Minimalist Baby gear

We bring everything to our mountain home by motorbike. Because of that it has caused me to rethink what baby things are necessary, which things are nice to help keep our sanity, and what things are really only clutter.

  1. Somewhere for baby to sleep. We have a borrowed pack n play. All my babies have slept in them. I don’t love them because…ugly. But, I always end up giving in to the practicality. We also have a few sheets, blankets, a wool waterproof pad, and a mosquito net.
  2. Somewhere to bathe the baby. We have a plastic tub inside the shower.
  3. Baby food gear. For us it’s a small metal bowl, a camping spoon, a blender, and a pot. We don’t even need a bib since it’s warm enough to just strip him down. We just bought a sippy cup that he’s learning to use.
  4. A baby carrier. I LOVE my Ergo.
  5. Diapers. We use cloth diapers (Flips) in the village, disposable when we are traveling. We also have a plastic lidded bucket for the dirties, cloth wipes and bottom spray, and we already had a “diaper” sprayer.
  6. Clothes. We get away with a few rompers, a few long sleeve pajamas and pants, and a few pairs of socks. It’s nice not to need much.
  7. Toiletries. We have baby soap, saline spray, baby Motrin, a snot sucker, chest rub, eucalyptus oil, a thermometer, and Medicine Mama’s sweet bee magic.

Non necessities that we have because we were given them, or because it helps our sanity.

  1. Toys. Ez likes the plastic clip rings, his bear, and Duplos. Period. Well he also loves anything that isn’t a toy like potatoes, pot lids, string, or trash. But we have Sophie, other squishy toys, board books, and cars if he ever decides to play with them.
  2. High chair. Sure we could feed him on the floor like we did for the first while.  But it’s nice to have somewhere that he stays put.
  3. Baby hammock. This isn’t so much for me, as it is for the ladies who help around the house. They don’t like to hear a baby crying on his own in a crib, and they love bouncing Ez to sleep…the hammock is a win for them.
  4. Baby book. I TRY to keep track of the milestones that so quickly go wizzing by.

I realize that everyone’s definition of minimal is different, and that actually our baby gear is quite extensive compared to our neighbors. Baby prep in the village mostly involves buying a bunch of sarongs, some baby soap and eucalyptus oil, and maybe buying or making a baby hammock. The sarongs serve as clothes, blankets, diapers, and carriers for the first months.

Is there anything that I’ve forgotten? Any gear that you think we should add?

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 Life. Daily.

What our daily life looks like in our village home.

Ezra and Jude wake up before the chickens. Literally. We sit Ezra in his high chair in front of the open door. He watches the dawn, and the chickens flying down out of their tree.

Jude reads cartoons in his bed until six. OCCASIONALLY he will fall asleep again.

Then it is time for Breakfast. On this morning we eat a sailors’ breakfast of “hardtack”, salted meat, and cheese. We are studying explorers in History. Ezra enjoys papaya, sweet potato, oatmeal, or rice.

Next it’s time to get ready for school. Which mostly just means brushing teeth, clearing off their desks, and folding their blankets. Then school. Dad teaches Bible and then Science. 

Then it is mom’s turn. If Ezra is napping, it is relatively easy to read through history, help Jude with his daily five, and oversee Grey. If he is not, it gets more complicated. 

Michael begins language study around eight. He might walk to the village, or he might have a friend come by to study with him. His schedule is another post for another day.


We usually finish school by eleven. I will either quickly prepare something, or if I have help, the ladies will. They will wash dishes, wash clothes (and the cloth diapers), mop, and cook. It is SO much nicer when they are around. 
After lunch the boys will often go swimming.


I might be able to get some language study in. Sometimes I rest while Ezra is napping. When it’s dry season we would probably go visiting. But, since its slippery, slick rainy season, we hang around the house. 

Our house becomes the play zone for all of the kids coming home from school.

It gets dark at six, we turn on the generator, eat dinner, and watch a movie. At eight we turn off the generator, and go to bed. Bed comes early in the dark jungle after a full day.

Greens and Whining.

One loves yellow rice. The other loves chocolate cereal.


For lunch the other day we had rice, cassava and papaya greens in coconut milk, and fried tempeh

If you are thinking “my kids would NEVER eat that, and would just beg for some pizza.” Yeah. My kids didn’t want to either. And there was wishing for pizza. 

After their daddy prayed and thanked God for the greens that we grew in our yard and the rice and fish that we were able to buy with the money He provides us with, Michael reminded the boys that the Israelites whined and wished for pizza too…or er…leeks. 

The Israelites were bored. Bored of the miracle that fell from the sky every day. Yawn. They only had to pick up the miracle from the ground. Yawn. God provided the miracle every.single.boring.day. Yawn.

It’s kind of hard to imagine that the thing the Iraelites called manna, and described as tasting like honey cakes would get boring. But, once it became usual they overlooked the miracle, the provision. 

I do the same thing…I overlook the miracle. I overlook the One that allows us to live and work in a simple, mountain environment. I strap on my big girl boots and figure that I am the reason we all survive. No wonder I end up becoming the Queen of Compain. Today I am remembering that God provides for us in miraculous ways. I am trying to be grateful for the manna. 

It’s not only my kids who need a spirit of gratefulness.

Birth choices

Mama + Ezra

A few hours old and snuggling with his mama.

 

When I gave birth two months ago it was a beautiful and powerful experience.

Sitting in my hospital bed, I thought a lot about the first world gift of choice. I had wanted to have a”natural” birth at home or in a birthing center. But, after looking around at the options, thinking about my husband and I’s own personalities, and counting our $$$ I decided that I would give birth in a hospital with a doctor. While we weren’t able to be in a birthing center like I had wanted, I WAS able to find a doctor who was chill with no pills. And, even if it was in a hospital setting, it was still a beautiful experience.

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We welcome you to the world little one.

 

Being waited on by the nurses and staff gave me a lot of time to sit and reflect. I was able to sink into the reality (and wonder) of becoming the mother of a newborn again. I was also hit by the fact that my experience was oh so much different than my friends’ in the village.

 

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One day after being welcomed into the world, a healthy baby boy is held by his father.

 

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Chicken Knowledge

“Chickens. They have wings, feet, necks, beaks (peck, peck, peck, peck).
When they are laying an egg they say, “ge, ge, get it out.”
–J man explaining what he knows about chickens (but, the ge, ge, get it out joke is originally from his brother)

We have an eager young hen.
Several months ago she layed about eight eggs. We re-appropriated seven, thinking that perhaps she would keep laying. Being eager, our hen did not keep laying, instead she decided to sit on her one lonely egg.

She had picked a prime nesting box for her eggs. The hot real estate was soon invaded by other hens who mixed their eggs in. Soon the eager young hen had quite a few eggs under her…but with different setting times.

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Sleepyheads

I noticed a theme in my picture taking. I can’t resist taking pictures of my men sleeping. They seems so peaceful, and sweet.

From over a year ago…his book is upside down.

Also from over a year ago, but he still sleeps with his arms up like that.

Also over a year ago…maybe the arm up thing is genetic.

So sweet.

Yep, it’s probably hereditary.

More recent. He fell asleep while watching television in the evening. What a pose!

Making a cloth doll

When we first moved here, I started a list “100 uses for a sarong”. I’ve just barely made it to 20, so I guess 100 was quite ambitious. Maybe if I really break things down like 1. a carrier for betel nut 2. a carrier for water 3. a carrier for groceries…that might get me there.

I’ve since discarded the title. It’s now just a list of ways to use the multi-purpose sarong:

  1. Skirt
  2. Beach/after bath cover-up
  3. Towel
  4. Cape
  5. Head cover/sun cover
  6. Blanket
  7. Sleeping bag
  8. Changing room
  9. Backpack
  10. Baby carrier
  11. Child back carrier
  12. Chicken carrier
  13. Purse
  14. Nightgown
  15. Swing
  16. Baby hammock
  17. Stretcher
  18. Tablecloth
  19. Rain Jacket
  20. “hip pack” (if you are wearing a sarong as a skirt, you can wrap up oranges, candy, or whatnot in the front folds)
  21. Doll

Here’s the way that a doll is made:

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