Monday, January 30, 2012


Motherhood is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I've never been more exhausted, had greater demands to meet, put myself aside so completely . . . or been happier. Viv and I are learning each other and bonding more every day. She's such a wonderful little person already, and I've gotten to focus so exclusively on her thanks to my unbelievably supportive family. My parents came to stay with us for a week, taking care of all of the cooking and cleaning and answering my every beck and call. I'll blog more about their time here once I get the pictures from it.

Just before they left my sister arrived to take over their duties. She's a great photographer (with extremely reasonable prices!) and has been doing Vivian's newborn photos in addition to taking care of us. I can't wait to post those either, but until they're finished I wanted to share one of the delicious recipes she's cooked up! This veggie powered quinoa bowl is packed full of amazing nutrition and the flavor to match it. Makes good new mama food, and it's a recipe I'll definitely be saving to make again! It's a great one-dish meal too. I hope you try it and love it as much as I did!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vivian Callaway Ross

We welcomed our precious Vivian Callaway Ross into the world at 3:30 am, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. She weighs 6 pounds, 6 ounces, and is 19.5 inches long. As you may well know, she had a rather, well, unique birth, and I just have to tell you about it in its entirety.
Our little beauty, cozy and content.
Just before week 30, we were told that she had IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction. Basically that means that she was extremely tiny, measuring below the 5th percentile size-wise. It was recommended that we induce labor early, at week 37, to avoid a higher risk of stillbirth. We went through weeks of agonizing decision-making, praying, and appointments, and decided NOT to induce. We felt it was the best and wisest choice for Viv in our specific situation, and decided to let her come on her own timing. But then, our "due date" came and went and we began rapidly approaching the 42 week mark. 42 weeks is like a glaring "do not cross" line in pregnancy because the risk of having a stillborn baby increases 12 times at this point. Sunday, January 22 was our do not cross line. If Viv wasn't going to come out on her own by then, we were going to have to induce. I have to admit I'm terrified of pitocin, so after talking with my midwife I decided to try taking castor oil. If we were going to have to interfere in the process, I wanted to try gentler and more natural means before resorting to pitocin.

So, Tuesday afternoon I mixed castor oil into a milkshake and gulped it down. Four hours later, I was paying the price (and if you know anything about castor oil you know what I mean!). Around 8:00 that evening it felt like a bowling ball was sitting in my pelvic girdle. Figuring it was either more castor oil effects or just the very very beginning stages of labor, I went to sleep. I woke up at 1 in the morning on Wednesday, with the strongest "practice contractions" I'd felt yet, and went to the couch to sleep so I wouldn't disturb Clint. But I couldn't sleep - the sensations were too strong and frequent. So then I thought, "Hey, these aren't practice contractions, this is early labor!" Knowing that stage can take a while and wanting to labor at home as long as possible, I didn't wake Clint up till around 2:30 am. I told him that we should probably finish packing our bags for the hospital. As he began gathering toiletries to add to our awaiting bags, I found myself unable to help or even stand. I was having contractions every three minutes at this point, lasting about a minute each.

We had planned to have an unmedicated birth, and at this point I was seriously doubting my ability to stick to that. I thought that if the easy early stage of labor was this difficult, there was no way I could make it through active labor and delivery. I didn't even know if I could make it to the car, and I was so disappointed with myself because I wanted a natural birth so badly but couldn't handle it when it actually came. Clint continued getting everything ready while I squirmed on the bed, trying to breathe through each contraction and stay as relaxed as possible. I thought I should try to use the bathroom before our hour long drive to the hospital, so I staggered into the master bath, which has a toilet separated from the rest of the bathroom. Basically a toilet in its own closet. These "early labor" contractions got even stronger and then the obvious hit me - I wasn't in early labor, I was in active labor!

Clint came to the door telling me we needed to go, and I told him I didn't think I could make it to the hospital. (Poor Clint - can you imagine hearing that!) He sweetly encouraged me that I could do it and to just come out when the next contraction ended. A few minutes later the labor completely took over my body, and who knows what kinds of noises Clint was hearing from outside that bathroom door. Our hospital had told him not to try to make it there, but to go to Athens Regional instead (which is like 15 minutes from where we live). Clint called them to see what we should do, but by the next time he came to the door, I knew we weren't going to make it anywhere, no matter how close, because I could feel the top of Vivian's head. "Clint, I can feel her head. She's coming!" I told him. "What?! You can feel her head? What do you mean?" Was the reply. He walked away from the tribal sounds coming through the door so that he could ask the hospital what to do, and then I just totally gave in to the birth - I had no choice! I looked down and saw her black hair. Two more contractions and she suddenly came right out, and plunk, INTO THE TOILET! She flew right past my hands and took a dive into the awaiting toilet bowl. I grabbed her, held her up in front of me, and waited to see if she was breathing. She started breathing and squirming, so I yelled, "Clint, she's here! Clint! She's here!" (Or something like that. Who knows what I really said.) He opened the bathroom door and saw me standing there holding her in the air. I don't know how he didn't pass out from shock, but he called an ambulance to come get us and got a towel to wrap her up. I just sat on the toilet holding her till they came, Clint doing everything he could to make sure we were all ok. The ambulance got there in about five minutes and whisked us off to the hospital, where Vivian became quite the celebrity. I really was expecting a news crew to burst into our room any second to capture the story of the Toilet Baby.
We're back home now, where it all began Tuesday afternoon with a dose of castor oil, enjoying and loving Vivian to pieces. We are beyond grateful to God for this gift. There is nothing in the world like being a parent and holding your newborn. She's the best and most beautiful thing ever, and I just love how she came into this world - this girl is hilarious already! More and better photos to come . . . stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Still Waiting

Well, this baby is too comfy (or stubborn) and hasn't decided to make her grand appearance yet, despite our polite requests. Until then, everything seems like it's on standby, and waiting is definitely not my strong point! To pass the time, I've been studying like crazy -herbalism, the book of Isaiah, all kinds of stuff. Sitting in a coffee shop today enjoying peach rooibos tea, catching up on internet stuff (our router died and we're waiting for our new one to arrive), and wishfully thinking that every twinge I feel is "it!"

Here's a very short list of some things I'm looking forward to:
  • Snuggling this little wiggle worm who has already made so much of her personality known to me.
  • My family visiting. I love them so much and can't wait for them to spend an entire week at my house!
  • Getting back to running and yoga. I know it'll be a little while, but I'm dying, DYING!
  • Getting back to work. I think and hope hope hope I have a perfect part time job lined up.
  • Stitching. I'll have to post a photo of my busted sewing machine soon, but the point is that it's kaput. Dead as a doornail. But my sister is letting me borrow her machine till I get a new one! Can't wait for her to bring it so I can finish some things I have mid-project.
  • The Spring. When I'll be able to toss the bug in a wrap or sling and take her on walks through the woods.
  • Revealing her name! Trust me, it's killing me not to tell as much as it's killing you!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Super Sprouts!

Sprouts deserve to have songs written about them, streets named after them, and speeches written in honor of them. It sounds overzealous (and ok, maybe I love food a little bit too much sometimes), but sprouts truly are are a miracle food in every sense of the word!

A sprout is unique from any other food because of the place it occupies in the plant life cycle. It doesn't have any roots yet to gather its own nutrients, so it relies completely on the nutrients, and the enzymes needed to utilize them, contained within its seed. These unique conditions make sprouts the most complete, balanced form of nutrition in existence! The sprouting process converts complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates, protein into usable amino acids, and fat into fatty acids. This means that a lot of the work of digesting has already been done for our bodies when we consume sprouts. They're also chock full of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes. They have a high pH, helping to alkalize the body (which is a good thing).

Are you convinced yet of the amazingness of sprouts? Are you ready to grow some on your own? It's so easy, and you don't need any special supplies! Almost any grain, legume, nut, or seed can be sprouted. Just make sure the seed itself is for consuming, not growing (unless it's organic).

First, just soak your sprout of choice overnight in a mason jar or whatever you have on hand. (Hint: you need much fewer seeds or beans than you would think.) I go ahead and cover my jar right away with unbleached cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
I'm sprouting mung beans in this photo.

In the morning, drain the water right through the cheesecloth, add fresh water, and drain again. Set upside down in a bowl so that water continues to drip through the cheesecloth. I like to set mine in front of a sunny window to soak up as much sunlight as possible so my sprouts will be extra full of chlorophyll!

Every 12 hours, rinse and drain your soon-to-be sprouts, just like you did the morning after soaking. Repeat the process till your sprouts grow to whatever length you desire. Then, toss them into wraps, on top of salads, tuck away in sandwiches, or just eat straight from the jar and enjoy the feelings of health and vitality that are soon to follow! Store in the fridge till you've eaten them up, and be sure to start a new batch of sprouts a couple days before your current stock runs out.

It seems like a lot of my friends have gotten the sprouting bug too! Check out this drool-inducing sandwich my friend Becca made with her homegrown sprouts. Swoon.

Happy sprouting!

(P.S., all of this wonderful nutritional information about sprouts came from the book,  Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. You really should check it out!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I had a conversation recently that really saddened me. It was a conversation with someone I care about, and it was about a subject that's frequently discussed on this blog. I'll be the first to say that the topics on here aren't necessarily "conventional" (What would be the fun in that?), and I'm used to being received with strange looks when I bring them up! Things like babywearing, minimalist living, extended breastfeeding, whole foods plant based diets, natural remedies, elimination communication, composting, making your own clothes, alternative vaccine decisions, growing your own food, and even yoga aren't widely embraced in our society. And that's ok! I don't expect anyone to have the same opinions as me or to agree with me about all of these things. But what saddened me about this conversation I had was the absolute, blind, and uninformed closed-mindedness of the other person. Instead of looking at the subject honestly, it was incorrectly stereotyped and flippantly dismissed in a ridiculing way. Ouch. Ouch not that I was made fun of, but that this person who is important to me so brazenly and intentionally discarded evidence-based truth in favor of a (literally) toxic norm, for no reason other than that what I think is "weird," and outside the status quo. A different opinion based on scientific evidence and logical reasoning would have been most welcome! But this was based on nothing. I am no expert in anything discussed on this blog and am hopefully always learning and open to ideas that seem foreign to me. But a different opinion based on nothing other than what's considered "normal" in this country that is anything BUT normal in comparison to the rest of the world, is sad. I say all of that to say that I hope Ear to the Earth is an environment where THINKING for ourselves is encouraged, topics are considered critically, and positive change is encouraged! Isn't there always room for improvement? Aren't there always more questions than answers? Wouldn't we be foolish to assume that just because something is normal, it's right? Let's encourage each other to honestly explore all types of various issues, think critically about them, and then put what we learn into practice! Who's with me?!  :)

Food is GOOD

I mentioned in an earlier post that I've been reading Brendan Brazier's book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. I'm finished with it now and absolutely loved it! I'm not a vegan (although I do enjoy many vegan foods), and you don't have to be a vegan or an athlete to benefit from this book. It's easy read and simple to understand and will have a positive impact on your health. I highly recommend it! I made my first recipe from the book, Almond Flaxseed Burgers, and it's a new favorite food. These are amazing! Make them for lunch today, and you'll feel wonderful for the rest of the day. I topped mine with a simple guacamole. Just a combination of avocados, tomatoes, and lemon juice. You could make it even better with the addition of sprouts!

Almond Flaxseed Burgers (from Thrive)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt to taste
  • Put all ingredients into food processor and process till well blended.
  • Form into patties (This recipe made 3 patties for me) and top with whatever toppings you want!
I've been trying to pack in as much nutrition into my diet as possible because seriously, this baby needs to stop twiddling her thumbs and come out. Whenever she finally decides to make her debut, I know labor will be easier and recovery faster if I've been fueling my body with the proper foods. And I can't stress enough, healthy, high-quality food is GOOD!