With Earth Day quickly approaching, the question that may be plaguing many minds is “What can *I* do to better our earth? To help our planet?”. Many people will devote to recycling every can of soda they drink, or using earth friendly house cleaners, but there is one “green leaf” that’s turning over: cloth diapering. We think of cloth diapers as an old ratted rag held in place with a gigantic safety pin, but today’s cloth diapers leave much more to the imagination! With different work at home mom businesses making custom diapers, and even larger companies like G-diapers with biodegradable liners that are neither cloth or disposable, the possibilities on keeping baby and planet clean are endless!

But, why on earth would somebody want to deal with the mess of a cloth diaper, the hassle of extra laundry and the cost when disposables are far easier! After all, it only takes 500 years for one disposable diaper to degrade! The reasons are many, and actually, may be a lot greater than you think!

Firstly, the cost is astronomical. The money you can save from cloth diapering is enough to put a down payment on a car…or two. The average household will spend about $2000 on disposable diapers per child. Compare that with roughly 200-300 on cloth diaper accessories, and that can vary depending on the type you buy. From the more time consuming, yet economical prefolds with cover, to the fancy all in one diaper that is worn just like a disposable, but bears a larger price tag.

The second reason you may consider cloth is our beautiful earth. Not only do disposables take years and years to break down, but they are made with toxins. These leak back into the earth and are DEFINITELY not good for our planet. They are also not reusable (duh) so you spend money month after month on something you could purchase one time, wash, and reuse! Rinse, reuse, recycle, right? You can do that with cloth. With the diapers that have held up through your child’s use, you can resell to another parent interested in started the tradition themselves!

Thirdly, those same toxins that harm our earth can be dangerous to your baby! Why would you put something directly on your child’s skin that could kill them if ingested? Dioxin, a carcinogenic bleaching chemical, banned in feminine hygiene products, yet still used in making disposable diapers, is one of many reasons you may want to “think green”, and I don’t mean poop!

One thing that really swayed my decision to convert to cloth, aside from money and the benefits to my little one, was just how fun it was shopping and searching for the different diapers!! The designs out there will match any style you have, from punky diapers bearing skulls and cross bones, to pretty petite flowers dancing across your child’s perfectly wrapped bum. On top of being able to customize your diapers by look, many work at home mom businesses (like those through sites like www.etsy.com) offer a variety of materials to make your diapers from. Many are hypo-allergenic, made of hemp, fleece, and many other comfortable materials to accommodate the needs of you and your cloth booty cutie. I have so much fun shopping for new diapers, and I’m STILL saving money over disposables. As a woman, being able to shop AND save money is a godsend!

There is a list of endless reasons why one would want to use eco-friendly cloth diapers. Though disposables do have their pros, the cons far outweigh that. So, when the time comes, and you’re making some of the very important decisions while awaiting your little one, add this to the list. Cloth diapering: definitely NOT a thing of the past, but the thing for our future!

-Katie Holt


All I really want...

Out of all the things that I could achieve in life, all I really want is for my children to be happy and healthy. I want to make sure I am making the best choices possible for their growth and development, and not just in the here and now, but in the long run, for the rest of their lives. I want them to grow up to know that their mother might not have always made the best choices, but instead of burying her head in the sand and ignoring her mistakes, she learned from it. Can I take back anything that I did differently with my older child? My second child? My youngest child? No. Can I hope to enlighten them, and others by sharing what I have done over the years and also, what I've learned, through experience as well as research and maturity? Yes.

When I share advice with someone, whether it be anecdotal or factual, I don't share it because I enjoy the sound of my own voice. I don't share it because I think my way is the ONLY way. I don't share it because I think they are bad, or stupid, or failing. No, not at all. If I thought that they were a lost cause, why would I bother? Instead, I share what I've come to know because I DO care. Because, if I can help YOU avoid feeling the regret I've felt at times, then it is worth it. If I can help YOU to make a better choice for you little one, that may greatly benefit their health, THAT'S worth it.

Often times women will say that it's not my child to care about, but, when you hear a tragic story on the news, about a child abandoned, or beaten, or murdered...do you not feel bad? But, it's not your child to care about, is it? See, that's just silly. Of course you care! You, as a mother, cannot help but care about other children, because you see your own children IN them. Now, don't go on thinking that I'm comparing beating a child to different forms of parenting, what I am comparing is the compassion that one feels over different children.

How many of us have thought we were right about something before? Seriously, we've ALL thought we were right about SOMETHING!

How many of you have been WRONG at some point about what you thought you were oh so right about? ALL of us. We have ALL been there, be it an answer on a quiz in school, the judgement of a friend we thought we could trust who then betrayed us, picking the wrong man we thought was the love of our lives, and even making decisions with our children that we believed to be best. Later on, we may discover that what we thought we were SO SURE about, was in fact, poor judgement or even misinformation. This does not make us bad. This does not make us stupid. This does not mean we cannot LEARN and CHANGE.

So, you study harder or take your time on the next test. You are more careful who you become close to. You are more selective and cautious when dating. You research and learn more for your next child and perhaps even *gasp* make some changes.

We could all benefit from opening our ears and our minds, but we're not the only ones involved...our children are. Sometimes, you must swallow that pride, admit that perhaps you were wrong, and do what it takes to create a better choice for your family, for your children...for their future and yours.



Turns out I am not pregnant.

When I first thought we had "oopsied", I was a little disappointed since it wasn't the "ideal" time to have another child. I do know I want 4, and I started to accept that this might be the only time I get that, since hubby is so hot/cold on the subject. As I waited until a good time to test (no period due to ebf) I started to embrace and even get excited over the idea of having a fourth child around sooner than later, however, it's not going to be now. The test was negative. Actually, THREE tests were negative. It is what it is, and I'm not sad per se, but I'm a little bummed. What if DH really resists having another child? I am NOT done. I literally NEED a fourth (not need in the sense of life or death, or even happiness vs. unhappiness). Mostly, it's a completion. I don't feel complete yet. It's just what we're meant to have...4.

Anyway, enough rambling. My time will come, I hope.


Why SHOULD you breast-feed?

We often hear from women how hard it is/was to breast-feed. Some of these well-meaning women may have been there themselves, but many never gave it a go OR approached it with little to no knowledge or desire. You can look up the benefits of breast-feeding and any medically based site will tout it's benefits. We all KNOW that breast-feeding your child is the best thing you can do for them, but here's some reasons why you should straight from the mouth of a mother.

Why do I think you might care what I have to say? Well, I've been on BOTH sides of the fence. Actually, I've been on both sides as well as balancing ON the fence. I have only recently been able to come to terms with some of the guilt I feel over my past choices, and I would HATE for any other woman to have to struggle with the guilt I did simply because you, like I, were uninformed.

So, here are my personal reasons on why *I* think *you* should breast-feed your baby(ies).

  1. It is the biological norm- your baby's tummy is designed for consumption of breast-milk. A baby's digestive tract is sensitive and it is susceptible to bacteria. The phrase "breast is best" isn't really the best term, it should be "breast is normal", because it's the STANDARD for optimum infant health.
  2. It's FREE!- When I informed my husband that I would be breast-feeding our son come hell or high water, his reaction was simple "Cool, because formula's freakin' expensive!". It wasn't until I educated him more, during my pregnancy, on the benefits of breast-feeding, and even after watching his son thrive on my milk, that he looked at it for it's many other benefits. To him, in the beginning, it was simply enough that we would save, literally, THOUSANDS of dollars by breast-feeding.
  3. It's easy- it might not always be easy in the beginning, and yes, many mom's DO face hardships with nursing (though many can be avoided with good education on nursing and/or professional help from an LC) but once you've established your nursing relationship, NOTHING is easier than expose breast and attach baby. That's it, you're done! No lugging around powder, sterile water, clean bottles AND a baby! Boobs are attached, portable, and always ready to go!
  4. It's soothing- and not just for baby! Yes, it's true, breast-feeding will calm a fussy baby or whiney toddler like nothing else can, but it is also quite comforting and soothing for mom, both metaphorically as well as literally. When you nurse, you release oxytocin (the feel-good bonding hormone) and seratonin (the sleepy one!) which puts you (and baby) in a state of goo-goo-ga-ga lovey bliss!
  5. It HELPS PPD- Breast-feeding can help keep PPD (Post Partum Depression) away as well as help it to be less severe. In the event that you still experience PPD to the point of needing medication, there are medications you can take while nursing that will not hurt the baby.
  6. It's educational- What? How is breast-feeding educational? Well, let me tell you! When yo breast-feed, other people will inevitably see you doing it! If you have older children, they will undoubtedly be around as you feed the baby, and if they are anything like mine, they will ask questions! This is the PERFECT time to share the beauty of breast-feeding with your children. Remember, they are the future! You can also educate OTHERS by breast-feeding. If you are breast-feeding in public, there may likely come a time when someone confronts you about it (either positively or negatively) and BOTH circumstances can prove benefitial to their breast-feeding education! If it's a negative reaction (usually pertaining to whether you are in the right for breast-feeding in public) you can give them a legal education, as almost every state has a law for breast-feeding mothers, and to my knowledge, NONE have a law AGAINST it! I carry a copy of my state's legislation in my wallet. If it is a POSITIVE encounter, you can perhaps tell an inquisitive person WHY you breast-feed, encourage them to keep going (if THEY are breast-feeding) and all in all, give them exposure to breast-feeding which is helping to remind people it's NORMAL.
  7. It's fun- it really is! Especially as your child grows, breast-feeding can become acrobatic and humorous! As you gaze down at your little one suckling away at your breast, you get smiles, giggles, and even the occasional game of peek-a-boo as your baby hides in your breast. Sometimes, the world just melts away as you enter your own little world.
  8. It eases baby to sleep- Instead of resorting to possibly damaging methods like CIO (Cry It Out) or having to spend hours rocking, singing or DRIVING to get your baby to go to sleep, you can simply lay with and nurse your child into a peaceful state of slumber. Granted, all babies are different, and what works for one might not work for all, but I have yet to meet a breast-feeding mother who couldn't simply lay with and nurse her little one to sleep, even into the difficult i'llkickandscreamtogetmywayandavoidbedtime toddler years.
  9. It's bonding- You hear it all the time, and if you are or have been a formula/bottle feeder, it may jab you the wrong way, putting you on the defense to say "I'm BONDED with my baby! You can bottle-feed and bond ALSO!". Well, no one said you CAN'T bond with a baby despite bottle-feeding. The difference is HOW you bond and how WELL you bond. Breast-feeding gives you skin-to-skin contact, something very essential to newborn bonding. There is no other choice, if you breast-feed, you WILL be skin-to-skin with baby. Also, your breasts are attached to you, meaning there is NO option for NOT holding your baby when you feed them. Even when laying down, you are in contact with your baby. I know many bottle-feeding mothers that SWEAR they have never bottle propped, but truth be told, you WILL do it at some point, it's undeniable. It doesn't mean you ALWAYS bottle prop, but you will be much more inclined to do so, especially when you're trying to get things done and the darn baby just doesn't understand you can't drop everything for them right now! And let's not forget, baby's do learn how to hold bottles, and while they can also hold breasts, they can't exactly do it ALL on their own! Feeding is a very important time for baby, it is important that they are held, so even if you aren't nursing, please, hold your baby.
  10. Your child will thank you- I have actually thanked my mother for breast-feeding me. I think it is so wonderful that she made the little sacrifices in order to provide me with the best start in life. She breast-fed me EXCLUSIVELY for my first year of life. I am so happy to know that my mom held me and cuddled me and comforted me, just like I do my son, while also providing me with the most nutritious food for me! I just recently spoke with my friend who discovered she was bottle-fed and when she asked her mom why, she said she just "wasn't comfortable doing that." My friend's response was "Gee, THANKS, mom!" (obviously she was being sarcastic). If your child is still young, they will thank you each time they nurse, just by gazing at you with that intensity, rubbing your breast as they fall to sleep. If your child is a toddler nursing, they may thank you verbally, with something like "Thanks for giving me your yummy milk, mommy!". Even if you're never given a verbal thanks, the appreciation will be there, at some point. You will know, just watching your child thrive off the milk you provide for them, that they are thankful. They are thankful they have a mommy who cares, a mommy who loves them, a mommy who sacrifices to give them the norm, the standard, the best.
If you choose not to breast-feed, I hope that you (and your child) never suffer any guilt from the decision. I say that from the bottom of my heart, having been in a position of regret. If you choose to breast-feed, make sure you have a system of support. Educate yourself in pregnancy by reading books like "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" (put out by LLL) or "So That's What They're For", join a group like La Leche League (membership is not required to attend meetings or even borrow from the library) and make sure if birthing in the hospital you have in your birth plan that you wish to see an LC immediately following birth. Arming yourself with knowledge PRIOR to having your baby will help you feel more confident and will also help you counter any difficulties that may arise early. It is a selfless act to breast-feed, and your baby will benefit greatly from your choice to do so!

(cross posted with http://savebirth.blogspot.com)


Together, we can move mountains!

I've been meaning to blog about our little day trip up to Pinecrest, but haven't found the time. What? With three kids you mean I didn't have free time to doodle around on my blog?

My mother and I took the kids up to the mountains to experience the beauty and wonder of SNOW! The trip was destined to be interesting with my brood, but I wasn't expecting half of what we ran into.

The night before we left, I checked to see what the weather would be like up near Strawberry, and the forecast was great! Sunny and warm! We had stocked up on snow gear from places like "Once Upon a Child" and "Good Will" and were raring and daring to go!! The girls had been excited for weeks about this trip, and so was I, however, for some reason, I had a bad feeling the night before the trip and just didn't sleep well. I slept terribly that night and was dragging the next morning.

I got the kids together and headed over to Gramma's where we loaded the van and got ready to go! My mom drove so I could sit in the very back of the van and take care of the kiddos. We filled up the tank and headed to the mountains.

The trip was pretty uneventful, listening to toddler tunes all the way there, the kids were ACTUALLY behaving, and the scenery, of course, was breathtaking. I was surprised that Maggie was so appreciative of the beauty of nature. She kept saying "Whoa, look at that HUGE tree! It's SO beautiful!". Gosh, I love her.

Alex slept most of the time, but he did make faces like this before passing out:


We arrived in a small town in the Mountains after a long stretch of nothingness. I suggested a pit stop to nurse the baby and have the girls stretch their legs. We pulled into a little gas station and I nursed Alex while my mom took the girls inside. The air was crisp and clear, a perfect day! We took off after about 20 minutes and oddly enough, my car alarm starts going off, then stopping, then on again. Not knowing what was going on, my mom pulled off on a little road and walked the perimeter of the van, looking for SOMETHING that might explain the possessed alarm. She was about ready to climb back in when she did a double take on the back right tire. Was it flat? Almost. So we went to the gas station across the street (thank goodness we were in town AND that I suggested we stop!) and filled up with air. The attendant informed her of a tire place just back down the street AND they were open. We swung by there, they patched the tire, and $15 and 15 minutes later we were on our way, hardly skipping a beat!

We headed into Dodge Ridge and pulled off in an area to play. I was unaware that they had just received 3 feet of snow the weekend before, so it was NOT very well compacted. After getting all suited up and ready for the snow, we trekked maybe 10-20 feet in 30 minutes. I was carrying my almost 19 pound son and falling into snow upto my thighs. Needless to say, it was NOT easy. Also, Iris was incredibly frightened of the white wonder and did nothing but shriek and cry. We turned around and headed back to the van, where I stripped out of my winter garb and hung out with Alexander and Iris. Maggie and Gram took the sleds and decided to make the best of it.

I'm sad that I didn't get any pictures of Maggie's first time in the snow, but I do have these:



All in all it was a fun trip. We stopped at "A Pie in the Sky Pizza" and had ourselves the cheesiest, greasiest, BEST pizza of all time in Mi-Wuk Village. I must say, though the trip threw us for a loop at one point, it all went smoothly and we were still able to enjoy ourselves. The snow may have been a bust, but the girls got to see a lot of natural beauty and I got a good work out during my snow trek. I want to head to the Sequoia National Park next time, I think Mag would LOVE the redwood forest, and it'd be a little more Iris and baby friendly!


Baby Burn and Genius

Well, I was going to post about how I'm a horrible mother and didn't put sunscreen on the baby. I'm getting use to the warm weather still and since it wasn't actually hot, I guess I just didn't think about it. I also didn't plan on 2 hours at the park (that's another story). Well, needless to say he got burnt. I didn't notice it until later on in the day, but he is a red little tomato. The back of his head and neck and down his arms. :( I feel awful. He seems totally fine, so looks like I'm the one who has to suffer, thank goodness! I would feel even WORSE if this was upsetting to him. I don't want him to suffer because I was a moron. Gah, I am buying sunscreen to put in EVERYTHING: my purse, diaper bag, the van, AND here at the house.

So, the BRAGGING part. I wanted to take pics to show my wonderful cafemommies what an IDIOT mommy I was, and he SAT ALL BY HIMSELF!!! I am SHOCKED. He's only 4 1/2 months old! He's wanted to sit for a while and he will if you hold his hands, but if you let go, he always sways around and tips. Not now!!! Here's a pic of the back of his baked head WHILE sitting UNASSISTED!!

He sat like that for a few minutes before slowly teetering over. Haha. Anyway, thanks to all my BIN ladies for the support on how to cope (emotionally and medically) with his little burn.

The moral of the story: if you're a big fat, moron mommy like me, then make sure you pack the sunscreen.