Friday, November 14, 2008

Conscious Giving

Below I have posted a letter I wrote indicating my desire to be environmentally conscious this holiday season. I'm sharing it here for two reasons. First to enlighten those I did not directly sent it to. And second, to hopefully help others to share their convictions on such matters. I would invite those interested to share this letter with their families (either like is or edited to fit you). I put alot of time, research and thought and really want to share it. While the wording is almost entirely my own, I do need to credit Jenn Savedge author of "The Green Parent." You can check out her blog at
May this holiday season be full of thanksgiving as we both give and receive the gifts and blessings of each other.

Dearest Family and Friends,

In the past year I worked at being conscious of my daily life habits, especially in terms of spending and consuming,  and their effects on the environment and the world as a whole. As the holiday approaches, I am driven to continue to be conscious of these habits. Thus I want to find ways to continue with holiday traditions and celebrations while still being environmentally friendly. While I am not asking you to change the way you celebrate the holidays, I would greatly appreciate you respect in my beliefs and convictions. Therefore, I'm asking you to follow some simple guidelines when considering giving gifts to myself and my children.

  • Shop Preloved: Preloved items are wonderful because as the saying goes One Person's Junk is Another's Treasure. When shopping for pre-owed items please consider what we need or want. If we have no use for it than we are less likely to appreciate the gift. This is not fair to you or us. Also be sure that items are in Good Used Condition without ripes, holes, or missing or broken pieces.
  • Shop Local: Buying local not only boosts your local economy it also reduces emissions and packaging involved in shipping.
  • Shop Recycled: Look for items that contain recycled materials. Also along these lines, look for items with limited to no packaging and packaging can be recycled.
  • Unplug: Try to avoid gifts that require electricity or batteries. 
  • Make It Yourself: If you have the skills create a homemade gift. We'll love it.
  • No-Waste Gifts: Gift cards, tickets (movies, theater, etc), or club memberships would be wonderful.

Finally when shopping for new toys please look for the following.
  • Simple toys- without batteries that foster creativity and stimulate imaginative play
  • Natural materials- such as wood
    (sustainable certified), bioplastic toys (plastic made from natural base components such as corn) or cloth (organic when possible). Look for solid-woods, as pressed wood is made with a glue that gives
    off toxic fumes, and
    nontoxic paints.
  • Avoid PVC plastic (aka polyvinyl chloride)

I thank you in advance for being considerate of my requests. If you want ideas as to where to look for items I have listed some website at the bottom.
We so deeply appreciate all the generosity and love you have shown our family. I look forward to seeing many of you this holiday season.

With lots of love,

Preloved items- - search your city or neighboring cities - go the the FSOT forum- great for  kid stuff

Eco friendly businesses for everyone-

Kids & toys- - a Newton based, mother owned store - you may choose In Store Pick-Up and I will pick up and bring to where we are celebrating

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fun with paint

So today is my husband's birthday. And unfortunately, all week the whole family has been fighting colds. Tis the season, I guess. I was worried I wouldn't be able to do anything special for him b/c of my lack of energy. To add to the drama of today, Ian decided he would not sleep during nap time. Luckly, when I did finally let him get up from nap he was in a fairly good mood. And I found alittle energy. So I thought it would be great if we painted something for Mark. The other day I had gotten an end roll of paper for the newpaper office. I rolled it out on the floor on top of a plastic tablecloth and got out the paint. We painted hand prints all over a sign saying Happy Birthday I made. Than we rolled out a free piece and used our feet. It was so fun. The great part was letting Ian get all messy. He is really quite a clean kid. He hates, I mean hates having his hands dirty. Even today, it took him a few minutes to really get into paining. First he used one finger. Then we it had paint on it me to clean it. I just demonstrated how to wipe the paint off on the paper as part of the painting. He than got excited and he even initiated putting his whole hand in pant to make hand prints. I was very impressed. He was so cute. The best part was watching him slide his foot around the paint and then sliding it across the paper. Afterwards we had a bath and enjoyed the purple water from all the paint on our body. :) Best of all we were able to make something for Mark and he seemed to like it. I'm even thinking of using the foot print panting as wrapping paper come Christmas. Being that it is news print paper it is very thin so it should wrap nicely. And I'm sure grandparents will get a kick out of homemade wrapping paper. Of course all the energy painting and cleaning up meant I am really tired tonight. But it was worth it. Now if only I could actually fall asleep. I'm only still up b/c I know I'll just lie awake in bed. ARGGGG!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

La Leche League conference

So today was the La Leche League of Kansas area conference. For those who are unfamiliar with La Leche League, "La Leche League [LLL] is an international, non-profit, non-sectarian organization that has been supporting women and their breastfeeding choices since 1956." [taken from] I love these conferences. I'm a member of the Newton LLL group and went to my first conference a year an half ago (they are held about every year and half alternating between spring and fall). This conference was particularly exciting because the feature speaker was Dr. Robert Sears. For those not familiar with this name, Dr. Robert Sears, along with his father Dr. William Sears and his brother Dr. James Sears, is a while known pediatrician and author. All three have a practice together in California. Dr. Robert Sears is the author of "The Vaccine Book." It was very exciting to have him at our conference. The conference is held in the Grand Prairie hotel in Hutch, so we decided to go stay the night and have a mini vacation. It was very nice. The plan was that we get to the hotel, eat dinner and I would go the the opening session with Dr. Sears while Ian and Mark swam in the indoor water park. Unfortunately Dr. Sears' flight was canceled. Mark and Ian did swim although the big slide and lazy river was under construction and close, and the small pool with kid slides was so cold Ian was shivering the moment he stepped in. They did swim in the normal pool and Mark sat in the hot tub with Ian sitting on the edge playing with the bubbles. :) Luckily for me and the conference, a Kansas LLL leader is also on the LLL international board. So she gave a presentation on how powerful breasting can be for women and stories she has gathered in her study and work with breastfeeding mothers. She had a wonderful slideshow of pictures and art of mothers nursing their children. I think the most powerful statement was that it doesn't matter whether a woman nursing for one day or for two years she remembers that experience for the rest of her life. She told a story of a woman who couldn't remember who her daughter was but could remember breastfeeding that daughter as an infant and toddler. The story touched my heart. That the experiences of breastfeeding can last so long. At the same time I am saddened by this thought. For those women who have excruciating experiences and memories of breastfeeding those experiences are carried with them for the rest of their lives. My hope is that for those women who only breastfeed for a short period, whatever the reason, realize that they can take pride in those experiences. Even a week of breastfeed a baby benefits them.

Anyway, I did get to hear Dr. Sears talk today. He caught a late flight into Wichita last night. This morning I even had breakfast with him. I didn't realize it was him until I had sat down at the table. We didn't really talk much, mostly we ate and tried to wake up :). But we did talk about how much syrup a baby get on them in their infanthood (I was wearing Cai in the sling and yes he gets lots of food on him when he is in it). My first session this morning was with Dr. Sears on vaccines. It was very informative. He explained very briefly what diseases we vaccine for and very limited information on why. He then quickly went over why some parents are wary of/ choose not to vaccinate and how we can vaccinate safely when we have more information on the vaccines and the diseases they are for. For an hour session it was very very informative. I really want to look into the information more. Dr. Sears uses an alternative schedule to vaccinate his patients that ensure they get all the vaccinations just two rather than up to four at a time. This means for the first 6 months babies get two shots month rather than the three to four every other. The benefits of the alternative schedule according to Dr. Sears is that they only get one live virus at a time and only one aluminum vaccine at a time. He explained that our bodies usually only come into contact with one virus at a time and thus giving only one live virus vaccine at a time is easier on the body. The aluminum he explained in relatively small in one vaccine. But builds up when contained in multiple vaccines. Giving only one containing aluminum limits the amount of aluminum in the body. All very interesting points. Dr. Sears ended with precautions to parents who choose to not vaccinate as well as the reminder that something like 99% of kids actually handle the current vaccine schedule. His push to use an alternative schedule is to ensure that those 1% whose immune system can't handle the current schedule can be safely vaccinated.

The rest of the conference was good. Not nearly as interesting as my first session. I went to a session on toddlers. But mostly I felt like I was more helpful to other parents than they were to me. Meaning I felt I was doing or had tried most of what we discussed. Mark said it makes him feel like we are doing something right that we are already using so much of what we heard discussed in the various sessions. All and all we had a good time. Plus is was so nice to get away, even to Hutch for awhile. :)

If you want to check out more about Dr. Robert Sears and/or more about his information on vaccines visit

or click on the title of this post

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

I woke up today bursting with energy. I don't think I ever knew how empowered I could feel by an election. Despite the fact that Kansas (to no ones surprise) went to Senator McCain, I feel like my vote meant something. My opinion matters. After eight years (ok only six since before I was 18 I really didn't pay much attention) of feeling like my opinions and concerns were being ignored by Washington, I feel my voice is heard and echoed in others. My excitement bubbles as I realize that others not only in my city, my state and my country celebrate the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president, but that parts of the international world also find excitement and hope in these results. Yet while my joy beams out my fingers and toes, I understand that the the future is not all singing and laughter. Tough times are still ahead. And while I have great hope as to how President Obama (gosh that feels good to write!) will handle our desperate economic situation, our less than wonderful international relations, etc. etc, I know that things will not magically become better for our country or the world. New leadership only means a possibility to change the current path. My greatest hope is that President Obama will not only change our course but with this change will bring about a sense of peace rather than the fear and sadness that so many have experienced. Now I realize that there are many, including some of my own friends and family, who are not thrilled with the election results. My hope for them is in the coming months they can realize that
while Obama may not see eye to eye with them on every issue, he does want to work for the common good of the country. And always remember, while the position of president holds great power it also is very limited. We, as a nation, hold more power. We as individuals united in common goals create change. So what ever it is we are fighting for we must never give up. We must continue to dialogue and work together for find solutions to better ourselves, our society and our world. And yes, I realize that this is easy to say since my candidate won. But hey I've been saying it for six years. I understand and know how it feels to think my opinions and actions do not matter or make a difference. And this election has proved that people can come together to create change.

A friend's facebook statue reads "I have children that won't remember that race was ever a barrier." Obama's election as president is not only exciting because I believe he is going to be a great president who will do great things for this country, but because he is the FIRST black president. I'm constantly reminded how images and symbols create reality. I'm currently reading Sue Monk Kidd's "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter." She talks about how our language and images of God as male shape our perception that God can only be male. Without an image or language of a female God we have no way of perceiving this form. I find this true in other aspects of life. When we only had white, males as president it is hard to imagine a president outside of this image. President Obama changes the image. And thus opens possibilities up for so many new forms of leadership. It's all very very exciting. Yeah for progress!!!!May this change move us forward to better things.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

He used the potty!!!!!!

Tonight Ian actually used his potty. We haven't really been pushing potty training. In fact other than offering the opportunity once and awhile we really try not to make a big deal out of it. Our thoughts are that if now is not the right time then we can't push our wants on him without making it harder for us. But tonight he not only sat on his potty he actually used it. We got him to sit on the potty while I read "Once Upon A Potty" and "A New Potty" (a little critter book ). He sat there while I read both twice. Then he got up, walked into the bathroom (we don't have enough room in our teeny tiny bathroom to put his potty so it's sitting in the changing room right outside the door) and stood on his toes in front of the toilet trying to pee standing up like Daddy. It was so cute. We we got the stool and had him stand in front of the toilet. So then we went back and forth for awhile. Finally we started running the bath water as it was time for bath. He then stood over his potty and peed right into it!!! SUCCESS! True it took probably half an hour and lots of encouragement and help. But this small feat makes me so excited. I don't think we're going to be potty trained anytime soon. But I do think it will be sooner than I originally thought. If anything tonight got him to not be scared of his potty or the big toilet. And it pushed us all in the right direction. My little baby is becoming a little boy so fast. :)


For those of you not in the Wichita area, 1.97 is the price of gas. That's right. $1.97 per gallon!!!!! When I saw the price yesterday I could not believe my eyes. Actually I guess it was Wed I saw gas at $1.99 and decided I just had to call someone and tell them. I mean who would have thought that gas would go under 2 dollars ever again. So I called my mother. My brother happened to be with her and he was so mad b/c he had just filled up his car at $2.07 or something. At that point I thought surely it won't get any lower. But it did. It's strange to me that just weeks ago gas prices where up in the 3 dollar range. Even stranger is the idea that we're in this massive economic crisis and yet gas prices are dropping???? Not that I'm complaining. I'm loving the low cost. I just wish it would stay till Christmas when we drive to Goshen. Somehow I doubt it though. I mean surely it will go up again. I just hope not in leaps and bounds like before.