Tag Archives: green mommy

Adjusting to Motherhood: My Biggest Challenge

I’ve always been a classic Type A personality–a chronic overachiever, and frankly, a bit of a control freak. That’s not to say I did everything perfectly, but I always strove to, and I based my own personal self-worth on my achievements and ability to do everything, all at once.

To me, unless I got an A+ while standing on my head, it just wasn’t good enough.

All through school and into college, if there was a chance to take on more responsibility, I jumped.  If I could fit in a few extra credits in, I would (especially online courses, which gave me the flexibility to pack my schedule with even more things, which fed my need to stay busy.) I loved being active and involved (expect for a brief rebellious phase in high school…) and by the time I became an adult, I was a pro at cramming more into a day than anyone I knew. It became my very definition. I was the girl who did a lot. A champion multitasker, and I rarely missed a beat.

I’ll save you all the details, but I’m sure you get the jist of it. If I wrote a paper, it had to be honors-worthy. If I baked cookies, I wanted them to be magazine-worthy. Nobody expected it of me, expect for me, and I was my own worst critic.

Becoming a mommy rocked my world in many ways, but perhaps the hardest adjustment has been realizing that I just can’t do it all, all the time, and I sure can’t do it all perfectly.  And no one cares. (which makes me realize that no one but me ever really did…)

My goals upon finding out I was bound for mommyhood? Here goes: Exercise and eat right and keep weight gain below 25 pounds, have an entirely natural labor, breastfeed exclusively, choose organic, non-toxic baby items whenever possible, grow much of our own food, feed my family organic food from scratch, make all of our own homemade, organic baby food, phase out plastic, use cloth diapers, begin freelancing on maternity leave, keep a clean, organized, non-toxic home, spend adequate time with my husband, and look good while doing it all. A half marathon was in the more distant future plans, too…

Can you see where I’m going with this?

OF COURSE I didn’t do it all. I accomplished a good bit of it, but there are things every day that I don’t get done. The sad part is that those things are the ones I think about when I lay my head down at night. I don’t congratulate myself on a job well done. Instead, I criticize myself for those jobs not finished, and even those not finished to my own crazy standards. Some days, absolutely nothing gets done. (In a fight, New Baby will kick To-Do List’s butt every. single. time.)

My son is now 10 ½ months old, and I’m just starting to realize that I’m not failing at this whole mommy game. Accomplishment and achievement mean different things to me than they once did, and though it’s taking a lot of getting used to, I’m adjusting. I try not to compare myself to other mommies, because we all have different priorities, and we all accomplish what we can each day. I know that my choice to do things my way, the natural way (like cooking dinner from scratch or washing diapers) might slow me down in the Mom Olympics, if there were such a thing, but there isn’t. Really, there isn’t.

I live a more thoughtful, examined life now, and I’m very conscious of the example I’m setting. I want it to be positive, so telling myself that I’m not good enough because I can’t keep up just isn’t OK anymore.  I need to teach my son that your worth is about who you are and what you do, not how much you do. He really is the only person I have to answer to, and he’s one happy little boy, so I must be doing something right. Making sure his needs are met is my new top priority, and although making time for exploring the plants in the garden and reading bedtime stories isn’t immediately productive in the same way a full schedule of tasks, goals and challenges can be, the challenges this new life brings are pretty darned fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade it for all the applause or A+’s in the world.

So, while the house may be in a bit of disarray, I have several stalled writing projects, and I may or may not have a piece of food in my hair, I do have the occasional small moment of victory. I managed to change a 3am diaper the other night without disturbing my nursing boy one bit. He didn’t even unlatch.

Now that’s multitasking.

____________________________________________

This post contains a link for which the author has been compensated.

4 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family

An Unexpected Keepsake

Little Man has always been a curious little one, but by the time he hit 6 months or so, he was so easily distracted that nursing was becoming difficult. I knew he wanted to nurse, and needed to nurse, but one casual comment, ring of the phone, or glimpse of a toy would cause him to unlatch and forget all about the task at hand. When he did focus on filling his belly, he’d inevitably end up fixating on my nose and/or hair, pulling and tugging until I had to pry his little fingers off, disturbing the nursing session once again.

I had heard somewhere about nursing jewelry. Not teething jewelry, and not the kind that has beads or numbers to help you keep track of which side to nurse on next, but plain, bold jewelry that baby could twiddle while nursing, keeping his focus on food and off noses.

I did a bunch of searching and asking around online, and it took a while until I found just the right thing, but I finally did – at Organic Mama’s Etsy Shop. She carried exactly what I was looking for! But, since we are still working on building a diaper stash and money is tight, I put it on the back burner and figured I would order one when I had a little extra cash.

Enter Green Baby Bargains!

When I saw Organic Mama’s nursing necklaces at 50% off, I jumped, and I’m SO glad I did.

I opted for the pretty green aventurine on an organic cotton cord…

I expected this necklace to occupy my baby’s wandering fingers and capture his attention, but I had no idea how deeply I would fall in love with it!

First, it’s cute. I’m a minimalist when it comes to jewelry (I have no engagement ring and my wedding band is plain tungsten carbide, if that tells you anything) and I like things that are more handmade than hoity-toity. You won’t find me in a “mall” jewelry store  (ever) so this was perfect for me to wear every day! It’s a lovely earth tone, so it matches with most of my wardrobe.

Second, it works. It’s SO simple, but so effective! My son watched me take it out of the mailing envelope and put it on, and it’s been HIS necklace since then. He often twiddles it even when he’s not nursing, his little forehead against my cheek as he passes the smooth stone between his fingers. (Yes, it’s made of stone, so no biting!) When he is nursing, he seeks it out immediately and it holds his attention like a charm. ;)

Its being cute and effective would have been more than enough to sell me, but I never expected the added bonus of this necklace turning into a priceless keepsake, a representation the very close bond my baby and I share. Yes, I’ve only had it a week, but I’ve gone to work several times in that week, and being away at the office is something I’m struggling with lately. Being able to look down at this necklace–the one he touches while we nurse, the one he holds in his hand while he fills his belly and looks up into my eyes–is priceless during a long day in an office when my baby feels so far away. When I touch it, I feel just a little bit closer to home.

My son and I have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship, but I know someday that relationship will turn into something else, something mothers and grown sons share.  Nursing, the best decision I’ve ever made and the most fulfilling experience of my life, will be over, and I hate to think how I’ll feel when I have to give it up. But I know that even when my boy is a 30-year-old man and our days of cuddling to nurse are long over, I’ll be able to look back at that precious stone in my jewelry box and envision my sweet little boy’s hand, only slightly bigger than the stone itself, clutching it as he fell asleep in my arms each night.

It will serve as a lovely reminder that no matter where he is, my boy will never be far from my heart, and that the effects of my choosing to nurse him will last a lifetime. Sure, it’s just a stone on a string, but this necklace could very well end up being one of the most treasured keepsakes I’ll ever own, and for that, I thank Organic Mama from the bottom of my heart. 

I encourage everyone to check out Organic Mama’s Etsy Shop to see the many beautiful and unique products offered, including a wide selection of nursing jewelry.

6 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews

Mommy and Me Butternut Apple Crisp

Lately, my life is all about sharing. I share just about everything with my baby boy: my body, my bed, every waking moment…but I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

One of my favorite things to share with him is food. As a family, we grow it together, we go to farms to buy it together (Ok, so we don’t exactly cook it together, but that’s OK) and, now that he’s 10 months old, we can eat some of it together, too!

Eating the same foods also makes it easier to multitask with meal preparation with what I like to call “Mommy and Me” recipes (and that’s a good thing, because spare time is a seriously hot commodity around here, lately, and I do not want to give in to the temptation of more prepared foods.)

Today’s Mommy and Me was inspired by our butternut squash crop and the hint of fall that’s crept into the Central PA air…

Apple crisp is an autumn classic, so I thought, Why not put two fall favorites together and put an apple crisp inside a butternut!?

I knew what I wanted to make, but I did a little looking around the blogosphere anyway. I found inspiration in a post by The Hungry Housewife. (Go ahead and check out the recipe–you won’t be sorry! )

I changed the recipe a bit to suit our tastes (a little less sugar) and what I had on hand (Oops…no pumpkin pie spice.) 

Here are the my steps (I’m not much of a measurer, so they aren’t overly specific):

  • Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds.
  • Chop apple (I used 5 small organic Granny Smith apples) and mix with cinnamon to taste. 

  • Fill hollow of squash with apples, then top the rest of squash with any remaining apples. (I chose to cover the whole squash so I could slice it and each piece would have a nice, crisp topping.) Drizzle with a touch of pure maple syrup.
  • In a small bowl, cut together 1/2 stick softened butter and 1/2 cup flour until mixture forms a coarse crumble. Mix in 1 1/2 T sugar, 3 T old fashioned rolled oats, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. 
  • Mound topping over apple mixture, covering as much of squash as possible. Top with toasted pecans.

  • Bake at 375 degrees until soft when pierced with a knife. If topping starts to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil. 
  • Serve squash while warm with an extra drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Since this was a huge squash, I decided to make one half for me and Daddy, and use the other half to make a roasted butternut squash and cinnamon apple puree for baby. (I just topped one half of the squash with apples and cinnamon and roasted both halves together. No butter or sugar for baby! You could add soaked oats, however, if you wanted to make it a little heartier.)

Once cooked, I just gave it a quick buzz in the food processor with enough water to thin.

The crisp itself was a little more decadent than I had intended (I got a little out of control with the topping, but I felt good about every ingredient, so I didn’t sweat it too much.) There was very little added sugar and only a little drizzle of maple syrup, and most of the sweetness came from the squash itself. This recipe is definitely going into the ‘Favorites’ file! A little sticky and syrupy on top with pillowy soft butternut underneath, served with a fresh pot of Canterbury Naturals Organic Split Pea Soup – it was a heavenly way to fill the house with the first aromas of fall!

One squash yielded enough for us to have it again tomorrow night (and ten servings of baby food!) I’ve been gardening most of my life, and I still find it pretty darned amazing that we can actually grow food ourselves. I just think it’s really cool, and  I probably always will. And, judging by the response I got at dinner this evening, someone else thinks it’s pretty neat, too…

11 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

Cloth Diaper Carnival VIII: Where’s the Awareness?

This post is part of Cloth Diapering Bloggers’ and Dirty Diaper Laundry’s Cloth Diaper Carnival VIII: Cloth Diaper Awareness.  Please visit the other bloggers participating by following the links at the end of this post. 

I’ve been cloth diapering for nearly 5 months now, and it’s truly been one whopper of an eye-opening learning experience!
I’ve learned a ton about diaper companies, different fabrics, laundry methods, and how to twist and dump a poop with pretty good precision, if I do say so myself. But I’ve learned a lot of other things, too. Like how gratifying it is to make such a positive decision for my family and my baby, and how I shouldn’t doubt my abilities because when I put my mind to something, I CAN accomplish it, even if I don’t know what I’m doing at first. 
Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I am not alone, in cloth diapering or any other parenting issue, because beyond my family, I have a huge community of like-minded, supportive, experienced mommies out there who are willing to go above and beyond to help me succeed. I am honored to join you all!
But, despite all I’ve learned, I still have questions: Why don’t I know another cloth diapering mom? Why have I not EVER seen another baby in a cloth diaper? Sure, they are online, but where are the fluff lovers in my community? I find box after box of yicky disposables in every store, and I see them in shopping cart after shopping cart, but the closest I’ve seen to cloth is a random pack of Gerber prefolds at Wal-Mart. Um, not exactly what I’m looking for…

I’ve tried to spread the word, but most women I know aren’t biting. I’ve told friends and coworkers how easy cloth is, and how I actually enjoy doing my son’s diaper laundry because it’s just one more way of caring for him in the best way I can. (Most just roll their eyes at me.)  The problem is that I don’t know where to find the new mommies who would be open to the idea of cloth, the ones who have questions or don’t know where to start, or even the ones who have never even heard of a pocket or an AIO and have no idea what the world of modern cloth diapers has to offer them.
 A free pocket diaper is what snagged me, but getting a free diaper put into all those (useless) bags you get from the doctor or hospital might be just a tad costly. Soooo….today’s carnival topic got my stream of consciousness flowing…I’m here, and I’m ready to talk, help, encourage. But how?

Maybe, I print up business cards that say just that. “I’m Wendy. I don’t sell cloth diapers, but I use them, and you can, too. Call me and we can talk about how easy it is.”
And maybe, they should include facts that people need to know. Like “The disposable diapers you use today will still be in a landfill in 500 years.” or “Cloth Diapers are the best choice for your baby’s health, and our environment.” or “Do you want dioxin on your baby’s bum? Consider cloth!”
I could hand these cards to the folks I see buying disposables. Ok, that might be just a little too forward…. Maybe, I could just leave them all over town! The diaper aisle at Target, community bulletin boards, coffee shops, OBGYN’s offices, the WIC offices… what if we could convince people on the inside to join us? It’s for the babies, after all!

Or, I could leave strategically placed sticky notes, Operation Beautiful style, in places where I know mommies go. But I wouldn’t want my phone number all over town… so maybe I could include a website? If there is, in fact, one definitive website on the topic, maybe they’d be willing to supply such notes?
Or, maybe we CD mommas start a covert website where we plan our world takeover!  A website that could spark a whole movement… The “Cloth Diaper Brigade,” “Mommies for Cloth” or whatever we called ourselves could enlighten millions if we joined forces and kept all the details on when, where and how to learn about cloth on a tidy little card in our purses or diaper bags, ready to hand out at a moment’s notice, or casually drop in just the right place… (like the little hole/handle on the side of a big box of sposies… oooh, sneaky! :twisted: )
But what else? T-shirts? Maybe an ad in the paper? A sign in my yard? A bumper sticker on my car? A tattoo! Ok, so maybe my ideas are a little on the silly side. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I sure look forward to hearing all the other ideas generated by the carnival, and if anyone needs my help, I’m in!
One thing is for sure: The word is out on the ‘net, but it is not out in my local community, so I’m choosing to lead by example, and hope that I inspire someone once in a while (I have had 2 people ask me for recommendations for friends…so it is working, albeit slowly.) Big advertising a la Pampers and Huggies might sound good, but if it can’t happen for the smaller cloth companies, a grassroots movement should not be underestimated. (Nor should Daddies! Convince them that cloth will save money, then send them out to tell everyone! My husband is ON it!)

For now, the best tools I have are a friendly voice and a willingness to share with anyone who wants to listen…(and a smiley baby wearing some super cute fluff doesn’t hurt, either!!)
_________________________________________________

In the spirit of sharing and helping new CD mommies out there, I’d like to share what’s in my stash, just in case you might have any questions about the brands/styles/products listed below. It’s been quite a while since I posted a cloth diaper update, so here’s the scoop on the latest poop-catchers in the ABCGP household!
Every diaper change is a mix-and-match experiment using the following. (I’m not listing products we’ve sold off or aren’t using.) These are the ones that are working for us:
  • 7 Fuzzibunz OS Pocket Diapers
  • One Marvels by Kissaluvs OS
  • One BumGenius 4.0 OS with Hook & Loop closures
  • One Kawaii Minky OS Pocket
  • One Kawaii Minky Bamboo OS Pocket
  • One Flip cover 
  • One Imse Vimse cover 
  • 3 GroBaby OS shells
  • 6 extra GroBaby soakers
  • One Ecobumz OS pocket
  • One handmade diaper cover from ClothBaby.org – (The softest one we have, and so cute! See, the bum says it all…)
  • 8 organic cotton prefolds
  • 6 gCloth inserts
  • a few packs of biodegradable gLiners
  • 3 extra BumGenius microfiber inserts
  • one Knickernappies SuperDo
  • 3 bags Lulu’s in the Fluff detergent
  • One shaker of Lulu’s pail sprinkles in Dimpled Booty
  • One lidded garbage pail

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the diapers I’ve been using. I’m no expert, but I’m happy to help where I can!

As for the future of cloth in our house, I’m considering venturing into the land of fitteds instead of relying solely on pockets. If you have any advice or suggestions, please share! I need to get the kinks worked out in case we are lucky enough to find ourselves expecting #2!

Thanks, and happy diapering everyone!

Click here to enter your link and view the entire list of entered links! Read, read, read, and be inspired!


13 Comments

Filed under Cloth Diapering, The Everyday

Know Your Neighbors: Tomatillo Chicken Stew

I don’t want to invite trouble, but I just might be able to die a happy woman after this weekend. It was perfect. Yup, I said it. Perfect.

There was a little time spent in the kiddie pool, a fun impromptu picnic snack with Daddy, a short but delicious nap, and lots of baby snuggles. All wonderful, but there was a high point…

It was my first Saturday off in months, and I was busting at the seams at the thought of spending the whole day with my boy (make that boys.) It was also my first opportunity to check out the Selinsgrove Farmer’s Market. Don’t get too excited…it’s not like many of the others I’ve seen and salivated over on other blogs. But, small as it may be, there were treasures to be had!

We met a local farmer, Giles, who told us that he operates an organic farm nearby, Mystic Springs. And get this: he’s one of our neighbors! I had no idea! We chatted for a bit, and he told us that he and his wife have 8 children, and their desire to feed their family organic foods is what sparked their farming career. They’ve chosen not to seek certification, but they do run a sustainable, energy efficient, organic farm. What a find! I can’t stress this enough: Get to know your local farmers!

This totally makes up for that guy in Lewisburg who told me pesticides were OK because “my daughter eats my peaches and she’s fine…” :roll:

Here’s the Mystic Springs farmstand, CSA baskets and all…

We grow many of the same items, so we didn’t need much, but I just couldn’t pass up the challenge of the tomatillos!

Pretty, aren’t they?

We picked up a brochure and found that the Mystic Springs mission statement includes “integrating spirituality with farming” and Giles’ wife, Marcia, is a lactation counselor! I wonder if I can talk them into being our new best friends… :D

I strolled away, tomatillos and a few other purchases in hand, feeling a little less alone in the world. *sigh*

So what do you do with tomatillos? I wasn’t feeling the salsa idea so much, so I set out on a Google hunt for a new recipe…and found Tomatillo Chicken Stew! 

This recipe required me to roast the tomatillos under the broiler (which was fun because they pop and squeal!) and make them into a sauce, which I refrigerated overnight to let the flavors meld. I finished the stew up on Sunday in a matter of about 35 minutes. It was a tart change of pace, and we really enjoyed it! Although next time, it definitely needs a little more heat. My jalapenos must be a little dull…

Here are some pictures of the “stew progression.” For the sake of time (since the baby is tucked in and I’d like to savor the last few hours of my perfect weekend with my husband…) you can find the original recipe here.

Many thanks to Giles and his family for their produce, which mingled with ours in a lovely locally grown collaboration. They are expecting delicata squash next week…I can’t wait! 

Go bug a local farmer today. You’ll be glad you did!

_________________________________________

Do you make an effort to support local farmers? Have you found any hidden gems?

Have you ever eaten a tomatillo?



7 Comments

Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food