Monday, June 6, 2011
How has your week been?
Around here, we're already in the mid-90's, and our Summer has officially begun.
Memorial Weekend was a relaxing treat with a little road trip out of town. This weekend is also proving to be just as relaxing - with a patio night with some good friends, some yard work, and a concert in the park.
We have been busy fixing up the backyard, and enjoying these early hot days before the temperatures (and mosquitoes) get too unbearable.
It took a couple years of my persistent pestering (and maybe begging, at times), and finally, finally, my dear husband has built me a beautiful hammock.
My break has included lots of time spent in this very spot. Elodie loves it, and falls fast asleep swinging with us in the hammock. I think we will be spending lots of days and nights out here, enjoying a little peace and calm.
Baby Elle has officially found her hands. Along with constantly staring at them and trying to eat them, she favors opening her palm and pushing it against my mouth, where it is met with a thousand kisses. This child is so precious, and I feel so lucky that she is part of our family. Watching her learn, grow, and become her own little person has been a beautiful process, and we're only 2 months into the rest of our lives, watching and learning from our sweet daughter.
A lot of you have been asking about similar things, lately, and I thought I would answer a few FAQ's around the blog.
If you don't mind me asking, I'm curious- are you planning to teach Elodie Farsi? If so, how?
Love your posts.
Salam, Elham Joon.
We will of course be teaching Elodie how to speak Farsi. Knowledge is such a beautiful gift, and I especially feel that way about language.
I speak to Elodie in Farsi, and English. Normally I will say a phrase to her in English, then repeat it in Farsi. I have a little diaper change song that I sing to her, and it goes:
Elodie, you are Mommy's little bumble bee.
Elodie, zamboor-eh cucheloo hastee.
(you are a little bee)
I've also asked my Mom to only speak to her in Farsi, and Grandma doesn't speak English at all, so I'm sure she'll pick up plenty from her.
thanks for sharing all these stories. i have recently discovered your blog and enjoy every bit of it. what type of carrier are you using?
I'm a huge fan of baby-wearing. Huge. There are so many benefits to wearing your baby, and I knew my favorite baby-gear purchase would be carriers. I wanted her to be able to go everywhere with us, and to see things the way we see them.
The first carrier we bought was a Moby Wrap, and I wasn't a fan of it. It was about ten miles of fabric, and it was so inconvenient to wrap myself up in it when I was running errands. We bought an Ergo carrier next, and I love it. It's sturdy and secure, it has a sun shade, and pockets for wash cloths, your phone, pacis, and anything else you need. I love our Ergo for walks, hikes, and vacuuming :)
The carrier I've been wearing in the last few posts is a ring sling, and it's a Sakura Bloom. It's from their Essential Linen line.
It has been the freedom I have been looking for, while still being pretty. I cannot say enough good things about this sling, and wearing your baby in general. I love to see an interest in something that other cultures have been practicing for years.
I'd suggest looking into the differences between all the different kinds of carriers, and choosing what is best for you.
Here is a chart on some basic comparisons of different carriers.
my ex husband took my son from me when we split up. he won full custody when my son was a baby. i was seeing him every other weekend now every saturday. i thought seeing him every week would be good but he is almost 8 and it's like we aren't close anymore. i don't know what happened. but he will say things to me like he didn't want to come that day and stuff. it breaks my heart. i don't know if his dad is telling him things or what. but i only see him a few hours on saturdays.. sometimes i get to go to his games. he lives an hour and a half away. any tips for something like this? his dad has a lot of money had had a great lawyer when he won and i didnt have anything. my son used to cry when he was younger and had to leave but now he don't mind. and he always has smart things to say to me. it's like i am not good enough or have enough. what do i do??
Anonymous, I am flattered that you think I would have a solution for this, but honestly, I have never been in this type of situation and don't have an answer for you.
I hope that you can keep communication open with your son, and express to him how you feel. Even though he is young, children still understand and comprehend a lot of what goes on around them, and it can't hurt to let him know how you are feeling.
Curious as to what you and your husband have planned as far as moving out of state, now that Ms Elodie is here? I'm sure it will be a gut-wrenching decision either way. Thanks for sharing your beautiful life with the world. - Miss J
Miss J- We're just taking it one step at a time, and still searching for home. That might mean that we stay here until we're old and gray, or it might mean that we'll leave when Michael is done with school. Either way, our first priority is baby E. And right now, taking her away from her little village is not really an option. And I think every one knows that I couldn't possibly function without my family :)
What happened to your dream of starting your business so you could stay at home with your baby? Why are you making the choice to let someone else raise your kid?
Oh my. Okay, here goes.
I don't think I ever specifically said that I would become a stay-at-home-Mom when I started my business. I wanted to do it so I could spend more time with her, and not be away from home 5 days a week. It's not in my nature to be home, and I get really terrible cabin fever and crave the adult interaction I get from my job. I really respect women who make the choice to quit their jobs and run their home like a well-oiled machine, but that is not for me. When I decided to start my business, it was with the intention that I would always still work behind the chair at the salon, part-time. And that I am doing.
Now that I'm back at work, I am only working 24 hours a week. I have 3 days home with Elodie, and she is with my Mom & Grandma the days I am at work.
As far as letting "someone else raise my kid," I hardly consider leaving my kid with the women that raised me as anything but wonderful. I made the best decision for my family, and I'd suggest you maybe not criticize someone's parenting choices :) Mamas tend to get a little defensive when they think a complete stranger that knows nothing about them is over-stepping their boundaries.
I put my shop on hold because I had a baby. It takes a lot of work to open an online boutique, and the hours and hours I need to invest in it come second to spending time with my child, right now. Hopefully it will be up and running over the next few weeks.
i expect my second baby in 2 months. we all have 12 months long maternity here in Slovenia, Europe. How long is it in the USA? do you have "special" kindergarten for little babies? :-)
I think we get 8 weeks here, on average. But that didn't apply for me. I am self-employed, so I actually got zero days of paid leave. Not only that, but I still had to pay for my booth at the salon while I was gone. Ouch.
Our special kindergarten is just daycare, and there are lot of tiny, tiny babies there. My sister had to leave my nephew at 6 weeks. It's so sad, because I know that we are really behind a lot of other countries as far as maternity leave goes. Hopefully the future will be better for new Moms in the US.
Cheryl McCormick said...
Okay, so, I thought of asking you for some help, since I've been spending some long hot and hard days in my backyard! Yesterday, I pulled weeds around the concrete slabs in my backyard, it was probably the hardest thing ever!!! I pulled them all by hand too, no weed eater, and with that, came lots of scary little critters, from these weeds!! Question, how to keep the weeds away without killing grass? And how often or fast will they grow back, or how often should i make sure to trim them back? I know lots of info. But I needed to ask you, considering you are amazing at this! Thanks love!
My husband is in charge of those kinds of weeds! I just pull weeds from my garden, and they're never that bad. I am outside every single day, watering and working in the yard. So if you pull them while they're still manageable, they don't get out of hand.
One suggestion I have is to water first. I've watched him pull the big clumps of weeds from the yard, and if the soil is wet, they come up easier without ripping up the roots, which leave room for them to grow back.
Where are you getting these cute striped maxi dresses?!? Love it :)
Forever21! I got so many questions about these dresses. I mostly just wear them around the house. They were $14 and I live in dresses in the Summer, so they're my go-to. I've been gardening, sleeping, and laying around in them, and they are just about the closest thing to feeling naked because of how comfortable they are. They're perfect for nursing, and I thought they were pretty cute in the process. I just bought them right after E was born (pretty forgiving on those extra baby pounds) so they're probably still in stores. I looked on their website and they're just down to the mustard/cream and the black/white stripe. Here is a link if you're interested. I must warn you, they are pretty close to see-through. Which makes them great for comfort, as a beach/pool coverup, or at a cookout. But maybe not so much for work or school.
Can you write everyday?
That's sweet, thank you. I don't think I could do the every-day blogging thing. I feel like what I would have to say would lose it's importance. So many bloggers seem to force out a post every day just for the visits and sake of having content. It's not really my style.
When I write, it's usually a product of something I scribbled on the weekends. "It Takes a Village" was hand-written (with one hand) in my backyard on the swing with Elodie the night before I went back to work. I really prefer writing whenever I feel inspired to do so.
In the cold months, I tend to write for myself a lot more. My mind is busy and I am trapped inside, feeling a bit tinged with anxiety and ready to spread my wings. When it gets warmer, I tend to post more photos, and my minutes are scarce because I can't tie myself down to the computer when the weather is beautiful. So I tell my stories the best way I know how in the smallest amount of time - through my lens.
hello aura! i have tried looking up but i dont think you have answered it. sorry if you have but i wanted to know which camera tripod do you use?
A friend is actually borrowing my tripod right now, and I can't remember the brand! I'm sorry. It's from Best Buy, and a friend bought it for me (the one who is borrowing it). I can't imagine that there is much difference between them all, but I could be terribly wrong. I use mine for photographing things around the house, items for the shop, etc. Oh, and all the photos in Dressing the Bump :) I know it's not a top of the line tripod but it has been great and done everything I needed it to for those instances.
will you please share some recipes for that yummy looking persian food?? it looks so simple but so tasty. i am trying to cook more healthy things at home and i LOVE chickpeas but have never made them at home. please share!!
If you are interested in cooking real Persian food, I have only one book to recommend for you. You will never, ever need anything else.
Growing up, my family always cooked from their hearts. In Yazd, there were no recipes written down for the meals that had been passed down for generations. One day while I was in a Mediterranean grocery store, I saw a book called Food of Life. I'm normally not a cookbook purchaser, but when I flipped through the pages, I thought my heart would surely leap out of my chest. Reading the first few pages of the book actually made me emotional, to hear the author's account of what food meant to their family, and to see the beautiful photos that I had seen before, in our own home. In our culture, cooking and providing meals for your family is a huge part of who we are. And so much love and thought is put into each little detail.
Even the title gives me a lump in my throat, translated from the Farsi phrase "nush-e jan," a sweet wish that you will enjoy the meal, and something I heard my family say as a child.
Some of the recipes in this book are 4,000 years old. When I brought it home to show my family, they sat around the book for an hour, excitedly squealing and pointing out recipes for meals they had enjoyed as children, themselves. I imagine seeing something like these recipes written down was incredibly nostalgic.
So if you're interested in Persian food, please consider this book. It has so many sweet stories, poetry, and beautiful photos entwined into the pages, that it almost feels more like a peek into the culture than an actual cookbook.
Is that diaper bag the Scout, by Petunia Pickle Bottom???
Good eye, Betsy :) When we started talking about a diaper bag, we knew we wanted something we could both carry, without one of us (Michael) looking a bit silly carrying a pink purse. I'm not overly girlie myself, and also wanted something neutral that we could use later as luggage. We looked a lot at Fossil leather bags, but didn't quite find anything we really liked. For our baby shower, my sister gave us this diaper bag. We. Love. It. It has separate inserts for the inside, so you can even use it as a laptop bag. And how cute is this? It makes the perfect bag for any photographer.
C'est Moi said...
Quick question about your baby tent; it's the Peapod, right? What model and why did you choose it? I'm so confused because they offer so many models and I'm not sure what the difference is between them?
Aren't these tiny tents just precious? Ours was a baby shower gift from a friend, so we didn't have to make any decisions on the model. It's the Peapod Lite - P001.
erin d. said...
I'm due for my first baby this August and I'm starting to panic. As a new mom, what baby items do you feel you couldn't live without, and how do you know what to do?
Honestly, I think the only 5 things I religiously use are washcloths, a carrier, diapers, swaddle blankets, and my boobs. Pretty simple.
I put off our registry until a week before our baby shower, after much hounding from my sister. She even made me a 3 page list of all the things she thought I needed. What it came down to was that Michael and I decided we didn't want a lot of "stuff" for Elodie. The baby industry is booming for a reason - they make you think you need these things, and you buy them. Just as simple as that. Our registry was very small. Mostly things like pajamas, wash cloths, diapers, and bath items. And even then, half the bath stuff went back to the store because I just wash Elodie with a bar of my own natural oatmeal soap. We got a giant box of baby wipes, and I used about five before we decided to just use a warm, wet washcloth. We never bought little mittens to keep her from scratching her face, I laughed at the thought of a diaper pail, and I just file her tiny fingernails with my own nail file.
Babies don't need much. Children don't even need much. The constant desire to provide our kids with everything new and exciting out there is just creating an un closeable gap for them in their search of wanting more and more as they get older. Just provide them with the basic needs, food, shelter, love. I promise that in 30 years your child will not be mad at you or screwed up for not buying every little thing that Target and Babies R Us tells you you need to make your baby happy.
As far as what we actually use: A swing. Ours is the Lil'Lamb, and it was a hand-me-down from my sister. It's a savior when I want to put her down to eat, clean, or even work in the yard. I turn on the mobile and set her next to the open window facing the backyard so I can hear her. I turn on a cd because the music honestly annoys me :) One setting is just crickets, and I love that for her naps. But otherwise I only play her our music because I'm a music snob.
Our carseat is the Keyfit30. I also love it. I hung one tiny hand-made wool bird from the handle and she talks to it all day. I was not surprised to see that she didn't need something loud, obnoxious, and overly colorful to keep her entertained.
Our stroller is the Kolcraft Countours. Michael and I both love this thing. I carry her a lot of the time, but we are always so excited to bust it out and push her around in it. Since she's still young, we just pop our carseat into it (the seat it comes with is removable) and go.
We use a bassinet, also a hand-me-down from my sister. It's in our room next to my side of the bed, and Elodie has been sleeping there since day one. When she's not in bed with us :) She'll be in it for a couple more weeks and then she's off to her own room, to sleep in her crib.
Everything else that you need, you will realize with time. I didn't even use our baby bathtub for almost 2 months because I either washed her in the sink, or with me in the tub. I'd really suggest just buying the basic things, and getting everything else as you come across the need for them.
I know you get so many questions about your photos, but I would so love to know how you photograph your family with that sunflare. Do you use a tripod or ask someone to shoot it for you? What setting do you use? Congratulations on a beautiful new chapter of life... I gave birth to my first (a son, Henry) on March 31, so I can relate to your every word.
I don't use the tripod for any photos of us, other than the maternity photos we took in the Fall. It's too hard to carry around, plus I'd feel kind of silly around a bunch of people setting up the tripod for a quick photo of us :) And I certainly never ask for help. Any time I have done that, people stare at my camera like it's an alien, so I gave up.
In the last 10 years that I've spent taking photos, I've had to come up with some pretty creative places to set it.
Like on the ground, tilted upwards with my purse.
Hanging from a tree branch by it's strap (seriously, that's why it's tilted) or on a rock.
I've balanced it on the hood of the car, on steps, and the backyard grill.
This one was taken on top of our stroller.
Anything can be a make-shift tripod, if you just look.
As far as flare goes, it's kind of the same thing. You can get flare from a 1 megapixel camera phone. There isn't a setting that produces it, it is from the source of light coming into your photo and where you position it that gives it flare. When you look through your lens, you can see it there. If you see it, it will be in the photo. My favorite element to work with is natural light, and I'd like to think that the flare is a little bit representative of my own personal style. So I've spent years trying to perfect it in photos.
(taken in the evening)
The best time of day to shoot it is either early morning, or evening. When the sun is closer to the horizon line, it's easier to get it in your shot and produce flare.
How do you make the moving photos?
I bought a program called Ulead Gif Animator last year, and I make them in that.
Will there be more posts on Backyard Farming?
Yes, eventually. With a new addition to the family, I have had to balance the time I have differently. And that means that she comes first, then working outside, and blogging about it last. I have quite a few posts on how to get your garden started at the top of my blog in the Backyard Farming section.
Will you share Elodie's birth story?
Hopefully, someday. I wrote it in a letter to her a few days after she was born, but that one is personal. I had a truly amazing experience, and feel so lucky that everything went well. I do hope to share it, so I can explain my experience with natural birth, and hopefully encourage other women to know that they can do the same. Right now I just need more than a few minutes to sit down and write something that important, and the time can't seem to find me. I will say that I will for sure share it, I just don't know when.
Did you have her at home?
For the first 22 weeks, we planned on having a home birth. But financially, we couldn't afford it, or the bill if we had to transfer to a hospital in case of an emergency. Insurance doesn't exactly support having a baby at home in your bath tub :) There is only one hospital in the state of Oklahoma - OU Medical Center - that allows midwife births. I was hesitant, because like most women that have seen it, The Business of Being Born scared the hospital birth out of me. But I had the most wonderful, downright amazing birth experience possible. I wore my own clothes, had the lights off, listened to my music, and labored in the tub. I ate, walked around, and made my own decisions. I wasn't hooked up to one machine, there was no unecessary intervention, and I was able to deliver naturally. In the end, I came home with a healthy baby and I was healthy myself - which is the most important thing. If you live in the Oklahoma City Metro, I'd really recommend looking into the midwives at OU Medical.
What does her name mean?
Elodie is a French name, meaning "riches."
We went back and forth on using a Persian name as her first or middle name, and ultimately decided that since we loved "Elodie" so much, that we wanted it to be her first name. French and Farsi are spoken from the same parts of the mouth, and the language rolls off the tongue in a strangely similar way. When I was pregnant, I asked Grandma and Grandpa what they thought of the name, and both of them could pronounce it like a word they'd known all along. Even though they even have trouble pronouncing my nephew's name - Brady. So we knew it was the name for us.
It is pronounced el-oh-DEE. When people stare at me in confusion, I say it's just Melody without the M, but that's not absolutely true. To hear my family say it is like music to my ears, because there are certain inflections that are lost when just taking the "M" away from Melody. I have a client that moved here from France and now teaches it at the University. I get lost in our conversation, not only because of how wonderful she is as a person, but her voice is like music itself. She has a heavy French accent, and I had her pronounce the name for me many times to make sure I was hearing it correctly. When Elodie met her for the first time, Bernadette held her and whispered sweet French words into her ears.
Her middle name - Neda, is Persian. I'm not quite ready to share it's meaning yet, because it makes me a bit weepy. And anything that makes me weepy calls for a long, wordy, emotional post that will come some day soon.
Will you be sharing photos of the nursery?
I am feeling a bit bad saying "some day" so many times, but I really will :) Here are a couple, for now.
Thank you all for your sweet words, and the support you leave here for me. The response I got on It Takes a Village was wonderful, and I loved reading all of your personal stories and accounts on the subject.
Sometimes family around is not always an option, but in those cases, you can always create your own village. Whether it is through friends, family, or any sort of child care that you can provide for your little one. As long as they know they have someone to go to when life gets hard, things will be just a little bit easier through those difficult times.
In the month of May, 95,305 of you visited this blog. 59,504 of you were new, and every month that number is climbing by the thousands. I am so happy to have all of you here, following this story. Please do say hello, anytime.
Our most exciting news this month came from a reader who let me know that Lauren Conrad had used a picture of my feet on her beauty blog.
Can you believe it? My friends have all gotten such a kick out of it, and are teasing me about my famous feet.
I took that photo with a 5 megapixel point and shoot camera, 6 years ago, on a trip to Destin, Florida.
Who knew that it would go places, some day.
I am also excited to share with you guys a project I will be working on the next couple months. I was so flattered when Leigh from Marvelous Kiddo asked me to be a part of a project for Sakura Bloom. Starting this week, myself and some pretty amazing Mama's with blogs will be taking part in the first-ever Sakura Bloom Styleathon. I absolutely adore this company and what they stand for, and can't wait to see what projects Leigh has for us.
Happy Monday, friends.