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Hello! I am Shauna, very happily married to my soulmate, Jarrod. Proud mom to 4 boys, and proud step mom to 3 girls, and a much bigger family beyond just that... as well as furry family members. I am currently a stay-at-home mom. I am a big believer in free self-expression. I am heavily tattooed, and I enjoy being able to wear some of my favorite images on my skin to see every day. I have always been an artistic, hippie soul. I take lots of photos, draw, sculpt, and whatever else I can get my hands on. Iย am a peace-lover. Donโ€™t get me wrong, I enjoy a good debate, and learning about other points of view. But when it is all said and done, I donโ€™t hold grudges or resentments. I am good at letting go the things that upset or anger me. But I always learn from those lessons. I believe war and any type of discrimination is ridiculous, and as cliche as it may sound, I wish we could all just get along. Anyway, to find out more about me, our family, and our life, read my blog! Follow it if you like what you read, and feel free to share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!

Felix is 10 Months Old!

Felix is 10 months old today. He is so happy these days, and is a delight to spend our days with.

We are doing better with routines now, and I think that has helped him understand when bedtime is. Sleeping remains a struggle, and naps are nearly nonexistent, but weโ€™re going to continue to work on it.

The developmental specialist said we should try to re-introduce dairy into Felixโ€˜s diet, and so far itโ€™s going well in small quantities. He is eating a pretty wide variety of foods now, and is finally starting to try and feed himself.

He is not crawling yet, though he is getting closer every day. His physical therapist reduced his visits to every other week rather than every week because heโ€™s making such wonderful progress. She said she anticipates him being caught up with his peers by age 2. We are just all so happy that he is getting caught up, and that he has passed his fussy first several months.

I canโ€™t believe we are nearing one year old! Onward and upward!

Not Your Slave

Marrying a man who was a doormat has been an interesting experience…

In the past I was a doormat as well.ย  I allowed people to walk all over me, use me, take advantage of my generous nature, and even abuse me.ย  Then one day, I had enough.ย  I wanted to be better.ย  I wanted to feel better about myself.ย  I knew I deserved more than I was allowing myself to have.ย  So I sought help.ย  I went to therapy, worked on my self-esteem and anxiety issues, applied those skills to my real life, and started standing up for myself.ย  My newfound boundaries and ability to tell people no lost me some friends, but afterall, they weren’t real friends anyway.ย  They were just users, and I didn’t have room for that nonsense in my life.

Now I’m married to a man who had the same sort of background.ย  Jarrod was used by MANY people in his life, and after many years of being used, his friends and family came to expect a certain attitude and behavior from him, naturally.ย  But then he got together with me, and I saw his struggle.ย  I saw him feel run down and defeated by giving in to everyone’s demands of him, even though he didn’t want to give in.ย  He often gave in to avoid confrontation because he just didn’t want the drama and conflict.ย  He and I had conversations about it, and I assured him that he deserved better.ย  That he deserved the respect of his loved ones.ย  That he deserved to be able to stand up and say no to the demands and even to simple requests if he so desired to say no.ย  I encouraged him to defend his boundaries, and make decisions that he wanted to make rather than what everyone else wanted.

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Jarrod and me, September 2017

At first everyone thought I started being the one bossing him around, pulling at his puppet strings and making all his decisions for him.ย  I’d like to say over time they all came to realize that he does, in fact, have a mind of his own, with is own opinions and desires, and his own ability to make decisions.ย  And I was absolutely not making all his decisions for him.ย  But as of yet, they still haven’t figured it out.ย  I’m still getting the “blame” for his changed behavior.ย  When all I’m really doing is just telling him that it’s up to him, and supporting his decisions.ย  I’m building him up, making sure he knows he’s important and what he wants matters.ย  It’s frustrating to me that no one gives him the credit for being in charge of his own life, and that I’m pretty well disliked because they still think I’m controlling him.ย  But most days I know I just can’t let it get to me.ย  If his loved ones actually love and care about him, they will someday come to realize that he is his own man, and can say and do whatever the hell he damn well pleases without anyone telling him what to do.

As far as decisions that affect the both of us, or our whole family (us and our children), our decisions are 50/50.ย  Always.ย  We talk to each other, discuss the pros, cons and options, and come up with a decision we are both satisfied with.ย  For everything!ย  From little stuff like chores and household rules, to appointment times and dates, all the way up through family vacation ideas and living arrangements.

So, am I sorry?ย  HELL NO!ย  I have nothing to be sorry for.ย  I love Jarrod, and I’m doing everything I can to make his self-esteem better, and his own needs and desires met.ย  He does the same for me.ย  We’re soulmates, and that’s what we do for each other.ย  And if anyone has a problem with all of this…. keep it to yourself.

Bonding

When I was pregnant with Felix, I had certain beliefs and expectations of becoming a new mom again.  I knew I would be tired and sleep deprived for a while, and sore from the c-section.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew the baby would sleep in our bed at least part of the time.  I knew we had family and friends who were looking forward to not only meeting our baby, but helping with him for babysitting and such. And I knew I wanted to stay at home with the baby for about the first year or so, at least.

From the first day Felix was born, he gave me hell about breastfeeding, which continues today.  He has found new and unique ways to make nursing challenging just about every week.  From refusing, to not latching right, to blood sugars requiring supplementation, to LOTS of biting.  Its been crazy!

My expectations about sleep deprivation were very inaccurate.  It’s been nothing like I thought it would be.  Felix does not have typical sleep patterns.  For one, he doesn’t really nap.  He sleeps 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day while laying on one of us.  If he gets put down, he wakes up.  And at night, for the longest time he didn’t sleep much.  He was awake for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night, and nursed several times overnight.  He would be wide awake and happy, playing in the dark and keeping us awake.  I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night for months.  It has evolved a little over time.  Now he generally sleeps well overnight, but still wakes to eat 2-3 times, occasionally staying awake for an hour or two, or occasionally having a night where he doesn’t sleep much at all. On the flipside of that, he occasionally has nights where he sleeps 10 hours straight.  But its more on the sleeping side now.  Even though he’s still challenging to get to go to sleep.

Friends and family have been few and far between as far as visits.  No one babysits except Felix’s big sister Zoey.  And that’s only been a couple times.  But some of that is just because Felix had CMV and was grumpy and colicky until he was about 6 months old.

And that’s where the point of this post comes into play: illness and colic, and bonding with my baby. For the very tough, colicky period, I loved Felix of course, but I didn’t like him. I hated all the crying, particularly because there was nothing I could do to soothe him. I couldn’t make him feel better. He would look directly into my face and scream frantically as if pleading for me to make it better. It broke my heart every day, and I sobbed right along with him.

And after a while the helplessness made me feel like a shitty mom. It made me angry, not at Felix, but at the universe for making my poor innocent baby so uncomfortable and upset. It also made me angry with myself for being so completely unable to make it better. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I started to have feelings of regret and resentment towards myself and Jarrod for deciding to have another baby in the first place. I was desperately missing the time I had spent with my husband, my older kids, my other family, my friends, and even working. I was entirely consumed with the fact that I now had to take care of this little, helpless, miserable, screaming human that I could not comfort or make feel better. I knew it would be a temporary phase in the bigger picture, but every day felt like an eternity. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, as more time passed and Felix wasn’t improving, wasn’t getting past his colic, and now had obvious developmental delays… my already sleep-deprived, depressed and anxiety-ridden brain absolutely ran away with ideas of serious illness and disabilities. He wasn’t physically moving right, seemingly wasn’t seeing or hearing well, wasn’t responding to anything or looking at us at all, had no interest in toys or really anything. Our family doctor really didn’t know what to tell us, so he sent us onto specialists. But before we could meet with the specialists, I couldn’t help but worry myself sick. My brain just would not shut off, thinking he had some severe life-altering condition or issue.

When we met with the developmental specialist the first time, Felix had improved only slightly. That was in August. Genetic tests, body system function tests, and many imaging tests were ordered. Physical, occupational and speech/feeding therapy was ordered. The doc said he wanted to be super aggressive for the best outcome. But while we were waiting for all of these appointments, Felix started to improve on his own.

The only test that came back without a normal result was the one for CMV antibodies. Meaning at some point in Felix’s short life, he had been exposed to CMV and had gotten an infection. CMV is like mono, and it effects everyone differently. Apparently it had a very strong, long lasting effect on Felix in a very important developmental period of his life. So he felt like he had a cold/flu for likely 2-3 months, and that is what was delaying everything.

In October, Felix had his follow up, and by then he was like a whole new baby. And since then he has improved even more. He is babbling, playing, social, happy, communicative, and a complete joy to have in our lives. Physical therapy is helping him learn how to move his body the ways he should have learned when he was sick with CMV. It’s giving him the awareness and confidence to try new things and he’s really blossoming.

His illness and delays really drove a stake into my heart at first, and made me question our decision to have another baby. It was extremely tough, and looking back I’m not sure how we survived it. But now that things are coming closer to “normal,” speaking for myself, there’s an overwhelming sense of relief and joy in my life. Felix is an amazing little guy. I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed to be his mommy. He has taught me so very much already, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me more. The bond is strong now, as I feared it would never be. Thank goodness.

I’m so lucky to have been able to stay home with him and support his extra needs. If I’d had to work or if I wasn’t as involved as I am with him, we may have missed the issues and it could have had much more lasting effects on him overall.

I’m even luckier to have an amazing husband supporting not only Felix’s needs, but me, my needs, and my dedication to helping our son. Jarrod and I make a pretty phenomenal parenting team. There’s no one in the world I’d rather have as my partner in life. He has supported me through all the struggles, listened to all of my venting, and done everything he could do to help in every way. He’s shared in all the joys and triumphs, with just as much excitement. He’s the best husband, father, and man I’ve ever known.

Now the regret and resentment is completely gone, as it has transformed into bliss. We made the right decision to have a baby. Felix makes the most perfect addition to our family. All the older kids adore him, and I feel like his presence is bringing us closer as a family as well. Something we all have in common. I am enjoying watching his personality develop and shine, and I am hopeful and excited for the future with Felix in it.

Blog Changes

First of all, I’d like to say my changes will not affect my content. Everything will still be here, and I’ll continue to add the same sorts of blog content and updates.

This is just a name change. I’m going from “HippieMom” to “RecycledStardustt,” and the blog will change to reflect that. The URL will change as well. For an explanation on why the change, read on.

Changes will take effect within the next few days.

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HippieMom or HippieLady has been my online presence for years now. However I just don’t feel like it fits my lifestyle anymore. I’m still a tree-hugger, peace-lover, love to go barefoot, try to be eco friendly when I can, free spirit, baby-wearer, etc. But am I really a hippie? Mmm… I don’t feel like I am much these days.

Stardustt was my very first online screen name back when I was 12 years old. Not only that, but I feel our physical presence on this planet is nothing but recycled stardust. So I’m recycling my name just like our carbon atoms are recycled. It all fits!

Felix is 9 Months Old!

He’s trying to crawl! In this photo he’s on his hands and knees. He bounces like that. He also sits up with his back straight and can balance much better.

He’s been using his walker to stand but doesn’t have very good balance on his feet yet.

He’s also been eating what we eat in tiny bites rather than purรฉes most of the time. He loves being included in whatever we are doing.

He likes being sung to and listening to mother goose songs on Apple Music. He also likes a few minutes of a time of Sesame Street.

He’s sleeping better most nights, and we’ve given up on naps. He will sleep for 15-30 minutes on me or Jarrod a couple times per day. That’s all.

He is enjoying more and more play time on the floor. ๏ฟผWe anticipate Felix will be mobile very shortly. I believe by his ten-month update he will be crawling. Stay tuned.๏ฟผ