How to Make a Woven Wrap Hammock

How to make a woven wrap hammock - table hammock for kids - and win best mom ever status.

It’s so fun to make hammocks and swings with babywearing woven wraps! It’s a great way to break them in with some extra use, and kids LOVE to play in them. Making a hammock with a table and a wrap is a great safe way to make a rainy-day reading nook or just an area to relax. Put a blanket over teh table, and make it into a fort, if you’d like!

I’m making a woven babywearing wrap indoor swing soon – just bought the “ingredients.”

But for now, this is what we’ll be doing!

How to make a Babywearing Woven Wrap Hammock

How to make a woven wrap hammock - table hammock for kids - and win best mom ever status.

All you have to do is smooth out your wrap so there are no twists in it, and tie it around your dining room table using a secure square knot. I’m sure most toddlers could climb in on their own.

Anneliese is a bit hesitant about gross motor things, so she asked for help, but she had no trouble getting out when she wanted to. (She asked for help but I just told her, “Put your feet on the floor.” And she did it fine.)

Anneliese LOVED this! She called it her “Babar Hammock” because on the first page of the original Babar book, the elephant’s mother is rocking him in a hammock. I love that she made that connection to literature!

 

Make a woven wrap hammock for lots of rainy-day fun. Great kids indoor activity.

She also told me she was going to go “ninight” in it, and asked if I would nurse her in it. I told her I couldn’t nurse her in the hammock, and she was a little bit sad. It WOULD be comfy to just snuggle and nurse in a woven wrap hammock though. She’s got the right idea!

How to make a woven wrap hammock - tons of indoor rainy-day fun. Great kids' activity.

Stretchy wraps, sheets, and other fabrics are not ideal for making hammocks.

Only use a woven wrap, which is very strong fabric intended for carrying babies, toddlers, and small children. 

        

More great resources for How to Make a Woven Babywearing Wrap Hammock

Note: Several of these sites are now broken, or the posts have been removed, so I un-linked them. So sad you don’t get to see more woven wrap hammocks!

  • Baby Carriers Downunder also has a variation for smaller kids who need a deeper pouch for their hammocks, tying a knot at each side before tying the center square knot. Great idea!
  • BW of Peoria includes woven wrap hammocks in their post about how to break in your woven wrap. Their blog is full of really pretty pictures too!
  • Sling hammocks are also mentioned in The Mommy Dialogues in their “break in your wrap” post. Check out their cute picture over there too!
  • All Things Maverick also has some GREAT outdoor-wrap-hammock photos. So beautiful. If we had more trees, we could do that! They also have a How to Break in a Woven Wrap post which includes the hammock tip too.
  • Leslie on Flicker has a really cute wrap hammock photo too. It looks like she set it up in a playpen somehow!
  • You can see more woven wrap hammocks here on Slingmeet.

You may also be interested in these great natural parenting items:

        

THANK YOU to everyone who has sent this link to a friend, shared this link to my actual post on facebook (instead of copying and republishing the photo without permission), tweeted, pinned, commented on, and shared this post. I LOVE when you guys are as enthusiastic about an idea as I am and want to let other people know about my blog.

Often, these photos are shared on facebook without any context, and people speculate about how they can do it with a bedhsheet, some cheap fabric, or something else they have “lying around.” Other people gasp and declare that it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Well, let me clear up some things really quickly:

  1. It isn’t a bedsheet or a “cheap piece of fabric.” It is a woven wrap created for the sole purpose of holding babies and toddlers. It was designed to carry children.
  2. If it’s an “accident waiting to happen” you’re doing it wrong. Use common sense. Use a sturdy table. Test your knot before putting your kid in there. Stay close by, especially if your kids are really young. Take it down from the table when you (er, your kids) are finished playing with it.
  3. That particular wrap (since I’ve seen people ask in a lot of places) is Ellevill Zara Sun. It’s gorgeous and I’ve since cut it and turned part of it into a ring sling (the yellow sling in the background of the picture below). It has been discontinued for a while, but I’ve heard rumors that Ellevill will bring that color back… I hope so! Because I kind of want it as a wrap again (in addition to the sling, not turning back time).
  4. If you want to make a hammock OR a swing with fabric store fabric, please DO NOT use quilting cotton or “something from the dollar table at walmart.” A good bottomweight 100% linen will be great, or you can use cotton onsaburg (just make sure it seems thick enough to be supportive, as there IS thin onsaburg out there I wouldn’t feel would be safe).
  5. I know people have done the hammock thing with an old moby or boba wrap (stretchy wraps) but please don’t. Even though those were also meant to carry babies, they were also meant to ONLY be used with multiple passes over the child, and be on the front of mom where she has both hands nearby. It would be much easier for a kid to flip out of a stretchy hammock than a woven one – and have you ever seen any “real” hammocks that are stretchy material? Probably NOT.

This post was originally published in July 2012. It was updated in December 2015.

Want to see our Woven Babywearing Wrap Swing?

Woven Babywearing Wrap Swing - what a fun indoor winter activity!

San Antonio Natural Parenting (SANP) Family Night Out

The first “crunchy” gathering I’ve gone to here was the San Antonio Natural Parenting groups’ Family Night Out. We had a delicious dinner at Big’z Burger Joint, which has really yummy gluten free buns and lots of toppings to choose from. There’s a giant fenced-in artificial lawn, where the kids all ran around and played with playground balls.

Continue reading

Caverns of Sonora, Texas

Some of the rooms are really echoey, and I would tell Joseph, “Why don’t you try out your voice?” He responded by making a loud sharp, “AH!!!” and then giggling, repeating a few times. Sometimes he tried for an echo in a non-echoey place and seemed irritated that his voice wasn’t rebounding.

Continue reading

One (Free) Gift Every Mom Should Give Her Kids

The couch seats become exciting loft beds. Books become more special when shared in “privacy” with a sibling or enjoyed alone. Everyday snacks are transformed into feasts prepared by the toddlers in their own house, castle, hideaway, ship, cabin, fort.

Continue reading

Woven Wrap Swing – Winning Mom of the Year

My other post about how to make a hammock out of your woven wraps has been pinned a billion times on Pinterest, stolen and republished without permission (creepy… that’s my kid, you guys. don’t DO that. And not okay to steal anyway) and shared WITH permission by buzzfeed and apartment therapy.
How to make a woven wrap hammock - tons of indoor rainy-day fun. Great kids' activity.
THANK YOU to everyone who has sent the link to a friend, shared the link to my actual post on facebook (instead of copying and republishing the photo), tweeted, pinned, commented on, and shared that post. I LOVE when you guys are as enthusiastic about an idea as I am and want to let other people know about my blog.
Often, the photo is shared on facebook without any context, and people speculate about how they can do it with a bedhsheet, some cheap fabric, or something else they have “lying around.” Other people gasp and declare that it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Well, let me clear up some things really quickly, before sharing my next woven wrap activity with you:

  1. It isn’t a bedsheet or a “cheap piece of fabric.” It is a woven wrap created for the sole purpose of holding babies and toddlers. It was designed to carry children.
  2. If it’s an “accident waiting to happen” you’re doing it wrong. Use common sense. Use a sturdy table. Test your knot before putting your kid in there. Stay close by, especially if your kids are really young. Take it down from the table when you (er, your kids) are finished playing with it.
  3. That particular wrap (since I’ve seen people ask in a lot of places) is Ellevill Zara Sun. It’s gorgeous and I’ve since cut it and turned part of it into a ring sling (the yellow sling in the background of the picture below). It has been discontinued for a while, but I’ve heard rumors that Ellevill will bring that color back… I hope so! Because I kind of want it as a wrap again (in addition to the sling, not turning back time).
  4. If you want to make a hammock OR a swing with fabric store fabric, please DO NOT use quilting cotton or “something from the dollar table at walmart.” A good bottomweight 100% linen will be great, or you can use cotton onsaburg (just make sure it seems thick enough to be supportive, as there IS thin onsaburg out there I wouldn’t feel would be safe).
  5. I know people have done the hammock thing with an old moby or boba wrap (stretchy wraps) but please don’t. Even though those were also meant to carry babies, they were also meant to ONLY be used with multiple passes over the child, and be on the front of mom where she has both hands nearby. It would be much easier for a kid to flip out of a stretchy hammock than a woven one – and have you ever seen any “real” hammocks that are stretchy material? Probably NOT.

SO! Here is the next AWESOME wrap project. How to make a woven wrap swing! The same tips above apply:

  • Make sure you’re using a real woven wrap, or another sturdy fabric I recommended.
  • Make sure your hardware is meant to bear weight.
  • Always supervise use of the wraps swing and stay close by even if the kid seems “good” just hanging out in it, especially if your kids are younger like mine are.
  • Take the swing down when you’re not using/supervising its use. (I actually just move both sides to the same carabiner, so it is still easy to put back up, but inaccessible to the kids and the doorway is usable).
The wrap above is Kokadi Feuerschuppen (Fire Scales) in a size 4. The one below is Girasol Snowflame twill weave (I don’t think it comes in diamond weave) in a size 5. Both are 100% cotton.
The fire scales wrap is a little “crunchy” since it’s brand new and it is woven differently than my other (soft from the get-go) kokadi wraps. So I’m happy to have the help with breaking it in! Especially since it is too short for table hammocks!
You can use a stud in the ceiling if you want, just the same way you would hang any commercial hammock chair, but we chose to use the doorframe because it is convenient and easy to reach for switching out wraps and adjusting.

To make a woven wrap swing, you need:

  • 2 heavy duty eye-screws. If you aren’t sure about their ability to bear weight, just ask the hardware store people. They can help you.
  • 2 heavy duty clip carbines. You can use the kind that screw to secure if you want, but I thought the clip would be easier. Each of these is rated to 250 pounds.
  • 4 large rings from slingrings.com . These rings were made for babywearing, have no welding spot (which would rub the fabric and make its fibers weak, in addition to being a weak spot in the ring that could potentially break), and are each rated at 250 pounds.
  • A woven wrap or appropriate fabric of your choice. Obviously a smaller length would make the swing higher, and a longer one would have more hanging down on each side.

        

Install your eye screws into your doorframe or studs, and clip your carabiners onto each one.

Take each end of the wrap and thread through both rings, then back through one of them, just as you would with a web belt or a ring sling. Make sure the fabric remains spread out within the rings instead of folded over on itself or bunched up. Make the rails (edges) a bit tighter/shorter than the middle section, so that the seat will be lower in the center. I made the back rail (in the photos below, the orange one) even tighter/shorter than the front one, so that Anneliese could lean back a little bit and still be supported.

For Joseph, (my just-turned-one-year-old) I put him in it more like a regular hammock, with his head and feet going across the doorframe instead of facing forward. I also stay very close by to “spot” him, which is why there are no photos of him in it. Anneliese likes to do that too, but the regular swing is more comfortable for her since she is taller.

Anneliese wanted to go VERY HIGH in this swing like she does outside, but I simply explained to her that the swing inside is a swing for gentle relaxing swinging, not crazy high swinging. She was cool with that. See? Common sense = safety.
I hope you make a woven wrap swing soon, whether it is to break in your new wraps, or just to have fun.
And I hate that I have to say this, but… Please share this post on pinterest, facebook, twitter, or wherever else by LINKING to my URL, not by copying the photos and re-posting them.

You may also be interested in these great natural parenting items:

        

PS I’ve gone in the swings too. Yup. They’re that sturdy. I don’t swing for a LONG time but it’s fun!

This post was originally published in May 2013. Updated in December 2015.

Confession: My Babywearing Stash

2012-09-26 12-45-35 - IMG_9492

This is my babywearing “stash” as of the beginning of October, 2012. It took a lot of work to get it all in one place, and I even missed one carrier, my Boba Air, which is in my stroller as backup.

Why would someone “need” so many carriers? Let me explain.

Top row:

  • Boba 3G — This one is “set” on the bigger setting, for when Anneliese wants to ride on my back for a little while, like when I’m cooking.
  • Ergo — I keep this one around so that local people can try the Ergo vs. the Boba, when they’re deciding what to buy. I don’t really use it though.
  • Boba 3G — This one is “set” on the smaller baby setting, for wearing Joey, usually in situations where I’m going to be standing for a long time and want equal use of my arms (since ring slings limit mobility of one shoulder slightly).
  • Boba Wrap — I used this with Joey when he was a newborn. It’s great for snuggly carrying, but not super useful once the weather is really hot, or the baby is bigger.

Wraps –

  • Size 6 Kokadi blue/gold stars — My favorite back carry is double hammock, and a 6 is perfect for that, for me. Double hammock (and other back carriers in woven/non-stretchy wraps) is great for doing chores around the house, or in situations where I might need to bend over to pick things up, lift Anneliese, etc.
  • Size 5 Didymos black hemp pfau — I can double hammock in a 5 too, and this is nice when I want a neutral wrap, or want less “tail” leftover after I tie the knot.
  • Size 4 Kokadi diorite stars — I’m still learning what different carries I can use a 4 for, but this is good for ruck and reinforced ruck carries so far.
  • Copper Gauze wrap (made by me) — This one is long enough for double hammock, front wrap cross-carry, and other multi-pass carries, and the gauze fabric makes it really really cool even when it’s hot. I am getting used to wrapping with “real” wraps, but I’m really fast with the gauze, since it’s what I used with Anneliese when she was littler, and the fabric is really easy to tighten and adjust.

Ring Slings –

  • Wrap Conversion — Zara Sun (Yellow) — I use ring slings every day, and every time I run errands. I keep one or two in the car at all times, and Sun is my go-to sling, because I LOVE the gorgeous yellow color, and the pretty weave pattern. Ring slings are majorly adjustable, can be used for several carries, are the easiest carrier to nurse in (in my opinion), and are the fastest to put on and take off. If I’m running a lot of errands in a row, I can also leave the sling on while I drive, and just “pop” Joey in and out of his car seat when we’re arriving and leaving each errand.
  • Wrap Conversion — Girasol Coral Diamond Weave (Orange) — Kind of exactly like the Sun, but I’ve had this one longer so it’s softer by now.
  • Cotton/Cashmere Aqua (made by me) — This was SO snuggly when Joey was a newborn and I just wanted to cuddle him while cooking or around the house. It’s very lightweight, so not a “workhorse” sling for endless errands, but it’s very comfortable and soft.
  • Mesh Aqua by Babyette — This is a water sling, for wearing baby in or near pools, the ocean, and even showers. I wore Anneliese in this when she was little and we went to the pool, in the shower when I NEEDED to get clean and she didn’t want to “let me go,” and wore Joey in this when we were at the beach in South Carolina this year. He’s starting to get to the age when he’s noticing more when I leave the room, so I might end up showering with him sometimes soon. (Before, he would be happy to hang out in his cosleeper and play with some toys.)
  • Silk Black (made by me) — I’ve had this one forever, and it’s super soft, thin, breathable, but still strong. I usually keep this one in the car as backup just in case, and it’s thinner than the wrap conversions, so I can throw it into my purse or diaper bag if I need to.

See? This isn’t excessive at all!

Seriously though, when I started babywearing, I went through the whole process of trying to research the best carrier to buy, as if only ONE would make the cut. My earliest carriers aren’t even around anymore, as I found better (for me) ways of “wearing” my kiddos. Most babywearing mamas end up with at least a couple carriers, for different purposes…and the more extreme ones will have carriers or wraps to coordinate with every outfit. (I’m so NOT joking about that.) I think I fall somewhere in the middle. This is a fun hobby, and it’s nice to try out different things. The option of choosing a different carrier is nice to have too, just like picking a different necklace or scarf to wear.

69132_429758590393530_224701460_n

This awesome picture is from Boba’s facebook page… how did he know I have 14??

So what’s in your stash?

Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

13 Truths About Airline Travel With Kids

13 Truths about Airline Travel With Kids

Traveling with two kids two and under is definitely a challenge. Here are some things I learned or observed during my trip. I wrote these on the way to South Carolina, and I’m editing to add a bit of return-trip wisdom.

13 Truths about Airline Travel With Kids

1)Snack Attack
I planned ahead and packed a cooler-lunchbox full of healthy snacks for the trip. Deli meats, 2 kinds of cheese, bell pepper sticks, and carrot sticks. Perfect! … For me anyway. So far, Anneliese has eaten about 10 pieces of cheese, asked for a banana, and asked for other snacks we don’t have (pretty sure she wanted dried fruits and veggies. She LOVES them.)

Lesson learned? When traveling with Kids who Know What They Want, It might be wise to pack less, and just pay 15 dollars for exactly the right snack in an airport shop. I’m sure we could have gotten a $4 banana at the airport Starbucks. Now I’m trying to eat lots so my bag will get lighter. I’m not joking.

IMG_6690

Anneliese eating some of her “mix” — dried veggies, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. She loooves it.

Return-Trip Wisdom — However… if your flight is delayed (with you in the airplane unable to go to a shop or restaurant) because of weather, and everyone on the plane gets hungry and buys all the fruit/cheese trays before the attendant gets to your row, and you end up missing your next connection and staying overnight in the airport, it might be good to have some food with you. On the return trip, I had a lot of dried snacks (homemade dried fruit, and dried veggies, nuts, etc) and a couple of apples. I’m REALLY glad we had those.

2) Kids Under Pressure
Everyone says to give your kids something to suck on or drink during takeoff and landing. Joey just had a pacifier and did great. Anneliese is old enough to understand more, so I told her, “When the plane takes off, your ears might feel funny, but that’s ok! It’s just because we are going into the sky!”

For some reason she thought it helped to “wipe” her ears with a burp cloth when they started to feel the pressure changes. I celebrated with her, “Yay! We are in the sky! My ears feel so funny! Do yours?” worked like a charm.

3) Contents Under Pressure
When the plane gains altitude, and the air pressure in the cabin changes, your no-spill straw cup is GOING to leak. Remember when you were a kid and you blew into your Capri Sun straw, and the juice just shot out at you until it was gone? And how there was nothing you could do except drink faster? Same deal.

You can make it stop by unscrewing the lid to equalize the pressure. After that, you’re good to go, as long as the plane has leveled out. You can prevent the fountain from occurring in the first place by loosening the lid during ascent. Just remember to tighten it again afterwards, or your “no spill” won’t mean a thing.

4) On Ice
When TSA wants to inspect your breast milk, frozen milk in a solid state is exempt. You don’t even need to remove it from your bag. Awesome! As far as the liquid stuff goes, they are allowed to test it to make sure it isn’t anything scary… But since mine was in bags instead of bottles, they didn’t because they didn’t want to risk spilling it. (I packed one empty bottle in my carry on).

In short, the breastmilk issue was …a non-issue, as it should be. If a TSA worker is giving you a hard time about yours, ask to talk to a superior or another agent. It should be no big deal. Babies gotta eat too.

5) In Hot Water
Speaking of babies needing to eat… Once we reached cruising altitude, Joey was getting hungry, so I poured some milk into a bottle for him. I asked one of the flight attendants for some hot water to warm it in. He brought me a cup partly full of hot water (so, room for the bottle) and the milk was warm in just a couple of minutes.

IMG_6115

Plan ahead by taking a narrow bottle that will be able to fit in the cups! My slim no-name bottle was perfect, bit my wider Nuk bottles wouldn’t have fit.

6) For Your Entertainment
I packed a few things for Anneliese to do on the plane: stickers to affix to paper, a coloring book and twist-up crayons, 2 books, her baby doll, her thin gauze blanket, and her iPod (my 2nd gen iPod touch) loaded with her favorite apps, music, and videos of her dad reading stories to her. On our first flight she only really wanted to use the iPod. But the second flight was longer and she also asked me to read stories, played with stickers, and colored. On our third flight, she spent almost the entire time playing peek-a-boo with her blanket.

These things don’t have a lot of pieces or take up much room, so our return carry-on entertainment will be similar (though I’m swapping out color wonder markers and paper for the crayons and coloring book.
IMG_6120
Arm and leg warmers, a blanket, her “tiger-phones” (tiger headphones), ipod, her baby, and a piece of ham. It can’t get much better, can it?

Return-Trip Wisdom — On the way back, I packed her things directly into my carry-on bag, rather than in her mini-backpack. The backpack itself takes up room and she wasn’t interested in carrying it at all. This saved me some space, weight, and annoyance.

7) It’s a Piss-tery
You know how you’ll hold your toddler on the toilet seat and you can hear their pee hit the water? Yeah, that doesn’t happen in airplane lavatories. There isn’t any water, and the white noise of the engines masks any “tinklinig” that may occur. So when your toddler asks you to take her to the bathroom, there’s no way to know if she’s done ANYthing. It remains a mystery. Or a piss-tery.

At least until, 5 minutes later, your toddler is frantically asking again, “Go potty? Go? Potty???”
Which leads us to…

8) Potty Trained, My Butt
She actually did a great job holding her pee until the plane landed and we could find a “Differnt? Baffroom?” But after that? I put a diaper on her. She doesn’t need that stress. I hate airplane toilets too, and MIGHT consider an adult diaper the next time I have a 4+ hour flight. Almost.

I think the title of “potty trained” should be reserved for people who will pee in any toilet necessary and available in their situation, when the alternative is wetting oneself.

9) Family Style
One more about pottying, and then I’ll stop I swear.
Look for family restrooms in the airport (ask anyone who works there, and they’ll point you to it). Even if they’re a bit farther to walk, they’re worth it. Imagine the biggest handicap-accessible stall ever. With a (generally) cleaner floor, a diaper station, a comfy bench, and even (I hope you don’t need one) a shower. There’s room for the stroller, everyone can take turns using the toilet, you can rearrange your carry-on contents, refill water cups, change diapers, and so forth. In relative privacy.

In a long travel day filled with strangers less than a foot away from you, 5 or 10 minutes “alone” can be great for recharging.

10) Wide Load
I forgot how narrow airplane aisles are. Like super narrow. Good luck if you just had a baby and your hips are still as wide as a Mack truck. Be prepared to sideswipe about 16 other passengers, even if you are being careful. Lots of “pardon me”s and “sorry”s!

On the way back I’ll try to consolidate into one bag… It’s just too much width to have a backpack on AND a diaper bag over my shoulder. Even if I end up with back pack + purse, that would still be better.

Return-Trip Wisdom – Yeah, one bag (the back pack) was way better.

11) Child’s Play
I brought about 4 small toys for Joseph. They all fit into one pocket in my bag. And there they remained. Really, a baby this young (5 months) only wants to be snuggled close, fed, smiled at, kissed, and changed.

The toys can go in checked luggage for times that lack stimulation… Travel is PLENTY exciting already for the under-1 crowd.

Return-Trip Wisdom — I checked Joey’s toys for the return trip, and we didn’t need them at all, even overnight in the airport.

12) The Kindness of Strangers
If people weren’t so NICE, my travel with the kids would have been nearly impossible. By which I mean there would have been a lot more struggle, possibly some (more) tears, and definitely not as much of the “fuzzy wuzzy” happy feelings.

So a big THANK YOU to:

  • The USAirways man who waived my over-weight luggage fee when we were leaving Fresno.
  • The wonderful (tall!) European man in First class who helped me by carrying my backpack down the aisle and putting it in the overhead compartment.
  • The “Modern Grandma,” Cindy, who was my kismet seatmate on our first LONG flight. It was so wonderful to chat with her, and she also held and played with Joey (and Joey napped on her for a while), talked with Anneliese, watched the kids while I went to the bathroom, and so forth. She may have been the highlight of my travel!
    IMG_6127
  • The older couple who sat with me, waiting for our delayed flight in Charlotte, and who made sure we got on the airplane safely and early (since it was one of the ones you have to go out on the tarmac and climb up the super-steep stairs for).
  • The flight attendant who carried Anneliese down the super-steep stairs from the plane in Charleston.
  • ALL the flight attendants who helped me warm Joey’s bottles, and who were pleasant to me and the kids. (Only one or two seemed to wish babies were never invented.)
  • The Hertz rental guy in Charleston, who grabbed my bag from the carousel and took it all the way to my rental car for me, and put it in the trunk.
  • My sister Julie, who met me at the airport after midnight to bring me the kids’ car seats, and took care of the kids while I installed the seats in the rental. She also did a little grocery run for me so we would have breakfast foods in the condo, and followed us back to the airport for our return trip so she could take our car seats back.
  • The kind and patient TSA workers in Charleston, and the stranger (airline worker w/a badge, not random traveler) who held Joey for a second so I could get my sling situated (I did have to remove it because the rings set off the metal detector).
  • Laura and her husband, who sat behind me on our first two return flights. They waited for my gate-checked stroller with me in Charlotte, and ran to our connecting gate with us. Laura insisted on holding my back pack while we raced two concourses away. Once on the next flight, Laura helped me a bit with the kids, and held Joey while I changed Anneliese’s diaper (see above re: potty training). When we landed, they waited with me for my stroller again, and made sure I had a plan when my connection was missed in Phoenix. They also gave us a chicken salad for dinner. So sweet of them, and it was nice to not feel alone in the chaos of everything that happened.
  • The cheerful staff at the Phoenix Starbucks in the morning, who honored my birthday coupon even though it had expired.
  • I’m sure there was a nice person during the last flight too, but since it was after our overnight stay in the airport, I don’t remember specifics.

13) The Tree that Bends –
The tree than bends does not break in a storm. Stay flexible… as much as possible.

Yes, on our return trip, we experienced a weather delay which resulted in a missed connection. We stayed in the airport overnight in Phoenix. It was so bizarre and exhausting. (I would have gone to a hotel if any of the shuttles were busses. But they were all just large vans, and I don’t feel comfortable borrowing questionable car seats — which is why I bought my own car seats for the trip, and my sister brought them to us at the airport.)

Anneliese was amazing though. I told her, “Tonight, your stroller is your bed! Isn’t that funny?” and reclined it as far as it would go. One of the US Airways ladies gave us a couple of travel pillows and blankets. I put one of the pillows behind Anneliese’s head, and covered her with her frog blanket.

IMG_6706IMG_6708

She slept for a few hours, waking now and then, disoriented. She would startle awake and ask, “Get down? Get down!?” I reminded her her stroller was her bed tonight and it was okay. I’d pet her hair a little and she would drift right back to sleep.

Joey drifted in and out of sleep too, nursing and snuggling. I lay on my side with my head on my backpack, with Joey in the ring sling oriented so he was laying on his back. I had one hand on Joey , and my other hand on the stroller. We were in the US Airways customer service area, which is usually manned but has a few hours when no one is at the desk.

I was nervous about the safety of falling asleep in the airport with my kids, but after the last flight of the night the airport got very quiet, and was almost deserted. Now and then, I would see a janitor or a security officer. I drifted to sleep, waking to check our surroundings now and then, or to comfort Anneliese or Joseph. After a few hours, flight attendants started arriving to get ready for work, and the restaurant across the hall started bustling with pre-opening preparations. Anneliese woke up and I decided to walk around a bit and stretch my legs.

IMG_6721IMG_6728

We moved to a different area, and Anneliese played with her new markers. She got down and danced a little, never straying too far. I found the Starbucks and got myself a drink, plus some hot water for warming up Joey’s second to last bottle. Nearby was a play area for kids, and Anneliese had a lot of fun with it.

And after many hours, we got to board our plane and go home.

Sure, I cried a little. Who wouldn’t? But I think Anneliese’s overall flexibility and calm demeanor in the face of utter chaos was of course partly her personality, but also partly “following my lead.” I stayed calm, tried to make a game of things, and for the most part, served as a model of composure. Things could have gone much worse.

Have you ever traveled alone with your young kids? What did you learn from the experience? Do you have any words of wisdom or tips to share?

Happy 2nd Birthday, Anneliese!

Have you read Anneliese’s birth story? What about her First Birthday post? It’s almost hard to believe a whole year has passed, and here we are again celebrating that long long long day that finally allowed me to meet my baby girl and become a mother. The day we went from a couple to a family of three. The day this little sunshine joined us in our journey through life.

IMG_8390

Anneliese started the day with strawberries for breakfast.

while Joey and I baked her some strawberry cake. About a week ago, I asked her, “Do you want me to make cupcakes for your birthday like last year, or a big cake?” She answered, “Big. Cake! Big! Cake.” and ran over to her high chair and tried to climb in. She didn’t quite understand that the Big! Cake! wasn’t going to materialize immediately. But her birthday was finally here and Mama was cooking the Big! Cake!

IMG_3980 copy

After I got everything into the oven, Joey wanted to get down and have a new diaper and nurse some, so I made a hammock for Anneliese with the wrap. We hadn’t done this before, so she was really excited about it. She kept calling it her Babar hammock (“Ham-MIK ham-MIK. Babar hamMIK?”) because on the first page of Babar, he is being rocked in a hammock by his mother. So sweet that she made that connection!

IMG_4026

After some playing and reading, it was time for a nap. I put Anneliese and Joey to bed, and set to work preparing her presents for her to discover when she woke up. Topher was supposed to come home early, so he would be home to see her reactions to everything when she woke from her nap.

Unfortunately, Anneliese was SUPER EXCITED … maybe because of the non-eggs breakfast, maybe because of the hammock, or maybe because Joey was in the room with her (rooming-together naps are still kind of few and far between at this point), so she couldn’t stop talking! I listened to her on the monitor and couldn’t make out the words for the most part, except “Staw-bees” popped up a few times (strawberries.) Joey was asleep and continued to sleep through her chattering for about an hour before he finally woke up.

I had been able to straighten the living room a bit, wrap her little gifts (books about airline travel, since we are preparing for a trip soon, and a flashlight because she always gets really excited about my book light, flashlights, and so forth, but I wanted a child-safe one to be her own), and set up her “living room” area.

I’ve had these Guidecraft chairs (there’s another one not pictured), table, and couch (mine doesn’t have the pillow thingies though…if I had them I guess I lost them) for a while… a remnant from my short stint as a teacher which I knew I’d want to save for my own kids. I stored them away until now. The cushions are originally BRIGHT RED, which isn’t something I’d want to look at in my living room all the time, so I made new covers in this fabric (from IKEA) to match the throw pillows on our couches. So Anneliese’s furniture perfectly coordinates with our room!

IMG_4037 copy

So… when Joey woke up, I went into their bedroom to retrieve him, and resettle Anneliese. She finally did get some sleep, and Joey got to test out the kid furniture. He approves.

Topher came home from work, and held Joseph while I finished making Anneliese’s cake and chopped up some ham and peppers and grated cheese for omelets for dinner. Then I got Anneliese up from her super-late nap.

I wasn’t going to get a tricycle for Anneliese yet (and really, I was thinking about skipping it and going to a balance bike) but she has been SO OBSESSED with tricycles and bicycles when she sees them. She gets SUPER EXCITED any time kids bike by, and she pretty much tried to take our neighbor’s bike and tricycle home with her after a quick visit. At another neighbor’s fourth of July cookout, while all the other kids were running around and playing, she just sat on their tricycle, exploring it, ringing the bell, and grinning. So… I caved. It’ll be a while before she can really ride it, since it’s so big for her, but I think she’ll enjoy it anyway.

But the balloons, man….

IMG_4169 copy

Apart from the strawberries, they may have been the most exciting part of the day! BOONS!

IMG_8467 copy

While I cooked omelets and bacon for dinner, Topher pushed Anneliese around the living room on the tricycle.

IMG_8483 copy

She kept asking, “More? More?”

IMG_8488 copy

I can’t believe how big she looks! TWO!! She’s TWO YEARS OLD!

IMG_4102 copy

Anneliese found her other gifts…

…and tried to figure out her flashlight. It has a crank you turn to charge it, and then a button to turn it on and off. I love that this one has no batteries or compartments to open and access small parts, so I’ll feel safe leaving it with her in her own bedroom, unattended.

IMG_4123 copy

Topher took Joey to put him down for an evening nap, and I read Anneliese some of her new books.

IMG_4130 copy

Then it was time for dinner! Anneliese ate a good amount of her omelet, and a bunch of bacon.

IMG_8517

Then we sang Happy Birthday and brought her some “Staw-bee cake!” I was going to bring her the whole cake with the candles on it, but we decided she would probably dive in and strip it of every strawberry immediately, so we went with just a slice.

img_8531 copy

Anneliese tried to blow out the candles, “fffff…”

IMG_8533 copy

Yay! Birthday cake!

IMG_8544 copy

(Picture below taken with my Olloclip fisheye iPhone lens… no my arms aren’t super-long)

IMG_4138 copy

Topher said he wants to switch his birthday cake frosting from dark chocolate ganache to this frosting… PLUS dark chocolate ganache. OK then. We’ll do that in a couple of weeks.

IMG_4144 copy

(Don’t worry, I’ll do a separate cake post soon.) I’m REALLY PROUD of this cake, because usually I make ridiculously ugly cakes. This is the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. Ever. It might be the prettiest cake I ever make… I’m not super talented when it comes to frosting cakes.

IMG_4145 copy

Anneliese ate all of the berries and frosting first, before even touching the cake.

IMG_4155 copy

So I gave her a pile of extra strawberries to enjoy too.

IMG_4161

When we finished dessert, Anneliese opened her other airplane book presents and we read them all before she went to bed.

IMG_8582

And yes, there was a moment I nearly cried during dinner, re-living the last moments of her birth, the relief I felt when labor was over and motherhood was here, the joy and overwhelming love I felt when I saw her grumpy just-born face and got to hold her on my chest.

Is that what being a mother does to a person? Makes them cry over strawberry cake?

I love it.

I love her. This has been an awesome two years.

Primal Baked Zucchini Rounds (Grain Free, Gluten Free)

A little while back, I found these zucchini tots on Pinterest and thought to myself, “Dang if I don’t like me some zucchini. I bet these are the bee’s knees!” Or something along those lines anyway. Rayna got the idea from Kelsey at The Naptime Chef (here are her Zucchini Bites) and wow. Hers look good too.

I must be a bit of a pig, because my incarnation of them was twice as big as Kelsey’s and four times the size of Rayna’s batch. What can I say? I love Zucchini.

I also made mine grain/gluten-free. They’re Primal too, or Paleo plus cheese.

You can follow my step-by-step image instructions, or skip to the end for the recipe.

Step-By-Step Primal Baked Zucchini Rounds (Grain Free, Gluten Free)

Grate a bunch of zucchinis. I like to hold on to the stem end as a “handle.”

IMG_8287

(Thanks to my sweet husband for taking a couple of pictures of me and Joseph cooking! Gotta love babywearing for cooking with the littles.)

IMG_8292

That’s my new Kokadi stars wrap. I’m a total kokadi fan now… must get more kokadi!

IMG_8304

Anyway, grate your zucchinis onto a kitchen towel. When you’re finished, spread them out evenly.

IMG_8308

Fold over the edges, and…

IMG_8309

place another folded towel on top. Then…

IMG_8310

roll up the whole thing and SQUEEZE that sucker. Press on it, smash it, squeeze it. You’re trying to get out as much “juice” as you can so your rounds won’t be soggy.

IMG_8311

This is pretty good!

IMG_8313

Now add a diced onion. I really like them diced smaller than this, but my knife needs some sharpening, so I didn’t want to keep fighting with it. (Does anyone have a foolproof knife sharpener recommendation? I mean I AM A FOOL so need EASY.)

IMG_8329

Grate some cheese and throw it in too. I used sharp cheddar.

IMG_8334

Add your eggs…

IMG_8336

…almond flour…

IMG_8340

…and seasonings. I used garlic salt and cumin. I would have used MORE cumin but I ran out. Noted on the grocery list! You can use whatever seasonings you like though.

IMG_8341

Use your cookie scoop to drop lumps onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. I’ve been using this reusable parchment lately and I LOVE it. It’s thin and flexible, not thick like the silicone sheets (and it’s way cheaper). I need to get more of these to cut to fit my loaf pan, cake pans, etc. Sorry for the tangent but I gotta share.

I patted them down a little bit with my fingers after taking this picture, to make them a bit flatter.

IMG_8347

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes…

IMG_8349

…then flip them over, and continue baking, around 5-7 more minutes to crisp the other side.
IMG_8350

They’re piping hot and ready to eat!

IMG_8355

They reminded me and my husband both of potato latkes, but… not potatoes, and baked in the oven, not fried. But zucchini. And with cheese. But still. Latke-esque. So I pulled out the sour cream as a condiment for them. Good good choice.

IMG_8364

I’m sure you could make a fancier dip, but they didn’t need anything fancy. Little unassuming zucchini rounds, packed with flavor.

IMG_8370

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 36
Author: Joyful Abode
Ingredients
  • cups About 4 of zucchini shredded, moisture squeezed out
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 1 cups to 1 1/2 of shredded cheddar cheese please grate it yourself
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of almond flour/almond meal
  • Seasonings to taste. I used garlic salt and cumin.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Use a cookie scoop to drop “lumps” onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, and pat gently with your fingertips to slightly flatten.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the bottom edges begin to brown, then flip over.
  5. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes, until browned on the other side.
  6. Enjoy plain, or serve with sour cream!
  7. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags, and re-heat in the oven if you’d like.

gluten free zucchini recipeThese are great for:

  • A cookout side item (easy to eat without utensils!)
  • A child’s lunch box (they’re good cold too)
  • Breakfast (they reheat great… I had some this morning)
  • Snacks between meals
  • Party appetizers
  • A dinner side (I think they’d be awesome with any sea food especially)
  • I think you get the idea…

Babywearing a new squish

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a more experienced babywearer now, or if it’s a difference in personality and temperament, but Joseph has taken to babywearing right off the bat. Anneliese (as a newborn) needed more soothing once she was situated in the carriers (any kind), and usually only liked to be worn in loud/stimulating places. In the house was only okay if I was busy with something like cooking, but otherwise she didn’t want to be worn at home.

Joseph is one of those babies who can be nearly-instantly calmed by being put into a carrier, it seems. Here he is, just after having a little crying jag…

http://distilleryimage3.instagram.com/ca163d3297e411e192e91231381b3d7a_7.jpg

I wrapped him in my (made by me) cotton gauze wrap and he fell asleep very quickly. I cooked dinner with him wrapped on my chest.

http://distilleryimage9.instagram.com/bc0dd53297e511e19e4a12313813ffc0_7.jpg

Such a comfy way to snuggle with a new baby, hands-free.

http://distilleryimage11.instagram.com/41bea97097e811e1a92a1231381b6f02_7.jpg

I had wondered if Anneliese would have any jealousy or “weirdness” about me wearing another baby, but the truth is, I think my pregnancy helped her become more comfortable with not being worn as much. As my belly grew, I could only wear her on my back or not at all (and even on my back, it wasn’t always comfortable because I had to take her down for me to pee so often). I started carrying her for shorter amounts of time, just in my arms, and letting her walk more, like when we would go to the post office. Most stores we go to have shopping carts she can ride in, and she found them to be quite fun.

http://distilleryimage1.instagram.com/a6fdef0c97e911e1abb012313813106f_7.jpg

My husband wears Anneliese some when we go out or for walks, and sometimes she rides in the stroller or shopping cart. I wear Joseph 100% of the time when we’re out and about. I miss wearing Anneliese too, so I might try out some tandem-babywearing (baby on front, toddler on back) or see if The Guy would want to swap babies for a bit sometime.

But she seems to be really comfortable with me wearing Joey. She’s even brought me slings before when she thinks I should carry him in one. And now that she’s really doing more “pretend-play,” she loves wearing her baby dolls now and then in her boba mini or wrapped in a scarf like a wrap.

I just have to say that I’m thankful every day that I’m aware of babywearing… some people never wear their babies at all, and I feel like they must have to work so much harder to get through a day with small children. I wear Joseph every single day, and before he was born (before I got too big) I wore Anneliese every day. I feel like part of the key to the bond we have (and the independence and courage Anneliese usually has in social or public situations), and also partly responsible for easing the transition between family-of-3 and family-of-4.