had made a plan when the Lord blessed us both with new more regular jobs!  Mine being one I can do mostly from home.

It has been really hard promoting my birth work in that it takes great, constant effort.  I get tired of the promoting part.  I love the work, and am working on some decisions to make things a bit more clear for me goals wise.  I have been so absorbed in getting my name out there, that I didn’t expect at all getting my first two (what I would consider larger scale) publications back to back earlier this year!  It was an awesome surprise.  It blessed my heart immensely.

So, what I am trying to say is… it is a time of cleaning out.  Before I briefly ended the blog last summer, I had began a post called Wake Up and Prioritize.  I don’t think I ever really did that then, and I forgot that realization all together, making summer a struggle for me.  I’ve come back around now, and I think I’m at a place where I can actually act on that realization.

I’m looking at things with fresh eyes.  Doing a lot of reading of some good philosophical and spiritual texts.  I am learning what isn’t serving me or my family.  Sometimes it is hard to let go of activities that you have pursued with great momentum.  When I left the blog, I thought I’d spend less time on the computer – I spent more.  It was mostly researching for my work and trying online advertising like – Facebook.  Since being more active on Facebook, I have had trouble with mental chatter (though I know Facebook isn’t the only reason, and probably not the biggest).  It’s kind of like the news feed on Facebook, except through my mind and my own thoughts (well, that’s arguable too… 🙂 ).  I don’t know really how well being on Facebook has benefited me personally – business wise maybe somewhat, though I do value some of the business things/connections I do/have there greatly.  A Facebook friend shared this link not too long ago – 30 Day Facebook Fast.  I just read it today, and he makes some really, really good points.  I had been thinking of pulling back before I read this, but I’m pretty sure I will now from my personal page.  I will keep up with my business page and another responsibility, and see what changes.  Then, I’ll look closer at any benefits having a regular business presence there has, and go from there.

I’m looking at this because balancing homelife (mothering, housekeeping, homesteading, and homeschooling) with a career life (birth business, advocacy, and writing) is hard.  It is hard to prioritize those things.  On one hand, you want to say homelife always comes first.  On the other, if I don’t work very hard at the career life we might get wiped out again financially and with no health insurance, and some debt, that is not something that you easily recover from.  Plus, I do like my “career” life.  I think my work is important work.  Something that brings fulfillment and enjoyment.  That’s what I’ve always said is important when thinking about what you will do as a job the rest of your life.  Not, how much money you can make.  Then, my children will only be children once.  My biggest responsibility is to them, their well-being (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) and their livelihood.  I love them, and they deserve the best of me.  I then come to the answer – a perfect balance. 

Our lifestyle is a bit unique, but it fits John and I.  We’ve never “conformed” all that well, and finding our place and what we can contribute has been a journey we’ve enjoyed.  I’m thankful that I still live a life that leaves room to explore, begin new things, to change.  I’m not stuck in any place.

So, on top of reconsidering the benefits of Facebook, I’ve been doing other things.  Once again, cleaning out the cabin – except this time in a more drastic way.  If we haven’t used it in a few years, or if it isn’t an heirloom – it’s out.  Not selling, not trying to find homes for things, but just sending them away to a place where if someone needs them they can be obtained for free.  I’m also writing out daily/weekly goals.  Reading the Bible in a year.  Recommiting to my role as wife and mother, and looking at what I hope for my birth work with self respect, needs of women, and the needs of my community in mind.  For my work, that might mean changes in form or approach.  For my mothering that means working hard to be fully present in the now.  I’m feeling relieved.  I think that is why I came back here.  This is a thoughtful place.

The weather has given us a break, and the girls and I took a hike this past Saturday.  It was lovely.  We got home and both the girls fell asleep by 6:30 and didn’t wake up again until the next morning!

Start with a nice blue sky.

Add a warm hilltop breeze

Two lovely little girls

 

A release of penned up energy waiting all winter long

And a few soft smiles

One portly little cat who follows along behind like a dog

Neglected hunting cabin

 

That had to have once been loved

A few open old deep mines

 

An old logging road

Big old maple leaves

A couple of rolled over rocks

Blow one last kiss to the sun

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.  The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

-Psalm 121

This week has been a rough one, but also one of joy.  I was witness to another birth of a baby boy. 🙂  We celebrated Deladis’s fifth birthday (pictures to come), and I received my test results for my bloodwork.  I haven’t had a lot of time, and this next week will be busy as well.  I’m just trying my best to keep up.

The bloodwork says I have low blood sugar, my adrenals are shot, of course there’s my thyroid, and a few other minor things.  The low blood sugar is a shocker.  From what I understand it is connected to the function of the adrenals as well.  So, one is causing the other, or one is the symptom of the other.  I think the adrenals came first.  Anyway, I have to see another doctor Wednesday that is about an hour away.  I’m supposed to eat every two hours, which is going to be very difficult for me to do.  I just don’t get hungry like that.  I’m one that eats breakfast at 8am and doesn’t eat again sometimes until 2 or 3pm.  I do have this shake stuff to drink in between meals to help regulate my blood sugar, so that will help.

The most depressing thing for me is that I have to be off of dairy for 3 weeks.  I didn’t show an allergy, but she expects that I might be having some sensitivity to it because I’m not digesting well.  Have I ever mentioned that I love dairy?  I truly don’t know what I’m going to eat now.  I live off of milk products.  Now, this isn’t good from a traditional foods standpoint, because pastuerized and homogenized milk is so tampered with that it is hard for any human being to digest or utilize properly.  I don’t have access to raw milk products, and that is one piece of eating traditional foods that I have never been able to adopt.  Rather than go without dairy, I just ate conventional dairy.  I have been pointed in the direction of the PETA website called Milk Sucks.  I suppose I need to check it out.  I know conventional dairies are cruel.  I know these three weeks won’t kill me, but…. Did I mention I love dairy????

I have been having these episodes of dizziness and such that is related to my blood sugar, and I’m tired.  I’m lifting my eyes to the mountains, and pushing onward.  Whatever manifests in our body has its beginnings in our inner work.  I believe that thoroughly.  Healing is a time of inner work as much as it is getting well physically.

I posted a comment on Mama-Om and she was gracious enough to share with me some of her experiences with being a parent and not feeling well.  I wanted to share them here.  Sometimes I think us mothers tend to hide our pitfalls, and things that aren’t just so.  There’s nothing to hide.  Mothers are people afterall, and we all have work to do in this life. 

Mama-Om:

Thankful Anyway and Unraveled

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

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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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