Lesson of 2016, time is a precious commodity. We all have the same amount of limited time in our daily lives, how we choose to use that separates us all. It is a battle for me on a daily basis. I thought I could be a super human and somehow create more hours in a day to fit in time with my children and be the best possible mom, work a part time job (that I love), and also start an apothecary business. The universe has proven to me I can’t change time, I must schedule out specific times for everything, and somedays I can’t be super mom or a super human to my dismay. Its one of my hardest battles because I have extremely high expectation for myself. I let go of expectations of other people 5 years ago, but not for myself. I admit I can have anger at myself for not being the perfect mother or not being able to do everything for my family, but some days I just need a break. I have to fit in an hour or two for silence instead of nature play or arts hour. I need a few hours to fuel my passion with apothecary but that means I need to cut out some hours on sleep. And when do date nights occur? We need time for just us. 2017 will be my time for letting go of my ego to be a super human and learning how to balance my time appropriately so that I can fully be there for my children, myself, my husband, and my passions.
Last year Marcus and I took aspen to a pumpkin patch in Utah and loved every moment of it, so this year I searched for another great local pumpkin patch. In Hendersonville NC there is a cute rd called Chimney Rock and for about 5 miles it is called the apple orchard valley, with several small family orchards who in the Fall turn into pumpkin patches. We went to two family farms with the girls and picked some apples (no chemicals) to dehydrate and turn into cinnamon apple chips, then we picked pumpkins to carve.
*This is being written at 4 am with a crying infant in my hands*
Its the time of year where trees are shedding their leaves based upon their pigment, characteristics of species, and weather. Each tree going through their own process in their own time frame just like us. Trees leaves contain little green chemical factories that are able to use the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into chemical compound such as sugars, as a by-product of that chemical reaction oxygen is given off. why do leaves change colors?
Fall helps pull me back into the moment with appreciation of life, vision, smell, being human, having family, having earth and trees. Cold mornings, cool days, putting a sweater on in the morning with hot coffee, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, these are all the small things I appreciate and love about fall. Another small reason I appreciate fall is the trees, when I look at them I am reminded to be generous, trees don’t judge who can receive their goods like we humans do. When someone comes up to me asking for money and I find myself wondering if he or she will use it on alcohol or is truthful and in away “deserving” I think about trees. If they have the ability to give they just DO, there is no God complex. Why can’t humans have that?
This year we get to experience fall in the Appalachians and it has been spectacular! We live close to Brevard NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway, so when my Dad and niece Jaylee came out to visit for my daughters 2nd birthday we spent two days traveling the parkway with the kids. All the pictures are from Brevard NC to Little Switzerland which is about an hour north east of Asheville NC. We all had a wonderful times and it made a great learning activity with aspen on colors and nature walks.
I thought I was recovering fast and day three I was able to walk around with no problem. I was beyond excited for a quick recovery and may have thought I could be super mom. That is until 4 days ago. Since labor I have had low back pain on my right side I thought it was just continuing contractions since I had some back labor. Each day it would be worse and the last two days I had rising fevers. Luckily my mom has been here to help me and the girls so she took me to the ER where we found out I have a sever kidney infection and uterine infection has not been ruled out yet.
Recovery is different with each pregnancy and person, at least it has been for me. Most people don’t tell you about postpartum recovery, in fact before I was pregnant and during pregnancy I only knew some women had post partum depression.
Post partum depression : I was one of those women and it didn’t hit with my first until 4 weeks. I was afraid to leave my house, scared that those I loved would die or what happened after death, in fact those thoughts plagued my mind over and over all day. I have been told I may have it again , just like my mom and it terrifies me. But now I know it is a false reality and everything will be ok.
Contractions : oh they don’t end after labor, this time they kept going for 5 days after and some of them just as bad as labor. But good news they aren’t two to four minutes apart and they will flatten your stomach pretty fast!
No wiping and lots of pads/ tucks: first off tucks are your best friend! I like to add frankenscence essential oil to my tucks for healing purposes. They sure do help with soreness and swelling! For anyone who hasn’t had kids you use a squirt bottle in replace of wiping.
All in all postpartum can be difficult and long for women as well, it doesn’t just end after baby is born for our bodies and our mental state. Thankfully I have an amazing mom who flew out to take care of my kids and I for recovery!
Yoshi Willow Clifton was born!
It’s bizarre how different each pregnancy and birth can be with your own body. This time around was a much smoother, calm natural birth than my first (56 hours). I went to bed sep 8th and started having contractions, by 6 am the 9th I was having contractions 4 min apart so we decided to drive to the hospital. We live out in the woods so the hospital is 35-40 minutes away, we figured it was best to leave a little early. My body is like my sister, mom, aunts, we all have a hard time dilating past a 3, in fact most the women have had C sections because of this, and I almost had to have one with my first. This birth I was having contractions 1-2 minutes apart and still nothing past a 3. I have always wanted the full natural birth with no epidural, but like everyone says birth plans never go how you want them to as long as your baby is born healthy. My ego does still get in the way and I feel ashamed that I am not strong enough, I tried going natural with contractions 1-2 minutes apart until 5 pm on the 9th, and its exhausting mentally, emotionally, and physically. The nurses told me in order to dilate I need an epidural to relax my body. Honestly I knew I would be too tired to push, it was hard to stand up so I took the epidural. Funnily it made my left side numb, made my right side slightly numb but it went away on the right side and I felt everything on only that side right up to pushing. My dilation went from a 3-9 within 2 hours, I pushed for an hour and boom!!! My husband announced to everyone in the room that we had a little girl and cut the cord!! We were both shocked after thinking it would be a little boy! I never thought I could love anyone as much as Aspen but my heart grew double the size when Yoshi was born! I love them both equally in the most amazing way. She latched on immediately and is a great sleeper at night! I couldn’t be any luckier or happier with two perfect little girls and an amazing partner/husband!
Growing up I had ADD and my grades were terrible and my teachers thought I was a trouble maker. I had a hard time learning in a setting where I had to sit still and listen, I am still that way today. Hands on learning has always worked wonders for me, I was able and still am able to comprehend the subject several ways rather than having to go back over teachers note and memorize. This has led me to try forest kindergarten, a year early but why not? Each week we go out on trails and learn about colors, counting, plants, insects, anything hands on to help her get a different aspect of learning rather than just reading her books. Anything to incorporate just being with nature, not a playground or zoo day (we love those days as well). Just walking on trails, being in silence, and surrounded by trees, bugs, dirt… mother earth. I believe it is good for my kids to have a balance, in everyday life there is chaos…. driving to a grocery store, people hurrying around at all times, mom and dad cleaning, laundry, cooking with her, ect. Its still all a type of chaos, which can be beautiful at times as well. But to take one day and be at peace with nature, with ourselves, that is different kind of beauty in its self. To see insects and animals full of life can create compassion for them, recognizing they are living as well among us. What if we all grew up with more compassion and understanding of the world, would we treat earth better? would we treat ourselves and each other better? Just things I ponder about in the middle of the night. How to help my children recognize all life and have empathy and understanding.
If there are any parents who also enjoy doing this please comment and let me know what you do with your kids in forest kindergarten or nature learning days! I never went to school to be a teacher so I love any comments on different learning games and what a 2 year old should be learning!