Welcome to Lily’s Garden Herbals

I’d like to welcome a new advertiser to Crunchy Domestic Goddess – Lily’s Garden Herbals, maker of natural, herbal, non-toxic household cleaners. You may recall that I reviewed these natural cleaning products a few months ago and was very pleased with the results.

Lily’s Garden Herbals were formulated by Kim Falcone, a mother and herbalist with a deep appreciation for the natural world. All of Lily’s Garden Herbals natural household products are homemade, non-toxic, contain NO chemical ingredients or synthetic preservatives, are biodegradable and never tested on animals.

Her ad is located in my left sidebar. Welcome, Lily’s Garden Herbals!

Update on BOBB Netflix release and other birth movies

In case you aren’t on the Business of Being Born mailing list, but are waiting for the DVD release to Netflix, I wanted to let you know you are going to have to wait a little longer. The Netflix release has been pushed back to Feb. 26. The good news is that the reason it was pushed back is because BOBB is now planning a theatrical run in Chicago, Seattle, and Tulsa. So, yay for more exposure! The bad news, of course, is it that means more waiting, unless you happen to be in Chicago, Seattle or Tulsa. Then by all means get yourself to the theater! 🙂 And then email me and let me know what you thought!

Other birth movies on the horizon:

Le Premier Cri (The First Cry) – which follows 10 pregnant women all around the world, as they live, work and give birth. – This looks amazing and brought tears to my eyes the first time I watched the trailer. If you’d like to know more, here is a translated interview with the director.

Home Delivery – This film documents the lives of three women in New York, who for very different reasons have decided to go up against social trends and take the birth of their children into their own hands… and homes. – This film looks very different than the birth movies I’ve seen/heard about in the past, but seems very interesting as well.


That’s how much money we saved ourselves this weekend by picking up the dog crap in the yard ourselves, instead of hiring the local pooper scooper to do it.

dog poop signAfter the diagnosis of the crazy balled up ligament in my back and the increasing pain I was experiencing, I felt justified in considering hiring someone to remove the last two months’ worth of frozen poopsicles from our yard. However, after discovering the pooper scooper charges $40 per 5-gallon bucketful for a one-time removal, and knowing our backyard was fuller than I should probably admit, Jody and I decided just to do it ourselves this past weekend. Most of the snow had melted, the temperature was in the 50s, the sun was shining – it was a glorious day for poop scooping.

After quickly realizing a yard full of poop was no place for a toddler, Julian hung out in the swing while Jody, Ava and I all got to work. I know what you are thinking – what awful parents, making your 3-year-old pick up dog crap. The thing is, she insists that she helps. She was like that this past fall and apparently the novelty hasn’t worn off yet, so I’m going to enjoy her enthusiasm while it lasts.

Ava was so cute while we were spending family time picking up poop together too. She remarked, “See mama, you didn’t have to pay someone to pick up poop. You and me and Dada can do it. It’s the whole group family picking up poop.”

Who says you need a day at the park to get in good quality family time? We can get it right in our own backyard while picking up dog poop! :oP

Anyway, we ended up filling up our 5-gallon bucket two and a half times. $100 worth of crap. Makes me wonder what in the world the pooper scooper does with all of that poop.

Morning Sickness – beneficial to mother and baby?

Cross-posted today at BlogHer: BlogHers Act. As always, I welcome comments over there. Makes me feel loved special like someone is actually reading. 😉

Morning sicknessWhen I became pregnant with my first child after a 13-month long roller-coaster ride of trying to conceive (including two rounds of IUI – intrauterine insemination), I admit that at first I welcomed morning sickness with open arms. However it didn’t take long for the novelty to wear off and it became a sort of love-hate relationship. I loved the dry heaves I experienced every morning for the first trimester of my pregnancy for the reassurance they provided me that a life really was growing within me. But I also loathed the waves of nausea that lasted most of the day, especially when I needed to carry on with my 9 to 5 job, business as usual.

I think for most women, morning sickness is a mixed bag – a blessing and a curse if you will. It would be nice to know that those barfy feelings are somehow contributing to towards a healthy pregnancy, wouldn’t it?

I recently came upon a study (from 2000) that shows morning sickness does, in fact, serve an actual beneficial function for both mama and baby, which may be some consolation to the women currently in the throes of it. According to the study performed by Cornell University evolutionary biologists Samuel M. Flaxman and Paul W. Sherman, morning sickness, or what they report as NVP (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy), “is Mother Nature’s way of protecting both mother and fetus from food-born illness and also shielding the fetus from chemicals that can deform fetal organ at the most critical time in development.”

The analysis of hundreds of studies covering tens of thousands of pregnancies suggests that morning sickness and the aversion to potentially harmful foods is the body’s way of preserving wellness of the mother at a time when her immune system is naturally suppressed (to prevent rejection of the child that is developing in her uterus) and has reduced defenses against food-borne pathogens.

By creating food aversion, NVP also protects against toxins from microorganisms and other teratogenic (fetal organ-deforming) chemicals, Sherman says. “At that same time, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the cells of the tiny embryo are differentiating and starting to form structures. Those developing structures and organ systems — such as arms and legs, eyes and the central nervous system — at this critical stage of a new life could be adversely affected by the teratogenic phytochemicals in some food plants,” Sherman says. These chemicals are secondary compounds that plants make to defend themselves against disease and insects.

I’d like to think that if I were pregnant these findings would make me slightly more appreciative of my daily dry heaves. Of course that’s easy for me to say now since my cereal stays down every morning.

Steph at Adventures in Babywearing, on the other hand, who recently announced that she’s expecting baby number four, is dealing with morning sickness and would rather be in bed than keeping up with housework. Hey, I feel that way most days too and I’m not even pregnant. 😉

I am first of all, really excited about being preggy for the first time as a blogger. Kinda cool. Except that so far I do not even feel like sitting here at the computer. I’d rather be under the covers in my bed. And that’s pretty much where I’ve been. I am taking each chance that I actually feel well to catch up on housework that’s been neglected while I do nothing and try to get my mind off this stomach that is torturing my every waking moment. Poor hubby came out of the shower with an elephant hoody towel yesterday. So laundry is at the top of the list.

And Marie at Makes and Takes wants to know who named it morning sickness anyway?

I am sorry, but most pregnant people I know can say that “morning sickness” is not only in the morning. Who ever came up with that term should be tortured. … I am better now [with morning sickness] than at the beginning, but I think I have finally come to terms that it is never going away. And until my belly started to pop out, I was under the impression that I had a serious illness. Thankfully, there is a baby inside and eventually the “morning sickness” will have to end, at least come June.

Marie would probably appreciate this, also from the article.

Acknowledging what most women already know, Sherman points out that the term morning sickness, “is a complete misnomer…NVP doesn’t occur just in the morning but at any time during the waking hours, and it’s not a sickness in the pathological sense.” He adds that, “we should change the name to wellness insurance.”

Julie at Pinkmorning asks “Are you kidding me?” after discovering that the medicine she was prescribed to help with her morning sickness has side effects including nausea and vomiting! Now that’s just wrong.

so my doctor prescribed me some medicine to help ease my nausea since i haven’t been able to keep much down and at my thirteen week appointment my morning sickness had not yet started to subside. i was reading the information on this medicine and the side effects include: dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, blurred vision, and vomiting…are you kidding me?? so to help with my nausea, i was prescribed a medicine that has nausea and vomiting as side effects?? i found this laughable, but decided to give it a whirl anyway because i am so tired of feeling sick. my doctor said i should know within a few days if it was working or not. so a few days after taking it, i was sicker than i was before…throwing up multiple times at work and at home…i stopped taking it but have not started feeling better at all.

Poor Julie. That sounds so miserable. Hopefully she will start feeling better on her own very soon or perhaps find a natural remedy to make it a little more bearable.

There’s much more to the study than I’ve reported here, and it’s definitely worth a read if you are pregnant and dealing with NVP or know someone who is. It’s really quite fascinating the way a woman’s body can take care of her and her unborn child.

The biologists say that ultimately pregnant women should “listen to their bodies” when deciding what they should or should not eat. That’s sound advice on so many levels. I couldn’t agree more.

Photo credit: Jupiter Images

Inauspicious breastfeeding beginnings

If you are searching for the Bloggy Giveaway post, here is the link to my digital camera giveaway.

And now, let’s get back to January’s Carnival of Breastfeeding, brought to you by the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog. This month’s theme is “beginnings and endings.” Since I don’t know much yet about endings with regard to breastfeeding, I thought I’d share the story of my breastfeeding beginning – one I’ve yet to tell here – instead. Following my story I have links to other bloggers participating in this month’s carnival. Hope you will pay them a visit too. 🙂

After a much harder than expected labor and birth, my first child, Ava, entered into the world at 12:06 a.m. June 22, 2004. She was perfect in every way and latched onto my breast without any hesitation the first time it was offered to her. Despite her instinctual desire to nurse, much like her birth, our first few days of breastfeeding didn’t go exactly as planned either.

Nursing Ava in the hospital June 2004Even though I had magnesium sulfate coursing through my veins to prevent seizures (due to the high blood pressure I developed with HELLP syndrome) for the next day, which in turn meant my mental state was not up to par, I was determined to breastfeed Ava and put her to the breast often. And that’s where she would stay usually for 30 to 45 minutes on each breast – contentedly nursing. Those long sessions at the breast should have been my first clue that she was going to be a nurser for the long haul, but that’s another story. 😉

Because of my pregnancy complications I spent the first five days of Ava’s life in the hospital, where her weight was carefully monitored by her then (family practitioner) doctor. When she lost more than 10% of her birth weight (which had been 8 lbs. 4 oz.), the doctor recommended we start supplementing with f*rmula. I’d always assumed that if the hospital or doctor tried to push f*rmula on us, we would refuse, just because we were planning on exclusively breastfeeding. However, in my weakened state I acquiesced, assumed doctor knew best and went with it. I was, however, adamant that I would not be the one bottle feeding her since I didn’t want her to experience any confusion regarding where the mama milk was coming from. So Jody (daddy) or a nurse (when Jody was had run home to let out the dogs) were the one who fed her the bottles, and I asked that it was only a couple of ounces at a time. I think there were two days where Ava received f*rmula after each nursing session. She did fine with it and thankfully, never had any problem going back to the breast or switching between breast and bottle.

Once my milk came in (and boy, did it ever come in!) and we headed home from the hospital on day five, Jody and I decided we were done with the f*rmula. We both felt like I was fully capable of exclusively breastfeeding her at that point. We took some bottles home from the hospital, but they never were opened. I stuck to my guns and breastfed her exclusively (until she was six months old and if you’re a regular here, you know that she’s still nursing 1x/day at age 3 1/2) and never looked back.

Ava had no trouble packing on the ounces and pounds on mama’s milk alone (often surprising the doctors) and by two months old was in the 100th percentile for weight.

When I think back to those first few days, I wonder if the f*rmula was really necessary or if the doctor was being a little overly cautious. (This is the same doctor who speculated that I might need a blood transfusion to encourage my milk to come in after I lost a fair amount of blood during birth. My OB never recommended a transfusion and my milk came in just fine on its own.) It’s hard to say. However, one thing is for sure. I am glad that once we got home I trusted my body and knew that I could provide for her. I feel fortunate that I had a great support network including my husband and friends and that I was knowledgeable enough about breastfeeding to know that supplementing was no longer necessary.

What started out a little rocky turned into a beautiful nursing relationship.

**Spelled that way to prevent ubiquitous f*rmula ads from showing up on my blog.


Other Breastfeeding Carnival participants:

A digital camera is up for grabs

2/2/08: This GIVEAWAY is now CLOSED. I am no longer accepting new entries. Thank you for all of the interest! 🙂

It’s time again for another round of the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival and this time I’ve got something supa-dupa cool to give away – a digital camera!

It’s an HP Photosmart M547 6.2 MP 3x Optical Zoom digital camera. (Thank you, HP!) I’d like to say that it’s brand new in the box, but the truth is that I took it out and used it a handful of times. That was back when we were thinking of buying a new camera and I wanted to see how this one handled. HP Photosmart M547The good news is that it’s a fine point and shoot camera, is easy to use, has a powerful (in my opinion) flash and 2.4″ LCD, and takes good pictures. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and is a nice little camera. It does need a memory card and batteries, but my husband tells me that you can get a good 2 GB card for under $20 (heck, under $13!) at Amazon.

If you want a chance to win this camera and you live in the continental United States (sorry, but I can’t afford the cost of shipping internationally), please leave a comment below and make sure you include a valid email address so that I can get in touch with you if you are the winner. You do not need to have a blog in order to enter. I will randomly select a winner (using Random.org) on Saturday, Feb. 2, and announce the winner later that day.

Good luck! 🙂

Now head on over to Bloggy Giveaways to see what everyone else is giving away!

Like my blog? Subscribe to my RSS feed. 🙂

Best Shot Monday – 1/28/08 – Sleep tight

Looking to step outside of the box a little bit this weekend, I took this picture of our reflection in the mirror. It didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped (let me tell you it’s damn hard holding a 25 lb. baby in one arm while holding a heavy SLR, arm outstretched in the other), but I am still rather fond of it. 🙂

Julian sleeping on mommy - self portrait - 1/27/08

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

The cute and silly things they say/do

Jan. 25, 2008

I was sitting on the couch with Julian in my lap the other evening as he nursed. His shirt was pulled up a little bit so that his belly was exposed. He lightly touched his tummy with one finger and then giggled. Totally amused, he did it again and again, giggling away as he nursed. 🙂 It was so cute and his laughter so infectious, I was soon laughing right along with him.

And here I thought it was impossible to tickle yourself. Guess not.


Jan. 24, 2008

Ava was trying to make ducks out of Legos, like daddy makes. I was in the middle of making dinner and told her I’d help her in a minute, but she figured (figgered) it on her own and was so excited.

Ava: I figgered out how Dada did it! I just figgered and figgered and figgered until I got it right!


Jan. 2, 2008

Julian was laying across my lap having just finished nursing and hung his head upside-down off my leg to look at Ava, who came over to give him some sisterly “love.”

Me: Ava, don’t pull on his [Julian’s] head please.

Ava: You mean don’t pull OFF his head.

Uh, yeah. That too.


December, 2007

A conversation between Ava and me while I was putting her to bed. I was trying to commend her for her generosity.

Me: “Honey, Santa knew that you were so generous to give away your old doll house to someone who didn’t have one so he brought you the new wooden one.”

Ava: “Santa didn’t know I gave away my farm too. Silly Santa.”

(She got a replacement doll house, but not a replacement farm. That kid, she doesn’t miss anything.)


Lastly – totally unrelated, but something you don’t want to miss – tomorrow is another round of the Bloggy Giveaways carnival. Last time I gave away a Mommy Blogger t-shirt. This time I’m giving away an HP 6.2 MP Digital Camera! Be sure to check back tomorrow for details and to enter to win. 🙂
Also just want to mention that this is a GREAT way to gain some exposure for your blog. And you can give just about anything away (see the official site for rules), so nearly anyone with a blog can participate. Hope you’ll join in! 🙂

Green Tip #10 – Trade in and recycle your old electronics with Costco

This week’s Green Tip was submitted by Melissa at Nature Deva

Costco (one of Melissa’s favorite stores) offers a Trade-In and Recycle Program*, conducted by third party Greensight, for electronic equipment like MP3 players, computers, digital cameras, monitors, printers, fax machines and more. You go to the Trade-In and Recycle Program, select what you’d like to trade in, answer some questions regarding the details and condition of the equipment and are offered a trade-in value, which will be sent to you in the form of a Costco gift card. Even items such as monitors, printers and fax machines that have no trade in value, are still accepted to be recycled for FREE.

This is a fabulous way to keep electronics out of the landfills AND get some cash back, or at the very least, recycle them free of charge.

*The Costco Trade-In and Recycle Program is available only to members of Costco who elect to trade in or recycle any qualifying consumer electronic product currently offered by the program.

Thanks, Melissa!

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

It’s not every day you’re quoted in an ABCNews article

Preschoolers Behaving Badly: Expulsions Rise

No, no, no. Please don’t get the wrong idea. Ava did NOT get expelled from preschool or any such thing, but I did get the opportunity to contribute my thoughts regarding a Yale University study that showed bad behavior and preschool expulsions are on the rise. Check out the top of page 3. Go ahead. I’ll wait. 😉

While I wish the journalist would’ve used more of what I said regarding gentle discipline, I felt that I came across sounding OK. (Hopefully it doesn’t make Ava sound like a bully either because she is certainly nowhere near that. She is a 3-year-old and she does react physically and emotionally at times, as I suspect most 3-year-olds do.) I would’ve loved to talk more about the type of preschool (Waldorf-inspired) Ava attends (which is a small in-home play-based school), but that wasn’t really germane to the article. Or was it?

One of the things I love about Waldorf preschool (and the Waldorf philosophy in general) is that it encourages imagination and creativity through free play and natural toys. Things like learning letters, numbers and how to read are not a part of Waldorf preschool. In fact, they don’t believe in teaching kids to read and write until they are *gasp* 7 years old. Honestly, when I learned that, my initial thought was that it seemed kind of late. However the more I thought about it and the more I learned about Waldorf the more it made sense to me.

Kids are only kids once. Why do we have to rush them into academia? Why can’t we let them be kids? Being a child should be about exploring his/her world and learning through play and imitation. They have the rest of their lives to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. That being said, I also acknowledge that different types of schooling and education work for different kids and Waldorf is not for everyone, but it seems to fit well with Ava so far. I feel fortunate in that we each have a choice regarding what works best for our children.

While I don’t know if we will continue with Waldorf education past preschool, I do know that holding off on formally teaching reading until age 7 doesn’t seem that odd to me anymore. I don’t want to deny Ava (or Julian) the experience of being a child where they can play, explore, and imagine to their heart’s content. In the meantime it’s not like Ava isn’t learning letters, counting, numbers, etc. at home. I mean, it’s a part of life and she’s definitely exposed to it, but I am happy that for her preschool is a place where she can play and explore her creativity and imagination. It works for us. 🙂