Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's the little things!

When I'm sick, like a lot of people, I don't have the energy to change out of my PJs, shower or bathe properly (I do it, just not very well), or do much of anything.   Add a four year old and an infant to that and there is no time in between stealing naps when I can and laying on the couch feeling like death.  I've been wearing the same clothes for days.  It's pretty gross, honestly.  Tonight I finally had the time and the energy to take a proper tea tub.  I feel amazing!  My hair is washed and detangled, my skin is clean, I'm wearing clean clothes.  I cannot tell you how much better I feel!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I must apologize...

...For my absence lately.  I've been very ill with a combination of Strep Throat and Tonsillitis that has gone completely crazy.  After 24 hours of antibiotics I am actually feeling worse instead of better.   The infection seems to have spread to my nose and lungs.   The last three days have mostly been spent sleeping.  I will update when I come out of the haze of bacterial infection.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Seven Ways Wednesdays - Seven Ways to "Crunchify" Your Life

In honor of my son, I am presenting Seven Ways Wednesdays. Today is Wednesday the Seventh and my son, Parker was born on Wednesday the Seventh in September of this year. So, to celebrate Parker, and to help myself, and you, my readers, get down and crunchy, I will be posting Seven Ways to Crunchify Your Life every Wednesday until Parker turns the big Oh One!

  1. Try cloth wipes - They save you money, save space in landfills, and are a good way to test the waters before jumping into cloth diapering.
  2. Make your own baby food - You don't need expensive equipment, just a blender, food mill, or food processor; ice cube trays or similar freezer safe containers; and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Wear your baby - Try out a carrier, wrap, or sling and enjoy the benefits of having baby close to you: more hands free time to get stuff done, cuddle time, and a (usually) happier baby!
  4. Diva Cup / Mamma Cloth - Look into alternate, more eco-friendly menstrual management solutions.  Not only are they better for the environment, they're also better for your health and cheaper in the long run.
  5. Try (safe) co sleeping - Check out the co sleeping safety resources on my adventures in co-sleeping page above and spend a night in the family bed.
  6. Trade in your Clorox, Lysol, and Mr Clean for safer, more natural household cleaners - You can make your own, for very little money, with peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar, or you can purchase reasonably priced store versions from brands like Seventh Generation, Method, and 
  7. Check all baby products for BPA - Most bottles and pacifiers are made BPA Free these days but check out your baby's belongings to make sure none snuck there way into your home.
I will be posting seven more easy and inexpensive ways to "Crunchify" your life each week.  Don't forget to subscribe to my blog (via Google Friend Connect, RSS, or Email) so you don't miss any of my tips and ideas.  We will go from the very basic to the very dedicated as the series continues.  




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Drive-thru Difference. (how my family was blessed in a time of need by a couple that didn't know us at all)

KTIS FM (98.5) is radio station here in the Twin Cities that is doing a program called The Drive-thru Difference.  Basically, people can print cards off their website, and when they go through a drive-through, they pay for the meal of the person behind them and tell the cashier to give the person one of the cards.  The card talks about the radio station and the drive-thru difference, asking the recipient to pay it forward if they are able.  I was recently the recipient of one of these cards (and a free meal) and it came at a very trying time for our family.  They ask you, on the card, to call in or go to their website and share your story.  I'm a horrible procrastinator, but it was important to me to share my story, so today I went to their website and sent them the story below.




On November 18th, 2011, my family and I were going through the McDonalds drive through on Suburban Avenue on the east side of St Paul.  We were very worried about how much money we were spending on the food, when a lovely couple in a teal/blue colored vehicle in front of us paid for our meal.  The cashier handed us the Drive-thru Difference card and I almost started crying. 

You see, my family has been going through some hard times lately.  In December of last year, I became pregnant with my second child.  In February, my fiance lost his job.  In August, I lost mine.  My child was born with some health problems that left him in the Special Care Nursery after I was sent home.  He's doing well now, but, even with a new job for my fiance, we aren't doing the best financially.  Our daughter has started preschool this year, which costs money, and I'm sure everyone knows how much money a new baby can take up.

The day that these wonderful people paid for our meal, we were super stressed out about money, hadn't received our food stamps for the month yet, and were worried about where our next meal was coming from.  The drive through lunch was a big deal for us as we were only spending the money because it was my birthday.   I wanted to enjoy the day with my daughter, son, fiance, and best friend.  The amazing people who paid for our meal REALLY did make a difference in our lives.  It probably was a small sacrifice for them, but it was a huge blessing for us!


PS:  For those of you wondering, McDonalds is an occasional treat for us.  If you're wondering what a vegetarian gets at McDonalds...  ranch snack wraps with no meat add diced onions, a Reese's McFlurry, and a small fry.

Do Realistic Attachment Parents Exist? (or are they all birth, car seat, and breastfeeding nazis?)

After a lot of thought and a lot of debating, I've decided that I need to change the focus of this blog.  I've spent so much of my life not being myself, not being true to myself, at all, and it needs to stop.  I need at least one aspect of my life (other than with my kids, they always love me for me) where I can be ME and this is it. 

For the past week or so, my heart hasn't been into writing.  I feel as if I am merely going through the motions, recycling the same old thing that's on every attachment parenting, natural parenting, or green mom blog.  I sat down and thought about what makes me unique.  And, as I was writing a blog post (coming soon, I promise) about car seat safety, I realized...

I may be an attachment focused parent.  I may breastfeed, cloth diaper, use cloth wipes (and occasionally "the family cloth"), eat vegetarian, babywear, cosleep, and never ever ever spank my kids.  I may even have a son who is lucky because I left him intact.

But I am not fanatical.   

  • I'm not ridiculously overprotective (even when I want to be).
  • I take long baths, even though I know it's not great, I reduce my carbon footprint in other ways, like not eating meat (which is something that even some of the most hardcore green, natural living people can't seem to give up).
  • I did not have a medication free homebirth.  I not only had a C Section, but it was PLANNED and I demanded it.  That was my way of owning my own birth. I will do it again (and probably again after that).  The only thing that I dislike about this method of birthing is that I can only have four children.  Otherwise, it's my ideal method of delivering babies.
  • I don't always eat organic. Mostly because I can't afford to.
  • I didn't keep my daughter in a rear facing car seat until the age of 13 (in fact I was counting down the days until I could turn her around).
  • Even though I believe that "breast is best", I have no urge to gang up on women who chose to formula feed.  It's their choice.  I may not think it's the right choice, but it's not my choice to make.  I fed my daughter formula because she had major reflux which was affected by breastmilk, as well as some other formulas.  We give Parker one or two bottles of formula a day, not only so that his dad can enjoy feeding him, but so I can have a break once in a while.  We love our breastfeeding relationship, and I refuse to give it up (especially the night feedings), but once in a while it's nice to be able to hand him to Nate and go read a book in the teatub (bath in our family).
  • I don't wear my baby in the house constantly.  I wear him a lot.  I was babywearing when babywearing was only cool on the east coast.  Back when your only choice was Baby Bjorn and they were ridiculously expensive.  But I don't wear him all over the house.  I really do want to wear him more at home, but sometimes it's just not practical.  Like this one time... when I was doing laundry...  let's just say he wasn't a fan of being squished between his short mommy and the washer.
  • While I generally follow safe cosleeping practices, I don't have just a mattress, with no boxspring, on the floor.  I did that when I was poor and pregnant with my daughter and couldn't afford a mattress, I'm not about to go back to it.  I've gone through the trouble of making sure there are no spaces between the mattress and the wall that baby can fall into so I think that's adequate. 
  • I don't think television is evil.  I think it can be bad when children watch TV and play video games and never go outside or move around and exercise.  But it scares me that some moms talk about secondhand TV watching.  Really?  TV is not like cigarette smoke.  It can't "come and get" your child.  Having a TV on in the background in the room where your child is wont turn your child into a big, dumb, fat, blob of stupid.  I promise.  My daughter has had plenty of exposure to TV and she's ridiculously gifted, always outside playing and running around, and she's actually underweight (her dad has can't-gain-weight genes.  Yes, I do hate him because of it.)  It's how you utilize the television and how often that matters.
  • Similarly, I let my four year old watch the X Files.  She likes it, it doesn't desensitize her, and even though she gets scared, it's scary in a fun way for her.  Just because you like scary stuff doesn't mean you're desensitized and are going to become a serial killer.  There are some things I wont allow her to watch, but I'm not crazy protective about it.  Eventually she'll get to the age where she'll find a way to watch it anyway and that age really isn't that far off.
  • I don't believe mothers need to be slaves to their children in order to practice attachment parenting.  Some moms let themselves be guilted into servitude in an effort to attach.  My children and I are ridiculously attached.  I've lost a lot of friends because of my desire to spend most of my time with my children.  However, I also carve out some time for myself every day.  I was a person before I had children and I will be a person after they move out.  Some of you may be confused and I hate to break the bad news- your children will someday move out of your home- and if they don't you probably did something wrong. (Of course there are always special circumstances...)  
  • On a similar note,  I absolutely HATE mothers who ONLY talk about their children.  I call them Zombie Moms.  Don't get me wrong, I talk about my children probably 90% of the time, but that other 10% I'm talking about my hobbies and interests and dreams and goals.  Some of which do NOT involve my children.  I believe that if the only aspect of your personality is the fact that you're a mom, you need to get a hobby.  I'm not saying you shouldn't talk about your kids, because I do that way more than I should myself, I'm simply saying that it's a problem if you can't find anything else to talk about.  If all you are is a mom, then your husband might start looking elsewhere for stimulating conversation.  You need to be that sexy, unforgettable, incredible, brilliant woman he fell in love with once in a while. (I've chosen Wednesdays for these occasions.  After Criminal Minds is over of course.)
  • Lastly, I hate it when parents are ridiculously out of touch.  Do they really not remember being that age?  I remember being every age (except, obviously, younger than 2) and I think it helps to look back to how you felt about certain things when you were that age.  Granted, some times you were wrong, but sometimes your parents were too.  This tends to repeat itself.
I'm sure there are many more examples I could give you, but I'll stop rambling and summarize the whole point of this post.

I'm sick of trying to fit into a circle when I am entirely square.  I definitely am a crazy, crunchy, attachment parenting, trying-to-be-more-green mom.  But I refuse to give up, not only who I am, but also, good old fashioned common sense, in order to fit in to a niche.

So I will share thoughts on attachment parenting and crunchiness from my own perspective, even though it might be a little less breastfeeding-cloth diapering-car seat-birth nazi than some other blogs.

If we want other women to listen to us, and to adopt some of these ideas, and to spread the word about our causes, we need to be less in-your-face and more realistic.  Not every woman can afford an extended height and/or weight five point harness car seat.   Some women are simply not able to breastfeed.  Not everyone cherishes the idea of sleeping on the floor.  There are women who really DO NOT want to forgo medication during childbirth and who feel safer giving birth with a doctor present. 

There are varying degrees of crunchiness, and I absolutely abhor the idea of shoving my ideas and beliefs down other peoples throats.  With things I'm really passionate about, like not circumcising or vegetarianism, I try to bring the good points out first, and then hit the negatives.  No one likes to be yelled at and told they're a bad mother.  When we attack women for doing things differently (using a car seat slightly wrong, formula feeding, circumcising, or getting an epidural) we only make ourselves look fanatical and crazy (like Tom Cruise talking about psychiatry).  It's not going to make others listen to us, it's going to make others shut us out.  If we really want to get our message out, we need to stop demanding that our way is best, like a bitchy little clique, and instead show them that our way is open to all and adaptable.

"This above all, To Thine Own Self Be True."
- Polonius (Hamlet - Act 1 - Scene 3 - Line 78)


I am very much open to comments and criticisms in my comments.  I am all about the debate, so if you so desire, feel free to bring it on.  Those who agree with me, I would love to hear from you as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Healthy & Homemade Pet Food


Dylan (left) and Squishy (right)
wait impatiently for their lunch.

Today we ran out of pet food.  We're short on money until Monday, so I went to my wise uncle who always has all the answers to every question I could possibly need to ask.  Uncle Google told me that I could make my own pet food out of meat, eggs, grains, and vegetables. 

So I grabbed the steak Nate bought months ago out of the freezer, cooked it up to a nice medium rare and added brown rice, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.

Voila!

Tasty, healthy, high protein pet food! The best part is that you actually know what's in it, unlike with some of the discount pet foods at the grocery store. Considering my cats jumped up on the counter and started eating the food as I was stirring it all together, I would say it was a hit! My dog finished his bowl in record time and we had to put him outside so he wouldn't eat the cats food too.

Here is the recipe I used:
  • 2 pounds beef steak cut into small pieces and cooked medium rare.
  • 8 eggs, hardboiled.
  • 1 can sliced carrots.
  • A medium sauce pan full of brown rice (cooked).

I put everything (except the rice) through a blender until it was the consistency of a grainy mix.   I blended half of the rice into a rough puree and then mixed the non blended rice with the blended rice. I then mixed half the rice with the rest of the ingredients. You need to make sure you mix it well as some animals will pick the pieces they want and leave the rest. 

I gave some of that mixture as is to the cats and added some of the extra rice to the dogs bowl as dogs need more grains than cats. I refrigerated the unused portion. Make sure you cover it well as partly rare steak and eggs do not smell good together.

NoCans.com has some great cat and dog food recipes, as well as recipes for treats.  I checked out their recipes to get the basic idea (as well as their list of foods that pets can't have) and then created my own recipe using what I had on hand.

I think we will be making more home cooked meals for our pets as its healthier for them and I will actually know what's going into my furbabies mouths!

Plankton sleeping off his
large bowl of yum-yums.
PS:  He's totally a Momma's Boy

Santa Claus is coming to town... via email.



Santa has an email address. 

I know this because I made it for him.

Last year, due to overenthusiastic eggnog consumption by the elves in the Wii making department, Santa had to write Aria an I.O.U. (until tax return time... not sure why) for the gaming console she so desperately wanted.  He emailed it to us.

Why did he email us? Because yours truly overslept Christmas morning.  That is also why Santa left all the presents in momma's room. 

My major parenting fail last Christmas had two good outcomes.
 
1.  I have definitely stepped up my holiday mythical archetype game.  The Easter Bunny managed to deliver the goods while we were in the basement (for a period of about five minutes) looking at something or another.  Now Aria refers to the Bunny as "totally, really a ninja!"

2.  Santa has come into the technology age with email capabilities.

With a quick flick of my carpal tunnely wrists, kriskringlex@gmail.com was born.  (Santa likes his online presence on the emo side.)  My daughter is very excited to email Santa her wishlist this year.  I am excited to not only have her wishlist in actual list form, but also to be able to look back on her wishlists a few years from now when the big jolly guy has lost his magic.

Thankfully I have another child to lie to for several years. :)
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