We’re at our cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains for the weekend. It sits on ten acres of wilderness on the San Juan Ridge just outside of Nevada City. We bought the property twelve years ago and slowly turned an old barn into a sweet cabin. Recent rains have turned everything around us a vivid green, the birds are singing, and spring has sprung.
I drew the plans myself, and got them through the planning commission on the first try. I wanted the round, smooth rocks of the Yuba River to be the grounding force of the cabin, and the exterior to blend into the landscape. George and I spent weekends hunting through salvage yards for windows and doors, and the doug fir plank flooring from an old Oakland warehouse to give it ‘character’, and also save money. I hunted through boxes of Heath Tile seconds to find enough to do the kitchen counter tops (which I laid myself) and their buttery tones became the color scheme. The cabin literally glows, inside and out. To transport everything, we bought a truck, which I love driving to this day, and when I’m here, I feel at peace.
I needed to blog more…but the day is coming to and end and I’m going to enjoy it. I’ll leave you with this poem, that pretty much sums it up.
by Richard LeGallienne
I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go?
Happy Nesting Days!
Chief Mother Officer
Meet the Morrow twins, Elizabeth and Annabel!
The girls were born 7 weeks early and weighed just over 3 pounds at birth. After 4 weeks in the NICU the twins, healthy and tipping the scales at 5 pounds, came home. Their mom, Jenny, had a freezer full of breast milk waiting, and their dad, Scott, had two of everything ready. I was invited over to greet the babies and tuck them in skin to skin against Jenny’s heart, which was literally bursting with joy.
For the first six weeks home the twins shared the space in their Nesting Days carrier, but thanks to all that breast milk, the girls have doubled in size! Each now weighs almost 9 pounds and are now ‘taking turns’.
“It was great when I could fit them both in the carrier together, but now that they are bigger, it is also great to be able to tuck one baby in while I hold the other. Nesting Days is is still a huge help!”.
I’m so happy that the girls are thriving, and Scott and Jenny, you’re both awesome! xoxo, Julie
When I was in college studying Early Childhood Education at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute in Detroit Michigan, I had the good fortune of having a teacher named Luella Lutz.
I credit Mrs. Lutz for sparking the passion in me that still burns bright, forty years later, and has lead me to this point in my life, and to Nesting Days.
While I was her student this grey haired lady (she was younger than I am now) went to Botswana, Africa to study the child rearing practices of the bush people, and came back to share her stories with us and her theories about ‘nurturing’.
One story that has stayed with me all my life, and is responsible in part for the creation of the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier, is the story she told about how the mothers held their babies out over a bush when they had to urinate or move their bowels. (There were no diapers in the village.)
Amazed at how easily they did this, she asked them how they knew when their baby needed to relieve themselves? Their answer was simply, “how do you NOT know?”
Her teaching technique was Socratic, and she left us on our own to come up with an explanation, without ever telling us ‘the answer’.
I ask you, the reader, how do you think the mothers knew? (Hint: the point of this story in not about early potty training!)
Recently, neuroscience has rediscovered the wisdom of these ‘primitive’ women, and has presented us the answer: skin-to-skin contact not only stimulates the newborn’s innate survival instincts and reflexes, enabling it to survive, but also the mother’s maternal instincts and her ability to bond and care for her young.
My teacher could have told them that 40 years ago and saved a lot of new mothers a lot of hear-ache. I know my teacher would be delighted to see these changes taking place as a new generation has access to the latest research and tries to reconcile it with the vestiges of the past hundred years, which pretty much said the opposite and saw the woman in Botswana as uneducated and backward (my teacher being the exception).
I’m am also confident that she would be very proud of the Nesting Days Newborn Carrier I’ve invented and would want me to have it reach as many new mothers and their babies as possible, across all economic and social segments and around the world, and that is my plan!
However, she also instilled in me the realization that the human nest is more than a place. Our nests are where the roots of love are sewn and the early experiences in the first three months of life can have a profound effect on a little life.
With her, and all of the mothers and babies I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since then, I’ve created a workshop that explores the union of recent scientific breakthroughs and ancient wisdom, and how to use that information to create the optimal environment for your newborn.
I’ve called it, The Art of Nesting, to honor the lessons of the past and to bring new ones to life.
This workshop is really for anyone who is in interested in learning about the newborn’s natural habitat and how it shapes the infant’s world, but is especially helpful for expecting moms and parents with newborns.
We will delve into the role skin-to skin plays in both the newborn’s and mother’s well being and glimpse the world through the ‘senses’ of the newborn. We will look at how quieting your analytical left-brain can free your intuitive right brain, rediscover the power of instinct and intuition and explore some old and some new techniques in breastfeeding and newborn care. And finally, there will be time for Q&A, and a practical guide to take home with you to help you make the most of your nesting days.
The location of the workshop is at the beautiful new business hub called NextSpace, at 365 Vermont Street, on Potrero Hill.
I hope to see you there!
Your Chief Mother Officer
Halloween is tomorrow, then it’s a race to the new year and a very busy season! Before getting wrapped up in the chaos of the holidays, take a moment to tune in to your baby. If you are expecting, it’s never too early to prep and if you have recently brought a new baby into the world, it’s never too late to learn your baby’s cues!
Here are some tips to get started:
Want to learn more? Sign up for our workshop at NextSpace in Potrero Hill, San Francisco, on Saturday, November 9th from 10:30am – noon. We’ll be covering everything from laid-back breastfeeding to nesting!
Sign up here: The Art of Nesting
Here’s a clip from our focus group at Natural Resources early this year!
Your Chief Mother Officer
Come join us for our first workshop:
The Art of Nesting
Creating the optimal environment for your newborn
If you thought that the ‘nesting instinct’ was just about buying cute tiny clothes and outfitting a nursery, think again! The latest evidence-based research is placing a new importance on ‘nesting’, and it has nothing to do with what you buy and everything to do with you.
Your skin, your body, your ability to learn baby cues, your milk, your attention and how you ‘attach’. Sound scary? Fear not! It turns out Mother Nature did an amazing job preparing you for the task of nurturing your baby.
You are a remarkable nest.
In this workshop you will learn about the innate infant instincts, mommy instincts, the importance of skin-to-skin, laid back breastfeeding, and baby body language. It is an exciting time to be having a baby! It is your time! Enjoy it to the fullest. It will be gone in the blink of an eye.
Saturday, November 9th 10:30am – noon
NextSpace Potrero Hill, 365 Vermont Street, San Francisco
RSVP here on eventbrite. All mothers, dads and babies are welcome.