Monday, December 15, 2014

Miriam Lovelace Snider

 She waited two extra weeks for her perfect birthday; 12/13/14.
Born at 1:56 AM after just one intense hour of labor weighing 11 pounds and measuring 23 inches long!
She the first Snider baby to look a lot like her mommy and is adored by all. It's amazing how perfectly she fits into our family already.

Full birth story to follow.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Sunday

This is just a quick post to say how thankful I am for an easy weekend with my husband and kids.

In the last days of June I severed a nerve in my hand while pitting avocadoes. I ended up having surgery. No driving, biking, or changing diapers. During this, my kids somehow contracted MRSA and were on several rounds of antibiotics and needed their bandages changed daily. Silas had to take time off to take care of all of us and drive us to frequent Dr. Appointments. As we all started to recover it was time for Autumn's beautiful wedding and all the busyness that entailed. Then we came home and Zeke got his hand smashed in a door and we had another ER visit for them to glue his fingers back together and more bandages to change daily. Then Silas started traveling for work and I'm in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, and MAN, this summer has been a hard one.

But Silas got home Friday and we've enjoyed a beautiful weekend together and being a partner and a mother was just easy for the first time in a long time. And I am really grateful for that.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My second child; some thoughts on expectations and gentler parenting.

Zeke turned two on Saturday. Two years of mischievous smiles, two years of his sweet cuddles, and, to be honest, two years of parenting frustration.

Everything about what I expected from my second baby was, well, not what happened. I expected a shorter, easier labor, maybe a girl, if a boy, then a boy just like Gideon. Another good sleeper, another easy baby, another obedient, articulate, trophy toddler. None of that happened. Thinking about it now I don't know whether to laugh hysterically or kick my stupid first-time mom self in the butt.

Zeke's labor was long. I pushed for 6 hours. He only slept on me and never for longer than an hour or maybe two at night. He would scream and scream for no apparent reason. We eventually ended up with blood in his diapers - he could not tolerate any dairy. The screaming stopped but the sleeping never started.

About six months in, after not sleeping for longer than two hours at a stretch for, well, six months, cutting all diary from our diet, and trying to constantly control this baby who got into everything and threw the biggest tantrums I had ever witnessed, I started to realize that I was in way, way over my head. And that this little baby had something I hadn't really expected, a strong will and a big personality.

Gideon had hardly needed any discipline. He was happy to do whatever we asked and when he didn't respond the first time, a little slap on his thigh got him moving in the right direction. By the age of two he had thrown maybe 3 short lived tantrums? We laid him in his crib at 8 months and told him to go to sleep and guess what? He rolled over and went to sleep.

And this six month old? He refused to sleep unless being held, rocked even. He had thrown so many tantrums I had lost count. He always did the opposite of what you requested of him. And no little tap on the leg was going to motivate him to see me as boss. And that didn't change as he got older. As he approached a year he only became more like himself. More head strong. More disobedient. More and more frustrated by his lack of control of his life. Not unlike what I was experiencing myself.

I was so self-centered. I was upset that he wasn't making MY life easier. Upset he was making ME look bad. I was embarrassed by my not-perfect child. He was a baby and I was an adult and I still could not control him! He lost his temper at his brother and hit him. I picked him up and angrily exclaimed WE DO NOT HIT! And I hit him on his butt with my hand.

And it hit me. The ridiculousness of what I was doing. Telling him one thing and modeling another. That night I went back and read all of the posts on my favorite attachment parenting blogs about spanking. I homebirthed, breastfed on demand, wore my babies, co-slept, left our sons intact, at the time I also cloth diapered, but I held on to spanking because I thought it gave me control. But it didn't. The only thing it offered was the illusion of control and something to do when I was frustrated about not being in control.

The next six months were a journey. I had been building our relationship on control and force instead of on our bond of love and trust. There was no easy path. It took a long time, lots of work, and a lot of creative problem solving to make progress. But we made progress! In the beginning I would have to calmly wait out his tantrums, now I can usually end one by letting him know I'd like to help him solve his problem. In the beginning he would refuse to apologize for hitting or stealing toys. Now he usually apologizes quickly and amends his behavior.

Zeke has a lot more needs that need to be met than Gideon at this age; attention, assurance of my presence and availably to him, and an unhurried environment. He is also very sensitive to having low blood sugar. Making sure I am meeting his needs most of the time and telling him I am doing so helps him to know that I am doing my best to take care of him and makes it easier for him to be calm and patient in situations that are hard for him to handle.

The difference it has made in our relationship is huge. I used to feel like Zeke was always against me. But now I know, and he knows, that we are on the same team. We are learning to control ourselves together, to be patient together, to find solutions together. He still has rules, limits, clear guidelines for acceptable behavior, and consequences for destructive behavior. But we are working through it together with love and respect.

Note: This is my parenting journey. I'm not condemning anyone or telling anyone else how to parent and I hope you won't do that to me! I am simply sharing my experiences and what I have learned so far.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30 Days of Biking

April is the month that we celebrate 30 days of biking. The point of it is just to raise awareness for daily biking and it's a fun excuse to try to ride your bike every day. I did not succeed in biking every day without fail, mostly due to morning sickness and/or pregnancy exhaustion (oh, hello, pregnancy announcement), but I did manage to bike more than my usual 2-3 times a week.

I started out the month strong. On April 1st I rode 30 miles, part of which included this ride with Madi. This was a personal best for me, milage-wise. The longest bike ride I've been on and for the first time I experienced actual chaffing. FUN. Also, maternity pants are not great for biking. I was so tired and sore when I got home I swore I'd never bike again and forget this whole 30 days of biking nonsense. Then Malora texted me "Wanna bike for coffee tomorrow?" and I was all "YES!" and that was that.

Monthly Totals
Days Biked: 20
Miles Logged: 85
Children Carried: 3

My final thoughts after this month is that pregnancy biking, for me, requires an e-assist. If Seattle were flatter I think we'd be ok. But THESE HILLS. They take me forever anyway and they take twice as long when I'm pregnant because I have to keep stopping for breath and water. So I'm saving all my monies and selling some of my excess stuff. And I'm working on a full scale launch of my rebranded business and website. So hopefully I will have one soon :)

Here's some pictures from our many bike adventures this month:
We like to bike to Dick's Drive-In for burgers, ice cream, and to visit Aunt Autumn who now works there.
Getting a drink on our way home from the Bike Rodeo. Gideon can ride up to 2 miles on his balance bike.
Visiting our neighborhood free tiny lending library.
First day of Preschool. First day of Preschool pick up by bike.
Heading out to the zoo! You can see my baby bump.
Zoo parking!

Trading balance bikes for awhile.
Our Costco load!
Meeting Malora and her kiddo for coffee.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bike for burgers.

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny, mostly warm, and not windy at all. It was the perfect day for a bike ride. And with my basement currently a hot mess while our rental company repairs flood damage from last week,  I needed even less motivation than usual to get out of the house!
 Zeke is happy because he is finally allowed to ride up on the deck instead of the rear Yepp seat. He's pleased with himself. Gideon rides on his own for at least a mile of our rides these days. We drag that balance bike all over town.
We had a pleasant ride into Lake City.
Gideon rode extra carefully down this hill as he had a wipe out on a hill last week that left him unscathed but embarrassed.
Eventually, though, we got near the busy part of the neighborhood and I had Gideon join Zeke on the bike. There's just not a safe place for him to ride.
We arrived at Dick's Drive-In and the boys got to spy on Aunt Autumn being trained. Maybe next time she'll pack our burgers!
The boys were in remarkably good humor despite the fact they haven't been napping well with their room all pulled apart. We weren't ready to go home yet but I didn't want to spend any more money as we prepare for our Pgh vacation. So, to the park!
One of my favorite things about the sides I made for my Bullitt is that you can just unclip them anytime you want. There was no seating at this park so I just unclipped one side and sat on my bike deck. Win!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Full circle.

I just signed up to go on our church's women's retreat. A weekend away with the women who make up an important part of our church body. Besides the fact that I LOVE PEOPLE, we are fairly new to this church so I am excited to get to spend some quality time getting to know these ladies.

There was a cost associated with this retreat and when I went to pay (online registration is the BEST) there was a box where you could enter a dollar amount to contribute to scholarships for those in our church for whom the cost would make the retreat impossible. It struck a chord with me and after checking with Silas (yay for budgeting!) I doubled the amount due so I could cover the cost of the retreat for someone else.

I bring this up not to pat myself on the back. Not to brag about how much money we have or how generous we are. I mention this small thing because I have spent more than half of my life being on the receiving end of such gifts. And it is hard to convey the joy I have in finally being able to pass this blessing on.

Our family was dirt poor when I was growing up. My mom was a single mom of four children. My father, a soldier, was out of the country for most of the year. And when I needed things, people in our church frequently paid for them. People gave us scholarships for 4h trips and homeschool field trips. Adventures to the roller dome, the water park, and the bowling alley. To movies, the zoo, even the lame and overpriced museum in our small town.

As I look back on my childhood I realize how many things my friends' moms paid for that I didn't even notice at the time. And I remember the money that would show up in our mailbox with no return address. And the boxes of food that would appear on our doorstep. And the bags of clothes and shoes. I remember the people who would invite us out to eat after church and then pay for our meal.

You know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your money was not wasted and it is bearing fruit.

Freely you have received. Freely give.
- Matthew 10:8

Monday, January 13, 2014

Groceries by bike.

My last great adventure of 2013 was a shopping trip to Costco. There are some things in life that I just have to do, things I can't give up. Shopping at Costco and getting lunch for dirt cheap in their food court is one of them.
 I'm not sure why I decided that riding to Costco was something I needed to do but I did and so on our first free day we went.
 It was less cold and rainy that it had been in awhile so we only had to wear sweatshirts. We later put on gloves too.
 Gideon brought a stick named Mr. Stick along for the ride.
 It's about a 5 mile trip and right in the middle of those 5 miles is an enormous hill on 155th. I almost didn't post this picture because it does NOT do the hill justice. I was already half way up this hill when I took picture. It is a truly monstrous hill. I tried so hard to make it up without having to walk my bike. But ended up have to take a breather.
 I always always take applesauce packets on bike rides for when I push myself too hard and need instant energy.
 I took the side off the Bullitt so I could sit on the deck and rest for about ten minutes. I cannot say enough good things about the sturdiness of the stand. Gideon helped Zeke have a drink.
 Once we were over that abominable hill, though, we reached the Interurban Trail which only had tiny hills and inclines.
So it was an easy 2.5 miles to Costco once we reached the trail.
 We did our shopping and indulged in our (my?) favorite treat, Costco pizza.
I bought two chickens, two loaves of bread, a giant bag each of lettuce and broccoli, and a Costco sized bottle of wine.
 Then we loaded up. I wrapped my ring sling around Zeke because I suspected he would fall asleep and biking with his head laying on my back is not my favorite.
 My suspicions were well founded and by the time we reached Central market he was asleep.
 I used the sling to cover up my Costco groceries when we went in.
 At Central Market we added to our load tortillas, cheese, spinach, butter, celery, lemons, limes, cake mix, jello, ricotta, whipping cream, ginger ale, orange juice, coffee, two pomegranates, and other bottle of wine.
The groceries, plus our bag of snacks, diapers, water bottles, etc... took up the whole deck so Gideon rode home on the top tube.
I made him a seat with the ever versatile ring sling and he stood on the little step that extends back from the deck.
 I considered trying to make it back up that hill on the way home without walking the bike but we came across this accident and I had to walk around it anyway.
 We returned home triumphant! I wondered if I would have bought more if I had been driving our minivan. It's possible, but I bought everything on my list and anything extra would probably have put me over budget anyway. Also, I didn't need to buy toilet paper.
The next week I also went grocery shopping by bike, this time because I lost the only key to my minivan. I opted for the shorter 1.5 mile trip to Fred Meyer. Here's a video from that ride.
I'm currently planning another Costco trip for the end of this week as I just used the last of my 5 lb. bag of chocolate chips...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pausing to ponder some incomplete thoughts.

It's more than a week into January and I'm still soaking up all the rest I can get.
 I'm stealing all the hugs and kisses and coffee dates I can from my family.
I'm baking all my favorite things and eating second helpings of them.
 I'm reading books I've been meaning to pick up for months... years even.
I've laughed at a lot of things I would usually stress about.
 Silas and I have been trying new places to eat and discovering fun things to do here in Seattle that we've missed, even after living here almost two years.
We sit around in our jammies a lot.
 The boys and I have taken a whole day to do our grocery shopping by bike.
 And have taken time to stop at the playground just because we happened to pass one.
I've been making my bed (almost) every day. Weekends don't really count.
I'm still working on a few sewing projects... but that's about it. I'm going into this year with the intention to savor the good moments. And forget the bad. Not that there are not bad moments, but they are not worth remembering. 

Those are some of my thoughts. 

And my closets are half way decluttered!!!