children + toys.


Amanda Blake Soule, author of the wonderful, “Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures”, was interviewed by Indie Fixx.  I love what Amanda says about children + toys.  She was asked:

“Your home is so lovely and yet still kid-friendly.  I love how you make spaces that both appeal to kids and adults.  Do you have any advice for people wanting to do the same in their own homes?”

Amanda’s response:

“Thank you!  I think my one piece of advice for that would be to choose carefully the toys you bring into your home.  For lots of reasons, ‘less’ is more.  It’s better for children’s imaginations, better for creating a peaceful family environment, and it’s much easier on the space in a house.  I also think ‘beauty’ is an important factor to consider when bringing a toy into your home.  Shouldn’t children’s toys and surroundings be beautiful, too?  I think so.”

the farm.

I’ve been spending some of my time reading a book called, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (recommended by my pregnancy guru, Ohio Becky…really great read, thanks poochy!).  Ina May Gaskin is the leading midwife in the nation.  She operates her midwifery practice out of a farm in Tennessee, called “The Farm.”  In her book, are real-life stories of everyday women whose desire is to give birth naturally and in a homespun and personal environment, surrounded by midwives who care for the highest in natural childbirth.  The book reads like a documentary and is mostly full of wonderful birth stories — some of the stories are a little holky, but for the most part I have been inspired and energized by the majority of them. 


Greg and I attended our second Bradley Method class last evening, which was taught by our teacher’s husband.  Our teacher was actually in Tennessee attending a weeklong midwifery program taught by Ina May.  You could say that I was just a wee bit jealous that she got to visit The Farm.  : )

I walked away from last night’s Bradley class with something powerful that was shared in a video.  This is not word for word, but it goes something like this: “People trust technology more than they trust nature.  These days women are afraid they cannot give birth naturally, instead they completely trust in their doctors and in the status quo.”

I’ve never given birth, so I can’t vouch for this with any of my own real-life experiences, but something deep down in me tells me that this is true.

26 weeks!

Today I am 26 weeks!  My baby is as long as an English hothouse cucumber!

“The network of nerves in your baby’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before.  She may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner’s as you chat with each other.  She’s inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of her lungs.  These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when she’s born and takes that first gulp of air. And she’s continuing to put on baby fat.  She now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches from head to heel.”

26 weeks

vintage nightgowns.

I have this thing for vintage styled nightgowns.

I guess you could call me a nightgown kinda gal — but not just any sort of nightgown!  Oh no!  I just love the kinds that remind me of old farm houses or large victorian homes.  The wonderfully cozy and romantic cotton canterbury kinds with the hint of lace at the cuffs and neckline.  During my college years I went to town purchasing them.  I’m sure glad I did, because I now have a dozen or so of these nostaligic beauties in various styles and cuts.  And they are the best during pregnancy!

A few years ago, my dear cousin, Betty Chachi, gifted me with a beautiful cotton, vintage styled nightgown from Garnet Hill.  I believe it was for my birthday.  I absoloutley love it!  (It’s just so dandy when people know exactly what you would have chosen!)  But, I think it may be more that Betty Chachi and I could be kindred spirits of some sort.  Maybe those years of her reading books to me rubbed a little of her onto me (and I’m sure glad it did!).  I fondly remember being read books like Mrs. Pigglewiggle, and Anne of Green Gables.  Oh, and the letters she would write me with her, oh, so elegant penmanship.  She would draw too.  She would draw ladies with sun hats and vintage dresses.  I still have those letters and drawings.

Anyway I digress.  The nightgown she got me below is so scrumptiously comfy, I could walk around my house all day in it.  It’s made of a clean white organic cotton, and crafted in Denmark.  I wonder where I can find pretty little white nightgowns for my girly?  If all else fails, I can always make them.  ; )

IMGP3693IMGP3692[white vintage-styled nightgown, from Garnet Hill.]

the bradley method.

We had our first childbirth class last evening.  Based on the recommendations of people we trust — who have birthed naturally — we signed ourselves up for The Bradley Method birthing classes.  I thought it would be more informative and natural than the typical class the hospital offers, or even the common Lamaze class.  It was.  It’s a casual class that meets in the home of the teacher, which makes the class feel nice and homey.  There were about 6 other couples there who sat on the floor or couches all around the cozy room.  (Oh, and there was a dog that would go around the room and shake people’s hands throughout the 2.5 hour duration of the class.) 

The teacher was peppy, funny, and chock-full of information I typically would never get in a doctor’s office.  What I enjoyed the most out of it?  I love the fact that I can trust my own body to do the work it needs to do and what it is designed to do.  I love that I don’t just have to trust that the doctor/hospital knows what they are doing, but I can make decisions about my birth plan and the importance of bonding time after the birth.  I love that I am informed.  I love that labor can be embraced as something our bodies are capable of handling, and the pain bearable if I am prepared and mentally ready to handle the various stages of labor. 

(A small caveat:  Hopefully, by God’s grace (which I believe is available to me even during labor), there won’t be any complications during my labor that would require medication, induction or a caesarean.  If so, I am not opposed to medication or surgery if the circumstance calls for it.)         

bradleyThe Bradley MethodWhat is it?

“This method embraces the idea that childbirth is a natural process and that, with the right preparation, most women can avoid pain medication and routine interventions during labor and birth. It’s named after American obstetrician Robert Bradley, who developed the method in the late 1940s.

The program lasts 12 weeks and is more intensive than other childbirth education classes. Proponents claim that over 86 percent of Bradley-trained couples have had spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births.

The Bradley philosophy says that it takes months to prepare for childbirth and parenting — mentally, physically, and emotionally — and prides itself on addressing all aspects of natural childbirth, as well as many pregnancy and postpartum issues. The course also emphasizes educating partners to be effective coaches.”

labor day fishing.

The hubster and I whisked ourselves away to the beach for this past Labor Day weekend.  What we encountered?  Wonderful Family.  Great Friends.  Beautiful Ocean.  Big Waves.  Tasty Grilled Food from a Grill Master.  Delicious Hand-Dipped Mocha Chip Icecream.  Savory Seafood.  Relaxing Fishing.     

A little more about the relaxing fishing…  I really hope Greg and I find a steady place to fish sometime in the near future.  It’s something we both love doing.  This past weekend we got the chance to visit some family friends, Terry and Ellen, who live on the water.  And when I say “live on the water”…I mean, live on the water.  Their house is right on the edge of the Chincoteague waters, and standing in their home and looking outside their great big bay windows feel as if you are standing on a boat and looking out across the water.  Terry and Ellen also have a great dock where they park their boat, go crabbing, and go fishing.  Sooo relaxing to just sit out on the dock, watch the water, and fish to your hearts content.  I caught two!  Two small ones. 

Not that I’ve caught many fish in my lifetime or anything, but I do feel like fishing comes naturally to me.  I feel like I can sense when a fishy is sneakily taking tidbit bites of my bait — and that’s when I go in for the kill and reel that baby in.  I love watching Greg throw his line out across the many waters, it always goes so so far. 

I also realized during that time that it’s nice when you have a husband that reminds you of Huck Finn.  : )   Thanks to my sister-in-law who took these fabulous photos!  Thanks Beth! 


24 weeks!

Today I am 24 weeks!  My baby is the size of an ear of corn!

“Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week.  That puts her at just over a pound.  Since she’s almost a foot long, she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but her body is filling out proportionally and she’ll soon start to plump up.  Her brain is also growing quickly now, and her taste buds are continuing to develop.  Her lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help her air sacs inflate once she hits the outside world.  Her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.”

24 weeks

the “ings” about me this day.

Making: a baby quilt out of indian fabrics
Cooking: up baby smith handmade projects
Drinking: chocolate soy milk
Reading: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Wanting: a Sundance four poster bed
Looking: for muslin baby bath towels…I hate the terry cloth ones 
Playing: with the idea of going with a natural childbirth
Wasting: time when I could be sewing
Sewing: handmade baby bibs
Wishing: for my own custom clothing labels
Enjoying: the cool, cool weather that September always brings
Waiting: for some organic baby kimonos to go on sale 
Wondering: about who my baby will look like
Loving: clean, fresh openweave cotton
Hoping: for a quick labor & delivery
Marvelling: at the kicking I feel going on in my belly
Smelling: coolness in the air
Wearing: my Indian housecoat
Following: the progress of my baby’s growth in a wonderful book called, “The Pregnancy Journal”
Noticing: the cool weather every morning this week (+ so loving it!)
Knowing: she’ll be here before I know it
Thinking: about ways to make her cozy 
Bookmarking: my favorite creative blogs
Opening: the box of wonderful cotton baby blankets I ordered
Giggling: with Greg on top of a quilt
Feeling: tired but happy
Needing: more of Jesus 
Liking: the idea of our little family