Saturday, November 9, 2013

Baby Yoga

This is a post from my old personal blog (this is the only post from that blog sadly) which I have deleted.  I thought it might be a good post for this blog as well, so here it is.


I found this great youtube channel that has lots of baby yoga and baby swimming videos. I tried the Baby Yoga & Singing videos with Parker and he loved it! At least until he got crabby and wanted to crawl around. :) 

Baby Yoga 





Baby Yoga & Singing 



To embrace the incredible journey that is motherhood is to reach deep within oneself, straight into the very essence of ones state of being, to reach into the depth of fear and anxiety, and pull those fears and anxieties to the forefront of ones existence. Then one must break through the armor sheltering ones heart, bring the fragile heart to the surface and wrap it tightly and firmly within the aforementioned fears and anxieties, rip a piece of ones soul free from the rest, combine these all together in one tiny, delicate bundle, and expel the bundle outward from the body, in agony and love. One will protect and revere this tiny piece of oneself for all of life hereafter, as it becomes more important than the bigger self you still possess. You will never be whole again, the most treasured piece of yourself never fully under your control again, yet you will celebrate and honor the separation. 

This is motherhood.

Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guess Who's Back, Back Again? Part One

It has been a long time since I've posted here. There has been an incredible whirlwind rush of crazy going on in our lives since I last posted. I think it started out with a definite feeling of being overwhelmed from taking on too much too soon with this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. Then my son began teething at about four months old and continued with horribly fussy teething until about eight months old (he is now 11 months old). Then I started my own photography company. Shortly after that, Nate's parents informed us that they would be buying us a house. Much celebration commenced as, at the time, we were living in a 546 square foot, one bedroom, rental house- two kids, two adults, five cats, and a dog squeezed into such a tiny space. And since the bedroom was filled with the clothing of four people, we couldn't spend much time in there, other than to sleep, and even that was cramped. My daughter slept on a pullout couch in the living room and all of the kids "stuff" (swing, bouncer, jumperoo, toys, toys, more toys, etc...) was located in the living room too. The kitchen was just big enough to barely cook in. So we spent all of our time in one miniscule corner of the living room, falling over each other. So we started looking for houses in good neighborhoods (the in-laws aren't a fan of Saint Paul proper apparently), with good schools nearby (almost impossible in this metro), and within the financial limits set for us. Nate's parents found an amazing three plus bedroom, three bathroom, 2000 square foot home in the quiet, yet conveniently located suburb of North Saint Paul. And then we had to wait for the closing. And then we had to wait for all the necessary work to be done on the house. And then we had to wait for the rooms to be painted and small cosmetic issues to be fixed. And then one day it got really, REALLY hot inside our tiny rental house and I demanded that we move in to the new house immediately or I was going to suffer some sort of nervous breakdown. Then we had to physically move all of our stuff into the new house and organize our most needed possessions. Anyone who has ever moved a multi-person household knows how much of a pain this can be. Also, about a month before we moved, someone poisoned our dog. Twice. The first time we caught it and got him treated. The second time, he died a horrible death. Whoever did this threw bakers chocolate laced with rat poison into our backyard. The police didn't seem too concerned, which was strange to me as any child in our neighborhood could have wandered into our backyard and consumed the chocolate. There are so many children on that block and there have been quite a few times where I had gone into the backyard to find one or more of the neighborhood children digging in the dirt alone and unsupervised. I don't have a problem with that, but when there is poisoned candy being thrown into said backyard I do have a problem. Shortly after we moved in to our new home, my friend Mary came to stay with us for a week, went home for a week and a half and then came back for another week and a half. Add in family get-togethers (the Fourth of July and the annual All Girl Pool Party), my own long stint with bronchitis (I am finally starting to feel better after two weeks of being violently ill and having asthma attacks, which I hadn't had since I was nine years old), and now Parker's ear infection, double eye infection, dog bite, and vaccine reaction. I've been crazy busy. I've been yearning to get back to blogging, even going so far as to consider creating an online journal and going back to my high school era diary style writing. So here I am. I promise, I'll try not to go away for this long again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And The Winner Is...

The winner of The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment Laundry Soap Giveaway (brought to you by CrunchyMoms and All Things Diapers) is...........

TRESHENNA!  (Ms Polka Dottie) :)


Treshenna will be receiving a package of Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder, courtesy of All Things Diapers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CrunchyMom's Guide to Car Seat Safety [Part Two]

In my last post I listed the most common car seat laws and safety guidelines in the United States.  In this post I will list more car seat safety tips and guidelines. 

Car seat safety has become even more important to me as yesterday I was in an accident with both my children and my fiance in the car.  After picking up my car from the "shop" where they replaced two of my tires and rotated all of them, I heard a bumpy noise upon leaving the parking lot.  I went to the gas station and then started back home.  The sound got worse and the steering wheel started moving on its own.  I slowed down to turn around and go back to the "shop" to have them check it out when my passenger side front tire flew off and across the sidewalk.  Luckily, we were going less than 15 mph, but had we been going any faster, it could have been bad.  Our seat belts and my children's car seats kept us from being thrown forward and to the right when the tire flew off.

Car Seat Safety Tips & Guidelines

  • Never ever EVER alter your child safety seat in any way.  This includes but is not limited to:
  1. Handmade or store bought custom car seat covers.  Sure they're cute, but they aren't safe.  Some manufacturers make different covers specifically for their car seats.  This is fine because it's made by the manufacturer FOR that particular car seat.
  2. Head positioners.  If your car seat comes with a head positioner it's fine to use it.  You can also remove these as the car seat will have been tested with and without the positioner.  However, if your car seat didn't come with one, DO NOT add one.
  3. Towels under harness straps.  I honestly wasn't aware of this one, but apparently it's among the bad advice given to parents.  Do not put ANYTHING between your child and the straps.
  4. Some manufacturers consider toy bars to be dangerous and use of them will void your warranty.
  • Make sure your car seats safety straps are adjusted properly for your child.  The rule (at least the one I have heard most often) is, if you're rear facing, the straps should be at the slot at or just underneath your child's shoulders and come up and over your child's shoulders.  If you're forward facing the straps should be at or just above your child's shoulders.
  • Never use puffy jackets or snowsuits with car seats.  The rule is- if you have to adjust the straps to allow for the extra thickness of the jacket or snowsuit, it's dangerous.  Try a thinner but warmer jacket or just put your child in warm clothing, strap them in, put a blanket over their body, and bring the jackets and snowsuits with (for going between the car and your destination and/or emergencies in cold weather).  I know this one is harder for us mommas in colder climates, but it's safer.  Your child can be thrown out of their jacket and their car seat.  I've heard stories of children being thrown from the car seat but their jacket still being under the straps.
  • This is one I don't understand, but I'm putting it here anyway, because it says so in my manual, and lots of mommas online brought this one to my attention as well.  When driving, make sure the handle on an infant seat is down (and clicked down too, not just haphazardly pushed down- I get on my fiance's case all the time about this one). 
  • There should only be one inch or less of wiggle room at the bottom of the car seat or car seat base.
  • Find a car seat that works for your child AND your vehicle.  Some car seats don't work too well in some vehicles.  For example, my daughters convertible car seat works great in my car, but it tilts and moves too much in my fiance's car.  Some stores will let you test out car seats before you buy.  Most will let you return a seat if it doesn't work for your child or vehicle.
  • At least 80% of the car seats base should be on the vehicle's seat.
  • Rear facing car seats should be at angled at 45 degrees or less.  This is so baby's head stays in contact with the seat and their airways are kept open.
  • Use the pinch test to make sure the harness straps are tight enough.  You shouldn't be able to pinch the straps at the shoulder.
  • In a five point harness seat, the clip should be at chest level, in between your child's armpits.
  • Use either the cars latch system OR the seat belt to secure the car seat.  Do not use both.
  • Car seats generally expire after six years.  Some expire after ten years, however.  Please make sure by checking the expiration date of your car seat.  A lot of seats will have the expiration date stamped on the bottom.
  • Never buy or borrow a used car seat unless you are absolutely 100% sure of it's history.  People selling things online or in a garage sale want to make money and probably wont be completely honest with you about when they bought it or if it's ever been in an accident.
  • Once your car seat has been in an accident, it's time to replace it.
  • Check your car seat frequently for signs of wear or damage.
  • Only add toys to a toybar that you would be comfortable having hit your child in the head or face.  Don't use hard toys.  Toys can injure your child in a crash.
  • Learn to lock your seat belts to keep the car seat installed tightly.  
  • Make sure you check the manufacturers instructions for cleaning your car seat.  Bleach and rough washing can damage straps, buckles, and other parts, and you want those parts working properly if you're in a crash.
  • Frighteningly enough, some car seat experts have seen people using duct tape and bungee cords to repair car seats or replace parts of car seats.  I swear to God if any of you ever do this, or if I see anyone do this, I will literally explode and then haunt you for the rest of my life.
  • Don't ignore the height and weight restrictions on your car seat.  If your child is too heavy, the straps can pull through.  If they're too tall, their heads wont be protected in a crash.
  • If your child is tall, their legs bending or touching the back of the vehicles seat is NOT an excuse to switch to forward facing.  That being said, I do know a woman whose 10 month old daughter literally has to sit almost completely cross legged when rear facing.  I honestly can't find any information on what to do in that situation.  However, I'm fairly certain that this situation is extremely rare.
  • Don't put car seats on grocery carts unless the cart has a system specifically meant to secure a car seat (apparently these exist, I've never seen any though).  Children have died when their parents hit a bump with the cart and the car seat falls off.
  • Remember that anything loose in the car can be a potential hazard.  Got a case of soda on the seat?  Got an ice scraper in the back?  In a crash, anything can fly anywhere, so it's best to put these things in the trunk or rear of an SUV/MiniVan.
  • An old and outdated rule is that you should be able to fit two fingers between your child and the seat belt or harness straps.  This is NOT true.  The belt and/or straps need to be tighter than that.  Use the pinch test to determine if the straps are tight enough.
  • If you use your vehicles latch system, read your vehicles manual to make sure you know the weight limits and guidelines for using this system!  Different vehicles have different guidelines so make sure you know the guidelines for YOUR vehicle.
  • The safest place for a car seat is in the middle of the back seat.  However, it's more important that the car seat be properly installed.  If the seat can be more safely installed on a "window seat" then put it there.  And obviously if you have more than one child, you can't do this.  I have two children and always put the youngest in the middle.
  • Always wear your own seat belt to be a good example for your children.
  • I asked for input on Facebook and one lovely woman said:  RYDM!  (read your damn manual)  I really like this, so I will repeat her advice, RYDM!

The most important thing I can add to this list is:  If you're confused or unsure, find a car seat tech and have the seat properly installed and have them show you how to install it correctly!

Remember that contrary to popular belief, most police officers and firefighters are NOT trained in car seat safety.  Always have your seat installation checked out by a certified car seat technician.

CrunchyMom's Guide to Car Seat Safety [Part One]

Car seat safety is a big deal among crunchy parents.  Everyone is talking about car seat safety, and jumping down other mother's throats when it comes to this issue.  For those of you who feel overwhelmed with all the car seat nazi talk going around, I've constructed this article which includes all the car seat safety tips and laws that I can find.

Car Seat Laws & Guidelines
  • All children should be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and 80-100 pounds.  Most children will reach these limits between 8-12 years of age.
  • Children 12 years of age and under must remain in the back seat of the car at all times.
  • Infant style car seats are best for small infants and are usually usable from 4-5 pounds (birth-weight) until 20-22 pounds.  Different manufacturers have different guidelines, so please use this only as a general idea and CHECK YOUR CAR SEAT MANUAL for actual guidelines.  
  • Convertible car seats are generally considered the safest option.  They usually can be used rear facing from birth to 20-22 pounds and forward facing from 20 pounds to 40-65 pounds depending on the model.  Try to get a seat with the highest rear and forward facing limits that you can both find and afford.
  • Federal law says that children must remain rear facing until age one AND 20 pounds as a minimum.  New rear facing guidelines recommend rear facing your child until two years of age.  Because of these new recommendations, some convertible seats are now able to be used in a rear facing position until much higher weights.  Check your model for manufacturers guidelines and limits regarding weight/height recommendations.
  • The guidelines for booster seats are usually age four, and 40 pounds or more.  However, if your child can still ride safely in his/her convertible seat, that is the best option.  From : "If a child's shoulders are above the level of the top slots in their regular car seat, or the tops of their ears are above the top of the shell, then they may be able to move to a booster or another forward-facing seat which accommodates taller children.  Usually a child can be moved to a booster when they are too big for a harnessed car seat, and once they are able to sit properly in a seat belt."
  • When your child is using a booster seat, the seat belt must be used properly.  Do not put the shoulder belt under their arm or behind their back.  Also, make sure the lap belt rests across their hips, not the soft part of their stomach.  You must use both the lap belt and the shoulder belt with a booster seat.
  • Owners of pickup trucks that don't have an extended cab or in which the extended cab is too small or incompatible with a child safety seat can legally have their child's car seat in the front seat of the truck.  However, the passenger air bag must be turned OFF when there are children riding in the front of the truck. 
  • Your child is ready to use a seat belt without a booster seat when they can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test.

The Safety Belt Fit Test [from]
  • Have your child sit in a back seat with their bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back.  Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge?  If yes, go on. If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.
  • Buckle the seat belt.  Does the lap belt stay low on the hips?  If yes, go on.  If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
  • Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lay on the collarbone and shoulder? If yes, go on. If it is on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat.

    • Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.
  • Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips? If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test. If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.  
Don't forget to read Part Two of my car seat safety series!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment :: Experiment Wrap-Up

After a long hiatus due to the Holiday Season, a broken computer keyboard, followed by a broken computer, followed by a major flood of our bathroom, kitchen, and basement (installation of our new BumGenius diaper sprayer didn't go so smoothly), Crunchy Moms is finally back in the blogosphere!  To celebrate our return, we're wrapping up the Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment!

It was a hard decision, and one I poured (gallons and gallons of water) over (stinky diapers) for over a month!  I couldn't decided how to finalize the experiment so I just decided to give you my results and opinions straight and bluntly. 

  • After using the Thirsties for only a week, I realized that my diapers were still stinky.  When they were wet out of the wash, they smelled horrible.  Out of the dryer they weren't so bad but once they got wet, stink city!
  • The Rockin' Green cleaned my diapers fairly well, but I realized I needed to do a couple extra rinse cycles to get the extra suds and the oily residue from the fragrance oils out of my diapers.
  • Charlie's smells like windex, but it cleaned my diapers fantastically.  I looked up the material safety data sheet for the laundry powder, as I had heard concerns about toxic substances in the all purpose cleaner.  The MSDS didn't list any toxic chemicals in the laundry powder, so I feel comfortable recommending it.   And of course, the real point of this experiment, with Charlie's: The stink was gone! 
So Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder is the W I N N E R !!!

I will note, however, in our household, we have decided to use a mixture of Charlie's and Rockin' Green on our diapers.  I love the scents of the Rockin' Green detergent and I love the cleaning power of Charlie's.  I've always been a bit of a tester and a mixer of cleaning agents, and I've found that this combo cleans our diapers wonderfully and makes doing diaper laundry fun!

Tonight I will chose the winner of the contest at random.  The winner will receive a package of Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder, courtesy of All Things Diapers!

If you haven't already entered the contest, you still have time!  The contest will close at Midnight (CST) tonight, Friday, January 6th, 2012!  Go to our first post in this series to find out how to enter!

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