happy earth day!

IMG_1730Happy Earth Day, everyone! I went to my town’s Earth Day celebration last Saturday with Hannah and my parents and it was really fun. That’s Hannah and her grandpa enjoying the weather at the Ogden Nature Center for the Earth Day celebration!

Today I will be celebrating this lovely planet in a laid-back way; taking Hannah for a nature walk along the river trail, taking some photos, getting the hummingbird feeders ready, and making a yummy vegan feast (sweet potato and chick pea curry).

I may even work in an eco crafty upcycle if I find the time. I was inspired by these posts: 100 Ways to Repurpose Everything and 221 Upcycling Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind (I love a good round-up).

And since I have been thinking earth-y this week I rounded up some of my favorite ways to be eco. 🙂 Hope you think it’s fun, too.

earth day faves1. Reusable shopping bags. These are the best because there’s obviously less waste than plastic bags, but they hold WAY more stuff, so there are less bags to carry in from the car. I have been using the same set of 6 Envirosax for many years and they hold up great and are machine washable.

2. Composting. Between cooking, gardening, and feeding a toddler (who likes to throw things on the floor), I generate a lot of scraps. Hardly anything gets thrown away: it either goes to the dogs, the chicken scrap bucket (they eat all the veggie peels) or the compost bin.

3. The local library. Checking out books, music and movies at the library reduces our consumption as consumers (and saves us money). We go every week or two and Hannah gets a stack of books, I get a couple books and cds, and we rent a movie or two to watch throughout the week after Hannah’s in bed.

4. A nice recycle bin is awesome, because you can keep it conveniently in plain sight so it’s not a chore to separate and hide recyclable items. My brother-in-law built me this one for Christmas a few years back and I love it!

5. Mrs. Meyer’s (Basil) and Dr. Bronners (Almond) are my fave green products. I use them for so many things!

6. Cloth diapers. YES they are more work, but I love saving all the money and landfill space by using (mostly) cloth diapers. BumGenius are the best. We also love our toilet-mounted diaper sprayer. It makes it really easy, so it just fits into the day like it’s no big deal.

7. Gardening. It makes organic food cheap for the family, it provides exercise and therapy and fresh air for me, and it’s good for the planet.

8. Soul-flower.com is my favorite shop. I want everything. I love my Neverland crops and Earth Medallion tank and all the other things I’ve purchased from Soul-flower. It’s all eco and fair trade and great quality.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

welcoming spring. daily routines.

ONC viewEven after what’s been a really mild Utah winter, I’m anxious for springtime. I love summer and fall, but I still think spring is my favorite because the winters just drag on for me. By February I’ve had *just* about all I can take, and then suddenly and mercifully there are signs of spring and I snap out of my funk. I love the chilly-but-sunny days, the beginnings of gardening, and feeling like I can once again be a part of nature. Hannah and I have been enjoying daily walks. She loves to look at animals, and our neighborhood is smack in the middle of farm country, so there are nearby horses, chickens and cows to visit. We also just got a family membership to our local nature center (ONC), which is definitely going to be a weekly adventure. We went last week and Hannah LOVED it! And so did I. Even though things are only *just* greening up here and there, it was still beautiful and peaceful. Insta ONCAs Hannah gets older it will be so fun to take her to the nature center for the kids camps and crafty events, but for now we just enjoyed wandering the trails and seeing the birds and deer.

ONC pathAround the house, I’m switching up the baby-proof surfaces with some spring-time touches. I finally got the mantel stained, and put out some random spring-y objects I could find around the house. Plants, flowers, butterflies and birds are kind of a theme around the place right now. I’ve also been able to have the windows open for part of the day. Fresh air and natural light makes such a difference to my mood.

Spring mantel

I got a couple new pillow covers at IKEA – I love the biology textbook-style birds and bugs. (I’ve had the green pillow for years).Spring pillowsAnd the IKEA Varde shelf got a little switchup from the pink-and-red Valentine’s Day decor to some green {and my eating’s been greening up with more vegan recipes in the mix}.

Spring ShelfMy stack of reading reflects the season quite a bit, too. Some gardening magazines of course, and two new books I really recommend. Mindfulness and the Natural World is just one woman’s philosophical view of nature from a “you aren’t in nature, you are nature” kind of standpoint and I am really enjoying it. And mindfulness is the other theme right now, because I’m also enjoying implementing a daily yoga practice (only about 15 minutes during Hannah’s nap time, but it’s really helping me feel better); I really like the book OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice. There is a short practice for each day of the week, and they are challenging enough for me that I am getting something out of just the short stints. Getting back into yoga has been so long overdue! I used to think to do yoga I had to go to a studio for a class or at least follow a video in its entirety. Silly right? The idea that it’s something you can do anywhere at any time, for any length of time is so freeing!

Spring readingIt’s not much, but adding a few routines to my day (a walk, some yoga, and a bit of inspiring reading) has been good for my soul and my sanity and I’m feeling like myself again! Seed-starting is on my to-do list this next week, and I am vowing to get some time outside in the garden just to start cleaning it up and prepping the beds with compost. What’s everyone else got planned for spring?

hannah’s baby book progress

IMG_1063I wanted to share some progress with Hannah’s baby scrapbook. I apologize for the quality of the photos here. I had a really difficult time taking photos of photos, but at least this will give you the gist of the book.

When I began this book many months ago I’d decided on the SN@P Simple Stories line. They are pocket pages that are 6×8 and I thought the tiny format would be less daunting, thus easier to keep up. But I actually hated it for this book! I had many things that wouldn’t fit, and with only a couple pictures per page, the book was going to get huge really fast! My sister-in-law was doing Project Life and loved it, so I decide that was a better way to go. I went with the 12×12 Project Life, incorporating smaller pocket pages between as needed. I love the collage-y effect. Much easier to adapt. Pocket scrapbooking is great because you don’t have to do full page layouts with tons of embellishments for them to look nice. You just put in the photos you want, add some cards, journaling on a few. They can be as simple or as fancy as you like.

I didn’t create the pages in any order, but I’m posting on the order they appear in the book so you can see the flow. I began with a page about J and I; though this book is about Hannah I thought she would like to have a little bit of information and a few photos of us before she was born. I added an engagement and wedding photo and a couple random pictures of us that I liked. I created a pull tab for the blue card that extends beyond the pocket and created a flipbook that flips from the top. I wrote down the story of how Jonathan and I met, a bit about our dating years and the years we were married before Hannah came along. I wanted it to be just a quick recap, and something you only read if you wanted to remove it from the book.

our storyNext I documented those bump progress pictures J took throughout my pregnancy. I chose I few to show the growth of my belly and wrote some pregnancy anecdotes I didn’t want to forget. I made sure to add the week 35 photos because her dad got a progress shot, too, and I thought it was cute.

bump progressNext I documented some pregnancy perks like the pedicure J gave me when I couldn’t reach my toes, and our two beautiful showers. I put the invitations in an 8.5×11 pocket.

showersBehind the invitations is a page for Hannah’s nursery. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and wanted to tell her all about all the items that were mine as a kid, given to us as gifts for her, or that her dad or I made for her! The page needs a little work still.

nurseryI saved all Hannah’s ultrasound photos and put them into pockets, with a picture of the Women’s Center I went to for all my prenatal appointments. I added some journaling about the appointments and our doctor.

welcome to the worldBehind the smaller pocket above is a page I did for the baby belly before and after holding Hannah. I completely stole the idea from someone on Pinterest who did this for a baby announcement. I just thought it was really cute and wanted it for her scrapbook. On the right there’s an 8.5×11 of her birth announcement. The photo package we ordered from the hospital photographer included this.

38-39 weeksBehind her announcement is another photo the hospital photographer did. The righthand page is Hannah’s official arrival page. I have her first photos, her hospital stats, hospital bracelet, etc.

hello page1Next is another spread of hospital photos and her footprints. It’s hard to tell but the section with “Birth Story” and “Hospital Stay” is a narrow pocket page. Those cards are more hidden journaling – behind them will have some memories her Dad and I have. I wanted to include some things from her dad’s perspective in the book. I know she will love that when she gets older. I have more hospital photos I want to put on another spread, but need to get more printed. I want to include the shots of her family members meeting her, but I need to track them down from people.

hospital picsThat’s all for today. I have more completed, but there are some gaps I need to fill in before they are done. I will post on that later! Thanks for looking. 🙂

hannah is one!.. & we just might survive this.

Hannah birthday 1Hannah is one! Last week we enjoyed her big day. No offense to those very energetic moms out there who go all-out for a first birthday, but I am not one of them. It was a low-key day. Hannah enjoyed opening her gifts from her dad and I (a couple books), and in the evening our family all came over to celebrate. She got to eat a little pizza and downed an entire cupcake! She was spoiled with a boatload of books, some cute clothes and a few toys picked out by her cousins. She was wired until 9pm! So while we tried to keep her schedule and healthy meals as normal as possible, she did get a free pass for her birthday party.

I don’t know about other moms out there, but a one-year-old birthday was kind of a personal milestone! We survived the first year! I was so scared of the actual birth. Petrified! And it happened in a blur, and then there were weeks of learning how to care for a newborn, and the postpartum healing and the pain and emotion that comes with nursing. The hormonal swings and the EXHAUSTION from the PURPLE Crying. Going back to work for a little while, but deciding to quit my job to stay home (working part time, mostly from home). Postpartum joint pain (I still have it) coupled with being chronically tired, so I feel like this year aged me about thirty. Washing all those diapers and carrying her around in that sling and all those drives around town and walks around the neighborhood desperate for her to nap. We survived it and came out the other side smiling and eating cake. Somehow that is kind of amazing!

I wish the year hadn’t gone by so quickly. All the little and big moments. Rolling over and sitting up and crawling. Her first holidays and road trips and meeting her/our family and friends. The smiles and the giggles and the funny babbling and expressions. Having a little buddy with me everywhere I go. Seeing everything from the perspective of showing it to Hannah for the first time. I love teaching her about things in the world. And she’s 1 now. It’s like a whole new set of milestones to look forward to just rolled out, but this time around we kind of know what we are doing. Or at least we are getting good at figuring it out as we go.Hannah high chair

I’ve actually had people ask me if I (/we) regret waiting so long to start a family. It’s a weird question to me (for many reasons) in part because I feel like we were a family before Hannah came along, just a different kind (proud dog-mom here!). But I suppose people around here (Utah) are curious because they’ve, for the most part, started much younger. Also, J and I were married for 9 years when Hannah was born, which really is quite a long time to be married without kids. There’s a dynamic shift for SURE once a baby comes along. And it’s true that there are great things about waiting and some more challenging things about being in your 30s/ after many years of marriage when you have kids. So I thought I would write a little about my experience waiting until I was 30 to get pregnant, in case it helps someone with their family planning decisions.

Disclaimers: 1) There are lots of medical issues like fertility difficulties, which I am not going to address here. We fortunately did not experience that. This is simply my (/our) personal experience so far. 2) I realize that 30 is NOT OLD by any standard, including child-bearing! Women have perfectly healthy pregnancies later in life than I did.

J and I wereHannah is 1 married 8 years before we got pregnant, which is a good deal of time to do things like improve our home(s), move a couple times, finish my advanced degree, go on some vacations, and save money. These, in my opinion, are all PROs in the waiting-to-have-kids department. I do not at all regret all of the things we got to do in our first years of marriage, as just a couple with two incomes. We walked that line between playing and being responsible really well… simultaneously having fun while getting our financial ducks in a row. If anything I wish we’d pinched pennies a *little* more because if I could have the cash back from all those Whole Foods trips and Starbucks runs I could clothe Hannah until she’s in first grade. But alas, we didn’t have many worries and still were able to save up.

Obviously another benefit to waiting is the maturity and understanding of the world that comes from living in it for a while. Looking back to 10 (or even 5) years ago, I was (blissfully) unaware of things like factory farming, pesticides in our food, chemicals in our household products, the peril of our landfills, etc.. all of which now affect the daily decisions I make for raising a baby. I don’t judge moms for making different decisions with how they feed or diaper their own babies, but I feel like it’s important to make little decisions that I feel good about in my own household.

Finally, a fringe benefit I didn’t expect from waiting to have a baby is that family and friends who’ve already done the baby years were so generous with passing on hand-me-down clothes, toys, gear, and plenty of advice (that last one.. take how you see fit). It’s been invaluable to know people who’ve been such good examples as parents. It’s saved us a bundle to inherit gently-loved baby gear. And when you’ve been in the workforce for a while your friends are a much older and financially-better off pool of gift-givers than you had when your were 20. Again – this I didn’t expect but we were truly HOOKED UP by our family and friends before Hannah even arrived. I feel so lucky for that!

So, while I don’t regret waiting in the slightest, J and I say all the time that we don’t really know why we waited quite so long. We admittedly were scared of the idea of messing with a good thing, and time did sort of slip by, and before we knew it, it seemed like it had to be now or never. And then we did it, and it’s been amazing. It’s been such an adventure and I can’t imagine life without our little girl.

I can’t believe my last post was 6 months ago. Wow! I actually have plans to once again resume being a more regular blogger, now that Hannah’s older and plays independently a lot, AND has the nap thing down (knock on wood). That means there’s room in life now for a little bit beyond nursing and diaper changes. Not that I’m complaining, but those things aren’t really interesting enough to blog about even if I could muster up the energy. I like to think this next year I will have some energy back and feel a little like sharing again. I do miss it! But, no regrets for this first year. It was amazing. ❤

6 months!

Hannah turned 6 months old on Saturday. I can’t believe it! Time goes so quickly.

10565234_10204729337020160_8680926049986267904_nWeight: ~14lbs

Eyes: Definitely blue!

Hair color: Honey blonde

Nicknames: Hannie, Han, Bug, Munchkin, Banana

Milestones: making “B” and “D” sounds in addition to lots of vowels, giggles and shrieks; rolling over; sitting up (a little wobbly still); and looking like crawling is imminent!

Eats: Still breastfed and has tried peas, green beans, zucchini, and peaches. (Making purees with the Baby Bullet!)

Sleeps: In her crib at night but still wakes every 2-3 hours. Naps best in sling or car seat. Girl likes to be in motion!

Loves: The dogs.. she’s obsessed with them; being outside; being read to; her Dad’s beard; her bouncer.

Hates: Nap time!

Favorite Toy: Silicone muffin cups! And her Sophie the Giraffe.

Happy half-year little bug. We love you so much.

life right now.

Life has slowed down, and it’s good. I just celebrated my 31st birthday camping with my little family of five (counting the dogs, of course), and I’m currently enjoying the beginning of my third week as a part-time-work-at-home mom! A lot of thought and planning went into the decision to stay home, and I know I made the right one. It’s a big change, financially and otherwise, but it’s a good one. The offer to stay working a bit from home was the icing on the cake. I feel so lucky to still have a toe in work-life for the extra income and resume fodder.

sahm(source)

That doesn’t mean it’s not still hard. Being a SAHM has to be one of the hardest jobs. I mean, we all know that but it’s hard to know just how taxing it can be to feel like you aren’t being productive, yet still staying incredibly busy all day, til you do it. As someone who can’t sit still and can’t stop making to-do lists, it’s a real mental adjustment. But every day is different. I am in constant view of a sweet baby and her funny sounds and gummy smile. I won’t miss the big or little things. Someone said the days are long but the weeks are fast, and that’s exactly the truth of it. Hannah is almost 5 months old and I while I feel like I’ve aged 10 years in those months, I still can’t believe she’s that old!

I’ve got lots of plans for productive things to do while I’m in my semi-retirement. But not much is happening now except spending time with my girl, taking walks and hanging out in the garden, taking naps together and teaching her about the world. It’s perfect.

unnamed(My coworker & office)

Post topics to come: adjusting to one income, keeping sanity as a SAHM, and a billion-and-one cute baby pics.