Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Birth Plan

I wanted to share the my family's birth plan. This is the current revision for our son's upcoming birth. It was just a little different for DD's birth. Obviously, there was no mention of circumcision in hers! Also, in the opening paragraph, I talked about how my brother and Jeff and his brother were born at the same hospital so we have a family history there rather than talk about DD's birth.

Some people beleive that birth plans are a waste of time because "whatever happens, happens" in labor and delivery. I disagree. I think it is a woman's right and responsibility to maintain as much control over the situation as possible. Can you control or predict EVERYTHING? Of course not. But can you always have a say in SOMETHING? Absolutely.

No, not everything about my labor and delivery was exactly how I wanted it. However, despite the surprises, DH and I both maintain that our labor and delivery experience was amazing. And our Birth Plan definitely helped. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Hopefully, this will help some of you in writing your own birth plans!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

cloth diapers update

I just added a bunch of info on the CD page!

I also ordered a couple of Awesome Blossom diapers off Zulily today. I was sucked in because they are minky and only $10.99 a piece! However, I can't find any info on Awesome Blossom online, so I'm not sure what that means. Once again, these are for baby boy Beach who is on the way, so a review won't be available for probably another 4 months. I can't help but be excited. Sorry!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

detergent update update

So I think user error was all that was pretty much wrong with my first go-around with my homemade detergent. I didn't think one tablespoon would be enough so I put in two. The result was residue. One tablespoon is absolutely enough. The clothes smell fresh without smelling like detergent. Stains come out, clothes are definitely clean. I use it to wash ALL laundry and nobody, not even DD, has had any reaction to it. I am hooked. I can't wait to make more batches with different kind of soaps!

I start with the washer set to hot with no clothes in it. I add the tablespoon of detergent. I let it fill up for just maybe 10 seconds. Then, I add the clothes and switch it over to cold water (how I normally do all of my laundry, except CDs). Why this weird process? I think the hot water helps the soap dissolve before the clothes get in there. I just made it up, basically, so it's not difficult for me to "remember the steps". It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is when I type it all out here.

In an effort to be more "green", I have also started line drying more of our laundry. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get some more lines up outside! Before this, I was so lame that I wasn't even line-drying my CDs! Forget the green factor, line-drying significantly increases the life of your CDs. It just makes sense! So anyways, I started thinking, why not increase the life of ALL my clothes? Uh, duh!

So, I can't believe I have just written a whole blog about laundry! But I guess if everyone's gotta do laundry, I may as well do it in a way that makes me proud. I guess it's easier to do laundry when I feel like I am doing it the "right" way. It's taken me one tiny step closer to the kind of socially responsible person I want to be.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Charlie Bananas

My 4 new Charlie Banana cloth diapers came in the mail yesterday. They look ADORABLE and I can't wait to try them out. I got 3 size small and 1 size extra small, all prints. They are pockets and they come with microfiber inserts. I have never used this brand before but I have heard great things and they were on SUPER sale, so I had to do it! I have a good two months before I get to use them (come on already, baby!) but I will be sure to post some pictures and give a review on my "Cloth Diapering" page!

An Infant wearing a Charlie Banana cloth diaper with the phrase goodbye disposable hello cloth on the bottom.  I will review them when I have a chance to try them out


detergent update

My first load came out well. I was happy that the laundry smelled clean but didn't smell like "soap", you know? I did see some little chunks of residual soap left on the clothes. I think next time I will fill the washing machine all the way with the soap in it, to give it more time to dissolve before the clothes go in. I might even start the cycle on hot for a little bit and then turn it back to cold. That should help it dissolve faster, too, right? I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

This is a Lactivist!

What is "granola" anyway?


A friend of mine posed this question the other day, "Why is it that things that were normal to do 40 years ago are suddenly considered 'granola'?" My answer was simply that it was no longer mainstream practice, so now it has a special name like any other "sect". But something about the question has been gnawing at me.

I think the real question she was asking, without realizing because she thinks she already knows the answer, is "What does being 'granola' really mean?" I mean, is it just cloth diapering and breastfeeding? Because there are places where pretty much EVERYONE does that. It's not so shocking. Americans used to do that too, they just don't anymore. So what's so special about being "granola" that you need or deserve your own category? Gooooooooooooood question!

Like anything else, granola moms fall on a broad spectrum. The most granola moms of all breastfeed forever, cloth diaper using the diapers they made themselves, co-sleep in a king-size family bed on the floor, practice baby-led weaning, don't vaccinate, homeschool, are vegan, and live on a co-op. Okay, I left out some stuff, but you get the idea. Many of us do some of those things to some degree. I think what connects us all is not what we do, but the ideologies we share that drive us to do what we do.

The majority of granola moms I have met are not interested in doing something simply because it's against the mainstream or, conversely, trendy. It is fueled by a real desire to connect their babies to themselves and to the natural world around them. Luckily, there are lots of avenues to this end. There are simple things that can be done, like buying or making all-natural cleaning products and making your own baby food. You can invest in cloth diapers. You can breastfeed. You can babywear. There are also more intensive things you can do, like practice Elimination Communication and homeschool. Like I said, there is a broad spectrum of "crunchiness".

I am comfortable where I am on the spectrum. With this second child, I see us actually moving toward an increasingly granola lifestyle. We're already moving toward making our own cleansers, increasing our composting/recycling, and growing our own fruits and veggies and/or buying local. But there'll always be someone more crunchy..and that's okay.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DIY laundry detergent


Exciting news: A few days ago, we invested in the "ingredients" to make our own laundry detergent. We just ran out of our store-bought detergent, so we made our first batch of homemade tonight. I can't wait to do a load and try it out! I can't really remember a time I have EVER been excited to do laundry. It's kind of pathetic but...oh well!

The benefits of making your own detergent (or any other cleaning product) include lower cost and, because you have control over the ingredients, they can be more "green" and/or more hypoallergenic, if you need. If you search online, most of the recipes are pretty much the same. We used:

1 bar of soap, finely grated
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda

The advice I got from some other moms was:

1. to grate the soap and let it dry out for a day before making the mixture
2. it may take a few tries to get it how you want it, so don't get too frustrated or give up!

Some sites recommend using OxyClean instead of Borax. I was also thinking of making a batch with dry bleach powder for whites. I also wanted to play around with what kind of soap I use. I just used Zest this time around because it's what we already had in the house (I know - GHETTO!) but it would be cool to try using Dove to make a gentler formula. I want to go to LUSH (a brick and mortor location opened in Rochester a couple years ago, THANK GOD!) to see what they have to offer.

Well, I will keep you posted on the results. I know you are all waiting with baited breath! HAHA!

***Detergent Update: My first load came out well. I was happy that the laundry smelled clean but didn't smell like "soap", you know? I did see some little chunks of residual soap left on the clothes. I think next time I will fill the washing machine all the way with the soap in it, to give it more time to dissolve before the clothes go in. I might even start the cycle on hot for a little bit and then turn it back to cold. That should help it dissolve faster, too, right? I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

***Detergent Update Update: So I think user error was all that was pretty much wrong with my first go-around with my homemade detergent. I didn't think one tablespoon would be enough so I put in two. The result was residue. One tablespoon is absolutely enough. The clothes smell fresh without smelling like detergent. Stains come out, clothes are definitely clean. I use it to wash ALL laundry and nobody, not even DD, has had any reaction to it. I am hooked. I can't wait to make more batches with different kinds of soaps!

I start with the washer set to hot with no clothes in it. I add the tablespoon of detergent. I let it fill up for just maybe 10 seconds. Then, I add the clothes and switch it over to cold water (how I normally do all of my laundry, except CDs). Why this weird process? I think the hot water helps the soap dissolve before the clothes get in there. I just made it up, basically, so it's not difficult for me to "remember the steps". It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is when I type it all out here.

In an effort to be more "green", I have also started line drying more of our laundry. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get some more lines up outside! Before this, I was so lame that I wasn't even line-drying my Cloth Diapers! Forget the green factor, line-drying significantly increases the life of your CDs. It just makes sense! So anyways, I started thinking, why not increase the life of ALL my clothes? Uh, duh!

So, I can't believe I have just written a whole blog about laundry! But I guess if everyone's gotta do laundry, I may as well do it in a way that makes me proud. I guess it's easier to do laundry when I feel like I am doing it the "right" way. It's taken me one tiny step closer to the kind of socially responsible person I want to be. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

How crunchy are you?

Take this quiz to find out!

DISCLAIMER: I did not, nor do I personally know who, personally made this quiz! A friend posted it on a Crunchy Mama forum I am on. Go ahead and take it. It's a good time!

I was so excited to take it and get my score. As I expected, I scored directly in the middle of the road. Some of the questions they asked surprised my while other questions that they did NOT ask puzzled me even more! I think the author was entangling the labels of "crunchy" and "hippie". I realize the two terms cannot be mutually exclusive but they are certainly not synonyms! I don't think I will ever be accused of being a hippie, but I'm a pretty crunchy mama!

The question that absolutely floored me was question number 4 about the Natural Family Planning. Come on! For those of you who don't know, Natural Family Planning is the new name for our old friend "The Rhythm Method". Go ahead and do your Google search. It is directly tied to the conservative religious right's perception that actual birth control goes against God's plan. I am confused why this sentiment would be tied to anything granola as most hippies I know are atheist.

I am a Christian but I am a liberal and, not to be flippant but, realistic about birth control. Natural Family Planning is an effective form of birth control if it doesn't actually matter how many children you have (because the mom isn't allowed to work outside of the home and her only aspiration is to be a full-time mom to a Duggar-sized family). I don't any family of 4 that used that form of birth control. Be real here. I love kids as much as the next woman, but I feel it is socially irresponsible to have tons and tons of kids when we have been blessed with  a plethora of ways to responsibly plan the size of a family.

I guess what really bothers me about this is that I always believed that people became crunchy mamas because they became MORE educated. Their knowledge becomes power, even if it manifests in a way that the mainstream doesn't agree with. I don't exactly put educated people and the religious right in the same camp. I cannot wrap my head around why the two would agree on this one thing. Anybody have any insight here?

And nothing about composting, recycling, or eating your placenta? Come on! ;-)