Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thank You

Dear Tyler,

Thank you.

Thank you for reacting with joy and excitement when we found out we were pregnant the first time, before we had planned to be. Thank you for helping me research and learn about my birth options. Thank you for watching {affiliate link} Orgasmic Birth with a mostly straight face.Thank you for the ice cream with chopped up candy bars and chocolate sauce. Thank you for helping me pick out cloth diapers.

Thank you for accompanying me to every doctor's appointment. Thank you for supporting me and understanding my sense of grief and loss when we found out that I'd be unable to birth our daughter naturally, as we'd planned. Thank you for not buying into the Doctor's scare tactics when he tried to pressure me to schedule her birth around his vacation. Thank you for getting over swine flu the day before I went into labor.

Thank you for making me laugh while we nervously awaited Delilah's surgical delivery. Thank you for looking so handsome in the OR get-up. Thank you for holding our daughter cheek-to-cheek with me while they sewed me up. Thank you for helping me figure out how to breast feed her when the awful nurse in the recovery room chided me for even trying. Thank you for taking care of me as I recovered, physically and emotionally, from surgical birth and the trying hospital experience that followed it.

Thank you for reacting with joy and excitement when we found out we were pregnant before we had planned to be, again. Thank you for your courage and support as we planned and prepared for a home birth. Thank you for agreeing, without question, not to cut our son.

Thank you for making every midwife appointment a family affair. Thank you for sitting, facing me, cross-legged with your eyes closed, my hands in yours, and listening to birth affirmation hypnosis tracks, even though doing so was crossing the line into "woo-woo" territory for you. Thank you for participating in decorating my belly with henna at my Mama Blessing. Thank you for not bringing me so much ice cream with chopped up candy bars and chocolate sauce, the second time around. Thank you for picking up extra slack around the home and with Delilah so I could be more physically active for a healthier second pregnancy.

Thank you for your incredible love and support throughout a long and hard labor. Thank you for supporting me and understanding and sharing in my sense of grief and loss when our planned home birth turned hospital transfer turned surgical delivery happened. Thank you for advocating for me and for our son in the hospital. Thank you for looking so handsome in the OR get-up, again. Thank you for staying with our son and not letting him out of your sight, to ensure that our wishes for his care were respected. Thank you for all the extra work you took on to allow me time to recover from another surgical birth, and to bond with our new baby.

Thank you for balancing work and home, to be with us as fully and as often as you can. Thank you for being willing to struggle and make due with less, so that I can spend more time at home with our babies while they are still babies. Thank you for working so hard.

Thank you for joining me in gently parenting these beautiful, incredible, amazing human beings we made. Thank you for growing in your understanding of feminism, and why it is important not just for our daughter, but for our son. Thank you for treating our children with kindness, and with respect for the people they are today and the people they might become. Thank you for sharing with them your gift of music.

Thank you for being my friend and partner. Thank you for affirming me as a mother and a wife and a human being on a daily basis. Thank you for making me feel loved, wanted, and beautiful every single day, whether I'm 9 months pregnant, or 6 hours post-partum, or 3 days past my last shower.

Thank you for your strength. For your calm. For your humor. For your commitment. For your honesty. For your trust.

For you.

Thank you for you. Thank you for this beautiful, fun, happy, loving family.

Happy Father's Day to my love, and to the best father my children could have.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Choosing Cloth for my Babies

I have a tendency to throw myself into new endeavors full-force; to go all out, whole hog, and to try to be the very best (or at least, my very best) within the context of each new experience. Motherhood has certainly been no exception.

When I first discovered that I was pregnant with my first child, I was caught in a sort of excited disbelief. I had always known that I wanted to be a mother, but the timing wasn't exactly how I had planned, and I was, of course, nervous about doing it "right."

The initial shock wore off pretty quickly, and as it did, I threw myself into learning everything I could possibly know about pregnancy, birth, and babies.

Many of the big decisions were no-brainers. I had always known that I would pursue natural birthing. I had always known that I would breast feed. I had always known that I would avoid commercial baby food. That I would not spank. That I would only work part-time when my children were little.

Together with my then-fiance, we navigated these choices, me pitching my arguments, for or against, as necessary. As I started to throw myself into motherhood, learning all I could about the choices that I'd already made to be as fully prepared as possible, I kept happening upon decisions that hadn't occurred to me. Where would the baby sleep? If the baby was a boy, would we circumcise him? What about vaccinations?

Through the dizzying sea of decisions to make, to argue for or against, one thing I never thought to consider was what, of all things, our baby would poop in. I was entirely unaware that there options other than the popular brands of disposable diapers, until a friend asked "Will you use cloth diapers?" Once again, I took to my laptop in a flurry of key strokes to learn all I could about the benefits and the downsides of cloth diapers.

The more I learned the more clear it became that of course we would use cloth diapers. I had long ago given up disposable menstrual products in favor of their reusable counterparts, including cloth pads. The environmental impact of several years of disposable diapers times an at-that-time-undetermined number of children would far outweigh that of a few pads every month. We had already traded in paper towels for cloth napkins, so why would we choose anything other than cloth for wiping our little one's bum? We had already carefully weeded through the array of baby shampoos, lotions, and diaper creams to select natural brands free of toxins to pamper our baby’s skin, so why would we nullify that effort by putting the toxic ingredients in typical disposable diapers against her bottom?

Those nights of researching decision after decision, product after product made it clear, I was a mom. Even though she wasn't born yet, it was my duty to protect my child as much as possible from the toxins in this world. It was my mission to make educated decisions regarding her care and upbringing. It was my responsibility to make choices that were consistent with my values, up to and including something as usually thoughtless as which diapers to choose.

As we learned and grew as parents, we made mistakes. When we found out or second child was on the way, we did some things differently than we had the first time around, but there was never a question about what diapers to use. When it comes to parenting, there is no one way to do it "right," but we all strive to do what is "right for us", and for us, that includes cloth diapers!

This post is part of BlogHer's 'I'm a Mom' Moment editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nursing a 3 Month Old: Then and Now {Wordless Wednesday}

When Delilah was a wee 3 month old, my friend Nicole (Bella Photography by Nicole Aarstad) took some photos of her. During the session, she snapped some photos while Delilah nursed, and they are some of my favorite photos from that day:

In late April at my niece's birthday party, Nicole was there to photograph the party. She was gracious enough to oblige my request for some nursing photos with Canon, also 3 months at the time:

I will always be grateful to Nicole for these beautiful images. Having gone from birth to weaning with one child already, I know just how fleeting the nursing relationship is, despite how all-consuming it can seem when I'm in the midst of it. Especially around the 3 month mark, when these photos were taken. These photos are a unique gift, a gift that will forever allow to me look back and remember a time when my babies were, in fact, babies!

And just because, here are some images she captured of Delilah, 3.5 years, at the birthday party:

And our whole, complete family:

Thanks again for these photos Nicole! Local family and friends, check out Bella Photography by Nicole Aarstad for all of your photography needs! From weddings, to birthday parties, to portraits, she's got you covered! 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Giveaway: Dental Care Package From Fuchs - $27 ARV {6/15; US}

This is a joint giveaway with Fine and Fair and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries. Complimentary products and consideration were given for review.
Fuchs Toothbrushes and Eco-Dent are offering our readers a giveaway of a Dental Care Package, a value of $27. This package includes a Fuchs Toothbrushes Nylon Bristle Medoral Jr. Child’s toothbrush ($3.25), a 2 oz. Bottle of Eco-Dent DailyCare Original Mint Toothpowder ($7.79), Eco-Dent Premium Dental Floss Mint Travel size (40 yds.) of GentleFloss ($3.79), Eco-Dent Between! Cool Mint Dental Gum ($1.99), and an 8 oz. bottle of Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse in Sparkling Clean Mint ($9.89).  

From our reviewer, Joella at Fine and Fair: Natural Parents Network Giveaway: Dental Care Package From Fuchs - $27 ARV {6/15; US} Eco-Dent offers a comprehensive line of high-quality natural oral care products. Fuchs Toothbrushes are available in a range of types and sizes to meet the unique and changing dental needs of all ages, toddler to senior. Eco-Dent premium natural dental care products and Fuchs Toothbrushes can be purchased online at Lotus Brands Inc. and a variety of other online retailers, and are available at many natural food stores locally.

When I opened the dental care package, the first item I pulled out was the Jr. Child’s Toothbrush. The tooth brush is perfectly sized for my 3-year-old daughter’s hands and mouth, and the bristles are soft and gentle. The simple glittery blue color is gender neutral, and I love having a child-sized toothbrush free of licensed characters. My daughter loves brushing with her new toothbrush and grabs it several times throughout the day for a “pretend” brushing session!

 The GentleFloss is another big hit with child and parent alike! I love that the floss is vegan, and that the cardboard packaging is recyclable. The floss itself is smooth and glides between teeth so easily that my daughter can floss with it without assistance.
Natural Parents Network Giveaway: Dental Care Package From Fuchs - $27 ARV {6/15; US}
The remaining items in the dental care package got mixed reviews in my home, but personally, I like all of them! The fluoride-free DailyCare Toothpowder is used in place of toothpaste, and I love the way it bubbles and fizzes in my mouth! It leaves my mouth feeling fresh and clean, and doesn’t irritate my sensitive teeth. A little goes a long way, and while I was skeptical at first of the “Up to 200 Brushings” claim on the tiny bottle, I am a believer after seeing how little of the powder is gone after using it exclusively for several weeks now. The mint flavor is very subtle, and the overall flavor may take some getting used to for those who aren’t accustomed to baking soda-based dental care products. My husband didn’t care for the flavor at first, but after our toothpaste ran out, he has been using the powder without complaint and hasn’t picked up more toothpaste despite several runs to the store. My 3-year-old tried the toothpowder but wasn’t able to get past the taste. I plan to try sprinkling a bit onto her regular children’s toothpaste to see if I can ease her into accepting the toothpowder on its own.

Like the Toothpowder, the Beetween! Cool Mint gum has a very subtle mint flavor and might take some getting used to if the baking soda taste is new to you. The gum is very effective at freshening my mouth and breath between meals and brushings, and is something I appreciate having in my purse or diaper bag so I can freshen my mouth quickly when brushing is inconvenient.

Natural Parents Network: Giveaway: Dental Care Package From Fuchs - $27 ARV {6/15; US} Finally, the Ultimate Daily Rinse offers the most noticeable mint flavor, and like the other products, leaves my mouth feeling very fresh and clean. The alcohol-free rinse is quite strong, and has a mouth feel similar to that of Listerine or other oral rinses. I found it necessary to do a quick swish with water after using the rinse, and also found that the rinse was slightly irritating to the areas of my mouth with more sensitive teeth. Despite those minor drawbacks, the rinse is certainly refreshing and leaves me with beautiful breath!

Overall, I can confidently recommend all of the products in this dental care package. They are clearly high-quality, natural products and provide an effective and comprehensive routine for cleaning, refreshing, and caring for teeth, gums, and overall oral health.  


You can purchase your own Fuchs Toothbrushes and Eco-Dent products at Lotus Brands Inc.. The Fuchs Toothbrushes Nylon Bristle Medoral Jr. Child’s toothbrush is available for $3.25, the 2 oz. Bottle of Eco-Dent DailyCare Original Mint Toothpowder for $7.79, Eco-Dent Premium Dental Floss Mint Travel size (40 yds.) GentleFloss for $3.79, Eco-Dent Between! Cool Mint Dental Gum for $1.99, and 8 oz. bottle of Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse-Sparkling Clean Mint for $9.89. Prices do not include shipping, which is free on orders over $50. The Lotus Brands Mall offers a variety of natural product lines, from incense to soap, cleaning products to home d├ęcor, and everything in between!  


For your own chance to win a Dental Care Package from Fuchs Toothbrushes and Eco-Dent, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below. The winner will receive a dental care package valued at $27. Contest is open to the US.
MANDATORY ENTRY: Simply leave your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system.
Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in any bonus comments so we can verify entries. This is a joint giveaway with Fine and Fair and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites! BONUS ENTRIES: See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway For entries that require a blog comment, please include your email address with the comment so we can match up entries. If on Blogger, you can write it like this to foil spambots: mail {at} naturalparentsnetwork {dot} com For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just tell us with your entry. Tweets must be a minimum of 24 hours apart — you can return to update your Rafflecopter entry without losing any of your previous entries. Your Tweets must be unprotected (publicly viewable). You don’t have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one. Rafflecopter will pick the winner through after the contest closes, and a representative from NPN will send an email notification. Leave a valid email address as you enter so we can contact you if you win. If we can’t reach a winner, we’ll draw a new name at random. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by email; otherwise, NPN will select another winner. No purchase necessary. Entrants must be age 18 or older and be residents of the countries listed at the giveaway post. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winner(s) agrees to hold Natural Parents Network and the giveaway hosts harmless for any problem with receipt and/or use of prize. Winner must contact the product seller or manufacturer directly if there is any problem with the prize or prize delivery. Winners are responsible for any taxes or customs fees related to prize winnings. NPN and the giveaway hosts reserve the right to publicize the winner's first name. Void where prohibited by law.  

Contest closes June 15, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Disclosure: Reviewer received a free sample for review purposes, and consideration was given to NPN for hosting the review/giveaway. Links may be affiliate links. Amazon links are affiliate links. We try to seek out only products we think you would find relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent. If we don't like a product, we won't be recommending it to you. See our full disclosure policy here.
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