— sojourning, us

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so, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

sorry for that.

i appear to have difficulty finding balance, but i’m not really convinced that’s quite as bad of a situation as it sounds. i think that i work best when i feel as though i’m flying by the seat of my pants, and right now, i feel as though i’m just getting by on the skin of my teeth every day.

little E spent the past two weeks sick and teething (he’s still teething, but his ear infection and cold are finally fading). this makes life for me a bit difficult—it’s hard to work when you have a whining one year old practically strapped to your body at all times. well, i probably could have worn him in the mei tai a bit and had two free hands more often, but i don’t think that would’ve solved our whining, crankiness issues. it’s been a hard few weeks and now that it’s Monday, i’m still exhausted and ready for another weekend.

even if working for myself form home can sometimes feel like one very long Saturday, i assure you the reality is that i still have times that i live for the real weekend.

that said, i know i am not working enough.

i’m listless and dissatisfied. there is more i could be doing. there is so much caught up inside me, that much like the season of spring, i can feel it all budding and longing to burst forth.

it’s just been easier said than done for me and i’m still trying to figure out why.

i’ve been feeling on the edge of something for quite some time. like a break through is just around the corner. like i’m about to stumble into an epiphany. like something’s going to catch fire. i like this feeling. it makes me smile and keeps me active. it motivates me to sketch, to take notes, to hoard inspiration.

now that little E is feeling better, i know he’s going to be getting back into the groove of being his very busy one-year-old self. i need to take this moment to get on the same page as my husband. we’re currently … totally not. sometimes, i feel as though we’re unconsciously working against each other instead of with each other, especially now that i’m home all the time. we don’t have a rhythm. or, if we do, i don’t see it. or, if we do, we’re at least not moving to the same tempo. this makes mothering and working and living hard for me.

part of my silence and frustrations have revolved around me feeling alone.

i suppose this is part of the burden of freelancing, but i also know in my heart it doesn’t have to be so. there’s plenty of community out there if i’m willing to invest myself in it.

i need to invest some more of myself in my home, in my relationships first, however. i just hope that my motivation is reciprocated.

i miss blogging. i feel as though i’ve lost my voice.

having a little home here in the internet has been dear to me since i was just a kid. an awkward high school kid. for me, the interwebs is just as much a comfortable place as my couch. i need to spend some time here like i need hot showers. however, i can tell there’s been a disconnect. i’m still trying to put things back together again and it’s been more difficult than i expected. more difficult to put into words. there’s a lot going on and i’m still trying to juggle it, i guess. or something. i’m not entirely sure.

it’s abstract but heavy for me. a burden on my daily thoughts.

for now, i’ll just say that i want to have this space back. i want to reclaim this particular bloggy part of myself. while i’ll also be blogging separately on my business website, i want sojourning, us to be a place where i explore family life, spiritual life, and personal stuff. this is the other part of me, though it is certainly not separated from the working part. i don’t really feel like myself when the creative is separated from the personal. work for me usually requires just as much of my whole self as family life, so i can’t promise this place to be devoid of shop talk.

anyway. i don’t really know who reads this anymore, but i’m sorry i’ve been so quiet. i’ve struggled to carve out time for this sort of thing, but i’m slowly getting better.

let’s hang out some more. i’ve missed you.

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we’re home in ohio/west virginia visiting family for Thanksgiving (well, mostly. apparently, i’m back where i started from with my side of the family, but i should just start anticipating all the drama instead of getting hopeful that things will one day improve. i want a relationship that works, but i must be the only one willing to try because i always find myself getting sent back to the beginning more hurt and frustrated than the last time. you’d think i’d learn, but i keep hoping that this time is the last time and that this time everything will finally be different. one day, i still hope it will be. i can’t offer myself as a person to the same relationship every time without results forever … can i?)

anyway. today i borrowed my cousin-in-law’s “fancy camera” and let Elisha be himself outside for a bit. he was 8 months old on Saturday and for lack of our papasan chair (yes, i missed 7 months. it flew by so fast that i didn’t get a chance to take photos of him in the chair. besides, he just tumbles his way out of it on purpose now).

here are all of my favorites:

what a cutie 8 months!

8 months

8 months 8 months

8 months 8 months!

8 months

8 months!

i have a handsome baby. a handsome husband. and a burning need for a better camera like the one i borrowed today.

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on our couch

Bible study on wednesday night allowed us to have a record number of friendly folks on our futon. i love it.

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i’ll admit that planning our weekly meals really hasn’t been going that excellent. i’ve been making efforts, but, much like this blog, those efforts are sometimes thwarted by time. or a baby. or both. i’ve never been that good at planning a menu, even though i actually do like to cook when i can manage it. i also enjoy food, and i feel like food cooked at home is always a better choice than eating out—both on the wallet and on the waist. i don’t always make the best choices when eating out, so it’s better for me to not be tempted with all those choices, regardless of how my often-starving, breastfeeding brain processes what it thinks are my needs. (read: i’m hungry all the frickin’ time.)

so, i finally managed to sit down again today and plan out our week in meals. this was regretfully done over a plate of store-bought sushi rolls. they were delicious, even if i didn’t make them myself:

tuesday – quinoa stuffed peppers with feta cheese, tomatoes, and basil (yes, i’m totally going to make this recipe up and fly by the set of my pants. go me.)
wednesday
– taco bake
thursday
– steak filets with sweet potatos
friday
okonomiyaki
saturday – pasta or breakfast for dinner

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… i’m going to just post totally unrelated photos of Elisha enjoying an apple! yaaaay! wait, you don’t want to see that? haha. too bad.

nom nom nom

nom nom nom nom nom nom

nom nom nom

you keep asking in your head, “hey, what about that potty? did you really go for it?”

we did. it’s going great. we haven’t had to scrub a single patch of carpet! sure, we’re not going to “catch” (that’s the EC term) every potty moment, but we’re opening up communication and helping Elisha stay aware.

yes, we’re unconventional people.

yes, we might just be a little crazy.

no, i don’t have plans for E to be completely potty trained before he is 1. he can take his time; it’s up to him. putting him on the little potty at opportune moments (after he wakes up in the morning and after naps, for example) or when he seems to show signs or “cues” (like when he reaches for his diaper or when he stops playing or when he gets fussy while eating), gives him a new association with going to the bathroom. it’s not about pressuring him to grow up too fast or fit into our standards or be a more awesome baby than he already is. it’s just about giving him guidance and letting him shine and achieve things that blow our expectations every time. he’s been doing that since in the womb, really. ever since i peed on a stick, Elisha’s been nothing short of amazing.

i’ve learned two things this weekend—Elisha doesn’t actually like to be wet (he actually gets fussier and grumpy when he is but he doesn’t outright cry about it unless he’s in the car seat), and once he’s been naked, he doesn’t want to put a diaper back on. it’s like wrestling a wild animal! he loves to crawl around bare-bottomed to the world. he had some naked time this weekend so we could watch for his signs that he needed to go potty (“observation” is the EC term).

oh, and he pooped in the potty yesterday. it was a very proud moment. we sang his praises and he grinned with his four little teeth. it was much easier to clean up than it would have been in his diaper.

and just so you understand how part-time and how relaxed we want to be about introducing the potty, this morning was not as smooth (no Mondays ever are), and we “missed” most of our potty opportunities.

it’s okay. there are no failures here.

we’re just adding another option to the mix. at least with cloth, he already gets changed often and knows what it is to feel wet. no space-age gel keeping him unaware. no hours and hours in the same diaper. while i’m the first to admit that i no longer lot of stock in evolutionary theory (i think it’s downright silly, but that’s a whole other post … please don’t leave comments about that, though …), i can agree with the basis of elimination communication thought when it says even humans are wired not to actually want to soil themselves and/or hang out in their own waste. diapers are a convenient way of helping to contain messes since babies don’t have any control over when or where they go. that’s a skill that has to be learned. i found it an interesting thought that conventional potty training is almost like “unlearning” since we train babies to go in diapers—some toddlers can get very attached to wearing them.

nom nom nom

i’m not saying they need to be eliminated all together, though (heehee, pun intended). or that using them is wrong. obviously. what would i do with all our cute cloth diaper fluff? i love it!

i’m just really enjoying the option of offering a potty to Elisha this early. some people start at birth! while it’s never too late (or, apparently too early) to start working in some elimination communication into your daily routine, i can see that we’ll have challenges along the way because of our own timing. it’s kind of exciting to see him take to it now that he’s aware of his own body or now that he’s starting to express more of himself. he does let us know what he needs, but we often don’t recognize when or understand what he’s trying to say. we haven’t been in close communication about his potty needs because we’ve been happy to let him use his diapers. now that we can encourage him to express his needs instead of simply relieving himself without a hint or a care, he might be willing to strike up the conversation again. now that his wordless expressions are being noticed, it opens a new door for us in our relationship as parents and child.

wow. i’m feelin’ kind of crunchy as i write about a seven-month old using a little potty and cloth diapers and a bit of attachment parenting (though, i won’t go there at the moment, either). i even had granola for breakfast. look out!

nom nom nom

we’re aware of how much we’re outside of the mainstream, expected culture of things. we’re okay with that. we’re okay with the surprised looks and funny questions. we go home and are happy together at the end of the day. are cloth diapers for everyone? no, unfortunately not, but they’re definitely an option that every parent should actually consider. is elimination communication for everyone? no, but it’s certainly something worth looking into, even casually, at any stage of babyhood.

the bottom line is this: we’re having fun. we’re learning. we’re growing closer together as we go along on this journey. we want to be good, responsible parents as much as we want to be good, responsible stewards of all we’ve been given.

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… but i think it’ll work.

we’ll be purchasing this book and this potty (obviously not in pink) this weekend. we already use cloth diapers, but i’ve been curious about elimination communication since i first started researching cloth diaper brands and practices. i will admit i was skeptical of the idea of EC when i read about it, especially because i knew i would be returning to work leaving Elisha in my husband’s care while away. even if EC sounded like something we both were interested in, neither of us were really sure we could EC full time.

now, 7 months into parenthood, we’ve talked about it on and off with idle curiosity. does it work? is it possible? even now? Eli has very definite cues, at least when he’s going to poop in the morning. he’s had his fair share of ninja poops, for sure, but he generally only goes once a day before i go to work. it’s possible we could learn together how to “catch” that in a potty instead of in a diaper. wouldn’t that be amazing but crazy? i agree.

i know how much he hates to be in a dirty diaper. as soon as he goes, he reaches for me and wants cleaned up.

now, he could sit in a wet diaper all day, but from what i’ve read about EC, this is something that can be “relearned.” no one really likes to be wet, but babies learn to consider it normal because diapering is part of our culture.

i mean, how long do most babies sit around in a disposable with all of its absorbent gel? hours! in cloth, Elisha hardly ever sits around long in any diaper, but he still doesn’t often complain when wet. sometimes, he’ll be a bit more fussy or reluctant to sit down, but he doesn’t cry as soon as he wets.

part of elimination communication is learning your baby’s signals—their “cues” to let you in on the fact that they’ve either gone, are about to go, or feel the urge. you as the parent react to those signals with cues of your own once your child is over a potty—making a sound they learn to associate with using the bathroom.

i think that’s pretty brilliant.

of course we’d still use our cloth diapers on outings and at night. we’ll probably only really get to attempt EC part-time or occasionally. i think opening up that communication between us and Elisha will help with potty learning down the road.

wow, i wrote more than i thought i would.

it’s okay to think we’re crazy for even considering this—i think most people are crazy for NOT even considering cloth diapers! so, we’re even if you use disposables.

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dear blog,

i miss you, too. please stop making me feel guilty in the middle of the night. you and i both know things are busy right now, but that means that better things are in the works for both of us. thanks for your patience. i’ll be back soon.

xoxo,
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p.s. some of those new things include updates to my etsy shop and portfolio. stay tuned.

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