Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pickled Sundays.

I love my friends. I feel so thankful to have them and felt especially reflective this weekend for such sweet souls in my world who always accept me where I am at. Don't we need more of this? Genuine relationships around us. I was so happy to spend some time with my sweet friend Katelyn and her parents on this pickling Sunday. Love their family so much. It was hard work and really fun. We ended up with forty two pints of pickles! I think these should last us a good amount of time. It got me eager to find my own pickling tools and continue this process with other vegetables and fruits to store up for winter like a resourceful bunny or some other cute furry animal. Their garden is overloaded with beautiful produce, dill blooms as tall as us, and more pickling cucumbers than we could handle. (Amongst other produce) It is truly a gorgeous cycle to see things grown from the earth and prepared like this to last for future months. I am officially obsessed with canning and dream of our old Stillwater cave like basement filled with home canned goods. (I also dream I might be wearing some sort of ridiculous 1800's prairie dress as I go fetch a can of peaches for the little toddler playing in the grass outside next to some goats... okay too far, but you get the idea) 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hooray for No More Diapers!

This little girl is officially potty trained. Who would've ever guessed that moms blog about weird stuff like this, but hey, we are all literally SO excited around here. We've been talking about this for awhile now but never wanted it to feel rushed or forced. I fell in love with a book when Lue was born called "Diaper Free Baby" which never used the terms potty trained but taught about elimination communication. All children have queues they give off before they need to go and it's really up to us as parents to read their communications. The book speaks of this communication happening as early as infancy and it's truly a beautiful idea. (And seems nearly impossible!) She never went potty that early and we were super free spirited about potty training up until about a week ago, we decided to kick it in full gear. In case anyone is interested in potty training tips or things that worked for us, here they are: 

1. Always ALWAYS keep every interaction with potty training positive. Never use guilt or shame when your child has an accident as this creates fear. If they go on the ground or in their cute little toddler undies, keep things light and and smiling and walk them through your clean up process. They'll be more open to the next opportunity without feeling fearful. 

2. Talk to them. Duh, but truly talk to them a lot about potty. Make it exciting! Like, did you know (older friends or family memebers who they love) wears grown up panties too!? Basically, build the hype...sales pitch... Use your marketing techniques here. 

3. Don't use shame or fear. (Wait did I already say this?) 

4. Take a full day and do not go anywhere... Keep them diaper free and watch for their queues. You will see them. Keep a small potty in their play area to experiment with. We read books while she sat up there and even acted out a few plays with mama fox and baby fox taking turns going potty. 

5. Always try to go before leaving the house or arriving anywhere, before they get in the front pack and immediately when they get out, and basically every hour. (Or every 20mins or just set up camp in the bathroom and order a pizza) Always keeping it positive and exciting! 

6. Freak out when they go potty. (Umm, yeah we totally freaked out with excitement) We sang, clapped, cheered and basically looked like fools. I don't even care... I still cheer her on so much in the public bathroom too. This is a big deal!  Make them feel so so special. Then talk about it later on and throughout the day to recall their memory. 

7. If you are thinking about potty training at all, or even whenever possible (starting at infancy) let your child go diaper free at home or in a safe outdoor setting. (Like a home backyard) We went diaper free a lot out at Maxs parents because it was in the country. Let them get accustomed to being un-diapered and familiar with their needs and elimination communication. Know that you will have accidents and be joyfully ready to clean them up. (Pretend it's an adorable new puppy) Talk to them about what you are doing and show them where they can go next time. 

I know I barely skimmed the recommendations for potty training and I'm sure there are a million different ways but this is what worked for us. She got it down in a day and hasn't turned back since. She wears her kitty undies to sleep and wakes a lot at night to go potty which is great but hoping maybe those will stretch out as she gets more used to it all. 

Hooray for sweet little ones! Such an exciting milestone and I just want to have a potty trained party with all the mamas I know. Or anyone who wants to party with me. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Berry Picking Can Be Enough

Today was exhausting and wonderful and tiring and perfect. I gave every single bit of me today to Lue and still felt unaccomplished at the end of the day. I sang to her, danced with her, read books, she nursed a LOT, we talked continuously, chased her, had a million teaching moments, took her potty a million times (that is still the fun part) and she woke up 2 hours earlier than she normally does. I always wonder if anyone else feels this way that even at the end of a insane day, their child falls asleep, or you get home from somewhere and feel like the night should really just be beginning. Like there's something else you're supposed to be working on to feel accomplished even though there isn't an ounce of energy left. I was feeling discouraged, then my friend reminded me that, "hey it's Saturday for everyone." Cut myself some slack and I'm pretty sure I gave of my entire self today. Spent the morning berry picking with that same sweet friend who's words encouraged me so much. We also got to spend time with my sweet nephew Bruxy which was the biggest treat ever. Love him so much and Lue and him were literally screaming with excitement for so long at this mornings' greeting to one another. Happy Saturday. Hope everyone is feeling accomplished and loved and enough tonight. Because you are. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Braided Cardamom Bread

Last week for the Fourth of July I was feeling courageous and made Sweet Cardamom Braided bread for my mom. When I was pregnant with Lue, I used to wake up at early in the morning and drive or bike less than a mile away to a local cafe and bake all their morning goods. It was a job I truly enjoyed. Early morning hours alone by myself before sunrise rolling out the bread of the day and baguettes, making scones, croissants, fruit tarts and pain au raisin bread. It was hard work and stretched me in a lot of ways and taught me about the importance of detailed work. Lue came along and my baking became something of a sweet memory. Now I am more of a "I bought these really delicious cinnamon rolls from the co-op! Let's re-heat them in the oven! Score!" I mixed up this bread dough, accidentally left it to rise for far too long, took a million breaks in between to connect with Lue, clean up her cute little messes, read some books, and well, I just got a little distracted. Anyways, finally baked it on the morning of the Fourth of July and wrapped it up for my Mom. She is one sweet Cardamom. (Okay, bad pun, I realize this) 

It was a very fun project and Lue got flour in parts of my kitchen that I didn't even realize existed. She had an absolute blast and hey! who really needs a perfectly clean kitchen anyways? Her face with flour dusted on her cheeks and in her hair made it all worth it and terribly adorable. 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happiest Fourth of July to you!

Happy Fourth of July! We spent our day with family and good food and I don't think I could ask for much more than that. We walked close to Lake Minnetonka and indulged in ice cream, hibiscus lemon ginger soda, and large patches of soft grass for running in. We decided to ditch out on worrying about Lue's nap and go with the flow for the day and she did great. Spent the rest of the day with Max's family in Marine on Saint Croix by their lake. Lue ran in the sprinkler and was completely in her nature element. We all stayed up way too late around the bonfire and it truly was a close to perfect day. Wishing you all the happiest weekend of festivities and enjoyment! Cheers! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lue is Two: let's party in the woods please.

 The night before Lue turned two I was sitting across the table from Max with tears streaming down my face, blowing up balloons in between sniffles and just sort of a wreck. He smiled sweetly and promised that it would be okay. I remember feeling the same feelings when she turned one and wondered if this is my new "normal" in terms of Luie growing older.  Her turning two creeped up on me fast this year. I was particularly procrastinating her party celebrations equal parts because we were so busy with work/life and was also feeling this sadness of her growing up. I think I wanted to avoid planning anything and it made me feel like she would just stay the same age. My dear friend Alanna is a party planner and really talented with visions for parties and offered to help style Lue's celebration. She helped me so much even in the sense of direction and getting my butt in motion to plan out the details. You can find her work by clicking here: We are soo thankful for the items she brought to the party and all her incredible talent and for putting up with my insane idea to party smack dap in the middle of a heavily wooden area. She made the paper items which I don't think I could do as well as her if I had all the time in the world. She is wonderful. 

This place in the woods is Lue and my special place. We drive out here on rainy days and take shelter under the trees, on days where we are both crabby and need to have minimal interaction with others besides each other, and a spot where we adventure and explore the world around us. It seemed fitting to have our close friends and family here as well to celebrate and they were all so accommodating even though it was legit in the woods, up a hill, and through the pine needles. We laid out blankets close to each other, set up a lace teepee and celebrated over cake, berries, lemon bars, and veggies. It was very low key and Lue felt right at home in her recognized environment. Max did the chalk art and so kindly made a sweet photo-booth board which we had so much fun with taking photos and playing with. My ever-generous brother bought Lue flowers, trail mix and sparklers. All details that added ever so sweetly to a two year old party. We literally just relaxed in the woods with no real agenda besides cake and presents and munching on popcorn. It was small and sweet. The cake was from Chilkoot Cafe and topped with pinecones, two natural wax candles and a few sparklers. 

There are no words to describe this second year with Lue. She reset our world. She turned us from an inward focus to an outward focus. She teaches us every single day how to be more patient, more creative, less selfish, less judgmental, and leads by example about truly what this life is about. It's not about where our careers take us or who we do business for. Not about what kind of home we own or car we drive or how many people like us but truly teaches us about genuine joy and love and connection with others. Her fascination with people is intriguing. The joy and humor she spills out is unavoidable. I want to be more like Lue and it has been our biggest joy to watch her grow. 

We ended the party down by the lake with some sparklers lit and as she danced to us all singing "Happy Birthday" I was genuinely overwhelmed with appreciation for our family's support, friends love, and this sweet little Lue who teaches Max and I so much about life. 

Happy Birthday sweet Miss Beane!