Friday, May 29, 2009

Social Appropriateness While Pumping

The unbelievable just happened to me not ten minutes ago... When I first came back to work after having my daughter, Amara, I would sit in a restroom to pump breastmilk for her twice a day. Sometimes I would have a chair to sit on, sometimes I'd have to stand or sit on the floor (hygienic, I know). There was no lock on the door, and the bathroom was commonly used by both staff members and the people we serve who have developmental disabilities. I would tape an "occupied" sign on the door, but there would always be someone who didn't look and would start to open the door. Met with complete embarrassment when they heard a voice shout "I'm in here!", the door would immediately close before the person even got his or her head in the door. I would be met with an apology later, even though the person knew I was pumping and probably not all that exposed.

After a while, the three coworkers in my office (2 males, 1 female) suggested that I just put a privacy screen up in front of my cubicle and pump here instead of in the bathroom. I was elated to know that they wouldn't be uncomfortable hearing the "whish-whoosh" of the pump and spray of the milk! Since that time, I've been pumping in my cubicle with no problem. Until today, that is.

Prior to today, people have just spoken to me through the screen or handed papers over it if they need to give me something while I'm busy. Today, though, I actually just had a woman enter my cubicle while I was pumping. She said my name when she came into the office, and I thought we'd have a conversation between the screen as usual. Then I notice that she's moving the screen while talking. I immediately say "I'm pumping in here," just in case she didn't understand the concept of a privacy screen (she already knows that I pump at work and that's what I'm doing when I have the screen up, but I thought I'd remind her in case she really was just naive). She continued to enter while I frantically tried to cover my completely exposed top, replying "oh, I'm not going to let the screen fall down. I just thought if you had the list of names that I need then you could give it to me." Dumbfounded and concerned that my coworkers could now see in too (I don't think they could, though), I replied that I wasn't sure where it was and wasn't going to look for it right now, so I would print it for her. Then she stayed in my cubicle while I brought up the document on my computer and hit print! (All the while trying to hold my jacket closed, balance an open bottle of milk, and prevent myself from leaking everywhere with my other hand). After leaving, she placed the screen back but managed to leave a gap that would have allowed someone to see in without even trying should he or she be standing in the right location.

Come on, isn't it obvious that a privacy screen is there for a reason, like that you want to be private? Should I be any less outraged at this than if it had been a man? I don't mind breastfeeding in public, but pumping is a completely different thing to me. Where does the line cross from cluelessness about social norms and appropriateness to sexual harassment? I'm a big advocate that nursing breasts should not be considered sexual, but what about in the environment of pumping at work?

Oh, what to do. *sigh*

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snappis and Breezy Babies Giveaway

The countdown has begun! Our Cloth Diaper Extravaganza month (July) is inching nearer as we speak. My daughter and I have been busy testing all sorts of cloth diapering items and can't wait to share the reviews with you...and give you a chance to win all sorts of prizes!
Want a sneak preview? One of the companies that will be participating, Breezy Babies, is doing a giveaway of their own right now. But enter quick--it ends on Sunday, June 31! You'll have the chance to win a beautiful bamboo Flexible Fitted cloth diaper or a cotton/bamboo set of wash mitts and unscented goat's milk soap!

The best news of all? I will be reviewing and then giving away one of Breezy Baby's diapers during July...but if you want a head's start and enter her contest now, you can come back here, tell me you did and then be entered to win two baby sized Snappis from me to go with it! Remember to leave your email address and check out my other contests while you're at it. :-)

The Snappi Baby contest will also end at 12:00 pm EST on June 31, 2009.

Super Baby Food book review and giveaway!

Attention to anyone who will ever need to feed a baby or child: get this book! I was given a copy of Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron, after my daughter was born. My cousin had heard such great things about it at her mom's group that she thought I might enjoy it as well and bought it for me. The term "enjoyment" doesn't do justice, though. "Need" would be much more suitable.
Super Baby Food is one book that you should absolutely have in your library. It's pretty hefty, covering every topic from timelines for introducing foods to your baby and nutrition tables for baby-sized portions, to safe cleaning alternatives and ideas for parties, crafts, and games! I have read and re-read this book, finding new and valuable information each time. This is the only book I have found that gives clear instructions as to:

  • when to introduce particular foods (including month-to-month schedules)
  • how to prepare, store, and serve your own baby foods (with money and time saving tips)
  • how to introduce solid foods while still maintaining a nursing schedule
  • how to kill mice and other pests using only natural ingredients...(that's a joke, but it really is in the book)
  • the reasons behind all of this advice!

The style that Ruth writes with is easy to understand, dusted with humor, and full of researched information. I appreciate it from the practical standpoint of a mother, and also the medical standpoint of a paramedic. Every parent or caretaker of babies through toddlers needs this book. It is your one stop shop for knowing everything about feeding your child. Your baby is worth knowing the how, what, when, and why of eating. It's hard being away from my baby while I'm working, but it's a lot easier knowing that I'm providing good food for her.

Would you like to win a copy Super Baby Food?
Head over to Ruth's website at and let me know what you want to learn about that's in her book. Be sure to include your email address in your comment to me! One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, June 14 at 12:00 EST.

Earn extra entries by:
Subscribing to me
Following me on Blogger
Blogging about this contest with a link
Grabbing my button for your blog or website (2 entries!)
Sending an email to four friends (CC me) telling them about this contest
You can also add an extra entry for yourself if you previously earned one here

(leave a different comment for each entry...with your email address!)

*Contest is only open to those with US mailing addresses

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tips for Moving

You may have been wondering with great anticipation when you were going to see a blog post from me again. While my brain has been busy composing interesting ideas and topics for you, my hands have been busy packing to move instead of busy typing. We're talking T-3 days here! I've learned a thing or two during our last four moves (this will be our fifth within three years!), so here are some...

Tips for Moving a Little More Simply

  1. Make a lot of friends before you move. Many hands make light work.

  2. Recycle boxes for packing by getting the leftovers from a grocery or retail store (just ask).

  3. Use as many of boxes of the same size as possible. This will make fitting them all in a vehicle a lot more like stacking and a lot less like Tetris.

  4. Stay away from huge boxes. They have a higher likelyhood of destruction.

  5. Use towels and other linens to wrap breakable items. This saves paper and kills two birds with one stone.

  6. Write the contents of a box with a permenent marker before taping the box. It's hard to write on clear tape!

  7. When possible, fold the tops of boxes so that they won't open instead of using tape to close them. This will equal less time and less waste.

  8. Make food for your friends. You'll want to keep them happy, after all. Buying a pizza is the easiest option, but if you're wanting to get away from that then try preparing food before the day of the move. Keep it simple--crock pot items, frozen to oven items, and finger food. I made and froze a three-bean (sweet and sour) casserole two weeks ago that will be great in the crockpot on moving day. We'll also have chicken fingers to toss into the oven and some premade BBQ sauce for them. I'm hoping to make cookies or brownies for desert, and have another salad made by my Mom that day. Drinks? Pre-mixed and in a cooler!

  9. For boxes that will have liquid items (i.e. shampoo, soap, etc.), cut open a garbage bag and use it as a liner for the box.

  10. Pre-sort loose items into shopping bags (reusing!) for easier unpacking (I put bath toys in one, socks in another, etc.).

  11. Throw clothes into bags instead of boxes.

  12. Give away whatever you can! Freecycle, Craigslist, word of mouth, signs hung around your dog's neck while you walk him...

  13. Whatever you can't give away, upcycle it into something new for your new home.

  14. If all else fails, just get rid of things. Simpler is better when moving.

  15. Take a vacation day from work to pack. Really, less stress is better.

  16. Write which room you want a box to go to ON the box in plain view. Then you don't have to direct everyone who's bringing boxes into your new house!

  17. Use vehicles that you already have for transporting things. If you need to rent a truck, check online for discounts and coupons.

  18. Have tarps on hand for rain!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Our HypnoBirthing Story

My daughter, Amara, had an expected due date of 10/20/08. She came eleven days after that (the pity I feel now for overdue-mothers...) in a very peaceful and beautiful way. We used HypnoBirthing as our chosen childbirth-education and loved the relaxation and alertness that it allowed me to experience during the birthing. If you haven't already read it, check out more information about HypnoBirthing and enter the contest for a HypnoBirthing package before the end of May, 2009. Want an extra entry? For people who subscribe to or follow this blog, post your birth story here (if you're already a mama) or comment on the questions, fears, and things you're looking forward to when you do experience giving birth for the first time (if you've never given birth before). Be sure to include an email address! Not a follower? Become one and then enter here for an extra entry!

Thursday, 10/30/08, 1200 hours Serious lower back pain began as I was talking to my friend and coworker, Rachael. This seemed to coincide with most of the BH (or so I assumed them to be) contractions I'd been having on and off all week. I didn't pay much attention to the pain, though, as I was sick of getting my hopes up and then being disappointed when I didn't go into labor. I stayed at work until a little after my workday was over and then taught an hour's worth of piano lessons at home. During the lessons, I sat on a birthing ball which helped some with the back pain.

Friday, 10/31/08, 0130 hours I woke up with such bad pain in my lower back coinciding with contractions that I got out of bed and went downstairs so I didn't bother Ron. I watched a little bit of a late night TV show while rocking on the birthing ball. I also ate a piece of apple cake before retiring to the couch and falling asleep. Though I could tell the back pain was different this time, I still didn't want to get my hopes up and so didn't get excited as I fell asleep.

Friday, 10/31/08, 0400 hours This time, I woke up with contractions and back pain that radiated around to the front. As this was the first time I had experienced front pain, I thought that maybe I should pay attention. For 45 minutes, my contractions were 5 minutes apart. I decided that I'd better get up and get doing some things. As soon as I got up though, they were all less than 5 minutes apart although they weren't as regular. I went and woke up Ron. He said to wake him up after I spoke to Deb.

Friday, 0500 hours I called my midwife, Deb, and told her what was going on. She said to get into the bathtub, time my contractions, and report back to her to decide whether this was real labor or not. I could have told her right then that this was real labor. Instead, I got into the tub. Before that, I woke up Ron again who again told me to wake him up later. At this point, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute each. I was also feeling a great urgency to get to the hospital.

Friday, 0540 hours After getting out of the tub, I called Deb again and reported to her. She told me that someone else had birthed her baby during the night and had the suite but that if I could hold out until later in the morning then we could try to move her out of the suite so I could have it. She encouraged me to stay home as long as possible. I wanted to tell her that really, I needed to be at the hospital right now, but instead I told her that I'd just call her when I was leaving for the hospital.

Friday, 0550 hours Upon waking up Ron again, he asked if I was really in labor or not. I told him that I didn't know if it was really happening or not, but that I needed to go to the hospital so he'd better get up this time. We spent the next hour trying to get everything together. I felt like my contractions were about a minute apart, so for 50% of the time I couldn't talk, walk, or do anything else. Not very helpful, but we survived.

Friday, 0700 hours We left for Schuyler Hospital, called Deb, and then got a hold of our mothers so they could get to the hospital. Ron wanted to stop for coffee and was put out when I told him that we had no time for coffee and he should've gotten up earlier.

Friday, 0745 hours I had planned to leave the luggage in the van, but I changed my mind and told Ron to bring the suitcase into the hospital because we were definitely going to be staying. It took a while to get from the parking lot to the birthing center, but we checked into the birthing center at 0745. Immediately, I was taken into the birthing room (not the suite; I guess they didn't want to wake up the other woman) and my blood pressure and pulse were taken. The nurse declared that I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced at this point. I got right into the tub and WHOLA my body was pushing. I asked the nurse if this was supposed to happen so early who then responded by saying "maybe you're moving along a lot faster than we thought...I think we'd better call Deb and get her here." I thought this was a good idea. Thankfully, I had a few more contractions without the need to push.

Deb arrived a few minutes later and then declared that I was now at 8cm. My mother arrived and though I had not planned on her being in the birthing room, I ended up allowing it and it turned out to be a really nice thing. She was able to help hold me up (Ron was holding my legs back) so I didn't slip down into the tub during the birth, and she also spent some time reading some Bible passages I had previously typed out to be read to me during such a time as this.

Friday, 0850 hours Things went pretty quickly after Deb's arrival. Someone dimmed the lights when I got into the tub and so I was able to have a very peaceful environment in which to bring my child into the world. I was able to feel my daughter as she moved out of me and bring her right up onto my chest. Catching my baby was by far the most amazing and incredible thing I've ever felt in my entire life. She was very peaceful after coming out. It took her a minute to start crying, which immediately stopped when I began singing to her a song that I often sang to her while she was still in my womb. She remained very alert and awake for the next few hours, nursing well and visiting her family.

Ron's mom still hadn't arrived by 0850 when Amara was born, so he called her to ask where she was. She said that she was just about ready to leave her house to which Ron informed her that the baby was already here. There were a few more phone calls like that which were made. Deb said that this was the fastest birth she's had in quite a while, and also that I'm only the second woman she's ever had who was actually able (mind wise) to catch her own baby. I was really pleased with how things went, and especially that I barely tore (that was my biggest worry...the thought of tearing horrifies me).

So all in all, my daughter was born an hour and five minutes after checking into the hospital. She measured at 20 inches long and 6 lbs 15 ozs...Not to mention she's the most BEAUTIFUL baby ever born with darker skin and curly hair like her daddy, and eyes and lips like her mommy. We checked out of Schuyler at 1pm on Saturday and took our baby home. Love, love, love!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How Much Milk?!

I think every breastfeeding-working mama experiences a little anxiety before going back to work for the first time. Questions abought the practicality of pumping run through our minds: will I be able to keep my milk supply up? What if pumping doesn't work out? And the big one... How much milk do I need in my freezer stash?!

Being women who want the best for our babies, we're determined to stay up late at night to get an extra pumping in before bed because we just aren't sure there will be enough milk back at home for when that fateful back-to-work day arrives. Some women aim for two extra bottle's worth (about six ounces in the beginning) while other women are still concerned that they'll run out at 8o ounces. What is the answer, then, and how does one prepare?

The answer is simple: you probably don't need as much stocked up as you think. With that said, it is still important to have something on hand in case of emergencies. When your baby is about 4 weeks old, pump once after you're done nursing. When you're not in sight, have someone else feed that milk in a bottle to your baby at the next feeding. You will need to pump since you're not nursing during that feeding (to keep your milk supply up). Store that milk in the fridge (or freezer) and go back to nursing the next time. Gradually increase the bottle/pumpings, sometimes doing an extra one after the baby nurses, until you start having some "extra" to stash in the freezer.

Aim to have two day's worth of feedings in the freezer. Too many more than that and you'll risk it all going bad before you can use it. Honestly, you may never even need to use the two day's worth! The day before you go back to work, make sure that there's enough milk in the fridge for the next day and no more. Each day when you come back, pop the milk that you pumped that day into the fridge so it can be used the next day. With this method, you will only need the freezer stash for emergencies. Seeing as how you'll probably throw it out every three months (unless you have a deep freezer that's separate), you don't want a whole lot stocked up.

Learn more about breastmilk storage here.

Now that was a lot easier than you thought, right?

Marketing Inquiries

Life More Simply's Blog commonly reviews products, features companies, and provides valuable information about consumer related issues to its readers. It follows word of mouth marketing standards, providing honest and educated opinions about the topics bloggged about.

Word of mouth or Blog marketing is the up and coming way to reach new customers as there increasingly larger numbers of Blog readers, especially in the twenty to thirty-year-old female readership range. According to Sean Kerner of, blog readers tend to spend almost twice the amount of hours online each week, make more online purchases, spend more money in general, and are more likely to have incomes equal to or greater than $75,000 than their non-blog-reading counterparts (all statistics are based on 2005 data and can be found at

Worth the plunge into online Blog marketing? I think so!

Having a B.S. degree in Psychology and Therapeutic Recreation, I am the ideal candidate to represent your product and/or company for you. I understand the things necessary to marketing in the recreation world, and also have experience as a small business owner myself. Interested? Email me at LifeMoreSimply(at)yahoo(dot)com to discuss options.

Disclosure Statement:
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Any products reviewed on this blog are based on free product samples provided by the named company. If this should not be the case, it will be clearly stated in the review that that the product samples used for the review were not given to me free of charge.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 Tips for Cleaning with Baking Soda

Tuesday's Tip for May 19, 2009

My husband and I are in the midst of packing and cleaning so that we can move in two weeks. As many of you know, moving is not a light task to be completed. Instead, it is a fully involved ordeal that requires hours of sorting, wrapping, taping, and giving things away or sending to the dump. Moving out of a rental home also requires thorough cleaning with the anticipation of receiving one's security deposit back. The cleaning part is what this post is about. I don't like to use harsh chemicals in cleaning, both for health and environmental reasons, so I instead rely heavily on things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Here are 10 ideas for cleaning with baking soda:

  • Cover the bottom of a scorched pot with baking soda and a little water, boiling until the burned area comes off or is soft enough to scrub off.

  • Sprinkle baking soda on a wet cloth or directly to a surface to provide a gentle abrasive (that won't scratch) with odor control qualities for cleaning out your refrigerator.

  • Sprinkle baking soda directly onto your carpet and let sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming. This will help absorb any odors in the carpets. I've read that this shouldn't be tried in very humid environments, though, as you may not get all of the soda back up.

  • Use baking soda on a toothbrush to scrub crayon and pencil markings off of walls.

  • I have read, but not tried, that water stains left on wooden floors can be removed by letting a sponge soaked in dissolved baking soda water sit on the spot for a while.

  • Stains on porcelain can also be removed by dampening and covering with a layer of baking soda to sit for a while before scrubbing.

  • Still functioning drains can often be unblocked by pouring some baking soda down the drain followed by white vinegar or boiling water.

  • Another read but not tried (yet) cleaning tip: mix some baking soda and vinegar in a plastic baggie, then attach the bag to your shower head so that the head is soaking in the bag. Leave for one hour and *whola* the scummie stuff is gone.

  • Deodorizing can also be done on furniture by sprinkling them with baking soda and allowing to sit for a while before vacuuming up. The added bonus is that the odors within your vacuum bag will be neutralized in the process, too!

What other cleaning uses are there for baking soda?

Monday, May 18, 2009


Monday's Mommy Moment for May 18, 2009
“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”– Agatha Christie

Hi, my name is Rachel and I suffer from Working-Mommy-Guilt (WMG). Yes, I need a support group. No, there isn't one available...but even admitting that sentence through the anonymity of cyberspace makes me feel shakey inside. Sometimes, my WMG is really bad, like on Sunday after I've worked the last 6 days and am about to go back for 5 or 6 more. I honestly have a mental breakdown on those Sundays; I am overcome by my guilt at feeling like I do nothing well, and then that guilt manifests itself as self-hatred. In those moments, I truly despise my own being to its core. I feel like I'm not protecting my daughter when I let other people watch her. I feel like a bad mama when her pediatrician asks questions that I don't know the answer to, but that any mama who's home with her baby every day would know. I feel like I have no control over anything. WMG is not a nice place to be, friends.

I have bad dreams involving my daughter being taken away by well meaning people, and me just standing there watching, knowing the whole time that she is supposed to be in my arms and that I wasn't supposed to let her go. I've dreamt that she's said her first word and taken her first step while at her Grandma's house. In real life, I whisper to her every morning that I love her, will miss her so terribly throughout the day, and that I'm sorry I have to leave her. And I also add that she is NOT allowed to do any growing up until after 4pm when I'm home again!

I am, however, comforted by the fact that God has a purpose for my life including what's going on right now. I take courage in knowing that this won't be forever and that I can take steps towards change. I'm learning to love my husband more each day, seeing his relationship with our daughter grow and flourish because he's able to spend so much time with her. It still hurts, though, and it remains impossibly hard to see myself in the way that I should.

Where are the other women who suffer from WMG? What causes yours? Is there a cure?

*NOTE: image was taken from

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hypnobirthing Giveaway

HypnoBirthing (aka "the Mongan Method") is a form of form of childbirth education developed by Marie Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy., and first published in her book "HypnoBirthing-- A Celebration of Life" in 1989. Her philosophy is simple: severe pain does not need to accompany childbirth in the absence of fear and tension or special medical circumstances. After much research before having my own baby, I decided to go with the HypnoBirthing philosophy...and am I ever glad that I did! One can learn the HypnoBirthing techniques by reading studying her book and accompanying CD's or by attending HypnoBirthing classes taught by a certified HypnoBirthing educator. What, you say? How can this work?

HypnoBirthing works to make birth a gentle and amazing experience by teaching the expectant mother how to deeply relax her mind (this would be the self-hypnosis part) and muscles, breathe in a helpful instead of harmful manner, release all fear, and work with her body instead of against it. The result is a calm, serene birthing experience that allows the mother to be completely aware during the birthing process (I was so aware that I was able to catch my own daughter) while remaining relaxed and unafraid.

Mongan believes that "when you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change." Explaining the history of childbirth in her book, she educates the reader on how birth in Western cultures was first a normal part of life that produced few anxieties and complications, but then became something that women feared as it moved into the hospital setting. The causes of pain and fear that women so often think will accompany their birthing experience is also explained with sound reasoning as to why pain and fear are unnecessary and actually harmful--and also how to avoid them.

Don't be fooled by the idea of self-hypnosis presented in this method, either. Self-hypnosis allows you to remain fully aware and in control and is something that you already do without realizing it--like when you zone out while watching TV or driving a car. Learning how to do this whenever you desire to gives you the ability to reduce a lot of tension, fear, and pain during childbirth (and it also helped me to sleep a whole lot better during those late-stage pregnancy nights). In fact, some women are able to achieve a completely pain free child birthing experience through this!

HypnoBirthing is beneficial for all women looking at giving birth whether vaginally or by c-section. Trust me, you want to learn these techniques. The winner of this giveaway will receive three things:
  • HypnoBirthing; The Mongan Method book, 3rd edition (spiral-bound--it's beautiful!) including a HypnoBirthing CD with "relaxation" and "birth rehearsal imagery" by Marie Mongan on it.
  • Rainbow Relaxation CD with birthing affirmations (these are so wonderful to listen to) and the rainbow relaxation script (this especially helped me to fall alseep within 10 minutes of going to bed).
  • Button that says "Please Only Happy Birth Stories...Baby is Listening..." with the HypnoBirthing symbol.

To enter, you need to head over to the HypnoBirthing website and then come back here and leave a comment with one interesting thing that you learned from their site. You also need to tell me your expected due date or when you hope (in an ideal world) to have your next child. Be sure to leave your email address in your post or it won't count! This contest will end at 12:00 pm EST on Sunday, May 31, 2009. Good luck, and be sure to check back all of this week to earn additional entries and other prizes!

Extra Entries :
(leave another post w/email address for each thing below)

*Fav me on Technorati (2 additional entries)
*Follow me on Blogger (1 entry)
*Subscribe to me otherwise (1 entry)
*Send an email to four friends telling them about this contest and/or my blog and CC me (LifeMoreSimply at yahoo dot com) (1 entry)
*Blog about this contest including a link (1 entry)
*If you did something worthy of an "extra entry" from this post and want to include those entries here, leave one comment per extra entry stating what you did before (still including your email address).

NOTE: contest is only open to mailing addresses within the US or Canada. If you live in Canada, you must prepay the shipping of this item for me. If you live within the US, I'll still gladly accept payment for your shipping costs, but won't require it. :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

First Words

A new monumental event happened in our house two days ago (yes, we have them often): Amara said her first word at the age of 6.5 months. "Dada" came out of her little mouth after Ron picked her up. He immediately grew about three feet taller as he began to shout "did you hear that? She just said 'dada!' Say it again, Amara, say 'dada!'" to which she began to eagerly say it again and again. Since then, we've began playing games such as ones that involve us pointing to Ron and her responding by saying "dada." This may be the proudest moment in a daddy's life.

What were your childrens' first words, and how old were your babies when they started talking?

Photos of Amara playing with her "Dada"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Greatest Mom Moment

It doesn't take much to excite this girl. My smiles have recently been caused by a streak of good luck (or skill, I should say) involving winning organic clothing for my baby girl. The first winning occurred after I stayed up two hours after my bedtime (yes, I try to go to bed at 9:00 pm) to write an essay on green living. I suffered for this, but fatigue was immediately relieved two weeks later when I got an email telling that my essay had won a $100.00 gift certificate to Ruby Pinwheels. Then, two days after that, I received another email telling me that I'd won my choice of a bodysuit, outfit, and washcloths for my daughter from Sage Creek Organics! It was from a contest where you had to share your "Greatest Mom Moment." This is what I wrote:
My Greatest Mom Moment was on October 31st, 2008. It was at the moment when I caught my daughter being born and pulled her up to my face, kissing her and singing to her of how much I loved her. She looked at me so peacefully with her big beautiful eyes, and I knew that my life had changed forever because I was now a mama. Nothing will ever touch my greatest moment of bringing my daughter into this world naturally and gently, allowing me to experience the power and love of being a mother.
Sage Creek felt that my moment was "beautiful" and thus chose it as the winner. Winning is a great thing, especially if you really in need of the item that's being given away (and my daughter is really in need of clothing right now). Better than that, though, is being a mom. Let's face it: I love being a mom. Not the after-birth-mom-body, but definitely the being-a-mom-part. Many women don't consider their birthing experience one of their greatest "mom moments," though. What made it different for me? Hypnobirthing. This week, I will be explaining what exactly Hypnobirthing is and sharing the benefits of it...Including giveaways! The Hypnobirthing company has graciously given me some things to share with my readers including books, CD's, and clothing, so be sure to come by every day to get more information and free products so that you too can experience birth as one of your greatest mom moments.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Toner and Moisturizer

Avalon Organics is a company that uses 100% vegetarian ingredients, no synthetic fragrances, dyes, or harsh preservatives in their cosmetic products. Their Vitamin C Skin Care line offers everything from a hydrating cleansing milk, oil-free moisturizer, and sunscreen lotion, to a facial serum, eye cream and lip balm! It's the whole line up for women who love the sun but want antioxidant protection, and who also want to understand the ingredients in a product.

The key to these products is the Magnesium Ascorbal Phosphate (say what?)--a form of vitamin C that protects the sin against free radicals while stimulating elastin and collagen production. This form of vitamin C is able to continue working in the product because of its shelf life stability and is also enhanced by combining with other protectors against free radicals.

I have been using the Vitamin C Balancing Facial Toner and Renewal Facial Cream for the last few weeks and am pleased with the results. Constantly on the go, I need something that will make me feel refreshed throughout the day. I also need something that won't excacerbate the acne that I continue to struggle with into adulthood. These products have done well in both of those regards and I was even able to save money buying them as they were on clearance at Target when I bought them!

I find the toner to make my skin feel clean without causing any dryness or tightness. It's soothing, so I often use it especially before going to bed. The facial cream has a very light texture which makes it great under makeup and a little goes a long way which saves space and money in the long run. The only drawback that some people may find is the scent. Orange essential oil is used for the fragrence and it is rather strong, especially in the facial cream. If you enjoy citrus smells then this will be no problem for you, but do be careful if you're particularly sensitive to this sort of thing. One thing I know is that the orange scent sure does help me wake up in the morning and improve my morning-mood (way to go, aromatherapy)!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cookies Giveaway!

Who doesn't love homemade cookies? Especially when made by an amazing baker! Carrie McClain, author of Carrie's Kitchen Creations, is offering to give a lucky (or very skilled at telling the future) reader a batch of her freshly made cookies. I myself have been fortunate enough to taste an array of her cookies and cupcakes and let me tell you, you don't want to miss out. She's giving away the winner's choice of "Carrie’s Cookies in any variation of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut, craisins, and/or walnuts you prefer."

While you're busy winning yourself some delicious cookies, check around the rest of her site and then come back here and tell me which recipe of hers looks the yumiest. In honor of her contest held because of the impending birth of her son, I will give everyone who reports back to me on your favorite recipe one extra entry in my Rockin' Baby Sling contest that will soon be taking place.

NOTE: This is not my own giveaway, so you can still earn extra entries in my up and coming ones (and every day I'm adding to my list of companies to represent!) by clicking here.

Why I Choose To Be Green

I have heard that in order to fix the world, we must look towards the family. In order to fix the family, we must first fix ourselves. A lot of people connect the concept of “going green” with saving or fixing the earth. They recycle, reuse, and conserve in order to preserve a beautiful and amazing planet for future generations. Intrinsically driven, these people make it an integral part of their lives to protect nature from being suffocated by selfishness. Like them, my life has become integrated with green living and I am concerned about the environment. Being green doesn't just stop at the world level for me, though. Instead, it is something that gets at my soul and the things that are the very most important to me in life: my family.

I want to fix the world and in order to do that, I need to preserve my family. I actually come from a family of ten people. My parents, amazingly enough, had eight daughters of whom I am the second oldest. The large family size made it important for us to not waste anything because of the cost, so I grew up with the mentality of being frugal. The importance of making what you can, reusing, and protecting the earth has followed me into my adult life where I am now married to a wonderful man and have a beautiful six month old daughter. Family is the one thing in life that must be protected and nurtured above all else, and this is why I choose to live a green life.

Every morning, my heart is broken as I leave my home to go to work. I desire, as do so many mamas, to spend my days delighting in my child and teaching her how to live. Unfortunately, bills must be paid and the working world offers little time for parents to spend with their children. Going green, though, gives me back the ability to spend quality time with my daughter. Instead of bottle feeding with formula, I pump mama's milk every day at work. Breastfeeding allows families to safely bed-share, which gives me more time with my daughter while at home. We are able to snuggle each other at night, and I am given the peace of mind knowing that I'm providing her with the healthiest nourishment possible as well as eliminating a lot of waste and energy that goes with producing and packaging formula. Cloth diapering also gives us more time, as it's a lot faster to run a load of laundry than it is to run to the store to buy a new package of Pampers or to tie up a load of garbage and bring it to the dump. Through these and other things like vacuuming less often (she plays on a blanket on the floor), not bathing every day (wiping her down with a wash cloth works great), and not allowing electronics to dominate our home, we are able to claim more time as a family, building stronger relationships and a better foundation for the future.

Being green isn't about being “hip” or looking like an unselfish person to me. It's about loving the things that are important to me through my actions. The earth is important to me. My family is important to me. I am important to me. I want to protect and take care of the things that I love, as well as preserve them for the future. I want to give the best things that I can to my daughter which includes safe and gentle organic clothing, food, and toys. It also includes giving her the best earth that I can and teaching her the importance of being green, as this is something that will impact all of the generations to come after us as well.

The world's a scary place right now. I worry about what the economy, pollution, and safety will be like when my daughter's too old to be content in my arms. While it's impractical to think that I'll be able to keep her away from every worrisome thing in a mother's heart, it is practical to protect her now and to protect the earth that she will one day grow up to enjoy. Not using chemicals on her delicate skin or throwing disposable diapers into the trash every day know that they will spend the next 70 years in a landfill are choices I make that protect my daughter and her future. John Wooden once said “do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do,” and this is how I choose to live my life. While I cannot do everything, I can do something, and it starts with me as an individual working through my family to make an impact on this world.

Why have you chosen to practice green living?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Google Doodle

Each year, the Google company (best known for their online search engine) hosts a “Doodle for Google” contest where school aged children and teens are asked to submit artwork featuring the word “google” based on a particular theme. This year’s themText Colore is “What I Wish for the World” and boy, did they have some great entries! Today’s Recucational (recreation + education) idea is this:

Have your kids get on to the Doodle for Google website and vote for their favorite artwork in each category (they’re separated by grades). Questions to ask:

What is the theme of this one?
What do you like about it?
What don’t you like about it?

After discussing and voting for their favorites, then have your kids create their own doodle using the letters in their names but still with the theme of “What I Wish for the World.” You can start by making a list of their “wishes” to generate some ideas for the artwork. Be sure to supply a variety of things for creating the artwork as coloring or drawing isn’t always the best hands-on activity for everyone.

Earn an extra two entries into every contest through June, 2009 by sending me a photo of the created doodle. You are also allowed to make one for yourself! Please email the entries to: LifeMoreSimply @ yahoo . com (without the spaces) and leave a post here telling me that you did. Then, be sure to leave a message on the “Time To Get Happy” post so that your extra entries get counted! I, obviously, will need them before the end of June if you wish to use any extra contest entries.

Even if you choose to not make a doodle, what are your wishes for the world? For your family? For yourself?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Six Day Work Week

Here it is, Saturday, and I'm about to leave home for the 6th day this week to go to work. :-( Being a work-outside-of-the-home-mom (WOHM), I'm admittedly jealous of stay-at-home-moms (SAHM) and particularly work-at-home-moms (WAHM). I know that there's two sides of the fence, but believe me, I am preoccupied with the "at home" side of things even thought I enjoy my jobs. If you've never had to leave your baby every day only to come home, pick her up, be surprised at how heavy she is, and then listen to someone else tell of her accomplishments that day, be glad. It's pretty much the equivalent of getting your heart torn from your aorta every morning!

Unfortunately, when we arrive back home, we can't just have baby-time, either! There's still an enormous amount of house work to do as well as getting ready for work again the next day. So here are some ways that give me some extra lovin-time with my beautiful baby.

  • Breastfeeding
  • Co-sleeping
  • Bringing her with me into each room as I do things, talking with her the whole time
  • Snuggling at night
  • Calling her so she can hear my voice during the day
  • Having her caretaker (husband, grandmas) text message me a new pic of her that day
  • And I've thought about having a communication notebook from the caretaker to me so I feel more involved with daily activities, feedings, and diapering things.
What are some of your ways, if you're a WOHM?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Time to Get Happy!

Great new things are just over the horizon for Life More Simply!
YOU, my readers, are going to begin having the opportunity to win some great eco-friendly products that will allow you to discover new ways of living more simply.

Become a follower today so you can get extra entries into the contests that will begin within the next few weeks:

AOI Diapers
Diaper Covers
Hypnobirthing products
Bath/Body products
Laundry cleaning supplies
Organic Ice Cream
...and more are in the works!

For everyone who becomes a follower, fav's me on Technorati, comments on one of my other posts (one entry per post that you commented on), or puts a link to my Blog from their own website before I begin doing giveaways...I will grant you an extra entry in every contest you'd like up through June, 2009!

All you have to do is submit a comment to this post telling me what you did that deserves to be on my "extra entry" list. Have fun and get'll be glad you did!

Co-Sleeping and The Family Bed - Part Two

(and that little space on the right is where I sleep)
Did you miss Part One of this article? Check it out here:

When bed sharing (co-sleeping) with your child, it’s important to use common sense guidelines along with those listed in The Family Bed – Part One. Things like pulling long hair back, not allowing your scent to be hidden by wearing cologne or too much hairspray, and not allowing blankets to cover your child’s head. Contrary to popular belief influenced by the media, statistics and research show that bed sharing is actually the safest option for your child if done correctly.

We find that the benefits of co-sleeping or bed sharing compared to babies who sleep alone include:

· More stable temperatures (Richard, et al., 1996)

· More regular heart rhythms and breathing patterns (Field, 1995).

· Four times less crying during the night and virtually no startling during sleep (Nelson, et al., 2001).

· Four times less likely to die from SIDS (both for bed sharing and infants who sleep next to their parents’ bed) overall (Blair, Fleming, Bensley, et al., 1999). This may be because these infants tend to spend less time sleeping on their bellies (McKenna, et al., 1994), or because the carbon dioxide that the parents exhale stimulates the baby’s breathing (McKenna has published research stating that babies tend to sleep with their faces very close to the mother’s face during sleep).

There are even long term benefits of bed sharing vs. sleeping alone, including:

· Fewer psychiatric problems (Forbes, et al., 1992).

· Reports of higher self-esteem, less anxiety, and earlier independence as well as fewer behavioral problems in school (Heron, 1994).

· More comfortable with affection as adults (Crawford, 1994).

Personally, I find that co-sleeping provides a better sleeping experience for all of us without the anxiety of sleeping alone. I don’t have to wonder if my daughter’s warm, crying, hungry, or breathing. In fact, she will give feeding cues while she’s still sleeping instead of waking up and screaming. It makes for a much more peaceful night to say the least! I save a lot of time and energy by co-sleeping as well, since I don’t have to get out of bed to feed my daughter. I just pull her over to me, feed her, and I either pull her back up to my head when she’s done or we fall asleep just like we are (with no blankets above her armpits, of course)! The only downside I’ve found is that she still wakes up every three hours to eat at the ripe old age of six months. I’ve read that it’s very common for co-sleeping babies to wake up more often during the night and eat more often during the night. This may be attributed to the fact that when sleeping together, people tend to adapt the same sleep cycle habits. On the one hand, the waking up is annoying, but on the other hand, I don’t mind because we still get a better night’s sleep overall and if she’s waking up, I know for sure that she’s still breathing.

A lot of information? Yes. Worth the knowing, though? Without question! Now...what are your thoughts on the matter?

Blair, P., Fleming, P., Bensley, D., et al. (1999). Where Should Babies Sleep – Along or With Parents? Factors Influencing the Risk Of SIDS in the CESDI Study. British Medical Journal, 319, 1457-1462.

Field, T. (1995). Touch in Early Development. Lawrence Earlbaum and Assoc. Mahway, New Jersey).
Heron, P. (1994). Non-Reactive Cosleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep All Night, Every Night. (Master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol).

McKenna, J., et al (1994). Experimental studies of infant-parent co-sleeping: Mutual physiological and behavioral influences and their relevance to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Early Human Development, 38, 187-201.

Nelson, E., et al. (2001) International Child Care Practice Study: Infant Sleeping Environment. Early Human Development, 62, 43-55.

Richard, C., et al. (1996). Sleeping Position, Orientation, and Proximity in Bedsharing Infants and Mothers. Sleep, 19, 667-684.

Crawford, M. (1994). Parenting Practices in the Basque Country: Implications of Infant and Childhood Sleeping Location for Personality Development. Ethos, 22(1), 42-82.

Forbes, J., et al. (1992). The Cosleeping Habits of Military Children. Military Medicine, 157, 196-200.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Co-Sleeping and The Family Bed - Part One

The concept of having a "family bed" is met with questions and controversy. To many people, though, this is a way of life and something that isn't strange at all. In fact, bed sharing is considered the norm in most countries outside of the US (according to research done by Dr. Sears)! If this is something practice world round, then why is it so speculated about here? And what exactly is co-sleeping or bed sharing, anyway?

Bed sharing and co-sleeping are terms often used interchangeably, but incorrectly.
  • Bed sharing is the act of a child and parent sharing the same bed.
  • Co-sleeping is the act of a child and parent sleeping in the same room and within close proximity, but not necessarily in the same bed.
Many people have been negatively influenced about bed sharing by the government's media campaign toting the slogan "babies sleep safest alone." Their website,, states:
"Sleeping with your baby, ("co-sleeping ") can be dangerous. If an adult or child rolls over on a baby, the baby can be hurt or even suffocated."
Guess what? That's true! It's also true that a baby can be seriously injured or hurt if left to sleep in a crib alone, though. You see, sleeping arrangements are only safe if done correctly. Bed sharing is actually the safest option for your baby if done correctly, according to research done by many people, the most popular being Dr. James McKenna.

In case you want to know the guidelines for bed sharing before you find out all of the benefits, here they are:
  1. Infant must be breastfed.
  2. Parents should be the only people in the bed with the infant (no siblings).
  3. Mattresses should be stiff, have no spaces or gaps between it and a head/foot board, and should not be placed close enough to a wall as to provide a gap that the baby could get wedged in to.
  4. No one in the bed should be overly exhausted, on any medications that induce sleep, or have any alcohol or drugs in his or her system that would be desensitizing.
  5. Can only be done in an actual bed--not on a couch, seat, or waterbed.
  6. Parents cannot be smokers or obese.
  7. Infant should be placed on his or her back with light covers (no bulkiness) and without a pillow.
In my family's experience, we were against bed sharing before Amara was born. We were fixated on the possibility of overlaying her and then adding to the statistics of bed sharing deaths. Little did we know what we do now! Our first night, we realized that we all slept better when the baby was in bed with us instead of next to us in her bassinet. We began to cautiously follow our mommy-daddy intuition and continue this practice. A week later, a county worker in a childhood development program began telling us of the benefits of sharing a bed! We were surprised to find out the health benefits (including a lower rate of SIDS and anxiety), sleep benefits, and the developmental benefits after doing some research. Six months later, we continue to happily and safely share a bed with our daughter. While I don't anticipate us continuing this into her toddler years, it is definitely the best choice for us right now and we're happy we followed our hearts.

Have you ever practiced co-sleeping? How, and for how long?

Read Part Two of this post here:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vivabox Giveaway

Okay, I am writing this blog post with two concerns in mind: 1) earning an extra entry into an awesome contest, and 2) giving you an opportunity to enter this awesome contest. There are a lot of Mother's Day contests going around on the Internet, but I'm pretty sure that this one outdoes the rest of them that I've seen (save for free homes and trips): a vivabox. What, you ask, is a Vivabox? It is a most unique gift, to say the least.

A Vivabox is an actual box that you receive in the mail from their company, In it, there are samples of a themed product such as tea, massage, spa, wine, or coffee. You get to try all of the samples, and then pick your favorite and order it for free off of their website! In the case of the massage or spa boxes, a gift certificate is actually included in your box for spa services at a location near you. It's the gift that not only keeps giving, but that you actually want!

Are you interested in winning this amazing Mother's Day gift? Vivabox has generously donated one to Dexter's Super Savvy Mommy and you can enter to win by clicking here. Don't forget to leave me a message letting me know that you went and entered so that I can at least feel some happiness over promoting a contest that I wish to win myself. :-)

Check back to my site often as there are a lot of great things in the works (including give aways and free samples from cloth diapering companies and other things of interest to cloth diapering parents). Start following now and be sure that you won't get left out!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Product Review: FisherPrice Calming Vibrations Rocker

The FisherPrice Calming Vibrations rocker was given to me for Amara at a baby shower. It wasn't something that I had registered for, but I was assured by the giver that my baby would love it. I must admit, she was right.

We were able to begin using the rocker soon after Amara was born as it has a safety buckle that's very adjustable. The position is also adjustable, allowing you two positions: reclining and sitting up. It can be used as either a rocker or set to be stationary by simply moving a bar out at the bottom of the rocker. I've also used it as a children's rocking chair with my 2.5-year-old cousin and she got quite the kick out of it, pulling it around with her and demanding to use it all day.

It runs with a few batteries, and we've not had to replace them through over 6 months of regular use. This is a good thing as batteries can get to be expensive. You can choose to turn the vibrating portion of the rocker off at any time though, as there's a switch on the front for this.

Amara especially enjoys the middle toy that hangs down, since it sings a little tune of "5 little ducks" when pulled. It's the only piece that isn't removable--the other two are held on by velcro and can be replaced by another velcro object if you wish. While this is a nice feature, it would be nice if there were rings or something instead that I could attach things with. The entire toy "bar" can be removed very easily.

The pros of this seat would be the versatility of a child's size that can use it, the weight (light), the sturdiness (my daughter can't tip it over no matter how hard she tries), and the many options it offers (toys, vibrations, positioning). Cons would be the toy removal issue as well as the song, as it can get annoying time and time again, and the fact that there are some plastics and synthetic materials involved in the making of this product. These are small annoyances in comparison to the hours of enjoyment and ease of transferability that the Calming Vibrations rocker offers, though, so I can definitely recommend this to my readers!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Birthing Q&A

Six months ago today, I gave birth to my first child. She is a delight and I often revisit that beautiful day in my mind. I used hypnobirthing as my birthing method and had an all natural-no drugs-minimal medical monitering-water birth. I was able to catch my own baby and bring her up to me, sharing her first moments in this world by kissing her and singing to her of how much I loved her.

Since bearing a child, I have been asked a lot of questions by people. Both men and women have asked questions, a lot of them repeats. In an attempt to educate the public, I am sharing the most popular ones and my responses with you. This may be TMI for some people, so be forewarned.

  • What did it feel like? As though my body was trying to turn itself inside out.

  • Did it hurt, for real? Yes. I was able to sleep through the first part, and then relax myself through the second part when things started getting intense. During "transition," though, things were crazy. It wasn't the most painful thing I've ever felt, but it was the most intense thing I've ever felt. It just takes over your whole body. The most painful part was actually tearing, but the worst pain was the pressure in my legs during the whole thing because it was the most annoying of all the "pain". I recommend practicing deep relaxation before childbirth. I didn't scream, but I did groan loudly while pushing and I did have tremors from the pain during contractions.

  • Would you do it without drugs again? Absolutely. I still wouldn't dream of using drugs during natural childbirth.

  • What about tearing? The water helps a lot, and pushing slowly. I only tore a little bit, first degree. It stung, though!

  • What does it feel like afterwards? First off, you still look 5 months pregnant after the kid comes out. It feels like all of your guts have no pressure on them and are just bumping around so you have a stomach ache and feel like throwing up. Putting pressure around your mid section helps. Also, the unterine cramping afterwards sucks, especially while nursing. I took Tylonal and Advil for this.

  • Bleeding? This was an FYI for me: you bleed for up to 6 weeks after childbirth. After researching, I found out that this is from the area where the placenta was attached. Nursing and not doing strenuous activities helps speed up the healing process.

  • Does it hurt to pee afterwards? It didn't for me, but I'm told that it does if you tear in the perinial area (between the vagina and anus) (which I didn't).

  • How is sex afterwards? Let's just say that being "too loose" after childbirth is a MYTH. If anything, it's at least as small as ever. Some internal muscle tone is gone so I guess that's looser but that can be "fixed" by kegal exercises. I was woried about this though, so I did some Internet research prior to any attempts at sex and found that some women really have a terrible time with this including internal things becoming external . Yikes. Be encouraged that not all women have problems--don't be worried like I was.

  • What about pregnancy side effects afterwards? Well, I haven't thrown up, had heartburn, had leg cramps, or been nearly as tired since giving birth.

  • Getting back into shape: I feel like the unlucky one among women with this. I look at other new moms and they looks awesome. Me? I lost about 26 lbs. during the first 3 weeks and have struggled ever since. That whole "you burn 500 extra calories a day by nursing" doesn't help me any. I'm six months post partum and still have 12 pounds to go. *sigh*

Childbirth is something that one would think is a horrendous, abnormal and scary situation that women unfortunately find themselves in--if you watch mainstream television! Let me correct your thinking and assure you that the media is wrong. Childbirth is natural and amazing. Intense, yes. Impossible? No. Be unafraid and instead, embrace the most incredible experience that you will ever have.

What are some other questions that you have about labor, deliver, or post-partum?