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3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

EarthDay2016
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I’m not a fan of celebrating holidays.  The whole thing just seems like too much work.  Spending a bunch of money buying decorations, searching tirelessly for ingredients and competing with other consumers for the last ham at the grocery store, cooking a ton of food, and having a messy house all for just a few short hours.  Still, it wasn’t until this past Christmas that I realized just how important celebrating something is.  Having a child leads me to revalue the joy and togetherness that holidays bring into our lives.  Simply because we are alive, well and happy to have each other.  It doesn’t have to be one of the traditional holidays, but it should be something that is important to our family.  I’d like for my son to have fond memories of a special day that we got together and did something fun for a good cause.  So we’re starting our own traditions!

Mommy Can LearnEarth Day is this Friday and while it isn’t a homemade holiday, what better reason to celebrate than the solitary planet that homes us and provides us with food, water, and air!  Here are 3 ways that we can do a little good for our planet that does so much for us.

Teaching your kids about sustainable living

Reading books to kids is the best way to teach them about, well anything!  Learning about the importance of sustainable living is a great way to get kids involved and thinking about preserving our planet at an early age.  And once kids take an interest in something new, they’ll be sure to remind us to do our part as well.  Here are 4 great books to get started:

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Disney Go Green: A Family Guide to a Sustainable Lifestyle

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling

The Earth Book

Earth Day activities

Earth 911 – Cool DIY projects with reusable materials.

Education World – Earth Day lesson plans and projects – great for homeschoolers!

TinkerLab – 50 Earth Day activities for toddlers and little kids.

Utilizing sustainability sites

Freecycle – A great resource for donating and receiving free reusable goods to avoid using landfills.

Healthy Home Economist – A list of organic, non-GMO, Monsanto-free seed companies.

I Want To Be Recycled – Everything recycling!

Local Harvest – Find local farms, farmers markets, co-ops, CSAs and even pick-your-own fruit gardens.

What do you have planned for Earth Day?

 

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Meditation Monday: Grieving

Earlier this month, Mister’s cousin suddenly passed away.  They grew up together and were rather close, so his passing has really taken a toll on our family.  He was a great friend and father and sometimes I think that makes it harder.  Mourning him opened up my own wounds about the people that I have lost.  As much as you want to celebrate their life, the thought that you’ll never talk to them again stings you over and over.

The grieving process is such a personal thing.  Everyone has their own way to mourn their loved one.  Reminiscing about the good times you shared, taking a walk, or even doing an activity that person used to enjoy are all ways to grieve.  And the length of time that it takes to heal varies from person to person.  My grandma and I were very close my whole life.  We did everything together – travel, bingo, church, movies, made forts with the couch cushions.  She even stayed in my college dorm with me for a week at 89 years old!  When she passed, I was so hurt that my buddy was gone.  It was very hard to let her go, but that would have been selfish of me to wish she had lived longer (because she was sick).  She lived a great life and I’m thankful that I got to spend so much time with her.  I say all of that to say, if you are grieving someone right now, it will get easier.  It doesn’t seem like it will, but the old saying is true, time heals all wounds.  And it’s not that you love or miss them any less, but the sting subsides a bit and you begin to actually celebrate their life and smile when you think of them.

Please take 10 minutes to practice this meditation.  I wish peace and healing to you.

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Potty Training Day 1

Let me start by saying that l am not a drinker.  But tonight, right now, I’m having a glass of wine.

I thought teething was bad.  Oooooweeeee… potty training is a beast.  Veteran moms answer me this: Is this how it’s going to be? Every time l feel like XYZ is the most stressful moment, another harder moment is waiting for me a few months away?  Talk about living on a roller coaster jeez.  I feel like I’m just riding the waves of his desires.  Feel like flinging food on the wall?  Mommy is here to clean it up.  Feel like having a meltdown because your blocks tipped over?  Mommy is here to comfort you.  And even after you said “I love daddy” FIRST… Mommy was still here to wipe your butt.  Hands down, being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Ever.

Phew. I feel a little better by getting that out.  Back to potty training…

Little Butt is used to the potty because l leave it in his room so he can casually practice on it (read: stand on it and jump off).  He’s a very smart baby so l figured I’ll just take his diaper off, put him on the potty and boom we’ll be done in no time.  Um no.  He peed everywhere, but the potty.  Luckily we have hardwood floors so the clean up was a breeze.  Even though I have Googled my little heart out, I don’t think that I properly conveyed to him what our goal was because immediately after I put him on the potty he jumped up, hugged me and peed on my shirt.  Yup.  I’m a pee pee girl.  (Waving my white flag).  I have no idea what I am doing.

This is all I can muster tonight.  Plus, the wine is kicking in and soon you’ll be reading I loooooovvveee my… hiccup… baby.

Goodnight.

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10 Ways to Get Sleep as a New Mommy

When you are in your last trimester of pregnancy, everyone is so excited to meet the baby.  And in your mind, that sweet, angelic, little bundle of joy is going to come into your life, go with the flow and make everything perfect.  Suuuuure!  What people don’t tell you is that those newborn months can be brutal.  Of course you love your little noise-maker more than life itself, but sleep deprivation is real.  I’m convinced that mommy’s train Navy Seals.  Yup.

Here are some tips to help you, your partner and your baby get more sleep.

1. Accept help.  This one was tough for me because I felt guilty, as if I were an inadequate mom, if I couldn’t do everything for my son without help.  But that is ridiculous – there are no “supermom” awards given out.  You are actually doing your baby a great service by napping because sleep deprivation can impact your mood and cognitive function.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have willingly accepted any offers for help.  If someone calls and asks, “do you need anything?” the correct answer is yes!  Say it with me now, with no shame, “yes, I need help.”  Having someone bring food, help clean your house or even watch the baby while you shower/nap is a precious gift.  Graciously accept it and when they have a baby return the favor.

2. Routine.  Don’t bother trying to sleep train your newborn.  Babies have a natural sleep/eat pattern and if you keep a log it can be easy to follow your baby’s lead.  Try to stay as consistent as possible with your daily routine to encourage your baby to develop a good sleep pattern.  There are lots of apps that help you remember the last time your baby slept/ate/poo’d or you can use good ‘ol pencil and paper (which is convenient for keeping your partner in the loop).  I had no idea about schedules when my son was born.  Here is a sample schedule for new parents to get an idea of how to predict your baby’s needs.

3. Dr. Harvey Karp’s book (and DVD – check your local library or buy it hereThe Happiest Baby on the Block Guide to Great Sleep.  This book really helped us get into a good sleeping routine.  His signature 5 S’s (swing, swaddle, suck, sush, side) technique is a gentle way to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep.

4. Shift work.

  • If formula feeding:  You and your partner can alternate feedings every other night or nightly (ex: 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. or 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. shift) so that you both can get a solid block of sleep.  It can also be helpful for each person to take their shift in the nursery as to not wake your partner.  Keep bottles with pre-measured formula next to your bed with a jug of room temperature water for easy midnight feeds.  No need to run to the kitchen or even warm the bottles.
  • If breastfeeding:  Your partner can change the baby’s diaper, then bring the baby to you to nurse. That way your partner can be included and you don’t have to be groggy very long.  Also, pumped breast milk can sit at room temperature for up to 4 hours and in some cases up to six hours.  So nursing before you go to sleep, then your partner doing the next feed, will allow you to get more sleep.

5. Co-sleeping.

6. White noise (machine or CD) is your best friend.  It mimics the sounds that they hear in the womb and drowns out T.V., talking, cars and squeaky floors.

7. Blackout curtains and a dim lamp.  Having a dark room promotes melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-awake cycle, which helps you to fall asleep.  Babies melatonin levels increase after 3 months of age.  Turning off overhead lights, turning on a lamp and limiting noise 30 minutes prior to bed or nap time can really help your love bug get in the mood for sleep.  I still do this with my 15 month old.

8. Chamomile tea can be given to newborns (it helps with colic too), but not as a substitute for milk.  After steeping the tea, let it cool completely, then add 1-2 oz (diluted with water) in a bottle or medicine dropper if nursing.  Do not overuse this tea as it can block iron absorption in larger amounts – which is crucial for breastfed babies.

9. Buy baby pajamas with minimal buttons.  Buttons are the devil to a glossy eyed, slightly comatose new mom.  Zippers, gowns, swaddles, sleep sacks, even onesies with pants are much easier in the middle of the night when you feel like a living zombie fumbling around in the dark.

10. Sleep when the baby sleeps.  Everyone gives this advice and honestly, it’s almost impossible to do, but try to implement some of the strategies above for yourself as well as for the baby.

Regardless as to what I am telling you, you are a new mom, with a brand spanking new baby, so there’s no way you aren’t going to stare at him all night making sure he is breathing.  Or just thinking of how beautiful he is and how you’re now somebody’s mama.  And it’s okay.  You’ll eventually pass out, get a few hours of sleep and feel like a new woman in the morning!  At that point, feel free to brush your teeth, brush your hair and change your panties.  Don’t worry mama, you’re doing a great job!

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Meditation Monday: The Stressed

TGIM!  Yes, I said Thank Goodness It’s Monday.  Don’t hear that one very often – or pretty much ever.  This past weekend was very rough and I’m happy that it is over.  My son was having an unusually painful teething day, my errands were scattered around town, I left a blanket in the washing machine – which I’m sure has 15 different kinds of mold on it by now.  I barely cooked a real meal, my husband worked all weekend, the dog destroyed his bed again and no matter how much I cleaned, the house was still a mess.  Oh yeah, and my little love muffin hid the base to the house phone so I couldn’t charge it.  Needless to say, I was stressed.  Everything just seemed to go wrong and the little issues kept piling up.  At one point I laid on my bed, closed my eyes and wished that a cleaning/cooking/nanny fairy would fix it all.  Well I am no fairy, but I am the cleaner, cook and nanny so those jobs were hardly getting done.  Woosah!

Continuing with my efforts to incorporate meditation into my life, I decided to look for a video that would help me relax and get things back on track.  I really like this video because it reminds me that I can only do so much and to focus on one thing at a time.

What are some ways that you relieve the stress in your life?  Please leave a comment below and let me know about your meditation experience.

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My Birth Story

I was told that every mom should write out her birth story.  I don’t know if it’s either to reminisce on the wonderful experience you had or to tell your know-it-all teenagers how much work you did to get them here and how they should be grateful, but here it goes.

The morning I went into labor was a regular morning.  We got up, had breakfast and decided to drive out to the in-laws house about 45 minutes away.  Mister and his dad were grilling steaks while his mom and I were lounging by the hot tub.

Mister jokes, “you should stay the night over here and I’ll pick you up in a few days.”

To which my MIL replies, “oh no!  She’s not going into labor over here!”

My FIL (father-in-law) then chimes in, “she looks like she’s gonna have that baby in about 7 hours!”  We all laughed not knowing that it would be true.

When we got home I cooked dinner; we decided to watch a movie.  As he is getting everything set up, I go pee (for the millionth time that day) and see blood.  Um… WTF is that about?  I had read about women losing their mucus plug or water breaking, but I had never heard about blood.  I peeked my head out of the bathroom and yelled down to Mister “I think I’m in labor!  I’m going to call the midwife.”  He starts pacing back and forth.  I call the midwife’s office and leave a message for her to call me back.  Mister says “oh no, I have to get gas!”  O.M.G. This is not happening.  While he is at the gas station, the midwife calls back and tells me to come to the hospital.

As we drive down the freeway, I’m gripping the seatbelt with gut wrenching contractions just to I look over to see that Mister is doing the speed limit!  Yeah, because I am not in a hurry at all.  We finally arrive at the hospital.  My nurse, Danielle, put me in a wheelchair and took me to my birthing room.  She checks me and says that I’m 6-7cm!  What?!  It has only been an hour!  That means that this baby is almost here!  OMG, OMG, OMG, THIS IS THE MOMENT!  I had already planned to have a natural water birth so I firmly asked Danielle to get my birthing pool ready because I needed some relief.  Poor Danielle… she was so sweet and calm as I ordered her around for the next few hours.  I had to be on the fetal monitor for 30 minutes and in the meantime my in-laws showed up.

It was finally time to get into the pool.  Ahhh instant pain relief.  I floated on my back for a minute while Mister pushed water over my body.  Ya know, months prior I was really paranoid about being naked during birth and was sure that I’d cover up.  But in that moment I really didn’t care.  It was ALL hanging out.  And I do mean ALL.  I decided to change positions and get on my knees with my head lying on the side of the pool.  All of a sudden I felt the urge to push.  Danielle says, “don’t push yet love” in her calm Jamaican accent.  My midwife, Margaret, had not arrived.  I said, “I can’t help it Danielle.  I’m not trying to push, my body is doing it.”  I pushed about 5 or so times before Margaret came into the room.  Everyone was quiet.  Margaret did not coach me through my birth.  She had confidence that I could do this myself and really let me do my own thing.  I’m so grateful for her.  I pushed about 20 times and our son was born.  In that moment, Mister decided to cut the umbilical cord.  I got out of the pool and walked to my bed.  I felt great!  Danielle laid our son on my chest and I said to Mister “DUDE, we’ve got a kid!” as if I just had an epiphany.  Everyone in the room laughed.

I stayed up all night thinking about my new title: mom.  It was kinda scary at first, but becoming a mother has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Duty calls…