Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Blizzard Baby Prep February 8, 2013

These past few days have been crazy. The girls and I did so much shopping that I think they’ll want to avoid leaving the house for several weeks. As I type, the cars are being covered by the snow in our condo parking lot. It looks nasty out there but I am extremely content. I’m excited to see what it will look like come morning.


The girls are excited to play in the snow, but I am so exhausted from shopping and cleaning that I think I’ll need a recuperation day. We went to the post office to make sure I had enough stamps for baby announcements and to send some mailings out. We went to the pharmacy to fill a prescription so I won’t have to worry about it a few weeks from now (when it will actually need to be filled). We went to the library to return CD’s and a book I’d checked out. We went to a laboratory to turn in a prenatal test I’d completed. We went to PetCo to stock up on Gerbil supplies, We went to Home Depot for batteries and whatnot. We went to the craft store to stock up on supplies for making Montessori materials. We went to Target for the California Baby diaper cream, breastmilk storage bags, and all the other items I needed in order to feel “ready” for Baby’s arrival, to Whole Foods and two other grocery stores to stock up on food. I’m probably forgetting something or somewhere.

20130207_092908_5_bestshotIt was exhausting. It took me several hours just to put away everything that we’d purchased! Surprisingly, the girls were in good spirits and were both very well behaved on each trip. I don’t want to give all of the credit to the new dual-screen DVD player or to the smartphone apps, though both came in handy. I was grateful for and pleased with the girls’ attitudes toward our intense shopping trips. I suppose I’m indebted to them now, and will have to brave the snow despite my Raynaud’s disease.

We really didn’t have to do very much blizzard prep. I was insanely prepared for Hurricane Sandy, after having been so horribly unprepared for Hurricane Irene. But Sandy never showed up in my neighborhood so I already had all of the extra water and candles and whatnot stocked. I focused more on the cleaning; everyone had a bath, the dishes are washed, the laundry is clean, the gerbil cage is clean, etc. If we lose power I do not want dirty dishes. If I have a homebirth I need to have enough clean linen.

20130207_093106_4_bestshotSo far no labor. I expect that she’ll come on Monday, as my other two came at almost exactly 40 weeks (Amara was one day after I was due and Terra was one day before). She is still breech as far as I know, but I never did make it to get another ultrasound. I am excited, and nervous as well. The fact that I’m going to have another child in a few days (give or take) is surreal. It’s really happening. I’m going to go through labor again. I’m going to push again. I’m going to feel that ring of fire again (…but I might not want to think too much about that). I’m going to hold a newborn baby girl in my arms and cry tears of joy.

I have been so anxious that I cannot get much sleep. OMG Baby is coming! I’d like to lounge around, watch TV, and fill out some sections of her memory book, but I have laundry to fold and homework to complete. I hope that Baby waits for the blizzard to pass by before making her appearance. Just in case she doesn’t, I’d better get to folding and studying.

Stay safe everyone!


Frankenstorm Frenzy October 29, 2012

I don’t know how bad things will be when Hurricane Sandy makes it to New England. From the multitude of weather forecasts, news updates , and tweets I’ve read regarding this “Frankenstorm”, I should at least be prepared.

This time last year we suffered a crazy snow storm; we went without power for five days. It wasn’t the longest time in my life that I’d been without power, but having recently moved to New England I was totally unprepared. Five tea lights, one dying flashlight, one half-charged cell phone, very little bottled water, undone chores, an old pack of matches and one lighter. It was bad.

If the girls and I get stuck inside this time we are going to be fine! We visited the library  on Saturday morning for a stockpile of Skippyjon Jones books, a couple of Playaway Views with children’s stories on them, and a few audiobooks for me. We went shopping Saturday night for flashlights, batteries, candles, lighters, water, and a car phone charger. Today I ran a load of dishes, washed and dried three loads of laundry, filled up the gas tank, and went shopping  for fruit and non-perishables.

The girls had a great time doing our Hurricane Prep Shopping. We got to talk about why we were purchasing each item and how we would handle the storm. They personalized their flashlights with decorative tape and stickers then stored them in easily accessible places. They helped me put new batteries in every flashlight, lantern, push-on light, CD player, radio, camera, and toy. They assisted me with gathering things for their Bug-Out bags (though I doubt we’ll need them, I wouldn’t want to be packing them when the water is already knee deep). They also insisted that we bake cookies, boil eggs, and pop popcorn this morning, just in case.

They’ve followed the forecasts excitedly awaiting Sandy and we wrapped up our prep by watching the videos in Sesame Street’s Hurricane Kit. I am glad that they feel confident we’ve made good choices with our preparations, and content with their level of anxiety. I guess now all there is to do is wait and see. We’ll be waiting, and we’ll be ready.


Beach Day August 15, 2012

The plan was simple. Go to the beach, enjoy the serenity of the ocean, play in the waves, collect shells, and try to spot birds that we’d studied in the A Bird’s World exhibit a few days ago at the Museum of Science. How quickly plans change when you have young children and their minds are full of curiosity.

Other than the seagulls, we didn’t see one identifiable bird, but we did do some unexpected learning. After several trials we learned the consistency of wet versus dry sand needed to make a castle tower which didn’t instantly collapse, and I found out how wonderful of a workout building a sandcastle could be. We got into a conversation about sand particles that ventured into an explanation of quicksand that quickly became a discussion about drowning.

Yes, my girls are three and five, but I have always been completely honest with them about existence, and they know that all life involves death. They are very curious about death and I tell them what I can when they ask questions. I know that things are scarier when you don’t understand them, so I figure it’s best to just be candid (on an age-appropriate, scientific level).

Talk about death lead to lots of hypothetical questions which I answered for a good amount of time before finding them redundant. We searched along the beach for shells and discovered  dead crabs and sand fleas, we picnicked at the state reservation’s playground and I had to beg the girls to eat, then had to motivate them to go back down to the beach. The waves were terrifying to Terra, no matter their size, and she clung to my neck the entire time we were in the water. Amara found the water enticing until a large wave knocked her under and she took a panicked breath beneath. “How can waves be so strong?” Amara asked me. “It’s just water!”

The day was simple. The weather was perfect, we enjoyed the ocean, the conversation was flowing, and we left the beach a more unified team. So much for the hours we’d spent at the Museum of Science memorizing the features of birds that we’d planned on seeing. Sometimes it’s better when things don’t go as expected. Everything came together perfectly.


Close to Nature July 18, 2012

One of my biggest fears about moving to New England from southern Illinois was that we wouldn’t be close enough to nature. Back home, I was used to seeing deer on the lawn, with the bunnies that’d stop by to steal from our garden, enjoying the long stretch of yard between our house and our neighbors’ (but also enjoying and knowing our neighbors), and the short, scenic drives to wilderness trails, sandstone bluffs, fishing, hunting, and camping spots.

Since the entire move was based upon my attending graduate school in Boston, I wanted my commute to be reasonably short. I wound up sacrificing close proximity for trees, a peaceful neighborhood, and backyard buddies.

We are awakened by the quacking of the ducks; when the blinds go up they waddle over to the window expectantly, awaiting their pieces of wheat. A decent amount of our day is spent feeding the flock, the squirrels, the groundhogs, and the chipmunks, looking for new bird species, and curiously witnessing the animals’ interactions.

Our bird watching, animal feeding, and constant observation make exciting nature lessons for the girls. They are eager to learn more about each of our furry and feathered friends and I have a fun time teaching them. The carrot-loving groundhogs had babies recently, and one of the female ducks (the only duck successful at keeping her eggs safe from the opossum) had 11 ducklings! This has given me another convenient opportunity to explain the difference between birds laying eggs and mammals giving birth to live babies.

We discuss migration, the birds of prey, the differences between the red and gray squirrels, the way to behave around the animal babies, the way to avoid getting sprayed by the skunks, the reason why the blue jays scare the sparrows away, the purpose of the red-bellied woodpecker’s pecking, and many other teachings. It’s like having a nature show out our back window!

It takes me over an hour to get to school, and thus far I have only seen one lonely deer, but my daughters get to run free in the grass behind our condo, there’s a patch of woods that conceals us from neighboring streets, I am enjoying the various hiking trails, there are plenty of places for fishing, and the scenery in this area is amazing. In fact, it’s a lot like home!