Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Reading with Pigtails

Of course, it's a book about BABIES (her obsession) and how mothers wear their babies in other countries. :)

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Friday, August 26, 2011

5 Question Friday!

Boo ya!  It's time for 5 Question Friday!  Have a great weekend!

1. Did you make any fun purchases this week?

I did!  I finally, like, finally after years, invested in some canning jars.  I know, I know, big spender, but I really don't like to spend money, so this was a big deal.

2. If you could go to any musical concert, what would it be?

I would've loved to see Michael Jackson in concert or, oooh, the Beatles, but since those are no longer an option, I'm going to have to go with either U2, Lady Gaga, or Eminem - all excellent artists AND performers.

3. What is your least fav/ most fav house chore?

Least favorite chore: ironing!!!! Ick.  I never iron.
Favorite: I don't have a favorite.  But I don't mine organizing anything or sweeping.

4. Would you prefer new appliances or clothes?

Appliances, hands down!  I have now become that mom who asks for things like blenders instead of cute clothes for Christmas.

5. Miracle Whip or Mayo?

I was just talking to someone about this yesterday!  I like the taste of Miracle Whip more but I know Mayo is a tad bit healthier.  Especially if you make your own.  Which is totally on my "I'm the most awesomest housewife" list but I never get around to completing.  :)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Good Lil' Mama

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

India says Tickle, Tickle & yells at Daddy!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Preserving the Life of Cloth Diapers

It's a known fact that cloth diapers can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the poopy butt years.  But even though cloth diapers can withstand the bottoms of several children, there are some things you can do to ensure that they remain in good condition as long as possible and you get the most for your money!

Watch the heat
If you dry your diapers in the dryer, make sure any that contain PUL or elastic aren't dried on full heat. In the winter, I hang mine on a makeshift clothes rack, so they don't see dryer time at all.  Line drying will also help preserve the life of the fabric on the diapers.  But, as great as line drying outdoors is, the outdoor elements, especially the hot sun, can do a number to your diapers as well.  Make sure they don't sit out there in the heat for hours, or your diapers may only last through one child.

Wash frequently 
You don't have to wash your cloth diapers every day, but if you're wondering how often you need to wash them, while the stench is making your eyes water and your husband vomit, then it's time to wash.  Don't go longer than 3 days or else you can end up with mildew and permanent stank.

Use care when washing
Use the right soap, formulated for cloth diapers (my personal favorite and the only one that doesn't give my baby a rash is from the Peaceful Housewife - it's seriously amazing!!!).  Don't use bleach or fabric softeners.  Make sure all aplix or Velcro is secured so it doesn't snag or get caught on other diapers.

Avoid diaper cream
Most children get rashes at some point in their diapers days, but at all costs avoid the nappy cream.  All they do is cling to the fabric, putting a barrier on the diaper and therefore, your diaper loses absorbancy.  If your baby has a rash and air time just isn't doing it, either get a diaper rash cream that is cloth diaper safe, use coconut oil or use a traditional diaper rash cream with a disposable liner on the diaper.

Make sure you aren't using the same dozen diapers all the time.  When your diapers come back clean, put them on the back of the shelf or the bottom of the basket and bring the others up to be used in the rotation.

Happy diapering!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Enjoying every bit of summer!

India eats a plum by her pool, cloth diapers dry on the line, and my garden is overtaken with weeds. :)

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Where I'm From...

I am from road graders and woods galore; from airplane rides, snowstorms, woodwork, vacations and lazy Sunday afternoons cleaning the garage and listening to 60s music.

I am from a large father-built house, with 4 people and 2 pets, where the sound of cicadas fill the air and golden wheat calmly dances in fields on hot days.

I am from oak trees, sumac trees, milkweeds and thistles.

I am from hard work and play, all brunettes. Grandma Josie and my mom, one determined and loves a good deal, the other full of fun and intrigue to learn all the world has to offer.

I am from dancing while we're supposed to be working, pulling tricks on my sister, late night talks and float plane rides.

Flying with my Dad over some of MN's 15,000 beautiful lakes this summer
I am from loud voices, quiet house, with a dog, Lilly, who holds my secrets and my tears.

I am from "you can do anything you want in the world" and "Jesus loves you and so do I".

I am from Catholics and non-denominationals with a touch of Nazarene, developing a love for all things natural; all the groundwork of my faith.

I am from the Bohemian heart of Minnesota, country hills and fresh, clean river water, neighbor kids who are my best friends and an intense desire to live off the earth.

My 7th grade hippie self, on vacation in Mexico
I am from homemade chicken noodle soup, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, kolaches and boiled shrimp dipped in garlic butter.

I am from a determined and generous man, a kind woman, the namesake of a great-grandmother I never knew, old and new, antiques and the newest and best toys.

I am from the trances of sunsets on the river, songs sung and echoed through the lonely woods and dreams beyond my wildest imagination.

I decided to do this after reading Stephanie's Where I'm From.  You can find the original template for Where I'm From here.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Reading: Stuff you don't want to miss!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Enjoy your weekend!

Of interest:

Want to see what 5,000 disposable diapers look like?  Click here.

Tiffany shares the best decision she ever made as a professional blogger.

Christie asks if 'Tummy Time' is unnecessary and cruel?

Another Tiffany shares on the overuse and dangers of antibacterial products.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I've been labeled


No Poo.




Baby led solids.

Baby wearing.

Natural living.



All of these words I have used or others have used to describe me.  I've been labeled, but it doesn't bother me.  Labels don't have to be a bad thing. 

Many people don't like labels.  They don't want to have to be forced to fit inside a box, made of perfect square corners.

I don't fit in all of those boxes nicely, nor do I feel compelled that either you or I need to fit into those boxes perfectly.

At what point is someone labeled as someone who practices attachment parenting?  If they co-sleep?  If they wear their baby?  But if they use disposable diapers, they no longer fit in the uber cool attachment parenting club?  Meh.

I 'wear' my baby, but I put her in the shopping cart as well.
We co-sleep but she starts the night (and sometimes stays) in her own crib.
I'm crunchy but I have my fair share of hand-me-down American Eagle and Hollister clothes.
We do baby led solids but my daughter has had jarred baby food.
I eat many organic foods but I have a weakness for McDonald's fries.
I'm natural, but you won't see me without makeup and highlighted hair.

I don't fit in the boxes perfectly, and I'm completely fine with that: it's better that way!  I feel free to be who God has made me to be!

Do you feel confined by labels?  Which labels don't you mind?  Are there any labels you wish you didn't have?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: India's "necklace"

Her favorite "necklace" she finds almost every morning!  Yes, this picture will come in handy when she's about 13.


Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Question Friday! Link up!

1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?

I do have siblings!  I'm the oldest of 13 (another blog post in it's entirety)! 

Our last family photo together - Fall 2010
Since there are a lot of years between some of us (I'm 29, the youngest is7), I'm obviously closest to my sister that is 2 years younger than me, Vanessa.  She has a great blog and we do many things in a similar manner.  I'm crazy in love with my siblings, but as the oldest sister, I'm probably seen more as a bossy aunt!  Before I had India, I helped my Mom daily with housework, school work and overseeing the kids; so we spent a lot of time together!

2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?

Hmm, this is a tough question.  I can see advantages of both, but since I like to stay in shape and being overweight inhibits sports, running, etc, I think I would say underweight.  My husband, on the other hand, would rather have me slighty overweight.  Too bad he married a girl with a fast metabolism because the only way I get extra cushion is when I'm pregnant.

3. What's your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?

Never been to the State Fair.  Sad day.  I would imagine that I'd like cheese curds and deep-fried Snickers though!

4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?

My baby isn't old enough for school, but I dislike the going-back-to-school season because it signifies the end of summer.

5. Pool or Ocean?

I love the ocean!  However, I have very sensitive skin and can't really swim in it.  Even still, I love to sit and listen to the waves and enjoy nature.

Go to My Little Life and answer your 5 questions and link up!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

7 Breastfeeding Myths

In honor of National Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), here are 7 myths about breastfeeding.

1. Once a baby has teeth, you need to wean.

Teething can be a great test of your patience and pain tolerance (I know)!  Some babies start getting teeth around two months, so that myth is debunked right there.  Some women get bit once or twice, and the child's attention is either redirected or they begin the learning process.  Biting is a great time to teach your child 'no' and 'ouch, that freaking hurts', and after having a month of major biting problems, my daughter now is more gentle and rarely bites.

2. If they can ask for it, they're too old.

Babies 'ask for it' from Day 1 - by crying, getting upset or rooting.  My daughter has been signing that she wants to nurse from about 9 months of age.  According to all medical information, that is too young to quit breastfeeding.  The WHO says that babies nee no additional supplements before 6 months of age and should continue breastfeeding for at least two years for optimum health. Most children's immune systems aren't mature until age 6, so any breast milk further enhances the immune system.  Babies ask for bottles as well and we don't stop giving those.

3. Most women don't produce enough breast milk.

Not true.  It's estimated that less than 5% of women truly have a biological supply issue. 

The most common culprits for an artificially low supply? 
  • A schedule and/or timed feedings- Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process.  No two babies are alike, and therefore can't be relegated to the same schedule.  Babies need to be fed when they are hungry.  If you want to take the chance of killing your supply and risk failure to thrive or low weight gain for your baby, put your baby on your schedule.  Timed feedings (10 minutes on the right, 10 minutes on the left) provide problems as well because the breast may never empty, leaving behind the precious fatty hindmilk that is essential to a baby's growth.
  • A poor latch or position - It's important to get good help in the beginning!  Find the name of a trusted lactation consultant, and bug them until you get an answer!
4. My baby is allergic to my milk.

If your baby is having allergies, it's most likely caused by something you are eating.  Eliminate the source, and most likely you will have a healthy baby.  Galactosemia (an allergy to your breast milk) only affects only 47 babies in the US per year.

5. My child weaned him/herself early.

Natural weaning rarely happens before 2.5 years. Many children can wean at this age, but it's not normal and can be the affect of offering solids before breast milk or a nursing strike.

6. Breastfeeding will give me saggy breasts.
There is no difference in breasts of mothers who breastfeed and those who formula feed.  In fact, pregnancy drags (no pun intended) your breasts down, as does age, size and if you smoke.  Besides, most of us will resort to push up bras soon anyway.  Either that, or we'll just join the I-don't-care-camp and let our ta-tas hang low.

7. Breastfeeding is sexual.

Breastfeeding is no more a sexual thing than you giving birth out of your vagina.  Amen.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Raspberries+crazy kid=bath!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My baby was diagnosed with lead poisoning

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but India's blood lead level test came back high."

The words of India's doctor on the other end of the phone pierced my heart.  I remained calm as he went through a list of questions as to how my daughter could have possibly got lead poisoning.

Do you have peeling paint or has she eaten paint chips?  Do you live near a gas station or highway or was your house previously a mechanic's shop?  Does she eat a lot of dirt?  Are there any toys she chews on that could be a problem?

No, no, no, and no.  Not that I know of. 

I was baffled, the doctor was baffled.  He ordered a venous re-test as soon as possible, citing that sometimes the heel stick can inaccurately measure blood lead levels.

His calm, gentle, reassuring but yet very concerned voice left me slightly unsettled, but still with peace.  I had NO IDEA what a BIG deal lead poisoning is.

We almost didn't get the lead test done.  At India's one year well child visit, her doctor had asked if we had had a lead test done yet.  No, we hadn't.  He said he's never really seen a problem with it, but the state likes all children to get them.  He ordered the lab and we waited and waited for her name to be called at the lab.

India started to get impatient, walking the hallways, and getting frustrated we weren't letting her roam free.

We considered just skipping the test since we assumed this would be fruitless and there was no possible way our daughter had any exposure to lead.  Was a lead test really necessary?

It was a few days later when I got the results of her lead test with that devastating phone call. 

As quickly as the phone call ended, I was online reading and devouring every bit of information about lead poisoning. 

For every 10 points of lead, a child loses 3 IQ points.
Lead levels take years to go down.
Sometimes it's impossible to find the source of lead.
Clean everything with rubber gloves and wet paper towels.
Lead takes 20 years to leave the bones.
Lead is particularly harmful in early childhood as brain development is at its peak.

I didn't know the accuracy of all that I read, but it was enough to make me not want to eat, sleep or do another stinking thing until I found the source. 

In between gathering information, I was using the lead test kits I bought from a store and testing everything.  Toys (I heard of several families that found some toys that were the SOURCE of their child's lead poisoning - eek!  All the more reason for me me to be a picky Mama when it comes to the toys India plays with), paint, door frames, electrical cords, windows - everything I could think of.

No matter what, from all I gathered from people's personal stories I was reading, this was a nightmare and was going to take years to lower her levels and we still ran the risk of delayed development, behavioral problems and even fertility issues.

Any level of lead in the blood isn't good, but if your levels get to 10, it's a red flag and measures must be taken.  Around 70 is where brain damage begins.

India's level came back at 35. Dangerous and alarming.

How could this happen to us?!? 

I have spent much time making sure India's environment is safe and the best for herShe eats mostly organic and whole foods; nothing processed and no sugar.  I wean her from the pacifier instead of giving her antibiotics.  She wears cloth diapers, I don't clean with chemicals, we make sure she gets enough Vitamin D, omega-3s and healthy fats.  She doesn't have cheap toys (some people laugh at this one, but after this scare, limiting plastic toys has merit beyond just the dangers of BPA).   She's within a few feet of me for the majority of hours in a day.  We teach her American Sign Language and Chinese and limit the amount of TV she watches. I'm a car seat freak, making sure of every last detail for her safety.   Goodness, the child doesn't even drink anything but water and breast milk - not even watered down juice!

We sure had a bit of anxiety in the mean time.  There are a lot of 'what ifs' in this situation: what if she had lead poisoning and we skipped the test?  How much damage could be done before we noticed?  What if her blood lead levels continue to go up?  What is causing this?  How could have WE prevented this?
I started her on iron and calcium supplements and upped her Vitamin C intake.  I thoroughly washed every stinkin' toy, dusted every nook, swept 3x a day and washed my floors. 

For a few days, I was pretty down.  Who wants to hear such news about anyone, let alone their own child?  We prayed for our little girl, hugged and kissed her even more (I didn't think that was possible) and hoped for the best as we waited for the results to come back for her second, more accurate test.

To our complete and utter amazement, her next test came back fine!!!  I could hardly contain myself when my husband came home and I told him the good news: our Pookie was fine!  Thank you, Jesus!!!  

 **I know you just got good news, but keep reading, I have more to share!**

A lead test at one year of age is standard in many areas, but as I was talking to several other mommy friends that live all across the US, several hadn't had a lead test done on their children. 

Someone asked me if I would get the test all over again, in spite of the trauma it caused.  My answer is YES!  After learning the dangers of lead poisoning and reading of many 'healthy' families whose children came back with elevated blood lead levels, I was glad we did the test in spite of the stress. 

And if anything, it got my house really, really clean. :)

My happy, healthy girl!  No lead poisoning!!!

Now, time for my PSA:   I didn't know much about lead poisoning, and I'm guessing many reading this are in the same boat as me.  Unfortunately, lead poisoning is often bypassed (in the county I live in, only 12-18% of children are tested for lead), but over 310,000 American children have too much lead in their blood.  I would highly encourage a lead test for your child if they are under age 6, especially if you suspect lead in your home.   If you're pretty natural and medically hands-off like I am, this non-invasive test is worth it in my opinion.  Please share this information!

It may turn out to be nothing, but what if it's not?

Do you know of anyone who has had lead poisoning?  Did your children get their blood lead levels checked?

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