Crystal Rowe

My New Favorite Lactation Cookie

It’s hard to believe E is already 8 1/2 months old! Time goes by so much faster with the second than it did with the first.

One thing I never struggled with while nursing A was milk supply. I always had plenty, she nursed what seemed like constantly, and she never seemed upset with the flow. I stopped pumping when A was about 4 months old, because she would never drink milk out of a bottle, or a sippy cup, or a straw. We like to say she only wanted it from the tap.

When E was born, I figured I would live the same life…nurse on demand, and only pump if there was an over-supply. but I soon discovered that not only did I not have an over-supply, but E would get angry at the slow flow of milk she would get at the boob. She gladly took a bottle, and there are even times when she prefers it! For whatever reason, I am finding it difficult to pump much milk at all for those occasional times when I want to sneak away. When I know I have to be gone for more than a couple of hours, it takes me multiple pumping sessions just to get enough for one bottle. So lately, with my freezer stash almost gone, I’ve been trying out some milk boosting tricks. More oats, more water, mama milk tea, and, of course, lactation cookies. Because I mean, who doesn’t love a good cookie?

I have a couple of “lactation cookie” recipes that I’ve made time and time again, but last week, I decided I’d try to alter a recipe I knew was good and make it more “lactation friendly.” I was not disappointed…they turned out amazing! The whole batch was gone in about two days. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Wishing These Baby Days Away

Baby Days
I told someone just the other day that I was so over being the mama of babies. The sleepless nights, the gymnast nursing sessions, the diapers, the teething, the not being able to communicate with one another using words…just to name a few. Its so hard, this mothering thing.

It’s different this second time around. I know all these things will end. She will sleep through the night. In her own bed. There will come a day when she is no longer interested in Mama milk. She will get all her teeth, learn to walk, and use the potty. One day, she will not only let Daddy put her to sleep – but she will prefer it that way.

And yet … even though I know these things … it’s really hard for me to not wish her baby days away. I am finding myself wishing she was older…that she could walk, that she could talk, that she would go potty all by herself.

So I’ve been trying to remind myself that she is my last baby. The last one I get to nurse. The last one I will ever rock to sleep. That last one I will get up with in the wee hours of the night to watch practice her new tricks. The last one that will snuggle with me and fit perfectly in the crook of my arm. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Giving Up Facebook

Giving Up FacebookA little over two years ago I deactivated Facebook. And then about two weeks later, I reactivated it. I claimed that I reactivated it because of the community – but I think I just wasn’t disciplined enough to let it go. I remember feeling isolated – and I wasn’t sure how to reclaim community outside of Facebook.

Now, here we are, two years later, and I’ve gotten rid of it once again. This time I told myself I was giving it up just for Lent. I have always striven for a Lenten discipline – one that would enrich my life in some way for the long 40 days that is Lent. This year, when I sat back and evaluated all the things that got in the way of me having a more fulfilled life, Facebook was at the top of the list. It was keeping me away from being fully present with my girls, keeping me distracted in my marriage, and keeping me away from two hobbies I most love: reading and writing. Not to mention the fact that Facebook was really giving me a false sense of community. In fact, in a lot of ways it was a little bit like reality TV – a way for me to keep up with everyone else’s drama, and to create my own in the process.

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Crystal Rowe

On Being Home

San Francisco Family
We are just coming off a two-week vacation. A two-week vacation that included celebrating a third birthday, an 8-day trip to San Francisco, celebrating a fifth anniversary, and an extra long weekend at home. Usually family vacations exhaust me. But not this one. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was a dream.

We did not want to come home.

And yet, as the trip part of our vacation ended, there was a part of each one of us that was ready to be “home.” We were ready to be in our own house, with our own beds, and our own shower (with amazing water pressure). We were ready to see our neighbors, to cook in our fully stocked kitchen, to go to church.

It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Bay area. Since working there for two summers during my college years, I have always dreamed of going back. And as we walked the amazing city of San Francisco, we talked about whether or not we could see ourselves living there one day. And it was amazing … as much as I loved every minute of my time there … I just couldn’t imagine picking up everything we have and making that home.

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Crystal Rowe

The Need for Jambalaya

Jambalaya by Mark Brooks
I’ve been thinking about what it might look like to have a little jambalaya in my life. What would happen if I took some shrimp, sausage, chicken, rice and some spices and mixed them all together? I’m being figurative, but think about it … those are things that might not seem like they’d go together well, but in fact, when you use the right recipe, turn into something really awesome.

I long for a community that has that same kind of diversity. The diversity of jambalaya. I’d love to figure out just how to gather a bunch of people that look differently, act differently, live differently, and help them mix into one true community. It has to be possible, but I just can’t seem to find it … anywhere.

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Crystal Rowe

Releasing the Hold Money Has Over Us

What is it about shopping – about spending money – that gives us such instant satisfaction?

We are living an intentional year of spending around here … which means no shopping unless truly necessary – and we have to agree upon what is deemed “necessary.” Our list of purchases for the month includes: groceries (mostly local, but definitely nothing that will sit in our pantry and go un-used), toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, a new sippy cup for the tiniest, and some things for around the house using a Home Depot gift card we got for Christmas.

But lately…these last few days that have left me exhausted and wanting an escape…all I want to do is shop. I’m not even sure what I would shop for, I just have this intense desire to spend a ton of money on myself. Or on the people I live with…it doesn’t necessarily have to be on me.

I can’t figure out where the desire stems from. I don’t need anything. I have everything I could possibly need. We are getting ready to go on a cross-country vacation, and I could be using my time to get activities ready for our flight. But instead, all I want to do is shop.

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Crystal Rowe

A Carousel Life

Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil running around and around on his wheel! Or maybe more like a carousel – going around and around and around again. Days are so monotonous … we do the same thing over and over and over again. We may have a slightly different scene, or find ourselves in slightly different circumstances, but all in all, it’s the same grind … day in and day out.
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Crystal Rowe

The Beauty of A Shower

Shower water by ohkylel @twitter
Before I became a mom, I can remember reading about mothers who never got a chance to take a shower. Finding time for a shower will be difficult, they said. Sleep is more important – don’t forget that!

But I have to disagree. Do you know just how nourishing a shower really is? There’s something so transforming about taking a shower. Think about it … when you get in, you are full of dirt, grime, heavy emotions, exhaustion, and who knows what else. But when you get out, you are transformed. You are clean. Refreshed. Renewed.

It’s been a long week around here (and yup … it’s only Tuesday). E isn’t sleeping well – and so I’m feeling a little strung out. But it’s my job to stay home with my two precious munchkins … so I have to pull myself out of bed and put on my game face. And this morning – after being up most of the night – all I wanted to do was sleep. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Top 10 Books of 2014

I didn’t read as much this year as I usually do. It probably has something to do with the fact that we welcomed another tiny to the house. When I actually get a few minutes alone, I realize how much I’ve missed cracking open the spines and diving into the words on the page. As I try to limit myself in making my 2015 list a manageable length, I’m reminded at the good books I did get the chance to read this year. I’m no New York Times, but here are my favorites from this year. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

The Birth of a Story

Today’s post comes from a friend of mine, Allen Madding. Allen just published his first novella – and I had the privilege of being his editor. The book, Shaken Awake, is the story of a downtown church that has been forced to shut down the majority of their ministries. When a huge ice storm comes to town and a homeless man is found frozen to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities. Here’s a glimpse into how the story came to be. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

CSA Adventures – November Week 1

CSA Bounty Week 7
It’s hard to believe it’s already November! This is week 7 in our 10-week Fall CSA, and surprise surprise – we received more greens in this week’s box! This time we have collard greens … which I’ve only had once in my life – and I was not a fan. But – we’ll try them again this week in a new and creative way. My Whole Foods paper bags tell me that collards are the new kale … so they must be good, right?

Here’s what we brought home this week:
2 pounds Sweet Potatoes
1 big bunch Collards
2 Watermelon Radishes
2 bunches Napa Cabbage
1 head Buttercrunch Lettuce
1 bunch Arugula
6 small eggplants
A bag full of Sweet Peppers
20 (or so) Jalepenos
4 Cayenne peppers
1 Radish bunch (with greens)

And here’s what we did with it: Continue reading