Babywearing

For those readers who’ve never heard the word before, “babywearing” may sound a little odd. Even I found myself choking out the words when I wore Harper at a recent family event – “I’m going to wear…the baby will be in a carrier.” While I may be unapologetic about the choices we make, it doesn’t make it easier to be the odd man out sometimes. ūüėČ

So, what IS babywearing? It’s exactly what it sounds like: wearing your baby as an option of carrying or traveling with your little one. It keeps baby soothed and the sound of mama’s heartbeat is reminiscent of ¬†when baby was in the womb. Babywearing is the one of the most literal aspects of “attachment parenting.”

But one of the most appealing parts of babywearing comes when you have more than one bambino. Whether at the grocery store, traveling, or just trying to get something done with your hands free (like chasing a 3-year-old), it helps exponentially.

There are several different styles of options for wearing a baby: an easy structured carrier (we have an Ergo), slings, wraps of all fabrics (we love our Moby), and mei tais. They range in ease of use and price, and offer options regardless of your child’s age. Yup, you can babywear from newborn to toddler.

When Hadley was born, I was so overwhelmed and absolutely drained by nursing and his feisty personality, so when I finally got around to trying him in a carrier, it didn’t stick. Kind of like cloth diapering, at that point I was simply in survival mode and didn’t feel the need to stress myself out more for the sake of giving this method a go. It didn’t make life easier at the time.

This time, though, it DOES make life easier. There’s a learning curve (especially when wrapping!), but between the fact that Harper seems to be a snuggler and our Moby wrap has allowed us to actually get out of the house, it’s a lifesaver.

babywearing

My favorite examples? Our first time using one, we hit up a local Christmas tree farm. Seriously, we NEVER would’ve been able to get a tree as a family of four (with a “doesn’t listen to ‘STOP!'” kiddo in tow) without the thing. It. Was. Perfect. The fact that it was a super warm day (the whole month of December was…blah) helped.

The first time Harper and I left the house one-on-one, I had some groceries to get. I threw on the wrap, carefully snuggled her in, and she slept during the entire trip. Plus, if people want to see her, it’s fine – but she’s still at a safe distance to avoid all the yucky germs being passed around this time of year.

Then, our first real family outing was a huge success thanks to babywearing. We hit up our favorite “local” getaway spot, Cooperstown, on a chilly day. Harper and I were both dressed in layers (I actually wrote about how to babywear in cold weather a little while back), and she slept most of the time. It. Was. Awesome.

When Harper’s a bit bigger, I look forward to getting out for some walks with the Ergo (which is more structured and pretty quick to put on and take off), and hope to continue wearing her for our summertime outings.

While we do have a stroller (a double one, actually), which we’ll most likely use for farmers’ market trips and other lots-of-walking-involved trips, this option is perfect for so many applications.

If you’re interested in giving babywearing a go, check out Babywearing International to see what style will fit your family’s needs.

Now, to get the Dorky Daddy to give it a try!

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Donna Reed, I am not.

Apparently.

I’m one of those “I’ll do laundry today” people who starts a load, gets distracted by life, then gets back to it a couple of days later. Please tell me I’m not alone.

So, I assumed it was my own laziness that led to THE STANK. You know THE STANK. It’s not necessarily a mold/mildew smell, but it’s that scent that, should you happen to finish the load without rewashing (SUCH a waste of energy and water, my Lord) and actually wear the clothing, your nose is perma-wrinkled all day. It’s a lingering smell that is downright distracting. THE STANK.

Then, I stumbled upon a little tip about washing one’s washing machine, particularly if it’s an HE. At first, I thought it was a total Danny Tanner move, like cleaning his rubber gloves or vacuuming the vacuum (which I’ve actually done…doesn’t work great). But, then I thought to myself, “Huh. Maybe this would help with THE STANK.” See, even after an overnight, THE STANK was seeping in quicker and quicker and getting to be a terrible nuisance.

So, I tried the tip and it worked. Here I am to pass along the wealth.

As with most of my natural cleaning favorites, this tip comes courtesy Clean Mama. Seriously, what doesn’t she know how to clean? Her post has great advice depending on the type of washing machine you have, and suggests either chlorine-free bleach or white vinegar. I’m working with a HE top-loader and, of course, used white vinegar.

Yup. Just that easy. And it has worked phenomenally! No more wasting precious resources (water and, of course, the soap!) to re-wash stinky clothes. You can do this monthly or as needed.

Bam!


Oh, and stop by last week’s post to weigh in about, well, this here blog. Please and thanks!

Basement Organization

We have two spaces in our house that overwhelm us with “stuff” — our office (which I hardly use and Dave uses regularly) and our basement. Since we’re up in the air as to whether or not we’ll find a new house before the little one comes along, we’re trying to be proactive, both by getting wicked organized in case we do sell and move OR in the case that we don’t move, we’ll have simplified and found more room in the process. Win-win, really.

This weekend, before I had a chance to even take “before” pictures (crappy blogger), we headed downstairs to see what we could get done. One toddler naptime turned into another and, of course, we still have lots more to work on, so I’m sure I’ll be chatting about our basement a bit more as we continue our purging/organization fun. I’m hoping to get down every day this week (during naps or after bedtime)…yup, it’s that bad.

On Day #1, while Dave sifted through all of our home improvement items (lots of sanding blocks!!), I turned my attention under the stairs. This is where all of our holiday stuff lives, along with gift wrap, gift bags, ribbon, etc. I didn’t move everything out, but organized and sifted through and evaluated…and ended up with this:


Here are some of the strategies I used to organize the space:

Put Similar Items Together – Believe me; it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Walking into a basement that has become more and more of a dumping ground over time is downright panic attack-inducing. But, my #1 organization tip is to dive in by making piles of (or simply separating into) similar items. Don’t obsess about the sheer vastness of the stuff; put on your blinders and start making piles.

So, now my Christmas stuff is with, duh, the Christmas stuff. (I’m saying “duh” to myself, BTW.) Gift bags are organized specifically by birthday, characters (like, superheroes or Peter Rabbit), and new baby, then there was even a separate bag just for the generic, anytime bags.

This was the first moment (among many) that I realized, JOYOUSLY, that I don’t need to buy a new gift bag for a long, long time. Same goes with tissue paper. And Christmas wrap…and tape…and ribbons…and boxes of all sizes. Holy crap. Literally all I need for Christmas is some new sticker tags to go on gifts (and maybe one wrap of “Santa paper”). Knowing that we’ll have a newborn at Christmastime and realizing that I’m all set with that side of things calms me. “And knowing is half the battle!” Speak to me, Transformers.

Location, Location, Location – Doesn’t it just make sense to keep the things that you use most often closest to you? In this case, it’s gift bags, which we use (and reuse and reuse) with unapologetic abandon. So, keeping those behind the Christmas stuff would’ve been silly. Front and center they are.¬†

This will also apply to the totes of baby/toddler clothes (of which we have, I believe, 8…I only wish that wasn’t true, and we bought very, very little of it ourselves). Why keep the 18-month stuff at the top of the stacks when we’ll need newborn and 0-3 months first? It also helps direct you as to where certain items should go, as well as help you analyze whether you need the item at all. If something’s automatically being shoved to the back wall, why? If it’s an “once-a-year-but-need-it” thing (ahem, Christmas crap, I’m talking to you), then fine. But if it’s an “I really don’t know when we’ll use that” thing, say ba-bye.¬† ¬†

Get creative with storage – Not everything needs to be perfectly packed in totes with labels typed in a label-maker. I mean, sure, that’d be great, but sometimes a tote takes up too much spaces or doesn’t fit your needs. (Although, I highly suggest using them for storing kiddo and maternity clothes; they don’t breathe as much as I might like, but they’re the easiest solution I can think of for now. Plus, the transparent or semi-transparent ones, you can just shove a piece of paper labeled with a marker for what’s inside along the side and see it – no tearing or getting messed up.)

So, aside from boxes we have been saving FUH-RE-VER, I grabbed things that either were heading for the donation pile or are hardly used. So, a random blue basket that I haven’t used in years just happened to fit all the tissue paper perfectly. One large seen-better-days gift bag holds all the rest of the “can be used” ones. A cheap, heavy duty glass hurricane candleholder worked as a makeshift gift wrap holder (and if it breaks, I truly won’t shed a tear). A random nail or pipe protruding from a wall or ceiling overhang is a great place to hang a string of Christmas lights.

And always, ALWAYS stack as much as possible. All those baskets you see would take up mad space if they weren’t piled up. It is what it is.

Expect All the Emotions – The rush and joy I felt has made me actually excited to head back down to the dungeon, I kid you not. I’m like a purging monster. “Must. Purge. Mooooorrrre.” And finding cards and gifts that kids gave me years ago while I was teaching at a different school? Heartstrings!

But, it hasn’t all been a high. First of all, while I’m pretty active during pregnancy with yoga and, like, not slowing down, the baby has definitely stopped me in my path a few times. “Seriously, Mama. Too much. Go get some water, sit down, and thank me later.” I can always tell that I’ve overdone it; not a matter of “if” but “when.” It’s how I roll, I guess.

At the same time, there have been frustrations and tears. Tears = finding a platter that was my grandmother’s shattered. Frustrations = the sheer mass of stuff that we actually had little control over in the first place (stuff that was passed along that we didn’t want or need).

It’s all part of the game, though, and the best emotion that I’ve cultivated is RELAXATION. No, seriously! While it’s definitely hard, sweaty, dirty work, I’ve discovered exactly the stuff we have. I’ve realized that THIS is when you overbuy.

How many times have you had to get a gift for someone so you bought more tissue paper, not realizing that you already have enough in storage? Or because you don’t know what you have in storage from awhile back, you buy yet another pair of black work pants? In our case, I’ve been starting to mentally gear up about getting some cold season maternity clothes and post-maternity COOOOLD weather stuff. (The last baby was born in July.) However, after going through all the hand-me-downs and stuff I had, even in summer, I’ve discovered a lot of items that will work! It brought a calm to me that I haven’t felt in awhile.


How many of you have a space in your house that’s overrun by clutter or needs organizing? When I head down tonight, I’ll probably be heading back to purging clothing (this does NOT excite me) or to organize and figure out storage for the home improvement stuff Dave sorted. That has spread out, big-time, so to get that up off the floor and truly organized will be a good feeling.¬†

Essential Oils – How We Do

Why We Do What We Do

It’s pretty obvious that I’m sporadic about my blog post topics. Welcome to my brain! For being a boring librarian (psht, if you believe THAT, you don’t know my librarian friends…), I have a million different interests. Things that I’m incredibly passionate about. Sometimes I’ll talk your ear off about them; other times, I don’t want to come off as a lecturer, so I’m pretty silent. So, depending on what’s boiling to the top at the time, it’s what I post.

I’d like to have more focus, but ultimately it’s important for me to say this: Just because I’m not posting about it doesn’t mean that it’s fallen off of my priority list. I may be “living it” or quietly doing my thing without telling the whole world about it.

Whenever I do a reader survey, I find out that everyone reads for different reasons – yet another reason I’m sticking to my “variety is the spice of life” posting style. But, I also tend to get questions about things that I might have posted about several years ago. Namely, our green practices and eating habits.

So, today I’m getting into it. Why we make the choices that we make.


We eat (mostly) organic. Currently, we’re taking part in a challenge to try to weed out a bit of our processed foods a bit. Why? Several reasons. We’re more mindful about the food that goes into our bodies. It has value to us, unlike “Value Meal” items (which degrade the lives that were given for the meal). But, most importantly, we have read and looked into the connection between pesticides/chemicals and cancer rates (and other health issues), and would like to lessen our chances at any cost. So, yeah.

We care about the lives of the animals we consume. Believe me, I only wish we could be vegetarians. I do. Deeply. We adore animals, domesticated and wild. We’re trying to get back into a healthier flexitarian diet. But, ultimately, we do our best to buy locally-raised (generally grassfed and humanely treated) meat and poultry, but at least look for a “humane” seal on packaged meat bought elsewhere. It. Just. Matters. An animal died for your dinner. Shouldn’t it have at the very least had a non-abusive life lived close with nature? We think so.

We don’t eat locally, but we’d like to more. The main reason we don’t purchase all of our food locally is probably the reason that a lot of people don’t – convenience. With our work schedules and a little monkey to chase after, it’s a miracle that I get to Hannaford weekly/bi-weekly (and the rare times that I get to Aldi). Another reason is that it’s difficult to get to the infrequent farmers’ markets during this cold part of the year. Between hopefully purchasing a CSA share and hitting up the markets more when the warmer months hit, we hope to amend this.

We’re conscientiously green. I say it this way because we’re not yet to the height that we’d like to achieve, but we’re doing our best. We use reusable lunchware and natural toiletries, cosmetics and cleansers. We try to use rags and other reusable items and minimal disposable goods. The list goes on, but we’re far from zero waste.¬†

There are several reasons that I like to think of us as “green family.” When I was a teenager, I loved the old hippie movement. I idolized the motivation it took for a vast group of people to stand up for their beliefs (namely, that of equality and peace), despite the opinions of the older generations. I listened to their music, wore their clothes, and allowed many of their views shape my current thinking. I longed for my own movement to support, but nothing concrete showed itself.

As time went on, though, my life became normalized and responsible, and I grew further from the true social issues that have been bubbling and developing. I felt that I couldn’t ultimately have a say or truly create the change I had hoped for, anyway.

Instead, however, I discovered my priorities. Along with a husband who shared my views, I gradually learned that those early Earth Day lessons from elementary school had stuck, our opinions about animals were passionate, and our views on all things based in chemical nastiness had no place in our lives (or damaging our world).


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I’m sure I’m missing some things that people have wondered about over time, so feel free to leave a question in the comments! Ultimately, our lifestyle has become such a natural one (in more ways than one) that I forget to post about things that have become routine.