Posts Tagged ‘babies’

I’ve officially made it to a new level of natural: We’ve joined the CDC: cloth diaper club.

I’ve tried cloth diapers with every single one of my babies.  For about a minute each.  I had the best ones (thanks to hand-me-downs!) – I had no reason to not do it other than lack of motivation.  The idea was super, but applying it was just not my cuppa.  I really didn’t understand it, and figured those who did were just “different” than me… Perhaps somehow they were okay with poop and stink in a way I had no comprehension.  More power to them.

This little guy – Aury – has been a model child for cloth diapers.  He was one of those newborns who only pooped once a week for the first three months.  I was horrified and worried at first, but it turned into an obvious pattern, and with no negative side effects (constipation, etc), so it was no worry.  He’d have been EASY to cloth diaper during these wonderful breastmilk-poop-days when I have no idea what one does to clean off a cloth diaper (dunk in a toilet? throw right into the washing machine?! Eww!).  He went through a virus which eventually “ran its course” (pun intended) for longer than normal, which left him a daily (morning, even) pooper.  Too much info?  Well, you’ve come to the wrong blog if you’re looking for less.  It’s important to understand how perfect this boy would have been for cloth diapers from the begin to understand why I finally agreed to do it — and how that’s led to a lot of success.

Coming home from Alaska made me re-prioritize stuff, purging unneccessaries.  I either needed to USE those diapers or send them on their way.  Well, some were brand spanking new, and I knew they were worth their weight in gold – apparently I’m just too stingy to let them go for cheap or free because I decided to commit.  It really didn’t take long to get into a good rhythm.  Thanks to a few chat sessions with my cousin & a cloth-diapering friend, I was beginning to wrap my mind on how to cloth diaper (verb around here now).

nerd alert

We’re now three weeks in, and I’m liking it more than I ever thought I would.  I don’t want to be all dramatic like all of those other crunchy mama’s out there that say they love it, but if I were being dead honest, I’d say it.  The diaper covers are adorable.  I love that it’s natural for our home, and chemical-free on his secret spots.  And I love that my favorite ones are the custom made ones by SimpleServantKC, my cousin in Indiana.  In fact, I just purchased 3 more from her, even tho’ we have a plethora of big-brand ones that would work just fine.  I’d always rather support family-owned businesses (and my extended family, to boot!) over big business any day of the week so long as the quality is the same as or better.

Another benefit we’re finding?  Well, it keeps us a lot more in tune with Aury’s health.  Here’s where I take this a step further down the TMI road: Tho’ I say there are two kinds of families in this world: those who talk about sex, or those who talk about potty — we’re trying to find a balance in our wee family, incorporating all of it.  Ever since the kiddo’s were tiny, we talk about poop.  Our poop tells us a LOT about what’s going on with our health and can give us a lot of heads up on potential problems.  It’s important to know what your “regular” consistency, timing, texture, etc is.  Yeah, it’s gross.  Yeah, it’s normal.  And yeah, it’s good to know.  So now you know… I was from the “sex-only family” before.

Summertime is fading, but in some regards, it still feels like spring. #newlittlelife #clothdiapers #vintagecamper #sweetsixteen #blessed

Suddenly I’m realizing it’s kind of weird that I have no idea how much (quantity) Aury used to pee because disposable diapers are so (awesomely) absorbable, and I don’t change as often.  Suddenly I’m realizing how rank underparts get when sitting in that environment for hours and hours on end.  I mean girls, if you’re listening, how do you feel about leaving a maxi pad on for any length of time?  Blech!

Take home points:

  • Cloth diapers are adorable.  Clothes optional.
  • No chemicals or rank nasty on secret spots.
  • I love the way they look hanging on the front porch lines.
  • I have flannel & flushable liners so I don’t have to deal with poop.
  • I do 1 extra small-sized load of laundry twice a week (well water), but no additional drying.

A couple of additional notes: We prefer the pocket diapers for sure.  The FLIP brand (not a pocket) does an insert, and it’s alright, but meh.  I’d probably use flats as inserts instead of their cool triple-layer ones if I started from scratch, and were using them often.  I learned early NOT put microfiber against secret spots (instant rash), and to “strip” inserts and covers after storage or first use.  Easy to Google how to strip diapers.  Do it.  I’m so into this now that we’re even using them when on the run!  I had been doing disposable dipes for nighttime and when out and about.  Now we’re just using disposable for nighttime.  Heck, I may dump that soon!  We’ve had no leaking problems with the SimpleServantKC pocket diapers, so we just may have to give it a whirl.

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As the days tick by, we’re busting the moves on our To Do list.  We’ve been doing great so far!  A lot of the list items have been tasks in and around the house, preparing it for our leave.  Making sure fences are in ship shape and zapping at the highest potential, garden beds covered for later, barn cleaned out and organized.  This will make the work much lighter for those at home managing the homestead.

Now we move our attention to the travelers themselves.  We’re doing haircuts (what shaggy animals the boys would be when we return if we didn’t), bentonite clay masking, plucking eyebrows and waxing mustaches (did I just say that out loud… who does that?!), and giving each other pedicures.  We never spoil ourselves quite so much, but since we’ll be grubbing it for so long, we figure we may as well start as soft and done up as possible.

17″ of hair donated to others who need

I’d been threatening a dramatic hair cut for a while.  Several years ago I went shorter and it was fabulous for a season, and I was itching for something easy like it again.  They say you shouldn’t make big decisions when you’re pregnant (think: extreme hormones), so I held off.  After Aury was born, I started having hope that my post-birth hair loss wouldn’t happen this time.  Ha!  Right at 3 months postpartum, just when I thought I was in the clear, it started falling out more than I imagined it would (but no more than it has in the past… I just forget!).  I waited still.  At first, I had noticed I started wearing my hair up in a not-so-cute messy bun during most days.  Then I started to at night in hopes of shedding less.  At that point, I realized it was time to make a move, so I gave in.  Scott gave me the thumbs up, and I wanted to actually have some left to donate, so chopped off 17 inches.  It’s been so dreamy!  I’ll get one last trim before the trip, then let it grow again.  I really do love long hair, but am so enjoying it this way for now.  Especially for a road trip and camping!

We’ve started a list of what we’d like to take for ourselves, limiting it to just a few clothing items that are both durable and versatile, non-wrinkly and thin for easy hand washing.  We should have quite the variety of temperatures, and diverse engagements, so we’ll be creative and put to practice living simply with less.  In some ways, this thrills me tremendously.  In others, I worry we’ll forget something important.   But really, we won’t be roughing it by any stretch, even if we forget something semi-important.

We have several e-books (to conserve space — I’m otherwise not a fan of electronic book reading), and a few motivational and devotionals that we’ll read quietly and aloud, as time permits.  I’ve put together a list of music for Aury to enjoy while napping if he needs a distraction, and some for adult entertainment.  The kids have gathered a few games for their electronics, tho’ I imagine we’ll limit those pretty heavily.  We don’t really do a lot of that, and don’t want to start on such an awesome, family-filled, outdoor-rich adventure!  Here are some (more…)

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wish I knew who to give credit to – hilarious!

This whole “the mosquito is Alaska’s state bird” is getting me a little freaked out.  I mean, I don’t like mosquito’s (who does?!).  I’m not really scared of getting some freaky disease – the itchy welt is enough to scare me.  And we have a wee babe!  How much would it stink to see sad little white bumps on his tiny little chubby body?  No thanks!  But what are the alternatives?  Chemical-laden sprays?  Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it’s porous, absorbs most of what you put on it?  I don’t want that stuff on me, or in me – or contaminating my littles!

So here’s what I did: I made some bug repellent.  I really hope it’ll work, and isn’t just a “feel good” alternative.  But the things I know about the essential oils I used (and if you know me, I’m not into the essential oil rage – more below) are pretty solid.  So I headed to my oil cupboard, where I keep all of my soap and body product makin’ goods.  Here’s what I mixed together and put into a 4 ounce dark glass spray bottle, to be shaken before each use and stored in a cool dark place:

  • witch hazel, filled to half of the bottle
  • quality water, filled to half of the bottle
  • 20 drops of clove
  • 20 drops orange or lemon
  • 10 cinnamon
  • 10 eucalyptus or peppermint
  • 5 rosemary
  • 5 tea tree
  • 1 teaspoon of glycerin, if you choose (I didn’t bother)

I won’t lie, I didn’t count out drops.  In fact, I suspect I was a little exuberant and over-did it, using closer to double what I called for in this recipe.  I love that this is something perfectly safe to use on my wee one (keeping out of the face, of course).  If nothing else, we’re going to smell amazing – leaving that travelers funk to the birds!

Here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve had a pretty wet, lengthy Spring.  That means a lot of damp places, and I suspect a lot of summertime mosquitoes here as well.  The rumor mill (weather man) says that this coming week will bring sunshine and warm temperatures.  I’m not sure I believe him, but I suspect we’ll be hearing that incessant, annoying, awful buzz sooner than later.  We’ve little time to put this spray to the test, but we may have a good opportunity to try!

Now folks, here’s where I want to share my concerns about the essential oil fad (pyramids) that y’all probably have at least one friend pressuring you to join… (more…)

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How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

When I was a young Mom, I struggled a lot.  My mind raced with every scenario that left my baby lifeless, brutally hurt, or forever scarred emotionally.  I soaked up all of the parenting books, battling which might be right, which wrong.  I wanted to do it “right”.  I didn’t want my children hurt.

When they were babies, I’d wake up too frequently to check if they were still breathing as they slumbered in their bed.  As they grew into toddlers, suddenly furniture was my enemy.  Sharp edges.  Glass surfaces.  Plug-ins and electronics.  There is danger everywhere.  My heart raced.  I lost sleep.  Now several of them are pre-teen/teen’s, and dangers are exponentially growing.  The motorcycle.  The rope swings, swimming, video games, and – gasp – soon driving.  Now there’s hormonal changes and pre independence and … oh man… We’re not ready for this!

But there’s a balance to be had here… surely… And yet… It is not our job to be flexible.

It is our job to protect our children.  There are many dangers out there that we need not be ignorant of.  Because of this, we set boundaries for our children that are age- and maturity-appropriate.  For example, we limit the people our kids leave our house for sleepovers with or have alone time with.  We happily welcome friends to co-mingle in a family setting.  We limit their interaction with bad influences of all varieties until they are “of age,” and also take responsibility for their intake of good, be it spiritual, educational, chemical, etc… And will assist in their learning how to make wise decisions as they grow.  Ultimately, we’d rather risk offending someone than risk our child’s safety or well-being.

But something has changed in us as parents.  

We no longer keep those boundaries based on fear or control.  

We do still believe that as parents we are responsible for guiding our children to the best of our ability in most areas, bit by bit letting them “fly the coop,” so to speak.  We want to instill good decision making skills based on a firm foundation.  We do still cling tight to our family being the go-to for them as they do so.  Home is their base, Lord willing.  Yet we still catch ourselves from time to time.  As politics sway, there were added fears for society, the culture, it’s future, and the surroundings of their lives in various times and trials.  Even still I find myself trying to guard them at times.  I am constantly reminding myself that sheltering is not guarding or biblical, but praying is.     (more…)

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With only one cycle after our November miscarriage, we are pregnant again!  We are (obviously) ecstatic.  Scott has been specifically desiring a hundred more children especially since his hospital experience, and I’d happily accept that many more, so we’ve been quite hopeful for a while now.  Life is short.  Children are a blessing.  I love being pregnant.  Life is a true miracle, indescribable by anything but God’s awesomeness.

Because of our recent miscarriage, some advised us to keep our news on the down low until the risk of another miscarriage has passed, closer to 12 weeks gestation.  Well, we’re not good at secrets, and would assume error on the side of too much exposing more often than not.  Y’all have prayed us through our loss, and have prayed for us to be so blessed to become pregnant again, so of course we’d share.  No matter if it all goes jolly or tough.

The first one to find out was a girlfriend that had meticulously followed my cycles with me as I had never previously charted (etc) until last fall.  If this is too much intimate detail for you, well, you better duck out of my blog completely.  It was as close to “fertility treatment” that I felt comfortable with persuing (for now anyway).  I had set up an app on my iThing thanks to her suggestion, but didn’t really need it.  She reminded me and asked me if we were on the ball *nudge* when the timing was ripe (apparently my cycle was on her iThing, too).  She’s a hoot.  Frankly, it was awesome to have her.  I sent her the first faint second line I got, a wee unsure, but a lot more sure than I was last time. 

  The line has just kept getting darker.  Why yes, of course I have tested more than once.  What else am I going to do with a cupboard full of cheap sticks?!

We wanted to have a little fun sharing the news (remember last time we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt that led to a wee drawing on my belly).  This time we shared like this:


this was addressed to daddy.

Telling the kids: During an evening movie, Scott made popcorn in the kitchen.  We used paper bowls and filled one extra, each with someone’s name on the underside.  Colby handed them out one by one, enjoying the fun of having to give specific bowls to specific family members (we usually just share barbarian style out of a single bowl… wait… do barbarians use bowls?!), then was stumped on the last.  The one with an under score and question mark.  Kendra’s eyes got brighter.  Adyn belly laughed with excitement.  Colby just didn’t get it.  Until that moment.  ❤

I can't take credit for this.

I can’t take credit for this card. I found it online.  This one went to 2 of our classy-humored loves.

For one group of friends in particular, we sent a “Private Invite Only: TONIGHT” message out.  We promised ice cream and games.  Almost everyone rsvp’d yes quite quickly.  I mean, who can resist ICE CREAM!?  We started the evening out with a game of Fish Bowl, a new favorite that cousins had taught us over Christmastime vacation.  If you haven’t played it, you really should.  It’s great in a group, and great for your brain.  I’ll go into detail how to play here.  Skip past if you already know.

How To Play Fish Bowl: Everyone takes a couple of pieces of paper and writes something – anything – on it, and tosses it into a collective bowl.  Once everyone has put theirs in the bowl, two teams are formed (every other person), and someone starts by trying to get their team to guess the words on a single paper from the bowl by only using words (no gestures), so long as they are NOT the words on the paper.  They have 45 seconds to get as many correct answers from their teammates as possible.  At the end of their time, they count up their score (scorekeeper marks it down), and move the bowl to the left.  And so on, until there are no paper slips left.  Then, all of the papers go back into the bowl, are mixed up, and the play starts off where it ended.  The Second Round is that you can ONLY use gestures (NO words) to get your teammates to guess as many papers as possible, now with a time of 60 seconds.  The Third Round, once all papers have been guessed, scores have been recorded, and all have been mixed back into the bowl, is a hard round: the one sharing clues can only give ONE WORD to get their teammate to guess what’s on the paper/s for a total of 45 seconds per player turn.  No gestures.  No other words.  No props.  It sounds impossible, but by now there are usually some quirky things about each paper that people have put memories to.  You’ll be surprised.


As you can guess, we snuck a paper in that said “we’re expecting”.  The first round was fast and furious, and people were stressed to get answers from their teammates.  There were many random & silly things written down.  So ours came and went with no real “ah ha”.  When the game went into the Second Round, Scott slipped another in that said: “Summers pregnant,” hoping to catch someone a little better.  Remember, this is the round that people can only act/gesture, no using words.  It was rather amusing.  And really fun to give someone else the chance to share the good news all the while being surprised and excited to hear it themselves for the first time.  We all laughed and went on to enjoy the rest of the evening of deliciousness and play.

And lastly (other than the fun phone calls and video chatting, dinner with close friends, etc), Kendra has learned how to do wood/lino carving for block printing in her art class, and so we sketched out and chiseled this fine looking acorn and printed cards with it to send to loved ones to share our announcement, also making a digital copy for sharing online.  We bought fabric paint to make this babes blanket with an acorn pattern from the block print as well.


This picture below was taken over Christmastime and is only a small portion of our family.  All a bit nutty, but some of the best people I know.  I’m so thankful to call them mine!  I’m thankful, too, for my God-fearing heritage, and pray regularly for these and future generations to continue the legacy and multiply in this area.


All silly aside, we have never really “tried” to become pregnant before.  This last 21 months – with a recent miscarriage – has been … I don’t want to say discouraging (it’d be teetering on lying).  But definitely has allowed us the opportunity to rest (dwell) more fully in giving our lives to God, once again, and to truly live in contentedness and peace – and thankfulness! – for the life we have, and the children we are so blessed with.  We have prayed often that we have more babies.  We have others close to us praying the same.  But more than praying for a baby, we all have prayed it be God’s will, if we are so blessed.

We prayed for this child and He granted us our request. 1 Sam. 1:27

This will be our second rainbow baby.  What a fitting term for a life after a loss.  What a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness and graciousness.  His faithfulness and mercy.

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The main reason I’m writing this blog is to be a reminder to myself.  Not only for if I have a miscarriage again, but so that I know better how to serve others who go through the same.  I don’t want to sweep any of this under the rug.  I want to be able to support the gals in my life in the best possible way.

What I’ve learned from miscarriage:

One loses their marbles.  The week after this miscarriage, it hit like a freight train.  I was in a dense fog.  I wasn’t all-consumed with darkness (in fact, I was very thankful for many things during these days, including bits and pieces of the miscarriage itself), but was in a heavy, messy fog.  I had no idea I could fall in love with someone I’d never met so quickly, and feel the loss so deeply.  I knew in my head – and shared out loud – that the majority of my mental chaos was hormones shifting.  I never doubted God’s goodness.  But I guess I never see this mess play out so much after other births when we have the joy of holding our newborn on the other side, consuming our ever moment and thought.

It’s a birth of a child.  We shower new mom’s with food, gifts and love.  Doula’s and midwives visit for days or even weeks after birth.  We set up meal plans.  We borrow older children to give parents a reprieve.  If someone miscarries, it usually stops at “I’m sorry” and awkward avoiding of eye contact for a while… Until you know they’re “okay” (whew!).  It’s not the fault of others how they respond.  It’s hard to know what’s needed.  I’m guessing every family needs something different, too, which doesn’t make it any easier.  But I know this: I couldn’t think about many basic things, specifically noted here: food.  Meals would have been a huge blessing.  I’d have asked, but wasn’t aware enough at the time ’til it was awkwardly late in the game.  I definitely didn’t want to talk (or not talk).  I’d have just bawled.  Honestly, I probably would have made you a little uncomfortable no matter what.  Life (and death) is uncomfortable sometimes.

Healing takes time.  We all know that emotional and mental healing takes time, and with a myriad of techniques – so I’m not even going to touch it beyond sharing that God is the ultimate Healer, and walks alongside us and holds us as we walk through murky times.

That aside, a woman who’s given birth, whether to a wee one or a big one, is depleted of many nutrients.

Having a miscarriage seems so… (more…)

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A girlfriend posted this article the other day, sharing how painful it is to receive questions like: “Why don’t you have kids?”  Infertility is an ugly thing.  One that can devastate and discourage.  One that isn’t talked about much, and is rather swept under the rug.

I think the overall flavor was “just because we don’t have kids doesn’t mean our hearts don’t break on a regular basis from it.” (equally, it might be a choice for some).  Here’s what I gathered: be kind, sensitive, loving.  Know that things aren’t always as they appear.  Know that fertility & infertility are very deep, very real – often painful and scary and awesome and crazy – seasons of life.  I read it and loved the article.  I disagreed with one part: it’s NOT a private issue (sort of).  And here’s why:

I momentarily conned myself into thinking this [miscarriage] was a private matter just because no one knew.  It’s not.  No more than the birth of a healthy, fully-ripe baby would be.  No more than the death of a fully-formed family member of any age.  If I am going to stand behind life beginning at conception, then I should stand behind honestly sharing the wonderful and devastating news that another Steenbarger went to be with Jesus.  Please pray for us as we muddle through this emotionally.  Mostly, for tender, receptive, changing hearts always.

There IS a private piece to this (in/fertility).  This season (puberty through menopause) is one of the most emotionally vulnerable of a persons life, I suspect.  Whether you have 0 or 10 (people still ask: “When’s another coming?” “Your baby sure is getting old… <hint, hint>”).  There are moments in life that are more tender than others.  More intense.  More fragile.  Not everyone is invited into the secret moments, thoughts or places.  But I can’t find usually that line.  I can’t buy into it all.  I’d generally rather err on the side of sharing.  It’s who I am.  We’re not meant to live this life alone.

And so I share.  We were/are sad.  I lost my mind for a minute or two (shared here intimately).  But I never lost the truth.  And we couldn’t help but be encouraged.  What better way to contribute to a kingdom of forever?!  We are thankful for our earthly losses and voids, even when it hurts.  We would welcome more happily, but are content to be fully living in His Will in this area.  Meanwhile, we embrace others’ children as our own.  Because, after all, we are a family.

It all makes me uber thankful for my “red tent” of ladies that walk with me in ALL of the colors of all of the seasons of my life.  We are blessed.

... our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Cor. 4:16

… our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Cor. 4:16

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