Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Soft as a baby's...

I have decided that one of the things I want to start adding to my blog is a newborn, birth or postpartum tip, encouragement, funny story, or resource.

I have been doing a lot of postpartum work these days, and one of the things I often help first time mom's with is learning infant care. If I meet with the family before the baby is born one of the items I always recommend parents have with them at the hospital is Burts Bee's Natural Baby Apricot Oil. Here's what its use is for: put small amounts on your newborn's bottom right after they are born and begin to pass the meconium. This is your baby's first bowel movement, but its not like normal poo, its black and sticky like tar. It clings to your baby's bottom like peanut butter sticks to the couch. BUT if you apply some baby oil to their little tush after each change then it just slides off and it makes a lot less work for those first diaper changes.

On another note while we are talking about newborn poo, if you plan to use cloth diapers, do not start using your fresh white diapers until your baby has finished passing all of the meconium because other wise it will stain your diapers.

*You can use olive oil just the same, but that apricot oil just smells so wonderful.

If You Like Eggs

This is my daughter's favorite way to eat eggs. First we cut a hole in each slice of bread. We like to use an egg shaped cookie cutter from the Easter cookie collection.
Crack your eggs into the middle of each bread cut out. If you have a toddler around you can let them eat the little pieces of bread you cut out. For some reason its a special treat. You do have to flip it at some point. And if your skillet is not non-stick use cooking spray. We also use the salt mill and crack some kosher salt on the top.

And of course you can't eat eggs without cheese and a "knowman" plate.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009


There is a new movie coming out some time in April, called BABIES, by Thomas Balmes. He follows 4 new babies for the first year of life.

Here is the quote from the website
The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

You can watch the trailer at the website. It just look too wonderful.

**Notice the biter, that one is mine!**

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hide and Seek

When you are three, Mommy is busy and you need a playmate, a Christmas sheep can fill the need. I found this little sheep counting on the couch the other day while Marin was hiding. I had to take a picture!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Great Peanut butter Cookies

Marin and I made some really wonderful peanut butter cookies last week. We got the recipe from Real Simple.
You can sign up for a cookie recipe of the day at Real Simple and get an email every day about a new cookie, some familiar and others new and interesting. Either way we loved the peanut butter cookies, and added chocolate chunks to them. I mean who's ever heard of eating peanut butter without the chocolate?!!! I am going to post the recipe here but you can also go to the website in the link above and get it there too.


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped (I did not do this)
  • Chocolate chips or chunks (I DID do this! I think I added like a half bag but you can never have enough chocolate)


  1. Adjust rack to center of oven and heat to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the egg and combine, then add the peanut butter. Reduce speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat until incorporated. Stir in the peanuts.
  3. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll in the remaining sugar and place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Using the back of a fork, gently press the cookies to form a crisscross pattern.
  4. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until just golden. Cool on racks. (Optional, we started eating these before they were "cooled")
  5. Make sure you have a toddler near by to lick the paddles.
  6. Make sure you have a toddler near by to lick the sugar off the counter
  7. Make sure you have milk on hand.
  8. Enjoy!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dye Free!

For those of you who are trying to use less food colorings in your baking don't fret that you will now have bland Christmas cookies. There are many options out there for naturally dying foods. For those of you who are wondering why food dyes are bad for you when they have no nutritional value, well they are. There are many studies (just type "food coloring and kids" into a Google search and thousands of links to articles pop up) that show that while they have no nutritional value, they do cause hyper-activity in children. Children with ADD, ADHD, and other neurological disorders benefit greatly when on a dye free diet. Here is a Time article that interesting.

Anyways for those of you who have a family member allergic to food dyes (red is gaining its allergy status to the point of pharmaceutical companies having to make their red colored drugs without that red dye any more) here are a few ways you can still decorate cookies, color frosting and never compromise on taste.

I made these pink cupcakes for my daughters birthday back in October. They are much brighter than you see in this picture. She requested pink Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes for her birthday. And these were a hit!

For the pink I used in this whip cream frosting I used frozen strawberry juice.
You could also add blackberry for dark purple, blueberry for a bright blueish-purple, tumeric for yellows, frozen raspberry's make a bright pink, avocado makes green (watch this one it will make your frosting a bit thinner, but its mild taste usually doesn't show up), beets make redish-purple.

Now if you don't want to spend a lot of time experimenting, you can purchase dyes that are usable just like the conventional food colorings. You can probably find kits at your local natural food store or there are many brands you can find online. India Tree is one such company with many colors to choose from. There is no limit to color when trying to go natural. The price may be a bit higher, but if you have a family member who cannot have food dyes this might just an alternative that makes their special day that much more special.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Music

Hey now! No Christmas music before Thanksgiving, its my rule. But... Marin and I broke it yesterday when we stopped at the library. If you like to expand your music library every Christmas, this one is a must have. I love the Putumayo Kids music cd's. This one we picked up from the library is Putumayo Presents: Christmas Around the World. Marin is already a big fan of song number 1 and 6. If you go to their website they are also advertising for another new Christmas compilation and you can get a free MP3 download of a song from the CD. I just love their music, its not your normal kids-cheesy-adults-want-to-gag music. Its just fun enjoyable for the whole family.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot pie for breakfast!

If your child begs for pie for breakfast long enough you finally give in. Not because they want it, but because if you hear "apple pie for breakfast" long enough it sound really good. Marin and I made this pie a few weeks ago, after she got the idea stuck in my head that I really wanted HOT APPLE PIE WITH CREAM ON TOP!!! And yes we did eat it for breakfast many mornings in a row.

See she's wearing her jammies!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's COLD!

If you tell a 3 year old to get something warm on because the house is chilly, you should be very specific, because otherwise you get a naked kid with mittens on her feet!
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Are We Giving Our Children Too Many Choices?

I have been tossing around this idea for a while. Mainly because a common theme in parenting through toddler years is giving them options and choices so that through making these choices they feel empowered. The end goal is that your child fill their need in becoming autonomous, and individual. As children reach about 18 months of age they begin to realize that they are a separate body from their (in most cases) mother. They realize they are capable of wanting something and then figuring out how to go about getting it. This is a good stage of development, and healthy and completely frustrating for both child and parent. Most of the frustration comes from the child knowing what they want or need and not yet being able to communicate what that need is.

So with our daughter we have entered the age of three, and she is going beyond knowing what she wants, she is entirely capable of letting us know what she wants (with words), and if we tell her "no" she then proceeds to figure out a way of getting what she wants on her own. We often find stepping stools (or "tepping tools" according to her) in mysterious places around the house and later discover a box of crackers missing. Either way I have been pondering the process of making choices, giving choices, what is too much and too little and how we communicate all of that with our children.

Up until recently I have been a big fan of the giving "lots of choices" theory. It seems to work just fine, and we had very little struggle through the 2's. But then I came across another Waldorf lover like me. We sat down at a birthday party after being introduced and talked shop (which in our case means our love for Charlotte Mason and Waldorf educational methods). She, being more educated about the philosophies of Waldorf began telling me about some different methods that Waldorf educators use in their preschools. One of them that I was unaware of is the belief that at times choices are necessary and other times having a set plan with no choices is also necessary. And that expecting children to make decisions from multiple choices all day long is asking too much from them. This is overwhelming to their brains and its best if there are times they are told what is going to happen next. Its also comforting to have a "plan", they know what to expect.

Shortly after this conversation I came across this WNYC Radiolab commentary on choices. There are three short commentary's in this episode, the one that really struck me is titled "How Much is Too Much". In the first few minutes of the show a university psychologist (at Stanford) is interviewed and says (you can listen for the exact words), that he is working with the most privileged kids ever, the schools are giving them everything they could ever want, yet they are banging down the doors of the counseling centers. Why? Because people don't know what to do, they don't know how to choose. They can't face a world where everything is available. He goes on to say that he sees his college seniors facing graduation who have been given the opportunity to become anything they want to be and they are terrified. Why? Because they know that they have so many choices and they cannot bear the thought that they may make the wrong choice. He ends it by saying "Its heart breaking".

As a parent hearing this I am drawn to think about my own child in the situation. Do I want to give her every opportunity to become whatever she wants to be? Of course, but at what point do we push our children too far, and put too much pressure on them to make choices, and not just any choice, but it better be the right choice dammit! I mean lets face it, when I give my toddler choices all of them are good choices. I don't say, "You can paint, play blocks, or run in the street." Every choice I present is a "good choice" she can't go wrong with MY options. But now that she has a mind of her own and she is presenting her own options, my job has switched from making the choices for her, to helping guide her decisions, helping her develop her own sense of self discipline. But beyond toddler and childhood decisions it goes much farther. What about telling our kids "you can be anything you want to be". Well first its a lie. How many of you wanted to be astronauts or princesses? I wanted to be a ballerina who stood on the backs of horses in the circus... yeah we all know how well that has worked out. In reality, we cannot ALL be what we dream to be. Does that mean we tell our kids to stop dreaming, wake up and smell the coffee, get a dose of reality kid! No of course not. We have to find a balance between encouraging, supporting and loving our kids, and yet not giving them grand ideas that may not be possible or realistic.

Anyways, my child is choosing to have screaming-time instead of rest-time. So I should go and help her make the right choice :)

I love hearing people's thoughts and experiences with these things so let me know what you are thinking.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I have been wanting to write about this for a while. Some people use the terms, bed sharing, the family bed or just co-sleeping. Whatever its called the definition is something like; the family, parents and kids all sleep in the same bed. But in reality this is not really true, because for every family co-sleeping looks different.

Some co-sleepers only sleep with their infants so that mama can nurse on demand while the baby is still waking through the night. This provides the mother with more sleep than the mother-baby combo who have to get out of bed for night nursing. Another reason some people co-sleep in the beginning is to provide the infant with the same surroundings they were used to prior to being born. Its also a great way to bond with the newborn and provide constant security. It also allows early trust to grow between the parent and infant because the infants needs are met immediately. There are lots of reasons people pull their little ones in at night.

My husband and I would like to call ourselves "partial co-sleepers". Well my husband would like to say that we are no longer co-sleepers. But its not true. This post is about our journey of night time sleep since our daughter was born.

Before I gave birth to my daughter I knew I was not going to be able to sleep without her in our room. I had heard too many moms complain about traipsing around the house at night back and forth to baby's room checking on their breathing every time the monitor made a funny noise. Going back and forth for each feeding. I love my sleep, my goal once I am asleep is to stay asleep. I do not like my sleep interrupted. So the natural step for me was to have my baby as close as possible so that any interruption to my sleep would be quick. My husband on the other hand thought maybe the baby should not really be right in the bed with us but alongside our bed. Lots of families do this in the beginning, they use bassinets, or what we used an arms reach co-sleeper bed. The Arms Reach was a great compromise for us. We worked really hard to keep her in the little bed, but she was just so snugly and warm. And she loved sleeping next to her daddy. This I might say is one of the best treats of co-sleeping, baby-daddy bonding. Mom's lets admit it, we get an automatic "in" with our kids because of our boobs. Dads, sorry you can't nurse, and that my friends is the way babies like to be calmed. But with co-sleeping babies get that chance to snuggle with daddy and have their time.

Over the past 3 years we have had a lot of compromise. I have been thinking about our little journey of allowing Marin to sleep with us a lot lately because of some life changes that have happened to our family. We knew in January 2009 that Todd was going to lose his job in April. In mid-February we moved into some friends guest house to save on rent in case Todd didn't get a job by the end of April. This turned out to be a huge blessing because Todd was unemployed through the Summer. Now through the stress of our unemployment there was a huge blessing that we would have never seen coming. Marin and Todd got the spend a lot of time together and I picked up a lot of hours at the bakery, three births, and other random jobs that came and went. Either way, over the Summer Marin completely fell in love with her daddy. This is a very special bond between child and father that we now realize will probably carry their relationship through their lives.

Todd was offered a job in September and almost over night, Todd went from being available to Marin all day every day, to being at his "new office" all day. This has been a difficult adjustment for Marin. Yesterday when we called his phone and he didn't answer she cried for about 5 minutes "he didn't answer his phone!" "he didn't call me!". It was really heart breaking (she's also a bit sick this week so that makes her a bit more dramatic, but STILL!)

Either way, back to co-sleeping. Before Todd started his new job Marin was doing a really good job sleeping in her own bed. With the rare exception of claiming sharks were swimming on the floor and so she had to come into our bed because its higher. Last week when he started his new job I noticed her joining us in bed again. Sleeping in her "pot" (spot) in the middle, with most of her legs or arms somehow across Todd's face.

Co-sleeping for her was a way to reconnect with her daddy. I think had she not been allowed this flexibility we would have experienced different behaviors like, acting out, crying and quickly frustrated, melt downs for no reason. Of course now we are working on encouraging her back into her bed. Some nights she stays and other nights she joins us.

The past week she has been sleeping in her own bed all night and joining us about 6am and falling back to sleep for an hour or so. This is a great compromise for all of us because not only does she feel like she gets to be with us, but it allows Todd and I a full night of sleep without feet in our ribs. It also allowed all of us to cuddle together before daddy leaves for work. And in all honesty, waking up with your baby sleeping next to you (no matter how old your baby is) is such a wonderful moment of the day. Seriously all the frustrations from the day before just go away when you see your little one sleeping. She's just so warm and beautiful and sleeping like there is not a worry in the world. I just fall in love with her all over again when she's all fuzzy in the morning. Then just laying there talking about dreams and what we have planned for the day is such a moment to hold on to.

Each time we think she need to be in her bed more and able to sleep on her own, the reality is that I love having her little self stop in for a snuggle. The other morning when we were getting up we asked her why she came in the bed with us. Her response was "Because I didn't want to be by my self in my bed, I wanted to be with you."

here are a few articles on co-sleeping
How the Stats Really Stack Up
Night Nursing
Dr. Sears

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cloth Couture Diaper Giveaway

I'm always up for trying out new baby products, especially if I win them! Ben Spark is having a cloth diaper give away from this small company Cloth Couture Diaper. Which has some really cute fabric patterns. Enter yourself for a chance to win a trial pack!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grab This Bag

I found this cute bag contest online at Remedy Life. Its such a cute bag, all you have to do to enter for a chance to win is to send your favorite recycling idea to totebag@medizine.com

I just wanted to share this fun find.

Monday, October 5, 2009

All-Natural Play Clay

I found this recipe in a Family Fun magazine and wanted to pass it along to all of you who have color-dye sensitive kids, or try to only use natural food colorings.

I have used this recipe for regular clay with food-coloring, but have not tried the natural dyes! This is a good project for Marin and I--I'll let you know how it goes. And post some pictures of our colors.

No-Cook Dough with Natural Coloring:
1 Cup Flour
3/8 Cup Salt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Natural Dye

Brown: 3/8 cup plus 1 cup tablespoon hot water and 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
Fuchsia: 3/8 cup hot beet juice (you can use the liquid from a 15-oz can of beets)
Orange: 3/8 cup hot water and 1 tablespoon paprika
Yellow: 3/8 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon turmeric

In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour and salt. Pour in the oil and your chosen natural dye, and stir well. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes. If the clay is too soft or sticky, add a bit more flour. Store the clay in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Marin O'Connor! Three is a big crazy year!



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Attachment Parenting

I have not posted anything really on my love for the philosophies of Attachment Parenting. The basic idea is that families become stronger throughout generations as children are raised with the goal of building trust, respect, and affection for each other. The ultimate goal is that these children would then have the ability to build strong, lasting bonds to other humans. The most popular "attachment parent-er" is non-other than the famous pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, his wife, and now his children that are also writing about child health and attachment.

The main reason I am writing about this today is because Attachment Parenting International has a free online copy of their newsletter that is currently available here

But while I'm at it I'm going to go a head and post the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting.
1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parenting
Become emotionally, physically and mentally ready for birth, through education, support and family.
2. Feed with Love and Respect
Bring baby to breast, learn signs of hunger, and model healthy eating habits.
3. Respond with Sensitivity
Baby's are not capable of self soothing, give consistant empathy to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Build the foundation of trust from the beginning, let them know that their words (all forms of baby communication) matters to you.
4. Use Nurturing Touch
Touch meets baby's needs, skin to skin contact, baby wearing, nursing, massage, and hugs. The need for physical touch does not lessen as children age.
5. Ensure Safe Sleep Both Physically and Emotionally
Children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from night fears, hunger, loneliness to feeling too hot or cold. Responding to a child gently in the night also builds their trust and ability's of secure attachment.
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
7. Practice Positive Discipline
Discipline that does not devalue, disrespect or belittle a child. Discipline that is supportive, loving consistent and encourages positive behavior. Discipline that helps a child develop his own internal discipline, and compassion for others. Rather than reacting to the behavior, discovering the needs that are leading to the behavior.
8. Strive for Balance in both Personal and Family Life
Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Be creative, and have fun with parenting and take time for yourself!

As you can imagine everything is built on the final one. And of course its the hardest... hmmm when was the last time I took time out for me... oh wait I've been reading Twilight all day... I guess its time for FAM!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Book Note: Hungry Monkey

NPR has an interesting interview with author, Mathew Amster-Burton and his little monkey, Iris about his book Hungry Monkey. This book came out of Mathew's search for a good "what to feed kids" book. He found many books fell short as to what children really can eat, and actually scared readers about kids diets, eating habits and allergies.

While I'm not sure I'm on the same page with him when it comes to sugar consumption, for the most part I think he's on the right track when it comes to getting kids to develop more sophisticated palate.

You can listen to Scott Simon's interview here: NPR Hungry Monkey

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On the Day You Were Born

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE children's literature. Good literature that is. I am very particular about books I choose. Part of my book choosing decisions are shaped by a book I read a few months ago called "Honey for A Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt. This is a great resource on how to pick out good children's stories, the importance of literature in a child's life and why the quality matters.

One of my favorite books we read to Marin is "On the Day You Were Born" by Debra Frasier. This book is about how the natural world; Artic terns, humpback whales, the Sun and Moon, and even the pulling tide share in the joy of a baby's arrival. The baby in the end turns out to be the baby you are reading the story to. I love the last page of this book which says; ""Welcome to the spinning world," the people sang, as they washed your new, tiny hands. "Welcome to the green Earth," the people sang, as they wrapped your wet, slippery body. And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear, "We are so glad you've come!""

Its a wonderful book about how we are all connected, nature and humans,and how important and wonderful each aspect of that interaction can be. This book is also about the celebration of the birth of a baby. Marin loves having a book that tells her what a special day her arrival was.

Check it out from your local library some time, or give it as a baby gift.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Postpartum Recepies

I have sent a few emails to a few people lately about some postpartum "bottom" soothers. So I have decided to put this on my blog so that everyone who reads it can have the list of "bottom" soothers.

For starters let me be clear on the vocabulary. When I say "bottom" I am not referring to your rear end, tush... whatever you call it. I am referring to your bottom that is going to push the baby out. That BOTTOM!

For starters here is your shopping list:
Epsom Salt
Witch Hazel
Large maxi pads
Lavender Oil
Tall sock
Rice (long grain slow cook)
One bottle of Champagne and one birthday cake!

Now what is all this stuff for?

Sits Baths
After you push your baby out of your bottom side and deliver the placenta, you will have heavy to light bleeding for several weeks. The first few days its called lochia and is much heaver than what you will experience the remainder of the time you have discharge. One of the most wonderful things you can do throughout this time is take sits baths. I'm not sure why they are called this, but it is. Anyways the point of this little bath is that you can have one as often as you like because its just a few inches of water, cool or warm, that you put in the tub and sit in to rinse your bottom side out and feel clean.

In the few inches of water add:
1/4 cup epsome salt
few drops of lavender oil
splash of witch hazel

none of this has to be exact measurements, but don't over do the non-water ingredients.

Ice Pads
Along with the sits baths another nice treat for your bottom is an ice pad. You can make these yourself several week before your due date and have them ready.

Fill a large bowl with water. Add 1/4 cup witch hazel and few drops of lavender oil, wisk together.

Dip the large maxi pads into the water and place into a freezer zip bag and put in freezer. (Its always nice to clean out your freezer 15 months after you give birth a find left over frozen pads and 60 ounces of breast milk, and even funnier if your husband cleans it out... "what happend to the days of having ice cream and frozen peas in the freezer?")

If you have hemroids make some with extra witch hazel. This is a great way to sooth and shrink those bad guys. (Most all over the counter hemroid wipes number one ingredient is witch hazel)

This is a homiopathic remidy, if you are taking any other forms of medicine and are concerned with its interaction with arnica you can always ask your DR before taking this.

Arnica comes from a plant and can be found in many different forms. Its primary purpose is to aid in healing from trauma to the body. Let me just say, your vagina is going to go through trauma after you push your wonderful baby out, so just go get a bottle of it now.

Do not get the cream or gel. You cannot apply it to your bottom. You have to get the tablet form. I prefer the French brand Boiron. This is a little white tablet that goes under your tongue. There are directions on the bottle. It costs under $10 in most natural food stores.

Rice Sock
I would actually recommend making your rice sock before you have your baby. These are great during labor to heat up and put on your back, and pelvis or anywhere it really hurts as a natural ache reliever.

To make a rice sock simply buy five pounds of long grain slow cooking white rice (the quick cooking rice will burn). This can be very inexpensive. You do not need some organic costly brand as it will not be consumed. Take a long sock and pour the rice in, tie a knot in the end and you're done.

To heat; place in the microwave for about one minute. Shake well to distribute the heat and place on sore body part. I loved this on my neck as I was nursing. I was very relaxing.

Celebration Time!
As for the bubbly and birthday cake. I recommend this to most of my doula clients. When I was trying to write my birth plan before Marin was born I was having a hard time getting started (in the end I never really wrote one actually) and a good friend who was also my doula suggested that I just go home and make a birthday cake and put it in the freezer and take it with us to our birth. I made a brownie ice cream cake and while I was making the cake it got me really excited about going through birth and actually realizing it was a celebration. Birth is not something that is a medical procedure, its your child's first birthday. A day to celebrate his or her arrival.

I attended a birth back in Missouri where the siblings of the newborn came in for the cutting of the umbilical cord. They sang happy birthday, and then we brought in the cake the mother had made prior to the birth and toasted with glasses of Champagne. What a beautiful way to welcome your baby. If you are not allowed to bring the cake with you to a hospital, you can always have one waiting at home, you'll be hungry anyways.

Welcome Home Little One! We Are So Glad You Are Here!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that if you go to Oprah.com or click here at this link you can print off a coupon for a FREE Whole Foods lunch bag. Its a cute little sack made of recycled plastic sacks. Also at the same sight you can get 20 % off of SIGG resuable lunch items and TO-GO Ware! This is great news! Share it with your neighbors. Spread the word, this stuff can be expensive, but worth it in the long run because it saves money when you reuse items.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bringing Up Baby, As Music Lovers Might

I know I have said this before but I really do love NPR. Yesterday on All Things Considered Bridid McCarthy did a story on music lovers chosing the music their child will listen to the very first time they come out of the womb. This is a wonderful 4 minute podcast that you will enjoy. It brought back wonderful memories of Todd and I taking our CD's right into the birth center where Marin was born and playing music for her as we all got to know each other in those first hours.

Listen Here


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Morality, and when children form it

My husband recently found a WNYC Radio Lab podcast on the topic of morality and when people form it. He downloaded it for me, because of course its something I would be interested in. It's a really fascinating topic, and the hosts do a great job at exploring great questions about this topic.

I found this topic very interesting because I have a toddler who is clearly forming many ideas about life and the way things work. She is learning right from wrong and asking a lot of "why" questions when we tell her something is good or bad.

OK download it and listen sometime when you have laundry to fold.
Morality (Rebroadcast) here

Monday, March 30, 2009

I HATE public bathrooms!!!

Marin is using the toilet with regularity now (no pun on the regularity part haha), and is past the point-of-no-return, to using diapers when we leave the house that is. Actually I have packed up all my cloth diapers, and we only use disposables at night and sometimes at nap, but not even every time at nap because she wakes up dry a lot of time. Anyways it can be kind of nerve wracking to leave the house with an inexperienced toilet user, who refuses to wear anything but her undies. To be honest she does better when we are out and about because I'm asking her a lot if she needs to go, and at home I forget, and she gets busy and forgets sometime too.

Along with taking a trip to the grocery store or where ever it is we are going we will most likely have to use a public restroom (unless we are able to make a trip to daddy's office and then we can use that bathroom, which always makes me happier).

Here's the deal for all of you out there with kids you want to potty train, don't do it if you have a public toilet phobia, or just don't leave the house until you child is like 5! I seriously don't know how people cope with this issue. Here is what using a public toilet looks like with a toddler: "mommy I have to potty", abandon your cart because "no carts allowed in restrooms", rush to restroom that probably has not been cleaned in a month (I have taken note of the Publix grocery stores that have the cleanest bathrooms in our town, it matters), find the stall with the least mess or poo in the toilet or one that is not stopped up by a wad of toilet paper/tampons/diaper/whatever it is that clogs toilets, threaten your child to not touch anything, which of course they have already touched the trashcan, floor, sink, and yes the toilet! I often put down a toilet paper cover on the seat and then set her on that because those thin paper seat covers are ALWAYS out, and if they aren't out they always fall into the toilet anyways (its a bad design). The whole time we are in the bathroom I'm about to pass out from anxiety and fear that she's going to touch more than she already has and put her fingers in her mouth, because that's what kids do with their fingers. We wash our hands like a doctor going in for surgery and leave whatever mess we have made behind us with no guilt because all that matters is that we are done. Have I mentioned that I hate using public bathrooms?

I know I'm not alone here, I have a friend who also has all girls and has taught each one how to pee while cradled in her arms and bottom hanging over the toilet. Its impressive to see actually, and I'm jealous that she can pull it off.

Either way I know there are some toilet seat covers you can buy and keep in your purse but that doesn't solve the other problems that I have with this issue. Anyways, if anyone out there has a good soulution or words of comfort feel free to comment, I'm always looking for suggestions. And sorry for such a depressing entry, its just what I was thinking about tonight, and wishing for a solution... maybe I'll get a portable potty that stays in my car and just run her out the the car each time she has to go.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Frances England

Before we headed to the beach for our Christmas break Marin and I stopped in the library to pick up some books on CD. While we were there I started looking through the kids music and found this wonderful little gem. Frances England

Frances quickly became one of our favorite singers... and when I say "our" I'm including Todd. He is very picky about kids music, mostly because there is some terrible stuff out there (he was gagging on some of the other stuff I got, which I will not mention here, but lets just say--lots of kids singing songs with an electric piano does not qualify as "good" to him).

One of my favorite songs on the CD Fascinating Creatures was called Tricycle which actually has a

video on her website. Check it out here. Todd's favorite song was D-A-D-D-Y O which also has something fun on her website, an e-card that all of you can send off to your daddy-o's. The e-card also plays the entire song which is a bonus.

Fascinating Creatures was actually her first and was written as a fund raiser for her son's preschool. As you listen to this CD you can just tell that she loves watching her kids journey through life and exploring it with them.

Hmmm I'm listening to her right now and I just love her lovely soft beautiful voice. I just think you all will love how creative her songs are and calming and wonderful her voice is. OK go check her out I swear you will love her.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Naturally Clean

I have added a new book to my list on the right. This book has been published by The Seventh Generation company, which makes biodegradable household products, from diapers to toilet cleaner to paper towels. (I mentioned them before here).

My husband picked this book up for me at a used book store, maybe its a hint that I should be cleaning more... naw he just knows I like this sort of thing... I think. Either way it was a good find. I have written about natural cleaning products before, but I wanted to make a few comments here about what I have been reading.

This book not only discusses great natural alternatives to chemical cleaning products, but also how the common cleaning chemicals in our homes are causing increases in asthma, hormone disruption, and cancers. Naturally Clean gives a basic, easy to understand and quick to read book on how we can eliminate harmful chemicals from our breathing spaces, yet ways to still disinfect those nasty toilets. This book helps you learn how to read labels and mix up your own natural shower cleaner.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Changes Come and Turn My Life Around

Our life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the past month. I'll just start at the beginning to make this all a bit easier for everyone to follow.

Todd works at a non-profit, and like all other non-profits out there, the crashing economy has significantly hurt fund raising. Some places I imagine might have some budget cuts they can make to keep things rolling, but where Todd works (and I assume there are many others like this) the bulk of the budget is payroll for a mere three employees. As December drew near we knew that his job might be on the line, because he would be the only employee they could cut and still have some ability to function. Mid January we found out that Todd's job would be ending at the end of April. While this stinks, there are a few blessings hidden here: 1. We have until April to look for a job. 2. The board and director of the Study Center are very supportive of our family and Todd and our job search, and helping in any way they can.

The first hurdle we had in the job loss situation was that our apartment lease was going to expire in mid February. If we were to re-sign our lease we would get a discount off our rent, however if we did indeed have to move out and break our lease we would have to pay a large sum of money. We thought our only option was to sign the lease and just hope that somehow we would not have to pay that money to break the lease... yeah right! In the midst of our considerations some friends heard what was going on and offered us their studio apartment. This would allow us to get out of our lease all together and save some money in the time we are staying in the studio. There is no hidden blessing here, its very obvious. There are some very wonderful benefits to this move: 1. Marin has access to one of the most amazing yards we have ever played in, complete with dog (who does belly flops into the pool), play house, fish pond, and lots of kids to watch and play with (this is our first neighborhood to live in and its been fun to watch neighbor kids come and play... having lots of kids around is something Marin really enjoys--its her version of reality TV).

The sad news amongst all of this is that we had a miscarriage. Last Thursday I started "spotting" but it came with no cramping so our midwifes thought it was probably normal, but wanted us to get an ultrasound anyways just to check on the baby, which I was happy about because I wanted to see the heartbeat. On Friday (the 13th of all days!) Todd and I went to visit a doctor who did an US and showed us a very tiny baby that was too small to have a heartbeat... he was convinced our dates were off a bit and what he was seeing was a 6 week old baby not a 9 week old baby. This means what he saw was normal and there was nothing to worry about, however now we know what we saw was an incomplete miscarriage. While he tried to be comforting, I was really disappointed and upset that we did not see the heartbeat. Seeing the heartbeat would have meant that at that moment our baby was OK. This is not the way things were going to be. We went home and rested, and made cookies, had dinner together, and Todd put Marin to bed. Around 9pm I began to feel a bit "off" or even like I had a weird gas bubble in my stomach and went to the bathroom to make sure my spotting had not started again. This is when I had my miscarriage. I knew right away because it felt just like when I gave birth to my placenta after Marin was born. We immediately called a good friend and neighbor, who is also a nurse, and she came over and sat with us through the process, and stayed with me in the bathroom. Both Todd and I feel that having her there was a huge blessing. She brought so much support to both of us through this difficult time (thanks Megan).

Aside from our own sadness, we were also saddened by the thoughts of telling Marin about it. She is so excited about becoming a big sister, and we just had no idea how to tell her about what was going on... in 2 year old terms. I mentioned this to our friend Kim and she said that we didn't have to tell Marin that she was not going to be a big sister but that her baby was with Jesus. Which is what we did. We told her that she was still a big sister but that her baby was going to live with Jesus, and that some day we would maybe have another baby. We told her we were sad and that it was OK if she was sad too. She was too young to really get why we were sad, but she understood that her baby was with Jesus. It was really encouraging to see her understand that and be OK with it. The next morning I was laying on the couch and she came over and said, "where's other baby?". I guess she thought we would just go and get another baby the next day. Later that day she also (out of the blue) announced that "baby... she's with Jesus... eatn' at Moe's". It was comforting to know she was thinking about it and that she was able to imagine what the baby and Jesus must be doing together.

Losing the baby was really sad, and hard, and an all around bummer. It sucks. However somehow among the thorns of this loss, God brought comfort: being able to go in and hold Marin right after the miscarriage, she somehow clued in to our sadness and gave lots of hugs and snuggles, people brought meals, people played with Marin, I got to be home with Todd and Megan during our loss and not in a hospital, our midwifes and doctor called to check on me, a friend came over to help clean our apartment before the move, friends were available to talk on the phone ASAP... they prayed and listened.

We are now together in our wonderful "cabin" back into the swing of things. As the saying goes, life goes on, for the three of us, which is a weird saying in this situation..

I have been able to quickly return to work, and physically heal very quickly. Todd is leaving for some job stuff and his annual film festival in Missouri. He fully deserves this trip as he has taken on a lot of things in the past few months. I'm not joking when I say he really has had a lot on his plate (I obviously could not help with the move because it was just a few days after our miscarriage, so he arranged all of his help and did the rest him self), so getting to have the weekend to watch new documentaries at the True False Film Festival, will be an enjoyable and refreshing time for him (even though he will still be working some of the time, and having meetings about potential jobs).

I'll write more about this as I process it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Toys We Can Live Without

If anyone out there is particular about their kids' toys you might enjoy this little link I found from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Its a real yet sarcastic look at some new toys that are just a bit over the top.

While I am on the topic, which I have never really written anything about yet... hmmm I might just have a blog post coming up, I thought you would also enjoy this little Wii Fit Parody I found on YouTube. Like they said who needs their kids to go out and play when they can stand in front of a TV all day. Oh what joy. Dear Lord!

Wii Fit Parody

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Leaps and Bounds

My daughter can finally jump off of both feet! Jumping off of both feet is a huge physical developmental achievement. Now I know all of you who have boys are thinking, "my son was jumping off his feet before he was walking". Yeah well girls are different and my little girl has been working on this one for a long time. Jumping off two feet and actually getting air is seriously the last of the gross motor skills, I mean what else is there after jumping? I feel like next week she may be riding a bike, reading, or leaving for college. All of this growing up has me wanting my baby back.

Let me just announce now that I am pregnant. I think we are about 8 weeks along in this 9 month journey. We are hoping to hear the heartbeat next week when we meet up with our midwifes.

The funny thing about being pregnant is the way it makes me feel towards Marin. I feel more attached and in love with her than ever before. I believe part of these feelings are because I'm a hormonal prego. The other driving force is probably the realization that her world is going to change and there is nothing she can do about it (and I know what its like to have people make choices that have affected me, but I had no say in those choices and how they affected my life-positive or negative). As much as I know we will love this baby, and as excited as Marin thinks she is (she's very convinced that she will be nursing the baby herself), our new baby will be another wonderful human living in our house who needs attention, love, nursed, and all of those other things people want and need. All of this will be time that Marin will be splitting with the baby, not having it all to her self.

I have also realized that my automatic thoughts about the baby are still Marin-centered. For example, "What gender sibling will Marin have" not "This little baby will have a big sister" or "I wonder if we are having a girl or a boy?"

When we found out we were pregnant with Marin we were so excited, but we also went through the realization that it was the end of just us two and that we would be changing our family dynamic. We are also very excited about this baby and cannot wait to welcome him or her into our lives, and to be welcomed into his or her life. But the reality is that mid-September our little family of three is going to change to a little bit bigger family of four. This is very exciting, and yet I have seen enough people welcome a second baby into their home to know that amongst the joy of life there is still adjustment, "a good adjustment, but still an adjustment" as one of my friends kindly said.

Well for now the lady living under our apartment is getting adjusted to Marin's new jumping development, and we will look forward to embracing the new baby adjustment.

OK sorry its sideways but I don't know how to turn uploaded pictures. I'll look for a new jumping picture soon!

Friday, January 2, 2009

This American Life--Vaccinations episode

Many of you know I have chosen a delayed schedule of vaccinations with my daughter. I still am doing them, but I have chosen to go slow with them and am using some European schedules, some Canadian schedules and my daughter's doctor's guidence. That is all explained in my post on vaccinations here. Over the holiday we were listening to This American Life on Public Radio International (which is one of my very favorite shows ever and I catch every pod cast too), anyways they did an episode on a family that chose to not vaccinate (and then chose to go overseas) and their child caught measles. This is not your regular media propaganda telling us that those unvaccinated children are damned or at least damming everyone else, the journalist actually understands the reasons people choose to not vaccinate. While it is still not complete in telling about those of us who do vaccinate just at a different pace, it is a very interesting story on what happens when people get scared, and those of use who's children are not fully protected by a vaccination travel out of a country that has not eradicated a specific disease. And mostly its very interesting to hear parents on both sides voice their opinions.

Just to be a story spoiler, everything turns out just fine. And to be clear, I do plan to have my child vaccinated completely at some point (minus just a few that don't really mean anything), and I do believe in public health/safety. Please read my post on vaccinations at some point if this is a topic that concerns you. until then try to catch this episode on This American Life the vaccination episode.

Christmas Granola

For the past two Christmas' I have made this recipe for granola. It makes great gifts. I save my glass jars (recycled from sauces and stuff like that) all year and then fill them up with the granola and tie nice ribbons around the tops (unlike in this boring picture). So why am I telling you about it now, after the holidays are over? Well I want to give you a chance to start saving your glass jars for next year :) and its a yummy all year (and I have had a few requests for the recipe). Like most things I make I hardly follow a recipe, I just add what I like (extra chocolate chips and cherries) and tweak it a bit each time I make it. So here is what I have this year (I actually do follow a basic recipe)

Holli's Christmas Granola---that her husband wishes she would make all year

4 cups uncooked oats (you can use slow cook or quick, but not Irish cut)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup shopped pecans (I break them up, I don't like all the little tiny pieces from chopping)
1/4 cup honey (+ more for first round of baking..I'll explain in a moment)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs melted butter
2 tsp grated orange peel (Todd doesn't like this part so I sometimes leave it out to be nice)
1 tsp vanilla (if you like vanilla a lot you can add more, sometimes I do)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs brown sugar
6 ozs dried cherries
Chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Combine first 10 ingredients (everything but cherries and chocolate)
2. Mix well
3. Spread evenly in 9x13 (it will be deep but this will keep it from burning) Make sure the edges all the way around are just as think as the center, your edges will get the brownest!
4. press mixture down with back of flat spatula and then drizzle some honey over the top, this does not have to be a lot
5. Bake for 10 minutes four times, each time pulling the granola out and mixing it around, do this four times (40 minutes) the last time including the cherries and chocolate. After you remove it the final time, let it sit and cool.

Sometimes when I take it out after it has cooked for 40 minutes I press it together firmly with the back of the flat spatula and then let it cool completely, this makes big chunks of granola.

Sometimes I make shavings of chocolate with my cheese grater and sprinkle this over it and the still add the chocolate chips in the last round of baking (this is for those days you just need the extra chocolate in your life)

You can and other yummy things like craisins, and other nuts.

I hope you enjoy it!