Monday, December 19, 2011


I'm finding there is a major discrepancy between the way typical American women mother and the mothering instincts and designs God has given us. I'm fine with agreeing that we do live in the American culture, so there are things that we do to get along better within our society... However, some things may be better off picked apart and looked at, to determine why we are doing them, if they are beneficial, or if they are even what we as mothers want to be doing.

Some obvious two-sided issues like the "Cry It Out" method of teaching your child to self-soothe, are no-brainers to me. Especially when studies are being done that prove methods like this are dangerous! Psychology Today ( just published an article listing the many dangers of the method - life long risks that include altered brain chemistry and a messed up stress-response system, which leads to other physical and mental health issues later in life.

Some issues need real thought, there aren't necessarily clear studies that back them up on either side. Like this week's issue (I'm sure there will be many more) is nursing to sleep. There are a hand-full of points that can be made in favor or against it. If we didn't nurse to sleep, Andrew could more easily put Fern to bed, giving me a break. I would be more likely to even be able to put her to bed and have time in the evenings to spend with my husband. My days wouldn't revolve SO much around getting her to sleep for at least three naps and then for bed.
On the flip-side though, Fern falls asleep SO peacefully and happily at my breast. It is the place she feels most comfortable, warm, and loved. God designed breastmilk perfectly...even possibly perfectly for nursing to sleep. It contains sleep-inducing chemicals, possibly more effective than a Benedryl! And as a mom, it is so cozy to nurse my little pipsqueak to sleep.

Certainly it would be nice to get things done, to enjoy time sewing, or tea in the evening with my husband. But Fern will be a baby only once. So my desire is to push aside cultural (and family!) expectations, and move more on instinct, remembering that God gave them to me. Trying not to be influenced by people who say "but you need a break", "that's what naps are for", etc. Or having an attitude of a parent who lives for the time the baby is asleep. I'm still a mama, even when she's asleep.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fern Fiona Hanlon

Well, obviously, that was the day... It's been a little over two months since my last post... I've been a very, very busy new mama. It has been an incredible two months. It has flown by, even though at some times it feels so hard - like in the beginning, at night! And for the first few weeks when I was trying so hard to build my milk supply.

Overall, every single day is amazing. I have a new friend and companion. Someone Andrew and I share and are equally in love with and interested in. She for sure has a lot of her dad's personality, but is definitely not lacking in mine. But she's uniquely her. At two months, she is who she is - nothing short of an amazing miracle. Love doesn't even begin to describe what we feel for her. Every single day I'm amazed at her. She is not a passive critter, just waiting to be fed, to fall asleep, poop, and wake back up to eat again, like some people see babies as.

Long before she was born I heard about Elimination Communication - tuning into your baby and learning her signs and cues for when she needs to pee or poop. I thought it was whacked. Recently though, my dear friend Lizard suggested I read a book about it. Wow. It makes so much sense. There is no way, after reading this book, I'd choose to do things any other way.

Yesterday was our first day practicing EC. Shortly after her nap, I hung Fern over a (very cute) pyrex mixing bowl, with my hands under her thighs and her back resting against my belly. She peed!! Nursed her awhile, took her to her "potty" and she peed again! Some time later, she was in the sling - fed, burped, snuggled - and she started to squirm and squawk. I popped her out hung her over the bowl and after a few seconds she pooped! It is literally as simple as that. Between timing, right when she wakes up, after nursing, etc. and signals, squirming, voicing, etc. She's had a few misses since then, misses on my part for not reading her signs. It is just exactly like when she has to burp, she has tell-tale signs for letting me know. Now I'm looking for these new signs!

I'm thrilled with this concept for many reasons, but the simplest, daily reason is that I don't want my baby to be sitting in her piddle. Even if I miss her cues, I still will know shortly after that she's gone and can change her long before it makes her uncomfortable. Another reason is the simplicity of the idea. This is how baby humans were made to learn to defecate - actually, not learn because it is innate. They are born knowing. In diapering, children lose their ability to recognize the need to go and the understanding to wait to go until they are on the potty.

Now looking back, I never remember seeing a diaper in many of the places I traveled, including the ones where I was in close contact with children. I'm fondly remembering Napoleon, in Burma. CUTE as a bug... maybe 12 months old, running around without a diaper. Many babies in the clinic in Burma too, no diaps. This is the way women around the world raise their children. Some may say we are lucky to have diapers here, they are very convenient for a baby to go in, but how convenient is it to sit in your waste? I'm actually feeling like women in rural India and China, and the Arctic Circle in Canada, are the lucky ones - that raising children like this is just what they do. It is just the way it works.

So little Fern will continue to wear diapers until mama can really read and learn her signs and cues. It may be a month, it maybe 5 months, but the whole point is that we (me and her daddy-o) are tuned into our child, listening to her voice. Communicating.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

seizing the day...

Well, today just might be the day... or rather, will be the day... So I thought I better pop some of the pictures I've been hording onto my blog.

this is my latest pattern testing pattern!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday, Andrew and I had SO much fun volunteering at the Farm to Fork event in Virginia Beach. We worked the drink table at the event - locally brewed beers from Beach Brewing Company, locally made wine, and apple cider. The beer was fantastic - yes, preg had a sip or two and enjoyed them very, very much. Andrew had a cup or two and also enjoyed them very much! His exact words were "this was the best volunteer opportunity I've ever heard of!".

Aside from all the beer, which clearly was a major hit, there was AWESOME food. And lots of it. There were a number of restaurants present that I'd always wanted to eat at, though never wanted to fork over the $25+ a plate that they charge. This was the perfect opportunity. We had delicious smoked brisket, roasted vegetable ratatouille, carmel apple cakes, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, homegrown mushroom ragu, locally caught oysters, and so much more I can't even remember!

Needless to say, the tickets were $30 each... if we hadn't been volunteering, we certainly would have been enjoying! Plus, aren't good things even so much better when they are FREE!
Oh, plus the 6 pie pumpkin and 2 japanese eggplant table decorations I snagged at the end made the deal extra sweet!

Andrew, manning the beer table - in true Hanlon style, up a storm and enjoying every moment of it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Winter Boots!

Just finished up baby's first pair of winter boots. The lining is made from an old, shrunken sweater and the exterior is made from wet felted wool - from my favorite fiber store in Savannah Wild Fibre and a cute store in the upper peninsula of Michigan!

Can't blog long... too much stitching to do!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dad's Baby Blankie

Andrew had the fun idea of turning an old uniform into a cute little baby blanket! Well, the uniform wasn't exactly old...but rather had a small hole chomped into the back by our first born - Violet. She enjoys sneaking into the laundry room, pulling clothes through the holes in the laundry basket, and snacking quietly til mom comes to catch her. She has a special taste specifically for camouflage... we think it reminds her of her roots in the fields of west Texas.

So this is it. A little lap blanket for the car or for snuggling when dad's at work. Oh how soon will there be a little body under this blankie.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baby Quilt!

I just finished my Cloud9 organic cotton baby quilt. Smiling ear to ear to have it finished! I'm not entirely impressed by my binding, or actual quilting for that matter, but it will help me loosen up and be prepared for dirt, puke, and (hopefully not) poo that may come into contact with my fine piece of work!

The little mushrooms in the fabric make my heart hurt...they are SO CUTE!

Well, I guess I'm ready at least for the hurricane now, if not for the baby!