Support Beauty in Nature – park clean-up & recycling

Member Project Support Beauty in Nature

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

A few weeks ago, Sarcastic Mom put out a call to action to get others involved in a project to help clean up our neighborhoods, recycle or otherwise spread the word about green living. She called it Project Support Beauty in Nature.

This Saturday was a beautiful sunny (though super windy) day. It was nearly perfect for going outside and getting stuff done. While Jody cleaned out our garage and broke down all of the cardboard boxes we’ve collected over the past several months (we save them up for a while, then take them to our recycling center since our curbside recycling program doesn’t accept cardboard), the kids and I went for a walk to the park to pick up trash along the way.

A cursory glance around the park didn’t indicate there was very much garbage. However when we paid attention to it, we soon discovered a fair amount here and there and it didn’t take long at all for us to fill up the Target bag I brought along as a trash bag.

Julian fell asleep in the stroller, but Ava was a wonderful helper (like always). We found several soda and beer cans, fast food drink cups, plastic bags, and other miscellaneous trash, including 1 glove, a mini-highlighter (that Ava kept for herself), a piece of wood, candy wrappers, and straws.

Ava picking up trash at the park - 2/9/08 Ava picking up trash at the park - 2/9/08

There was a lot more trash down by the stream but I couldn’t maneuver the stroller down there so it will have to wait for another day when I can go back by myself or with just Ava.

Our full trash bag - 2/9/08 Ava and me with our bag full of trash from the park - 2/9/08

We took it home and I sorted through it to recycle the cans and plastic bottles. Then Ava helped daddy load up the last bit of cardboard and dog food bags full of paperboard (cereal and cracker boxes, egg cartons, etc.) into the car.

Ava helping daddy load the cardboard for recycling in the car - 2/9/08 Cardboard, plus two dog food bags full of paperboard, ready to go to the recycling center - 2/9/08

I need to remind myself to take a bag with me whenever we go for walks because invariably there is some trash that needs picking up along the way and I feel a lot better about stuffing it in a bag, than I do in my pockets. 🙂 There’s my green tip – take a trash bag to fill up on your walks. My guess is that you’ll always find at least one thing to pick up.

Here’s another green tip. Even if your community does not have a curbside recycling program (or if you do have one, but it doesn’t include all that you’d like to recycle – like our cardboard/paperboard), there’s a good chance there’s a recycling center somewhere nearby you with more options. Earth 911 is full of useful recycling information and more. You can use their Find a Recycling Center search box to find a center near you.

If you want to get involved in Project Support Beauty in Nature, there is still one more day! Sarcastic Mom is going to put up her big post where everyone can link back to their action posts on Monday, Feb. 11. So get to it and help make the world a little greener. 🙂

Green Tip of the Week #12 – Breastfeed for the environment

Breastfeed for a healthy baby, mama, worldThis week’s green tip is pretty basic, but something not everybody realizes. Not only is breastfeeding best for baby and mama, it’s also free (no need to buy anything to get started) and best for the environment.

“Breastfeeding is the most environmentally-friendly way to feed a baby. Breast milk is a renewable resource.” Consider all of the cans, bottles, plastic, etc. that you are keeping out of the landfills. Not to mention that there’s “no energy needed to produce plastic bottles and f*rmula milk, no inefficient land use and methane gas produced by cows, and the only energy used is your own.” — Embrace Green Motherhood: Breastfeed

Julian and mamaWhen you are breastfeeding the milk is always right with you, ready to go and at the perfect temperature for baby.

Breastfeeding – good for babies, good for moms and good for the world. It’s a great green thing to do. 🙂

The Breastfeed for a healthy baby, mama, world shirts are a new design and available at Attached At The Hip in the breastfeeding advocacy section.

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. 🙂

Celebratory giveaway in the works

Monday, Feb. 11, is my 3 year blogging anniversary AKA blogiversary. (Can you believe it?! 3 years!) To celebrate, I will be hosting a giveaway right here to be announced that day. Please check back on Monday for details. 🙂
It’s Jody birthday on Sunday and I still don’t know what we’re going to do to celebrate. Anyone have any ideas on things to do? He’s not giving me any suggestions on how he’d like to spend the day. :oP

Have a great weekend!

Got Twitter? Got spam?

At Jody’s suggestion, I signed up for Twitter today. And then I went on to spam the entire world, or at least that’s what it felt like.

Once you sign up, Twitter gives you the option of finding people from your email address book who are already Twitter’ers. I did that and added a bunch of folks. Cool. All was well and good.

After that it gives you the option of being notified when other people in your address book join Twitter OR SO I THOUGHT, so rather than sift through my address book (i.e. everyone I’ve ever emailed or who’s emailed me), I went ahead and hit “Select All.” But no, that’s not what it does. Not at all. What it does is spams everyone in your address book with an email like this: “amygeekgrl wants to keep up with you on Twitter.”

No matter that I don’t even know who everyone in my address book is (like all of the people I’ve corresponded with about Craigslist or Freecycle items or people at help desks or Yahoo! Groups I belong to, listservs, etc.) or that there are people I haven’t emailed in years or my daughter’s preschool teacher and other preschoolers’ parents. It doesn’t discriminate. Everybody, it seems, is a potential future Twitterer. (Updated to add: I just checked my gmail account – I have 1271 contacts. Eek-gads! Perhaps it’s time to actually go through those and weed out everyone I don’t know.)

I’m truly mortified.

I got a few emails back from people I don’t know like this one:
“hey what is twitter?”

and this:
“I have no idea who you are but do not send me spam. Thank you.”

I should consider myself lucky they haven’t been any worse, but there’s still time. 😉

I’ve thought about sending another spam out to the masses to say “I’m sorry,” but I figure I will leave well enough alone. I’m just responding to the emails (and apologizing profusely) on a case-by-case basis. I hope most people just disregard it as spam and go about their merry way.

I do want to say here that I’m so so sorry to everyone I inadvertently spammed. It was never my intention.

And now I will go put myself in timeout. I obviously shouldn’t be allowed to spend any more time on the Internet.

(But if you are on Twitter and you didn’t get spammed by me and you want to be my friend or whatever it’s called over there, look me up! I’m amygeekgrl AKA super big dork!) 😉

Cute free shirt? Sign me up!

greenfruitPolly Tod is a new online store with cool baby clothes. They will give you a free t-shirt if you blog about it*. So here I am, plugging this store so I can get my free schwag because their stuff is so cute. 😉 Now my biggest problem is deciding which shirt to get for the li’l man.
I’m rather fond of this one – Thinking Green from Day One. But I’m also keen on I love fruit, ‘cuz that boy loves him some fruit! Which do you like?
*Actually, the free shirt offer is closed for now, but I hear they will open it up again in the future, so watch the site for details.

The Big Push for Midwives Campaign 2008

Cross-posted over at BlogHers Act.

Obama, Clinton, McCain, Romney, Paul and Huckabee aren’t the only ones hitting the campaign trail this winter. Thanks to a nonpartisan coalition of consumer advocates, The Big Push for Midwives – a campaign of a different variety, but equally as important – is pushing for the regulation and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Midwife with mother and babyAccording to The Chicago Tribune, “Certified professional midwives, who are lay practitioners specializing in home births, are banned in 26 states… They fall under a different legal classification than certified nurse-midwives, advanced practice nurses who are licensed in all 50 states and work mainly in hospitals.”

Why is this important?

We live in an age where surgical birth via cesarean section (which is full of risks to both the mother and the baby) is becoming more and more common, while physiological birth (where labor starts spontaneously, progresses spontaneously without drugs, and birth happens spontaneously) is almost unheard of in many hospitals. Yet many women want the option of a physiological birth with a trained care provider (midwife) in a birthing center or in their own home. However, because of current laws, that option is not always available.

I believe that all women deserve the right to choose a maternity care provider that is best for their needs which is why The Big Push for Midwives is so important.

The Big Push for Midwives is a nationally coordinated campaign to advocate for regulation and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and to push back against the attempts of the American Medical Association Scope of Practice Partnership to deny American families access to legal midwifery care.

Our goals are to fully integrate the Midwives Model of Care into the health care systems of our states, to highlight the importance of family healthcare choices and to defend the ability of CPMs to provide legal and safe prenatal, birth and postpartum care to families in every state. Childbirth activists from the campaign’s participating states are pooling their collective resources and experience to coordinate and optimize advocacy efforts during 2008.

Amie Newman at RH Reality Check links midwifery and home birth with the rest of reproductive freedom, and believes that women should have the right to childbirth choices just as they do the right to abortion choices.

Hmmm. Sounds like reproductive justice to me. Substitute “abortion access” for “Midwives Model of Care,” “abortion providers” for “CPMs,” and “abortion care” for “prenatal, birth and postpartum care” and you can see how the underlying issues are essentially the same whether you’re talking about abortion rights or childbirth choices.

That is, whether we’re talking about provider choices for childbirth or access to abortion, it is not too much to ask that wherever women live in this nation, the options for reproductive health care are not effectively criminalized in some states and legal in others.

Jennifer Block at Pushed Birth notes that:

… the research data, as well as other countries that are caring for women and babies better than we are, show that midwives should be supporting normal labor and deliveries (the majority), while MDs should be caring for the complications, emergencies, and women with risk factors. This “division of labor” also happens to be far more cost-effective than our current system, which bleeds more cash for less care than any other in the world. The bottom line from a public health perspective: home-birth midwives should be legitimate care providers, not criminals.

Erika of Inspired Mama Musings headed out on her birthday of Jan. 24 with her two kids in tow to a peaceful protest at the capitol building in Idaho to support her local midwives, a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.

I am very fortunate and blessed to have had births attended by midwives and my hope is that the women and families of Idaho will always have that option.

Idaho is just one of 20 states that are introducing legislation or have legislation in the planning stages. Pennsylvania is another.

Annette of Natural Childhood also attended a rally supporting midwives at the capitol in Harrisburg, Penn., and included several pictures from the rally on her blog.

Our Bodies, Ourselves is also a supporter of The Big Push.

“This is the perfect time to insist that women in all communities have access to the option of midwifery care,” said Executive Director Judy Norsigian. “This would lower the number of unnecessary cesareans and enable many more women to enjoy the benefits of active support during labor and birth.”

Also worth noting is the book “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth” is due out in March and includes information about the benefits of midwifery. And there’s a great article on the Our Bodies, Ourselves web site that compares and contrasts the type of care typically provided by midwives vs. that provided by obstetricians.

The Midwives Model of Care, based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes, is a fundamentally different approach to pregnancy and childbirth and is in stark contrast to the standard Medical Model of Care. “The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.”

If you’re interested in advocating on behalf of licensing CPMs in your state, please check the list of state organizations and their various discussion lists and websites, where you can find out more information about how to get involved. If your state isn’t on this list and you’d like to get involved, you may email Katie Prown and she can point you to additional resources. You may also make a donation to The Big Push for Midwives Campaign.

Photo credit: Thanks to Homestyle Midwifery Care for this beautiful image.

No voting for me, applause for Julian

I went to my first ever caucus tonight. However, I did not vote. Life, it seems, is full of surprises.

Yesterday I called the Colorado Democratic Party to verify whether or not Jody and I were registered Democrats, because in order to vote in a caucus you must be registered as one party or the other. The woman I talked to told me that I was a dem, but that Jody was unaffiliated. I thought it odd at the time that I would’ve declared a party and not him, but I said OK, excited that I’d be able to participate in the caucus.

Fast-forward to tonight. I got online to verify the address of the school where the caucus would be held and in the process I came across a site that allows you to look up your political affiliation. For some reason, I decided to put in my information and was a bit surprised when I came up as “unaffiliated.” How could that be?! Was I registered or not? I figured I’d have to wait and find out for sure when we got to the school.

Jody and I agreed that we’d all go to the caucus tonight regardless of the fact that he wasn’t going to be able to vote (and, after the most recent development, even if I ended up not being able to vote). He was interested in learning more about the process, as was I, so after grabbing a quick takeout dinner, we headed to the school, kids in tow.

The line to get checked in was out the door and we had to park two blocks away. While I’d never been to a caucus before, I had a feeling it was a larger than normal turnout and that was exciting.

I made my way to the front of the check-in line and the volunteer behind the table searched for my name, but it was not on her list. I told her my story about being told I was a registered dem, but then finding myself unaffiliated online and she said it didn’t sound like I could vote, but there was one other person I could check with just to be sure. So I went over to that woman and she did a search for my name online and found that I was, in fact, unaffiliated. Bollocks. She said that we could still sit in if we like, provided that it didn’t get too crowded, so after letting the kids run the halls a bit, we made our way into the second of two gymnasiums packed full of people in bleachers.

My guess is that there were about 400-500 people in the gym we were in. We were told it was a record turnout and Jody overheard a man saying that if even 1/4 of the number of people showed up tonight, it would have been a record. A woman mentioned that when she usually comes, there are about 5 people there for her precinct, so this was really huge.

We took our place on the floor (where everyone with kids seemed to settle in). Ava was content to sit there and eat her dinner, but not Julian. He had no intention of sitting still and wriggled his way free of Jody and made his way out into the middle of the gym floor where the “super chair” was speaking. The chairman noticed him standing there and made a comment to the crowd, “Oh, here’s our youngest democrat!” The crowd chuckled and gave a hearty round of applause. And Julian stood there happy as a clam, smiling at his audience, until daddy whisked him away. 😉

It wasn’t long after that that Jody took the kids out into the hallway, where they could both run freely (and they weren’t the only ones who had grown tired of the festivities), while I stayed in the gym to experience the event.

We lingered about an hour, until the two large groups broke up into smaller groups by precinct which was just about the same time that the kids were showing signs that they were ready to head home. Truth be told, after a night of little sleep (both kids had the sniffles and Julian was up more times than I can count), a pap smear and a trip back to the dentist to pick up my new bite guard today (it fits!), I was ready too.

It would’ve been interesting to see what exactly went on in the precincts too and to be a part of the voting process, but I’ll have to find out next time, after I get myself registered as a democrat. 😉

While I was disappointed that I didn’t get to place my vote, I am glad that I got the opportunity to experience a bit of a caucus. Had I been told initially that I was unaffiliated, I doubt we would’ve bothered going.

Regardless of who emerges as the winner tonight (though in Colorado, it appears to be Obama – yay!), it was awesome to see so many people stepping up and making a difference. Yes we can. 🙂

I’m inspired

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, when 24 states will vote in presidential primaries and caucuses. A couple of weeks ago I honestly had no idea what Super Tuesday was. I’ve been pretty apathetic about anything and everything political over the past several years. However, I spent the past few days reading up on the election and the candidates (thank you, BlogHer!) and, I may sound like a dreamer, but now I feel hopeful. Tomorrow I just might participate in my first caucus.

America needs a change. America needs hope. America needs a leader who will inspire them. I feel like Barack Obama just might be the person for the job, and I admit, I’m inspired.

The cause of my inspiration:

Yes We Can.

Best Shot Monday – 2/4/08 – Couch monkey

Who’s that monkey climbing on the couch?

Monkey on the couch - 2/3/08 Couch monkey - 2/3/08

Pics taken from our loft, looking down on the living room. Julian was all over that couch on Sunday – climbing on the cushions, climbing on the arms, falling off the arms. Such fun! Also, is it just me or does it look like he’s sprouting little devil horns in these pics – especially in the second one? I know, I know, not my little angel. 😉

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

The NoMeatPoWeek challenge wrap-up

I decided to participate in NoMeatPoWeek, a challenge by the League of Maternal Justice, BlogHersAct Canada, and Green Mom Finds to go without meat for five days (Monday, Jan. 28 through Friday, Feb. 1).

Over the years I’ve been an on-again/off-again vegetarian and more recently a flexitarian (meaning I consume far less meat than the average American, but I still eat it), but lately meat has become more of a regular fixture in our meals. I think that in part it has been due to my laziness.

Cooking for me goes in waves. One week I’ll be totally gung-ho about cooking and try all new (often vegetarian) recipes and then the next few weeks I’ll feel totally burnt out on cooking and just make some old stand-by recipes, regardless if they include meat or not.

Because I’ve been in a rut again lately, I suggested to Jody that maybe Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook might bring me some inspiration, so he bought it for me. Now a LOT of the recipes in there include meat, but I found some vegetarian ones and found others that I was able to convert to vegetarian by simply removing the meat or by adding in a meat substitute like my beloved Quorn chik’n tenders. And I love that the recipes are all things you can make in 30 minutes or less, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much time to devote to making dinner.

So what did we have for dinner all week?
Monday – Artichoke and Walnut Pesto Pasta (I substituted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts because I’m allergic to walnuts) – from Rachael Ray’s (RR’s) cookbook
Tuesday – Chik’n tenders (Quorn), corn and black bean Stoup (stew/soup) – adapted from RR’s cookbook Wednesday – Spinach salad and Veggie fritters – from RR’s cookbook
Thursday (Jody was gone skiing and I was too lazy too cook) – Cheese pizza from Little Caesar’s
Friday – Spinach salad and pizza again, but of the veggie variety (that Jody brought back from his ski trip)

The challenge was only through Friday technically, but I also stayed veggie over the weekend.
Saturday – Delicious veggie enchiladas out with some friends
Sunday – Spinach artichoke calzones – also from RR’s cookbook – they took longer than 30 minutes to make, but they were pretty darn good and I have leftovers for lunch this week.

It wasn’t hard for me to go five (seven) days without meat. I didn’t clue Jody in on the challenge (oops), so he still ate meat while at work and on his work skiing trip this past week, but he was fine eating the vegetarian dinners I prepared (he used to be a vegetarian for 7 years). The kids ate vegetarian throughout the week as well, with the exception of having a few slices of Applegate Farms roasted turkey deli meat two of the days.

All in all, I think we did fairly well. I enjoyed finding some new vegetarian recipes and hope to keep up on the eating mostly vegetarian kick. I’m looking forward to reading how others did with this challenge and hopefully picking up some new recipes from them as well. If any of the four recipes that I mentioned above (from Rachael Ray’s cookbook) appeal to you, let me know and I can try to get them typed out to share with you.

If you are a meat-eater, did you give the challenge a go? If you didn’t, would you consider trying it for a week, a couple days or a day? It’s really not as hard as one might think.