Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nobody puts BabyLegs in the corner: BabyLegs Review & Giveaway

It's a first for A Mom Writing today-- my very first giveaway! Party it up-- let's get going.

In that spirit, I remember the first time I heard about BabyLegs leg warmers-- I was on thebump.com's 1st trimester board, and I saw some post, "Look at my babylegs!"

I thought to myself, "Umm... I don't care about your baby's leg
s, but this is weird enough to check out." So, I did. And I discovered I was lucky to have opened up the post because, obviously, I learned that BabyLegs were actually one of the most adorable baby clothing items on the market.

So my love affair began with BabyLegs. But I was reluctant to purchase them until I knew the sex of the baby. In the middle of the second trimester, my husband and I were overjoyed
to discover we had a little man on the way.

A boy. In BabyLegs?

I'm here to tell you that yes, they
are just as cute on a boy, and no, they are not girlie. They come in so many colors and prints, from pink to stone to pumpkin to skulls to patriotic to striped and back. And you can wear them so many ways!

They are so fun and adorable, but may
be you're wondering...

Are they easy to use?

YES. Gabe is a squirmy dude, but I always can slip these on him. They are particularly lovely during diaper changes-- they can stay where they are, slip down to the ankles or glide right off for a second. They are quick on and off- baby is dressed in a jiffy.

But do they work well with cloth diapers?
MUCH BETTER THAN PANTS! I very quickly got sick of hoisting pants over my baby's fluffy butt. Sure, you can put larger size pants on your baby, but then they look long, and unless you get just the right fit, pants over cloth diapers look a little silly. What doesn't look silly? BabyLegs. They keep baby's legs nice and snugly so that he or she can still wear cute onesies and shirts with a cloth-diapered bottom.

Aren't they sort of scratchy on baby's skin?
NO. BabyLegs are so soft even before they are washed. No rashes, no irritation. They even protect your little one's legs in the sun or when crawling.

So what are the drawbacks?
For a younger baby, Babylegs can be a little long.
Luckily, Babylegs sent me My First Babylegs (available at Target online)-- they are made shorter for younger, shorter legs.
BabyLegs also take care when washing-- either you can wash them by hand or you have to be very, very careful washing them with the rest of baby's clothes. Velcro stuck to BabyLegs is NOT fun.

So overall?
I wholeheartedly recommend BabyLegs. I think they are cute, warm, protective, and convenient for any busy Mommy and baby. BabyLegs are a wardrobe must-have for a little man or little lady. They're versatile and varied.

All right. You've read my review. Now what?

Buy them.
Head to babylegs.com and shop now. Sales start at around $7.00 for a pair!


Win them.
One lucky rea
der will win a Pair of My First BabyLegs in Robot OR Block -- you get to choose!

The mandatory entry:
1. Visit BabyLegs and answer me this-- Which BabyLegs would you love your little one to wear?

Additional Entries
2. Publicly follow my blog (right sidebar) and comment for three (3) additional entries.
i.e. I follow you #1, I follow you #2, I follow you #3...

3. Follow @amomwriting on Twitter and comment for one (1) additional entry.

4. Tweet the following (
One (1) entry per tweet; you can tweet once per day):
Win @babylegs from @amomwriting! 1 lucky winner will receive a pair of My 1st Babylegs. #giveaway
. http://tiny.cc/FyKmL

5. Blog about the giveaway including a link to amomwriting and comment with the permalink to your entry for two (2) extra entries, leaving two separate comments.

6. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Mommy Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

7. Vote for A Mom Writing on Top Baby Blogs here and comment. (1 entry per vote, 1 vote per day)

Make sure to include your e-mail address in your mandatory entry (if it is not in your profile) so that I have a means of contacting you if you win! The winner will be chosen by random.org on Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. EST. I will then notify the winner by e-mail; the winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is picked.
Thank you to BabyLegs for this opportunity!

Contact me at amomwriting@gmail.com

A Mom Writing did not receive monetary compensation for this entry.

Random.org Random Number Generator
1-93 selected #44-- Congrats, Jennifer Mercurio!
An e-mail has been sent, and the winner has 48 hours to respond before the next winner will be selected at random. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The 30 Day Shed

No, I'm not doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm losing copious amounts of hair. And I have been for almost three weeks now.


I know it's all part of that hormonal post-pregnancy crash, but it's sad when you run your fingers through your hair after a shower (a.k.a. me-time) and you see your once luscious pregnancy locks between your fingers.

So... adios pretty pregnancy hair. I surely hope to meet you again sooner than later. 2011 sounds good to me.


In other news, my baby's Christening was yesterday, and it was beautiful. I'll post a picture soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

200 Oz. Event, what?

It seems the blog is going to be taking a turn for the fun! I am pleased to announce...

A Mom Writing's 200 Oz. Celebration Series

Yup, I'm currently working on a line-up of reviews and giveaways to celebrate when I hit 200 oz. for hmbana! I can't spill the details just yet, but I am so pleased that these giveaways are now officially in the works.

Get ready to party it up, Mommy style, ladies!

In college, it was Thirsty Thursday.

And it is Thirsty Thursday here with Gabe today. My little one has been very demanding the past two days with nursing. We had a very busy day yesterday (for us, anyway-- we usually have a very predictable stay-home-in-the-morning schedule that was disrupted by my desire to go to church and then my bloodwork appointment for new employment). He was miserable while I got everything done at the doctor's office-- it was my first experience being THAT Mom with THAT crying baby.

And when we got home, he wanted to nurse, nurse, nurse, and then snuggle. I think it was as comforting to me as it was to him for some quiet time together after his fury (and my tb skin test-- seriously, that was not a pleasant experience).

It might sound par for the course that baby and mommy would snuggle, but Gabe is a very on-the-go little man. He prefers to attempt standing with the help of furniture (yes, he really does this) to being cradled, and thus, I cherish every second I nurse him. I sat on our futon yesterday afternoon with Gabe on the boppy, snuggled into me warmly, and I smiled teary-eyed as I looked down upon him and stroked his (almost non existent) hair. (It's possible this emotional moment has to do with me realizing I am going to start working 12 hours per week, and I will be losing some of this precious snuggle time.)

I'm not writing this entry as a political statement to Moms who choose not to breastfeed, but to those gals out there who think it's gross, please consider that nursing will be the calm solace after a nightmare, the warmth and relaxation after a stressful day, a chance for both you and baby to regroup. I wanted to breastfeed originally because I felt it was nutritionally best (and much less expensive), but now it is so much more. I feel connected to my son in such a special way all of the time, but in moments like yesterday afternoon, it is to a whole different level. I am his and he is mine. I'd never condemn or judge someone who chooses otherwise, and I especially have no issues with women who tried and could not get it to work (sometimes it doesn't work), but please ladies who think it's awful, give it a try.

And get your husbands-- or whoever your main support person is-- on board to support you. I could never have gotten through the early days of breastfeeding if I was surrounded by dissent. Just last night, when I was feeding Gabe, my husband turned to me and smiled, saying, "Thank you for breastfeeding." I'm the first one to answer, "Don't thank me for just doing what I'm supposed to do," but it felt good to be thanked, and I felt appreciated as a wife and mother in a way I don't know I could otherwise. So you see, for me, nursing isn't just a bond between me and my baby-- it is a special closeness for the whole family.

Breastfeeding is one of the best choices I have ever made.

(and now my warm, fuzzy breastfeeding soapbox post... is done.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Viva La Paperwork!


I'm almost done getting all of the paperwork done for my milk donation.

Here's some paper-y information:

1. I have completed all of the pages "About Me"-- they are no big deal-- just basic personal information, how often you drink caffeine and alcohol, whether you eat dairy free, etc.

2. My OB, who delivered Gabriel and I really like, filled out the paper on my health history--
it asks if you've had infections recently, if you've had a blood transfusion in the past so-many-months, and for results on some blood tests (some I had had done when pregnant, others I have not had yet).

3. Gabe's doctor is yet to be presented with a form that basically asks if Gabe was born full-term and if he has been gaining weight (if is funny because Gabe is now twice his birthweight!!!).

After the paperwork is completed, I just have to get it back to the bank in an envelope they provided me. Then, I finish pumping, get the logistics on the bloodwork I need, get vampired in the arm, and arrange for milk shipping. I am starting to get very excited about the latter part of the process; it's almost here, people!!!

My freezer is getting pretty full between milk for the bank and milk for the baby. I will definitely share a photo before this process is done!


In Mcfatty Monday news, I am officially down 14 pounds since 1/1/10 (that's -40 from pregnancy), and barring I didn't gain 90 pounds from the Valentine's chocolate and romantic dinner my husband and I shared last night (Well, pretty romantic-- how's a candlelit gourmet dinner WITH a spitting up, but happy baby bouncing on your husband's knee count on the romantic scale?), I have 10 more to go before I get to pre-pregnancy weight. Then, the real get healthy march begins.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Organic, Local, and Free Range, Oh My!

Going... going... going... GONE!

That GONE! would be us, heading out the door of ye olde typical foodstore and into the world of organic, local, free range food. Actually, we are not quite gone yet, because it just is not so easy to figure out how to manage that sort of diet on the type of budget us young parents (one working full-time and going to grad school, the other about to start a 10-hour per week position, both with a yacht and a train and an airbus, or maybe two, of student loans) to manage. But we are going to manage it. And I am going to keep updating on the blog just how we manage to do it. Will I be a tipster, much? You betcha.

There's just no reason to allow your baby to eat this food, even through my breast milk. And it surely is not helping me or my husband eating food like this, either. Let's be clear here, though-- I do not judge anyone who does not eat organic because it IS going to be a hard monetary transition with a lot of calculation, strategy, and planning. Maybe after switching to cloth diapers, I feel like I can research and figure out something a little more complicated than fluffy baby butts, but I feel prepared to make this move. Maybe watching Food Inc. (WATCH THIS MOVIE!) went to my head, but I just don't think this switch is going to hurt anyone, other than hmm... McIdon'tcarewhatIfeedyouIjustwantmoney. And maybe, just maybe, having worked at a Whole Foods in high school somehow rooted a respect and aspiration for eating organic, though my neurotic and ignorant little high school self never would have expected to write this post in the future.

Okay, Sharkie, here's the deal:

Ammonia, Pesticide, GMO-Free: Eating ORGANIC and GMO-free
I am seriously freaked out at the thought of eating chemicals. When you're little, you don't intellectually digest what you are eating. Now, I do. And when thinking about my baby consuming insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides, and antimicrobials (ya know like bleach, chlorine dioxide, yum, yum, yummy stuff like that), I really do feel a sinking feeling in my stomach. I understand why and how the process of modern food production and distribution includes such chemicals, and though there are not many studies proving that regular old produce is extremely harmful, I feel a lot better removing my family from the production lines of e.coli-infested spinach. There are certain foods that have less crap on them (Here is a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides from the Environmental Working Group), especially thicker-skinned produce like avocados, so I am sure when cost comes to shove, we may still purchase some conventional produce.

I also feel there is just something to be said for produce as it was meant to be grown, produce as it was meant to be sized, chicken as it was meant to be fed, etc. etc. etc. And how I want to say something for that natural food, is to just plain eat it.

I also understand why genetically-modified organisms exist (it makes a lot of the ins and outs of food production easier and cheaper), but I do not want to eat them anymore. There's more to my rejection of GMO, and I will not even go into the politics of it right now, though. To be honest, eating GMO-free (Here is a GMO-free shopping guide.) is not going to be easy, because these products are in so much of everything. But we are going to try!

*The Eco-Friendly Family Blog wrote a great little post about eating organic which included both of the helpful links included in the section above. Read the post here.*

These Farms Exist: Eating LOCAL
No, maybe you have not heard of them, but they are there. At least in Southern New Jersey they are. In fact, I found two local organic farms (amidst many regular old farms) within 40 minutes of our home. One of them even sells meat-- though I am not sure of the logistics of the meat purchasing yet (we don't have the storage capacity or the money to invest in, um, an entire cow right now). I honestly cannot WAIT to get there. If you live in Jersey, please go here to find a farm near you.

Why is local so great?
Well, first of all, local is local. That produce and food was grown and raised right where or near you bought it. LESS pollution from distribution.
Secondly, when you buy local, you are purchasing something from a business in your economical area. Supporting your local farmers is one way to help them in this economy, and in return, you are helping yourself by circulating your cash into your community.
Thirdly, I am hoping that because this food is coming pretty much from the source, it will be less expensive than the produce and meat at a place like Whole Foods, where distribution costs are part of the price. A price comparison remains to be seen, but essentially, this should wind up being true.

To be fair, the drawbacks?
You have to eat what is in season. I.E. No fresh tomatoes in February. If we want to keep eating the recipes we eat now, we would have to buy most produce at stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in off-season time.

Cheese and Crackers: Eating FREE RANGE
Frankly, I just can't handle the way most companies and large meat farms handle their animals. I love animals, and it pains me to read, watch, whatever, the conditions these animals live in while being raised, and I cannot handle the process used to slaughter animals.

am I not a vegetarian? Well, I tried it once in college, and I kept getting sick because I was not the best at managing my vitamins and protein. What I learned from that unsuccessful run is that I am not really against eating meat or animal products, but I am against how these products are provided to us. Because humans are naturally carnivorous. And humans need, in some sense of that word, meat.

I have no problem eating, say, some ham that came from a pair of pigs named Cheese and Crackers who were raised living in a healthy, happy environment on a farm in Vermont (I never ate these pigs, but they did exist at the Weston Priory when I was a little girl, and if my parents told me the truth, the monks ate them at some point). The other reason why I would not even consider going vegetarian or vegan at this point is that my husband is not getting on that wagon, nor would I put my children on that wagon, and I am not planning on maneuvering duo meal planning. It's not realistic.

So we go free range, eating animals that roamed around in a field and saw light while they were raised. We eat animals that were not so stuffed and fattened in small quarters that they could not walk while they were raised. Essentially, I hope we'll be eating animals like Cheese and Crackers.


To be clear, this shift is going to be quite the process and we are in-

Come on now and take a ride with us.
And please, wish us luck!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The L word (no, not love)

Don't be afraid...

...of Laundry Day.

It's really not that bad!

Every time I inform someone we have switched to cloth, among the many rumble grumbles of, "You're crazy," comes the comment-- "Oh it's SO much laundry. And it's gross."

Well, SO much laundry is really about 3 or 4 loads per week. And 3 or 4 loads per week is not a lot of time! I stick it in around 8 p.m. so that we get the drying process going before too late, and if it's not done by bedtime, it gets fluffed up first thing in the morning.

And, for now at least, it is not gross and it hardly smells because Gabe only gets breast milk. But even when it will smell more, the amount of time to carry the bag and dump them into the washer is so nominal. I am not afraid.

Here are the dirty details:

1. Store dirty diapers in a foot-pedaled trash can with a pail liner (A PUL bag with elastic at the top-- basically a reusable 'trash' bag). Once your stash has been seriously dented, it's time for washing. (For us, this is when our bumgenius 3.0 pile is down to 1 or 2-- we have 6, and we only use them double-stuffed overnight, on the go, or during morning nap time-- and we only have 2-3 prefolds left--we have 11, and I love using them with flips or thirsties duos. For more info on our stash, go here.)
2. Grab your pail liner, and dump the contents into the washer, turn the liner inside out, and lay on top.
3. Do a cold rinse.

4. Add whatever the appropriate dose of your chosen detergent to the load. This is usually 1/4 the normal amount for a load. We use Rockin Green right now (review of RG coming soon), and we sprinkle 2 tbsp. of the powder.
5. Wash HOT. Rinse COLD. With Rockin Green, this is where the washing ends.
6. Move the inserts and dryer-friendly items, such as contours and prefolds, to the dryer. Tumble dry low.
7. Hang/Line Dry the covers and bumgenius 3.0s. (Right now I hang them in the laundry room. In the summer, they'll go outside for some sunbleaching sometimes.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow, Beautiful Snow... and SOUP.

In honor of this beautiful snowed in Saturday, and I do mean snowed in-- our car looks like a marshmallow ate it-- I am posting my two favorite soup recipes of late.

But first, here is the view out our condo sliding doors (I didn't open the doors to avoid the screen in the photo, but I didn't want to mess with snow getting all up in here):

The view here is much improved from our last bout with Jack Frost in December. It sure is nice to be home, sweet home.

I should really call this blog post Soup VS. Soup because I am deciding which one of these soups is being served at my little one's Christening party. You could even call this, the SOUPberbowl.... oh good grief.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Black Bean Soup
So this first soup is from Stephanie Dea's slowcooker blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. You can access the recipe here. I served it to my husband, and I served it to my Mom. Both LOVED it.

It looks yummy, and it really is. The ingredients are all pretty basic-- chicken, one jar of salsa, mushrooms (I used baby bellas because I hate the dinky usual button ones), frozen corn, chicken broth, a zip of cumin, and two cans of black beans, of course. I love using the slow cooker. It makes the chicken so deliciously fall-apart-in-a-second-ish.

Carrot Ginger Soup

This soup is a knock off recipe of Whole Foods' Carrot Ginger Soup sold in their prepared food section. I worked in a Whole Foods in high school and early college, and I looked forward to winter and their scrumptious carrot ginger soup. I found it here.

It's a vegan recipe, though I am not vegan (yet... I am getting a little crazier with the green-minded how-can-you-treat-the-cows/chickens/insert lifestock or produce-that-way? every day. Luckily, my husband finds this interesting and not disconcerting. In his words, "as long as you are going to cook good food for me, I love it."), and it is really great. I did not make the vegan version this time because the food market in all its AAH IT'S GOING TO SNOW shoppers, was missing vegetable stock so I used low sodium free range chicken broth. It definitely altered the flavor from the pure veggie flavors I remember from high school, but it still was simply awesome.

It definitely did not come out quite as thick of a puree as I have had at Whole Foods or as it looks in the picture on the recipe's site, so next time, veggie broth and more carrots than this time!


As for this soup choice duel, I am taking into consideration that the 'main' meal of the day will be baked ziti, meatballs, salad, and rolls. I want there to be a soup for people to be a little more choosey choosey, especially for those with more adventurous palates. Any votes as to which would be more of a crowd pleaser?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Turning Heads (News in SIDS Research)

If you haven't already read, read here.

There is an emphasis in this research that this information is merely a hint, a building block, in the mysterious and awful world of SIDS. But knowing that a baby could have low seratonin levels and therefore could not be able to process the brainwaves to move the head in order to get more oxygen is enough information for me to NOT put my baby to sleep on his belly (not that I needed to be convinced)... not that he sleeps in his crib yet anyway because his reflux tortures him nightly so badly that he has to sit up to sleep.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Day Late... Not Really A Buck Short

Well, so much for being negative about the possibility of losing weight. I'm down 10 pounds! This is great. Just 14 more until I reach pre-preg. (I’m down 36 from pregnancy.) I'm going to kick that 50 pounds in no time, I hope. Weight Watchers, Gym time, and Nursing are my drill. And believe me, I make sure to eat for my milk supply.Here are some of the best 'healthy' meals of the month:

Southwestern Chicken and Potato Soup
This is an altered weight watchers slow cooker recipe with chicken broth, chicken, diced tomatoes, canned corn, salsa, and sweet potatoes.

What I Call, Nursing Soup
(because it is full of veggies, protein, and carbs-- good for nursing mommies!)
It’s so easy to make!

2 lb. baked and shredded chicken, (baked in olive oil, rosemary, and garlic powder)
60 oz. msg-free chicken broth (preferably free range or organic)
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
½ package frozen string beans

¾ box Ditallini Pasta

(Bake chicken for 30-40 minutes or until juice runs clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle.)
Boil water and cook ditallini to al dente.
When chicken and noodles are done cooking, mix all ingredients other than chicken in pot and turn on medium heat.
Shred chicken.
Add chicken to pot, heat to a boil and then lower temperature to a simmer for 20 minutes. Keep heat on low until serving or briefly reheat to serve.

Chipotle Tamale Pie
Recipe here. Next time we will not add the chipotle chiles... so I guess it will be tamale pie.