Friday, June 29, 2012

Possible Miscarriage?

The subject of this post has nothing to do with why I've been MIA for the past few days. The reason I've been so quiet on this here blog is that I volunteered to evaluate charter applications for the state. Last year, they only gave me three to score; this year, I had to do six. Each one is between 250 and 500 pages. 

So between reading applications, working, getting Magnolia Montessori For All up and running, and watching TV at the end of the day because I'm too mentally exhausted to do anything else, I haven't had much time for Feeding the Soil. 

I've missed you!

I owe you some pregnancy-related updates. First, I've started having itching in my palms and feet again, which is a sign of choleostasis. Choleostasis is a pregnancy-related disease that causes liver malfunctioning. It usually happens in the third trimester, and it's a very serious thing. It often involves induction to prevent stillbirth. 

It affects less than one percent of Americans (it's more common in Scandinavian countries), but the recurrence rate in second pregnancies is very high. I got it with Henry in the third trimester, and it caused a lot of stress as we tried to make decisions that would be best for Henry. 

So I'm 11 weeks pregnant, and the itching is already starting. I got worried very fast because there is no cure for choleostasis and the treatment usually involves medicine that may or may not be harmful to fetuses. The best way for me to assuage worry is to develop an action plan. So, at 2:30am one morning, I decided to:
  1. Hurry and commit to a midwife, so I could go to my first prenatal visit and talk about this issue (we interviewed two different candidates but hadn't decided on one)
  2. Schedule an acupuncture appointment to try and stimulate proper liver functioning
  3. Send an e-mail to a local nutritionist to figure out the best way to ease up on my liver through diet (although I subsequently had to rule out this option because she costs $200)
  4. Purchase this book about a healthy liver diet
At our midwife appointment, the midwife could not hear the baby's heartbeat. Although the uterus is sometimes tipped back and therefore obstructs one's ability to hear the heartbeat, it's not very common to not be able to hear the heartbeat at 11 weeks.  

When I thought about it a little more, I realized that some of my first trimester symptoms have been waning. At first I thought it was because I was moving out of the first trimester. Upon second thought, however, I realize that it could also be because of a miscarriage. For those of you who are new to this blog, I also had a miscarriage scare with Henry.

So I cried and then formulated my next action steps:
  • Go get a blood test to measure my pregnancy hormone levels
  • Get my bile acids checked to investigate the choleostasis situation a little more
I'm still going to acupuncture tomorrow. Wish me luck! I know the needles are hair-thin, but still. They're needles! In my body! 

When I start to get sad about everything that's happening right now, I remind myself that I can't control the outputs. I've done my very best with the inputs. I prepared my body for conception. I get rest and well-balanced nutrition. I take my prenatal vitamins religiously.

The most important things in life can't be controlled. We can't control when we're going to meet the person we want to commit to forever. We can't control when we get pregnant or when our loved ones pass away. 

It is what it is. The best I can do is make space for my feelings and then take healthy action steps forward. I still feel like the baby is alive, so I'm optimistic that it's going to work out. My optimism is going to make everything harder if it turns out that it's not okay.

I hope all is well with you...

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Finally Embracing Motherhood

 Right after Henry was born, my father-in-law asked Matt, "Could you ever imagine yourself loving anything more than him?" I remember feeling so thankful that he hadn't asked me the same question. I knew I was supposed to say that I could never imagine myself loving anything more than my newborn son, but, honestly, I didn't even know my newborn son. Yes, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that he arrived safely in our lives, and I was overcome by the sheer miracle of the universe replicating itself through my own body, but I didn't immediately love Henry the way I grew to love my life partner, Matt, or even our trusty bloodhound, Hoss.

I am finally--after sixteen months--coming to a place where I can begin to say, "My life is definitively better with a child in it." 

Even as I type that thought, the guilt floods in. What if Henry reads this post when he's older and gets the wrong impression? What kind of mother am I if it took me sixteen months to fully embrace motherhood? What will all of you "real" mothers think--the ones who were immediately able to elevate having children to the most precious place in your life? 

But this is the truth for me, and it needs to be said in case it falls on some mother's ears who also took a longer path to the Joy of Motherhood. Matt and I are finally at a place where the sheer work that it takes to raise a child is balanced by the sheer pleasure. Henry is a sweet, sweet boy--he always has been. But now he communicates with us. He says "mama?" when he wants something to eat or wants me to help him put on a hat (his favorite is the shower cap featured above) or wants a drink from my water bottle. He likes to do big work, like carrying around a child-sized rake or flipping over the ottoman. He can put his banana peel in the compost and carry his breakfast to the table. We like to sit side-by-side on the step in the backyard, looking for birds, picking up sticks, and waiting for our neighbor Patty to come outside. 

Although I wish it hadn't taken me 16 months to come to this place, I don't blame myself for taking so long to get here. It is what it is. I can't change the way I feel or will myself into a different state of being. Instead, I have focused my attention on the actions of joyful motherhood. I spent a full year with Henry all day long, breastfeeding him every 3-4 hours, singing him songs, taking him outside to stare at trees as mobiles, trekking to museums/playdates/swimming pools/parks, smiling at him and telling him I love him. Matt and I nearly always respond to his demands with patience and grace. We modify our schedules to meet his needs for routine and rest. We read him books constantly. 

As I prepare to give birth to a second child (in January), I imagine that my transition into expanded motherhood will be even more difficult. Matt and I are intentionally trying to space our children close together for a variety of personal reasons, none of which will actually make the act of raising two young children any easier. It feels like we're at complete capacity right now. I feel like I sprint, sprint, sprint and then pass the baton to Matt while I double over on the ground, frantically trying to catch my breath. With our second child, there will be no tag-teaming, no easy passing of the baton. We will go from "two on one" to "two on two" or even--shutter--"one on two." 

In the low moments (or low year? or years?), I will remind myself that the days are long, but the years are short. I will also come back to this quote from this article:

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
I won't get angry or disappointed about what I do or do not feel. Instead, I will focus on what I do and the kind of mother I am for my two children. That's the very best I can do.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dream It, Do It: Update on Our House

Things are progressing well with the design of our new house. I met with the architect again to talk through the changes we asked him to make to our house. He made some really smart changes to our changes. Based on the most recent design, we asked him to make a few more adjustments, such as stretching the second bedroom closet all the way across the wall and creating a hallway closet by commandeering a bit of the closet from the second bedroom. 

He also had a few more suggestions:
  • He wants to lower the ceilings in the two bathrooms and the foyer to 8', so he can move the HVAC system up into the ceiling. This will free up an entire closet.
  • He wants to eliminate the sitting bench in each of the showers to shrink the bathrooms and add the extra square footage to the master bedroom and the kitchen/dining room/living room.
One of the things I've been thinking about a lot is what kind of furniture to put in the foyer. I want our house to be the kind of place that has a spot for everything. With four of us cohabitating in a relatively small space, it's important to me that we can each put away our stuff, especially when we first walk in the door. We'll have shoes, bags, keys, phones, dog leashes, jackets, umbrellas, mail, etc. There are two versions of this house already in existence in Austin. One of them is occupied by two adults; the other one is filled with a family of four. Although they're both awesome, they feel like there's simply too much stuff for the space available.

Here's a picture of what the foyer space will look like:

At first, I thought about using funky lockers, but a) I realized that they would be difficult for our young children to access independently and b) we're trying to conserve money wherever possible, since we'll be pouring all of our money into this house and into a new couch, refrigerator, king-sized bed, and washer/dryer. I realized that our IKEA shelving unit might be the perfect spot. 

At our old house, we used the shelf primarily for books, but it also held our keys and phones. We put our shoes in a big basket to the left of the door. I liked that our keys were in a bowl up high, which meant that we weren't always looking down into a disheveled bowl (like we do now, since our key bowl is on a desk). The one thing I didn't like about our old system was that Matt and I had to share the shoe basket. I was always digging under his sweaty running shoes to find my shoes. 

Now I'm thinking that we can repurpose our IKEA shelf into our "landing strip." We can put four baskets along the bottom, each of which can hold an individual family member's shoes. (When the children are really young and have small shoes, they won't need the basket.). Then the next highest row can be for each family member's school/work bag. The top two rows can be used for our key bowl, a place to charge cell phones (inside a cute box with a hole cut out of the back for the chargers to pass through), books, ceramics, etc. Ooh, maybe we could get a desktop shredder and fit it into one of the baskets to give us easy access for shredding credit card junk mail without having to store it in plain sight. We can put small hooks on the side or on the wall to hold coats and umbrellas at kid height. We can also put up a sorting tray for mail.

Even our young children will be able to independently access their shoes, bags, and coats. 

My one worry with this system is that our bags might look to messy stuffed in the cubby holes. Unfortunately, they're too big to fit inside baskets. I'll try stuffing Matt's bag into a hole and seeing how it looks once he gets home.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making Changes

 I've been trying to be as healthy as possible with this pregnancy as I was with Henry. I've been taking a nap each afternoon when Henry naps (which means I have to cram my work into the evenings). I've been doing okay on the eating front (it's a little difficult to work around my first-trimester aversions to things). The one area I really need to improve is exercise. When I was pregnant with Henry, I walked for an hour approximately six times a week. It was easy to do. When I was in my first trimester, I was on summer vacation from my teaching job, so I could walk first thing in the morning (when it was slightly cooler). Then once my teaching job resumed in the fall, I walked after my afternoon nap. 

So I need a plan for exercise. If I want to make a change in my habits, I have to: 
  1. Specify specifically what the action will look like
  2. Plot it on the calendar
What will the specific action look like? I will walk at least five times a week, and I will go to prenatal yoga at least once a week.

When will I do these specified actions? Through the summer, I will walk with Matt, Henry, and Hoss around the trail near our house. When the weather cools down and it starts to get dark earlier, I will take Henry and Hoss to the lake before Matt gets home in the evening. I will do prenatal yoga on Saturdays during my free time.

I'm feeling better about this!

Oh, I also need to start drinking my red raspberry leaf tea with nettle. My last midwife recommended 3-4 tablespoons each of nettle and red raspberry to a quart of boiling water: 1 cup per day in the first trimester, 2 cups per day in the second trimester, and 3 cups per day in the third trimester.

Photo from my second trimester with Henry (I'm already more rotund with the second baby, and I'm only nine weeks in!).

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Natural Deodorant Fail

I am bummed! 

I finally found a natural deodorant that works nicely (still some wetness--but a tolerable amount--and virtually no smell--even in the Texas heat), but now I'm experiencing itchiness and red irritation. When I talked to my mother about it, she explained that she has the exact same problem with natural deodorants. Here's a complete list of the ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil; Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil; Organic Rosehip Seed Oil; Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter; Organic Corn Starch; Sodium Bicarbonate; Kaolin Clay; Organic Vegan Kosher Glycerin; Essential oils of: Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender); Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree); Organic Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange); Organic Mentha Piperita (Peppermint); Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergaptene-free Bergamot). 

Everything seems so innocuous! Perhaps the issue has to do with when I'm shaving. Maybe if I shave in the evening and apply the deodorant in the morning I won't have such a problem. But who wants to jump in the shower unnecessarily just to shave?

My other option is to make this homemade version. It seems easy. Amy over at Progressive Pioneer swears by it. Either way, I'm definitely don't want to go back to aluminum or parabens. Ick!

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Monday, June 18, 2012


We are seriously in the throes of working with the architect to design our house (and by "design," I really just mean that we are making a few adjustments to a house plan that already exists).

Matt, Henry, and I have lived in two different houses as a family. The first was a 1930s bungalow, 1,000 square feet, two bedrooms, 1 bathroom. We had no garage, so we stored our lawnmower in the kitchen closet with our washer and dryer, and we stored our bikes in our bedroom closet with our spare paint cans. Now we live in a 1960s ranch house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We have a two-car garage, closets in every bedroom, a linen closet in one of the bathrooms, and a hall closet. 

Quite the extremes! 

As we design our house, we've striving for balance. Again, we won't have a garage, but we will have a small outdoor closet (for bikes and the lawn mower). We're enlarging all of the closets in the bedrooms to stretch along the entire wall. We'll have a linen closet in one of the bathrooms. We're also trying to fit in a little hallway closet for our vacuum and broom. There's no doubt in my mind that we're going to have to be very strategic with our space and storage. When I see entire closets dedicated to art supplies, I start to experience heart palpitations. Here are some of my strategies for fitting a lot into a little space:
  1. Purge, purge, purge before we move into the new house. 
  2. Have a permanent box for donations in place, so we're constantly moving things out that we don't really need/use/want.
  3. Be super-conscious about what we bring into the house, especially around holidays. Think quality, not quantity.
  4. Set up closet systems that help us maximize every square inch of the space that we do have in closets.
  5. Create a space for everything. We should hang our broom and dustpan on the wall, instead of letting it flop around in the closet. We should also consider hanging our bikes vertically to take advantage of our closet space. 
I'm even considering asking the builders not to put in any pre-set closet bars or shelves, so that we would customize the space to fit exactly what we need to store (using shelves that could adjust to fit our changing needs over time). For example, this IKEA shelving system might be great for half of every closet to store tupperware boxes of craft supplies, memorabilia, and other items.The part of the closet that needs to store clothes could look like this.

This article from Apartment Therapy details five different budget systems for custom-designing closets.

I think my next step is to do another round of purging and organizing. Then I need to make a list of everything we want to store and come up with a plan for where it's going to fit in our new house. Good times!

Photo courtesy of our closet at its very worst. We spruced it up significantly before we put our house on the market.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Swimming Lessons!

Henry spent a lot of time in the neighborhood pool last summer, but since he was only about 4-5 months-old, I mainly held him and moved him around (and he willingly kept his hat on!). Now that he's a toddler, "swimming" is a whole different beast. He clearly wants me to let go of him and be free in the water, but I'm pretty sure that dense kid would sink straight to the bottom if I did let go. I'm reluctant to try any flotational devices because they can give children a false sense of how their bodies work in the water.

We decided to enroll Henry in one of those intense swimming classes that teaches 6-12 month-olds how to roll onto their backs and float, while 1-6 year-olds learn how to swim-float-swim. The lessons are every single day for only ten minutes (I told you it was intense!). We're on the waiting list and probably won't be able to start for a few weeks, but I'm looking forward to it!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Henry's New Toys

I've often mentioned the process of rotating toys in and out of storage in a Montessori environment to keep the space orderly, decluttered, attractive, inviting, and stimulating. Aside from Discovery Baskets, we don't use big baskets to corral huge piles of toys. Instead, every item has its own spot on the shelf and we rotate the activities/toys out every couple weeks with items that are stored out of sight. 

The truth is, I haven't done much rotating. Matt and I don't buy a lot of stuff, so by the time I put toys on the three shelves in the living room and the shelf in his bedroom, I don't have a lot of toys (or any, really) to rotate in. Kylie's done a lot of posts about making toys for her son, Otis. I'm always inspired by her suggestions, but I never get around to actually making them for Henry [insert self-forgiveness]. 

Her most recent post (I guess this week is all about how Kylie inspires me to be a better mother?) gave me to little nudge I needed to order some new toys for Henry. Here's what I ordered:
  1. Pop Up Toy
  2. Pound and Roll Tower
  3. Plan Toys Cone Sorting
I'm looking forward to seeing what he thinks about his new activities! Honestly, he's much happier to go to explore the baby jungle that is our backyard, dig through the cabinets, push his learning tower around the kitchen, and wander around new places.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Building a Support Network

When I was preparing myself for conception before Henry, I was worried about my lack of a solid support network in Houston, since our families are more than a 1,000 miles away in opposite directions, and most of our friends did not have children. I speculated that I would be able to build a network over time, once I joined the neighborhood list-serv for families and started prenatal yoga. 

And boy did I ever fall into a network! My prenatal yoga class was the most amazing thing. Once a week, we did yoga for an hour and then the instructor served us a vegetarian meal as we sat in a circle and socialized. But honestly, we weren't really a support network until one of the participants created a list-serv among us and started planning monthly brunches. And then the support network deepened when a different participant e-mailed a couple of us after our babies were born to go on a weekly walk and eat lunch together at one of our houses. From that point on, I had a standing play date every week that got Henry and me out of the house and into the company of other new moms who were going through the same struggles. Our babies went from lying on a blanket next to each other and staring up at mobiles to wrestling and now walking (and hugging--see photo above). 

Those friends are a huge part of why leaving Houston and moving to Austin were so hard for me. But rather than wallow in my separation malaise, I'm going to take inspiration from those friends who went out on a limb to create community. I'm going to intentionally seek out and create community among pregnant women in Austin (who live on or near the east side). It starts by inviting the two pregnant people I know to join me for prenatal yoga and brunch on an upcoming Saturday. 

I'm looking forward to it! (If you know anyone who is pregnant and Austin and looking for other moms-to-be, please feel free to send them this post and have them e-mail me. For those of you who responded to my request for community in Austin a long time ago, I'm sorry but I lost my Life Binder which had my list of people to meet!).

And to the woman who e-mailed me about setting up a "Subscribe to E-mail" feature on this blog, it's done! You can find it in the right-hand column...

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Toilet Training in Earnest?

Have you been reading Kylie's posts about starting toilet learning with Otis who is about a month younger than Henry?

Around these parts, we definitely starting putting Henry on a baby toilet at a young age (sporadically), but we were never really good about reading his cues and therefore never became Elimination Communication gurus. Now at fifteen months, he mainly wears training pants when we're home, but they still primarily work like diapers. We try to take him to the toilet at regular intervals, but he only uses the toilet about half the time. We've still been putting him in his cloth diapers for naps, traveling, and daycare. 

I think it might be time to make more of a commitment to toilet learning. I've been lazy about it because he's going to start an AMI Montessori school in August, and they will work on toilet learning every day. I've been giving myself the excuse that I should just wait until we're doing it full-time at school and home. 

But reading Kylie's posts inspire me to try harder with Henry. I'm going to purchase this portable toilet that fits in a diaper bag, so he can start wearing his training pants out of the house and we can easily give him opportunities to use the toilet on the go. I'm also going to buy this carseat protector. I realize I could easily make something to serve the same purpose and it would be friendlier on the budget and the environment, but I'm not up for it right now. I'm just being honest. If I can muster any craftiness and creativity right now, I want to direct it toward a gift for my friend who is about to give birth. Sometimes my values conflict with each other, and I have to make a choice.

Another reason I want to start toilet training Henry in earnest is that I would ideally like him to be done by the time he's 23 months and the new baby hopefully makes its grand entrance into our lives. I'm prepared for regression on Henry's part, so the sooner he learns to use the toilet and the longer he's in the habit before the new baby comes, the better. One of the books I'm reading right now talks about how toddlers go through so many changes as it is (toilet learning, transitioning to a new bed, etc.). I'd like to front load as many of the changes as possible. I guess that also means we should think about moving him to a twin-size mattress and free up our little crib mattress for the new baby's Montessori floor bed.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Random Question

I'm busy scheming over here, and I'm wondering if any of you has a personal connection to any of the following bands. If you do, I would be forever indebted to you if you would e-mail me! Alternatively, if you have a personal connection with any Austin bands that are really, really good, that could work, too. I promise to divulge more once this idea is a little more fleshed out.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Healthy Recipes

I'm a firm believer in the value of solid nutrition when it comes to having a healthy pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I tried to reduce my refined sugar intake by not eating any sweets and avoiding juices, etc. I still, however, ate a lot of bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, etc. As a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find meals that are high in protein and low in carbs.

I turned to one of my favorite sites--101 Cookbooks--to find some good dinner options:

Baked Quinoa Patties
Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini
Pan Fried Corona Beans and Kale
Curried Egg Salad
Herb Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs

I'm looking forward to giving these a try!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Second Child: Books!

I've mentioned before that I want to be intentional with my second pregnancy as I was with Henry, despite the fact that life with a toddler is incredibly more difficult than life with just my partner.

As part of that intentionality, I'd like to read some books. Here's what I was able to find:
  1. Twice Blessed: Everything You Need to Know about Having a Second Child--Preparing Yourself, Your Marriage, and Your First-born for a New Family of Four
  2. The Second Baby Survival Guide: How to Stay Calm and Enjoy Life with a New Baby and a Toddler
  3. Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life
  4. The Contented Baby with Toddler Book
  5. From One Child to Two: What to Expect, How to Cope, and How to Enjoy Your Growing Family
  6. And Baby Makes Four: Welcoming a Second Child into the Family
  7. Welcoming Your Second Baby
  8. Your Second Pregnancy: What to Expect This Time
I'll definitely see which of these books I can find at the library!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Make a House Safe

We're meeting with the architect again today to discuss the tweaks we want to make to the Luna plan. I've been doing some research about how to make a home as safe as possible, and here are the main recommendations I've come across:
  1. Get to know your neighbors: This one is huge! Having people who know you and know what is normal at your house goes a long way to help combat crime. 
  2. Get a dog that barks: Hoss fits this bill!
  3. Install a security system: We had one at our old house (ADT), but it was a huge pain. It was constantly malfunctioning. We're going to start looking into other options. If you don't install a security system, you could consider buying signs/stickers off Ebay or asking friends/neighbors/family for their extras.
  4. Install sensor lights around the house: We had solar-powered ones at our old house, and they worked well.
  5. Install a strong door: There's lot of tips about how to fortify your front door, such as using heavy-duty strike plates, secured with four, 3-inch screws.
  6. Secure sliding glass doors: You can prevent them from being slid open with "charley bars" or dowels in the track. You can prevent them from being lifted off the track with special pins from the hardware store.
  7. Put timers on lights: The goal is for your house to look occupied, even when it's not. Leaving your front porch light on all day when you're out of town is a dead giveaway.
If you want to read more detailed information, I recommend this site. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!

The other thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that--again--I can control the inputs, not the outputs. I can do my very best to make it difficult for our home to be the victim of crime, but I cannot control whether or not it gets burglarized. I should put just enough thought into it to take these preventative measures and to remain diligent on a daily basis (e.g., locking doors and shutting windows before leaving the house), but then I need to let it go. It's hard to enjoy life if you're living in fear.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Dream It, Do It

Publishing books has been a long-time dream of mine. The content of my character and the contours of my life have been shaped by books. I still remember some of the books I read in high school and college that shifted my paradigm and my life choices. 

After Matt and I planned the perfect wedding for us without losing our savings or sanity, I wanted to share our story (and the similar stories of others) with the wider world. I counted my lucky stars when I found an agent and later a publisher (the book is due out this December via Voyageur Press). It took a ton of work (and persistence as I faced rejection after rejection).

After that experience, I wanted to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about the Montessori approach to education. I partnered with one of my favorite bloggers (a Montessori mum from Australia) to self-publish a cookbook for children ages 18 months to 9 years-old (after I was inspired by reading this post about a recipe she drew for her son).

Then one of my dear friends joined the project as the graphic designer. These two wonderful women agreed to donate months upon months of their time for free, so that all proceeds could benefit Montessori For All, the non-profit organization I'm starting.

I don't even know how to fully express my gratitude. I've seriously been staring at my computer, grasping for words for at least five minutes.

They gave so much of their time--so much of their lives--to pull this book together.

At times, I wasn't sure how it would work. Angie lives in Houston, Kylie lives in Australia, and I live in Austin. We produced the entire book via e-mail, Google Docs, and flickr. We pulled it together in about five months.

I know I'm biased, but I think it's really good. It can be hard to find concrete information about how to implement Montessori at home. This book provides all the information you need to cook with children in a Montessori way. It includes step-by-step information about how to set up your kitchen to facilitate independence. Then it includes a sequence of foundational skills to prepare your child for cooking. Finally, it includes ten recipes that are depicted with photographs and simple text, so your child can follow along as independently as possible.

We will be releasing the book very soon, and you will be able to order it off Amazon just like a regular book. Please think through your list of friends and family members to see if this book would be a good gift for anyone of them. Or consider sending an e-mail to them once the book is released to see if they're interested in buying the book for themselves. Or think about how to spread the word via social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter.

It takes a village to pull off big dreams, and you are my village. Thank you for your continued support. We're all in this together as we figure out what to do with our "wild and precious" lives. Hugs to you!

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