Archive | May, 2013

Cloth Diapers

28 May

For Aleah and Sophi we used disposable diapers.  After spending hundreds of dollars on these we decided that there HAD to be a better way.  We looked into cloth diapers and after the first week or so of using cloth diapers we couldn’t be more pleased.

What I was most worried about was the extra time I thought cloth diapers would take.  But it only takes a little bit longer since you have to throw them in the washing machine.  Instead of throwing the disposable diaper into the trash can, we throw the cloth diaper into a bin to store until laundry day.  Easy peasy.  When laundry day rolls around I throw them into a wash cycle on cold then a hot/cold cycle with a little bit of detergent.  Hang them out to dry while the kids are jumping on the trampoline and you are good to go.

The money we are saving by using cloth diapers is astounding.  Instead of buying new diapers for $20 every 2 weeks we bought 12 diapers for about $100 and Jared’s sister gave us all of her cloth diapers from her little boy and now we are set until little Hudson is potty trained.  How is that for awesome?


And how beautiful are they?

It does take some getting used to how big his bottom is when wearing a cloth diap and takes a bit more time  and effort to use cloth but we are excited about saving money.  We will save over $1,000 by using cloth instead of disposable!  Woah.  I can think of a few things I would rather spend $1000 on than diapers.


Shower Gift

22 May

I was invited to a baby shower a few weeks before little Hudson was born.  Since I had to idea what to make I ran to pinterest and saw this adorable idea.

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Luckily it didn’t take that long to make since I started working on it the day before the shower.  I used my sewing machine to sew the bunting fabric together and then hand-stitched her name and the date she was born.

Jungle Flower Box

19 May

Alright, enough of the mushy stuff- we got to get down to buisness around here =)

A bit ago I was contacted by JoAnn Fabrics to review a craft from their spring line up of crafty ideas.  I chose to do the jungle flower box.  I am glad that their requirement allowed for me to put my own “spin” on the craft because we  did a lot of spinning.

Here is the box that they started with:


And this is the box we ended up with:


We used acrylic paint from Joann’s and the girls had a lot of fun.  I would have bought a flower box from JoAnn’s but we live in the middle of nowhere and I wasn’t up for treking 45 minutes one way to buy a box SOOOOO I asked Jared to make one for me and he came through with a beautiful box made with scraps from around the house.

Here are some of the other crafts for you to look at, click here. 

And get this, whoever gets the most repins (with the hashtag # summerof joann) of their picture from pinterest gets a $100 Joann’s gift card, purdy cool.  So pin away!

Hope this inspires you all to get crafty and make some great things.

Enjoying Him

16 May

Yes.  We are a family of five.  Little tiny baby Hudson is now two weeks old.  Can you believe it?  I can’t.  I think for the first time in my life I believe people who say, enjoy them when they are little because the time goes too fast.  We  are trying to live in the moment.  And enjoy the moments.

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When Aleah and Sophi were born I remember thinking- I can’t wait until they can crawl, or walk or talk or ride in a front facing car seat or read or color etc.  But now that I have two kids doing some of these things I realize that I need to enjoy the newborn and baby stage since it passes so quickly.  I want to soak up every minute of Hudson sleeping on my chest.  I just want to hold him and smell his sweet smelling newborn smell.  Seriously that is the best smell in the entire world.  Am I right, or am I right?

We are in full blown gardening, play in dirt and kiddie pool, wear sunscreen mode here at our house.  More on that to come, thanks for your patience as we figure out our new life with this precious new addition.

Hudson’s Home Birth: A Father’s Narrative

9 May

I woke to the shower running and the lamp next to the bed still shining.  It was 11:30 pm and I’d been asleep for an hour.

“Jared, you need to start timing these,” Caitlyn said as she moved from the shower to the birthing tub; and with exhaustion still clinging to that space behind my eyes, I began watching the clock as I listened for my wife’s gasps and groans.  Three minutes apart.

By midnight the decision to call the midwife was settled.  We both spoke to Katie, our midwife, and received a few last instructions, which, in the beauty of homebirth and midwifery, amounted to, “Make yourselves comfortable – this is your time for intimacy and solitude.”  And, “Oh, do you have half and half for coffee or should we bring our own?”

It would be an hour before the apprentice-midwife, Serena, arrived, and another half hour before Katie and her doula, Anne, arrived.  In the meantime I attended to a few other details in the house, and sat quietly with Caitlyn while she labored in the warm tub.

The night was pitch black and unusually cold for early May.  Anomalous snow fell furiously to our southeast, but the commute of our midwives was undisturbed.  The house was silent as our daughters slumbered in their sheets.  Our room was lit by bedside lamps and wonderfully warm with the humidity of the laboring tub.  Caitlyn sat in the water, heroic and more beautiful than she’s ever been.  This is our home and this is our room.  This is where our baby enters the world.

Serena softly knocked at the front door, bringing with her the chill of that frigid spring night.  In our bedroom she moved about like a wisp, a gentle spirit, arranging towels and blankets in preparation for the birth.

I met Katie and Anne at the door shortly before 2 a.m.  After pointing them to the coffee and tea, we all nestled into our bedroom.  We are Caitlyn’s team: Katie’s strong, bare arms monitoring baby’s heart rate and mother’s vital signs – her strong voice offering confidence and leadership.  Serena’s gentleness providing peace and reassurance.   Anne’s ease and dignity working quietly in the shadows of our dark room.  I kneel beside the tub, breathing in rhythm with my wife, rubbing her hair and neck.

“I can’t do this,” she whispers to me, without lifting her head from the edge of the tub.  The words don’t startle me.  We know she will come to this place.  The place where she recognizes that the pain and effort is more than she can give.  And then she gives it anyway.  This is the untapped strength and force of motherhood.  This is childbirth.

Shortly after 3 a.m. Katie encourages Caitlyn takes a short walk to the bathroom and then the bed to change positions for a bit.  After a few more contractions Caitlyn agrees.  At the bed they check and she is 7 centimeters.  I give Katie a high-five before helping Caitlyn back towards the tub.  She pauses midway for another contraction, and then steps into the birthing tub.

I maintain the position that no laboring woman can ever be judged for their exclamations or expressions during childbirth; there’s just no telling what words and sounds may come.  Seconds after Caitlyn returns to the tub she stands to her feet in a panic and screams a scream unlike anything I’ve ever heard.  It’s a sound of fierce terror and pain, the kind that makes even the owls in the forest bury their heads in their wings.  She shrieks, “What’s happening to me!” Without hesitation, we all surround the tub like ministers at a baptism.

“It’s okay Caitlyn, it’s your baby.  Baby is coming.”  Katie’s words are matter-of-fact.  This is what she does.  She delivers babies.

Another scream like there’s a stabbing taking place, and I look towards our door for fear that our girls will enter at any minute, awoken by a scene they won’t soon forget.  He gives to his beloved sleep – Psalm 127:2.  On this particular night, they sleep.

We coax Caitlyn from her standing position, but are left supporting her as she squats and leans back.  I hold her hands from the front while Anne and Serena support her back.  “You’re safe, Caitlyn,” Serena reassures.

Katie maneuvers to feel baby’s head and birth position.  Another scream.  After the next contraction Katie encourages Caitlyn to position herself on her hands and knees.  Caitlyn agrees.  Baby’s head is out but chin and shoulders haven’t cleared.  Caitlyn pushes and screams again with a strength I know nothing about, and then instinctively reaches down for her baby and pulls him from the water toward her chest.

“It’s a boy!” She yells as she settles against the wall of the tub, leaning her head back and drinking deeply of the love and euphoria shared by mother and baby in natural birth.


He was born at 3:36 am on May 2, 2013, in our bedroom.

He was born directly into his mother’s arms and onto her chest.

He was born somewhere between Iron and Wine’s ‘Sodom South Georgia’ and The Album Leaf’s ‘Window’ on our labor playlist.

He was born when the waters of the Little Fork River overran its banks as our snowy spring melted away, and those waters wandered toward that great northern bay with which he shares a name.

He was born into a warm tub, filled with his mother’s tremendous effort and love, his father’s encouragement and joy.


Dads are tertiary during childbirth, but nowhere are they more embraced and empowered than in the home.  I was encouraged to be Caitlyn’s most intimate ally and our baby’s unbridled advocate.  While Caitlyn received postpartum care, I held our baby to my body and warmed his pink, wet skin with my chest.  His head rested perfectly beneath my chin and our hearts thumped towards each other’s through layers of bone and flesh.  A few moments ago I knew him only as the lump of life in my wife’s womb.  Now he is my son and I hold him close.

There’s a point during Caitlyn’s postpartum care where she needs an IV.  The midwives and doula are busy at her side.  She is pale and weak and fades into the sheets like sinking into water.  I glance at the clock.  It’s almost 6:30 and the girls could be awake at any moment.  Again, it’s not a scene I wish to greet them with in the morning.  But again, they sleep.

The girls sleep for another hour, a miracle in its own right, and when they do wake up they’re ushered into a room glowing with soft morning light.  We are calm and happy.  When the night began we were a family of four; now we are five, and we pile into the bed to share our warmth and joy.  Sophi curiously brushes his cheek while Aleah stares into his face with her dazzling blue eyes.  We are hugging and laughing.  We are in our home together.



It’s Sunday now, and I write this after dozing on our bed in the morning sunlight, my son on my chest and my wife sleeping peacefully beside us.  All is silent except for the breath that tumbles from Hudson’s nose across my skin, and the occasional drumming of the grouse’s wings in the woods beside our house; a sound that accompanied our entire labor and continues to provide cadence to our story.

We’re often tempted to think that our life is the sum of what we do.  It’s our action and advocacy, our education and vocation, our going and showing.  But what about this moment on our bed in the stillness of the morning, with my wife and new child resting like leaves on quiet water?  Is this just a break from the real thing, or isn’t this the real thing?  Life feels more vibrant now than it ever has.


Welcoming Hudson

7 May

Hudson James Clark, born 3:36 am on May 2nd.

21 inches long and weighing 6 lb 14 oz of perfection

He is 4 hours old in this peaceful and intimate picture.


The little person I cannot pry my eyes away from and have not set down since his arrival.

We are all in love and are relishing each fresh new moment.

15 % off Coupon from Jo-Ann Fabrics!

1 May

I have agreed to participate in the spring catalog promotion with Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.  According to the mass e-mail I received- “You’ve not only inspired your own readers, but crafters from all over to discover their love of crafting!”  Okie dokie then cool.

I chose one craft from a list of 71 ideas and then I will make it and do a blog post review of the craft.

For doing this I get a $25 gift card for supplies, woohoo!

Here is the kicker, you guys get a 15% off total purchase from Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4 and here is the link.

The craft I decided to try is called the jungle window box.


Sometimes it pays to have a blog =) and glad I get to share the love