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Category Archives: Beauty

The Baby Book

I’ve been complaining about how much I dislike Baby Books.  I didn’t love Norah’s and really didn’t want to do another.  But as my younger sister always points out:  the first child gets a complete baby book and the younger sibling’s is barely completed if she has one at all.  Do I sense some angst? 

I have dutifully completed the required questions in Cedar’s oh-so-generic baby book.  I even did her footprints (which turned out to be a messy disaster).  But so much of the information is irrelevant.  Such as the two pages dedicated to “coming home from the hospital.”  Really?  Two pages?  What outfit did you wear home from the hospital?  Well, not only did Cedar not leave the house for 7 days, she also didn’t wear anything that first week.  And decorating the nursery?  Cedar’s nursery is our room; her crib is our king-sized bed. 

I muttered something about how someone needed to design baby books for the not-so-generic experience.

Voila:   Artist Adriane Bovine has created baby books that are beautiful, hand-made, and tailored for out-of-the-norm whether it be adoption, non traditional families, homebirths, the family bed, etc.  Check her out!  Put this extraordinary baby book on your wish list.

Well done, Adriane Bovine!

Newborn Photos

When Cedar was a 8 days old, we had a newborn session with the Great Tracie Birch

Over the years, I’ve seen many of my doula clients and friends get newborn sessions with Tracie and I was super excited to finally have my turn!  Ok, first, Tracie is the most patient person I’ve ever met.  She moved so slowly to get Cedar calmly and gently placed.  I never worried about her handling my baby because she is clearly a baby whisperer.  I would have given up many times on some of the shots.  During the process, she got peed on, bitten by two ant bites, and scraped her elbow lying on the concrete.  Tracie even caught a poop blow-out and made it look fun.  Don’t worry, I didn’t include those pics!   

Call her.  Schedule her.  You will have so much fun and you won’t regret it.


Gaining Confidence from Labor

I wanted to share (with permission) two beautiful pictures from a recent birth.  Emily’s first birth left her feeling disappointed by all the interventions that were used and lack of support surrounding her.  We talked about how a natural birth does not mean you have to grit your teeth and just suffer through it!  For her second birth, she chose to stay at home for most of the labor.  Here she is in active labor experiencing a contraction.


Yes, she is smiling.  I have many more pictures of her smiling through contractions.  She said to me, in between the waves, “Each contraction I go through and stay calm, I gain confidence.”  And she pointed out that this experience would become a wonderful memory to savor.    





Soon, we felt it was time to head to her birthplace.  She paused a moment before rising from the tub to gain even more confidence from her labor.

Emily had been adamant that she did not want photos of her labor.  I’m so glad she let me change her mind! 


Today’s Colors


I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper
sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and old things go, not one lasts.
–Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg.

Real Woman of Genius

That is YOU, Tracie Birch, photographer extraordinaire. 

Yesterday, I witnessed my amazing photographer friend in action.  She was photographing four tots (my wild daughter being one of them).  I was impressed by how she kept her cool even though it was steaming hot outside. 

What you will NOT get from a Tracie photo shoot:  an obtrusive photographer yelling instructions or twisting you into fake poses.  Tracie is all about documenting life and enjoying doing it.  She photographed the Upstate Childbirth ladies once and I felt like a million dollars when she finished.  I normally hate being professionally photographed.     

If you’ve never checked out her work, go take a looksee.  And you might even recognize the sweet puppy eyes on the site entrance pic.

Ode to Tomatoes

Salsa and salads and sandwiches and sauces and soups.  And biting into them right off the vine; warm from the sun with a basil leaf from the plant nearby.  I want admiration for my tomatoes.  I held them up to my husband and demanded he note their perfection.  “Yeah, they are tomatoes.”  (Though he bragged later to my mother about how beautiful they were–he did notice!).  Secretly, what impresses me most:  I put plants in the ground and added water.  No other effort expended.  Grace. 

The street filled with tomatoes, midday, summer, light is halved like a tomato, its juice runs through the streets…Unfortunately, we must murder it: the knife sinks into living flesh, red viscera a cool sun, profound, inexhaustible, populates the salads…happily, it is wed to the clear onion, and to celebrate the union we pour oil, essential child of the olive, onto its halved hemispheres, pepper adds its fragrance, salt, its magnetism;

it is the wedding of the day, parsley hoists its flag, potatoes bubble vigorously, the aroma of the roast knocks at the door, it’s time! come on! and, on the table, at the midpoint of summer, the tomato, star of earth, recurrent and fertile star, displays its convolutions, its canals, its remarkable amplitude and abundance, no pit, no husk, no leaves or thorns, the tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.  –Pablo Neruda


Yes, Scott–we’re having roast for dinner.  Don’t work late.


water words

Today I plunged into an cold river before my brain could catch up with my body and stop me.  A river so cold my body never got used to it.  I could only swim to keep from shivering.  There is nothing like the sensation of tingly, electric skin after a mountain water plunge. 

My dad taught me the art of river play; how to find air pockets beneath rapids, slide across rough mossy rocks, and navigate the slippery ones.  He forever urges me to jump in, swim harder, touch the bottom, slide down, make it across.  My husband, of course, takes river play to another level and sometimes I try to follow his games though usually I’m left swirling in a froth of white water. 

Celebrating with such amazing fathers; including my sister’s sweet husband (future father)–beautiful day. 

i keep hearing / tree talk / water words / and i keep knowing what they mean  –Lucille Clifton       


The Absurd

Today’s absurdities:

  • The “Breastfeeding Resources” kit given to expectant moms, grandmoms, and anyone in the vicinity by Enfamil (my neighbor table at the Seneca Baby Fair).  The boxes of 1st Trimester Gift Packs stacked several feet against a back wall.
  • A flyer from Bi-Lo titled “Make Mother’s Day Memorable” advertising tampons, deodorant, dish detergent, dog food, and potato chips.  The outside flap claims “Great Ideas for Mother’s Day” showcasing personal lubricant, hair coloring, shaving gel, more deodorant, and acne cream.
  • A NICU nursery insistent on giving a very newborn formula because the mom’s pumped colostrum is “not nearly enough.”
  • My wearing of a baby doll all morning at the baby fair and the La Leche League leader who borrowed said doll for her breastfeeding demo.  At least the baby was attached and well-fed.

Ah but there was beauty today, too–sweet friends who joined me at the Enfamil Fair, ahem, I mean, Baby Fair.  Kelly, Jenny, and Denise made the time pass quickly.  Kelly’s sweet sleeping 30lb’er in the ring sling was excellent marketing!  And Jenny kept changing carriers–she was like a runway model for babywearing.  A lovely newborn nursery RN who took all my babywearing fliers to give to her moms and wished for slings at the hospital.  And my amazing husband who took his daughter and his mom on a breakfast date to Panera, caulked the shower, washed my car, and watered my garden.  But the highlight of the day–a family nap with daughter snuggled between us and the beginnings of rain watering my garden…again.     


Just thinking about God’s grace today.  Ho-hum.

Like the repairman who gave me a quote of 1200.00 for unexpected and unavoidable work we have to do at our home.  And then the out-of-the-blue check from the tax collector’s office; a refund for misassessed property taxes in the amount of, oh, 1200.00.


And Grace, my fears relieved.

Six Word Philosophy of Life

Give Grace, And Recieve It Graciously.

Since I was tagged by Jenny