9 years ago….

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9 years ago I was a mom to 4 adorable kids ages 4, 2, 2 and almost 1. I was on an adventure that, looking back on it, was absolutely impossible! PAXdaddy was working as a full time stained glass artist at the time, and I was a full time mom. My time was spent driving to the park, changing diapers, feeding, cleaning up, grocery shopping… you know how life goes with little kids! Every day was just another variation on the chaos and mess that toddlerhood brings multiplied by FOUR! The only way that I could handle everything with the grace that I  had was from babywearing. And praying a lot. But having been a babyworn baby and then starting my parenting career with a homemade ring sling, babywearing was in my blood! Once my fourth baby was 7 months old, I realized I needed something more effective than the hand me down ring slings I’d used for my “twin” daughters and the Snugli that had been mine as a baby. The Babywearer swept me in with its fancy initials and its glittering ads and its ability to connect me to other REAL LIFE moms like myself! I delved in with the question “Which carrier would be better for my baby and I : an Ergo, a Blue Kangaroo, or a Beco 4g?” Of course the veteran admins there at TBW had answered this very question a million times so they advised me to search the page for my own answers. Sheepishly, I followed their directions and discovered that the manufacturer of Beco lived in my hometown in Southern California, and when I emailed in, Gabby, the owner, replied herself. She’d be happy to meet with me, fit a carrier to my baby and I, and by the way, would I like some of her wool diapers that she was giving away. I was astounded. Blown away! I had NEVER met this woman and yet, here she was giving me goodies and advice! I ran, not walked, to Beco headquarters, then in Costa Mesa CA, and proceeded to have an amazing afternoon with Gabby and Duke, her son. I’m sure she doesn’t recall that fateful day, but it is one of my favorite memories of my adult life because had I not contacted Beco, and had Gabby not been so friendly, I may have purchased a different carrier and my story would be completely different.

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Given the fact that Gabby spent an entire afternoon with my baby, Koko, and I, I felt naturally obligated to purchase a Beco from her. Just kidding, as soon as she fit us into the adorable Beco 4G, I was in love. His little body was weightless, both shoulders were equally supported, and perhaps most importantly to the story, this carrier was CUTE! I bought “Spa Damask,” a print that was rather subdued in my opinion, but PAXdaddy said he would wear it too. (The one I lusted after was called Carnival Bloom. Fun fact, the stools and accessories in my current kitchen are made from this iconic Michael Miller fabric.) I proudly showed off my new carrier to my other baby mama friends at home in Santa Barbara and was overwhelmed by requests that I help my friends find one for their own baby! After I referred quite a few friends back to Beco, someone mentioned that I should really sell these myself. LIGHT BULB MOMENT! Why not, I asked myself, it won’t be any more than a mere hobby! Gabby told me to set myself up with a business license and she’d be happy to sell my a minimum quantity of Beco carriers, 9 in total including the one I’d already bought. I was very pleased with this idea, but could not for the life of me think of the PERFECT name!  One name that didn’t make the cut was The 4 Bees for my current 4 children, soon discarded since we knew we wanted more children and soon, but after much hemming and hawing, my genius husband said one night, what do you want babies to FEEL in the carrier that you sell. I said, “PEACE!” And so, PAXbaby, everything you need for a peaceful baby, was born! PAX means PEACE in Latin, and I quickly had fallen down the rabbit hole and decided to sell a little of EVERYTHING!
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9 carriers became 20. 20 became 50, and so my career as a small business owner (for the second time in my relatively short life at 24 years old) took off! The allure of cloth diapers convinced me to add a great number of manufacturers to our line up including custom designs. The appeal of safe feeding supplies brought a plethora of BPA free options including Klean Kanteens and bento boxes. Organic baby clothes, blankets, and wooden toys soon showed up as part of our array of options. Having a tiny store front in Santa Barbara was wonderful, but when we decided to move back to Southern California, the option of seeing customers in my own space wasn’t viable. PAXbaby.com became a .com only; I filled that social void with bi-weekly and monthly PAXplaydates where I could interact with local babywearers from San Diego up to Los Angeles and also on our family road trips! The change has been good for me though. I have been able to focus on my first love which is textile design, and by paring down the other extraneous items that had been on our shelves, PAXbaby is truly a babywearer’s dream, filled with wraps and carriers conceived of my dreams and born through the hard work of my team of PAXmoms! I am truly so grateful for your support over these 9 years.
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Thank you for allowing me to stay at home with my children, as a WAHM and now as a homeschooling mommy too! I am so blessed by you and your love!
With all my heart, jillian

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*happy babywearing*
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PAXbirthday Week!

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Celebrating our birthday with YOU is the best part of the year! Bringing a slew of amazing goodies to win, next week is going to be full of amazing opportunities to take home a prize or a steal of a deal! The PAXmoms have gadgets and gizmos a plenty, and whoozits and whatzits galore, so be sure to check back in with PAXbaby.com on Monday to see what we have in store for our PARTY WEEK! Happy 9th birthday to us; thanks for celebrating with us!
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*happy babywearing*
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PAXpack Shoulder Bags

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Tote all your most prized possessions in a PAXpack shoulder bag, created from PAXexclusive wrap scrap and guaranteed to help you travel in style! Lined with two inner pockets, these purses adjust easily with a dual ring sling on the side and ensure maximum comfort with a wide shoulder strap. The PAXpack is the best way to enjoy our creative cosplay wraps even while not babywearing! I can’t wait to see our new releases; stay tuned for more!
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*happy babywearing*

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Waiting

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***Please take caution when reading this heartfelt post; you may be triggered if you have been affected by pregnancy loss.
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Now that you have tried to make a baby, there’s the endless two week wait while you wrestle with the inner turmoil and emotional personal disputes not limited to “was now the right time?” “should we have waited?” “am I ready?” “are WE ready?” “what will I do if we are pregnant?” “what will I do if we’re NOT pregnant.” For me, having lost our eighth baby in May but knowing for 21 days before I started bleeding that the early birth was imminent, my current wait for my period to start is causing PTSD style flashbacks. A few months ago I was hanging onto each moment with my baby and trying not to lose my mind in grief. Here I am today, hoping for the best, but expecting nothing, and reliving each day of my loss while I carefully check my toilet paper (ok, you got me! family cloth!) for a trace of blood or ANY clue as to why I am now 2 days late without a positive on my pregnancy tests. Speaking of which, I ordered a stack of 100 cheapies from Amazon when we decided that September would be our first TRY month! I love the cheap sticks because I can pee away without worrying about the money; I limited myself to 1 a day but quickly progressed to 2. Given the fact that I am crying at the latest episode of This Is Us, craving eggs (I’m a VEGAN!), and I suddenly think that coffee tastes gross, I want to believe that I am pregnant and my HCG levels just aren’t caught up yet. But on the other hand, I have become a public crier since losing my Blaise in May, my friend Guin has been hooking us up with amazing happy eggs from her backyard chickens, and at PAXretreat I was treated to amazing cappuccino every day so ordinary coffee is kind of gross in comparison. So maybe these aren’t symptoms as much as they are just part of being me.

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The thoughts that go through my mind every time I step into the bathroom to pee on ANOTHER stick are :
You just bribed your other kids to stay downstairs with some gluten free cookies and a science based show on Netflix so that you could go in the bathroom and cry. This is a new low.

You can’t even go to the bathroom without at least one child sitting in your lap. How will you fit your belly in here too??

If you pee on your hand one more time while aiming for the pee stick….

And my personal favorite, your baby is finally sleeping through the night and 100% potty trained except the occasional accident. WHY ON EARTH would you want to start all over?

But the thoughts that go through my mind each time I pee on another stick and see that negative sticking its tongue out at me are :
You have peed on 10 sticks in the last 3 days; just wait and see.

You are the most impatient person I know.

You need to drink more water; your pee isn’t clear!

You need to calm down, and focus on the 7 little blessings waiting for you downstairs, covered with cookie crumbs and filled with new Science facts to share with you.

You need to accept with grace whatever happens this month.

Next month is another cycle, another chance for the baby that YOU KNOW you are meant to hold in your arms.

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But let me tell you, the wait is so stressful, and the associations I can give every odd event make my emotions swing wildly within minutes. I took 2 naps yesterday; I MUST be pregnant! I don’t feel like eating; I MUST NOT be pregnant! My breasts hurt; I MUST be pregnant! I have high highs and low lows like PMS; I MUST NOT be pregnant! My belly is sticking out even though I’m not eating much and exercising daily; I MUST be pregnant!

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Now add to this emotional rollercoaster the guilt that I feel for closing the story of my 8th baby, and wanting to try again for #9. Did I give her tiny life enough respect. Have I taught the kids well that though they never got to meet their baby sister, she counts as one of their siblings. Was I a good enough mom to my Blaise during our 15 weeks together.  Am I ready to share my love with someone new.  Am I ready to be pregnant again, count the weeks again, and hold my breath until we pass that 15 week mark when I gave birth last. Will my body be ready in 36ish weeks to be healthy, and my mind to be whole and focused and not remembering the pain and suffering that a year beforehand brought me to my hardest birth. Can I give a new baby the grace to not replace my Blaise, but to be another love of my life, not detracting from my previous experience, but adding a new bud to the beautiful bouquet of lives, deaths, and memories that I hold in my heart.
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Am I strong enough? Am I mom enough? Time will tell.
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Milk sharing aka wetnursing

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Milk sharing aka wet nursing or cross-nursing is really common among my group of friends! Many of us have nursed each other’s babies, toddlers, and kids out of necessity or even just to boost our little ones’ immune strength! It’s a truly wonderful way to bond with your most cherished friends; my kids now have milk siblings. Their milk mamas have shared the bond of physical closeness as well as the antibodies that comes from one’s own milk. I can’t think of a more perfect way to show love as a mommy friend!

It’s sad but true that for many years, I felt tethered to my babies who were each exclusively breastfeed for almost 12 months. Until I found my community here in Southern California, I couldn’t physically leave my children without a back up feeding source but once I found my village, I allowed myself to leave my young baby in the care of dear friends who would breastfeed her as needed. My plight of not bottle training and yet desperately needing to go on a date with my husband was solved with one simple statement. “Please feed her when she seems hungry!” Suddenly, our options widened, and PAXdaddy and I have enjoyed quite a few dates since the birth of our daughter in 2013 by leaving she and our 6 older children with friends as well as having provided childcare for other friends wanting to escape the clutches of their little milk monster for a few hours!
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I myself have been able to feed many of my friends’ babies for a plethora of reasons! I was very proud to put my lactating breasts to work one night when I was a doula at a friend’s birth. She had a trauma shortly after delivering her baby so I nursed her newborn through the night while also taking care of my own sweet 5 month old baby. The next morning I put out a call for help, and an army of mutual friends arrived to help with the new baby and also to keep baby’s tummy full of 100% breastmilk! I still marvel at that amazing week and how a group of women could come together to keep one little baby well nourished, clean, comforted while her mommy was under the weather.
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At 32 months old, my daughter, Cate, was still breastfeeding and enjoying the mommy cuddles that it’s hard to find in a large busy family! When our 8th baby, Blaise, was born at just 15 weeks, my milk dried up leaving Cate high and dry. Luckily for her, an entire herd of lactating friends came during the month of May to care for me, my husband, and my children as I recovered from the loss of our beloved baby. She nursed from several mothers over the course of the month and now refers to one of our closest friends as “Mama Milk.” I am so grateful to each and every friend who offered to breastfeed my sweet girl. It means so much to me and made the transition to being a non-lactating mother much easier and less emotional.

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At PAXretreat last week, PAXfriend Evonne had a little snuggle time with #toddlerCate. My lovie was over the moon with the fresh milk, and Evonne was happy to fill her little tummy with liquid gold. I cannot wait to have another baby, have my milk come in, and be able to feed someone else’s baby straight from the tap!
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*happy breastfeeding*

 

 

Sally Stitches is back!

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Wear during the holidays or all year round if you dare, Sally is our PAXbaby.com exclusive that we’ve been DYING to share with you! Sally is the brainchild of our wonderful designer at QuasiCo Creative and PAXmommy Jillian, who wanted a Nightmare Before Christmas themed wrap that would be the ultimate #disneybound wrap! Here is our Sally complete with eerie stripes, crazy swirls, tiny dots, scary zippers, and the quintessential stitch lines!!! Sally features a unique color palette that screams NIGHTMARE and will frighten you with her perfection!
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Sally is 100% Cotton, manufactured in Germany, and shipping from Southern California.

These KoKaDi wraps are currently on their way from Germany, which as you may or may not know from previous experience could be a couple weeks long journey or take as long as five or six weeks! So with that being said, please join the PAXmoms as we host a private stocking JUST for you!!!!
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http://shop.paxbaby.com/kokadi-sally-exclusive-carrier-preorder/
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*happy babywearing*


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Read Aloud with The BFG

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Our newest adventure in #readaloudrevival is Roald Dahl’s The BFG in which the Giants drink an amazing beverage called Frobscottle.  I challenged each of the kids to design their own magical elixir! The results were varied, but everyone stated that their concoction was “rare!” Some were tasty, some not, and three of them had the magical ability to fill you up for the whole day; wouldn’t that come in handy! My focus with the older kids this year is GRAMMAR, so they each wrote a paragraph about their imaginary beverage. This challenged a couple of them to think outside their usual “box,” and drew out the sillies from the others who love to get creative in their writing! I love watching their vocabulary improving daily as well as their use of interesting sentence structure!
#homeschool #homeschooling #learnathome #secondgenerationhomeschooler

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*happy babywearing*
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Read Aloud Revival

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I’m a huge bookworm, but I don’t have much time for pleasure reading. What I do make sure to have time for is to read aloud to my littles.  A favorite activity in my house is to all snuggle in my bed – queen size! – and listen to mama read aloud. Picture books, chapter books, bring on the books, we read them all! Because of this family habit, it is my belief that my children will grow up to love books as much as I do, and that makes me very happy.As the new school year approaches, we’ve been discussing the addition of a few new To Do’s for the older kids to keeep life spinning smoothly during our school day. One of Lucy’s new chores will be the wonderful task of setting up our mantle in a delightful library style; I chose a few topics for September and compiled a book list for each one. The books we don’t have will be fetched from the library, or ordered from amazon thanks to school funding! I’ve also asked her to augment the arrangement with props and decorations!

#booknerd #readaloudrevival #homeschool #charlottemason
 
Sept 11 – Grandparent’s Day
The hello, goodbye window by Norman Juster
40 uses for a grandpa by Harriet Ziefert and Amanda Haley
Grandparents’ Day by Nikki Tate and Benoit Laverdiere
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomi DePaola
Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa by Anna Dewdney
Spot Loves His Grandpa by Eric Hill
Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke and Paul Howard
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada and Elivia Savadier
Grandpa’s Face by Eloise Greenfield
 
Sept 15 – Robert McCloskey’s birthday
One morning in Maine
Blueberries for Sal
Make way for ducklings
Bio video http://childrensbooks.about.com/video/About-Robert-McCloskey.htm
 
September 16 – H.A. Rey’s birthday
All Curious George books + on our shelf
 
September 19 – “Talk Like A Pirate Day”
A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade by James Preller and Greg Ruth
All pirate books + on our shelf
 
September 22 – “Hobbit Day”
All Tolkien + on our shelf
 
September 23 – First Day of Autumn
Peepers by Eve Bunting
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilt by Anna Grossnickle Hines
We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt y Steve Metzger and Miki Sakamoto
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell
Seed, sprout, pumpkin, pie by Jill Esbaum
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
Fall Leaves Loretta Holland
 
September 15 – October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month
The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Niño wrestles the world by Yuyi Morales
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh
Dear Primo by Duncan Tonatiuh
Separate is never equal : the story of Sylvia Mendez and her family by Tonatiuh, Duncan.
Portraits of Hispanic American heroes by Juan Feliipe Herrera
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
A Movie in My Pillow / una pelicula en mi almohada by Jorge Argueta and Elizabeth Gomez
Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day by Pat Mora and Rafael Lopez
The rainbow tulip by Pat Mora and Elizabeth Sayles
Yum! mmmm! quu rico! : Americas’ sproutings by Pat Mora
 
Can’t wait to show you her displays! There will be plenty of pictures, don’t worry!
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A tiny placenta print

How does one measure love?

Certainly not based on the size of a placenta, but in my case, it’s all I have left of my baby. 15 weeks in my belly, 8 weeks in heaven; my heart will never be whole again but I wouldn’t give back this time for the world.

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#paxbaby #paxmama #paxmommy #pregnancyloss #pregnancy #placentaprint #imissmybaby #bb8 #justonemorebabyd #happybutsad