Today is a day for celebrating. Jump up and down, spin in a circle laughing, and collapse in a giddy heap, because today is one for the books. Despite the not working out, the everything cooked in butter or bacon fat or drenched in olive oil, the second and third helpings of everything, and many, many giant late night bowls of ice cream with caramel, I am officially below my pre-baby weight! Can I get a woohoo for breastfeeding or what?!? Apparently I can eat anything and still burn it when I'm trying to power a 20 lb monster with just my body! Yay, now bring on the king cake!

   Speaking of my little monster, she is playing in the gorgeous sunlight totally naked right now. She could not be happier.  She's been feeling much better these last few days, but has lost interest in solid foods. This kid who would plow through two servings of squash like it was nothing now doesn't want even one bite of anything. I'm thinking it might be that her throat is still sore from her cold. She will suck on whatever I put in her mesh feeder, she just doesn't want to eat anything. 

Ok, I'm going pick up my naked baby because she just peed everywhere.  Bye for now!
   Sorry for the lack of blogloving people, but I've been trying to take care of my sick little one. The up all night crying episodes didn't leave me with much energy to do anything that didn't involve taking care of her, so I've been a little bit of a slacker. However, she slept last night (Yay!!!) so I thought I'd jump on here and catch up! 

   The bear has figured out how to crawl, but prefers going backwards. It's pretty funny to watch. She doesn't seem to have too much interest in actually using her new skill. Unless of course I leave the room, in which case she's travels very quickly to the other side of the room. I think maybe she's looking for me. Who knows...

   Homemade wipes and wipes solution seem to be a success, which is pretty exciting. I just throw used wipes in with diapers to wash and it really isn't any extra work. I used old receiving blankets for the wipes, but will probably (eventually) get around to sewing some proper ones. The recipe for the solution I made is:

                   2 cups hot water
                   2 tbsp olive oil
                   2 tbsp Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild castille soap
                   2 drops 100% pure therapeutic grade lavender essential oil

   It smells great and seems to be much more gentle on Dav's tush. I have some in a squirt bottle with my stack of cloth wipes and the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. It smells wonderful! If you want to make your own disposable wipes, just pour this solution over a roll of paper towels that have been cut in half  with the cardboard tube pulled out. Also, you can add a couple drops of tea tree oil (pure essentioal oil, not synthetic!) to the solution for a natural disenfectant or 2 tbsp of vinegar to make it antifungal. Next up on the agenda is homemade laundry detergent which I would like to make without using borax.

I'm off to put Dav down for a nap so I can try to catch up on the housework that got away from me while she was sick. Have a lovely Tuesday!

P. S. Yes, my boys won the superbowl. And yes, I cried. A lot. Who Dat!?!?!
   So, I finally got up the nerve to check out one of the local attachment parenting meetups. It was a little less scary because I knew another mom who would be there (her first time, too). I have to say, I did not enjoy my experience. It was supposed to be a talk about using essential oils with babies and kids. To me, it seemed more like a live commercial for a particular line of oils. Basically the meeting went like this
   Essential Oils are good! 
Yes, I agree. That is why I'm here.

   This brand is the best!  
Okay, I appreciate the recommendation.

   Only use a tiny bit of oil on babies!
Yeah, I figured.

   I'm also selling this book to tell you how to use oils!  
Um, I thought we came here to learn how to use them...

   So, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but trust me it's only a little. Then when everyone kind of spread out to chit chat and socialize, I decided as the new kid that I should mingle. I could not even get the other moms (aside from the one I already knew) to make eye contact with me. I tried saying hello and introducing myself to a few people and could barely get a 'hi' in return.
   I don't think I'll be going back to that meet-up group. I felt like a little kid at a grown-up party. It was not extremely pleasant. Still, it was nice to see the mama there that I did know so it wasn't a total waste of time.
   Well, I'm off to the grocery store to get supplies for making my own household cleaning products. I'll let everyone know how they turn out. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and for those of you watching the big game - Who Dat!?!?!
   Nursing in public is an issue that provokes a wide range of opinions from people. Personally, I don't think anyone but the nursing mom's opinion matters. I nurse without a cover, and I'm always surprised by how others react to it. 
   One day I had Dav visibly nursing in her sling while I was walking into a clothing store at a strip mall. Walking past me was a young-ish guy by himself, and when he saw that Dav was eating he stopped to open the door for us. I was impressed. Then, the other day at the park, Dav and I took a break from the swings so she could nurse. There was one other mom there with her two shool aged children. Even though nothing innapropriate was visible (no tummy, no side boob, no cleavage, nothing), once the mom realized I was nursing she made her kids get off of the swings where they were playing and go to the other side of the playground. I couldn't belive it. 
   One of the reasons many moms give up on or choose not to even start nursing is not wanting to feel trapped in their houses. Many women feel like breastfeeding means planning outings around baby's feeding schedule and having to get back to the house after only a short time. Especially if, like me, you have a baby who would rather go hungry (screaming all the while) than eat with a blanket over her head. Not that I blame her. Who wants a blanket over their head while they eat? Imagine if our society supported breastfeeding. Aside from just acknowledging that breast is best, what if we encouraged women to feel like they could still go out and be a part of the adult world while nursing? How many more women would nurse longer (or at all)? How many babies would benefit from that? It's sad that we live in such a puritanical environment that something as natural, beneficial, important as breastfeeding is suffering for the sake of a stranger's inability to keep from gawking. I really think it's awfully unfortunate.
   On a less soapboxy note, all I've heard these past three days is 'dada.' Man, that kid is a daddy's girl for sure! I get the one 'Mama' and then never again. There was also one time when her daddy leaned down to do something with a toy she was playing with and she said 'Mine!' That was pretty funny (though it probably doesn't bode too well for her future capacity for sharing). It's crazy how much she can do already. She's a pro at getting to the internet on my phone and loves to play the infant specific games on the computer (thanks to her dad for that one, can't say I'm thrilled about it). She's frighteningly close to being mobile and can go from sitting on my lap to standing without holding on to anything (she then promptly falls over but, still). It all goes much, much to fast.
   This morning I am seriously lacking motivation. Yawn. Really, really big yawn. Sorry folks, still waiting for the coffee to kick in. I don't know if it's the crappy weather or that I stayed up too late watching Janeane Garafalo's stand-up, but I just feel like going back to bed. Luckily, Dav was feeling cuddly this morning and was content to snuggle with mommy in bed until eight, giving me an hour longer under the covers than I would normally get.
   I absolutely have to get off of my tush in the next few minutes (as soon as this cup of coffee empties) and wash the dishes from yesterday. I baked bread for the week and made baby food and cooked J's parents dinner yesterday so my kitchen looks like Martha Stewart exploded all over it. 
   Dinner was delicious. I made orange and chili pork loin (pork from a local rancher, so good) with fried plantains and an heirloom tomato salad. Hot house tomatoes are generally pretty lacking in flavor, but the heirloom varieties always seem much more robust, so that's what I like to go with in winter. Oh, and homemade yeast rolls. Yummy and soft.
   Wow, either thinking about those fantastic leftovers in my fridge or the lowering level of my coffee cup has perked me up considerably. My little chunkers is definitely wide awake; she's trying hard to dismantle her exersaucer. She really, really wants to be able to pull the toys off of it. I think it's mostly because she would like to be able to throw them. Her new favorite game is fetch, as in 'Look Mommy, I threw my toy way over there. Go and get it so I can throw it again.' So I do. And she does. It's not as fun for me as it is for her.
   Ok, I am going to tackle my dishes. And then the flour that is all over my kitchen. Wish me luck, and enjoy your Friday!
   I have been thinking a lot recently about what feminism means to me as a mom. I definitely have had shifting definitions for the word as I've grown and gone through different stages in my life. When I was younger I felt angrier about the patriarchal paradigm in this society. These days I worry more about the kyriarchy we live in but feel less anger. I think just being content in my own little life and feeling the peace of being completely comfortable in my own skin has softened my edges a bit.
   I'm sure some would argue that my role as stay-at-home-mom and homemaker is antithetical to my identity as a feminist. I feel pretty sure that we have (for the most part) moved past the idea that this role I've taken is less than, but I suspect that many still feel it's a sacrifice of 'something more.'
   My pregnancy was a surprise (unplanned is a ridiculous understatement), but I chose to continue it. I feel so strongly that it was my choice to make and that had I made another choice that would have been my deserved right. Even though it wasn't my intention at that time to get knocked up, I think that by choosing to go ahead with the pregnancy and have the baby, I owed it to the little life inside me to be the very best parent possible. Anyone who is having a baby owes the kid that, though I think it's up to each individual to determine what their definition of best is in that situation. For some it may mean renewed dedication to a career that will provide the best that money can buy for their little one; for some it might mean fully trusting a medical professional to make the calls when it comes to labor and delivery.  
   For me, the best way involved trusting my strength and power as a woman to birth this baby without a male medical establishment forcing on me the idea that I needed help in the way of drugs and a doctor to do what countless women with worse nutrition and more difficult circumstances had done without those things. The best, as I see it, means feeding my daughter the milk that my amazing female body makes specifically tailored to her needs, selecting and preparing each individual vegetable or piece of meat myself that will go into her mouth, wearing her close to me so she feels the comfort of this body that carried her for so long, and taking the time and effort to cloth diaper so that I leave her an earth that doesn't have more diapers in the landfills and more chemicals in the environment from their manufacture. The best, to me, means being willing to put in more work with her, spending time learning how to follow her lead and seeing the cues she gives for where she is developmentally and what she feels ready for, regardless of what I feel ready for.
   I choose to be home with my daughter because I find it fulfilling, important work. It's hard sometimes. It means cutting it awfully close financially and going without almost any material 'perks.' It means doing things the harder but cheaper way most of the time. It means less adult interaction and (for now) less time enjoying the relationship I have with her dad. I want to raise her to be a strong woman. I want her to fight for her convictions and know that she can achieve absolutely anything. I want her to feel empowered and validated and up for every challenge. I want her to know that whether she decides to live on a farm and pop out kid after kid or become attourney general and choose a life without children, or anywhere in between, she can do so with my full support and faith in her ability.
   Now, I have to go pull my bread out of the oven. I have decided that we are no longer buying bread at the store when I have a perfectly good oven here at home and two able hands. This is one of those times where harder but cheaper rears its head. It also happens to be fun and more tasty, so I'm definitely okay with it. Happy Monday!
   I have rediscovered days at the park. I love that the past few days here have been warm and sunny (wasn't it way below freezing like three weeks ago?), and I was able to take Dav to play at a park. So. Much. Fun.
   My kid loves playing in the rocks and swinging and going down the slide. I can't believe she's old enough to do these things! It's so crazy! We went and sat by a stream and nursed while I had a milkshake (Mommy-Dav picnic!), and J came with us yesterday to watch the baby bear in action. 
   Sadly, today was a little too windy for playing at the park. I still wanted to get Dav out of the house so we went to walk around Target. Always dangerous for me. I probably should have stayed out of the baby clothes section, but Iended up with two new T-shirts for the bear - one 'The Who' shirt and one 'KISS' shirt. Rock out.
   Now I'm watching my super cute daughter on her hands and knees rock back and forth while she tries to get the courage to crawl. I'm hoping it takes a little while, but I'm guessing I'll be in for it in a matter of days.
   I feel like being a mom and a partner to J has left a big chunk of my true self inadvertently hidden. I try to accept (even as I fight to change it) that I live in a heterosexist society. People are going to assume that as a mother in an opposite-sex relationship that I'm a straight-identified woman. This in turn leads entirely too many of them to say innapropriate, homophobic things in front of me  and - consequently - Dav. I have no problem letting people know how ignorant and stupid they sound in these cases and how utterly offensive I find them. I don't mind setting the record, ahem,  straight about my ambivalence towards gender. I just hate thinking that my kid is going to be exposed to this so often.
   I tend toward introversion; I don't have any desire to walk around with a sign over my head proclaiming any personal information about me. I hate when strangers out in public want to talk to me about Dav (and who doesn't like talking about their kid?), so I certainly don't want to discuss my personal life or orientation with them. I want my daughter to grow up thinking of sexual and gender identity as non-issues, just another unique piece in the puzzle of what makes a person an individual. 
   Just because I can sometimes look at someone and see they're clearly one ethnicity doesn't give me free rein to say bad things about any other ethnicity to them. So why do so many feel it's ok to do that when they assume something about another's orientation. Since no one can look at another person and know for sure their sexual identity, why would anyone think it's okay to say derogatory things about any sexual identity, ever?
   How about the fact that it's just plain rude and bad manners. I don't walk around saying negative, horrible things in mixed company about anyone else's religion/politics/etc. (Admittedly, I save that for 'preaching to the choir' scenarios in the privacy of my own home!)
   Ok, I feel better, just had to get that down...
   The whole introduction to solids is going really well for Dav. She loves eating! I'm mad proud of how well she's doing with it all and her real enthusiasm for whatever we offer to her. I imagine things like kale and lamb might be difficult for some babies' palates, but she is loving it! I am finding to be really helpful and informative. My OXO food mill has been the perfect baby food maker because it gives me amazing control over the consistency of what I make for Dav.
   Dav is getting pretty good at putting the spoon in her mouth herself. She's managed at least a few bites so far on her own. I never really doubted (with my genes) that she would be a picky eater. Food is just about my favorite thing in the world (not counting the living, breathing things, at least). I even went on a date to a grocery store once (and it was fantastic!).
   So just to share with everyone how I've been making Dav's food, here are my preperation methods:
         Most veggies get put in a roasting pan with a little bit of water and roasted in a 400 degree Farenheit oven until tender, then put through the food mill and mixed with the cooking liquid. This puree I then pour into ice cube trays to freeze, and once solid move to zip top plastic freezer bags.
         Sweet potatoes get poked with a fork, wrapped in foil, and baked at 400 degrees until cooked through (30-50 min). I scoop the tender flesh out of the skin and mash with a fork.
        Avocado just gets mashed with a fork. I only mash the amount for one serving at a time. The rest gets sliced, dipped in a water/lemon juice bath, wrapped in cling wrap, and put into the refrigerator. Freezing avocado will significantly change the consistency, I don't reccommend it!
        Kale gets a very, very thorough wash by filling a huge bowl with water (or just fill up your sink) and swishing the leaves around. Lift the leaves out, change out the water and do this again. Now do that one more time (3 times in all). Then de-stem the leaves and steam until tender. Put through the food mill, using the coarsest disk first and working your way to the finer disks until the desired consistency is reached.
       Lamb shoulder gets chopped into bite sized pieces and wrapped in a little foil boat with a few tablespoons of water. Give it 3-4 hours in a low oven (I did 3 1/2 at 225) until the lamb is cooked through and falling-apart-tender. Freeze on a cookie sheet until solid then transer to a zip-top bag.

Label and date your zip top bags, and try to use within a month. Three months is the longest you want to keep homemade baby food in a regular freezer (you can go longer in a free standing deep freezer). Buy organic veggies and free grazing meat! Careful with leafy greens (be aware of nitrates) and make sure everything is super clean!!!
   This past week, was tiring! It seems like we were doing something everyday, and it isn't stopping now. I'm tryin to make it to a meetup tomorrow, but I'm a little bit nervous!
   Dav and I went shopping for clothes today. She has grown out of pretty much all her cool weather clothing. I've got some stuff for her that's the right size, it's just all spring/summer clothing because I had no idea I would have a six month old in 12-18 month gear! Plus, there is a package waiting for me to go and get in the morning that has more for her and a jacket for me (Thanks Lala and Papa!).
   Twice today, my bear and I were almost hit by other drivers. One lady in a little car crossed the center line and almost hit us head on. Of course, she had a phone up to her ear. Then, when we were less than two minutes from home, a young guy (looked like a teenager) in a big pick-up truck almost ran us off the road. It looked as though he were texting, but I can't be positive. He was definitely doing something with his phone, though.
   This is something I just don't understand. I am not by any stretch the world's best driver, but I pay serious attention to what I'm doing when I'm behind the wheel. I figure if I am responsible for a couple of thousand pounds of metal hurtling along at high speeds around lots of other people, I probably shouldn't be trying to do anything else at the same time. Since people started using cell phones so much, people act like it's isn't acceptable to just let your phone ring. I never feel like I have to pick up. If I'm busy with Dav, whether feeding or just playing with her, I'm not going to answer my phone just because it rings.  I usually put it on silent when we leave the house just so I'm not distracted by the ringing while I'm driving. I can't imagine a phone call that can't wait until I'm at my destination, or at least pulled off the road. According to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, cell phone distraction of drivers causes over 2,500 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year.
   Okay, okay, I'm off of my soapbox for the night. Be safe y'all!