Category Archives: About Marcella

1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast

To celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I booked a one night stay at the 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC. We had been passively looking for a while for a bed and breakfast that would allow children as most will not. Thankfully, the Blake House does and also welcomes pets, too which would have been really nice if we still had a dog.

The accommodations are lovely, but instead of my describing them all to you, I thought I’d show you our room instead. You can see in the last picture in the far left corner, there was even a little twin bed for our daughter to sleep in.


How I Introduced Solids to My Daughter via Baby-Led Weaning

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted the best possible nutrition for her. I knew I would breastfeed her for at least 2 years and I planned on making my own babyfood for her.

When my daughter was around 4 months old, I began reading and researching solid foods. I knew a baby’s primary nutrition in their first year of life should be breastmilk or formula and the more I thought about this, the more I felt concern over starting solids.

Marcella enjoying some green beans.

I have had a lot of people ask me about the way I introduced solids to my daughter. The approach we chose to use is called baby-led weaning and we really loved it! Today over at Mama Eve you can find my guest post on how we came to this decision as well as some information about the method.

Be sure to check out the rest of her site, too! She is one of my favorite bloggers and I’m sure you will soon see why as you check out her site. She makes appearances in my Sunday Surf’s often. You can start with some of my favorite posts at Mama Eve:

Five Playground Lessons I Didn’t Know I was Teaching

How I’m Learning to Let My Children Go

Attachment to an Open Mind

A Tale of Two Chickens

Birth Without Fear Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Scared


Giveaway: CurlyMonkey Organic Cloth Baby Wipes $18 {5.26; US/Can}

This is a joint giveaway with A Little Bit of All of It and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.

Curly Monkey Organic cloth wipes assortmentCurly Monkey is offering our readers a giveaway of FOUR organic cloth baby wipes, a value of $18.45.

The Review:

I was excited for the opportunity to review four organic cloth wipes from CurlyMonkey. All of the products CurlyMonkey sells are free from pesticides, insecticides and harmful fertilizers, which makes me feel good about using these wipes on my little girl.

Besides cloth wipes, the company sells baby and toddler clothing, baby hats, baby bath mitts, and soft toys.

When I received my cloth wipes, they came in a nice blue organic cloth gift bag, which would be great if you were planning on buying a shower gift! I like that I can reuse this, too, and it is not just packaging I’d be throwing away.

Curly Monkey cloth baby wipes in bag

Specifically I was sent one each of the Organic Eco-friendly Cloth Baby Wipes in Paris Tea, Collection Trèfle and Think Peace prints, along with one Maxi Hemp Organic Cotton French Terry Cloth Baby Wipe (2 ply).

These wipes can be used in several ways — as burp cloths, washcloths, or in place of paper towels, for instance — but I used them specifically for their primary use as cloth wipes for my daughter’s diaper changes.

Using the Wipes

First of all, these wipes are BEAUTIFUL! The designs are lovely. I really enjoyed just looking at them and was almost afraid to use them! The prints are a high-quality designer cotton fabric on one side with the other side being an organic hemp / organic cotton french terry.

Curly Monkey Organic cloth wipe textureThe Maxi Hemp wipe is handsewn unbleached, dye-free, organic fabric with one side being smooth while the other side is textured for messier jobs, like wiping dirty bottoms.

I consulted the website for the washing instructions (machine washable — gentle cycle — medium heat to dry) and washed them prior to using them. I measured them because I wanted to see how much they would shrink after washing, if at all. The wipes with prints measured 8 1/2″ x 11″ while the Maxi Hemp wipe measured 9″ x 9″. Once washed, they shrank down a little bit. The printed ones shrank to 8 1/2″ x 10.5″ and the Maxi Hemp wipe shrank to 9″ x 8 1/4″. I did notice that the edges on a couple of them curled up after washing but once I washed them again, they were already starting to lie flatter.

I use an old disposables wipes container for my wipes, and these wipes are slighter larger than the wipes I currently use and don’t fit as well into the container. They are also a lot thicker so they take up more space. Still, I didn’t find this that big a deal. I poured my wipe solution over the wipes like I normally do and there were no surprises there. I folded them with the design side facing inward so I was wiping with the plain side. For the Maxi Hemp wipe I placed the textured side facing outward.

I have been using cloth diapers since my daughter was a newborn (now 2 years old) along with cloth wipes so cloth wipes aren’t new to me. But these are MUCH nicer than the ones I’ve been using. It definitely makes a mundane task fun!

The generous size is a big plus. I found in cases where I normally would need to grab a second wipe, I don’t need to with these. They also feel more substantial than the thinner wipes that I have. The thickness of these means there is a nice barrier between my hand and what I’m wiping up. The textured side looks and feels like it would be great for an infant’s messy diapers, but since I have a 2-year-old, I didn’t get to “test” this out.

If you are already cloth diapering your baby, it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well. These would be a great addition to your cloth diapering routine as something nicer and more special. I actually get excited when I go to change my daughter and see the next wipe is one of these!

When my daughter caught her first stomach bug this past Christmas, I know I would have been happy to have these wipes to use for all the messes I had to clean up. It would have certainly made the job easier and given me something pretty to look at during an unpleasant experience. Even my daughter prefers them, as you can see in this video!

BUY IT!

You can purchase CurlyMonkey Organics cloth baby wipes online through CurlyMonkey.com or at CurlyMonkey’s Etsy shop.

Three-packs of the printed wipes are $15, and six-packs of the Maxi-Hemp wipes are $20.70.

Shipping is available internationally.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win the same set of FOUR CurlyMonkey Organics cloth baby wipes, enter in the comments below! Contest is open to U.S. and Canada.

MAIN ENTRY:

Leave a valid email address in your comments (the line where it says “email address”) so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses are not made publicly visible.

This is a joint giveaway with A Little Bit of All of It, a natural parenting blog, and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

BONUS ENTRIES, to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry above (leave a separate comment for each so we can count them all):

RULES:

  • Contest open to Canadian and United States mailing addresses only.
  • Contestants may enter at either A Little Bit of All of It or Natural Parents Network but not both. Entries will be combined for the drawing of a single winner.
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so we can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let us know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, you can copy and paste the comment with a #1, #2, etc.
  • You don’t have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • We will pick the winner through Random.org after the contest closes and send an email notification. Leave a valid email address as you comment so we can contact you if you win. If we can’t reach a winner or don’t hear back within a couple days, we’ll draw a new name.
  • Any questions, let Lauren know: Lauren {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com
Contest closes May 26 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
Disclosure: I received four free wipes for review.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If we don’t like a product, we won’t be recommending it to you.
See our full disclosure policy here.

Natural Parenting Blog Party

I’m very late but I’m finally here and I’ve answered the Day 1 questions below! I’m looking forward to reading all of the other participants answers and the rest of the party! Not sure what I’m talking about? Go check out this post at The Peaceful Housewife.

1.How many children do you have, and how old are they? One in heaven, Shannon, would have been 4 this April and one on earth, Marcella, just turned 2 this March

2.Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? I am married to my husband and we are about to celebrate 9 years of marriage this April.

3.What are your “hot button” parenting issues? I would say I’m passionate about breastfeeding beyond infancy, baby-led weaning (in regards to starting solids), cloth diapering, bedsharing/co-sleeping and natural childbirth.

4.Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? I had thought I would stop nursing after my baby turned 2 but so far we’re still going strong and I don’t have any plans to wean.

5.Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? I couldn’t point to just one book. I have read several and they all have affected me in different ways. Some have made me aware of things I hadn’t thought through and others have clearly shown me what I definitely did not want to do! I know the Baby-Led Weaning book very clearly affected my decision on how to start solids with my daughter.

6.If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Energetic

7.Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? The first thing that comes to mind is actually something during the birth I wish I would have done differently. I fully intended to delay cord clamping until I found out they would not be able to type my daughter’s blood if they waited the full time for it to stop pulsing. Without knowing her blood type I would not know if I needed an RH shot after birth. So, we opted to not cut immediately but also not wait until it completely stopped. I feel like this was just really selfish on my part looking back. I don’t know why I ever thought that was a good idea. The irony is I ended up having to get the shot regardless because the lab took so long with the results and I would not have needed it after all. Next time I will just get the shot and let the cord stop pulsing. No need to know the child’s blood type right away.

8.Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? I’m not patient….at all.

9.Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? I love cheese!

10.Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Definitely vanilla. I’m not a fan of chocolate.

11.What’s your guilty pleasure? Internet time…I spend way too much time online.

12.If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? I don’t watch a whole lot of TV so I don’t even know!


Birth Plan for Birth Center

via scmidwife.com

Are you pregnant? Are you planning on becoming pregnant? Then go read my guest post at Fine and Fair on creating a birth plan for a birth center birth. I share my birth plan and some suggestions and what to include and who to share it with.

While you’re there, check out the other posts on birth plans, one for a hospital birth and one for a caesarean.


How Our Co-sleeping Relationship Ended

Tuesday was my daughter’s birthday. She was born at 8:09 am March 22nd 2 years ago. She was my beautiful little water baby. Today she is my beautiful little girl.

Birthday Girl

She took a major step this weekend and changed where she has slept for her whole life. She now sleeps in her very own bed and it was a decision she made on her own. My last day of sharing a bed with my daughter and husband was this past Friday and I didn’t even know it would be. I would have cuddled her extra tight. I probably would have been up half the night just gazing at her and stroking her sweet cheeks and breathing her in. I probably would have tried my hardest to memorize every detail of those last moments of her lying next to me. But, like almost all of her milestones, this one came lightning fast.

The Owl Bed

For her birthday we got her her very own twin bed with birdy sheets
and her Nanny (my mom) got her an owl quilt (one of her favorite animals) and an owl lamp. We choose to wait until her birthday party to put it all together and show her after she had opened all her other gifts.

And she absolutely loved it.

Moments after seeing her new bed

When it was time for her normal bedtime routine, after her bath she wanted me to skip straight to the bedtime part. She wanted to skip the rest of our routine. She kept telling me that she want to go to bed in HER room, in HER bed. I knew she was ready for this change but still expected some resistance. We actually weren’t even going to have her sleep in it the night of her party since we had my in-laws in town staying with us and it had been a pretty eventful day. We had a plan for the transition. But our daughter didn’t need our plan.

That first night she slept in her “owl bed” with no problems. She awoke once in the night to nurse and within 20 minutes she was fast asleep and didn’t wake until morning. I thought she might wake up earlier than normal but she didn’t. It was all very unexpected and bittersweet really.

It will be a week tomorrow that she has been sleeping in her own room so I guess it’s official. We are no longer a co-sleeping family. Our bed seems so big now and I miss my sweet girl sleeping right next to me. I actually slept horribly the first couple nights, unable to get comfortable or relax enough to get any decent rest. It’s  funny but it’s kind of how our co-sleeping relationship started out.

I never anticipated having to re-learn how to sleep without her beside me. The first couple nights I actually was already awake or awoke shortly before she did. We are still in tune even though she is across the hall now. She doesn’t wake up crying. She simple will wimper for a moment, and, if I hear her, I go in to nurse her. The last couple nights I did not even hear her until she came walking down the hall, saying “mama, mama, mama”. We met in the middle and walked back to her “owl bed”. The first time she walked to our room, she kept asking me to come to “owl room” and “owl bed”. I think she was actually worried I was going to put her back in our bed. Another time once she saw me coming towards her, she turned back around and hopped into her bed, waiting for me to join her.

The Morning After Her First Night in Her New Bed

There are still plenty of sweet night moments to experience with her (and my husband laughs that I actually am excited when she wakes at night). I know that our co-sleeping days will always be an extra special memory to me though and I will definitely miss them.


My Daughter’s Wardrobe, Closet and Toys – Project: Simplify

Week Three of Project: Simplify

I was so happy about this week’s hot spot since it is something that I’ve really been wanting to get to. I also had planned on changing out my daughter’s wardrobe this week anyway. Although we still have some cooler temps this week, spring has officially made its appearance so it’s time to pack up the winter clothes (that are not fitting well anymore anyway) and get out the spring clothes! I did not go through her toys since I had just done this in January after all of the Christmas stuff she got. I’ll go ahead and detail below how I did that though just for fun. :)

Before

Monday I worked on her clothes. I  washed everything she had that was dirty so I could have everything clean. After that, I went through all of her clothes in her drawers and closet and packed up all of the winter stuff to save for any future children/consignment/donation.  I had a pretty big stack of clothing and shoes that were handed down to me for Marcella from a girl from church so I took all of those out and washed everything in the correct size. (I already had all of this organized in her drawer by size so it was easy to just take it all out and wash it.) A lot of it was line dry so I hung it up on the drying rack and the rest I hung up or put in her (now mostly empty) drawer. I also moved everything from the closet in the next size up into the bottom drawer (where I keep storage clothes/shoes/etc. for later.)

Before

Tuesday was Marcella’s 2nd birthday so we spent all day celebrating. All I did this day was hang up and put away the now dry clothes from the drying rack.

Wednesday I decided to tackle the closet. I’ve really wanted to get Marcella’s closet organized. It bugs me every time I open it. It isn’t very large and in the last year since we moved back into our house (long story) it has gone from nicely organized to cluttered with stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I took out everything on the shelf above and everything out of the storage shelving out and put it in her room and slowly went through everything. I made piles of things to get rid of, things that belonged elsewhere, things that could be stored in the attic for future children and things to keep in the closet. I went through all of the shoes that were handed down to me to see what the sizes were since I never actually did that before when I went through the rest of the stuff. I stored the ones that were 2 sizes too big and kept out the ones that were only one size too big or her size now. I also put a couple too small pairs with the clothes that no longer fit.

Once I had everything separated, I tackled each pile one at a time. Some of the stuff I found I can just get rid of were some hangers that are from the store that you can hang a shirt and pants on. I don’t use these so I’ll either find someone who would like them or give them back to the store (tip from a friend.) I also found a stash of cloth diapers that were given to me that are too big or otherwise won’t work for my daughter. Instead of hanging on to them, I’m going to give them to some moms that could use them instead. Most likely, my next child is going to be smaller like Marcella anyway. I also filled a basket with items for the attic and my husband put those up for me. The last step was finding a new home for what needed to stay. I now have room for anything new we need to store in there which is great! I also took all of her books out and resorted them in her basket since it had gotten messy.

After*

 

I said I’d tell you how I organized my toys even though I did this back in January (so no pictures, sorry.) Basically I took every toy/book, etc that she had and put them all in our bonus room. It was a mess for a couple days while I worked through it but I was so happy with the final result. I then started making piles of like toys together (all stuffed animals together, all food related toys together, all books together, etc.) This helped me, since I’m a visual person, see what exactly she had so I could determine what went where.

We have 4 toy areas in our house. Downstairs we use the cabinets and drawer in our entertainment console to house toys. I like this because clean up is pretty simple and toys are out of sight for when we have company over. (We do have her baby doll with stroller out and her armchair out but everything else is stored when she’s not playing with it.) Upstairs we have a bonus room where all her large toys are  and we also have some open shelving and a closed cabinet as well. Of course we have toys in her room as well. Books and stuffed animals are in her closet and there is a small shelf with various toys and board books. Lastly we have a small bin of toys I keep on the bottom of my linen closet that I pull out for her to play in my bedroom if she is awake while I’m getting ready in the morning or for when we go somewhere. It’s easy to just pick up (hand holds on both sides) and go.

 

After*

I kept the majority of her stuffed animals in a basket in the closet in her room but took a few to place in each of her toy areas. All books, other than board books, stayed in a basket in the closet in her room. She still occasionally rips pages so I like these to be somewhere where I will most likely be around to make sure she isn’t ripping the pages (although it still happens sometimes.) The board books I divided up between the different toy areas. All of the larger toys (like her play kitchen, rocking horse, etc.) stay up in the bonus room. I also decided to have all of the food play things in the bonus room. She has a cabinet of her sports toys in the bonus room together as well. All dress up toys are mostly in her room while all of her musical toys are in her toy bin for on-the-go play.

 

What did you tackle this week? Clothes, toys, both? Did you have your children participate with you? I’d love to hear how it went!

*Sorry about the quality on these two pictures! Marcella broke my camera so I had to use my iPhone.


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