Happy Healthy Child- A DVD series for an informed pregnancy

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I want to start this post by saying that just because I opted for an all-natural home birth for the birth of my son, I do not believe that everyone should do the same.  I believe that women should give birth where they feel most safe.  If that means in a hospital setting, and in the care of a OBGYN/surgeon, then that is where they should give birth.  One thing I feel VERY strongly about though, no matter where you plan on giving birth, is that you should be educated about pregnancy, and the birthing process so that you can make all of your choices (where to birth, who you want in the room, epidural, vaccinating, vitamin k shot, circumcision, etc) from an informed place. This is what I like to call having an “informed pregnancy”.  There is so much power in it.  It is about understanding the miraculous process that your baby and body are going through, what the natural stages of labor are, and what your body is designed to do.  When you know what your body is doing and what to expect, it eliminates the fear that many women have around birth.   Now, some people might be thinking, “Why do I need to know all that?  My doctor knows what to do and I’ll just leave it all in their hands”.  Well, I believe that way of thinking leads to many unnecessary interventions (pitocin, epidural, episiotomy), unnecessary cesarean sections and most of all, it leaves many women feeling disconnected from and disappointed in their birth experience.  On the other hand, being educated on, not only pregnancy and labor/birth, but also on all of the options in the hospital (fetal monitoring, pain relief, routine newborn procedures, and more) empowers couples to be active participants in their birth experience.

For me to get to this place of knowledge with all things pregnancy, labor and birth, I read many books, watched dvds, went to multiple classes/workshops, and talked to many experts.  Well, I have just come across a DVD series that has all of this valuable info in one place and looks amazing.  It is called Healthy Happy Child.  I have not watched them yet, only the trailer, but I can tell based on the experts that are interviewed that it is totally on track with what I believe and that it’s number one goal is to educate couples in an effort for them to eliminate fear around pregnancy, labor and birth and to empower them to take an active role in the birthing process instead of a passive one.  And that, I am all for.

You can watch the trailer here and get information/buy the dvds here.

All work and no play…

I love this post my friend “Chef James” wrote about the balance of work and play.  We should all remember the importance of play in our lives.  It is just as important for adults as it is for children, and creates joy and memories.  Read more here.

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No more paper towels! Bambooee!

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I wrote a post a while back on taking your time when working towards living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.  It is a process and a journey that we are all on..we do what we can, when we can.  I have gotten to a pretty good place in my home where we use all non toxic cleaning products, recycle, don’t use plastic baggies, don’t buy water bottles, eat organic food, use compostable trash bags, etc, but the one thing I was not ready to kick to the curb was my use of paper towels.  They are just so darn convenient!  Well, the time has come.  I finally got intrigued enough to buy a product I saw at my local Whole Foods called Bambooee.  Bambooee is a roll of 20 reusable towels made from an organic bamboo source where it is harvested using sustainable and green practices.  Once harvested, bamboo regrows new sprouts every year.  The harvesting techniques used by their growers assures that the bamboo forests where Bambooee comes from continues to grow and yield the same amount of bamboo yearly.  Regular paper towels are made from trees.  Trees do not regrow once harvested.  Well, I can now tell you that they are freakin’ AWESOME!!  They are just like paper towels except, stronger, softer, and best of all, washable and reusable!!!  One roll of Bambooee is equivalent to using 286 rolls of paper towels!  I used to use 2-3 paper towels when cleaning up my toddler after a meal.  Now I use one Bambooee towel.  I wet it, wring it out, clean his hands, face and tray. Then I rinse it, squeeze out the excess water and hang it on my dish rack until the next meal.  I can even use one for more than one day!  I keep a little bag under my kitchen sink, and when I’ve used one enough I’ll pop it in there until I have a few to wash.  You can wash them in the washing machine, with your clothes, in cold or hot water and hang dry.  They say that one sheet will last up to 100+ washes.  Amazing.  I am so happy to have found a way to replace my paper towel use, that is proving to work even better than paper towels!  This does not feel like a compromise at all.  Go get them, you won’t regret it.

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Below are some other ways Bambooee suggests you try to save trees and  join the anti paper revolution..

1. Use Bambooee.  No need to use regular paper towels any more. One roll of Bambooee replaces up to six months worth of paper towel use.

2. Use cloth napkins.

3. Ask yourself, “Do I need to print this?” We all get printer happy at times.

4. Bring your own cup to the coffee shop and to work.

5. Re-use paper bags or bring your own reusable bags to the market.

6. Share magazines with friends and family or just browse the magazine online.

7. Curb junk mail. Call and ask to be taken off their mailing lists.

8. Make your own cards for birthday’s and thank you’s.

9. Pay bills online and ask for paperless statements.

10. Say no to paper plates. Bring your own ceramic plate to work and leave it there. It’s easier than you think.

Safe Sunscreen!- EWG’s 2013 Sunscreen Guide

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The same organization that brought you the Guide to Healthy Cosmetics and the Guide to Healthy Cleaning, has now brought you a Guide to Safe Sunscreens! The Environmental Working Group is the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization.  Their mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment. I am so thankful for the work that they do.  So before you start slathering on the sunscreen this summer, search your products on EWG’s Guide to Safe Sunscreens to make sure what you are using is safe and non toxic!

Talking to Your Children About Tragedy

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With so many tragedies being publicized in the media, it is hard to keep your children sheltered from hearing about it.  I’m lucky that my son is still young enough that this isn’t an issue for us, but I came across this great article,  How to Talk to Your Child About the Tragedy in Boston by Dr. Laura Markham and felt compelled to share.  I am a big fan of Dr. Laura Markham and her philosophies on parenting.  I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter and following her on twitter.

The Greater Good- The truth about vaccines

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My husband and I watched an eye-opening and thought-provoking documentary last night called “The Greater Good”.  I got all fired up because I learned so many facts about vaccinations and vaccination policy in this country that I just didn’t know. First of all, did you know that in the 1980’s children were recommended to get 23 doses 7 different vaccines, and in the 2010’s children are now recommended to get 69 doses of 16 vaccines?!!  That is nearly three times more!!  I’m also not convinced that it’s a coincidence that during the same time period of this rise in vaccinations that there has been a huge rise in chronic disease and disabilities in children.  1 in 110 children has autism and 1 in 6 children has some form of neurodevelopmental disorder.  Something is not right here.  Now, I’m not saying that it is only vaccinations that are contributing to this, but as Barbara Loe Fisher (president of the National Vaccine Information Center) says in this quote, it would be silly to not consider it a possibility.

“Vaccine safety is not just about autism.  Autism is only one kind of brain and immune dysfunction that is associated with vaccinations.  Millions of children in America are chronically ill and disabled, and during this same time period that the numbers of doses of vaccines have more than tripled, we have seen this explosion of chronic disease and disability.  To take off the table the use of a pharmaceutical product, like a vaccines, as a potential cofactor in this explosion of chronic disease and disability among our children is irresponsible. ”

Unfortunately, just like many other industries in our country, the pharmaceutical industry is a revolving door with the policy makers in Washington.  On the board of the ACIP, the organization that approves vaccine policies in our country, sit several doctors who have a direct financial interest in these vaccines.  This is a huge conflict of interest!!!  Not to mention that the majority of vaccine research is paid for by the vaccine manufacturers themselves. So the people approving the vaccines are just taking the word of the vaccine companies that these products are safe.

When a promising drug comes forward, the FDA has a process that they call “fast tracking”.  This is what happened with Gardasil.  You know, the one you see ads for all over tv urging you to become “one less” cervical cancer death by getting the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine.  Merck, the maker of Gardasil had a 4 year safety trial scheduled, but after 15 months they went to the FDA and asked for it to be fast tracked.  The FDA said yes, and it was approved within 6 months.  As soon as this happened, Merck stopped their trial because their drug was already on the market.  Therefore, we do not know the long-term side effects of this vaccine.  In my opinion, no vaccine, particularly one that is meant for children should ever be fast tracked!!  Since Gardasil has been licensed, there have been more than 18,000 reactions and adverse events reported, with 85 of these being deaths….and the government’s response has been that all of these events are a coincidence.  What I find most fascinating about this vaccine in particular is that according to Dr. Diane Harper, one of the world’s top experts studying HPV, the death rate in the US from cervical cancer is 3 per 100,000, that is less than 1% of cancer deaths each year.  You have a higher chance of dying in a car accident.  So why are they pushing this drug on our children when it seems that the benefits do not outweigh the risks??  One thing comes to my mind: $$$

Now here is where it gets even more sick.  If you or your child were to get injured by a vaccine, you cannot sue the vaccine manufacturer.  Because it “wasn’t profitable” for the vaccine manufacturers to have to pay out lawsuits on vaccine injuries, the government stepped in, stopped all lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, and created what’s called the Vaccine Compensation Program.  (This is where it gets crazy!!)  Guess who pays for the compensation that people get when they have a vaccine injury?  YOU!!!  Yup, the money that comes into this fund is from a tax that Americans pay every time they get a vaccine.  About 2 billion dollars has been paid out of this fund and there is about 3 billion dollars left.  So, the vaccine makers, who stand to generate $21.5 billion in annual sales, have zero accountability for the harm their products may cause to the public.  I don’t know about you, but that does not sit right with me.

These facts are just a taste of the information you will find in “The Greater Good”.  I recommend that everyone watch this film whether you have chosen to vaccinate or not!!  I am not intending to make anyone feel bad or guilty about the choices they have made, nor am I saying that I oppose vaccinations.  But I believe it is important for us all to understand what is really going on in our country, and that you (sadly) cannot always trust that the government agencies that were put in place to protect you are always right.  It is all about making informed decisions. We all deserve to have the full information about the benefits and risks of vaccines and the ability to make a voluntary choice on whether or not we want to accept those risks.   Vaccinating is a very personal decision and I think everyone needs to weigh out their own risks (risk of exposure to disease, family history, etc.) and do what they believe is best for their family. Part of doing that is understanding the risks and benefits of the vaccines themselves.  I urge you all to do your own due diligence when it comes to vaccinating so that you can feel confident about the decision you make for your family.  Below are some great resources…

The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations By: Dr. Lauren Feder

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The Vaccine Book By: Dr. Robert Sears

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The Greater Good

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GOOD FRIENDS. GOOD FOOD. GOOD CAUSE.

We had our 2nd GOOD FRIENDS. GOOD FOOD. GOOD CAUSE. dinner on Saturday night, which also happened to be my hubby’s birthday.  As always, it was full of great peeps, good conversation and lots of laughs.  My friend Barrett over at Valleybrink Road catered it and she knocked it out of the park. Check out her blog for the menu and some great photos of the delicious food.  This months charity was Chrysalis, a charity dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment.  I’m proud to say that we made $460 for them!  I’m loving this new tradition and am already brainstorming for the next one.

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You can’t be what you can’t see…

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I’ve had my sweet 12 year old niece with me all week during her spring break.  12 is such an interesting age.  On one hand they are mature and smart, and on the other hand they are still an impressionable kid looking to find their way in the world.  It just reminded me how much our kids are watching us.  They learn from watching what we do, how we respond to things, how we talk about others and what we think about ourselves.  They are learning how to move through this life and without the proper example they can really get lost.  So today, remind yourselves that you too are being watched and observed by the little ones in your life, and choose to show them how to be confident, conscious and kind.  Happy Friday!

“You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marian Wright Edelman