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14 Months Post Partum

2 Feb

Phew!  It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  Even on my other blog that I started about getting back to the grass roots of life, I have not posted in months.

I have been trying whole life pathways here and there, but I have not had any time to post anything.  I have been kept extremely busy with my new business of owning a school.  It has been a great experience, but it has left me exactly 0-amount of time for much else.

A bit of an update:

  • Emmanuel started sleeping through the night just AFTER his one year birthday.  I wonder how I functioned at all getting up in the middle of the night and not sleeping well for over a year.
  • I started cycling just before Emmanuel’s one year birthday, and we are still breast feeding.  I feel amazing, empowered, and complete/fulfilled that I am still breast feeding.  I just told my hubby this morning that I think I would feel depressed and incomplete if I were not breast feeding or pregnant.  Biology can be so annoying sometimes.
  • A few months ago, I was absolutely terrified of the potential of becoming pregnant.  Since I’ve started cycling, I have this weird, illogical desire to jump on the pregnancy bandwagon…
  • Since I’ve started cycling, I feel angry and MEAN and impatient!  ARGHHHH!  (Imagine a pirate accent, perhaps?)  Another biological indicator that I am designed to bear children, and not cruise through life.  Once again, biology can be soooo annoying.
  • I am so amazed at my opportunity to own a school and I am honored to participate in the education of children in my town.  While I’m excited to see what is in store and have plans to expand the grade levels, a part of me feels sad because I want to walk alongside expecting mothers and support them in labor as a doula.  I guess even if I did not have my business, it would probably be tricky to attend women in labor while I myself have two toddlers, so I guess that passion will be fulfilled at a later stage in life.
  • Every day I am feeling an increased passion for babies in the womb, women, and victims of sex trafficking.  I can’t wait to see where that leads!
  • I found a great recipe for sandwich bread made in a bread machine and am feeling pretty content.  It’s the little things!
  • As far as my adventure to whole life, I am feeling an incredible ITCH to learn how to do more things on my own.  Last week I was watching a video about harvesting wheat.  It seems so simple.  I seriously do not understand why I did not learn these things in school.  I have so much to say about this subject, but I probably should save it for my other blog.
  • Speaking of sustainability, I have a wild, but serious, notion that I am going to build my own earthen home, whether it is from Cob or straw bales or tire bales…I know this is a quick mention, but I became obsessed with living simply in the past week or so.  Once again, this probably belongs on my other blog, but I just wanted to get people thinking about freeing themselves from mortgage using non-traditional means.  This might lead to yet another blog someday soon…
  • There are two things people continuously search out about my blog: one is my fitness results, and the other is my hypnobirthing script.  I have two goals for this year:  Whip my butt in to shape with the 30 day shred (again) and hopefully provide even more inspiration, and write more hypnobirthing scripts.  Perhaps I can even post a ready-made (recorded) script with background music and everything.  I won’t pretend to have a great narrating voice, though!
  • I almost really-really-really-really want to get pregnant.  I wish I could just DO it, but I have this voice inside of me saying I need to “wait” and “be sane” and blah-blah-blah.  I actually have thought about how I would love to meet with a family-planning counselor, but I don’t know if those exist.  Should pregnancy just happen whenever, or should I take some control and make plans?  I can’t figure out what is best….

That is my disjointed update on my life, health, and dreams.  I have another post coming that intertwines with my increasing passion of babies in the womb, sex trafficking, and other similar things.  Hopefully it will manifest in the next few days.

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Busy life

24 Jul

Aghhhh life is so/too busy!

I’m working. I now own a language school, which is awesome, but I did not imagine spending my summer working every spare second. I’m marketing, recruiting, interviewing, training, schmoozing, shopping (business stuff), and organizing like crazy. This is challenging when I am still holding my full time(+!) position of stay at home mom.

I’m menu planning. We just used our last freezer meal the other week. These were the freezer meals I made way back in October, I think. I had made 9 or 11 meals and I only used them in emergencies. In addition, if I ever made a big batch of something (that was more than we could eat for 2 days) I would freeze the extra for a quick meal. That lasted me about 9 months! Now, I’m planning on stocking my freezer in a similar but better manner! All of the website I’ve seen about freezer cooking claim making 12 meals (for example), but the cook tripled each recipe…

Part of my cooking woes are that I have a picky pallet. I like yummy and varied recipes that fill me up, are healthy, and are cheap. Is that too much to ask?!? Apparently it is, as it takes me days to menu plan.

With all of that said, I plan on doing some freezer meals in September, and, yes, I have already begun planning!

Lastly, I’m having insomnia and sleeping poorly. Little pumpkin Emmanuel has been starting out the night in his crib lately (instead of our bed, since he started crawling), and once we are ready to crawl in bed I cannot fall asleep due to the fact that Emmanuel is not in bed with us! I am addicted to having him in bed with me. Not only am I a sleep aid for him, but he is a sleep aid for me! (Insert here an audio of a scream of horror of the revelation).

I am thinking that there is a scientific explanation of this dependency. Since relaxing hormones are released during breast feeding, and Emmanuel is latched on literally all night long, I think my body has developed a dependency on this release of hormones to sleep. Crazy! I hate sleeping with Emmanuel because he is totally in my space, but I can’t sleep at all if he isn’t in bed.

So on that sleep deprived note I leave you…

I found the money tree! (Money doesn’t grow on trees)

22 Apr

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” so I heard many times while growing up. If you haven’t ever heard this saying, it basically means we don’t have an unlimited supply of money that we can use without working.

Many times in my youth I wished desperately that I had a money tree (What for? I have no idea. How many needs does a teenager really have?!). I think several times I prayed and asked God if he might find it in his desire to plant one outside in our yard for our family. This is all quite embarrassing to remember, especially since I didn’t live in poverty or anything like that.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” I heard more than a few times in my life, and I believed it.

However…

Just today I realized that I have actually discovered the money tree!!!

That’s right. It is called breast milk! A common synonym for breast milk is liquid gold. It is indeed just that.

Hadassah was on formula for about 5 entire months. Formula cost us over $80 a month, and we bought the store brand. I’m sure it costs other families even more. By breast feeding, I am saving a nice chunk of change every month.

But how does this relate to money growing on trees?

Let me preface the answer with a drawn out example. Let’s say I want to do a good deed. Maybe I want to fill a shoebox with hygiene products and send it to a third world country. Maybe I want to sponsor a child in need somewhere in the world. Maybe I just want to donate some money or even some clothes or shoes to a struggling family. For all those above and noble examples, I am going to take a hit financially, unless I truly have dollar bills flapping in the breeze on my money tree… Which I don’t. What happened to my money tree!?

Be patient!

Let’s continue with the idea of a noble deed. What can I give a family that costs me absolutely no money and is rather effortless? I can give the gift of donated breast milk. A child/family that is receiving donated breast milk will not only receive amazing health benefits (which are translated into financial savings in less trips to the doctor, less medicine, less time off work for the parents etc), but they will also be saving a minimum of eighty real dollar bills each month.

What better way to help a family in need than this? It costs me absolutely nothing! One might argue that I will need to eat more calories (therefore purchasing more food) if I am going to be donating milk, but trust me, I can sacrifice a bit and drop a few pounds when donating and eat the same amount as always. I’m willing to take that hit.

So there it is – money tree if I have ever seen one! It is just camouflaged as a lactating woman.

One might argue that everyone could do just a noble deed by donating blood. However, a person can’t donate blood every day. Plus, it is uncomfortable to have a needle stuck in ones arm for 45 minutes. I agree that donating blood is great. I just also understand that there are some good excuses for not doing it habitually. With donating milk, on the other hand, there really isn’t a good excuse not to do it in a situation such as mine.

– I have a sufficient supply
– I don’t have to worry about pumping milk for Emmanuel due to going back to work, going on a trip, or going on medicine or having surgery.
– I have time in my day where I am at home with access to a double electric pump.

Ever since I learned about milk sharing and donating milk, I have felt very passionate about it. Please share the information about milk sharing with everyone you know, and if you are breast feeding and have any extra milk to spare, please consider finding someone who is in need of the milk! Blog about this, reblog this, post on social networking sites, and tell all your friends!

Pumping milk in my situation and storing it up in my freezer like a trophy instead of donating it would be extremely silly. It would be like storing up treasure on Earth instead of Heaven. It would be like hoarding manna from heaven.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me, research your local milk bank, and/or get connect to Human Milk for Human Babies (a space to share milk with fellow mothers at no cost).

Got milk? Donate it!

Milk-in-a-box

20 Apr

I penned this while living in Mexico six years ago.  When you visit or take up residence in a new country, there are things big and small that capture your attention.  When I would go to the supermarket in Mexico to pick up milk, I did not grab it from the freezer section… it was boxed at room temperature and was the most common way to buy milk. While supermarkets in the US have soy and almond milk in the aisles, I bet having regular milk in the aisles would baffle many Americans.

Leche!

Leche!

“Tossing. Turning. Sweating. A desire to sleep.

From time to time we all suffer from a shade of insomnia. Whether it is a stressful situation at work, drowning worries about the future, or a bubbling excitement that robs you of the joy of counting sheep, these sleepless attacks manifest in the lives of every individual. So, perhaps this is common knowledge. But, the very particular reasons of insomnia that hit me most likely remain a mystery for you. Unless you keep reading…

Then, you will find yourself enlightened…

My biggest reason for being an insomniac, as I have confessed in my IA meetings, is an overwhelming hunger for knowledge. Yes, it’s true, I am somewhat addicted to learning. We all have questions pop into our heads and cause us to wonder, but my questions burn into my brain and call out to be answered. If you were in my position, you would also be forced to answer that call.

How many pathogens are present in the table salsas I eat when I go to a restaurant here in my lovely town of Guadalajara? If you ever come visit, don’t let the statistic of about forty percent scare you too much…

How healthy are those mangoes I eat every week? (Okay, not the greatest, but they are pretty much amazing)

And, my most recent question: How in the world can I drink regular milk that comes in a box and is not refrigerated? It has been a mystery to me for years, and it recently rose to the level of questioning of “plaguing my thoughts” this past week. Hence, my new discovery that I want to share with the world. Box milk is amazing! It is heated with ultra high pasteurization, which completely sterilizes the milk (sterile = completely free of microorganisms) and packaged in a sterile environment. Milk in the US is pasteurized, but that doesn’t kill all the bacteria (oh yes, there are still microbes in your dear, refrigerated, pasteurized milk!). In taking all that into consideration, it is a shame to think that Americans, for psychological problems, could never switch to box milk (if I am wrong, please sign a petition or comment or something). The biggest plus for box milk? Less waste. Less extravagance. But, wait – we don’t know how to be anything but extravagant, do we?

Start questioning. Join the insomniac club with me. If you do, maybe you’d find that twenty percent of the salsas in Texas also carry pathogens…

References:

http://www.hormel.com/templates/knowledge/knowledge.asp?catitemid=108&id=815#Mango

http://itotd.com/articles/220/milk-in-a-box/

Adachi, Javier A. et al. “Enteric Pathogens in Mexican Sauces of Popular Restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Houston, Texas.” Annals of Internal Medicine. Vol 132. No 12. 18 June 2002. 884-887.”

Running like a leaky faucet

18 Apr

As I mentioned in my last post, I currently have no need for nursing pads. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

After having Hadassah, I only leaked milk two times in my whole nursing career. I was a little sad, as I thought it would

Milk!  Moo!

Milk! Moo!

be nice to feel like I had some sort of over supply.

With Emmanuel, my wishes were granted and I was leaking like crazy for about 6 weeks. It was during this time that I felt like I had two faucets running at all times. I quickly realized how annoying this was and wished it away. After about 6 weeks I realized that I was no longer leaking like crazy and it tapered off over the following two weeks or so. I haven’t had any leaking since.

I always viewed leaking milk as a good thing. Biologically, it must mean that a mother has a copious amount of milk, and as far as survival of the fittest, her genes would be preserved as she would be able to make enough milk for her baby and maybe even her older kids (since she leaks so much). However, I am wondering if maybe leaking isn’t an indicator of biological superiority, as I once glamorized it. Maybe leaking milk is like bladder incontinence. Yes, urinating is a voluntary action while letting down milk is not, but sometimes I hope that letting down milk might be voluntary and therefore under  our control. I have tried many times to close my eyes and command, “let down!” like a superhero using their powers, but to no avail.

This whole let down business is quite mysterious and perplexing. I can try with all my mental might to get milk out, but it doesn’t happen.  The whole “look at a picture of your baby while pumping” thing never worked for me.  Maybe I should take this post on an entirely different trail.  Maybe some moms can control their milk let down reflux with their mind, like Professor Xavier of the X-men.  Either way, Emmanuel has been falling asleep while eating and something curious happens. He doesn’t move his mouth at all, but suddenly 15 minutes later I get a let down and he gets a flowing refill whether he wants it or not.  This doesn’t seem mental or physical to me.  Although I think I recall reading somewhere that milk composition (and I supposed the flow) can be stimulated by a baby’s saliva.

Back to biology’s design: is leaking a sign of strength or weakness? Is leaking a sign of plenty or is it meaningless?

Argument for leaking being good:

  • It appears the mother has a lot of milk.
  • Mother can collect and store extra milk using Milkies, or other similar contraption.

Arguments for leaking being bad:

  • Predators can possibly smell the extra milk(?), therefore putting both mom and young in danger! (I’m talking about prehistoric times, not now.)
  • When is leaking bodily fluid ever good? Runny nose, drooling, and incontinence are pretty much considered not so good.
  • Speaking of incontinence, if you have it, something in your body isn’t working correctly, so I deduce that leaking milk means something isn’t working correctly.

Right now I am happy I don’t have to deal with the annoyance of leaking like a faucet, but part of me still feels jealous of those that buy nursing pads and Milkies.

This post is meant for entertainment purposes only, and not to make anyone feel bad about their leaking or lack of.

Human milk for human babies

25 Feb

Last night Emmanuel slept for TEN hours straight!  I couldn’t believe it.  Actually, it might have been more than ten hours, but I decided to get up after 10 hours to pump, because I was so engorged.  I laid there for a few minutes debating, “Do I pump?  Do I wait?  Surely Emmanuel will wake up any minute and need to eat.

My milk I pumped this morning.  I'm so proud of my 8 ounces!  I could have pumped more, but only pumped 1 side at a time, plus it was almost 5am, plus I wanted to make sure I still had a good amount in case Emmanuel woke up shortly after.

My milk I pumped this morning. I’m so proud of my 8 ounces! I could have pumped more, but only pumped 1 side at a time, plus it was almost 5am, plus I wanted to make sure I still had a good amount in case Emmanuel woke up shortly after.

If I pump now, he won’t have much to drink when he wakes!”  Those are the thoughts that I am sure every breast feeding mom will have at some point.

I decided to just pump to take the edge off, and since I only had one pump attachment clean, I only pumped one side at a time, and got this amazing (for me) amount of milk.

Since I am not working this school year (and praying that I don’t have to work next school year either), this morning I started wondering what I should do with all the milk I have in the freezer.  With Hadassah, I was pretty active in pumping as much as I could to build up a supply during my maternity leave.  With Emmanuel, I am only pumping when I am uncomfortable.  Even so, I have about 80 ounces in the freezer (and I usually have about 8 ounces consistently in the fridge to try to sneak in to Hadassah’s sippy cup here and there).  80 ounces really isn’t a lot of pumped milk.  It’s really only probably a 4 day straight supply of milk for a baby.  But it takes up a good amount in the freezer, and I realized that, since I am not working, I probably won’t need all this milk.

I had heard about an organization called Human Milk for Human Babies two weeks ago from an article I found on pinterest (you can read the article about modern day wet nursing here).  It is basically just a milk network, connecting mothers who have extra milk with mothers who need milk.  I wish I had heard of this organization when I was struggling with my supply with Hadassah.  I am quite passionate about breast milk and babies, so I was excited when I decided to look up my local chapter.

I am not 100% sure what I will do, but I am thinking about donating most of my freezer stash to someone in my city and maybe developing a relationship with a family where I can donate a bit of milk weekly.  When I was pregnant with Emmanuel, I was most looking forward to not having to pump since I wasn’t working.  While I don’t plan to pump religiously any time soon, I think I will continue to pump here and there when I am uncomfortable and I think I can probably easily get a day’s worth of milk each week.  And if it helps a family in need, why not?  And maybe I will burn some extra calories in the deal and get skinnier a little bit sooner (haha).

Here is the link to the website for Human Milk for Human Babies.

Also, I thought it was super exciting to read on their FAQ’s page about how there is something called a lactation stimulating device.  This is used for mothers who are adopting and want to breast feed, and also forlactation mothers who have low supply.  Here is a picture with a link to what that looks like.  How awesome is this!?

Please help adoptive mothers and other mothers out there struggling and share this information!  I had no idea that it was out there until two weeks ago, and I am already on my second kid!

The Mystery of the Missing Mint

4 Feb

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of mystery novels. I finished the entire Sherlock Holmes series in December (I read while breast feeding. Goes to show you how much time I spend plopped on the couch. Or just up having a party in the middle of the night with Emmanuel). I have an unsolvable mystery here and it is driving me nuts!

Back in September or October I journeyed to Whole Foods just to get some peppermint essential oil to help with my migraines. I used it once or twice, it worked wonderfully, and I haven’t seen it since!

Not in the bathroom. Not in my nightstand. Not in the linen closet. Not in Hadassah’s room with her essential oils I use for cloth diapering. Not in the kitchen.

I just want to whine. I have a headache today. I don’t want Tylenol. I don’t want to load up two babies to go get more. I don’t want to spend the money on more. I just want to whine and make it appear.

HOW DOES A BOTTLE OF ESSENTIAL OIL DISAPPEAR? If only I could conjure Sherlock Holmes right now…