Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Baby Post!

I haven't posted yet about this pregnancy because... I don't know why. Possibly because there is too much to post about and I've been so busy with work and Toddler Gray that I haven't had time to sort out all the posts I need to write. Like: How do people have a toddler and a newborn? In my mind, it is a black hole of insanity and I'm just not sure how it will work. Or: Preparing our toddler for a newborn (better title: how much our toddler is completely oblivious to the expectant arrival of a tiny, needy, precious, crying human).

Today I want to talk about how completely different this pregnancy is compared to my 1st and how everything doctors tell you about pregnancy diet is a complete sham.
The symptoms: with Gray I was sick with morning sickness from about 4 weeks until about ... 38 weeks, when he was born. It was really bad (though I did not throw up, I constantly felt like I would) until about 12 weeks when it got better for a few weeks, but anything constricting on my belly made me nauseous and motion sickness was at an all-time high for me (which, if you know me, is saying A LOT). I had no cravings the entire pregnancy, I had loads of aversions and most of the times meals were very planned and based on what was most healthy + I could stomach. I ate because I needed to, 3 times per day. I followed Brewer's Diet very closely to try and avoid preeclampsia and in spite of it, had high BP my entire pregnancy and ended up in kidney failure with pre-e. I gained at least a pound a week from about 6 weeks onward.
This pregnancy: I had very light, easy morning sickness from about 5-12 weeks, that peaked at 7 weeks and made me need to lie down a few times, but nothing too serious. I've had cravings from about 3.5 weeks onwards, everything from milkshakes to tater tots and lots and lots of pickles. I could eat all day. I could eat anything. I have eaten an entire pineapple upside-down cake. I eat chocolate covered pretzels for snack. I don't even really try to be super healthy, though I do eat organic and avoid food colorings and all the other things that I always do, I make no attempt to avoid sugar and I am perfectly happy covering my mashed potatoes in lots and lots of white gravy, thank you! In spite of this AWESOME diet, I have gained - not one single pound. In 18 weeks. I'm exactly the weight I was prior to getting pregnant, which is 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant with Gray. And my BP? So far - completely normal. I feel pretty great.

So my conclusion, based on my sample size of 2, is that pregnancy diets are BS. Your body reacts to pregnancy and that determines what you do or don't crave, how you feel, if you gain weight and how much (I may still get to gain quite a bit, I do have 22 weeks left!), whether or not you get preeclampsia. I think it is all determined before you ever even pee on a stick. I think that little blastocyst already has your body programmed and from that moment forward, your actions may help or hinder, but they aren't going to change the course. (Except of course for really dumb things like fetal alcohol syndrome and crack babies and that sort of thing). So I think women should be encouraged by their doctors to follow the signal of their body and maybe everything else will work itself out in the end, especially if we stop covering moms-to-be in guilt of diet and exercise (though you should totally exercise) and weight gain. Let a mother's body do what it was built to do!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Organic

I used to be one of those people. Probably the same as some of you. I thought organic was codeword for sucker. I thought the people who bought organic were paying for the privilege of being ripped off. Dummies, I thought. I remember when I worked in the daycare nursery, a mom got mad at me for giving her son store-bought conventional green grapes (he was 18 months old) on St. Patrick's Day. She told me most grapes were grown in foreign countries where it was legal to spray arsenic to kill bugs. I told her I'd washed the grapes and was secretly rolling my eyes because - for real, lady, freak out over nothing, ever heard of the FDA? We have REGULATIONS in this Country. I couldn't have been more stupid, and I wish I could apologize to her today.

I think I first started eating organic stuff before Gray was born, but mostly because it tasted better and, hey, I'll pay for that! Becoming Gray's mommy, though, put things into a whole new perspective. So, without further ado, here's my list of why we eat mostly organic.

1. I'm a wildlife biologist and so I'll start with the birds and the bees. Ever heard of DDT? yup, it was a pesticide. One that killed untold numbers of animals before people realized - Hey! When bugs die, something eats them and when lots of bugs die from pesticides, something bigger eats lots of them and then has lots of poison in it! I'm not saying any current pesticide is as bad as DDT - but no one is saying they aren't, either. It doesn't take long for pesticides to get approved and really we have no idea what the long term repercussions could be for a particular pesticide. It's not like they are waiting 20 years to find out, either. If you haven't heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, you should Google it, and if you are thinking SO WHAT, I don't like bees anyway! then you are stupid because bees pollinate almost everything that needs to be pollinated - the stuff we eat, the pretty plants we like to look at, THE STUFF WE EAT. Without bees, we are screwed. Our food will have to be made in labs and hand pollinated and if you think that will be cheap, think again! Plus, I REALLY like honey. Please don't kill my bees. (My son, about 3 hours ago, was stung by a bee for the first time, so that tells you just how much I like bees as a whole because at that moment, I would've been happy to kill all of them.)
2. Thin-skinned fruits and veggies: Ever heard of the dirty dozen list? You should check it out. I was shocked and disgusted by the number of pesticides used on products but more importantly, the number of pesticides that foods tested positive for containing - not the outsides, not the skin - the actual part that you eat. If you do anything at all, start eating these foods organic.
3. Genetic Modification (GM): It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but some foods have been genetically altered to allow them to be resistant to herbicides. The biggest of these is soy, but there are many others. In and of itself, it sounds pretty harmless and Hey! says 22 year old me That is the joy of living in 2010! We can screw around with stuff to make it better! But 31 year old me knows better. Genetic modification, like pesticides, hasn't been tested for long term repercussions and some people have pretty good reason to think it could be responsible for the rising rates of food allergies - especially those to peanuts, which are very closely related to soy. (Peanuts are actually more closely related to soy than to any nut). Not to even mention that soy is a "food" that people shouldn't really eat and potentially causes long-term reproductive problems because soy acts as an estrogen-mimicker. Soy may be partially to blame for the rising rates of male infertility and the lowered age of female menstruation. (I say partially to blame because I think the hormones present in conventional cow's milk is also responsible for these population-wide changes in US health). All of this, and soy is present in just about every conventional processed food imaginable.
4. Hormones in cow's milk. Antibiotics in cow's milk. Ick in cow's milk. Cows are given hormones in order to make more milk faster, which means more money for dairies, but it also means more mastitus and infections for cows, so they are also given antibiotics and sometimes the infections aren't really caught in time (or are now resistant to antibiotics) and so there is yucky cow pus coming out with the milk. But Hey! Don' worry about it! We totally pasteurize that stuff so we're all OK! The fact is, the hormones are probably responsible for rising male infertility and reproductive cancers as well as declining ages of female menstruation (which can be as early as 6 years old now!) Not even to mention issues like in the Potomac and Alberta Rivers where male fish are turning into female fish because of the exceptionally high levels of hormones like estrogen in the water.
5. Food Dyes: In some countries, like Britain, companies like M&M Mars, Coco-Cola, Kraft and Willy Wonka voluntarily removed artificial food dyes from their food products. Yup, that's right, no Federal mandates made them do it, they voluntarily took those food dyes out of their products and started using other, natural food dyes. Why? because the general public in these other countries started to realize that artificial food dyes weren't just unnecessary, they were unsafe and these companies realized that the best way to avoid federal mandates and make the public happy was to just go ahead and make the change. So why haven't they done it here? because there is no public outcry and it is cheaper. What are the consequences of food dyes? Hyperactivity & inability to control behavior (sound a lot like ADHD which has only in recent years become a diagnosis and has been steadily on the rise ever since?) are the worst offenders, but some parents have seen links to allergies and autism as well. In fact, one of the first rules to an autistic child's diet is to remove artificial food dyes. I try to avoid food dyes with Gray, but his Daddy swears other mac&cheeses don't taste the same and only eats Kraft. I don't make Kraft mac&cheese for Gray, but sometimes Daddy gives him some of his and seriously, it would make a believer out of anyone. An out-of-control 16 month old is totally for the birds.
6. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): I hate this product. It isn't really food, but it is in almost every conventional processed food product on the shelves, not even to mention every bottled drink. I was happy to notice in the last couple of months Gatorade has switched to sugar in their drinks! HFCS first off probably comes from genetically-modified corn crops, though there's no way to know for sure because manufacturers aren't required to tell you AT ALL if they use GM crops. HFCS tastes like sugar and has calories like sugar, but it doesn't act like sugar in your body and it is oh-so-much-cheaper than sugar, that the manufacturing companies love it. HFCS, although it tastes sweet, sends a signal to your brain that you are still hungry. Sugar, by contrast, signals your brain that you are getting some very sweet food. This is why you can eat more food with HFCS, because your brain doesn't realize you are full. You eat until you explode. I don't like this trait of HFCS, or that it may contain mercury, a known neurotoxin, but the thing I really hate about HFCS is that it isn't a real food. I can't grow some HFCS in my backyard. I can't go down to the Farmer's Market and pick some up when I run out. I can't even buy the right products and make some HFCS in my kitchen, like a cake. This worries me. Just like
7. Artificial sweeteners: I'm not going into too much detail, but for real, these things taste like chemicals, they are chemicals, your body treats them like chemicals and they probably cause cancer. Not for me! Thanks anyway! I'd rather eat stuff that isn't sweetened!
8. Organic tastes better. You may think this is a myth, but it really does. Go to your grocery store (or better yet, Farmer's Market) and buy an organic something and a conventional something. The only thing I've ever had organic that was awful was a peach from Whole Foods and I'm pretty sure that is because I live in peach country so I can get some mouth-watering running-down-your-chin juicy peaches just up the road a ways and I'm thinking Whole Foods' organic peaches were probably shipped in and maybe not harvested at their peak.

In Summary, I like organic because:
It tastes better! No cancer in my food! It is real! It wasn't produced in a lab! My kid isn't hyper, allergic to food or autistic because of it! It doesn't make my kids' junk broken! It doesn't ruin the environment, kill bees and other insects or make songbirds have 6 eyeballs! and lastly, it is the Color of Food, exactly what color my food should be, not neon orange cheese or blue drinks or rainbow candy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: Rockin Green Soap ROCKS

We cloth diaper and for a while I used my own homemade laundry soap for everything, including Gray's diapers (though it was a different laundry soap, one that didn't include actual soap). It worked pretty well, especially considering how hard our water is (everything gets residue on it, yuck!) Though after a while, my diapers would start getting stinky. They wouldn't really stink when they came out of the dryer, but as soon as they got wet, WHEW! It was like an Elementary School's Boy's Bathroom in Gray's pants (or maybe High School? I think High School boys purposefully pee on the walls, whereas little boys accidentally do). It was pretty gross, not to mention embarrassing (I don't want people to think I don't change Gray frequently, or that his diapers aren't clean!) I'd end up stripping diapers every 2 weeks, which was a lengthy and time-consuming process of -
Cold rinse (to remove pees/poop residue)
HOT wash & soak (at least 4 hours) with blue Dawn and as many pots of boiling water as I could manage before the washer filled up (usually 3-6)
Hot washes/rinses until the water was no longer bubbly - sometimes as many as 6!
--so my washing machine would be tied up for at least 24 hours and then - even then!- sometimes I'd still get the stinkies. (Plus I didn't want to put anything PUL in there, or GroBaby shells because the velcro gets weak in super hot water, so I'd have to wash those items separately!)

BUT NOT ANYMORE! -and here's where I go all infomercial on you. (not really!) I heard about this detergent Rockin Green and wanted to try it but was a little worried about cost, especially if it didn't really work because I'm Frugal! (maybe this blog should be the Frugal Green Housewife... hmmmm). And then I heard that she was doing this whole new marketing thing and changing stuff and getting new scents (another thing I was worried about because I'm very sensitive to strong smells) so I held off - and tried to win my own bag - and waited... then she came out with the new stuff, which is 100% natural and organic and I bit the bullet! (I also learned that she is out of San Antonio and so I liked that I could get it LOCAL, too!) I ordered a sample of each scent (excluding orangevana and lavender mint revival b/c I thought I wouldn't be a big fan) and a full bag of the scent I thought I'd like the best - Motley Clean. First off, the scents are MARVELOUS! (I have since been to the store in San Antonio and smelled them all - and amazingly loved all of them!) Motley Clean & Plain Green T's are my two favorites - they smell clean and slightly sweet like grapefruit and linen. I also love Rage Against the Raspberries and Smashing Watermelons but they smell like Kool Aid to me so I feel like I might mistakenly mix them with water and drink.

BUT on to the important stuff - my fluff! I took 6 tablespoons of Rockin Green and threw it in the washer with my rinsed diapers, turned it on hot/heavy duty then soak and left it overnight. The next morning, I was disappointed to open the washer and see clear looking water! Argh! Then I turned the washer ON and Voila! yuck water! It was dingy in there - gray-brown water that I couldn't even see through. Apparently it had all sunk to the bottom. I rinsed the diapers 3 times, dried, and since that day, I have not had any stinkies. We LOVE Rockin Green so much, I've stopped making my own detergent and started using RnG on everything! I even use this detergent to clean - the kitchen, the floors, the carpets, the couch! It is magic! (I used it to clean my toilets this last weekend - it's awesome, great srubbing ability, all natural, organic and it smells nice!) My kitchen sink was disgusting - stains from foods (we have a white ceramic sink) and stains from tea and marks from pots and pans. I mixed RNG with enough water to make a paste and scrubbed the paste into the sink, then left until it dried and srubbed it back off - and ended up with a shiny, sparkley and most importantly, WHITE, sink.

My regular wash routine now is 2 tablespoons RnG into the washer on hot with my rinsed diapers, leave it to soak overnight and rinse in the morning. It works like a charm, and only using 2 tablespoons per load means one bag lasts for 45 loads! If you have an HE machine, you can cut the use in half (1 tbs per load) and get 90 loads from one bag. It is amazing stuff!

WIN YOUR OWN BAG of RnG! I'm keeping things simple because I hate those blog contests where you have to do 15 different things. So, please, if you haven't before, check out RNG's website, read about it. Find them on facebook and "like" them (you can get great hints from other mama's and find out fast about RnG giveaways and discounts!) and if you feel like it, find me, Squeaky Green Housewife, on facebook and friend me, too! Leave a comment below letting me know the scent you'd like to try and if you have hard, soft or regular water in your home. One comment per person, please! Giveaway ends September 17!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toddler Nuggets



Am I the only sicko out there who gets extreme pleasure from making "nugget" jokes? Probably...

I made these super delicious (seriously, I eat half of them!) nuggets for Gray. I use all organic ingredients, and they still come out cheaper than buying Tyson Yuck ("Chicken") Nuggets at the store.

(I never use recipes, so excuse how totally random this seems, I'll do better in the future to actually make real recipes!)


1 lb turkey - I used 1/2 dark and 1/2 white meat from Whole Foods
about 1/4 cup cooked shredded or diced carrots
about 1/4 cup raw spinach shredded into tiny pieces (I did this by hand but it would be a lot easier with an actual shredder thing)
about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese
1 egg
a few completely smushed club crackers (I just had some leftover, so I smashed them and threw them in!)

Mix that all together really really good
Then smash up about 1 cup of crackers (I used Kashi stone-ground whole wheat crackers which are super crunchy) - the more you mash them up, the better, though I had some big pieces and it worked out OK, the smallest crumbs were best.

Take a teaspoon and scoop out some meat mixture, drop into the crushed crackers and smush a bit, flip over and smush again, then transfer it to a baking sheet (covered in a sheet of parchment paper, so the nuggets won't stick). Repeat about 36 times. Smush all of the nuggets down on the pan so they are relatively close to the same thickness (mine were around 1/3 inch or so) and then bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Just keep an eye on them, you don't want it to burn. You could probably flip about halfway through and that would be helpful for even baking, but I got sidetracked and did not do that. Once cooked, let cool for a little bit and then throw in the freezer! I just thaw them for 30 seconds in the microwave and serve!


My Perfect Little Model eating his nuggets (and avoiding his sweet potatoes!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Politics

I know, it's a bad idea to talk politics, but I'm kind of sick of the USA at this point, so yeah, I'm going to talk politics.

Here's the thing, I'm not a democrat. Often, people assume because of my job in a very environmental organization that I am a hippie Liberal, but that is not so. Here's the other thing, I'm not a republican. I live in Texas, I grew up in Tennessee, I was in church from the time I was born until my mid-20's, a very strict, bible-thumping, conservative church, but I'm not a Republican.

I dream of a 3rd choice. I usually vote 3rd party, though they very rarely win anything (tides seem to be changing there, maybe, with all the Tea Party stuff lately). I'm what is called a Libertarian. No, not a librarian... a libertarian! I believe the Federal Government should control very few things, mostly military, interstates and international trade/relations. I'm sure I could find a few more things for that list if I thought really hard, but I'm lazy. My point is, the Federal Government should not determine things like abortion, or same-sex marriage, or even welfare. The Feds shouldn't take 25% of my paycheck, none of my paycheck should go to the Government for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other social programs. I think potentially there could be a Federal program for Healthcare, but not this government's, not the way the US manages things. I should be responsible for myself. And States can individually be responsible for the stuff that needs management. You would have 50 choices for the way things are done. Don't like that one state doesn't allow you to X? Move to this other state where that is totally kosher!

I hate welfare. Why do we have this welfare program? It's not welfare - or the state of being happy. It is perpetual poverty. It is a program that encourages you to not work, or if you do work - hide your income from the government! I believe in the "teach a man to fish" way of life. Welfare should be a limited use, supplemental loan. It should help people, temporarily, and be repaid before the program can be reused.

Last - I don't really understand how anyone can be against things like gay marriage. Why do people care? I don't care who you want to marry and you don't need me to care! But more than that, less than 100 years ago, I wouldn't have had a right to vote in this country because I have a vagina. (Or because I don't have a penis). Our President has stated that he is not in support of gay marriage, yet HE wouldn't have had the right to vote (or even to be a free man) in the last 150 years, his right to vote really wouldn't have happened until 1964 - that is within his own lifetime. This is the EXACT same issue - denying people rights based on their race, sex, sexuality - it is all the same, and it's all wrong. At what point will we stop discriminating?

Monday, August 2, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week or sumthing

So in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, I have some stories to share! About... breastfeeding! Who would have thought?

We had Gray's 1 year birthday party a week ago and a friend who is breastfeeding came to the party. She was feeding her baby (who is 7 months or so) and my husband was talking to her (about beer or some such) without realizing she was breastfeeding. Then he suddenly realized that she was breastfeeding and got all awkward and walked away. This is totally strange to me - he watches me breastfeed Gray every single day. Usually when he gets up in the morning to go to work, Gray is breastfeeding. He's obviously fine (and still talks to me and everything!) when I'm nursing Gray, but he realizes that a friend (though he'd only just met her) is breastfeeding and he gets all awkward and teenager-y. Which was pretty much the deciding factor that I needed to breastfeed in public more often because my husband, who see's it all the time, is awkward about it, probably because I'm the only woman he's ever seen breastfeed! Gah! Time to put an end to this nonsense!

Not enough women breastfeed, which is sad. And those that do are often shamed about it (in the USA) and hide in back rooms. I refuse to hide anymore, if people don't want to see my baby feeders, don't look :) I was at the Farmer's Market this weekend, and afterwards me and Gray always play in the nice soft grass (which is a rarity in Texas) in front of the Courthouse until Gray gets tired and then we go home. So we're playing in the grass and he gets hungry for some milkies so I start BFing... and some guy is STARING at me and it got me to wondering if he was staring thinking that he knows me but couldn't place me (he did know me, though only casually) or if he was actually trying to make me feel uncomfortable (he did) or if he was just staring off into space and I just happened to be in that general direction? It was awkward.

Last, a note to new moms of boys, especially those that plan to breastfeed. Little boys like to play with their junk. They get boners. They like to play with their junk while breastfeeding, if they are able. They will give themselves a boner, while breastfeeding. That is awkward. Totally natural and all, and actually really funny to me... but you should know. Just FYI. Be prepared.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gray's 1st Year

video

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Uno!


Today my son is one. In some ways, the past year seems like a lifetime to me, too. I don't remember what life was like before Gray. That girl that I used to be who took risks just for the thrill is a fond memory in my mind, but she's not me anymore. That baby, the tiny 5 lb 7 ounce newborn narcoleptic that we brought home from the hospital? That's not Gray anymore, either. He is strong, independent, happy. He loves to be worn, loves to be naked, loves to be a big boy. He asserts his opinion without ever saying a word. When he's thirsty he will point to my glass of water, or climb to it if it is within reach. When he's done drinking he pushes the glass away with his hands and gives me a stern look. He gets excited when me and Daddy share a hug or kiss and walks over to get his hugs and kisses, too, with a big grin on his face and pure joy in his eyes. He kicks and squirms to be put down when we're outside, sometimes at his own peril. When he's done in the bath, he comes to the edge of the tub, looks me in the eye and lifts his left leg - always the left leg - out of the tub. When I say "Are you ready to get out?" and reach for his towel, he puts his leg down, grins, and reaches his arms high in the air.

He understands things now and it is an amazing gift to get to watch him learn. He knows that eyes are for seeing and he will peek into small spaces to see what is beyond. He knows how to push the top off the ottoman, but sometimes instead he just pushes it enough so there is a tiny crack, then he kneels down and squints in the crack to see what is inside. Other days he empties the ottoman of its' contents and pushes it around, so proud of himself you'd think he was pushing around a cart of gold. Just this last week he learned he can pull stuff, too. He pushed the ottoman across the room and then pulled it back, taking these funny exaggerated steps because he didn't quite understand how to pull and walk at the same time. Sometimes he gets down on his belly to see what is under the coffee table and I love watching him squat and look, get on knees and look, then finally get on his belly to get a good long look under the table.

He climbs everything. Nothing more can be said here because he gives me a heart attack every time, but I know it's only going to get worse. I fully expect he will have climbed to the ceiling by his next birthday.

He loves to be hung upside-down. He cracks up and it is hilarious for me, too. It's also the only time I can get a good look at his teeth (which are still in his gums) and see how they are progressing. Maybe someday he will get a tooth. Maybe today.

I know now that each day is fleeting. I remember the days when he woke up at 11 pm and stayed awake until 3 or 4 or 5 am and just how frustrated I'd be trying to get him back to sleep. I wish I'd been able to appreciate those first days a little more. Sometimes I get a glimpse of that newborn, at night when Gray nurses he rolls over to me and makes pitiful puppy sounds until he gets latched on and then sucks hard with a "MMMMmmm" like he's a dehydrated man in the desert who just found a spring, and I remember that newborn, with the ridges in his head, eyes that doodled all around and hands that spontaneously, uncontrollably, grabbed at the air.

This past year has been a blur and a lifetime. I love Gray more than I ever knew was possible. He inspires me to be a better person, a better mama. I hope he is better than me, smarter than me, kinder than me. I hope he is happy, successful, amazing. He is everything I ever dreamed of and so much more. My sweet boy is one today. Happy birthday, Gray. I love you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Reading List: Unconditional Parenting

I recently checked out the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. The general idea of the book (and he has quite a bit of research and citations included) is that traditional, conventional, conditional parenting does not work - rewarding good behavior (including everything from "Good Job!" type praise rewards to money, presents, trips "I'll take you to the zoo on Friday if you good at dinner Thursday night!", etc.) makes kids NOT want to do the behavior in it's own right - they only want to do it for the reward (even in very young children, one of the reason we don't give Gray "Good Job!"'s for going potty is because then he won't want to potty because that is just what you do, he'll want to potty for the reward of recognition). Research has shown that toddlers who are given recognition for sharing ("Good Sharing!") are less likely to share if an adult isn't around to recognize and verbally praise them next time. (What other options do you have? Asking why - "Gray, I saw you share with your friend, why did you do that?" or just recognizing without putting conditions on the actions "I saw you share ___ toy with your friend" or not saying anything!) And the punishments, of which I'm sure we're all completely familiar and don't really need examples - taking away privileges, spanking and probably the worst offense - time out. (Why would I say time outs are the worst? because it is the epitome of actions that say "I don't love you right now, stay away from me until you conform to my desires and then I will love you again"). The goal of unconditional parenting is to let kids know that you love them ALL the time, when they are getting into the trash can, when they are crying, when they are frustrating, when they are "naughty", when they are great, when they are mediocre. And research shows that children who are allowed to be children are BETTER behaved - don't need to act out, are more verbal in their actions and will talk about WHY something happened. And when children are allowed to participate in their own learning, they are less likely to repeat those negative behaviors. (Does this work 100% of the time? no. But I've yet to meet a child who is 100% perfect.)

Everything mentioned in this book resonates with me. It strikes me to my core, the points made about conditional parenting, carrots and sticks (rewards and punishments), how children respond to parents and how children learn. It rings true to me. However, the entire time reading this book, there is a little devil in the back of my mind saying "impossible!" My entire life has been surrounded by conditional love, teachers, rewards, punishments. Religion is conditional (be good, go to heaven, be bad, go to hell, be good, God rewards you, be bad, Satan is leading you, etc.) Jobs are conditional (money is the reward, or sometimes achievements such as plaques and "good jobs!"). School was definitely conditional (grades are in themselves a conditional learning "tool" - which doesn't work). My parents were extremely conditional, more my mom than my dad, though definitely both (I got whipped with the belt more than once, had to pick a switch more than once, and got the rewards side, too - money, presents, etc. and always felt like my parents would not love me anymore if I failed classes - like once I'd made an "A", I set myself up to be an "A" student or my parents would be disappointed - which they were, on occasion).

My point is, conditions have been drilled into me since I was born. So how will I be able to completely change my behavior and responses with Gray in order to be an unconditional parent? I feel like I need to copy pages and phrases from this book and post them everywhere - my drawers, my fridge, my front door, my underwear. :)

Baby steps, is what I've decided. Be the turtle. Slow and steady. I'll learn right alongside Gray - as he does, and I'm sure it will be a process. I'm sure I will make mistakes and hopefully I will learn from them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Boob Tube

I mostly don't really like TV. When I was in Grad School, for 9 months out of the year I lived in a bunkhouse on a 40,000 acre ranch and I had no TV. It was AWESOME. Dale and I went on our honeymoon to Dolan Falls on the Devil's River and there is no TV or phone or even cell signal out there and that is also fabulous and one of my favorite places to be in the whole world.

Anyhow, I mostly don't like TV but I watch it anyway. I watch shows like Grey's Anatomy because I've been watching since it started and I feel obligated to continue, though I really mostly have it on while I am doing something else. I probably couldn't tell you half of what went on this past season, even though I watched every episode. I do like the CSI shows and most shows on Showtime and HBO (Dexter is way awesome) and we also love Breaking Bad and Mad Med. I like to see HGTV because sometimes it gives me ideas for our house and it also gives me inspiration to do it myself. I prefer to watch most of these shows while I'm working because it distracts my brain so I can concentrate. That's weird, I know, but my High School was in pods and all rooms were connected so there was always noise, even when you were taking a test in your classroom, some other class was being lectured or having a discussion or watching a movie.

Usually the TV will be off in our house until Dale gets home and then he turns it on because he is one of those people who always wants the TV on. Sometimes he comes home, turns the TV on and then leaves the room and does something else for an hour or more.

Since I already don't much like TV, it really annoys me when I do like a show and it gets cancelled. I started watching ABC's Happy Town this year. I figured it would be like last year's Harpers Island and I probably wouldn't be much impressed with the writing or acting, but Happy Town has pleasantly surprised me and has been a darn good mystery, one that I got a little caught up in and was excited to hear the ending. (Though I am cautious about good mysteries since LOST and it's junky finale!) So what does ABC do? Cancel it. Of course. With only 2 episodes left in the season, which I think is pretty stupid, could they really not find time to air 2 more episodes? Not only that, but it was slated to play last night (they even advertised it) and instead they ran a rerun of House. I don't get that at all. You can see the last 2 episodes of the season on Hulu for free, but don't expect it to tie up the whole show in a neat little bow - the MagicMan is revealed but you don't find out why or how or where all the people are hidden. My hope is some other channel will pick up this show and run Season 2 so more can be revealed!

What shows do you love? Any disappointments in cancelled shows? I was pleasantly surprised with "Justified" on FX this year, I was afraid all season it would get cancelled but they made it a whole season and are slated for season 2! Also it is based off of books (Leonard Elmore, I think, it's on my list to get at the library) so IF it got cancelled, I could always read the books and those are better, anyway. Though I think Timothy Olyphant is kind of a hottie. :)

Plum Organics Winner

Thanks EcoMom for sponsoring our first giveaway! Random.org chose comment #30 - Ryan and Amanda - as our winner! Please email me with your full name and address so we can get you your prize! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breast Feeding

I'm shocked and amazed at all the "celebrities" who have recently made attacks against breast feeding. I get that breast feeding isn't for everyone (though, in my opinion, it is the uneducated/selfish mother who doesn't even try), but I do not understand how a person can deny that breast feeding is best for babies and also completely natural. And no, Adrianne Curry, not natural like a sexual act, natural like eating a sandwich for lunch or having a glass of iced tea on a hot summer's day, two things you've probably never done since they might interfere with your cocaine habit/weight loss.

I didn't even know who Adrianne Curry was until I read that she'd compared breast feeding to cunnilingus, proclaimed breasts to be "sexual organs" and compared breast feeding women to mother dogs. What kills me about her words and those of Kim Kardashian is that both of them run around with sexual body parts hanging out and neither are mothers. I don't care about your opinions, ladies, you are both idiots, pretty things to put in the centerfold for men to stare at. No one is staring at your brains! So do yourselves a favor and keep your mouths shut. Better to be quiet and have people think you are an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Very Good Day

Yesterday we went to Landa Park swimming pool. They have a nice baby pool with water ranging from 2.5 feet to 1 foot to a slanted "beach" (it is painted brown to look like sand but is concrete, so not so easy on those baby knees) along with one of those giant mushroom spray things (when we left there were 3 ADULTS sitting under it - what is wrong with people? this is the BABY pool!) and a little slide for the bigger kids. Unfortunately the spring-fed pool was closed down because of the recent flood (still cleaning it and it is full of mud!) so all the slides over on that pool were not open, which meant all the big kids (middle school) from the day cares were all in the baby pool slide. There's also an Olympic pool that was open, but it is pretty boring, just water in a hole, no slides or fountains or whatever. (and seriously, on every ladder and the one staircase, there were 15 kids hanging on who obviously didn't swim so well - but it made it VERY hard to get in the pool with a baby. I remember when I was a kid, the life guards would call you out and tell you to move for hanging onto the ladders!)

Gray crawled on the "beach" for a while. He would crawl down into the water, which was 1 foot deep, and almost drown, over and over again. There was apparently supposed to be some type of toy on the beach, because there are screws sticking up from the ground, and they had covered these with a highway cone. Gray thought the highway cone was the biggest nipple he had ever seen and he tried his best to nurse that thing. We swam in the big pool some, too. Then Gray started making the sign for "nursing" so it was time to go. (Plus me and Missy were HUNGRY!)

The pool definitely wore Gray out, because he fell asleep as soon as we were back in the truck and didn't wake up even when we went in the restaurant, or for the whole hour or so we were eating lunch! He hasn't stayed asleep when removed from a vehicle since he was about 3 months old. Which makes me want to take him swimming EVERYDAY.

I hope he grows up to love the water!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Childbirth - What I will do differently the 2nd time around

I did a lot of research on childbirth, starting before I was ever even pregnant. A peaceful homebirth rang true for me, felt right in my bones, was everything I dreamed of for my sweet little newborn. I'd already found our midwife before we got that positive pregnancy test and called to set up our first appointment when I was just 6 weeks along.

The way things ended up, I think was probably unavoidable. I did everything possible to not get preeclampsia, but still ended up with a BP of 167/117 lying on my left side when I checked into the hospital. Not the worst I've heard, but bad enough for me that I was going into kidney failure and Gray was growth restricted (though we didn't know it until after he was delivered). Once I got pre-e, it was all over, I think. No matter what happened, I would've been sick about his birth. I don't like drugs and I especially don't like the idea of my baby being on drugs. I didn't get any pain medication until just before my Cesarean (a spinal block). I only took a total of 6 pain meds after my Cesarean, 1 every 6 hours. I hated that he was doped up with Pitocin and Magnesium Sulfate for hours and hours before his birth. So I think even if I'd been able to deliver vaginally, I would still be sick about his birth.

There were some things I could've changed, though. I wish I hadn't been so trusting of my midwives. I wish I'd had an OB throughout my pregnancy who would've been on-board with my desires for Gray. I wish I would've planned for a Cesarean just to have had those details ironed out, because I am a detail person. I like to make lists. I like to be prepared. I did have a birth plan, but no one at the hospital cared, especially not the OB. I should've had an OB I'd talked to long before and had sign off on my birth plan.

The thing I wanted for Gray was a natural birth. That chance was shot as soon as we got to the hospital, there is nothing natural about what goes on behind those L&D doors. I wanted no drugs, but within 30 minutes of checking in, I was on an IV of Mag Sulfate. By nights end, I had pitocin, too. Every nurse that came in the door wanted to give me an epidural, though I never gave in and specifically requested that they stop asking. (I knew enough to avoid the whole pitocin-epidural downward spiral of fetal heart rate). The thing is, I HAD done my research and that's the whole reason I wanted a home birth. I wanted no immunizations for Gray, no poking, no prodding, no blood tests, no removing him from me and Dale. The biggest thing, though? I wanted his umbilical cord to remain intact. It was very important to me that Gray get all of his own blood, that the cord not be cut until it stopped pulsing. That is the issue on which I feel like my midwives failed me the most. It's a very simple gauge of a doctor, to ask their stance on immediate cord clamping. When I brought it up with the OB, she said "I never delay cord clamping because once the baby is born, blood flows backwards out of the baby into the cord and out of your placenta." That OB was really that big of a moron and I was completely powerless to do anything about it, because I was already checked into the hospital under her care, to leave I would have to get off of IV's, remove a catheter (that I shouldn't have had in the first place), get my clothes and check out AMA. (If you don't know anything about cord clamping, please educate yourself, for the sake of your children).

So the next time around, I'll have a dual plan of attack. I'll have a midwife, in case I don't have pre-eclampsia again and I can have a homebirth, but I will also have a progressive OB who understands and agrees with my desires for my child. If I have to have a repeat Cesarean, I will have a lotus birth (where the umbilical cord and placenta remain intact). (One of the other things we wanted for Gray was to plant a Placenta Tree - but we weren't able to because the hospital incinerated his placenta, even though we specifically requested it be given back to us). I will not allow for my baby to leave me, even if I have a Cesarean. There's no reason for the baby to leave my room or my side. It just came out of my body - how could it possibly cause an infection or anything else? I will plan, next time, for a Cesarean, and hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised and not need one at all. But I will be prepared, and I won't trust that someone else cares enough about me to ask the right questions. I will do that myself.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Steps

It is probably time for me to write about this, since it happened over 2 months ago...

On Gray's 9 month birthday (April 22nd) we were just sitting around watching some TV and Gray was playing in the living room. We have 2 ottomans (ottomen? haha) and they were out under our feet and Gray was crawling around, standing up with the help of whatever was above him, sitting down "PLOP" on his butt, standing without holding on, etc. And also getting into trouble, because he is always doing that.

He crawls over to my ottoman and stands up, then lets go and is standing there looking at me. It was a pivotal moment because I saw a look in his eyes and knew he was contemplating doing something big. His eyes are dark, kind of a greeny brown (still not completely brown for unknown reasons) and he always looks just a little bit mischievous. That night was no exception, but he also had this look of pure determination and bravery.He stood there looking at me for maybe 3 seconds. Our eyes connected. He gave me his little half grin and took off. Three, maybe 4 tiny little steps with no support and landing in my arms a squealing, kicking, happy little monster.

That was it. No leading up to it, probably the opposite in that we don't encourage him to walk because he gets into too much stuff the way it is. After those tiny first steps I felt sure that we were on the precipice and he would be zooming around on 2 legs right away. But that's just not the way Gray goes about life. He prefers to make these huge paradigm shifts and then just go about business as usual for a few more weeks or months. Since that day, he's walked a handful of times. He can walk beside you holding one of your hands (or both) and he will sneak a walk in if it is a short distance - from one object to another (or to me). He mostly still prefers to crawl, though, and sometimes when I try to walk with him holding one of my hands he will sit instead, so he can crawl, because him crawling is faster than me walking and is way faster than him walking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Giveaway: Plum Organics


My very first super sweet giveaway! I'm SO excited!

I received Plum Organics products from Ecomom (Eco-friendly baby Products - Ecomom), including some apple-carrot fiddlesticks, 2 toddler mish mashes (peach and strawberry) and 2 baby pouches (spinach, peas & pear and pumpkin & banana), plus some Plum dispensing spoons by boon (these just attach to the pouch for seriously easy feeding as well as no used spoon mixing into your baby food and getting germs down in there, so I feel a little safer refrigerating leftovers for use later).

I gave Gray a fiddlestick right away. (Right away after I tried it, of course!) I like that these are gluten-free and also are very soft textured, so I feel like the choking hazard is diminished. Even though Gray had just finished eating dinner, he went right after the fiddlestick and ate the whole thing like it was candy, so I'd say that was a hit!


(Gray guiltily eating his first fiddlestick - he'd had a long day of sun and swimming in the river, so he was worn out.)

We had some of the mish mash and pouches over the last couple of days. He's liked everything he's tried and I think these would be great for moms who are super busy, it is so simple to just throw one in the diaper bag (or open up for a quick meal!) I don't really like the boon spoon, when you squeeze out the food it is all at the back of the spoon which makes it harder to feed to a baby. It also didn't have a solid handle, since the pouch of food is the "handle" so that took some getting used to. I tried just squeezing directly into a baby spoon and that worked really well for us.

EcoMom's website is very easy to navigate and there is a cool program called EcoPass where you pay a $99 annual membership and get 15% off every order plus free shipping on any order! I think if you were planning to use this as your main baby food source, it would be a great program.

EcoMom is giving all of our readers 15% off their first order! Use coupon code SBBL435 offer good until June 30, 2010.

And now for the Giveaway!!!! EcoMom is giving one lucky reader $15 in Plum or Revolution foods!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment letting us know you've done any of the following (multiple entries encouraged!) I'll draw a winner on June 30th, 2010! Contest only open to entrants in the US and Canada.

Mandatory Entry: Check out EcoMom's website (www.ecomom.com) and let me know 1 product you would love to try - there are so many products aside from just baby food (and way more food products than I got to review!) 1 entry

Entry #2: Follow EcoMom on twitter (1 entry)

Entry #3: Become a fan of EcoMom on Facebook (1 entry)

Entry #4: Join the EcoMom newsletter (1 entry)

Entry #5: Publicly follow my blog (1 entry)

Entry #6: Follow me on facebook (1 entry) {Note: There's nothing going on over there yet because I just started the page, but there will be!}

Entry #7: Tweet about this giveaway including @rachaellindsey and @ecomom as well as a link to this blog (1 per day)

Good Luck everyone!

* I was given products to review but was not compensated for this review. This review is completely my own opinion and does not represent those of Plum Organics, EcoMom, or anyone else.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No Poo Sucks

I got tired of feeling gross. My hair was even thicker than normal, which might be great if I had thin hair normally but considering normally my hair is so thick you can't run your fingers through it... gross. I dunno that anyone else noticed my hair was different, so no-poo has that going for it. It wasn't that I smelled like pickles or my hair was stanky or nasty looking. I just felt gross. I felt dirty. I finished a shower and felt like I'd never gotten in. So yesterday I broke down and used what was left in my Pantene bottle - ummm holy cow I never realized how STRONG the fragrance is in there! Yikes! And yesterday after work in Austin I stopped at Whole Foods and purchased some honest-to-God paraben and phalate-free organic decent-smelling shampoo and conditioner. Lets hope I like it! I also picked up some new body wash/shampoo for Gray (even the BOTTLE is BPA free so that it won't leach BPA into the shampoo) and a tube of sunscreen (also paraben-free and blah blah blah) because today we are hitting the river! Expect a slideshow later this weekend.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 3 of No-Poo

I started the no-poo method of hair cleaning this past Saturday. No-poo is basically using baking soda to "wash" your hair (really to scrub your scalp) and vinegar to condition your hair. (Why, you might ask? Because shampoos and conditioners contain all kinds of yucky stuff that gets absorbed into your body and are known carcinogens and also because the claim floating around the internets is the no-poo makes your hair healthier, less oily, more easily manageable, prettier...) I was skeptical that I would enjoy this "getting acquainted" period, but it really hasn't been that bad so far and I'm learning ways to make "No-poo" pain-free.

The hardest part for me is that I'm a creature of habit. One of my habits for the past 20-something years of bathing myself is to scrub with shampoo, get lots of bubbles (maybe make a bubble beard or swimsuit -ahem- when I was younger, of course), rinse, lather up a thick paste of conditioner, leave it on for a good 10 minutes, and rinse clean to nice smelling, smooth, silky, thick, slimy hair. So that's been my "clean". It's hard to change from that to scrubbing my head with baking soda/water paste, rinsing to get gnarled rat's nest of tangled non-oily hair and then rinse with vinegar water to end up with slightly gnarly, faintly pickle-smelling, quickly drying (re: not slimy) hair. That's the hardest part for me, getting out of the shower and not being sure I feel "clean", because "clean" has always been something entirely different.

The great part, though, is that my hair has never been more manageable. It doesn't get tangled once I brush it, even after Gray yanking on it and messing it up all day long. It is relatively nice-looking without me doing anything - no hair product, no blow-dry, nothing. Slightly wavy with a nice sheen and not oily at all. And I don't stink either - you know, how hair smells after it hasn't been washed for 2 days? How it gets that "camping" oder to it? I don't have that at all. Once the pickle smell dissipates (after I'm dry), I don't smell like anything, except me. So that is good. The interim pickle smell pretty much sucks, but I've had good luck with mixing 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with about 2 cups water, adding some teatree oil and grapefruit seed oil and using that as my rinse. I smell a little fruity which is nice. I'm still getting used to scrubbing my hair with baking soda. The first day I tried just dry scrubbing followed by a rinse and I think I ended up having to use about 1/2 cup of baking soda because my hair is so thick, I couldn't get it to move around the way I needed to in order to scrub my whole scalp. (I'd read some people say that making a paste was harder for them to do, so I thought I'd try the dry method first). Today I used the paste, and it worked much better for me. I ended up using probably 1/8 cup of baking soda, mixed with enough water to get pasty and then dumping it on the crown of my head. Massaged that in and slowly massaged outwards to my temples and my neck, scrubbing/massaging my entire scalp. (This method of scalp massage is also supposed to encourage hair growth).

That's it for today. We'll see how this goes in the coming weeks. Once your scalp gets accustomed to not using shampoo (which daily strips your head of all it's oil, essentially telling your head to MAKE MORE OIL), you are supposed to be able to only do the scrub once per week, and do the wash daily.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Dread Pirate Poopbeard

Ummm... yeah... exactly what you think.

I was feeding Gray some breakfast, blueberry-mango-apple cinnamon oatmeal, which is pretty dark purple from the blueberries. He'd just peed in the potty so I was letting him run around with no diaper until after breakfast. He was eating and being a busy-body, as usual. I was checking email and facebook in between giving him bites to eat. I thought it smelled a little poopy, but it was pretty faint and I thought maybe Gray just farted (or something? the dogs? I don't know.) Finally he stands up (to get another bite, I'm thinking) and he has more breakfast smeared across his face than I remembered getting on him and I'm thinking he's done like normal and spit it out into his hand and played with it when I realize it is NOT purple face...

It's brown. And on his hands, hair, belly, legs, feet, lips, in his mouth, the couch, now the spoon...

So Gross. So completely gross!

First thing Dale asks? "Did you take a picture?" Ummm... no. I was a little busy getting POOP OUT OF THE BABY'S MOUTH.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Things We Do

I'll update this list from time to time, these are all the environmentally-friendly or just plain frugal things we do in our house. I'll add to this list as we go, because I've always got new ideas!

Eventually, I'll post about each topic - how we do it, how we feel about it, how easy/hard it is to make a switch to doing it, etc.

Reduce (use washcloths rather than paper towels in the kitchen, freeze leftovers, etc.)
Reuse (anything glass in our house becomes repurposed as some sort of container)
Recycle (We are lucky to have a great recycling program in our county)

Well, that covers it, ha! Here are more details about what we do in our house, just in case you are interested.

- Kitchen Towels/Washcloths rather than paper towels
- All our drinking glasses are glass containers from things like pickles, spaghetti sauce, jam.
- I make our laundry detergent
- We wash all clothes in cold water
- Cloth diapers on our baby
- Elimination Communication part-time to further reduce diaper use
- Breastfeed
- I make all our baby food
- Recycle anything we can't reuse
- Compost (we have a worm composter but we're going to also build a regular compost pile)
- Garden (right now just a salsa garden but we're adding until we grow everything ourselves)
- No pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers unless organic
- Green house remodel
No VOC paints, glues, carpeting (made from corn) and carpet padding (made from soy)
Refinished kitchen cabinets (rather than new)
Used kitchen sink (from in-laws remodel)
All CFL bulbs
(We're still remodeling the house, so more to come!)
- Buy new USA-made whenever possible, non-China made otherwise, Used if we can find it
- Turn old clothes into new stuff - toys/hats/clothes for the baby, beds for the dogs, blankets etc.
-Take old stuff to Goodwill or sell it on Craig's List
- Eat LOCAL, Organic, Fresh whenever possible
- Green cleaners in our house
- Turn off A/C and open windows/use fans whenever possible
- Use dryer balls in the clothes dryer
- Line dry clothes whenever possible
- Use rainwater to water garden & plants
- I just started No Poo