Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking a Breath

Hi all… Remember me?

Sorry I’ve been totally absent here. Live as I know it has been crazy-go-nuts. And still is. And to that end, I’m begging off writing this week. I know, I know, I need to finish my “So Many Babies! So Much Advice!” posts, and I thought about slogging one out today, but that doesn’t do anyone justice, and I want to make these advice posts nice. Ones you can refer back to and not cringe at the slap-dashery.

Why, you may ask, is my life so crazy right now? Well

1- I have a one year old now. Whew. Where did THAT go? Anyways, the decorations are still up from his party, and I have a ton of laundry to do because…

2-Someone brought a stomach bug to the party, and Finn (of course) got it. Hence all the laundry…

3-Lent has started. Penance takes time.

4-I’m reading more, and I have a tendency to write less when I read. Don’t worry, you’ll get better quality stuff when I’m done. Input/output sorta thing.

5- We’ve started a new diet called the AutoImmune Paleo diet in order to try and cure Mike’s UC. I’ll keep you posted on that, but in the meantime, I need to meal-plan more diligently and learn new recipes, and that takes time. (Side note: I hope homemade sauerkraut tastes good. I just made a TON yesterday. You know, for the probiotics).

6- Daylight saving time is kicking my rear, and reminding me how NOT a morning person I am.

7-Those darn volunteer projects. I have to write an inspiring speech for a retreat this upcoming weekend, not to mention keep things going with a large dinner auction Mike and I are co-chairing. I’ll be a freer person when April comes to a close.

So yes. I’ll get back with you folks next week. In the meantime, find a good book to read, and let me know how it turns out…

-Sheri 🙂

So Many Babies! So Much Advice! Pt 2: Birth Books

Hey everyone. Sorry for the light posting last week. Expect sparse blogging this week too. It’s crazy busy around here! Like, so busy I don’t know where to start so mostly I just want to hide and not do anything. Except, that’s not an option when one takes care of many small creatures. *Le Sigh*

But I’m trying to continue my series of baby advice, just as my own baby turns one this week. Ug, my heart. Here he was, one year ago.

I've got, like, a million of these shots thanks to my Dad, the first time Grandpa.
I’ve got, like, a million of these shots thanks to my Dad, the first time Grandpa.

OH those eyebrows. They were the first thing I noticed about him. Second was the thick black head of hair. We knew he was a boy, and we had even the primo 3D ultrasound done so we could see the outline of his face. Whatever, it was still a shock and surprise to see him for the first time. He was just so perfect, so alive, so unique, so himself… *Le Sigh, pt2* I want another! BUT we must healthify ourselves first (this Lent will help THAT out… another post, another time… maybe next week).

MOVING ON to the actual advice I have to give… Things that helped me out during my own pregnancy/baby raising. Today’s feature: the process of giving birth, and the books/class that helped me through all that. Ahem.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

I read this book after watching The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. Occasionally I watch documentaries while folding laundry, and this one caught my eye. I highly recommend it too. It was eye opening, and encouraged me to find this book by the nation’s leading midwife (and total hippie if there ever was one). But more and more I’m coming to find that, when it comes to health, there’s something to be said for flower power.
Anyways, Ina May is a midwife who learned all of her midwifery simply by having no other option. Back in the day when her and others started a commune and they had no easy access to hospitals, they had to learn how to birth their babies all by themselves. Even today, “The Farm” where Ina lives and works boasts a C-section rate of 2%! Or maybe it’s even 0.2%! Wow. If we all employed the practices they did, perhaps our maternity death rate would be where it ought to be. (Think it’s just fine and there’s no problem with the system? Watch The Business of Being Born. Our maternity death rate is comparable with THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES, people)
Ahem. Wanting to avoid all that, I got a hold of this book. The first half is full of birth stories, from the fairly clinical to the flower child, and everything in between. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel empowered. The second half of the book draws on that empowerment and gives you the tools and mindset you’ll need to give birth easier, with confidence in yourself, your body, and your baby. And just because it’s written by a professed hippie, don’t let that fool you. She’s as scientific as they come, perhaps more so because of her background (and need to prove herself. That Cesarean rate didn’t come about by magic, folks).

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 1.03.35 PM

Hypnobirthing: The breakthrough natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing – The Mongan Method, 3rd Edition

And here’s where the above book led me. I wanted to take some sort of class, this being my first pregnancy and child, but I didn’t want a class that would ultimately scare me into heavy medication and surgery. This was the answer. Recommended to me by my OB/GYN, Mike and I had to drive about an hour for several Sundays in a row to take this class, but it was totally worth it. This class teaches you methods of deep relaxation not only beneficial during labor, but for life. Your hubby will benefit from it too! I promise!
The only thing I want you to watch out for is imitators. There are some other “hypno” classes out there, but they get a bit… erm… spiritual. Stick with the Mongan Method. It will nearly guarantee a safe, PAIN FREE labor and delivery (yes, you heard me). Now no one can promise that it won’t be INTENSE – it’s bringing a child into the world. It’s going to be more intense than the making thereof *wink*. However, the method does teach you how to manage the feeling that labor brings. Look into it. It can’t hurt to try.

Now those of you that know me may think “Now wait a minute, Sheri. Didn’t YOU end up with a C-section anyways?” And my answer to you will be yes. Yes, after all this, I did end up needing a C-section. My water broke prematurely. As in, I wasn’t in labor AT ALL when my membranes ruptured, so they had to augment my labor and… well maybe I’ll share Finn’s birth story another day, hmm?

What do you think of the recommendations so far? Have any suggestions of your own?

So Many Babies! So Much Advice! Pt 1: Co-Sleeping

There’s something in the water. I know exactly seven friends of mine who are pregnant right now. For most of them it’s their first baby! Yay! And of course, having a kid myself already, I know all the answers and have all the advice to give. Heh. 😉

But seriously, I think I’ve had a child under the age of three in my life since… forever. So I have learned a few things that are advantageous, and have applied them to my mothering (and nannying where applicable), and now, knowing so many mothers to be, I feel the need to share. So ladies, when you come visit this, here’s my two-cents worth: I wrote this just for you!  And now you don’t have to listen to me ramble for hours on end. It’s a win-win.

*Note: Link’s below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you click through then purchase that thingamabob, I can earn a little cash while your price stays the same! Thanks!*

Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper

Ok, first of all, do you have a nursery ready? One that’s all decorated up with the fancy crib and everything is just the way it is in a Babies ‘R Us catalog? So nice. Good for you. 

You’ll never get any sleep.

Picture this scenario: The newborn wakes up hungry. You now have to…
A) Get all the way up out of bed, stumble down the hall, open the door, find the light, or find the baby in the dark, find a place to sit, nurse the child who is now inconsolable since you took so long, struggle nursing, struggle to stay awake while the baby nurses, then put her back in her crib, and stumble your way back to bed.
OR
B) Roll over, pick her up before she really starts crying, nurse calmly, put her back down, go to sleep. NOTICE THAT YOU NEVER HAD TO LEAVE YOUR BED!

Ok, scenario two: The baby HASN’T woken up in a while. Oh dear! You…
A) Panic, stumble down the hall praying, stumble into the room possibly waking up poor baby, realize she’s ok, sleep in the rocking chair the rest of the night so you don’t have to panic anymore.
OR
B)Roll over before you start panicking, put your hand on her chest without waking her, realize she’s fine, go back to sleep without ever really waking up.

In both scenarios, I picked B, and never looked back. And if you think my scenarios above are just poppycock, studies have proven that co-sleeping, if done properly, is better for the family. Here’s some info that backs me up HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

But I wasn’t comfortable with a tiny squishable newborn in bed with us, so we chose the ‘sidecar’ arrangement to co-sleeping. In fact, we still use that method today. There’s plenty of bassinet sleepers that you can butt up next to the bed, but the absolute best product out there designed specifically for this sort of arrangement is the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. We have the smaller model, I think. Most of their models are portable as well and easy to put up and take down.

And since the word count below is already telling me that I have over 500 words, I’ll separate all this advice I have for you into bits. We’ll call this part one! That way we can discuss co-sleeping here specifically. Moms: feel free to comment below. Preggers: feel freer to ask questions below!

I’ll see you next time with more tid bits of my own… we will probably talk about all those lovely book’s I’ve read. Stay tuned!

Weekends with Chesterton: Dogma vs. Prejudice

Sorry folks, this is a long quote…

“Some people do not like the word “dogma.” Fortunately they are free, and there is an alternative for them. There are two things, and two things only for the human mind, a dogma and a prejudice. The MIddle Ages were a rational epoch, an age of doctrine. Our age is, at its best, a poetical epoch, an age of prejudice. A doctrine is a definite point; a prejudice is a direction.”

He then argues that these vague prejudices separates us even more than definite doctrines, despite those doctrines being opposite. It is easier to combat someone’s clear and defined statement or belief, than their “I’m okay, you’re okay” feelings that hide prejudiced thoughts. The devil has covered the thinking world with a mist of paralysing relativism, where you cannot even question another’s belief, right or wrong, because their thoughts are their own.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about THAT!

Care to respond?

Catholic All Year: Outside the Box: 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up for Lent (in beginner, intermediate, and advanced)

Have you thought about what you’re giving up for Lent this year? Well here’s a great place to start… and look through the comments for many many more fabulous ideas! Remember – Ash Wednesday is March 5th! So get cracking!

Catholic All Year: Outside the Box: 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up for Lent (in beginner, intermediate, and advanced).

Kefir With Me?

So in past posts I’ve alluded to making my own probiotics through fermented drinks. At least I thought I did. Didn’t I? Did I just dream that?

IMG_0775

Well anyways, I’m making my own probiotics through fermented drinks. And so far, I’ve had pretty good success. As in, it’s palatable! Most fermented things are… questionable. Or, shall we say, requires one to ‘develop a taste’ for it. And because we’ve been able to drink it (for the most part) I’ve saved money already on probiotic pills. I’m not sure I’m going back either, since this magical drink makes me feel so much better than the pills ever did. What is this magical brew?

It’s Kefir Water!

And now for a song…

Kefir Kefir! It’s good for your heart!
It’s easy to make – you really should start!
The more you drink, the better you feel!
So drink some kefir for every meal!

Kefir Kefir! The magical drink!
Recipes are easy to find, I think.
The more you think, the more you learn!
Kefir will give your health a good turn!

Once more! With feeling! Sing along!

No? Ok, well how about this- through my research on the internet, I’ve realized that recipes for kefir water are as broad as they are long, and aren’t really what I’m looking for or expect, flavor-wise. Some of this is because kefir is a living organism, and its behavior changes with environmental fluctuations can be hard to control. Another reason is because there’s different ways to introduce flavors (1st ferment? 2nd ferment?) and different proportions of ingredients, not to mention different tastes of the recipe-makers.

Over the next few weeks here at home I’m going to be developing water kefir recipes for Sheridanigans, with the end goal being a sort of brew-along with all of us together. I’ll teach you how to get your kefir grains going, and how to make each of these recipes I intend to create, hopefully giving you greater success than I’ve had in the past couple of weeks. Fortunately, even when I have a bad batch that I need to dump, I’m only out a few tablespoons of sugar! So experimenting ain’t no thang.

But this is my question for you: would you care to kefir along with me? I know I don’t have any recipes up yet, but just visit the sites I have listed below, and you can get started on your own experiments, then be a bit more prepared when we actually have our brew-along! And here’s the bonus – you can get your kefir grains from me for FREE!* As you’ll learn, they can multiply pretty quickly. I already have an overabundance resting in my fridge. Just email me at Sheridanigans (AT) gmail.com!

And now for the links, so you can look and see if you want to go it alone…

Cultures for Health – 10 ways to flavor water kefir

Delicious Obsessions – Let’s Get Fizzy With it!

The Creamer Chronicles – Water Kefir

That should be enough to get you started, plus there’s a TON more info if google is your friend. Be sure to email me as soon as you can, and I’ll get those grains to you!

*You may have to pay postage, depending on where you are… We can hash that out.

Women! *Eyeroll* – Weekends with Chesterton

OK, so, this quote just made me laugh. I only just started reading “What’s Wrong With the World” so I haven’t gotten to this part yet, but…

“In all legends men have thought of women as sublime separately but horrible in a herd.”
― G.K. ChestertonWhat’s Wrong with the World

We can be formidable, can’t we? 😉

Speaking of, have you noticed that the past month I’ve featured only women saints on KNOWYOURSAINTS! ? Granted, it’s because you readers voted for them, but still. Be sure to visit there tomorrow when I break that trend with St. Conrad.

Till next week…

Blogs I Read (And Why You Should Too) – The Survival Mom

Anyone here live down south where they had the freak blizzard and all those poor people got stranded along the highway, and generally mass chaos broke out? Last week I noticed that all the news broadcasts were featuring stories on how you can prepare, what you should have in your car should you ever get stranded, etc etc etc.

Well, instead of listening to those stories for about ten minutes then forgetting everything you heard, maybe putting an extra bottle of water and de-icer in your trunk, just to be on the safe side, I want you to take a look at this website…

Ready for anything.
Ready for anything.

I first read her book (by the same name) while on maternity leave, and it’s inspiring, practical, straightforward, easy to read, and it just makes sense. She helps you get down what you need to have for ‘Everyday Disasters’ (not unlike what you saw in the south earlier this month) and gives you the basics for ‘Worse Case Scenarios.’ She saw that most of the ‘prepper’ material out there is geared toward the men, and has a tendency to lean toward preparing you for ONLY worse case scenarios, instead of simple things like long-term power outages, water supply issues, severe weather, and the like. That is, things that are MUCH more likely to go, and things that we’ve seen HAVE gone wrong. (E.g. Hurricane Katrina, the ‘Polar Vortex’, the WV water contamination, and the list goes on).

More and more we see how natural and man made disasters have caught people off guard. The Survival Mom book and website helps you to NOT be one of those people. I still have a long way to go myself, but at least now I know where to start. And if you’re a fool and think you live in a place that is ‘relatively safe,’ remember that ANYONE can lose power for 2 days or 2 weeks or more. I know of people who have lost their septic system, their heating and cooling, or their ability to leave the house suddenly in the worst weather possible.

The reason disasters catch people ‘off guard’ is exactly because they were off guard! There is no way you can be prepared for a disaster, because if you are prepared, it won’t become a disaster! Ok, it may still be a disaster, but it’s far less likely that you will become a victim of it. I’ll stop talking now, so you can visit this awesome resource of preparedness, THE SURVIVAL MOM!

 

What do you think of these blog reviews? Want to hear more? Got a blog to recommend to me? Let me know in the comments! 

Settle Down, Brain…

So, do you remember when I mentioned in my posts about my new years resolutions that I intend on reading more? Well it looks like I’m going to have to start doing that soon or else I will simply go bonkers.

You see, I have a very active imagination. My imagination was SO active and I was SO into books as a child that I needed few friends, and the only reason that I even had friends was because I went to school, and books got all dirty at recess. And thanks to our elementary school librarian, who was also a nun, I had a great fear of harming a book. Well, not fear, really. Respect is a better word. I took great care of any and all books I laid my hands on. They fed me. They took me to different universes and gave me new ideas and friends and emotions. I held and cared for one like the treasure it was, from the first book I really feel in love with (A Wrinkle in Time, read in 2nd grade athankyouverymuch) to now.

But of course my reading time now a days is cut short. Between blogging, and diaper changing, and cooking, and volunteering, and cleaning, and… well you get the idea. My time for reading has taken a back seat.

And my brain is revolting. At night. IN MY DREAMS!

Let’s see, last night I was in an underground bunker full of terrorists, whose underground bunkers look surprisingly like a hospital/school, and apparently I didn’t make it to the nuke in time because it went off. I think I died at this point, or my brain got very metaphorical because we were all floating away on balloons, while skulls and bones popped up out of the ground. Also Finn and Mike were there… but Finn was maybe grown up? Weird.

The night before that I was trying to go undercover at a company that was making plastic people (androids maybe?) and replacing the real people with those plastic ones, under the pretense that they could make you look young forever, then pressing the real humans into service. I was making my way up the ranks, no one the wiser, till I met the president of the company, who KNEW I WAS COMING ALL ALONG! *gasp* Then I woke up.

That’s the gist of all I can remember right now, but long story short, these dreams are so vivid they haunt me a bit when I wake up. Oy. I know all I need to do to remedy this is READ!

So hopefully I’ll start reading some Chesterton today, not to mention finally editing that darn novel I wrote nearly ten years ago.

What about you? Do you have crazy dreams if you do/don’t do something? How on earth do you get rid of these things? Maybe I need to switch vitamins…

Found Wanting: Weekends with Chesterton

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – Chapter 5, What’s Wrong With The World, 1910

 

See that right up there? That’s a pretty famous phrase said by the pretty famous G.K. Chesterton, whom I love. I highly encourage you to pick up some of his works and begin reading them. I’ve got my hands on a few, and plan to start ASAP.

Think about that quote for a minute. Do you wonder why we have so very many sects of Christianity? Some are so watered down I want to sayChristianity.” It is difficult, Christianity as Christ intended, and so we try to hack it down to fit into our little brains, instead of allowing the greatness of it to magnify our thoughts.

There are those, however, who have not been ‘found wanting.’ Remember the saints. They followed the Christian ideal, difficult though it may be, and became holy.

Every week I try to remember a saint I’m not familiar with on my other blog KNOW YOUR SAINTS! Join me every Sunday as I introduce you to a saint you may not know, and vote for the next saint you want to know about. Be sure to follow me there and share this blog here, and I’ll continue doing what I do best okay.

Have a great weekend everyone!