In my head, I call myself Stella. My mom and all her roommates used to call all the girls Stella and Bertha, and all the boys were Fred. She never really outgrew the habit, so growing up, I got called Stella and Bertha probably more than Mickelle. Which was fine by me. I thought it was an adorable quirk.
After Scott went home to re-meet my family for the first time, he asked me about it. I explained, and mentioned how much I liked it, and that I really wish I had inherited it, but it never crossed my mind to call anyone anything besides their name. So he started calling me Stella. And I still get called Stella more than Mickelle. (I know I'm in trouble if he actually calls me by name.)
Anyway. Here's the list. It's not only a start to my bucket list, which I never made when it was trendy and cool but decided to wait till it was trite and blasé, but a very specific sub-category of said list: it's the list of bucket items which are impossible because they are ridiculously expensive, and additionally even if I was rich are sooooo not happening any time whilst I'm, you know, bearing and raising children and staying home commanding them to eat their protein and reallyboringstufflikethat.
Go on a tour of the Holy Land. Nice, long, busy, and with an incredible tour guide. (Really, I'd like to go to BYU Jerusalem for a semester. But that's impossible for anyone who already has a B.A., as far as I can tell. But I'd go scrub floors if they'd let me.)
Spend a night in one of those treehouse cabins
Visit Delianova, Taurasi, and a few of the other Italian towns from which my family immigrated (Oh, and when I do, I want to stay at a Agriturismo and eat in the kitchen of a local.)
Another cruise. A nice one. A long one. And play lots of canasta with my parents aboard.
Go to Disney World with just Scott. Kinda like a second honeymoon, only bigger and better and with less taquitos
Eat at Club 33
Have my portrait and a family portrait taken by Sue Bryce. And buy her most expensive package.
See Mandy Patinkin and Audra McDonald in concert (And Mandy has to sing "Children Will Listen")
Swim with the dolphins. Up close and personal.
Take my children on short trips, just me and them, when they turn 8 (Day trip), 12 (Overnight trip), and 16 (Long weekend trip)
So, my good friend Jami recently wanted some info on baby carriers. She asked some really good questions, and deserved a thoughtful reply. (read: I ramble when it's about stuff I love.) I hated trying to reply in that tiny facebook box, so I thought I'd put it on my blog, where I could also display pictures and links a little easier. I am not in the habit of answering questions, so no need to worry this will become some terrible reoccurring section of my blog you have to avoid or anything.
A quick note to those who haven't ever used a baby carrier before: Slings matter, my friend. Maybe almost as much as cheesecake. Just hold a sleeping baby next to you, listen to the tiny breaths, stroke the delicious cheeks -- and then tell me you want to put the baby down because it's time to fold laundry. That's ridiculous. Babies are the reason why laundry piles up, and dishes overflow, and dinner isn't made. Babies don't keep, so you've got to relish it all.
Jami loved my suggestion about the Scootababy for her first child back when he was a squirmy, squishy babe of 6 or 8 months. There's a lot of reasons to love the Scootababy, and she and I both loved being able to get dinner and clean the house while simultaneously snuggling our bambinos. I also appreciated that Avie would ride closer to my hip than my front, so I could still actually see what my hands were doing. Plus it was super comfortable and didn't hurt my back or hips the way carrying her did.
But when it comes to infants, things are a little trickier. That lack of neck control's kind of a killer. Jami liked using her Moby last time, but said she was ready to try something else, and what did I recommend...?
I love a good-fitting sling. It's crazy versatile, and every time the baby grows a bit, you can just put them in a new position. Newborns love to use it like a hammock, and as the child grows they can sit upright in it. Here's a few pictures of how you can adjust it for the growing baby.
the front-carry (inward)
the front-carry (outward)
The toddler-ish side carry
I also love that a sling is something you can really just throw on. There's no fumbling, no buckling, no straps. You can get very lightweight, breathable fabric, and also very fancy fabric for nicer occasions. They range from $30-300, plus there's plenty of online patterns to make your own.
Slings rock. But they do take practice at first, and you need to figure out the rules of a good fit, since otherwise it can hurt after a while. They're not the only solution, and this post already looks huge with all the pictures. So I'll approach the rest of Jami's questions, and alternate soft carriers (SSC) in a day or two.
I have never had writer's block (I use that term quite loosely, obviously, not being any sort of writer) like I did on this entry. But I was determined to write it. And I'm a better person for it. At first, I had all these qualifiers on every one of these, like, "if everything is going well," or "if you don't look too close," but I decided to get rid of them. Yeah, I'm not perfect. But I have strengths, and this is me. Owning it.
Breakfast. My kids' breakfast is always healthy. It's usually some pastured, organic eggs, but lately the girls
have been obsessed with homemade french toast. (Me too.) We put raw honey on top, and I'm telling you, my mornings have been ten times better for them.
Betsy is a reader. I've used a great book, so my investment in teaching her was seriously less than fifteen dollars. We're on about lesson 75, and she can read things like Little Bear on an instructional level. It's probably one of the things that I've felt the most successful about lately. I've thought about taking on a preschool student here or there to tutor, but that's kind-of lame since I use such a lay-parent-friendly approach.
I'm not afraid to read children's books with voices.
I can make a mean tincture.
I know how to read a BBT chart better than anybody I know.
Sometimes I take cute pictures. And my LR edits aren't too shabby.
I've sewn a few quilts.
I can listen to you, and you will feel heard.
I feel too much empathy for people I don't even know and usually end up somehow finding every sad blog in the world and sobbing about one night every month.
I have awesome taste in music.
That was hard. But I know what qualities I hope my girls will have as they grow into beautiful adults, and I've been thinking lately about how often that person is different than who I am. So this was good for me.
Scott and I met about 16 years ago when we were in the same LDS ward. (Although, um, he doesn't remember me.) These days, he's a transportation engineer, a daddy, and a the highlight of my day.
I'm Mickelle, and I do most (all) of the blogging around here. I taught fifth grade for four years, and now I'm home with Betsy, our leap-year wonder girl and Avielle, the best sidekick and accomplice a big sister could ask for.