Category Archives: About me

Life happens. About birthing, parenting, and expectations.

I love listening to new parents planning the whole future with their children. Some say, “I will have many drugs at my birth and be happy with it, I will formula feed, will never co sleep, I will keep a set schedule, and I will do exactly what the doctor says when the doctor says it”. While others say “I will have an all natural birth in my living room, exclusively breast feed and never ever give my baby non human milk ever, baby wear, co sleep, not vaccinate, not circumcise, and take mommy and me yoga classes.”

I, being the natural living advocate I am, obviously lean to the latter extreme BUT the more I read the more I need to speak up about a few things.

You can not predict where life will take you, from the beginning of your labor, into your parenting adventure, you have very little control over what life throws at you. Accept that now and your life will be much easier. I am not saying do not be prepared. PLEASE by all means read as much as you can, learn what you can, educate your self to the point where your brains feel like they will explode from your head with knowledge and POWER! But I have to say, when that labor starts, when that baby is born, when you are so sleep deprived and exhausted because you have not had a full night sleep in 11 months, you might change your mind. You  might feel lost. You might feel like a failure. I assure you you are not a failure as a parent no matter what happens, because you my friend tried. There are people who don’t even do that.

As an example of what I am talking about: I had planned an all natural labor with my daughter using Hypnobirthing. We took the classes, did the exercises, and were convinced we would not have an epidural. I read many many books on child birth, not just hypnobirthing, and was convinced that I could do this with no medical intervention. I had constant braxton hicks contractions for about three weeks before going into labor, strong labor like contractions (call it what you like) for about a week before going into real labor, and then was in “real labor” for over 42 hours!

I know my body was gearing up, but am pretty sure my body needed some time to rest between all the practice and the actual long ass labor. I lost my mucous plug on Sunday and, this being my first time, went into the hospital because I thought my water broke. I was not prepared for the extremely large amount of goo that comes out of you when you loose your mucous plug. Its pretty gross. They said I was still about 1cm and sent me home, Monday I went to the doc for my normal appointment and was still not super dialated so we went home, that night I did not sleep well because the contractions were JUST strong enough that I could not sleep.

All day Tuesday I had contractions but not picking up in strength or consistency so I went to an acupuncturist to help pick things up. The Acupuncturist said that this would send me instantly into full labor and to be ready to go into the hospital. It picked things up a bit but my body still had to gear up, slowly, all day. That night I was still having contractions, they were getting stronger but not closer and I was TIRED. I needed SLEEP so I had Mike take me to labor and delivery to get some ambien so I could sleep. The doc insisted on checking me before giving me drugs (did I mention all I wanted was sleep?) and I was at 6 cm! Without much pain at all, just early labor I was at 6 cm! I was so excited I could have peed. He asked if I wanted an epidural and I said no. They respected that.

We went into the labor room and I hopped in the bath. Laboring in the bath was great. I was talking to my doula and we were laughing and joking when I was not breathing/moaning through the labor. I want to point out failure #1 I did not have a silent labor. In the hypnobirthing videos none of the woman made noise. Let me tell you moaning and making noise through the contractions helped a lot. So did talking and laughing. Failure #2 we did not do the hypnobirthing exercises. It wasn’t right for me at the time. Having a good time and laughing was much more effective for me. I labored in the tub, moaned, had cool washcloths coming on to my brow constantly (thanks to my wonderful doula) and only had to get out of the tub occasionally to get monitored. Getting out of the tub sucked and was very painful. I wish they would have allowed intermittent monitoring in the tub in the hospital. We figured that since I was at 6 cm I would be transitioning and done soon. I labored for hours and hours and was checked at least twice on the monitors and never progressed past 8 cm. It was terrible. I decided to get past the transition (that never came) I would try IV pain killers. They helped for about 15 minutes and then the pain was worse. I knew that might happen, the books told me so, but I needed something to take the edge off. My body was TRYING to transition but it was just too tired! We even snuck food during labor to try to help get me the energy I needed. We broke my bag of waters to try to get the contractions stronger, and all that did was make things hurt more. Remind me not to do that again.

My doc suggested pitocin and I hesitated because I really wanted a natural birth and damn it if I had gotten this far the baby HAD to come out eventually right? We discussed options and decided to do an internal contraction monitor to see if my contractions were strong enough to be effective. Long story short although they felt very strong, they were not strong enough, and I needed pitocin. At this point I decided to get the epidural. I was not pushed into it, I just knew I needed a brake. My body was exhausted and my mind was frazzled and the room was stressful and not the peaceful place I wanted my child born into. Pitocin and the epidural were failures #4 and 5.

After I got the epi we discussed starting on a very low dose of pitocin and not upping the dose unless I was not progressing and she asked me first. I still had control of my labor, and the doctor respected my decision. I did not get a nap even after the epi. They told me to try but I was just too excited for my baby to be coming soon. It still took hours before I was ready to push, but my doula and husband both got to eat and nap during that time so that was good. I talked to a very nice nursing student during that time who was watching me labor naturally because it was such an odd thing to see. I felt like I failed her too but she was sweet and stayed with me until the end of her shift.  Apparently she had never seen anyone even go that far into labor without drugs so I am glad I could at least give her that.

Finally after who knows how long (time really ceases to exist when you are in labor) I felt pressure to push. I was 10 cm but she had not descended yet. She wasn’t budging and I felt like pushing so I did. I pushed and pushed. I also pooped on the table. Yes ladies and gents, that happens, get over it. I pushed for about an hour and a half and the doc came in and said she was not coming down the birth canal and I might need a C-Section. I asked if the baby was under any distress and she said no so I decided to push some more, and push I did! I do want to note that I do not think I was ineffectively pushing because of the epi. I could feel what was going on because I let the drugs ware down a bit before the pushing, and as it continued to go on a long time my supportive husband did not let me hit the pain button again when I wanted. I could feel plenty when she was born. When I finally stubborned her into the birth canal after 2 1/2 hours she shot out! The doc was not ready to catch her so the nurse held her head in with two fingers, told me not to push, so the doc could gown up. I yelled many obscenities in that minute or two that it took the doc to get gowned and ready. Ellie came out two pushes later with the cord around her neck and they whisked her away to the table to suction her lungs because she had muconium. Failure #6. I very much wanted to hold her right away but was bleeding a lot and they had to take care of her. Mike was with her and they were fine. He was crying because he was so happy and I remember thinking I was broken for not crying. I was just happy she was fine. I was apparently bleeding profusely and they had to give me the rest of the pitocin to slow it.

It turns out a 9lb 6oz baby needs a little extra encouragement to leave the uterus some times. My beautiful daughter came out angry at her eviction and her first picture looks like she is about to punch out the nurse. I love her.

Mommy’s little heavy weight champion… Thankfully the swelling went down quickly. 

Notice how the new born hat does not fit that huge head.

Finally, once I was stitched and not in immediate danger of dying of blood loss they let me hold her and encouraged me to have skin to skin contact and try to nurse her. Breast feeding, although it is natural and is what my body is made to do, is not easy to start doing, especially when you have never done it before. She rooted right away but we struggled with latch and I was terrified that my huge boobs would suffocate and kill her. Seriously terrified. The cradle hold was not working for us at all. Failure #7

The point I am trying to get across is that although we may have the most detailed and strict plans things change, and we may not be able to get that birth we always dreamed of but damn it, the baby was born. She was born happy and healthy and we figured out nursing pretty quickly once I finally stopped trying to nurse her like an A or B cup, and learned to nurse her like the E cup I am. Foot ball hold, I might add, is amazing.

I felt guilty for failing at my birth plan. I failed to have the natural labor I wanted. My child was not brought into the world naturally and peacefully like I wanted and I felt so horrible. I am pretty sure this contributed to my postpartum depression.

After looking back on it 18 months later, on the brink of having #2 I have to say the birth went exactly as it should have. It would have gone much differently had I not gotten the medical intervention. I was educated enough and well informed enough to make the right decisions for the birth and I probably would not change anything about it. I could have chosen not to go with an OB and gone with a midwife instead, but with the health issues I had during my pregnancy I don’t think that would have gone well either.

This time I am handling things differently. I know I can still get into they hypnobirthing mindset like I did last time without the exercises. I am practicing my breathing, and listening to the positive birthing affirmations I got from the class last time. I have a midwife group that I love and am very excited to work with. They respect my decisions to use herbs and essential oils as a part of my labor and delivery to help manage issues that might arise like they did last time. I even made up a word document for them and Mike to refer to if any problems should arise. I plan on having this baby naturally, without any medication, but accept the fact that if I need it it is there and if I need it it is not the worst thing I can do.

I know now that although I have everything planed and prepared things may not, and probably will not, go as planed so I mentally have no plans. Just outlines of what I would like to happen. This is helping me be much more calm and mentally prepared for this birth than the last.

I am ready, mentally, for this baby. I know that labor will go the way it needs to. I hope you know that as well. I hope you are well informed and able to make good decisions in the moment. I hope you have a practitioner who supports your decisions and needs.

And all those failures during labor, did that make me a bad parent? No. They were just missed expectations percieved as failures. Some of my other parenting failures were some of the best decisions we have ever made.

We said we would not bed share. We never really even considered it an option. Ellie was going to sleep in her basinette for a few months and then her crib in her nursery. It turns out Ellie would not sleep anywhere but near mommy for the first few months of life and mommy was so exhausted that we decided to bed share. I am pretty sure I got more sleep than the average breast feeding mamma who’s child does not sleep in bed with them. Boob, sleep, roll over, boob, sleep. It was amazing. Co-sleeping is not right for everyone and be sure to do it SAFELY but I have to say that was a big failure turned into a win. This time we have an arms reach co-sleeper ready for #2 but if that doesn’t work, we will get the little co-sleeping snuggle nest thing for baby to be sure he is safe again.

Parenting is an ongoing learning experience. I think we all have the best intentions but as we go along this journey we see we may have been wrong about decision A, or may reconsider something we may not have though possible before.

So, dear new parent, please educate your self as much as you can, but if your plan does not work out do not feel bad, or feel guilt, or think you are a failure. You are doing your best and we have no control of the outside circumstances of life. What you can control is how you react to them. I am here to support and encourage as much as I can!

What is your advice for new or soon to be parents?

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Insecure Writers Support Group – March

I am sick. My family is sick. We all have some nasty sinus cold bug thing that sucks the will to live out of you. My 18 month old daughter is sitting on my lap as I type trying to “help” me write, turn off my computer, or throw a fit because I wont let her press the power button on my lap top. I have tried every hippie dippie cure I have and although they help relieve the symptoms temporarily , they definitely do not last as long or relieve the pain as well as good ole fashion drugs do. If I was not pregnant and bfing I might very well say F-it all and go get the other stuff but ALAS my body is not my own. That is probably a good thing, my body has enough toxins to filter as it is.

So this my friends is why I have not written much in the last few days. I try to write a blog every day and post every other day so I have some stashed away in my little hidey hole ready for when Mr. Bubba Thor (no he has no real name yet) makes his appearance. I also try to make an effort to work on my e-books a few hours a week. They seem so discombobulated though and unfocused that I may just start all over again. I am trying at the moment to write a quick “How I ended up here” blurb about my self but it is such a long story I am not sure what to include and what to leave out. Maybe once I get the whole story out I can have someone more objective than me read over it.

Anyway, my issues this month stem around being sick and lazy and pregnant. Any tips on writing with a sick family, a dysfunctional brain, and no focus would be greatly appreciated.

How do you focus when life is not showing you the love you need?

This blog shared on Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog Insecure Writers Support Group.  Check it out!

Saving money, living better, being green.

Ok so I have been thinking a lot about our budget lately, and looking at the “average” budgets most others have. I am trying to figure out where people get their numbers! Comparing our budget for a 3.5 person house to the national average is eye-opening.

Where we spend:

Food

We spend 18% of our income on food. We do this because it costs more money to eat organic whole foods. There is really no getting around that. By increasing the quality of what we eat we save in other areas of our life. My husband was missing a lot of work because of health problems before switching our diet. He is out of work 3-5 days less a month than he was before the switch saving us his PTO time and the salary cut he had to take when he ran out of PTO.

We spend less on doctors visits because of our diet changes as well.

Healthcare

Our insurance is subsidized through Mikes work, so we “only” pay about $400 a month for insurance. We do get the good insurance though (an extra $60 a month) so we can take advantage of the alternative care. I get masages almost every week for prenatal/post natal care and health maintenance. Mike and I take full advantage of the Chiropractor/Acupuncture benefits as well. I wish I could say we used a Natropath instead of a MD but there are no ND’s in our area who accept insurance and we don’t have the money to pay out-of-pocket and hope for reimbursement from the insurance company. I have found a holistic MD that I think I like though. We have a FSA so our co-pays are at least paid with tax-free money. It is helping a lot too with the hospital and midwife payments for the pregnancy. Too bad they are changing the way FSAs work starting next year due to the new health care legislation. Maybe we will get lucky and our insurance rates will drop?

Where we save:

Cleaning products

We have made our last big market cleaning product purchase. From here on out we make our own house hold cleaners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, laundry detergent AND dish washer soap! I am terrified of the dish washer soap, that is one we have not switched yet I just stocked up on my favorite out of fear, but when we run out I am making our own! Mark my words! Instead of spending an average of $30 a month on cleaning products we will be spending an average of $14 about every 3 months on vinegar, baking soda, borax, and Dr. Bonner’s soap.

By switching to home-made, natural cleaning products we not only reduce our cost of living but also reduce our families exposure to many carcinogenic, teteratogenic, and mutinogenic chemicals lurking in our home.

Personal care products

I make our personal care products. I have been using the Oil Cleansing Method on my face which has been FABULOUS and cleared my skin right up. More on that later. I make my own body lotion and oils, bath salts, diaper salve, eczema salve, deodorant, and have been “poo free” for 2 months now. Yes I still bathe daily but use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair instead of shampoo and conditioner. My hair looks and feels great by the way! We buy hand-made goats milk bar soap from farmers markets and craft fairs for soap, which feels so decadent to me. I love it! I used to spend about $40 on personal care items, not including makeup, which cost me another $20-30 a month.

By simplifying our personal care products, and knowing exactly what is going onto my family’s body we can better control the toxins we expose our selves to. I am not sure the accuracy of this statement BUT the herbalist I worked with in Spokane mentioned that 40% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our body and blood stream.  The skin is the largest organ on the body after all. If you could reduce your risk simply enough wouldn’t you? More on the health benefits of cleaning up your personal care products here.

Housing expenses

We live in a smaller than necessary apartment and keep the heater between 62 and 65* on a day-to-day basis. We turn down the heat and turn off the lights when we leave the house. Our light bulbs are all CFL’s which save a lot of power usage and our water heater is at 120* unless I am tackling some stubborn diapers. We spend an average of 19% of our income on our housing expenses when the average family is at 34%. (Note that is not including the cost of our home in Spokane, which is a rental and netting $0 profit or loss at the moment).

Baby products

We cloth diaper almost all of the time. Ellie gets a rash at night, or wakes up wet in cloth so she sleeps in sposies almost every night. Other than that though we cloth diaper. If we were buying her disposables at the rate we change diapers and in the brand we use that does not cause her rashes, we would be spending an average of $90 a month, which would end up being about 1,080 a year. In Ellie’s first year of life we spent $320 on cloth diapers (that includes the very generous gift of my wonderful sister for Ellie’s baby shower), and I just bought some new-born diapers for when #2 comes for an additional $200. We are now over supplied with diapers and I will probably sell off some of my extras once we see how well we go through what we have. I spend $12 every 3-4 months on laundry detergent and the water/electric cost really is minimal with the washer and dryer, especially since we line dry during the summer. So we can call that a $59 a month savings on cloth diapering in the first year, and more for the second year into potty training, especially since half of year 2 will be spent diapering 2 kids! Good planning on our part.

And really what is cuter than a kiddo in a cloth diaper. Yeah she posed for this.

By cloth diapering we are reducing our child’s exposure to the toxic chemicals in children’s diapers. Ellie rarely gets diaper rash or yeast infections like a lot of babies I know who use disposables. I think once parents get over the learning curve of cloth diapering they will truly appreciate the health and financial benefits.

Breast Feeding

Ellie was exclusively breast fed for 6 months and is still breast fed to this day. She does not get cows milk when she is not nursing, she gets water. This saved us $1,733.75 in her first year of life alone (according to these calculations done with numbers from 2007). This is not including the cost of Organic Whole Milk we would have switched to afterward.

This cost is also not including the fact that miss Ellie has very rarely been sick enough to take to the doctor. Here is a good article about the benefits of BFing and some great links to scientific articles.

Clothes

We rarely buy new clothes for our selves, but when we do we buy quality. We never buy brand new clothes for our child unless they are on serious discount. It just seems like a waste of money for something she will grow out of quickly or destroy while playing. My MIL does buy her a new wardrobe at least twice a year because shopping for little girls is so fun. My savings tip: do not buy small children new clothes, they don’t need new clothes (unless it is a special occasion) nor do they care if they have new clothes. Let them be a little rough and tumble, creative and artsy, and have fun without worrying about staining or tearing. It will make your life much less stressful.

This is why we don’t need to destroy new clothes. 

How is this green? Re-use baby , re-use!

Transportation/vehicle expenses

We have 1 car. It is 10 years old and well maintained, most days. We own the car outright and have no monthly payments. Maintenance cost (including the big repairs spread out over the year) average about $80 a month. We spend about $80 a month on gas if I am driving a lot.  We live 5 miles away from Mike’s work and he bikes to work as weather permits, which is about 9 months out of the year. The rest of the time I give him a ride to and from work or he carpools. Bike maintenance is about $10 a month. Insurance cost is about $60 a month. That makes our transportation cost $230 a month, about 4.6% of our budget. The average American household spends 16% of their household income on transportation. It pays to drive an old car with decent mileage and only have 1 car if your situation allows.

By only driving one car we reduce our emissions by half, our gas usage by half, and our 10 year old car is just as fuel efficient as a car of the same size made this  year.

I could go on about how we save “being green” but I would love to know how you save? What are your tricks to benefiting your family and your environment by “being green”? I find the changes we have made help us support our expensive food habit and make our life much more enjoyable. I would love to hear your experiences.

Shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Our Simple Farm’s Simple Living Wednesday.

Essential oils 101: What are Essential Oils?

As you can tell from reading my different recipes, I love essential oils. They allow me to be able to gain the medicinal benefits of a plant without having to use a large amount of material. People always ask me questions about the oils, like where do I get them? How do you use them? Can you use too much? Because EO use is not common among the general population I decided to start an Essential Oil 101 series. Every week I will focus on a specific aspect of the use of EO’s to hopefully help  you in your wellness journey and increase your confidence in using oils. I just started selling EO’s through a wonderful company called doTERRA and will discuss them intermittently through all of this, but know that my focus here is to help you feel confident in your use, not to sell you oils. IF you do need them though, please take a look at my site. Thanks.

What are Essential Oils?

An Essential Oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile organic compounds from different parts of the main plant including, but not limited to: seeds, bark, stems, roots and flowers. This plant liquid is not specifically oil of the plant, but the essence of the plant, with its specific scent, and chemical properties which is where we get the specific benefits from each individual kind of oil. Essential oils are very clean to the touch, not at all oily, and immediately absorbs into the skin.

Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Essential oils are made from pure plants, while most perfume and fragrance oils are petroleum based fake scents and do not have the same beneficial effects of EO’s. Extraction of pure essential oils usually requires laboratory equipment and large amounts of plant materials for a small yield of oil. Seeing the extraction methods available it is easy to understand why good, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils cost so much.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years across many different cultures not only because they are beautifully fragrant but also because essential oils contain unique benefits to health and well being depending on the specific plant they are derived from. For example Lavender is a commonly used oil with anti-fungal, antiseptic, antidepressant, calming, normalizing, harmonizing, deodorizing, rejuvenation, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties and is believed to enhance the immune system. It is well known to calm and relax the nervous system. Sweet Orange is used for its uplifting properties, it is great for skin care, regenerative, antispasmodic, and balancing. These are benefits you will not get from a fake fragrance oil.

Essential oils many holistic and wellness benefits, which we will focus on more with specific plants later in the series, but should be used with caution. Due to their highly potent nature a little bit really does go a long way.  Use caution with the oils if you have a specific health condition, are pregnant, breast feeding, or using oils with children. There are a lot of good sources for information on essential oil uses and safety which I will try to provide for you as I use them. There are also a lot of bad and inaccurate sources out there, mostly on the internet so be ware and be sure your information is from a trusted source. I will link my sources as I can. If I forget please remind me and I will put them up for you!

When you buy Essential Oils, be sure not to trade cost for quality. I may have been cheap when buying oils to clean my house with, but never skimp on the oils I will be applying to my body, or in the products I make for others. “The quality of even pure essential oils can vary greatly depending on the country where the plant was grown, climactic conditions, how the raw material was collected and stored, and the process used to obtain the oil. Always opt for the best quality of oil available.” – The Essential Oils Book by Colleen Dodt. When you buy oils be sure to buy from a reputable supplier who is focused on providing the finest, high quality, pure essential oils. Always look for oils packaged in full dark glass bottles. Read the label carefully. Look for the term “pure essential oil” and for cautions such as “keep out of reach of children” and where the oil is intended for use.

dōTERRA (CPTG) Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils represent some of the safest, purest, and most beneficial essential oils available today. They are gently and skillfully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize dōTERRA’s superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade essential oils.

Cautions: everyone is different and will react to different oils in varying manners. Keep oils away from eyes. Always wash your hands before and after using essential oils. There is nothing worse than working with an oil, (like peppermint), then rubbing your eyes or mucous membranes directly afterward. I promise you, it feels like burning.  If you do get oil in your eyes do not rinse with water, but apply sweet almond oil (or another base oil) to a cotton ball and apply that to your eye. Water will disperse the oil and make it worse.

Keep out of reach of children. Pure essential oils can be toxic if ingested in large amounts and can be harmful to skin and eyes if improperly diluted.

Practice caution while pregnant. Essential oils are very strong and many have an effect on hormones and muscle contractions. Of everything I have read I would avoid most eo use in the first trimester, and use great caution and education while working with an educated midwife, doctor, or aroma therapist through the rest of your pregnancy.

A little bit goes a long way, using 1-2 drops has beneficial effects, but many people who use more than instructed find the benefit to be mitigated. Remember it takes pounds of plant material to make that very small amount of oil in your bottle. Use sparingly for best results. Also use proper dilution for oils. Most recipes will tell you how many drops of EO to use per oz of carrier oil, or water, or whatever you are using to dilute your material.

The uplifting, healing, and beneficial properties of EO usage in my daily practice has been a pleasure and I truly enjoy finding new uses for the oils. I am now working on putting together an essential oil kit to aid mothers in the stages of labor through the use of calming and uplifting scents, mixed with oils that are known to be beneficial during and after labor for the mother and baby. It is very exciting and becoming an addicting thing. I hope to share the journey with you.

What is your favorite use for Essential Oils? Include your favorite recipe or link here!

Outback Steak House gluten-free goodness.

My husband won an award from work today for being super awesome. Apparently he was more “urgent” than the other 400+ people nominated for this award for one of the pillars of excellence. There was a lot of corporate chatter attached to the award but it boils down to the fact that he is super duper and got a $50 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. I can not tell you the joy this filled my pregnant belly with.

As I have briefly mentioned I have recently been diagnosed with a “gluten intolerance” and have yet to be determined if I actually have Celiac or not. My blood tests came back positive but the procedure involved to confirm diagnosis is one I would like to avoid as long as possible. I do know that if I avoid gluten I don’t feel like crap. My indigestion is much more manageable, I have more energy and am more emotionally stable. Ask Mike he agrees that I am “less crazy” than I was. We will call that progress.

This gluten issue is usually manageable as long as we don’t go out to eat. When we do it is a big game of Russian Roulette as to weather or not the meal is actually gluten free or not. For example, although Pho (the soup of the gods) is gluten free and no flour is added to the meat or broth, made with rice noodles, if you add the brown prune sauce to your soup (which adds a delicious sweet flavor) you have just caused your self a world of pain. The sauce has wheat flour in it. Gladly siriacha sauce does not.

Anyway, most restaurants that we frequent(ed) do not have a gluten free menu and you are at the mercy of the chef or waiters to know what the hell gluten free really means.

I heard rumor of a gluten-free menu at Outback from Jared at http://paleogeek.wordpress.com and was very excited to check it out.

When we got to Outback I asked for the gluten-free menu and there was a printed menu! It is also available online.  It told you what dressings were gluten-free (all but the blue cheese and honey mustard) and to ask for no croutons. It mentioned the seasoning they use for veggies is not GF and to ask for them without it. It had a list of GF alcoholic beverages that I plan on working through once I am no longer supporting a life with my own body. There were a lot of great choices but we were at Outback and I wanted steak!

Thankfully the steak seasoning they use is GF and the steak, as always, was very tasty. We also got the GF brownie with ice cream. I believe it was called the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. It was very soft, chocolatey and nutty. Insert inappropriate dirty joke here.

I can say I did not want for more. It was perfect in every way. I also did not leave feeling slow, bloated and blegh. I feel pleasingly full, but not overly, with energy to spare. I even switched the laundry. I will call that an accomplishment.

Where do you like to eat GF? Are there other good places that make it easy to choose with GF menus that I do not know about? Please share!

Attachment parenting for the win.

So I don’t usually post a lot about parenting styles because it becomes such a heated debate so quickly. I did see this cartoon that a friend of a friend of a … well you get the idea, posted on face book and a lot of my mommy friends have encountered a similar situation!

I do my damnedest not to judge other parents and their methods, although I may not understand them, and they may not work for my family in most cases I can say, “Well its your kid, you know what is best.” I wish other people could do the same!

As you may or may not know we chose to co-sleep. It was not planned that way from the beginning but as everyone who has children know, it is all a learning experience. We decided to co-sleep because SHE WOULD NOT SLEEP anywhere but in my arms. I guess that makes sense right? Why throw her in another room in a crib all alone and cold when she has been nice and warm and safe inside me? Plus co-sleeping let me get so much more sleep! It was amazing. Yes we followed safe co-sleeping practices, I understand people are afraid of co-sleeping but you can debate that somewhere where else. Lets just say that’s what we did and it worked well and leave it at that.

For good information about co-sleeping and if it may be right for your situation I love the ask Dr. Sears website. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/safe-co-sleeping-habits

We also breast-fed on demand. I am of the opinion that, especially new borns, know when they are hungry. Their bodies tell them so and we, as parents, need to listen to their needs. I found it quite easy to tell the difference between her hungry cry, wet cry, tired cry. We spoke the same language. We were completely in tune to each other. It was pretty amazing. She knew what she needed and I gave it to her. She was such a happy baby that she hardly ever fussed and I think this is largely because we breast-fed on demand and I listened to her signals.

We got into baby wearing for a similar reason. Her needs were to be with mommy ALL THE TIME. She constantly wanted to be held. She would scream bloody murder if I set her down too long, so I wore her around the house, when shopping, and pretty much any time I needed my hands. This let me meet the emotional demands of my child AND be a functional adult! Why suffer with a screaming un happy child because “you don’t want her to be spoiled” when you can easily resolve the situation by wearing her around?

Babies need physical contact, they need adult interaction, they need to know they will be cared for. They are defenseless and need our presence, love, and support.

I never read a book about attachment parenting. I rarely read blogs about it either, but I am an attached parent and could not be happier at the results.

In fact, the only problems and complaints we have really had about parenting have been when we have tried to fit into other people’s expectations of how our child should be sleeping, eating, etc.

“Is she sleeping in her crib yet?” – No she is not sleeping in her crib, she is sleeping with us. When we tried to transition her she was obviously not ready and caused severe emotional distress. Mind your own damn business. She will sleep on her own when she is ready. (She now sleeps in her crib just fine and made the switch nicely between 11-12 months using the No Cry Sleep Solution http://www.amazon.com/No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-Gentle-Through/dp/0071381392 methods which I highly recommend.)

“Are you still breast-feeding?” – Yes we are still breast-feeding. It is best for her and for me. No it is not inconvenient, in fact it is very convenient! I forget sippy cups often and the boob is easily at hand when in a pinch. Of course now at 17 months she gets too distracted when we are out and about to even think of boob. See my diatribe about breast-feeding here: http://naturallivingmamma.com/2011/08/09/breast-feeding-yeah-we-are-still-doing-that/

“Aren’t you going to wean her when the new one comes?” – No. We thought about it and after much research have decided that as long as she wants to nurse, it is the best for all of us to tandem nurse. No I  do not think it will cause jealousy, in fact most people I know who have tandem nursed said it helped the children form a life long bond. No the baby will not starve or suffer, my body is made to feed a child or children from it. My body will make food fit for the baby’s needs not the toddler. The human body is an amazing thing and knows what the correct priorities are better than we do.

“Don’t you ever put your child down?”- Sometimes, when she wants to. When she was smaller I wore her or carried her all the time. Now she is a fiercely independent toddler who likes to run and explore. She tests her boundaries and learns her limits. She likes being carried but prefers to walk or run wherever she is going. She is not afraid of me leaving her behind because she knows I am right behind her. We have a bond of trust that works great for us. It doesn’t hurt that I watch her like a hawk while still maintaining that she be able to explore, safely, on her own.

Yes my little girl is a happy well-adjusted child. She rarely throws fits or tantrums, and does not hit, scratch or bite. She gets along well with other kids and is very self-assured and not at all afraid of experimenting or trying new things.

A lot of people say I got lucky. Maybe I did. I think the real luck is that I was in tune enough with my self, and my child to know that Mother Nature has instilled me with the instincts to properly take care of my child in the way that she needs. The more I listen to my body, her body, and our interactions together, the better our relationship becomes. I love my little girl and would not change a thing. I am also very excited to co-sleep, breast feed, and baby wear #2 in 10 short weeks!

How have you fielded the “naysayers” responses to your parenting style (whatever it may be)?

MIA-What we have been doing.

Hello there. It has been a while. I guess you could call me a slacker as I have not been keeping up with my posts, and I guess you would be correct.

A quick update on life. I got pregnant, had a bunch of visitors for Ellie’s birthday, got crazy depressed from the pregnancy and had to climb my way out of that sink hole before it swallowed me whole. Thanks to my mom, supplements and herbs I am back on track and actually feel functional.

Ellie is no longer sleeping in our bed, she is instead sleeping through the night, in her own crib, in her own room! I can not tell you how wonderful this is. I very much cherish the time we had co-sleeping with our little sweety. It made breast feeding SO MUCH easier and more convenient, and I really thing it helped us connect as a family. We decided to switch because Ellie was not sleeping as well, every time I moved she needed to nurse back to sleep, which made me not sleep well. If you have ever been pregnant with a toddler you know how important sleep is. So for all of our sanity we made the switch. It really was the right time to do it.

We got the book “The No Cry Sleep Solution” and read it and followed the books advice. I really liked the book because you could modify it to your families needs. It even allows for co-sleeping families, which I still completely support. With the plan she was upset and did cry for about 40 minutes with us in the room with her but fell asleep. She woke up 3 times the first night but went back down without too much of a fuss. Night two she cried for about 15 min. Since then she cried on and off sometimes for 1-5 min here or there until last week. Now she gets put in her crib and goes to sleep! Sometimes she will babble to her self for a while but no crying! It is amazing and I am SO glad to have such a WONDERFUL husband who got up with Ellie that first week. My biggest concern was that she would want to nurse back to sleep so Mike got up with her at night instead of me. It worked wonders.

As I said the preggo hormones made me crazy. I will make this a separate post but right now I will quickly mention I decided not to take drugs because of the side effects to the fetus. Instead I am working very closely with a natural nutritionist, certified herbalist/apothecary, and my midwife to help me balance my bodies needs and my own. I have a supplemental regime personalized for me by my nutritionist with whole food supplements that help my body get the nutrition it needs. The supplements are expensive but the work wonders. I am also drinking an herbal tea daily designed with the help of my apothecary which gives my mind and body a nice boost. I am drinking some now in fact. I went from completely dysfunctional (my mom came and lived with us for almost a month because I was completely useless) to being a competent, functional human being again! I love it.

That is the last four months in a nut shell. Now that Ellie is going to bed at 7:30 every night I should be more consistent in blogging until the little one arrives.

What do you do to get out of a bad place? What resources do you use to re-center and focus your life?

Breast feeding…. yeah we are still doing that!

Ok so no post for a long time because life has been SUPER busy! So I have had a lot to catch up on. \

This Saturday we went to an event called the Big Latch On where a bunch of moms from around the world gathered at the same time to breast feed their children hoping to set a world record for the most people nursing at the same time! Ellie was the oldest at the location we were at by two months.

Last week was world breast feeding week and I am SO glad we are still breast feeding at 11 months. I know people stop earlier for various reasons, or don’t bf at all but we chose to extend breast feeding. I feel very good about this choice and am so glad I have a great group of moms who have also made this choice for their families who I can go to for support.

Now I understand we are coming out of the big “formula is best because it is made with science” generation. The last two generations of children (including me) were formula fed because that’s just what people did, or because people tried to breast feed and had no support and failed. Let me tell you though I AM SICK of people treating me like it is weird that I am still breast feeding my 11month old daughter. I am going to assume it is because people are miss informed and not because they are just idiotic pervs who only think breasts are there for sexy fun time and do not serve a functional purpose.

SO here are some reasons as to why we have chosen to extend breastfeeding.

– Breast feeding a child past infancy is NORMAL

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that  “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first  year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding  confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological  or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement.

It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2008)

A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)

The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).

Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

– Breast feeding children are better nourished

– Breast feeding children are sick less often

– Breast feeding children have fewer allergies

– Breast feeding children are smart

– Breast feeding children are socially well adjusted

– Breast feeding reduces the mothers risk for breast cancer, and the longer you breast feed the lower      your risk is!  It also reduces your risk for ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancer.

– Breast feeding increases the mothers bone density without the need of calcium supplements reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

– Breast feeding moms lose weight easier (YAY)

So these are the reasons why we chose to extend breastfeeding. I hear those of you out there asking questions in the back of your head so here are a few I have heard and my answers:

Q: But she has teeth doesn’t that hurt?

A: Well it hurts but only if she bites and we have done some training with her so she does not bite that  often. If she bites she gets the boob taken away and she does not like that.

Q: I heard breast feeding was only for comfort after the first 15 months.

A: See above and don’t be ignorant

Q: Doesn’t it hurt your sex life?

A: Anyone with a child can tell you that a child puts a wrench in your sex life; I doubt any choices we have made make it any worse. Seriously, only someone who has not had children can ask that.

Q: Isn’t it a lot of work to breast feed all the time?

A: No. In fact I would say breast feeding is the lazy parents way out. When my baby is hungry in the middle of the night I grab her, lay her down next to me, boob her, she nurses in her sleep doze. When we are done she goes back to her mattress and sleeps and I roll over and go back to sleep. This is instead of waking up, getting the bottle (hopefully there is a clean one), measuring formula and putting it in the bottle, adding water and heating it and hoping that it is not too warm or cold. Then burning your child because you did not test the heat of the bottle, getting up and sitting in a chair to feed baby then burping baby then putting baby back to bed all over again before going to sleep. I will nurse a baby any day over that!

That all being said I do miss my freedom. It is so wonderful and sometimes kind of annoying to have someone so dependent on you. I am the center of her universe and although that is wonderful most of the time, sometimes I would love to do something without considering what effect it will have on my child, my milk, my milk production etc., etc. But these are sacrifices I am willing to make for the relatively short time that I am supporting the child with my body.

In a few years she will be weaned and off on her own and want nothing to do with me, so I will deal with the cling monster and the slight inconvenience  and the love and cuddles and hugs and slobbery wet baby kisses for a little longer.

Thank you for reading and if you see a woman out there nourishing her child with her body smile and support her!

How did you celebrate world breastfeeding week?

Funkified… how do you get out of a funk?

I am in a writing group and this weeks assignment asks how do you get out of a funk or rut? I was thinking she was talking about writing but everyone seems to be writing about life. Well that makes sence! I can be so dense some times.

I tend to get funkey/funkified/funktastic when things change. I don’t do change well. Most mammals don’t actually. We all to expect the expected, surprises are nice… as long as they involve wine, chocolate, or large wads of cash landing in our lap (or all three!), but for the most part change and me do not get along.

I can actually chronicle a few big changes in my life and how I handled them. When I moved from Flagstaff to Phoenix, then had crazy health issues, was sick as a dog, fell in love, and moved to Spokane in a years time frame I was funked. I was super sick, just quit smoking and was moving from everything I ever knew. I love my husband dearly, even before he was my husband, but I took the change hard. I fell into a pretty hard depression and needed prozac to get out of it. I am not sure now, looking back on it, if I actually NEEDED the anti-depressant but I was on it because I did not know better. Once I got settled in Spokane and life became more normal I got off the drugs.

After I had my little princess I had postpartum depression. It wasnt as bad as a lot of people have, but I was depressed, moody, and terrified of the littlest most out of the blue thing happening to my baby girl. It was kinda nuts. Now every mother has a healthy level of paranoia but I was over the edge. I got antidepressants for that too. I made this decision knowingly. I could have used  herbs to enhance my mood, but because I was just establishing my nursing relationship with my daughter, and I did not have the resources available to tell me what herbs I could and could not use while breast-feeding, I decided to go with the drugs instead of the herbs. I was on the Prozac for about two months, until my hormones could even out and I was able to prove to my self that I was a competent mother after all and I could do this.

This funk with this move has not been as bad. I can tell you I am very glad it has not been as bad but I wonder which change made the difference.

I have been getting acupuncture treatments to help my body even out. I have been working with my acupunctureist (Rebekah Giangrecco at New Moon Acupuncture in Spokane) on making my body healthy again. We have been focusing on the Liver and Adrenals and I can’t tell you how much more refreshed and energized I am with the right nutrition and supplements! It is amazing! Rebekah would always ask me what was going on in my life every visit. I would tell her the stresses I was dealing with, my victories and failures, and she would do her magic. At the end of treatments I would feel so relaxed, calm and my anxiety would be gone. It flew into the wind. The sounds she made with the tuning forks and big bells helped keep my body in tune with its self and with the world around me. IT was relaxing and amazing.

I have also been getting massage therapy just about every week since I was about 2 months pregnant. Katrina, my MT is AMAZING. She is THE BEST massage therapist EVER! She knows just what your body needs, even when you don’t. She specializes in woman (she is wonderful with pregnancy) and she works on children as well. She is so great with Ellie. When I had to bring her to my appointments Katrina would always talk to her, give her things to play with, and make me feel very comfortable with having my child there, watched by her while she treated me. The masages were  not only therapeutic but very relaxing and I am sure that has something to do with it. Katrina is taking new clients! She is in Spokane so let me know if you need her #.

I have been doing my yoga, but more off than on lately with all the crazy going on. As soon as we get internet hooked up to the apartment instead of on my phone I will start that again. That also helps clarify my mind and get tuned to my self. I love yoga.

I think the last thing that has helped me stay funk-free this move is my herbs. I know I know crazy herb lady. My herbs give me a focal point, a point where I can go out side, check my plants, water them, touch the earth and renew. It is very peaceful and nice to be able to see my herbs doing well. Harvesting and eating them is amazing. I am very excited to preserve seeds for my starts next year. My  herbs seem to be my constant connection to the earth and the string holding my old and new home together. I am very glad I fought for that trunk space!

So re-center, re-focus, and re-new. Play with plants and focus on my self, that is my new defunkification routine.

How do you defunkify?

Here are my writing buddies to tell you how they get out of a funk:

Molly Yanz- http://mommyyanz.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/rutfunk-how-do-you-deal/
Angela Stifter- http://stifterfamilystories.blogspot.com/2011/06/writing-assignment.html
Megan Gallt – http://perfectlittlelove.tumblr.com/post/6954492765?ref=nf
Nicole Deming- http://babylove-toohey.blogspot.com/2011/06/funky-rut.html
Amanda Klenner-http://naturallivingmamma.com/2011/06/28/funkified-how-do-you-get-out-of-a-funk/
Xandy : http://xoxostar.com/?p=2562

http://augustreverie.com/main/how-i-get-out-of-a-rut/1004/

Why I blog

There is so much information out there for those who know to look. Those who question common knowledge, who know that the truth is out there (not just about extra terrestrials, but like… you know… corporations poisoning us and stuff) and have all sorts of great tips and ideas they can share to help benefit all of man kind! If only we would know where to look.

Ok so that is a bit of a reach, all of man kind really, I would be happy if I can just benefit some of mommy kind, maybe daddy kind, perhaps just greenie kind.

A long time ago, in a far away galaxy (or state), I had a lot of problems. After much trial and error with a lot of doctors with varying levels of competency and usefulness, I discovered that I had PCOS, endometriosis, a prolapsed uterus, and there was a fat chance in hell that I would ever get pregnant without the assistance of said useless doctors. Their great advice was to lose weight… thanks docs… not that I have not been trying for years or anything… no matter how much I exercise or how well I ate I just did not lose weight and did not know why! I had a bad back at this point which was pretty pissed by all the weight I gained too so that didn’t help much.

After the one of the many doctors suggested medical weight loss (starve your body and fool it into loosing all the weight it can quickly and completely starving your body for the nutrients it is so obviously lacking in the first place) I decided to do some research. Back to that information at the tip of your fingers. Now here is something I have learned after years and years of researching stuff: there are a lot of quacks out there, and a lot of remedies for the same problem. Something that works for one person will not always, or even usually, work for another. Our bodies are all different and react differently to varying factors.

Long story short I found eating all organic meat and mostly organic produce (at least the “dirty dozen”  http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/organic_natural/12_foods_you_should_buy_organic)

and I started loosing weight. Do your own research and tell me why. It’s actually very interesting the effects pesticides and artificial hormones in our food really does effect our bodies. As soon as I lost about 20 lbs I got pregnant! OOPS! We were NOT planning on this at all but I can’t tell you how happy I am that it happened. I have the most beautiful, smart, curious, squirmy and adorable little girl ever. (She is at this very instant trying to delete this whole article because I am not paying explicit attention to her.)

So I did what any other nerd would do, research. I explored what to eat while pregnant, parenting styles, tips, I learned what I could about baby care, cloth diapering, what is in baby products, clothes, food, diapers, whatever I could get my hands on! My mind was a bottomless hole soaking in every piece of information I could. Filtering out all the crazy information with what would actually work for us. I learned what herbs are used to treat different problems. I learned what chemicals are the most important to avoid. I learned!

So I know there are people out there who are too busy to do the research, or don’t know where to start. They don’t know the local haunts that are there for support, or the natural lines of products they have access to. They don’t know they can be green within a budget. They don’t know! I didn’t know.

So I decided to share my knowledge and insights and hopefully spark a thought in you, so that you can then go and do your own research, reach your own conclusions and hopefully share some of your knowledge and insights with me.

And that is why I blog.

Check out why some of my other mamma friends blog:

Katt : http://augustreverie.com/main/why-i-blog/964/

Molly Yanz : https://mommyyanz.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/why-do-i-blog/

Heather Wikle Gonzales : http://fearfultofearless.blogspot.com/2011/06/blogging-with-kids.html

Megan Gallt : http://perfectlittlelove.tumblr.com/post/6793626021

Caitlin : http://caitlin-lane.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-i-blog-what-about-you.html

Xandy : http://xoxostar.com/?p=2518

Angelahttp://stifterfamilystories.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-i-started-blogging.html