Friday, February 25, 2011

5 months, 5 days

Aren't I a sweetie :)
Last week I held a brand new baby. Brand-spanking new, barely a day old. Ruby was almost exactly Lydia's size, just a half ounce heavier and a half-inch longer. Holding her made me feel nothing short of giddy; I nuzzled her neck, cried over how perfect she was, and marveled to no end how much Lydia has grown since she was born.

A friend of mine has asked me to participate in her upcoming birth. I'm so incredibly excited for the opportunity to help her bring a new life into this world. Eventually I would love to dedicate my money and time to becoming a certified DONA doula, but right now it's not in the cards; it would be a business venture better suited for when Charlie and I move to a more populated location. There are a few doulas in SW MN, but I'm not sure how many mamas each doula supports over the course of a fiscal year. The process for getting certified is lengthy and expensive, and I see it being the culmination of lots of birth and breastfeeding experience in the years to come.

All of my feelings, my energy and passions have left me surprised at how quickly I became a birth junkie. After experiencing such a positive, empowering birth, I have been loathe to leave the subject and its associates of breastfeeding and child rearing alone. It's my fervent belief that people don't explore the field of childbirth as much as they should before having babies; we are so quick to take what doctors say at face value, and leave our control and parental concerns/wishes at the door when we enter that hospital. Sanford Luverne is one of the only hospitals I've heard of in the area (and experienced) that has staff who follow birth plans, and really work to make parental hopes a reality. Fortunately, Charlie and I were able to convince our friends (the mama whose birth I'm attending) to go there for their prenatal and delivery care.

I look at Lydia and realize she is a very, very lucky and beloved little girl. She entered this world with grace and pizzazz, and was given to me almost the instant she was born to cuddle, feed, and heap love on. No one took her and said she needed to be "warmed"...they just tucked blankets around us as she lay skin-to-skin with me. No one said she needed to be weighed and measured in a cold plastic tray right away...instead I fed my daughter and counted her eyelashes with Charlie.

Ours was a normal, healthy birth. No need for delivery room drama, no need to whisk baby away, no need to stop the cameras from recording our sweetest moments. No need to kick out my supportive birth posse. Just us and our brand new little one, and visitors when we couldn't keep them out anymore ;)

We're eternally grateful, and that's why I'm moved, no, compelled, to advance my training in the realm of all that is birth to something outside having given birth myself. So far a certified doula position is a ways away...we don't have the resources for it.

Lydia is 5 months, 5 days old today. She is making Wookie noises and playing in her baby gym at the moment after eating breakfast. How much my life has changed in that short amount of time is unimaginable. New passions, new love, new drive, new motivation. And it all came in an 8 pound, 7 ounce bundle. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I have a hot date!

With my hot hubby-to-be!

Seriously, someone should give my mom a dozen roses (I sure as hell can't afford them, but she deserves them). I have a date lined up for next Monday with Charlie, and Grandma's babysitting...and we don't have a curfew! :) We'll probably still be home by ten because we're cool like that, but still...a date without a curfew with a hot guy!

Our relationship hasn't been as great as usual in the last few weeks. Aside from having a teething five-month old together, we have many shared responsibilities to bills and work that have taken the front burner in our relationship instead of each other. After going around and around about the same things we always argue about this last time, it occurred to me that we're not that mad with each other over the things we argue about. We miss each other. 

Charlie's gone for most of the day at work, and Lydia's my primary responsibility in the household. I pick up hours at New Horizons and the Left Bank, but I take the reins when it comes to raising our daughter. I get up with her at night and play with her all day. And when she's napping or playing contentedly by herself, I'm reading parenting blogs and books, and piecing together the framework for how I want to raise Lydia. When Charlie gets home from work, be it 6:00pm or 2:00am, I'm exhausted and so is he. Bye bye sex life, bye bye romance, bye bye spark.

We muster through each day and sometimes wallow in the negative. Charlie is a grump when he doesn't feel good, and he doesn't feel 100% most of the time because of his crazy work schedule and less-than-ideal places of employment. This morning he woke up with a stuffy nose and stomach cramps, and I'm tired from being up with Lydia since 4:00am (and I have a stuffy nose, for the record). I was boiling my pump parts from my NEW PUMP YEAH!! and he came in all scowly and owly and cold from not feeling well, so I made him a cup of tea and tried to cuddle. He refused and left soon after with an "I love you, see you later." I feel challenged and lost in how he feels, which is incredibly co-dependent; he's a big boy, and I don't need to take his projections and protests of not feeling well as personal insults or anything.

Sigh. But I do. However, that's MY issue to deal with, not his.

We still flirt from time to time...I'll give him an "ow ow!" with a wink as he struts from the shower to the bedroom to get dressed. And he'll nuzzle my neck when I've actually managed to get dressed for the day and tell me how pretty I am. But most of the time, I'm dressed comfortably (i.e. long underwear bottoms or pajama pants topped with a sexy t-shirt filled with drool and spit up), my hair's up, and the last thing on my mind is impressing Charlie.

That needs to change. Starting with this date, we need to begin making time for each other. It's not about finding'll find another 100 things to work into the day before you find the time to get dressed or take a shower. I've been creative in getting things done for myself, such as wrapping Lydia in a towel and bringing her into the shower with me. She loves hanging out in her little tub and playing with a toy in there. I may not always shave my legs or worry about a face scrub, but when you're a busy mom, a hot shower is such a luxury...even when your kid's sharing it with you. Hey, the steam is good for the runny nose she has!

At the end of the day, we need to remember that we have done amazing things together, and we have a future of impossibly awesome things in the years to come. Hey, we created life! I gave birth with this man's arms wrapped around me, his chin against my shoulder whispering encouragement as I pushed our beautiful daughter out, tears streaming down both of our faces when we laid eyes on Lydia for the first time. We hope to have more children together too, and have enjoyed building our life together so far. 

I mean, come on. Who can resist this face? :) Not me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mom 2.0: Defining a Movement

My friend and fellow mama Kelly sent me this video, and it's a beautiful must-see that captures the essence of what it means to be a mom in less than three minutes:

"....and nurturing the good in this world is nothing short of a privilege."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

from scratch

There's this awesome song by Justin Roberts, a kiddie folk/rock artist, called From Scratch. I found it yesterday on my Pandora radio station, and was going to be all artsy and begin my blog with the lyrics. Alas, a straight-up post is what you're going to get. No lyrics to be found anywhere.

I always put Lydia in her little Bumbo seat and let her watch, smell and touch things (not hot things) as I'm cooking in the kitchen. The manufacturers of the Bumbo chair would probably have my hide for putting it on the kitchen counter while I'm working, but I figure there's no harm when I'm standing right there peeling, chopping and mixing. She loves looking at all the textures and colors of the food we cook, and she's always drooling when I hold things up for her to smell and taste. As I cook we listen to her station on Pandora, a combination of her kiddie folk like Raffi and Elizabeth Mitchell, and my folk goodness like Nickel Creek.

One of my mama friends in Alaska, Laura--the Queen of All--has a fantastic blog entitled Hey What's For Dinner Mom? The quote at the bottom of her home screen reads, "I refuse to microwave, I won't eat food that comes in squeeze pouches and I try to avoid 'real flavor added' products. My kids don't know what poptarts are and have never had gummy fruits. There has to be better food for adults and kids alike and I am on a quest to find it." She's not the only mom I've run into running on that novel quest, and I hope not the last, either. Her blog, which I read daily, even running through older posts, emphasizes the need to feed our children wholesome, delicious foods that WE make...the "we" meaning us, the family!

Charlie and I have always liked cooking, and cooking together. We'll joke around ("Get the hell out of my kitchen when I'm working!") but the truth is, I enjoy making food with the man I love. We'll linger over deciding what to make, check for ingredients, send one of us to the store while the other gets going on a salad or something, and together we'll concoct a delicious meal. I love watching his eyes roll back in his head over something I've made, and he equally delights in pleasing my palate.

And we can't WAIT to do that for Lydia. I cannot wait to cook for, and with, my daughter. I grew up welcome in the kitchen, and I am dedicated to making the kitchen a safe place for Lydia to come into as well. Many of the kids I taught in Alaska were expected to know their way around the kitchen, and a certain mischievous little girl I knew could wield a 8 inch chef knife as well as me.

So far, Lydia hasn't had a whole lot of food. Some peas, some prunes, applesauce and a few others, but they have not become a solid part of her main diet. We're keeping it breastmilk till she's about 6 months old, and then we'll start introducing solids as a component of her meals. I've been reading a ton about far we've done nothing by the book, which is both liberating and a little scary. There is a vast array of sources who know EXACTLY what the best meal set-up for your baby is; I've read meal plans from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Raw Food Diet followers, PETA (seriously), the Mayo Clinic guide to keeping your child alive (I forget the title) and many others.

All of them sound wonderful; I'll probably do as I've always done when it comes to things that should be set in stone, and pick and choose the best parts of each to make us a wonderful feeding schedule, complete with homemade food for our little Lydia.

How did you start your kids on solids? What foods did you try first, and which ones did you avoid?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The buying and selling of breast milk

My friend Rachel posted this on my Facebook wall today:
"I saw an article this week about a woman who tried to sell her breast milk on the internet. I instantly thought of you and your views on the importance of breastfeeding when mothers are able. Do you think it's empowering to be able to give your child the nutrition they deserve, or does it question the value of this precious resource?"

My reply was after Arielle's. Arielle is the mother to a beautiful baby girl, who she also nursed:
"my mother was all about me selling my breast milk, but there is a whole bunch of testing and regulations and stuff you have to follow ... a famous actress caught a whole bunch of shit a cpl of years ago bc she was helping in a small village in Africa and there was this baby there who couldn't eat bc his mother had been so malnourished she had lost her supply so this actress was feeding this african infant and i guess the media was trying to say that that was wrong??! i dunno its pretty crazy ... i think of people who adopt newborns and simply want the best for them, and cannot provide their own breast milk so i think those are some of the people who purchase other women's breast milk"

And this was MY reply:

"Thank you for the post, Rachel. It's funny you ask me about this now; Charlie and I just had a lengthy discussion on buying or selling breast milk. If it ever occurred that I would not be able to nurse Lydia anymore, we would buy breast milk instead of switching to formula. I have a couple friends who I trust completely who have said they'd help me out with something like that. And I'd do the same for them!

Milk banks do require pasteurization and testing for communicable diseases. A mother seeking to donate can simply donate her milk in frozen form, and the banks take care of making sure it is safe for moms. I believe it is a complete testament to the fact that breast is better than formula when breast milk, even after pasteurization, freezing and testing, is still more nutritionally sound.

If a woman wants to sell her milk online at places like and other sites, she must follow some strict handling guidelines if she is to be seen as a credible seller. Many have their milk screened, others provide medical background checks and doctor's notes saying their milk is safe."

But here, I will add in some more thoughts on the process of purchasing, or selling, breast milk.  I believe it to be a completely sane and desperately-needed thing to do.  I believe wholeheartedly in a mother's right to choose, and have access to, what she wants to feed her baby.  Milk banks mostly donate to hospitals, but many have milk accessible to private buyers but it comes at a cost: almost $30-40 an OUNCE.  In contrast, on, mothers are selling their milk for single digit amounts; the most I have seen was $10 an ounce, and the mom was on her high horse about eating organic, living a clean lifestyle, never smoking, blahblahblahblah...All of that is VERY important, yes, but come on lady.

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (henceforth referred to as HMBANA) recently put out a statement on their website stating they are in a milk crisis and desperately need more donors to keep up with demand.  When Lydia is done nursing, I will do everything i my power to donate my milk. Or sell it, if we're in a financial crunch :) 

Sadly enough, many mothers whose babies pass away continue to pump and donate, calling it "mother's tears". I have two friends who have done that for the good of babies in North America who receive their gift. I encourage anyone reading to look into donating their leftover milk to milk banks through HMBANA. Information on their site,, describes the process of shipping milk to banks across the country. And if you're looking to make some side cash for your milk, is a good site on which to get started.

Baby has some serious discussion boards on the matter.  When asked whether or not moms would buy breastmilk instead of formula for their babies should they lose the ability to nurse, they responded in vigor:
"A form of this has been around for centuries–it’s called wet nursing. Upper class families routinely hired women specifically to nurse their babies. Some had the nursing woman come live with them and others farmed the baby out to the wet nurse, getting it back when it was weaned. Life was different then. So while it’s true that a mother’s milk is tailored to her infant and is undoubtedly the most ideal, there obviously isn’t a huge danger in having another person nurse your infant."

"I’m a nursing mom to my 6 month old daughter. I have had a bit of oversupply and have been pumping/freezing my milk for months now. I could not imagine just throwing it out…as I’m sure many of you that have nursed understand, breastmilk is like liquid gold! So I found a forum online that connects mom’s in need with donor moms. I was able to link with a wonderful woman that adopted her baby and really wanted to give her all of the AMAZING benefits that breastmilk has to offer. Can you tell that I agree that breastmilk is far superior than chemically created formula Anyhow, I donated 375 ounces so far to this mother in need and am willing to continue to do so to anyone that needs it. The United States has one of the lowest rates among developed nations, for breastfeeding their babies…and the highest rates of childhood obesity, ADHD, and autism. hmmmm? Is there a connection? Who knows. All I know is that women have a special kinship and bond with one another, and if a mom is willing to trust me enough to provide nutrition to her baby then I take that honor very seriously, and am proud to do so! There is nothing “gross” about it! Its natural. Its just milk, period! Just like other mammals nurse their young, humans nurse theirs. Certainly, you need to be confident that you can trust someone prior to feeding your infant their milk, but if somehting were to happen to my milk supply I would absolutely reach out to a donor mom and ask for hers…thats a beautiful thing."

"I consider the “Tit Nazi” title to be a badge on honor, but no, I would not use donated breast milk unless the donor was a personal friend or relative. The breast milk that goes through official channels is not only ungodly expensive, it also has to go through a pasteurization process which defeats much of the purpose of giving breast milk. The black market breast milk has too many factors I couldn’t control for. If my infant was so fragile that I would go to that length to obtain breast milk, I wouldn’t expose her to someone who might have ingested something and not told me about it. And I’m not envisioning a heroin addiction. It could be as simple as not being able to figure out allergies or not realizing the donor drinks too much coffee.
Formula is most definitely second best, but it’s not that bad."

Well? After all that hoohah, what do you think? Thanks, Rachel, for the inspiration for a blog on such a controversial subject. We all know how much I like those controversial subjects :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ideas for interviews

Hello my beloved readers!

I'm getting some wicked cool ideas for my blog, and hope that you'll join in the fun of moving my blog into a more progressive, involved community-based trajectory.

One of my better ideas for something to do with my blog is interviews.  I LOVE interviewing people and finding out why they're passionate, what their favorite things are, what makes them tick, what makes them trip.  Love it. I thought it'd be a cool idea to interview local professionals to get their takes on motherhood; many of the people I have thought of provide services of use to mothers in our area, and perhaps highlighting these new resources could bring a better sense of strength and health to our community.


So. I won't give away who I'm thinking of to interview, but I would really like it if you would email me some more ideas! Send your thinking cap results to  Anyone in the industries of motherhood-relatedness are welcome, as are people that you find relevant to the world of all that is Mama. 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Green Tuesday :)

I still haven't thought of something clever to call the day that I post on doing greener things.  By the time I get around to updating my blog, all my brain cells have been toasted.  Some days charred.  Either way, neither lend themselves to my being at all with it while writing.

Lydia's snoring away in the other room.  She's working her way through a sniffle, and is much better at being a little sickie than either of her parents.  Although I'm very pragmatic and resourceful when it comes to feeling ill, I still wallow in it and stay crabby throughout the process.  Charlie dogs his way through whatever comes his way, be it a migraine, stomach flu or cold.  She's best at acting like nothing's coming out of her nose all the time, and is a smiley little thing just like always.

Anyway, back to green living.
I'm not great at it yet, to be frank.  Mostly because I feel that Charlie and I don't always have the money to buy organic cleaners, organic foods, eco-friendly products, fair-trade teas and chocolate, upcycled goods from Etsy instead of clothing my child in Walmart brands, and the like.  But I'm slowly learning that green doesn't have to equal expensive, something at which my MIL (mother-in-law) is AMAZING.

For instance, a few weeks ago she gave me a five-gallon bucket of homemade laundry detergent.  For 4-5 cents a load, she created a laundry soap that works great and is super cheap to make.  It's basically laundry soda, Borax, water, fragrance oils of choice (mine were lavender and sandalwood), and a splash of another laundry soap to give it some extra stain remover and suds.  I'm sure I missed something, but those are pretty much the ingredients.  She hires herself out from time to time doing green cleaning for households, which has inspired me to phase out all my non-organic/toxic/not-green chemicals I use to clean.  Right now I'm using Mrs. Meyer's basil scented all-purpose cleaner, dishwasher packs and dish soap, but that stuff gets expensive too. My MIL has a ton of recipes for green cleaning products that are not only environmentally sound, but cheap too.  And at this point, I'll take all the cheap I can get!

So this all brings me to focusing in on one aspect of green living: green cleaners.  I grew up spraying Pledge, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, the Works, CLR, you name it, without really thinking about the chemicals under the fake pine scent.  All of us did.  But I don't buy the argument of "We used them and lived, what's the big deal?" The big deal is that we should always strive for better.  It doesn't matter that I haven't happened to develop lung cancer or a skin rash from using conventional products; the fact is that the less harmful ingredients around my house, the better. Especially when I think about Lydia, who will soon be hell on wheels and into everything.

I've looked up a few green cleaners, and here they are in no particular order:
Baking soda for any kind of scrubbing: kitchen sinks, shower floors, whatever.
Vinegar (plain white) for any kind of dirt or grime buildup.
Cornstarch for cleaning windows and shampooing carpet.

Disinfectant/all-purpose cleaner:
2 c. water
3 Tbsp. liquid soap
20-30 drops tea tree oil

Creamy soft scrub:
1 part baking soda, 1 part liquid detergent

More on this to come. I found a ton of recipes and ideas for creating a green cleaning kit that would entail concocting a whole other post.  So. Stay tuned for more tips on green, non-toxic and cheap cleaning. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

little letters to Lydia

dearest Lydia Grace.

Yesterday I took you to the grocery store for a little morning outing. You and I have been fighting a cold all week, and I was tired of being cooped up in the house (and I'm sure you were too). So off we went to Jim's Market.

As soon as we arrived, you had a welcoming committee. This is the single best and worst reason about living in a small town, Lydia...people keep tabs on you. Take it for whatever it means to you, but oh Lydia, if I were you I'd be flattered. I couldn't get you out of your car seat and into the cart fast enough; the bag boys had to comment on how big you were getting, and the lady who lives down the street commented on your pretty eyelashes. The checkout girls fawned over you until you had your gentle little smile stretched from ear to ear, drool running down your chin to the point of my just giving up on keeping you clean. Moms who had bigger kids with them would stop and reminisce with me about their baby days, and a pregnant mama said she hoped to have the same experience of shopping with her baby too. Everyone there seemed to know how small you were, and how big you've gotten.

Anyway, you and I strolled down the aisles, not saying much with words, but I could tell you were dazzled. So much to see! I gave you things to look at: a box of hot cereal packets, a bunch of bananas, a bag of frozen fruit. The shelves held your attention, and I found myself wondering about the days when you'll be old enough to communicate (ahem) that you want THAT. and THAT. and oh mama, please can I get this pleasepleasepleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease I'll clean my room every day for a year I swear I'll clean the litter box I won't ask for anything else ever again pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease! and then I'll have to explain that we don't eat whatever highly processed sugar-ridden crap you've wheedled about my buying, and then it'll be a long ride in the car home.

Or maybe not. We've lucked out so far...your dad and I comment from time to time that we better stop at one kid, because you can't beat perfect. Maybe you'll be the kid who begs me to buy blackberries (which I will), or will get a wild hair up her butt to make waffles, or cake, or something fun, and beg me to buy the ingredients for it so you and I can cook together at home (I will ALWAYS buy you ingredients, my little chefling).

I love you, my sweet little dumpling.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Going Greener

Friends of mine have suggested that I make this blog a go-green-earth-mama blog, which is a direction I'd love to head, along with about fifteen others. Instead of turning the whole shebang into Green Living Central, I think I'll do something like a Go Green Tuesday; a post a week on how to incorporate more environmentally conscious and civically sane practices into motherhood.

Our debut post on Green Tuesday (fret not, I'll make it something catchy later, I'm on my second glass of a smooth shiraz and in no mood to start thinking now) is from one of my dearest friends, Anne. I have not-so-secretly envied her cavalier, earth-friendly lifestyle. She's a vegetarian and a damn good one, healthy and beautiful, and has my dream position as a grad resident at the environmental learning center in Lanesboro, MN. When (when, Anne, not if) she becomes a mama, whenever that may be, she will be phenomenal at it. Without further ado, her post on the....Diva Cup. :) I took the creative liberty of adding a few pictures for your visual enjoyment.

In this episode of Birth Breasts and Beyond I will take you into the beyond. I am not a mother but as Katie’s good friend I like the insight I get from her blog into her life and into the fantastic challenges of being a mom. So in this post I address you not as mother but from our common ground as women.

About a month ago someone posted “You choose to cloth diaper your child, more power to you! You choose to use disposable diaper, more power to you.” Now this is taken out of context. The original context was that moms need to do what they need to do to be happy moms. I think that is a fantastic message, but the phrasing of that comparison has haunted me. With my obvious lack of experience with diapers or anything really related to babies I will leave that one alone from this point on and instead talk about something that I do know about: my Diva Cup. (At this point I feel like I should mention that this post is in no way paid for or endorsed by Diva Cup or any other company).

So women, every month you go through dozens of tampons and pads. Over the course of a year you spend hundreds of dollars on disposable, one time use products that either end up directly in a landfill, or in the water system and then have to be filtered out at a water treatment plant and though a longer process still end up in a land fill. If you flush your tampons into a toilet that is part of a septic system, when they eventually pump the full storage tank, they will pump your tampons with the rest of the waist and it will then be spread on a field – where the waist will act as fertilizer and the tampons will sit useless and ugly for decades to come. When I worked as a wilderness ranger in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness I was part of teams that would dig new latrines (a hole in the ground with a toilet sitting on top – welcome to the wilderness). We would always know when we dug into a spot where there was an old latrine because, although everything else had already decomposed, we would find old tampons and pads.

If none of that impresses you ladies, know that in an average woman’s life she will use and throw away 15,360 tampons and pads (30 tampons per cycle times 521 cycles in a lifetime). Imagine for a moment that pile of trash.

Switching to a reusable Diva Cup or other similar products takes a bit of patience and practice. I chose to use a combination of cloth (reusable!) pads – I like Party In My Pants – because I get bad cramps the first day of my period and then switch over to my Diva Cup when my body mellows out. It is worth the effort to find a working combination for you! You will save money, you will never miss placing a dry and scratchy tampon inside yourself and every month you will be making a real and positive impact in the world. Make the change ladies! (And if anyone has any questions about their new Diva Cups, Katie will get you my contact info and I’ll happily talk about it!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

From Crystal: A Tribe

This post is from Crystal, a mom of three amazing kidlets up in Alaska. Her world views and mothering style are incredibly different from the traditional norm, and I have enjoyed her input tremendously throughout the varied provocative postings I've had here and on my Facebook. While I was teaching kindergarten at the farm (APU's Spring Creek Farm in AK), I had her eldest in my class and loved every minute of it. We are raising some terrific children here! Thank you Crystal for the poignant post.

"I have always heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” but I never really believed it. I have three children under the age of 6 now, and my opinion has altered slightly. I want to point out something that has occurred to families. It used to be in village settings, where the men would leave and spend their days away; not so different from now right? Well, it also used to be that all the mothers would remain in the village together all day, in charge of all the children. The women worked side by side, and shared the “mothering” of all the children.

This is where my hang-up used to be, thinking that I wouldn’t want other women influencing my child as much as me. Although in a village setting, there are shared values and belief systems, so families didn’t vary too drastically in their beliefs. Now I understand that the mothers weren’t really sharing the “mothering,” but were there to support one another. “Nuclear families” have broken the village, and left mothers without their support network while their men are doing their work.

I am beginning to understand the need for women to keep other women close. So it may not take a village to raise a child, it surely takes a village for a mother to best raise her child. I think we must choose our village, by gravitating towards people and places that share our interest. I think having “community” is important to the well-being of “family.”

And to all you mommas out there who feel overwhelmed, like it shouldn’t be so hard; it shouldn’t. We need a tribe to hold us up when we aren’t feeling our strongest. I urge every momma to allow themselves the help that having one other momma will offer. It can be a tough job, and any mom knows what 5 minutes alone to breathe deep can do. Be the first to offer another mom 5 minutes alone, and the favor is sure to come back to you.

Love you all for the great job you do."

Saturday, February 5, 2011


A quick blog to highlight our winner....SARAH K. BAUMGARTNER, you won! Claim your prize anytime, I'm sure I'll see you soon. :)

Thanks to all who sent in posts and/or commented....I'll make giveaways more often if that seems like a fun thing and incentive to get some new readership going!

This is Eli, Sarah's son...ain't he a cutie? And he'll smell so good with that new Burt's Bees yummy wash!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For our children, for each other

Last night I had three beautiful mamas over to my house for an evening of much-needed mommy time. If you'd asked me five years (or heck, even one, haha) ago if I'd be planning mom dates and figuring out how I could become more social in the wide world of motherhood, I'd have laughed, and laughed hard. Although I can't imagine my life without her now, Lydia definitely put a new spin on things with her conception.

For instance, I had NO idea how much I would need other moms. From the first inklings of my knowing I was pregnant till last night as the four of us sat talking about parenting and children's issues, I somehow knew that I would need to sit down with a glass of red wine in one hand, chocolate in the other, and my heart out on the table to be repaired and put back together by other mamas. That sympathy/support/encouragement/readiness to bitch about everything you need to bitch about too is irreplaceable, and invaluable.

But we don't really hold each other up the way we need to, which is a topic covered by Jennifer and a couple of other guest posters to this blog. I'll admit, I am the first one to judge and hold in contempt other moms who do things differently than I hold to be healthy and right. Moms who choose not to breastfeed are hard for me to understand, as are moms who park their kids in front of a TV all day while they're on Facebook or other mind-numbing equivalent. And I'm sure there are many, many things I do with my daughter that would spin someone's head out there...I've vaccinated her, given her solid foods like gravy (actually, that was her dad...), let her cry for a few minutes at the end of a riveting movie...The list could go on, and on, and on, from both sides.

We need to meet each other on the fact that we. are. mamas. We are mothers to our children's generation. We are currently raising a generation who will have a heavy burden of political strife, environmental concern, a heightened climatic change experience, a larger population, and a worsened economy. With all of that turmoil in mind, I hold Lydia in my arms at night and wonder how I can raise her to be the beautiful and healthy daughter I've dreamed she would be. How can we meet the needs of each other, and our children, while keeping all other children and families in mind? There need to be more peer groups, more mothering support groups, more advances in the work of preventing teen pregnancy, more breastfeeding coalitions...

How else, besides blogging about all these great ideas, can we set the futures of our children in motion?