Thursday, December 23, 2010

Like a Watched Pot Belly (and Kitchen Update)

Guess what!  I'm not in labor.  I've been "practicing" a lot.  I'm not sure who to blame - me or the baby - but there was a lot of practice contractions all night long.  I promised a kitchen update earlier, but decided to use the time to have a little more fun with my girls before my "lying in" time.

  • Since I was not in labor on Monday, I did a ton of house-cleaning & had/helped girls clean the playroom. That night I was up at 1:00 a.m. scrubbing the bathroom floor.
  • Since I was not in labor on Tuesday, I decided to bake Christmas cookies.  That night we took some to our neighbors & sang a few carols (well one carol - Jingle Bells - several times)
  • Since I was not in labor on Wednesday, I decided to make a meal plan and go grocery shopping. That night I completed an embroidery project for the baby's quilt.
  • Since I'm not in labor today, we are headed to the zoo and museum.
But before I leave, I wanted to show several pictures of the kitchen renovation. 

When we bought the house, there was approximately 17 inches of counter space to the right of the stove. Most of this whole kitchen renovation has been to expand counter and storage while still having a small eat-in area.

Orientation: The stove is still in the same place. The refrigerator was moved to the opposite wall.

New counter tops. By the way, we didn't purchase laminate counter tops, Pete purchased the thin board and then cut and glued and routed, leveled and basically created counter tops.  I'm pretty impressed.

This photo was taken this past weekend.  Oh and you might want to check back with the oldest photos to get the full feel of the transformation of the kitchen.
Last Christmas it looked like this.

 Because of the age of the house, there is a huge likelihood of lead paint.  In addition to completing the counter tops, Pete chiseled the old "what color is this?" ceramic tile off the back splash so I could paint.  Then he smoothed the uneven places and damaged spots with putty, then sanded it down evenly.  To protect me, the girls and the baby, he rigged up some major plastic sheeting.  I reminds me of a scene from ET.

I was allowed to come take a peek at the progress...with the proper safety equipment of course.  :-)

Ta-da!  We'll be changing out the hardware and freshing the white on the cabinets.  And not to forget - the cork floor - yay!

Still quite a project - Pete is building a new cabinet for over the fridge and there are some floor evenness issues that have to be resolved before the cork can go in.  And the old cabinets that are seen here on the bottom right - Pete will be making new door faces so that all of them will match the original kitchen.

Hope to have some baby news soon!

Love, Carra

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Tub and the Timetable

As promised here is a picture of the birth tub.  Yes, that's a Foosball table behind it.  Actually that's a good indicator of the the size of the birth tub.  The Foosball table was a surprise early birthday gift for Pete (He just doesn't get excited about slipper socks like I do.).  I was out at 3:00 in the morning on Black Friday and that table was among my top five items to get.  See I took a picture of my prego self by the clock to show the fun insanity of shopping at that hour :-)

Yesterday really, really seemed like it was "the day."  Contractions were two minutes apart. (yes I said TWO).  But they were only lasting 30 seconds long and never intensified.  I had a few that took my breath a bit, but nothing like the sustained "real deal."  I called my midwife who suggested I eat, drink water, sleep if I could and see if anything changed...nope.

After a sleep (a few hours later) they contractions waned.  The rest of the day they would start up again, I'd get sleepy, fall asleep and they would quit.  So that is my story so far.

I do think the birth is close because I am losing my mind.  I was so tired yesterday but Pete put the stove back in place and the last coat of paint was on the walls of the kitchen.  I cleaned the items off the dining room table that belonged in the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and then cleaned the bathrooms.  Yes, I was on my hands and knees wiping the bathroom floor at 1:30 a.m.  So I had every reason to believe that today would be the day.  But apparently not :-)

I do have a funny prediction - doubt it will come true.  I sure I'll laugh if it does... Both Gracie and Faith started their journey down the birth canal on each on a Monday morning.  If you've read Gracie's birth story, you know she did not complete her journey until the next day!  However Faith was in a better position and she was willing to make the exit about 11 hours after she began.  Both Monday mornings my water broke in the area of 5:00 or 6:00 a.m..  I'm due Wednesday and tomorrow is Monday.  I'm going to bed early just in case.

If you are looking for baby news (labor, birth, etc.), pay attention to my Twitter feed (on the left side bar).  This will be the most updated because I can text a tweet from my phone.  As you know I won't be involving my computer to produce an entire blog post during my resting time.  I'll see if Pete will post a picture as least - otherwise, check facebook profiles, etc.  So I hope there won't be any new posts from me for a little while.  But in case this baby is shy like Faith, I plan to post some kitchen pictures tomorrow.

Love, Carra

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Belly & Birthroom

As requested, here is my rather large belly (although I am smaller with this pregnancy than either Gracie or Faith).  I'm totally excited about the birth.  Right after I had Faith, I said - any future babies - if God allows, I will definitely have them at home in a birth tub!  I am at 39 weeks and after these last year(s) of being pregnant, losing the two babies and now at the end of this pregnancy - I am soooo ready to be holding this baby in my arms!

So getting ready for a home birth is definitely more involved than just packing a bag for the hospital.  It's interesting that I'm preparing for the birth, the rest time and the actual care of the baby all at the same time!

I have been gathering items for a couple of months.  Some are things that are specific to my midwife, others are things that I noticed I'd like to have from Faith's birth (like books and a TV in the laying in room).  I won't bore you with the details, but I found a list on a random midwife website that has quite a list - peruse it - you'll get the general gist of what I'm talking about.

And here is a snapshot of the room I'll be birthing in and sharing with this little one for it's first three weeks outside my womb.  The birth tub is fairly large (I'll snag a shot of it once we set it up) so we won't bring any more items into the room until after baby is born and the tub is taken down.  I have a co-sleeper that we really love.  Pete will bring it down and set it up soon after birth.  The baby and I will be sleeping in the bed together for the most part, but I love having a place I can reach him or her and still have the bed to myself on occasion.

One more comment on the bed.  This is a mainstream futon mattress so the first thing in preparing the room was wrapping the mattress.  After that, lots of soft cotton bedding, and then a painters drop cloth.  On top of the drop cloth some older (but clean of course) bedding for immediately after the birth.  It is a water birth so I'm pretty likely to be wet and there are some other elements that might soil the bedding LOL.  So after I get dry and situated, Debbie or Pete will take off the top layer of bedding and the drop cloth and the baby and I will be all snugly down in the fresh, clean bed for a good long rest!

Love, Carra

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I've been meaning to share my top books for raising little people.  As I ponder the life change that is coming sometime in the next three weeks,I pulled my "baby sleeping book" off the shelf to re-read in my "spare time" LOL.  But I will because the info in it is sooo good.  Not only that, it has helps and guides for grade schoolers and even a chapter on teen sleep needs.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child By Marc Weissbluth
Trust me, Gracie and Faith have been sleeping through the night since they were a few months old and still sleep 12 hours every night!  This book is my friend!

While I'm at it, here are my two favorite child rearing / discipline books.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart
by Tedd Tripp
This is tough teaching. It challenges you to focus more on the ultimate outcome (your child’s standing before God and her rebelliousness) than simply behavior modification. I find this hard to live out daily, but I am always blessed when I take the time to deal with confession, repentance, consequence and restoration.  I'm reading a second book by Tripp called "Instructing a Child's Heart."  It is really convicting and fantastic, but I need to finish reading it before fully commenting on it.  But I'm about 99% sure it will end up on my "essential" list.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three
by Ginger Plowman
This is the practical side of Shepherding a Child’s Heart.  It has great structure to living out the “big picture” offered in Tripp’s book.  She challenges you that how you allow your children to respond to you is ultimately how they will respond to God.  Do we want them to obey God the first time or delay until the last possible minute before consequences?  (i.e. counting to three instead of requiring immediate obedience).  Our girls know the phrase well:  “God wants us to obey right away, all the way and with the right attitude.”

And yes, I am three weeks away from the "big day" and I promise a "belly picture" soon.   I will be setting up the birth room with all the "stuff" right after our last student gathering (this Sunday).  I'll post a tour with a nice round belly-ed tour guide. ;-)

Love, Carra

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Rest-imony

I'm tired.  I need more naps, more sleep at night and just general rest.  There's something in me that cries out, "that's not a good use of time - inefficient! Think of all you could accomplish in those hours."  I war with myself about rest. I have too much to do to rest. But I'm so tired and so slow because I'm tired so not efficient anyway.

So since I have pregnancy and childbirth on the brain, I thought I would share with you my experience and my plans for this birth regarding rest.

When my second baby was born, we had her in a birthing tub in our house.  It was awesome.  I said afterward that if God gave us more children and allowed - I would have all my babies in water!  Since I had a traditional birth with Gracie (my first) I was expecting to rest a day or two, then get back into the swing of things.  When she was three days old, I was at Old Navy looking for a pair of stretchy pants that would fit.  I knew lots of moms and everybody was back at church or out and about within a few days.  So I was just like my friends.   ......tired.

I felt tired for months with Gracie - she was my first baby.  She was a good sleeper and nurser but I was so tired and the weight just hung on.  When she was a year old, I was still three sizes bigger than I was before I had gotten pregnant.

Since I had never had a homebirth before, there were a number of surprises that came along with Faith's birth.  One of the biggest was my assignment from my midwife after Faith was born.  I was instructed to spend 10 days in the bed, 10 days on the bed and 10 days near the bed. what???  That's a month of rest - how could that possibly work?

But I am a rule-keeper so I had to do it.  Gratefully my mom, dad, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-laws all were on board.  For the next month basically my mom and Pete's mom took turns staying a few days at a time - cooking, cleaning and taking care of me, Pete, Gracie and newborn Faith.

It was hard.  I was bored (no TV in the room, no books set up, no computer).  But Pete set up the laptop so I could watch videos online and books were brought up to me (as well as all my meals). Faith had some trouble getting the latch down for nursing but I pulled up websites that helped tremendously.  After 30 days of rest, I was finally able to get back to "life."

I felt great.  I was truly rested.  My body dropped the weight so fast.  I could hardly believe it - you would have thought my muscles would have atrophied, but I was able to go right back to the gym and my stamina was amazingly high.  I cannot speak highly enough of a good solid rest after childbirth.  I didn't need to go find new pants - I was in my nightgown a good bit of the time. I was blessed to have the help I needed to take the rest I was assigned.  I am so grateful.

So what's on schedule for this birth?  Debbie requires 7-7-7 so about three weeks (instead of four) I'll be in, on or near the bed.  This time I know what's coming so I have books already prepared, we're birthing in a room with a TV (hello more HGTV and Food Network overload) and a futon that folds into a bed.  My mom and Pete's mom are already making plans for tag-teaming the function of the house.

Since I'm already so tired - I'm actually looking forward to my after birth rest.  Seriously - I'm yawning right now.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dwelling on the past...Fried Okra

As I have said before, I have discovered (through pain) that gall bladders should be taken better care of especially during pregnancy.  Gratefully, diet has been a primary relief.  At least once in our marriage, Pete requested that we have a vegetable that is *not* fried.  With the new gallbladder friendly diet, this is no longer an issue between us.

I grew up in South Carolina.  The best tasting things are those with a little breading and fried up crisp.  In honor of my roots and fondly remembering when I could enjoy fried foods with abandon, I submit to you what I call "REAL" Fried Okra.

Aside: If you are a true southerner, you pronounce the last word as /oak - ree/.  I have somewhat lessened my intensity of the pronunciation after nearly ten years of teasing by my more grammatically-correct Canadian husband.

If you have only had okra from Cracker Barrel (or equivalent), you have not truly experienced okra in all it's deliciousness. Notice that you can actually see the vegetable. This is a food that is not "battered and deep fried,"  it rather has a light flour coating and is pan fried (or baked in the oven). 

Real Fried Okra
  1. Gather a mess of fresh okra (picked small, fresh as possible)
  2. Wash well (your fingers may itch just a little if you grab one too tight near the top)
  3. With a nice sharp knife, cut into disks (maybe 1/3 inch or so) into a clean bowl (that has a tight-fitting lid)
  4. After you have a nice bowl full of (yes, somewhat slimy-feeling) sliced okra, you add the "breading"
  5. Scoop a small amount (1/2 cup or so) of flour (whole wheat of course)
  6. Shake some salt and pepper (to your taste, but more salt than pepper and use sea salt of course)
  7. Cover the bowl and shake it well so that all the sticky okra gets a light coating of the flour.
  8. Dump the bowl of okra into a hot frying pan (cast iron is a great choice) with some coconut oil in the bottom (not a ton, but enough to cover the bottom well).You can also "bake/fry" this in the oven.  Use a jellyroll pan and lightly coat the bottom with coconut oil.  You'd cook it about 375 for half an hour but stir it a couple of times for even cooking.
  9. Stir or continue to scrap with a spatula.  If it begins to stick, add a little more coconut oil.  You may do this several times while it cooks.
  10. Cook the okra until it is tender, crispy on the outside and literally melts in your mouth.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Pregnancy update and belly picture

    Last Sunday after church I was preparing lunch.  Of course I had definitely thrown off the shoes.  So there I was...all dressed up but barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  Pete thought that was an opportunity not to be missed.  I posed and he snapped the photo. This is the belly at the end of the second trimester.

    I saw my midwife this week. Everything is looking great with the pregnancy - even my iron levels!  The main thing I have to do is to walk.  I'm trying to walk for 30 minutes everyday.  I have been really slack on walking. It feels like I've has so many things going haywire that consistency has been tough.  I'd appreciate prayers for me to focus on getting this walk in.  Two different midwives have told me that apart from any other exercise- the absolute best indicator of an easy labor and delivery is walking.  Two miles / 30 minutes a day minimum.

    Three weeks ago I developed some gall bladder pain.  I certainly recommend being kind to your gall bladder - that pain was tough!  I had to employ my "labor mindset" once again to help get through them. Gratefully with more diet changes I had been able to more or less live pain-free (except for two bad days in the middle where I was a little too bold in my food choices).  Once the baby is born and life re-balances, I plan to try a natural cleanse.  Since that's several months out - I haven't decided which one to go for.  Anyone tried a cleanse for gall bladder issues?


    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Toothpaste Follow Up

    Check out my previous post: "Opening a can of...toothpaste"

    We just saw a pediatric dentist who saw both girls at the same time. I stayed in the closet about our stance with flouride and just observed what they did. The girls did really great!  Kept mouth open, didn't fidget - pretty amazing actually.

    At the end of the visit, I was given a overview of their teeth condition.  Faith had a tiny bit of tarter and he expressed concern about her overbite (She is a passionate thumb-sucker).  I asked about Gracie's overbite because she sucked her thumb until she was almost five.  The dentist said that Gracie's teeth were fine and he didn't see any overbite.  Hmmmmm...... So Gracie stopped sucking her thumb before her permanent teeth came in, and after a little over a year, her teeth are in perfect alignment.

    I love the fact that my girls sucked their thumbs - they never lose it (like a pacifier) and can comfort themselves at night without the mommy (that's me - in my bed sleeping :-) ).  But I was concerned about eventual braces. Wouldn't it be cool if God designed us that way?  That the thumb is a gift to the tired mommy and if kids give up the habit earlier enough, their teeth naturally go back to their proper position?

    I mentioned this (at least a paraphrase) to the dentist.  He was certain that teeth didn't go back on their own. Well, Gracie hadn't been to "this" dentist before, but she had been to others.....all which warned me about her overbite.  Yup, the overbite that no longer exists.  Maybe a unique occurrence....but certainly something that God did.

    The hygienists encouraged us to definitely use fluoride toothpaste on Faith and begin adding a fluoride rinse for Gracie.  They've never had more than a teaspoon of fluoride toothpaste in their whole lives... and no cavities.  I think we're going to stick with what we've been doing :-) ...maybe floss a little more often...


    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Homeschool Musings

    We're beginning our homeschool journey. Honestly, it is harder to figure out than I expected, but when it goes well - I'm soooo excited. Gracie is somewhere between Kindergarten and First Grade. So I say she's in "Fir-indergarten." It's amazing that we can cover 6 subjects in less than two hours a day! We're only a few weeks in, but I'm hooked.

    One of my favorite things is the variety of subjects. I love that she can spend time learning different things from us. Pete shows her all kinds of animals and insects (she is comfortable touching many random creatures including snakes!). He also taught her how to work a tape measure and throw a frisbee. I say that's biology, woodworking and phy ed!

    You can see my influence here. Yes, she is operating a hand sander solo. I'm not sure what to call the subject ...environmental science? ...economics? (since she's learning the value of natural renovation and improving older furniture to save money).

    Well, it's time for culinary arts (she'll help me make dinner).


    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    PG-13 Breastfeeding Advice

    Not everyone who reads this blog is a pregnant lady. Some of you are, hoping to be, hoping never to be LOL. I originally rote this for my cousin who just had her first baby. Regardless of your state (or unstate) of motherhood, you may find some of my thoughts interesting. If not, see you later!

    1. You have to train your baby to breastfeed. You will be training that kid to do stuff his whole life and it starts at birth. Babies have a natural inclination to suck, but they need your help to get it right. This website is awesome (and graphic!). Dr. Jack Newman has videos of proper latch technique, how to correct a poor practices and lots of choices of position for your comfort. I was really, really helped by this site after Faith was born – she was a tough kid to get latched correctly.

    2. DON’T WORRY! Your body was created for this. The milk is great even from day one. People say the baby might not be getting enough milk because the milk hasn’t “come in” yet. Phooey! If diapers are getting wet, then liquid is going in. Listen for regular swallowing – that’s a good indication. If you use the epidural, then the baby will get that medication. So she may need to “come off” the meds before she’s vigorous enough to get into nursing.

    3. Speaking of Breasts…

    • After each time your baby nurses, rub lightly some of your own breast milk onto your nipples. Then let them “air out” until they’re dry. Never underestimate the healing power of light and air on these sensitive areas.
    • When you shower (even now) don’t allow soap to get on your nipples. It dries them and messes us the oil glands (those little bumps on the areola).
    • Wear loose clothing (even no bra – even though you’ll drip- just use a burp cloth to catch it) and of natural fibers (100% cotton, etc)
    • Avoid “pulling” her off the breast. Be really gentle when breaking the suction. (One little finger pressing into the breast should ease her off.)
    • After your milk comes in (usually six days or less), if you are suffering from painful fullness (and the baby’s not taking enough to relieve you), you can put cabbage leaves in your bra. This was a huge help.
    Hope these tips and experiences are of benefit to you (sooner, later or never). So if you see me a few weeks after my baby is born, you may wonder... "Do I smell cabbage?"


    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Like a kid in an organic candy store!

    Last week, we drove to Durham to Common Ground Green Building Supply to buy some truly non-toxic paint (see previous post on my disappointment about our "zero-VOC" paint).

    I had a blast! Everything in the store is non-toxic, non-off gassing, natural and green. I could walk on cork floors (and they are every bit as awesome as I was hoping), see all the fun colors of the marmoleum flooring (alternative to linoleum floor tiles) and browse paint samples to my heart's delight. (They even had a few mistints, but I didn't succumb).

    Not only did we buy paint, but we found some really great (pretty cost-effective) options for the continued kitchen renovation. I won't tell you all right now, but cork floors might really be in my future :-) See we love them already!


    Wrapping Mattress (DIY)

    Please see my previous posts on preventing SIDS

    One aside before the DIY:
    Don't be mislead!
    My SIDS soapbox is not about "cheap" mattresses that off-gas. The
    mattresses (even those with special covers and toppers) are treated with flame retardant chemicals. So even though someone says - "Oh I got a good mattress - no worries," it does not matter. The only safe options (unwrapped) are going to be natural latex (like from savvy rest) or an organic cotton mattress. Even if the mattress you buy says "Eco, Soy, Plant Derived or Bio" it is often still a polyurethane foam (mixed with some healthy stuff). Just watch closely for PVC vinyl wrapped mattresses. Bad and often not disclosed. ----------------------------------------
    As promised, here are pictures and instructions for wrapping your mattresses. We just graduated Faith up to a "big girl" bed. Since we aren't in a position to purchase the natural latex mattresses for the girls, we made sure their beds are wrapped.

    1. You can purchase the wraps already cut to size or purchase a roll of 6 mil clear plastic sheeting (not PVC or Polyurethane) and cut enough to completely cover the mattress with overlap.

    2. You want to wrap the mattress like a gift so that all of the seams are on the bottom (whichever you determine is the bottom). Clear tape is the ideal. This is semi-clear packing tape I'm using.

    3. Ironically, you now need to cut a few vent holes in the plastic on the underside of the mattress. We want to stop the off-gassing the mattress, but it still needs a minimum amount of ventilation. The jagged holes prove I'm not a perfectionist (LOL)! It's going to be on bottom anyway.

    4. Now you make the bed! Make sure vent holes are down and all seams are thoroughly taped shut. I have a wool blanket and an all cotton mattress cover then the fitted sheet. It makes the bed a little softer. It also cuts down on the "crinkly" sound that is an unavoidable result of the wrapped mattress.

    Happy Wrapping!


    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Hands Free baby

    I'm so grateful that God has brought this pregnancy to the halfway point! Since we aren't planning to have another ultrasound (we had one at 7 weeks to verify viability of the pregnancy before we told family), we will be finding out the gender of this birth ;-)

    Yesterday I had a lovely time in the afternoon with my mom & sister sorting out baby clothes I've gathered and packed over the years. We sorted clothes and picked out a couple of blankets and three outfits each.

    Sorting though all these memories (I mean, clothes) reminded me of when I first became a "mamma" over 6 years ago.

    Even though Gracie was my first, I was grateful for the baby sling and the option of multitasking motherhood LOL. Now as I contemplate what life will be like with three kids, I'm even more excited about having my sling.

    My mom made this one from a pattern we bought online. Since then, I have added several others just for the love of pretty fabric :-) If you are mom (or planning to be) I highly suggest you get a sling. It takes a little time to get used to it, but so worth it!


    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    I'm spending more money, I feel like junk and you say I'm getting better?

    Ever been addicted to caffeine? It's delicious, isn't it? I was soooooo in love with Dr. Pepper that I had a t-shirt. I loved iced coffees from my favorite local spot - Coffee Underground. Ahhh, the days.

    When we began walking down the path of natural living I expected to feel better, be less sick and lose weight. I did..... eventually.

    One thing that is curious about natural stuff is: You feel worse, before you feel better. It's true, if you stop drinking sodas, you will get a headache. As you stop putting in the refined processes stuff and eating real food, you will probably feel yucky.

    This weekend we took a mini-vacation and stayed a night at Great Wolf Lodge. We tried to make fairly good choices but after a weekend of visiting family, wedding food and a night at Great Wolf with random available restaurant food - I felt interestingly okay......til I got home.

    Less than 24 hours after coming home to homemade cereal, fresh milk and organic veggies - I was a digestive wreck. My body was been "releasing toxins" all night.

    So if you are on the first steps to less processed, real food -- be prepared. If you feel yucky for a bit - congratulations - it's working!


    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Oh for the want of a healthy home...

    My sweet husband made a discovery this week. He just finished this AWESOME computer desk for me and the girls. I'll share a picture very soon (I'm re-working the whole den and I just drug a futon in front of it. So it is not picture-ready yet. :-)

    So back to the discovery - I have been loving the ability to redo furniture with zero-VOC paint I can get at Lowes (Olympic). So Pete is researching a safe stain for the top of this table. The wood grain is so lovely, neither of us have the heart to paint over it. So in his research, he finds a site that is pretty critical of zero-VOC paints. [Here it is.]

    Not to be swayed by one site (and a site that sells paint), we pressed on. Pete contacted Olympic directly and asked for their MSDS sheets (a government required detail of the ingredients of products). Indeed, the chemicals were present. He even spoke to a representative who was very nice, but stated, "We cannot guarantee that these chemicals are not present in the paint - it is a part of the processing the product." Honesty - that was cool.

    Unfortunately that left me feeling a little "creatively inhibited." As you see in the photo, I have projects waiting for some colorful expression. I mean, I'm pregnant after all and this nesting thing is very, very real.

    But again Pete brings me back. He reminded me of our choices. We spend less money on movies (aside: we went to see Toy Story 3 yesterday, but I had two free tickets. Before TS3, I think it has been maybe 2 years since we saw one?).

    But life is about choices. Pete reminded me that we can choose to spend money on more expensive (truly non-toxic) paint so I can continue to nest and create. We'll just adjust other areas. I appreciate that ;-) So what kind of paint are we headed for? Don't know quite yet. We're still researching the best alternative.

    Also - We'll be doing some mattress wrapping in the next week. I'm excited to share the pictures and how it all went. If you missed my last post, definitely read it and share it with your pregnant friends ;-)


    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Eight Babies die every night of SIDS - just in the U.S.

    It hurts to know that on average, eight babies die every night from SIDS.

    I am on a mission to make as many people as possible aware of the danger. SIDS is largely preventable! I have so much compassion for families that has lost babies to this shocking "unexplainable" death. It is for that reason that I share that SIDS is largely explainable AND preventable!

    I have read pages and pages of research on this. Those experts that refute the studies have very little to stand on compared the avalanche of science that show a link to SIDS deaths and the chemical composition of our mattresses.

    Simply summed up, the fire retardant chemicals create a chemical reaction to normally harmless fungi that puts a layer of heavy gas that "sits" on the top of the mattress. Physiologically adults are not susceptible. However, SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants over one month old.

    We buy life insurance, we put up baby gates, we get immunizations (well, some of us LOL), we try to minimize any risk of hurt or death. We choose to spend money with hope - the hope that our efforts will see fruit. Wrapping a crib mattress is about $25. Is that a good investment?

    In New Zealand, where all this "stuff" was nationally promoted, mattress wrapping was publicized as much as "Back to Sleep" here in the U.S. Results? Since 1994, tens of thousands of babies in New Zealand have slept on properly wrapped mattresses. Of those properly wrapped, there have been ZERO deaths to SIDS. Not everyone wraps in NZ, but of those that do, that is 100% effective. My baby gate doesn't promise that. My immunization documentation certainly doesn't promise that. Is it worth $25? It certainly is to us.


    What next?
    Why aren't you hearing this from your doctor, etc.?
    Where you can buy a wrap for baby mattress...
    Where you can buy a wrap for an adult mattress...
    How to wrap your own mattress (instructions - scroll halfway down)
    Heavy research - Cause of SIDS
    What we have done in our home (an inventory of all our beds :-)

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Midwife Visit

    I want to invite you to one of my first visits with my midwife (Debbie). She also helped me through the two miscarriages earlier this year - so this wasn't the first visit, but the first visit of this pregnancy.

    Debbie is great for many reasons - one of which is that she has grown children. Many midwives are also mothers of young children, so for prenatal care, you go to their house. Debbie has said she feels like as a service and blessing to the home birthing mommy, she comes to my house. (Here we are in our living room.)

    Prenatal care for home birth is very similar to mainstream OB care. Debbie will see me once a month for the first several months, then every three weeks in third trimester, every other week, then every week as we count down to the last few weeks.

    She brings fetal scopes, Doppler, tests my blood for sugar, iron and tests my urine for about 8 different things. [aside: I hate getting my finger pricked - in the doctors office or at home - I'm somewhat of a baby when it comes to that.] She also checks my blood pressure and asks questions about how I'm feeling.

    The video below shows me laying on my couch in the living room right after Debbie found the heartbeat. After the two miscarriages this year - it is one of the most beautiful sounds!

    The whole visit lasts about an hour and a half (that's all interaction, not reading "Parents" magazine in the waiting room LOL). It never feels rushed. It is prenatal care but its also a "visit" from a very knowledgeable friend.


    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Kitchen Update

    Wanna see the kitchen? It's not done, but its closer!!!

    Here are a few pictures of the kitchen at the moment. I know we began this project in November but a lot has happened in our family since then AND we (meaning Pete) is doing this pretty much solo.
    The great thing is that it is quite functional. If I didn't have a sink or not enough space to put my gear or food - that
    would definitely be a problem. Even though I doubt the "plywood counter top" trend will catch on, I am already super pleased with the footprint of the room. This has essentially doubled my counter space and provided for "hidden" trashcan & recycle bin. Right now, Pete is building a cabinet! That is a pretty major project. I'll post pics once he gets a further along. This is a "weekend warrior" project but a major kitchen renovation never happens in a weekend. We're still committed to doing this both economically (see previous posts on the costs) and naturally. We're now considering bamboo flooring. We were considering ceramic tile for its non-toxic properties and cost. But visiting the beach with Pete's family last week ruled that one out. It is very hard & tiring to stand on for any length of time. We also ruled out cork because we would have to put a lot of sealant on it to make it last in the kitchen. And we aren't willing to compromise on the off-gasing chemicals. So our choices are becoming narrower and narrower LOL. We'll see what we end up with! Thanks for stopping by!


    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Happy in my Skin

    One of the steps that we have taken off the edge of normal is skin care. I posted a few weeks ago about the dangers of sun screen. Unfortunately there are lots of products that are filled with toxins. I just read a very interesting Mercola article and thought I'd share the points that really hit me.

    • Your skin is 1/10 of an inch thick (that is crazy-thin) and it is highly permeable.
    I've shared that we have filters on our showers (for that very reason). But we do expose ourselves to chlorine sometimes. We go to a public pool a couple times a week and I know it is filled with chlorine.

    This is where I have to balance my goals. I want my girls to know how to swim and we do not own or have access to a pool that is naturally maintained (like with baking soda), so we make the choice to absorb some chlorine so we can have swimmers. But we definitely shower when we get home!
    • Don't put anything on your skin you are not willing to eat.
    Isn't that a great rule of thumb? But i suggest you do not take this literally.

    The other night I was in bed (and it was dark). I 99.9% of the time keep a spray bottle of throat spray by my bed. I snore (yes, I admit it) and my throat gets dry and uncomfortable sometimes. Well, I woke up and reached beside my clock where the throat spray ALWAYS is, grabbed it and sprayed.............

    Ack, oh dear, yikes, and bleh!!! I had left my tea tree oil - oh yeah, the full strength one beside my throat spray. I grabbed the wrong bottle!

    I swished water, I drank water, I washed my mouth. I couldn't get the smell off of me. And you now know I'm pregnant and nauseousness is an ever present part of my life. Needless to say this was an "event."

    So consider carefully what you are putting on your skin - from makeup to sun screen to lotion to whatever. Google "toxins in skin care" sometime and see what you find. Use natural products in your home and on your body. But don't eat the tea tree oil.