Today we went to Chapel Hill together, just me and Luca, for the 2nd annual Festival of Legends.
It was so much fun, and nearly every person was in costume. Steampunk, pirates, faeries, renaissance, medieval, sci-fi/fantasy, full body leather armor... you name it, there was a group of folks in costume for it. And the goods!! The art, the costumes... a lot of it surprisingly affordable. I got a cloak with a hood for $60 , a mini cape (more awesome than a cardigan for evening wear, and only $15), a waist-cincher for only $10, and a wooden sword and shield for Luca (for only $15)...
I have a rule about non-essential purchases. Put it on a list for at least a month, and if you still want it, start searching for the best deal. The items I bought today were all on my list for several months if not years.
3/4 length cape with hood (it's navy with green accents)
waist corset and mini cape (black with red accents)
I only had one impulse buy... a leather necklace from Ribbons and Rivets. One of the artists was an old co-worker of mine, from back when I was a sophomore  in college. I was just so impressed and inspired by the fact that she was making a living doing what she loved, and doing it so well... I had to buy something to show my support. And now I have a beautiful necklace!
Here are some pics from the festival:
This man gave Luca a "gold" coin!
Belly dancing with fire.
Eating a sandwich in the mini cape.
King Arthur and the Black Knight... the jousting wasn't faked or anything!
The singing Sphinx.
Teaching kids how to sword fight.
Is that a walking mushroom?
Of course, the one shot with me in it, and my baby's head is covering up my elaborate eye makeup.
Luca and one of the Nickel Shakespeare Girls taking refuge from the rain.
Apparently, Luca can count. One day he just started counting out loud and didn't stop until he got to 8. Our jaw just dropped to the floor.
He likes to say "nnnnnnnnnoooooooo" while raising his eyebrows and looking at you like "yeah right".
He also says "Nice." Like "Hey Luca I made you a sandwich" "OH! Nice."
He is very sweet and loves to give people hugs and kisses. He and his friend Leo actually played TOGETHER for the first time, chasing each other around and saying baby words to each other.
We went to the playground this morning, and he sat on my lap the whole time! This is not uncommon for him (though he is much more adventurous with daddy around). It's fine with me, since I'd rather be resting then chasing him all over the place. I hung out with some really great mamas.
I have been sleeping in my own room on the nights when I work evenings. Go figure, Luca actually sleeps better without me around. He is also sort of night weaned. As he nurses to sleep at night, I tell him "Remember, you get nursies in the morning when the sun comes up. Night time is for sleeping. If you wake up, we do cuddles and go night night. Then you get nursies when the sun comes up." And I stick to that. I say "night night, cuddle with mommy" when he wakes up, and I ignore him otherwise. He usually falls asleep on my arm or chest, and then I just remove him so I can sleep more comfortably.
We bought a futon!! This couch has such great vibes... we bought it from an artist, who bought it from a couple who traveled with it around the world. We only paid $75 for it, and the mattress is super fluffy and the frame is real sturdy and all wood. The pin that keeps the frame in the groove is coming out on one side, but some wood glue will fix that.
We did our taxes and were shocked to find out we will be getting back $5,000. This puts our tax rate at -23% (yes, negative). This is going to be a big help... we can now afford to buy our own used car. The car is the last big thing we depend on my parents for. If we sell Ash's guitar, we might also be able to afford solar panels for the house! It isn't so bad being poor if you're married and you have a kid. But it took this tax break, the food stamps, and my parents' help to make it through life bellow the poverty line. We were down to our last $20 at one point this year.
Ash and I got a lawyer to write our wills this week. We wanted the peace of mind that Luca would be raised by who we want him to be raised by, should we "perish in a common disaster" (as the will says). We also got livings wills saying we don't want our life prolonged if we have a terminal illness or are in a vegetative state. I also put on there that I want my organs all donated.
We have been reading a lot of Osho lately. This is causing some major shifts in our personal philosophies and it feels so good, but also a little scary... it feels good to grow, it only hurts when you resist. Fear hurts more than anything. As Osho says, a tree does not hurt as it grows... only humans have figured out how to be neurotic enough to make it painful!
7:30am Luca wakes
7:45am Luca is done running around the bed and letting us sleep in.
8:00am One of us makes breakfast while the other one puts together appetizers for Luca, or plays with him, or just holds him if he is teething.
8:15am Everyone eats slowly because Luca wants to switch back and forth between our laps and his own chair, or he is spilling stuff, or he is asking lots of questions about what we're doing.
9:00am I watch the baby outside while Ash works on a farm project (unless I go to work in the morning, then Ash takes him out to play after I leave).
11:00am Cook and eat second breakfast, and/or Luca meltdown. He will either fall asleep now or power through.
12:00pm Clean up the kitchen. Luca free play inside while we clean, unless he is too grumpy, then we turn on Mr. Rogers or Curious George. I will sometimes do internet stuff at this point while Ash cleans.
1:00pm Ash puts Luca down for his nap. I either go somewhere else to take a nap if Luca didn't sleep well last night, or I do my own farm projects. My mom leaves to go to work.
3:00pm Luca wakes up and I go to work, or Ash goes to pick up Quinten from school.
3:30pm Snack. This is when Luca eats the majority of his food for the day.
4:00pm Ash does his internet time before he goes to work, if I'm not at work. Otherwise he watches Luca while he plays, sometimes getting more work done in the garden or working on writing his songs, depending on how independent Luca is feeling. This is when I get home from work if I work in the morning.
6:00pm Dinner, eating and clean up.
7:30pm Papaw comes home and Luca plays with him before bed.
10pm I get home from work around this time, Luca wakes to nurse.
12am or Ash gets home from work at this time, Luca wakes to nurse.
2am Luca wakes and asks to nurse, cries when I say no (sometimes for an hour).
6am Luca wakes and asks to nurse, cries when I say no.
7:30am wakes up for a new day!
So you can see, if one of us is at work during the day, or if Luca doesn't get a nap, or if we have any errands that take place outside of the house... nothing gets done. And by "nothing" I mean things on our to-do list (plant the potatoes, plaster exterior, stack urbanite, dig beds, etc).
A lot of jobs on a farm or that take place outdoors are time sensitive, depend on good weather, or can only happen if we are physically well (I'm not building shelves after getting off work, for example). Put that together with the unpredictability of a child (maybe he only naps an hour today, maybe he has a fever and needs more attention), and you have projects that only take an hour or two taking 1-2 weeks to complete.
So we came up with a plan- we would make Monday Ash's day to get stuff done, and Tuesday my day to get stuff done. Monday night would be Luca's first night away from mommy, and a chance for mom to get some much-needed sleep. Night weaning was going so slowly (we have been doing this since he turned 15 months, so 4 months) and we thought if it wasn't too much of an emotional strain for him, it would hurry along night weaning as well. Ash had his time and did a bunch of music stuff on Monday night.
Unfortunately, I didn't sleep at all Monday night, what was supposed to be my first glorious night away from the baby, because I had food poisoning. I slept from 3am-5am only. So Ash continued to do his projects on Tuesday, while I laid in bed with the baby watching movies. So I didn't get to do any of my projects at all. And last night was only a little better... I slept from 9pm to 1am and was up sick the rest of the night. It was very nice to have my own bed to be sick in, though. I didn't have to worry about waking them up and I had plenty of room.
Luckily Luca did very well without me. He woke twice but didn't cry at all, and daddy just had to pick him up once to get him back to sleep. This is a big load off my shoulders and I can't wait until I get better, so I can maybe sleep through the night for the first time in 2 years!!
This morning, we went to the farm of a friend of ours (Bull City Farm), because a bunch of baby lambs were born recently. When we got home and ate lunch, I asked Luca if he remembered what animals we saw this morning.
"Uhhh...HEE HAW HEE HAW"
"That's right! We saw a donkey. What other animals did we see?"
".... BAA. BAAAAA."
"That's right, sheep!"
"Yes the lambs were having nursies, that's right!"
"Chicky! PEEP PEEP"
And that was about the closest thing to a story he has ever told us!! It was also the first time, unprompted, he recalled things from his memory to share with us.
He was also using more adjectives this week... saying "Tree. Big tree." And when he saw the full moon he said "Moon! Light...ball...moon!" He will also FINALLY answer questions directly, like if I ask him if he wants some food he shakes his head and says "YES" or "ALRIGHT!"
He has had a couple more poops and pees on the potty as well. It's really weird, going from ECing up until a year old... to doing practically traditional potty training.
Using Jay Gordon's method we are down to one night nursing. The method basically says "if your kid is over 12 months and in your bed, it's ok if they cry". It feels true to us.
Our house-building has been stalled because of bad weather (winter weather... in winter? Go figure!), but that hasn't stopped the building of our selves. Ash has reached particularly new heights as he becomes more dedicated to meditation. We both have been exploring new ways of manipulating our energy together, which has led to deep bonding with each other and healing within ourselves.
Today Ash said, "Can I brush your hair? I just want to pamper you."
I feel cherished and every woman should feel this way. Every person has the right to be in a relationship free of addiction, selfishness, anger... but the bar is set so low. It is "normal" to argue. It is "normal" to be dissatisfied. No, no, no! It is normal to love and be loved, to support each other and to grow as individuals. It is normal to feel good together, not by idealizing or idolizing one another, but by being present and healing to one another.
It is a blessing to be a woman, and I didn't even know it until now. After reading "The Red Tent" and then reading "The Return of the King", I realized how much I had suffered growing up and only reading male stories, by men for men. I idolized war heros because western society doesn't recognize mothers. I became masculine in my spirit as I fantasized about journeys of the world. But the feminine journey is an internal one. I discovered that while giving birth... ecstatic, dynamic, loving, sensual, breathing, holding, teaching.... that is what it means to be a woman. Men don't have the luxury of their initiation being biologically forced on them, which is why so many cultures have intense initiation rites to turn boys into men. Mapping, climbing, steering, competing, cooperating, working, learning... this is what it means to be a man.
I finally got ahold of a copy of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility"... and I am so appalled that I don't know all of this stuff already. I am so appalled that they don't teach this to everyone. Do you know how many unwanted pregnancies could be avoided with this information?? I'm leaning more and more toward getting this IUD out and using natural methods to avoid conception. I can't believe I don't even know how long my cycles are, let alone on which day I ovulate.
The more I heal, the more I become open to the idea of having more children.
I went through a lot of suffering that first year. I was so angry at everyone for lying to me, and for lying to themselves. All of those blog entries I had read... all those books... none of them had mentioned this suffering I was feeling. They were all full of lies... lies about the joys of motherhood. What joys? I felt no joy. I felt only suffering and thought I was doomed to a lifetime of misery. This was reality, to me. I hated my pregnant self for being happy and looking forward to the misery I didn't know awaited me.
Now Luca brings me so much joy every day. Now I feel the challenges along with the things that make it all "worth it". Now I accept that my life is harder. Now I feel the solid masculine energy of my partner alongside my dynamic feminine energy. I am the boat and he is the captain... and Luca is an adorable little dolphin that has decided to swim alongside us for a little while.
My husband and I live on my parent's 6 acres in the middle of North Carolina, USA. We are trying to transition into sustainable lifestyle, both for ethical reasons and in preparation for collapse in a post peak oil world. We just had our first child (born August 9th 2011). We are cloth diapering, breast feeding, bed sharing, baby wearing, and attachment parenting. We plan to homeschool using Montessori and unschooling methods. We are both musicians but also have day jobs with local businesses. See our other blog Black Snake Homestead for details and photos of our farming projects.
We met through the mutual love of a band called Jump, Little Children in 2005. We moved to Charleston, SC in 2007 and got engaged Thanksgiving that year. We got married on May 30th, 2009. Our son Luca was born August 9th, 2011.