Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can bet your bottom dollar...

Or can you? I was driving home tonight, and I heard an advertisement for a new food chain in my area. Bottom Dollar Food.

A rose by any other name would smell... better than that! I KNOW that times are rough, and I know families are struggling to feed their little ones more than ever, but with stores called Bottom Dollar Food coming out of the woodwork pretending to be saintly, consumers are bound to be fooled.

I wish I could hear advertisements on the radio explaining that WIC and senior citizen food programs can be applied toward fresh farmers market food-- and believe it or not, farm fresh food is not always the most expensive (Yes, free range meat is pricey, but string beans? pumpkins? These things go for a steal straight from the farm.)

So that's my little rant for the day. And sorry for ranting, actually-- that is not normally my style!


In other news, Gabe is now a full fledged toddler, and he enjoys getting into everything, and ignoring the word, "No." Hi, temper tantrums! I feel like the world of parenting is now just beginning for my husband and me. It's a wonderful challenge.

Oh, and Gabe also now sings "Lalala" if I ask him where his tongue is. It's adorable.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Quest for a Natural Birth with Baby #2

So we're out of the first trimester (Whew!), and I am finally starting to feel human again-- as in, food is not repulsive, I can cook and change diapers without gagging, and I do not fall asleep sitting up on our futon watching Gossip Girl (Yes, I watch Gossip Girl. It is my one guilty pleasure).

And now it's starting to really hit me-- we're actually having another baby. And let's focus on the verb there. HAVING. As in, there will be labor.

I had preterm labor with Gabriel, and I contracted for seven weeks before I was induced with our first little nugget. My husband and I had signed up for breathing and relaxation classes that were scheduled for while I was on bedrest. As in, we never went to them. And in all the fear of "I'm not ready to be a Mom of a preemie," etc., our plans for an epidural-free birth went out of the window.

And now I'm not scared. Of preterm labor anyway. If it comes again, I am not going to let it intimidate me from having the birth I want. And I will say that Gabriel's birth was beautiful-- I was very clear that I would only go with induction if I had extremely good odds of it working well (I was dilated to 3 cm before any pitocin, and Gabe was very low-- I had very good numbers in the "this will work well" column), and things took off once my water was broken. I had a vaginal birth, which was the most important thing to me in the world, and I am so glad for that.

What was awful? The epidural. I was stuck more than five times. Whatever the resident did to me made me feel like a metal straw was being stuck into my vertebrae over and over again. The head anesthesiologist of the hospital then came to patching things up, and things went uphill from there... but the mere thought of an epidural sends crampy aches through my lower spine. I just can't even imagine thinking about epidurals while in labor. I just want to labor.

Is that reason I want a natural birth? No. I want to experience natural birth because I feel strongly that I want to experience the full-natured embodiment of child birth. I want to birth a baby without drugs going into his or her little body. I want to be able to walk right away without nurses hovering at my sides. I want a lot of things.

And so now, we're figuring out how to do this. We have decided, and to some natural birth mothers this may seem odd, to remain in the care of our OB team. I really have enjoyed working with these doctors, and they are in full support of letting us go natural. They have agreed to allow us a low intervention experience at the hospital without the constant monitors and IVs (so long as there is no emergency). And I do think this practice roots for vaginal birth. And they did a few things that made me happy while in labor with Gabriel-- one of them being a massage of oil for my perineum while I pushed rather than an episiotomy.

But what now? How are we planning to cope with the pain? Will I be able to get the room with the tub at the hospital so that I can labor while in water? What about water birth? Lamaze? Bradley? Hire a doula? Can we do any of this without spending a bagillion dollars? Is anything natural covered by insurance? What?

These questions all seem awkward, because a lot of the classes and things are meant for first time parents. And I have already been in labor and been coached and pushed. My husband and mother were amazing. My husband was such a calm, loving, and encouraging presence, and my Mom was empowering-- she always let me know that the head was coming closer or that she could see more. They helped me along so well. So I know that as my husband undertakes the role of a hands-on labor coach (I'm thinking massages and the like), he will be amazing at it. We just need the details.

So here we are... looking for the details. Any suggestions on our quest for a natural birth, including books, etc., would be great!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Willkommen Bienvenue Welcome

Hi there! If you have hiked your way over to A Mom Writing from CNN's Living Green Series Recap page, I'm glad you did. I'll use this post as a little way to orient yourself on my blog so that you can find the information you would like.

If you are parents looking to green your home, feel free to read about my love affair with cloth diapers, recipes and experiences making homemade baby food (and food in general), our different going green efforts, and our experience doing Colin Beavan's (of No Impact Man) No Impact Week.

Fellow hikers? Take a look at our recent hikes with our baby.

And if you are a nursing Mommy, I have written plenty in the past year about breastfeeding, including my experience donating breast milk for preemies and infants in America and abroad-- places such as Haiti and Africa.

So welcome, and I hope you visit again! Right now a lot of my posts are focusing on our continuing green efforts and our second pregnancy. And this time, we are planning for a natural birth.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On the news...

So, we had a visit from CNN American Morning last week, and we were on CNN today about our eco-conscious parenting. Take a look at our family first hand (my last name is Bernard, by the way-- I didn't change my name, and I am a freelance writer so I like the correct one being out there).

If you watch the clip, please know...
We said cloth diapering was EASY, Dave went on to say he loves using cloth (it's cheap and green), cloth does have less impact over disposables (hello, no landfills), AND we talked about lots of other things we do that are important, most specifically-- eating locally.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

We took Gabe out for a spin in his new wagon (thanks to his Mom-Mom and Grandad) on Sunday, and we explored the trails behind our condo. It was a beautiful afternoon, and Gabriel loves his wheels.

It really was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Personality of Green

I've been wondering lately... Am I going green because I love the environment or because it's just my personality? And don't take that the wrong way, because of course I love the environment.

But then I think about the fact that generally I do not wear make up anymore. I generally don't care we have a tiny, tiny television. I generally don't buy purses or shoes or things...

And even if my family was not "going green," I think we would do some of the same things. So does a green Mom get credit for doing green things that just come naturally to her? I've been wondering...


For awhile cloth diapers were new to us, then they became routine, and then as I dealt with serious morning sickness from September until now, I felt the temptation to use disposables again. Because every very dirty diaper turned into a gagging session. And not your average gagging session. I'll spare you most of the details, but tonight I literally barfed while cleaning Gabe's diaper.

And that's when I decided that at that moment, nothing about my personality wanted to be green. But I did it-- because I love the earth and because I love my son.

So is it love that drives my actions? I'll shrug again because I'm just not sure. But the cloth diapers will get washed, and I'll be willing to gag yet again. Oh, and let's hope my morning sickness ends asap.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Impact Man Free Winter Retreat

I wanted to share this super cool information with you all in case any of you would be interested...

I have blogged plenty about No Impact Man and No Impact Week in the past (including the actual week my family participated in No Impact Week in late August), and I have more fun stuff to share about it.

The No Impact Project is hosting a free winter retreat in New York state in January 2011. Applications are due on November 15, 2010, and applicants should received word by November 23, 2010 as to whether they were accepted for the workshop.

I am sure you all know I just applied. I am a hopeful, pregnant green Momma! I can just imagine the wealth of information I would receive and the potential connections I could make with other like-minded eco-friendly individuals. Do you feel passionately about energizing your community and rockin' the green where you live? If so, you should apply, too. Just head on over to the No Impact Project website.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gabriel's Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

As of October 26th, we have a one-year-old in our home. And yesterday, we got to celebrate with family. We threw a Very Hungry Caterpillar Party, and it was really cute.

The cake was pumpkin with whipped cream icing. I covered the head (Gabe's "smash cake") with natural fruit roll-ups so we could peel them off as he destroyed it. I was dreading bright red icing being all over his everything.

I also made sugar cookies designed like the food the caterpillar ate through in the book. Hence, the sugar cookies all have holes in them! Yum.

Gabe didn't have any problems eating pumpkin cake... (it seemed like a more natural option, along side some fruit salad instead of the typical ice cream).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turkey Lurkey.

Or rather, make that Turkeys.

Parading behind our condo almost every weekend morning.

We had an encounter a few weeks back when the gobbling was exceptionally loud. My husband pulled up our blinds, and sitting there on the pile of mulch which rises to the bottom of our bedroom window, was a huge turkey.

And when that fat turkey saw my husband, he pecked the window and ruffled its feathers. Annnnnd then my husband did some sort of battle cry so that the turkey sort of scuttled/flew away.

I never saw a turkey in South Jersey until the year 2009. I was born in New Jersey in 1985. Hmmm.... maybe I should have one of these true free range birds for Thanksgiving. (I'm kidding.)

The Power of Hand-Me-Downs

As a kid, I sort of just rolled my eyes when my family got a a batch of hand-me-downs from family or friends. I would peer over my Mom's shoulder as she carefully removed each article of clothing from the bag spying the random wardrobe treasure and faux pas within the batch. I had no issue wearing hand-me-downs... as long as they were cool. And mostly they were.

As a Mom, my eyes grow wide when I am lucky enough to be given hand-me-downs. And luckily, Gabriel has really gotten a ton of hand-me-down clothes. I have a cousin (I guess it's relevant to mention here that I am the oldest child of my Dad, who is the oldest of his four siblings, so this age difference sort of makes sense) who is just 6 months older than Gabe, and because he is the youngest of his siblings, we have been given tons of little boy clothes. We've also gotten a bag here and there from other generous people, and it has really kept our clothes purchasing to a minimum.

Just recently, Gabe has caught up with my cousin so the hand-me-downs are trickling down less frequently. But I have discovered a whole new fun place to find hand-me-downs for the little ones---- children's consignment shops.

They are a gold mine, and honestly, more for little girls than for boys, but seriously, there are just piles and piles of beautiful, gently-used, nicely-priced clothing in these places. I bought Gabriel tweed pants complete with a sweater vest and button up shirt (with a decent tag) for $18. Bought new, this outfit would have been over $40 at this store. And now Gabe has something to wear to my Grandparents' 50th Wedding Renewal for a price I can handle, and a carbon footprint that makes me smile, too.

Because that's the thing I am getting at here-- Hand-me-downs are not just good for your wallet. They are good for the earth. Instead of heading out and purchasing ((I consider every purchase I make a vote for a product)) new, you can reuse something already made. In the long run, you can think of yourself sending a message to companies that you just do not need the new stuff... and if lots and lots of people start using more hand-me-downs and consignment clothing, demand will decrease. And that's less impact on the environment.

Sounds good to me! Here's a web directory of consignment shops to get you started. Word of mouth is your best bet when finding a real gem of a store, though.