I've been thinking a lot about the rhythm  of life lately.  Apparently this is a Waldorf thing.  As I'm not super-well versed in things Waldorfian, I didn't know that, but I've been getting more interested in Waldorf philosophy lately. I know this isn't original, as lots of other people seem to be getting interested in it as well.  There was recently an article about a Waldorf school in the Bay Area where lots of Google folk send their children.  Google folk sending their children to a school where computers aren't used seemed to be enough of a paradox to warrant a newspaper article.  
Is it really that surprising?
We are becoming less connected to real people and real things in our lives, yet I think as human beings we crave connectedness.  I love the internet, I love my iPad, but I also love birthday cake, and I know none of these things are really nourishing to my mind or my body.  I hope you don't feed your little one cake everyday, and I think computers and technology in general should fall under the same principle.  Waldorf folk seem to believe this to be true, so I am going to do some investigating.  
I love Montessori philosophy, and while I do agree that it is the task of the young child to figure out the world around them, I also know that as a child I created fantasy lands so intricate that I lost myself (and anyone tolerant enough follow my orders) in them for hours.  Children seem to want life to be magical, and I'm not sure it is such a terrible thing to allow them a little of that magic.

Anyway, rhythm.  In my last post, I talked about trying to do a better job of finding that sweet spot for myself in my work life.  I'm hoping to do this not only so I can be happier, but also so that my mornings at work flow nicely together with my afternoons and evenings at home.  I know it is important for Juniper that we start to develop a rhythm to our days, but it is also important for me. I need to know what happens when I get home from work in the afternoon: Do I do my cleaning chores?  Play with Juniper? Put her down for a nap right away or after 20 minutes? An hour?  If I don't know the order of things she certainly doesn't.  I'm not talking about getting all rigid with our schedule and having no flexibility ever, but I do think that as human beings we crave some sense of predictability in our lives.  I'd like to think that it allows us to appreciate the ebb and flow of our days.
I've never been one for resolutions at the start of the year, but I've been kind of liking the "theme" for a year idea that I've been hearing about lately.  So not a resolution really.  An intention, maybe?  We'll see.  



I was grappling over the weekend with my experience staying home with Juniper on Tuesday.  I felt so calm, accomplished and, yes, tired, but in a good way at the end of the day.  The only thing I feel after a work day lately is tired.  Why is that?  I know I love being home with my daughter, doing mom-y and home-y things, but I couldn't, and still can't, help but feel like there is more to it than that.  Specifically, is there anything that I could be doing differently to help me feel more like how I'd like to feel after a day of work?
Unfortunately, I didn't come up with any new strategies to try while we were hiking (when I do my best thinking).  I do think that part of my satisfaction when I'm home comes from the fact that while, yes, I am doing productive work around the home, it is work that I do not have to do.  Like, I make sauerkraut at home because I think it's healthy to eat fermented vegetables, and it is much cheaper to make them at home than it is to buy them, but I don't have to make sauerkraut.  I don't have to make yogurt.  I don't have to sew Juniper a dress or knit her a sweater.  I do those things because I want to, and because I enjoy it, but my family's sustenance and warmth don't depend on it.  100 years ago, I might not have gotten the same kind of satisfaction from these activities because I would have had to do them or my family would go naked, or our garden's bounty have gone to waste.

I do have to go to work.  I think no matter how much you enjoy your profession, how much you think it matters in the world, it is still work.  Teaching is a special brand because it is often a rarity that you leave the classroom feeling like you really achieved a lot that day.  You don't really know what you've accomplished, being a teacher, until well after the fact, or sometimes never.  There's not a 'everything is in its place, and my to-do list is tackled, and all is well' kind of a feeling at the end of each day.  If anything, it is quite the opposite, where each day only reveals how much more there is to be done, and how inadequate your efforts in helping young minds unfold are.
I need to find some middle ground here.  I am, mostly, at peace with the fact that I have to work, and I am happy that I have work which allows me so much time to spend with Juniper and with my family.  Yet, I am still not feeling balanced about it.  There are still some sticky places to be smoothed out. My baby girl turned eight months old yesterday.  Time is so fleeting, and I think it's time to try and get some of that smoothing sorted out, or at least make some more peace with the stickyness.



Juniper was pretty sick, so I stayed home on Tuesday.  Turns out when you are not the ill person, you can get a lot done when you are home with no husband to distract you, and no prospect of leaving the house since you are caring for a wee ill person.  
I got some sauerkraut going in my new vegetable fermentation jar, I soaked and dried some almonds, made yogurt, and cleaned my house.  Think of all I could accomplish if pesky work did not get in the way.  I tried to bring some of that same enthusiasm to my afternoon when I got home on Wednesday, and it wasn't happening.  


I think the cabbage looks pretty happy in its new home, don't you?

Don't worry, while there is video coverage of this culinary event, I will spare you

Juniper had salmon for dinner last night.  She totally loved it.  I've been wanting to give her salmon for a couple of weeks, but I've been afraid to because Daniel was allergic to fish and shellfish as a kid.  I, on the other hand, have/had no allergies at all.  I got over my fear and gave her a small amount last night to test the waters, and I don't think she had a bad reaction at all.  I'm pretty stoked because this opens up a whole other realm of food possibilities for her, and she's getting good fats and brain fuel.  
Not sure if my face or hers is funnier
Juniper has had the sniffles before and she, obviously, has had cellulitis a few times, but this was her first 'real' sickness.  Her fever got pretty high a couple of times, but always dropped once she napped or slept at night, but it is still unnerving to have a sick baby who can't communicate with you.  On top of that, her eczema was really bad and I was super-paranoid that her sickness was really another, bad attack of cellulitis.  She seems mostly in the clear now, but she does have kind of a bad cough still.  I'm hoping that clears up in the next few days.  

Her eczema is something that I've been worrying about the past few weeks.  All of my over-researching has led me to believe that it is really a manifestation of a food allergy, internal imbalance, or yeast issue.  I haven't done an elimination diet because, well, I really don't want to.  Yesterday, her skin looked way better, and this morning it was still looking good.  Of course I am a bad scientist and there are multiple variables that could have contributed to the improvement. 
First, she's been logging some serious quality time with the humidifier.  When I stayed home on Tuesday she was under its misty spell pretty much the whole day, and last night and Tuesday night she slept with it in her room.  Maybe it is just dryness and I'm over-thinking the whole food connection? Second, since she was feverish, I didn't have her in fleece jammies at night, just thick cotton ones.  I've read that eczema skin needs to breathe, so maybe the fleece was the issue (she wore fleece jammies last night, and her arms felt dry this morning).  Third, I haven't eaten eggs in four days.  Not on purpose, we just ran out, and it sometimes takes us a few days to coordinate getting pastured ones from the ranch.  I seriously hope it isn't the eggs, because I do love them, but I'd rather it be eggs than dairy for now.  I'm going to stay off eggs for a few more days, see how her skin does, and then add them back to see what happens.  It would be really awesome to get this figured out because the dry patches make her way more prone to cellulitis, and they can't be comfortable.  
Hope your weeks were great, friends!



 Winter light through the shamrock plant that's back on our coffee table now that the various holiday detritus are cleared off the top.  


We got to go on a brief camping trip at the end of our break just the three of us.  After so much family time, it was really nice to have some time to ourselves.  It got pretty cold at night, but Juniper handled it in style.  She just loves being outside so, this little one. 
Slightly different than our camping trip last year the same time.  


 Juniper was playing on her blankets yesterday afternoon.  She had a few toys in front of her, but obviously she wasn't interested in them as she rolled herself all the way across the floor to play with the dustpan and brush that I'd left there.  Dust bunnies are delicious*

*No dust bunnies were harmed during this activity

 This is what happens when you have ten people trying to take photos all at once.  Hopefully we've got some photos where we are all looking at the same camera.  
yeah, Mama, I hope so too


When Life Makes Life Interesting

Therapy sessions always seem to get me a little down.  When we carry on with our day-to-day life, it is easy to kind of forget that the whole lymphedema thing is here to stay, or even that it isn’t what everyone else deals with.  The routine just becomes our normal.  Doesn’t everyone spend an hour a day massaging and wrapping her baby? No? 
I know a lot of people want their blog to be a source of inspiration for themselves and for others, and a positive place and (forgive me) blah, blah, blah.  I guess I understand that, not wallowing and all.  I’m not trying to throw a pity party, but I also want to keep track for myself how things really are.  I don’t think it’s helpful to paint a picture that isn’t true. Life is just so confusing, really; and complicated.  Confusing and complicated.  
This is not complicated, but rather it is confusing to me.  Why, when baby sign language is, you know, supposed to help with communication, is the sign for ‘t’ (for toilet obviously) used when no young child could easily make that sign?  Are you waving at me, baby, or do you have to poop?  Or (most likely) are you just checking out the fact that you now have control over your wrist movement? I guess I could just make all of my own up, but that would require a lot of mental energy that I don’t have. 
Also, really what am I supposed to feed my baby?  Everyone has a different opinion.  Egg yolk, bone broth, only vegetables, no vegetables at all, everything and anything, no dairy, dairy, grains, no grains until after age 1, no grains until after age 2, no grains ever.  Oy.  I just read the no vegetables thing yesterday and I wanted to just chuck my iPad across the room.  Juniper loves broccoli.  I have to say, it’s probably her most favorite thing yet.  She nods her little head up and down while she’s chewing like “this is good stuff, mama.”  Now, of course, I know that broccoli is a goiterous vegetable and her eating it at such a tender age will probably give her a thyroid disorder. 
Really though, these are all small things.  Someone else out there is dealing with big things, and someone else out there is dealing with really big things.  I know that.  I also know that Juniper seems to find her Dad’s fuzzy hair to be the most humorous thing in the world, as evidenced yesterday by her repeatedly grabbing it in the (interminably long) Target checkout line and laughing hysterically.  
Please note: We are not Jewish and Juniper wore this onesie over the weekend.  Daniel thought it looked coziest.  Also note that it isn't tucked into her woolies.