Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Magical Discovery. The Gratitude Month.



I hate mosquitoes. Unfortunately, they love me. And, unfortunately, we live in a swampy area.

I have tried numerous bug-sprays and have made my own. Some help a bit. But, I haven't found the Magic Bullet, yet. That means I can't enjoy our Back-yard as much as I would like to (especially during the Summer).

Halloween Day marked the last time I got bit. Now, we can spend more time in our Back-yard. Now, we can explore our Neighborhood more and go for a Daily Walk.

Two Sundays, I made this Magical Discovery.

Less than a block from our house is an ENTIRE PARK with trails and a Creek. How did I not know this existed?

I can't tell you how thrilled I am! Feeling much Gratitude about our Discovery!



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cheerful Flowers. The Gratitude Month.

Last Week had so many dreary days. Several of the days were warm, but over-cast all day.
I felt low.
Even though, I followed my own advice and went on a Daily Walk and sat under the Sunlamp, I still didn't feel like my usual self. One thing that did get a smile out of me was looking over at my yellow roses.
They arrived last Saturday, after Papa Bear and Nye went to visit old friends. Mrs. B is a florist. Papa Bear worked at her Flower Shop in High School. She gave a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses for Nye to give to me. What a nice surprise when they came home.
I'm feeling Grateful for such sweet Surprise that brighten up my entire Week!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baby Socks. The Gratitude Month.

One great think about De-cluttering your house?

Finding your favorite pair of Rainbow Baby Socks. My First Born wore them frequently for the first few months of her life. They were knee-socks on her and I melted each time we wore them. I was so sad when she finally over-grew them.

Not surprisingly, I put them in a special place and promptly forgot where I put them. I had given up hope of finding them in time for my Second Born to wear them.

I found them after My Freak-Out about organizing our Home. Amazing how that happens.

Luckily, Anala-Bears has dainty feet for her size. The socks may not be knee-highs on her but they still fit! I smile each time I have put them on her. And my heart is full of Gratitude for my Sweet Peas and their beautiful Baby feet that grow way too fast!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pulling Up.


This Week. There have been some ADJUSTMENTS.

Colds. Car-breaking down. No Mama at the Gym because of Colds and Out-of-Commission Car.

One-sided Bickering about toys.


Re-committing to playing Outside every Morning.

Fazing out a Lovey.

Using a timer for Transitions.

Baby Bears discovering a new Love of computer cords, dust bunnies and trash cans.

And, now....Pulling up.

Friday: This Moment


This Moment inspired by Soule Mama.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Feel Sorry for Her.

Poor Bears. She's got a Boss Lady for a Big Sissy. Last Week marked the beginning of my girls squabbling.

The Honeymoon Period is over.

The Baby's favorite thing to do now is spy one of her Sissy's toys on the floor and crawl as fast as she can over to the toy and gleefully grab it. Nye immediately snatches the toy from out of Bears' hand and says, "my toy." This happens even if it actually is the Baby's toy.

Nye has started giving the Baby lectures on "danger." Nye's forehead becomes furrowed, she shakes her finger and her tone of voice turns very fierce. Do I look that mean when I redirect? Yikes, I hope not.

Last Thursday, Bears crawled into the Kitchen and started opening one of the cabinet drawers. Boss Lady was there in a flash and proceeded to ream her out for 2 straight minutes. Bears just laughed.

Here is a little video clip taken when Nye was telling Bears about the danger of cords. "The cords are not for YOU." I wasn't able to get a video of the actual two minute reprimand but in this video you can see the finger shake and watch Bears laugh.

I guess I should be Grateful to have a second pair of eyes watching our Little Explorer!

501 Posts. Gratitude Month.

This is my 501st Post here on Catoctin Mountain Mama. Two years have come and gone. Lots of Changes, lots of Struggling, lots of Growth. I am so glad to still be here.

This space has been my Creative Outlet, my Release. It has given me a little bit of structure as I wade through the Chaos of Mothering two small children.

I am so full of Gratitude for this little Blog and for my small (but dedicated) group of Readers. Thank you!

I have decided to listen to my dear friend, Ed, and finally join Facebook as Catoctin Mountain Mama. Please head over there now and find me! Much Love...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn Discovery Basket.

I put this "Autumn Discovery Basket" together for Bright Eyes, three weeks ago. Remember the Volunteer Tomatoes, I fermented?
We also had some Volunteer Squash. Our entire deck was taken over with them. It was amazing. Nye helped me collect at least 20 of the gourds and we used them to decorate for Halloween.
They also have made a terrific, textured material for my 6 month old to hold and gum. I just made sure there were no hard stems to break off.
Pretty and free...what's not to love?




Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Bear Crawl.

Here is our Baby Bears doing a funny little crawl, I've never seen her do before. Usually she does more of a crab crawl or a more traditional crawl. I have a feeling this one is going to say "Daddy" before saying "Mummy" (like her Sissy did), don't you think so?
I want to eat up this Baby of mine.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

One of My Biggest Challenges.


My absolutely least favorite thing about being a Stay-at-Home Mama is being in charge of everybody's stuff. I can barely keep myself organized and now I am responsible for staying on top of other tiny folk's things?

Holy Moly.

I never used to put things back where they belonged. My poor Mama tried drilling it in me. But, it didn't stick until I started having kids of my own.

Now, I totally get it.

Now, Karma is totally biting me in the ass.

I have a partner who is even more organizationally challenged than I am.

I get so mad at him because, if I can put my dirty clothes in the hamper, anyone can. (One of my Mama's favorite stories is when she threw all my dirty clothes out of my 2nd floor Bedroom, when I was a Teenager, because I hadn't cleaned up my room when she asked).

It's fine to be messy when you are single. Or when there are just two adults in a family. Or your kids have stopped putting random things in their mouths. But, when you have crawling babies, keeping crap off the floor is a Life or Death Matter.

It takes some serious effort EVERY SINGLE DAY to put stuff back and beat back the clutter. I have found that I feel much calmer and happier when things are organized.

I had a minor Break-down yesterday. Like with tons of tears and a poor Kiddo crying, "Stop crying Mommy, stop crying." I was flooded with some intense feelings of being completely over-whelmed.

Our Landlord is on the finicky side. He just notified us that he wants to come for a "walk through" to see how the house looks, a year after we moved in.

On one hand, I am Grateful. That means I have the kick-in-the-ass I need to go through the Basement, organize the Laundry Room, finish up the Playroom, clean up the Screened-in-Porch, get the Living Room under control and finally go through all those boxes in our closets left-over from our Move.

On the other-hand, I have THREE WEEK-ENDS before he comes.

Plus, I need to finish switching out our Summer Clothes for Winter Clothes. I still have not been able to located the box of my Non-Maternity Winter Clothes.

I'm trying to take each project and break it down into little pieces. Tiny bit by tiny bit. It's not the End-of-the-World, if I don't get everything done, but I know I'll feel a lot better.

I am thinking about doing Slow Your Home's 2014 in 2014 Declutter Challenge this January. I think that would help provide the structure I need to develop good habits and tame that damn Clutter Beast (at least until our next Move).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Mommy!



Happy Birthday to my Mama! She's the original Catoctin Mountain Mama (and unlike myself, actually still lives at the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains).

Dearest Mommy,

Thanks for teaching me how to be Resourceful and Adaptable. You have instilled in me a confidence in myself and my ability to always land on my feet that is priceless.

Thanks for supporting my Creativity and for all the countless brain-storming sessions.

Thanks for instilling in me a deep, deep love of Learning and a Curiosity that makes life so very, very interesting.

Thanks for showing me how to have fun with little (or no) money.

Thanks for growing most of our food growing up, giving us all those chores on the Farm and for locking us out of the house on Snow Days. Because of all those experiences, I have a deep love of Nature.

You gave me the most magical Child-hood and my dearest hopes is to do the same for my girls.

Thanks for fiercely loving my girls and being willing to listen to all boring minute details of their eating and sleeping habits. Stuff only a Grand-mother would find interesting. Thanks for modeling to me the deep wells of Patience required to be a Mama. Thanks for being silly with my Eldest and for singing to by Youngest. You make the most phenomenal Grand-mother! We are all so very, very lucky to have you in our lives.

All our Love,

Your Girls

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Top Two Mood Boosters This Winter

I am one of those people.

I just want to hibernate when the hours grow short.

I get lethargic and I get sad.

Dark by 5 pm?

Not fun.

I've started doing two things differently and everyday I done them I've notice a big boost in my Mood. And, you know the saying..."When Mama's not happy, nobody is happy." I'm trying really hard not to be a Grumpy Mama this Winter.

Here are my two, simple Mood Boosters...

1. Sitting under a Sunlamp when I eat Breakfast for 20 minutes.

2. A Daily Walk in Nature for at least 15 minutes.

Both are pretty obvious, but sometimes I just forget the obvious.

I am seriously feeling much happier and have more patience with Nye on days, when I make myself do these things. Sometimes it takes a while (when I am busy tending everyone's needs) to get a full 20 minutes under the Sunlamp. But, on days the Sun ISN'T shining, I really notice a boost after having been under the Sunlamp.

Nye is often very cranky when she wakes up for her Nap. It usually takes her a 1/2 hour to perk up. I've started putting her in the Ergo and taking the girls for a Daily Walk, after we wake up from Nap-time. With Nye on my back and Bright Eyes in the stroller, we watch the Sun go down and say hello to all the neighborhood kitties. Way better than letting her zone out to Curious George for a 1/2 hours.

It's amazing how a few simple changes can make your Family Life, so much more enjoyable!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Breastfeeding Mamas: 5 Ways to Increase Milk Production

1. Barley (here is my post on making Honeyed Barley Water with Mint and here here is my post on a Barley Chicken Soup)

2. Acupressure ( SI 2 and SI 11 are good for a low supply) ( ST 18 and ST 30 are also suppose to help with a low supply and are good for breast pain) ( SP18 helps with blocked ducts)

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/517093-acupressure-for-lactation

3. Blessed Thistle Tincture

4. Foods rich in Carotenes (cooked apricots, asparagus, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and peas...cooked leafy greens are especially helpful)

5. Hops (one Guinness Stout a day is an easier and tastier than making Hops Tea)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Home Again, Home Again. The Gratitude Month.

We made it Home to our two girlies and I couldn't be happier.

Papa Bear and I went on a long-awaited trip to the Bahamas to help celebrate the Wedding of friends.

It was the longest I've been away from our 6 month old and had spent weeks before we left working myself into anxious tizzy (totally freaking out about us both dying in an airplane crash or boating accident).

We were gone for 5 days and 4 nights, but dropping off the kids to different Grand-parents meant I was away from the Bright Eyes for 6 days and Nye for 7 days.

It's amazing how much your kids can change in 7 days.

I came Home to a baby trying to pull herself up on furniture and an even more vocal 2 1/2 year old. They both looked so different, it blew my mind.

Last night, I didn't mind the 2 1/2 year old wanting to touch my ear for 1/2 hour before she fell asleep. I found myself having so much more patience today.

This was the longest trip Papa Bear and I have ever made together and we survived it! We were even inspired to Renew our Vows (more on that later).

Feeling very, very Grateful that we were able to have that Adventure together and that our daughters were in such safe hands! Many thanks to Ra-Ra, Papa, Dadi and Dada!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fermented Green Tomatoes. Gratitude Month.

I've been interested in the "Health Benefits of Fermented Foods" for a long time. Unfortunately, I don't like the taste of Sauerkraut and Kim-chi is way too spicy for me.

But you know what? There are TONS of foods you can ferment.

Like Green Tomatoes.

Last week, I picked the last of our Green Tomatoes from the several amazing volunteer Tomato Plants growing in our Compost Heap. Those babies were tough. Those babies were little miracles.

Because you know what? I never watered them. Not once all Summer. 

So, what am I Grateful for today?

Those Volunteer Tomato Plants. Thanks for bearing such lovely fruit for us!

I am hoping my "Fermented Green Tomatoes" will turn out. Supposedly, they will taste a bit like Green Olives. I'll keep you posted.

If you are interested in learning more about the process of Fermenting Green Tomatoes, I read the following posts: this, this and this.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rainbow Rice. The Gratitude Month.

It's the Simple Things.

Seriously, how have I not made "Rainbow Rice" for my Kiddo, before? It cheap, it's easy to make and occupies my Rugrat FOR HOURS.

I packaged it up for Nye-Nye to take to her Dadi's this Week, while Papa Bear and I are away. It's a perfect thing for her to do at her Grandmother's house.

It cost around $8 for a 10 lb bag of rice and I already had some food coloring and a big, plastic storage bin. If she eats some, it's no big deal. I'm sure you seen it on Pinterest and a million Blogs, so I won't bore you with directions.

What am I Grateful for Today?

Rainbow Rice...Fun, Open-Ended Play for my 2 1/2 year old (perfect for long, Winter Days)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Gratitude Month.

This Month's Theme is Gratitude.
Very soon after I started my Blog, TWO YEARS AGO, I decided I wanted to use a Monthly Theme to help me focus my writing. Some Months have been more success than others.
This is one of the easier ones.
Here is an older post about Giving Thanks.
What is one thing that I am Grateful about Today?
That I live in a State where Early Voting is so easy. Today, Papa Bear and I are traveling and therefore are not going to be able to make it to the Polls in time.
On Saturday, we were able to each take turns Voting, while the other one waited in the car with the girls (it was too close to Naptime for our Eldest...we decided not to risk a spectacular Meltdown).
It was amazing convenient and made me very, very Grateful that I live in a Country where I don't have stand hours and hours in line to exercise my Right to Vote.

If you live in the United States, don't forget to exercise this fundamental Right!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy 6 Months! Anala.





Dearest Bright Eyes,

That happened fast. Today you turn 6 months old! Where did half a year ago already?

I look at your Sweet Self and I just want to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze you.

You continue to be an absolute Joy. Seriously, kid...thanks for being so easy going (except when you are getting your face wiped...you REALLY HATE that).

The Big News is that you started crawling a week ago. You don't go very far before you flop down, but you are definitely going. You especially crawl towards things you KNOW Mommy doesn't want you to get. That look of fierce determination on your face is priceless.

You know what also makes me laugh? Watching you attempt to snatch your Sissy's Milky out of her hand.

Milky is her blasted "Lovey" which is actually just an empty bottle she sucks on for comfort. She is still adjusting to sharing her Mommy with you, so Milky hasn't found a new home, yet.

One thing that makes my heart just want to explode is watching the two of you interact.

You both love to cuddle with each other and have started playing together on a very simple level.

A few days ago, your Sissy sat across from you on the floor and threw one of your fabric, squishy balls into your arms. You looked so surprised and then you giggled. You frequently giggle at her antics.

You are also very, very patient about her wanting to touch your face or your ear (much more patient than Mommy and Daddy).

You were an absolute Gem on Halloween Night. Even though you were tired (and it was nearing your Bedtime), you cuddled with Daddy in the Baby Carrier and quietly observed everything.
You are a wonderful Sport about having numerous Costume changes on the days leading up to Halloween and you don't fuss about having a hat on...that's very helpful, thank you.
You continue to be intrigued by watching others eat. You stare open-mouthed every time someone eats something in front of you that you can't eat. I guess sometimes pureed green beans isn't enough.
Your favorite song? Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Your Ra-Ra first sang it to you, during your Colicky Stage. Sometimes, it was the only thing that would stop your crying. You continue to be enchanted by the song and now your Sissy now sings it to you. It's a beautiful song.
Your frequent mannerism of the Month? Feeling your hair. You love to stroke your own hair, especially when you are nursing. I love it.
And, I love you. We all love you. Thanks for being You.
It's an absolute pleasure to be your,
Mommy, Daddy and Big Sissher

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Day of the Dead Celebration


I set up a little vase of Marigolds from our yard, a candle, some sage and incense in front of our Puja. The 2 1/2 year loves watching incense burn and saying Omm.
We talked about Spot the Cat (her reference point about Death).
I said a prayer for those who have Passed On and I carry in my Heart...
Grandma Caroline. Grandma Elizabeth. Popop. Ba (Sharda). Dave Elder. Cousin Mary. Grandma Domm. Grandma Bee. Deeva. Gene R.. Gene B.. Marion. Johnnie. Jamie. Jack. Barry. Granny. Hermant Uncle. Sequoia. Kim. Eric. Cathy Jo. Sarah F. Jennifer. Walter. Josh. Taylor. Terry. George. 
May all you have found Peace.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween Twins.

Sometimes, I have difficulty looking at photos and saying which girl is which . Bright Eyes is starting to look a little less like her Sissy did at the same age, but there is still a strong resemblance, don't you think?
Can you tell who is who?




The two photos in the wagon are Big Sissy and the rest are all of our sweet Bright Eyes.
Big Sissy was about 7 weeks older than Bright Eyes in these photos and was a week away from walking. Luckily, our Chunky Monkey is heavier and has shown little interest in standing (unlike her Sissy's constant need to stand). I am going to savor having more baby time this go around. What a Golden Age!


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