A few weeks ago we had the honor of having Tess Butera photography join us at our weekly drum circle at Hamburg Beach. Tess is not only a birthing center mom, but also a certified postpartum doula with the Buffalo Doula Collective and talented photographer.
We were so excited when she asked to join us, but a little worried about how our kids would react. They HATE getting their pictures taken. For such wild and wacky kids they can be shy around new people, bordering on rude. We figured the drum circle would be comfortable enough and something special that we wanted to document. It's become such a big part of our summers.
Thanks to weather and hand, foot and mouth disease (gross) it took us 6 weeks to organize this photo shoot. The day we pulled it off the wind was blowing the sand, causing our circle of drummers to retreat off of the beach, defeating the point of a drum circle beach photo session.
Tess and her vivacious personality didn’t give us a second to feel bummed. Her laugh is infectious and our kids warmed up to her immediately. Tess sat down, got comfortable and started taking some basic pictures of my kids. These first pics are ones that I will cherish forever. With her lens she was able to capture the true essence of each of them.
I love when photographers have that ability and not everyon has it.
After a little drum circle time we headed down to Longboards for some ice cream. We were hoping to grab dinner but they closed up shop early... so we had ice cream for dinner to our kids delight.
Here are some of our pics:
I few weeks ago we had the opportunity to try out a family friendly farm to table Salad Super event at Farm in Peace in Collins, NY.
I don’t know how to write this post and give justice to all that Chris and Paula Jeaniton are doing. They’re two wildly intelligent and harding working parents who have serious sights on the future. That future includes WNY agriculture and world domination among other things. Well, not really. More like equitable domination?
Anyway, cliff notes version of their lives (read their full story here on their facebook): they met in college, finished degrees, landed big time jobs, moved a bunch, created businesses making seed bombs and kitchy journals, quit a job and oh yeah, bought a farm.. That’s right. Just 3 short years ago Chris and Paula Jeanniton relocated to Paula’s hometown of Collins, NY to start what is now known as Farm in Peace. Paula is a native of Western York and her husband Chris is a transplant from New Jersey. They both have some interesting and inventive ideas and creative practices in farming and can't wait to explore their opportunities here in Western New York.
Our experience on the farm was something pretty special. As we pulled into Chris and Paula’s driveway my 4 year old son yelled that they had a dirt pile with trucks!!!! Before I turned off the engine, my kid were getting out of their carseats and ready to roll. My son immediately ran to the dirt pile that had a gazillion bulldozers and construction toys scattered around it. My daughter started insisting that we find the animals. NOW! She was instantly intrigued by the fact that they had goats and chickens and that we will be able to pick our own salad ingredients for the dinner.
First thing we did was start walking up the hill into the farm with CJ who told us all about their different farming practices. They’re basically farming organically without the certification. They use Diametress Earth and all kinds of inventive ways to maintain a more equitable and ethical Farm.
Not long after our hike up the hill we were led into the crops and given the chance to pick some peas, carrots, beets, cucumbers, kale, and lettuce. My 6 year old was stoked. She’s normalluy more reserved, bordering on shy. But nothing was going to stop her from getting in there and helping pick our dinner. Paula was so inclusive with the kids. Everyone who wanted a chance to pick something did.
After we picked our ingredients we headed to the outdoor kitchen to clean all the produce. Everyone on the tour was able to participate in preparing the meal. I sat back and watched as my 6 year old interacted with Paula and farm helpers washing the carrots and chopping up the cucumbers all the while my son had been enjoying himself playing in the dirt pile with other kids.
We finished preparing the food and all sat down to picnic tables decorated with perennial flowers from the families pollinating Garden. They served lemonade and basil water for drinks. The price was incredible, just $7 for adults $2.50 for kids.
The girl-child and I finished off our dinner and decided to check out the farmstand. Meanwhile my son still sat in the dirt pile playing with other kids. And I mean sat. Covered. In. Dirt. I don't think he's ever looked happier. (Sadly, Dear Readers, I didn't get a pic of this dirt-filled scene.)
Once you walk into the Farm in Peace farmstand you realize how incredibly special this couple is: they have a donation based system where people are asked give what they can and take what they need.
My daughter loved this idea. She was really excited to put her money into the donation slot and even more stoked to choose the produce we would bring home.
At this point we were all exhausted and ready to head home. We climbed into our car and drove off. My youngest sniffed, "What's that smellllll???" We all collectively took a whiff and I noted that we smelled like Fredonia State in the 90's. Hemp!
See, in addition to a farmstand, a CSA, and Paula's etsy shops, they also farm industrial hemp!
Want to check out their farm?
Industrial Hemp Educational Farm Tour
August 11, 12, 18, 19. 10am and 2pm start times.
A Salad Supper, just like the one we enjoyed:
An affordable evening- $7 per adult and $2.50 per child
I'm so excited to share with you our family’s experience with Sarah Sorci, owner of Sweet Flag Herbs. She’s this awesome local community herbalist extraordinaire who offers a variety of services, including backyard consultations. She will literally join you in your backyard and assist you in selecting beautiful and useful garden plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystem annnd edible.
I fell upon Sarah a while back. I think we emailed a few times at one point, when I was in search of herbal remedies to help our son sleep. However, thanks to my legit brain fog from sleep deprivation I somehow forgot to follow up.
We finally met in person at Suncliff's open house where Sarah, along with other artisans were sharing information on their up and coming retreats and workshops. In addition to the workshops that she offers at a variety of locations all over WNY, She's also offering a Taste, Touch, and Smell workshop in October at Suncliff. She offers classes and garden walks all over WNY.
Earlier this summer she came over to our 1930's cottage in Derby, NY to help us do a few things as per her super informative website:
-Identify the edible and medicinal plants.
-Discuss new plants to add to the property.
-Offer recipes and suggestions for utilizing the plants on your property
We roamed around our backyard, while Sarah used the precision of a weathered scientist to scope out simple weeds like plantains. With each herb, flower or wild plant she offered us a variety of medicinal uses, along with a plethora of cool ways to incorporate the plants into our meal plan.
She helped us figure out how to expand our little butterfly garden, making our backyard, that borders on our neighbors’ wooded property, into a haven for MORE bees, hummingbirds, and all kinds of happy, earthy, eco friendly helpers.
When I first moved out here I had lived in the city of Buffalo for 10 years. I grew up in a smaller city setting, but didn’t have access to the kinds of natural wonders that my kids now have right in there own backyard. I had a basic understanding of plants, but not the deep love that I see in our daughter’s eyes when she picks a daisy or snags a piece of chives to eat right out of the herb garden. This kid will literally stare for an half hour at the bees visiting our milkweed. So how could we not spend a few bucks to have Sarah out to educate us?!
On our walk through our yard we were offered so many ideas and options. Sarah followed up with informative emails including recipes and details on the perennials she recommended and even where to find the best perennial selection in WNY. (pssst: She loves Lockwood’s in Hamburg)
My favorite information included details about our backyard “weeds”, written by Sarah:
1.) Solomon's Seal- Early spring are as tasty as asparagus. Root can also be eaten, though more commonly tinctured for joint and connective tissue healing/lubrication. According to my clinical director, any cultivar can be used.
2.) Horsetail: lovely tasting tea for mineral content; popular tea for connective tissue, nails, hair. Best used earlier in the season.
3.) Barberry: Invasive whose root is used like goldenseal.
4.) I made a note about lady's mantle, but don't remember if that was something you already had, or a new plant I was suggesting. Likes some shade (great for the back area). Unique shape of leaves and cute green flowers. Since it's such a classic women's herb, I thought I would share it with you, Lindsay.
5.) Coltsfoot: Under your steps. Nice short-term cough and respiratory supporter when there is congestion. Tea only. I'd skip giving it to kids or pregnant/breastfeeding moms.
And dude, you can eat my Daylilies, Wood Sorrel, Creeping Charlie (the effer), and the obvious local favorite: dandelions....you can even harvest your own Rose Hips.
There was so much more. She left us with a massive list of perennials that would look awesome and fair well in our backyard: goldenseal, Blue Verbena, Sweet Flag, shrubs like elderberry, passion flower vine, spicebush berries.
I seriously loved this girl and her brain. We talked her ear off for what felt like half the day. I can’t wait to invite her back next season. Please don’t hesitate to call her for your own backyard consultation.
I’m looking to attend her next class:
Making Herbal Tinctures class
In this workshop, Community Herbalist, Sarah, will share standard rules for tincture making, as well as suggested variations for different herbs. Participants will see a demonstration and sample several tinctures. Sarah will discuss the properties and safe uses of several herbs in depth; these will be offered to take home.
*Lab fee will cover the costs of samples, handouts and each participant will select a 2 oz. bag of dried herbs to craft their own tincture at home.
Date: 8/7, Frontier Middle school, room 131
Fee: $18. Non-residents: $22. Lab Fee: $6*
Please go check out her website, class offerings, and catalog of handcrafted products.
I feel so nauseous today, craving a quiet solo space to reflect and write about this weekend’s Buffalo NY Climb Out of the Darkness Walk for Postpartum Mental Health 2018 and Buffalo’s first visit from Ashlee Dean Wells of 4th Trimester Bodies Project.
But my life doesn’t include many quiet solitary spaces these days. It includes PBS Kids, getting bagels, then snacks, then a second breakfast (because our small people forget that they are able to grab an apple from the fridge). It includes checking secretly on my “free range” kids in the backyard and making sure the little one isn’t killing the bigger one with a metal shovel. It includes stacked up dishes and laundry and packing for our one and only vacation of the year. It includes sleep deprivation (because even when our little guy stays the night in his own bed, my body doesn’t quite know how to sleep longer than 4 hours anymore)…
I talk about days when they will be able to kayak with us and travel the world, but I know in my heart that when those days come I will crave these mornings,
when they needed me,
when their sticky hands tugged at my arm to show me some ugly bug they found in the backyard..
I know that I will miss these days more than I loved or appreciated them when I was going through them...
Okay, maybe only 50% of the time.
I can't believe we have only 9 more days until Buffalo's own 4th Trimester Bodies Project gathering & photo shoot. I feel like I haven't even had two seconds to process what participating in this means to me personally.
If this isn't the right time for you because of the cost or how you feel about it, I totally understand.
If you're ready for the leap and want to share your story, join me.
I'm NEVER going to be ready for this, but I'm jumping anyway.
This is the day after the Climb Out of the Darkness Walk, making this one epic weekend of self-discovery and empowerment.
Here are some specifics:
Each ticket includes general admission to the 4TBP community gathering and photoshoot for 1 adult + children. All adult humans and children of all ages welcomed.
Our gathering/shoot spaces are fully accessible and LGBTQIA+ friendly!
Photographs will be taken of individual parents (with their children if desired) as well as in groups per photographers discretion. Each participant will receive digital copies of their top 3 photographs chosen by the photographer. Additional digitals and prints may be purchased separately.
If you would like your spouse or partner to join you in a photo please select one regular session + on partner add-on.
Individual/Private sessions are also available.
I'm a few more months away from having access to 12 full childfree hours to spend on welcomemama.com....(This also means that my "baby" will be 4. Insert sob.)
I need your help. I want to take welcomemama.com to the next level. I'd love to have your input, your thoughts, and your concerns.
If the survey isn't your thing, please feel free to message me, Lindsay Conley here at Welcome Mama, my personal account or at firstname.lastname@example.org. As the only consumer-based holistic resource for birth and early parenting in WNY YOUR voice matters.
I was thinking the other day how we should all be allowed to modify our life just like we do our workout. See my trainer @apexwithsteph is awesome. She has this kick ass boot camp class that I really love.
What I love most about it is that she never makes anyone feel like they're less of a person if they have to make modifications to the routine to survive.
What if we could crunchy parent just like that? Where survival is paramount, but trying matters too.
What if some days we had hand-picked, homegrown peas in a ball jar and others we had frozen peas in a zip-lock bag or better yet: fudgie's!? What if some days we were modified crunchy and others we were hardcore? Isn't that balance great for our kids to?
I think so.
I can’t think straight lately. My 3 year old talks all day long with informative tidbits. When he’s not talking he’s having a tantrum over his peanut butter being spread too thin.
I can relate to the being spread too thin part.
The day starts around 6:30 and just doesn’t seem to end until 10pm. By 10 I’m spent and grumpy, desperately needing a few brief minutes that I can own for myself. The 3 year old wakes any time between midnight and 3AM to crawl into our bed. We try not to mind, but being kicked in the face isn’t my idea of a good time.
I was all grumbly this morning until I saw this pic. that reminded me of all that we've been through.
Do you have times in your life that serve has marking points? Like everything after that certain something happened the world changed?
That's kind of how my relationship with my husband works.
Our first baby was a surprise, popping up on a sonogram screen 8 weeks before our long-planned wedding. I had dodged the baby bullet up until I was 34 and we celebrated our anniversary with our 6-month-old in a stroller at the Dock at the Bay.
We made it on one income, 39k with no social services, and almost 7k going to pointless insurance with expensive co-pays. We didn't qualify for WIC or SNAP, so we both had a really bad attitude about people who did qualify and somehow had more than we had. I wanted to work but just couldn't afford to leave our baby with someone else for 20k/year.
It was a difficult adjustment.
Most of my postpartum depression during that time was definitely from adjusting to the massive change in my existence. It sucked. We were very poor, but crazy in love with each other, our new life, and with this amazing creation of a little baby girl. We learned how to have fun with little money. We were frugal and found ways to cut back on expenses.
My husband was ambitious and started looking for other jobs. He loved his job at the nonprofit he worked at but knew that he would make twice the salary at a for profit. He wasn't happy about making this change. He loved knowing that the work he did helped other people.
But he wanted more for our little girl.
He accepted another job in a tough political environment. While he learned new things at that job, he continued his search for something better. He was contacted by a headhunter about a job with a successful consultant company. The job was awesome on paper and in person. He’d be the lead engineer and be one of the highest paid employees. They professed how family centered they were and couldn’t wait to get him on board. With only 6 months on the previous job, he quick, feeling that he had finally found something secure and financially promising. It wasn’t a nonprofit, but the company did many great things for the community and donated often to local nonprofits.
Straight out the gate it seemed fishy. This "family friendly" environment quickly turned into what seemed like a frat party. They went to strip clubs, shared cigars, had beer in the office refrigerator. I didn’t like it at ALL. My husband’s phone would ring at all hours of the day and night. I knew he needed to be on call, but I never signed up for my partner working 24/7. I begged him to start looking for something else.
I was 5 months pregnant.
As the due date came closer I started feeling really anxious. Who would help take care of me, the baby, and our 2.5 year old? How much time would he get off? When would he request it? I harassed him for weeks. He finally asked. We waited almost 3 weeks for an answer and it was not what we ever could have possibly imagined: lay off.
My husband, the greatest guy I know, was handed a proverbial pink slip and a box filled with the contents of his desk that included a sonogram pic of our unborn baby boy. One month before our baby's due date.
It was the epitome of fucked up.
I was sitting in my used Volvo with tan leather interior, after bringing our daughter to a community swim class and had just gone to a prenatal massage. For a brief moment we were livin’ large. And then he texted me that he had gotten fired. I could believe it. I thought he was kidding and I Was so annoyed that he would joke about something like that. He verified that he was serious. I cried.
We called that day WTF Day and then we rallied.
We had an immediate plan: I was contacting every mom group that I knew of to ask for help signing up for every darn social service we could qualify for. Thank GOD we had a little nest egg from our tax return. That $1500 got us through until the unemployment kicked in. We contacted a lawyer who said that there were no laws protecting my husband. He had only worked at the company for 4 months and they only had a handful of employees. Both of his bosses had agreed that they wouldn’t fight unemployment and would give him recommendations.
A day into the experience, watching our daughter nap in my husband’s arms, I thought this really was for the best. My friends flooded me with words of wisdom and inspiration, telling me that this would be the best summer of our lives and it was.
Everything we had went through before that, tightening the belt, being frugal, not living beyond our means all assisted us in rocking being poor AGAIN. Only this time, we had help and a fresh perspective, reinforcing the way we lived our lives: with simplicity.
May 21st marked the 4th anniversary of WTF Day.
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.