Sunday, August 29, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letter to an OB

Dear Dr. _______________,
            I'm not sure that you remember me or can picture my face any longer, but you delivered my son via cesarean just over three years ago. You were a wonderful surgeon and you did everything a "good" doctor is suppose to do. By medical definition, you were excellent- my physical scare was barely noticeable by six months postpartum, however, the emotional scars remained.  
          If you can remember, I was hoping to have a natural, intervention-free birth, but after 24+ hours of induced labor due to premature rupture of membranes, the decision was made to deliver via cesarean. I place no blame on you for that decision- it was mine based on the information that I was given (although knowing that I was making progress going from 10 % effaced to 75 % effaced may have altered my decision). What I do want to ask you to consider is your choice of words and the effect that they can have at a woman's most vulnerable moment.
           I can still hear the sentence you said to me as you were cutting my son from my body, "Wow! What a tiny baby! If you can't birth a baby this small, next time forget about the birth plan; forget about a VBAC; sign up for a cesarean." That one simple statement that was probably forgotten as soon as it hit your lips shook me to my core. I felt like a failure. Where compassion could have soothed, I was left with a cold, impersonal phrase that would haunt me and contribute to postpartum depression. Where kind words could have comforted (or even no words at all) and left hope, I was left with a stinging statement of inadequacy.
         If you can recall, my son was a tiny 6 lbs, 4 oz at birth. We later went on to find that he has mild CP which may have contributed to him being unable to be birthed vaginally. We will never know for sure, but what I am so about is that you have an awesome opportunity to either empower a woman at her birth, or tear her down. Words are windows, or they are walls.
        I just wanted to say that I forgive you for your words and hope that this letter can serve as a reminder that your bedside manner can carry long-term repercussions for your patients. A truly compassionate and kind physician is a rare gem in today's American medical practice, but those that choose to see their patients as more than just a name, are the ones that are excellent in my book.
       I'm not sure how far you will make it reading this letter (or if you will take the time to even read it at all), but in the end, it doesn't really matter as it's more for me than you. Expressing our vulnerability can help resolve conflicts and my hope is that this letter will help you think twice before you speak to a mother in future births.

Robin Sayers

PS- I'm so glad I didn't listen to you! Two years after my son's birth, I birthed another son that was 7 lbs, 7 oz, and had his hand up by his head (w/ minimal tearing)! Over a full pound bigger and very healthy. I'm so grateful I found a physician that was willing to support me and empower me to make my own informed choices so that I could have a VBAC. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fluffy Rainbow

So I took the time to arrange and take this photo for a detergent contest on Facebook, but unfortunately, did not win (man there were some creative mamas). Since I took the time to take it, I wanted to share it here (and show off my stash- keep in mind I've won over half of them and the rest I bought mainly used). :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eco Monday- #1 of 12 New Things- Cloth Diapering 101

Ok. So I was going to sit down and type out all of the lingo surrounded by cloth diapering and give some tips, however, I'm a big believer in not "re-inventing the wheel," and after reading this post from Fluff Newbie, I've decided to just link to her. Enjoy her post- it's super thorough and a great read! :)

Breastfeeding Blitz

Isn't it amazing that it is acceptable for stores like Victoria's Secret to have huge posters of half-naked young girls with breasts spilling out of their bras on display, stores can display magazines with scantilly clad women on the cover, but a mom covering her breast with her child sparks outrage?!! Ridiculous. Has anyone else noticed a anti-breadtfeeding trend in the news lately? I sure have! A woman recently got kicked out of McDonald's for feeding her infant and another woman was asked to leave court because she was giving her child milk- seriously? Why have we become so "boobaphobic"?
If your sick and tired of women being persecuted for breastfeeding, please consider joining MamaPearDesigns Breastfeeding Blitz. While I'm all for discretion, I believe that a woman has a right (and so do their babies) to breastfeed (or be fed) when needed. I honestly don't know of any woman that is "out to show some skin" when trying to feed her baby. If you feel the same way, check out MamaPear's blog for details on what you can do to help! She's trying to get breastfeeding on as a topic for Oprah's last season. While I'm not a huge Oprah fan, we all know and can admit that she is a very influential woman in our society. MamaPear's blog has a form letter that you can copy and paste to email directly to Oprah.
Let's help change breastfeeding from being a taboo topic to being viewed as a normal, natural, and beautiful part of life.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Words Are Windows (or They're Walls)

Words Are Windows
(or They're Walls)

I feel so sentenced by your words,
I feel so judged and sent away,
Before I go I've got to know,
Is that what you mean to say?

Before I rise in my defense,
Before I speak in hurt or fear,
Before I build that wall of words,
Tell me, did I really hear?

Words are windows, or they're walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me.

There are things I need to say,
Things that mean so much to me,
If my words don't make me clear,
Will you help me to be free?

If I seemed to put you down,
If you felt I didn't care,
Try to listen to my words,
To the feelings that we share.

-Ruth Bebermeyer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordy Wednesday- ISH by Peter H. Reynolds

"One spring morning,
Ramon had a wonderful feeling.
It was a feeling that even ish words
and ish drawings could not capture.
He decided NOT to capture it.
Instead, he simply savored it..."

OK. Not going to lie here, this "children's book" is just as much for us adults- if not more so, than our children and that's why it is so very important!
Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds is the beautiful story of Ramon- a child that overcomes his insecurities to live "ishfully ever after." There's something so amazing and pure about children- they are naturally confident and risk-takers, but it seems that our society jades them all to early pushing them to focus on what is the "right" way to do something rather than encouraging their age-appropriate approximations.
Ramon thought of himself as an artist until his older brother saw one of his paintings and burst out laughing, "What is that?" From that day on Ramon started focusing on getting it "right" rather than enjoying his art. Eventually he ends up giving up on drawing altogether until he visits his little sister's room to find that she has turned all of Ramon's trash "wrong" drawings into a crumpled art gallery on her walls. "That was suppose to be a vase of flowers," Ramon said, "but it doesn't look like one." "Well it looks vase-ISH! " she exclaimed.
So it's true that your preschooler may not "get it" the first time you read it, but you sure will! I remember reading it to my kindergartners for the first time a few years back and tearing up at the end. One of my students consoled me by saying, "It's ok Mrs. Sayers. You can make a vase-ish flower too!" Aw, the innocence and loveliness of childhood!
Why not sit down with your little loved one and do some ish work? Big Boy and I sat down today to do some painting with water color. I've never thought of myself as an artist, but with the ish mindset you can let go of your insecurities about making something that is "good" and/or "right" and embrace the beauty of discovery and trial.
At the top of this post you will see Big Boy paining his "Bus-ISH" art and the finished product. Please excuse the facial expression- we'll just say he's being 3 :) And below his art is a little something that I call "Flower-ISH." By no means perfect or right, but I sure had a blast paining it with my son :) I think all of us adults could use a good dose of ish in our lives!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Truth Tuesday- When God says, "No." Healing from Big Boy's Birth

I originally wrote this about six months after Big Boy was born, and prior to my pregnancy with Little Man

As some of you know, I was planning and praying to birth Big Boy naturally. My dream was shattered after my water broke and labor did not begin naturally, followed by a failed attempt at induction that ended in his birth by cesarean. After Big Boy's birth, I was left facing PPD and questioning my faith and trust in God. I just did not understand why God would say, "No!" to me in such a significant way. I honestly had never prayed harder about anything in my life.

Since the beginning of my pregnancy, I prayed, with faith, asking God to grant my wish for a successful natural birth and even wrote in my journal, "Lord, I just don't want a c-section." When that was what I got, my heart was shattered. To be honest, I was angry and I was left with two choices, trust God, that He loves me and has the best for me in mind, or ,doubt Him. I unfortunately went with the latter. Thankfully, God is much bigger than my doubt and is faithful to me regardless of my attitude towards HIM. He never gives up on me.

Although I am not completely emotionally healed from Luke's birth, I am on the road to recovery and God has been doing some amazing things in my heart. One thing that He pointed out to me is that Jesus Himself received a "No" in response to His prayer to "Let this cup pass from Me." WOW! If God the Father tells Jesus, "No!" then who in the world am I to think that I deserve any better? This also points out that my answered prayer did not result in a no due to my lack of faith. Who has more faith than Jesus Himself? Another thing that God has humbled me with is a quote from Beth Moore, "I am freed to know that my God is huge and my God is able. Therefore, I know that there is a greater yes in progress whether realized here or in heaven."

I can stop asking, "Why?" b/c the truth is, I may never know the answer until I get to heaven. What I must choose to do is trust God and bring Him glory through my trial. After all, the Bible challenges Christians, "whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow" (James 1:2-3). The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook b/c of what troubles can produce in our lives. Tough times teach us perseverance and can be great times of learning if we let them. So now my prayer is that I will continue to persevere!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eco Monday- #1 of 12 New Things- Why do I Cloth-Diaper? Getting Past my Misconceptions & Reservations

Aww, where to begin? When choosing my 12 Eco-Endeavors, I kind of felt like talking about cloth diapers was cheating because it's really not new to me, but then I realized although I have been doing it since Little Man was three months old (he's currently 10 months), I really hadn't been that vocal on sharing my experience. So I thought that I would start out by sharing with you all why I choose to cloth diaper.
Big Boy was not cloth diapered. I researched it when he was about six months old, but felt overwhelmed by all of the lingo, makes, models, and money that it would take to start my stash- so, cloth diapering went on the back-burner. Plus, I really didn't have any friends or relatives with experience beyond the old days of Dreft, wet soaking pails, and bleached cotton pre-folds. It just seemed, well, inconvenient. Yet time and time again, I kept coming back to the idea of cloth somehow bothered about all the chemicals in the disposables.
Then Little Man was born. He nursed like a champ from day one which was a HUGE blessing and answer to prayer, however, all that nursing led to a whole lot of poo :) Along with the frequent diaper changes came a HORRIBLE rash! I tried every type of disposable and rash cream out there to no avail. It would start to get better, but then flare up again- I felt so awful for him and frustrated too. Hence I was finally kind of "thrown-in" to cloth diapering, but I'm glad I made the switch (Little Man's rash was gone within 24 hours of putting him in cloth- never to return)!
SO now I had to get past the reasons to NOT use cloth. Do you have reservations? What's keeping you from using cloth? Below are some common misconceptions about cloth diapers (fact taken from The Real Diaper Association has a * next to it. See their page for references):

Misconception #1- Cloth Diapering is too expensive to get started with.
Truth- The average child will cost about $1,600 in disposables if he or she is potty- trained by the age of two*, while an entire stash of cloth diapers can be purchased for under $500 (more or less depending on what type you buy). I spent about $500 altogether and I have enough for two in diapers and all of mine are one-sized which means that I will be able to use the same diapers should I have any future children.
So while you may have to invest a little upfront- you could technically cloth-diaper 2 or 3 children for $500 saving you a TON in the long-run. Also, consider buying used for additional savings!

Miconception #2- Cloth Diapers stink.
Truth- As long as you are washing appropriately, cloth diapers do not have any odor to them! In fact, my cloth diaper pail smells far better than my disposable "Diaper Champ" ever did!

Misconception #3- I will have to touch poop.
Truth- Have you heard of diaper sprayers? They will be your best friend :) Exclusively breast fed poo doesn't even have to be removed prior to washing (it dissolves in the wash). Solid poo does need to be dumped in the toilet, however, even disposables have directions on the packaging telling you to dispose of solids in the toilet prior to putting the diaper in the trash! Did you know that? Go read for yourself. And with the help of a trusty diaper sprayer- no poo should touch you :)

Misconception #4- Cloth Diapers will cause too much laundry
Truth-I have two in cloth and only have to do one diaper load every other day! It really has not caused much extra work at all.

Misconception #5- Cloth Diapers are too hard to use.
Truth- Today's modern cloth diapers are not tricky at all! There are many kinds of
user-friendly makes and brands (I will go into detail about types in future posts).
I use mostly pocket diapers which are shaped just like disposables and very easy to
use. Sure, some types might be a little harder to use than others, but with the
wide-variety on the market today, there truly is a cloth-diaper for everyone!

Misconception #6- Cloth Diapers are too bulky.
Truth- While cloth diapers do tend to be a bit more bulky in general, there are some
that I have found to be very comparable to disposables (FLIP by Cotton Babies is my current fav).

The above statements were all things I worried about, but got past after researching
and trying out the cloth diapers on my son. How about you? What's holding
you back? I'd love some honest feedback. Not so I can judge or try to convert
you, but so that I can consider where moms are coming from when I start my Cloth
Diaper Circle in January(a support group for mamas that choose to cloth-diaper, or
that are considering cloth).
Now to the reasons why I DO cloth-diaper:
Consider the cost!
Consider your baby's health!
Consider the environment!
Consider how cute they are!

Please visit here to learn the facts for yourself about the first 3 "considers."
And of course the last one is just my opinion, but seriously, what could be
cuter than this?

Dance is Good for my Soul - Day 1 of #12things

"Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!"
Psalm 150:4

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to dance! Ever since I can remember I have been dancing. There are home movies that document everything from my Strawberry Shortcake renditions to my "professional" high school Show Choir performances, but somewhere along the way, I stopped dancing. Maybe it was because legalism crept in, or insecurity rushed through, or maybe I just forgot how to. Well NO more! A little dancing does much for my soul!
#1 on my Personal 12 Things is to DANCE everyday for at least ten minutes. Today's dancing was to Trip Lee's, "Invasion (Hero)."
I could sit here and write about why I think Christian Hip-Hop is so awesome, but why not watch the video, read the words, and find out for yourself :) I was most definitely worshipping HIM today.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

12 New Things

Have you heard of Sarah's blog, Like a Warm Cup of Coffee? If not, please go check it out! She's inviting mommy bloggers to take the next twelve months to learn a new skill/ or grow in a new area. Click here for her explanation as to why.
After reading her explanation, and praying through it, I've decided to take on her challenge! If you have a blog, I would challenge you to "link up" and do the same (or if you have been thinking about and wanting to start one for some time, why not use this as a spring-board and chronicle your journey?).
I've decided to make two Twelve Things list. The first list is my Eco- Endeavors (which I will spend more time blogging about), and the second list, is just my own personal list that I will update you about from time-to-time. SO, below are my lists:

12 Eco-Endeavors
August- Share my knowledge of Cloth Diapering
September- Start using "Mama Cloth"
October- Explore Elimination Communication w/ Little Man
November- Research the benefits of Extended Breastfeeding
December- Eliminate plastic bags from shopping trips
January- Kick-off my "Cloth Diaper Circle"
February- Make & use a compost bin
March- Plant a garden
April- Make recycled art w/ my boys
May- Buy only locally-grown produce
June- Make homemade & dairy-free ice cream
July -Use only non-toxic cleaners

12 Personal Things
August- Dance for 10 minutes per day
September- Start and keep a prayer journal & daily quiet time
October- SHH! It's a surprise for someone that reads this blog.
November- Write The Little Fire-fighter for Big Boy
December- Bake sugar cookies
January- Start training for a marathon
February- Read Pride and Prejudice
March- Learn how to use my Photoshop Elements Program
April- Sew Something
May- Run a mini-marathon
June- Watch five classic movies
July- Create a Reggio-inspired art studio for my boys

SO- are you up for the challenge? I can't wait to start working on my Twelve Things List (s) :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Freebie Friday

This is the spot where I someday hope to do my own weekly reviews and giveaways, but until I get to that point, I'm going to share with you a giveaway that I think is worthwhile. This week, I want to highlight Cystal Biehl's "Fluff Baby Home" series of giveaways! If you look to my left sidebar, you will see a button with that title. For the next few months, Cystal will be hosting a series of giveaways to help offset the cost of her brother and sister-in-law's adoption!
From her blog:
"I'm hosting this giveaway event as a way to hopefully raise money for my brother and sister-in-law's international adoption from Africa. I'm reaching out to the cloth diapering community because my sister-in-law has decided to cloth diaper her child!

Donating is not required to participate, but is greatly appreciated! If you donate just 1 dollar, you get 25 extra entries into EVERY SINGLE GIVEAWAY! If you donate 5 dollars or more, you get an extra 25 entries into EVERY SINGLE GIVEAWAY. So, you could potentially have 50 extra entries into EVERY SINGLE GIVEAWAY. "

The Parks family hopes to raise enough money to bring their baby boy home from Africa by the end of the year. They grew a heart for adoption after a family friend (a doctor) came back from a humanitarian trip to Africa and reported the great needs of the people. After two years of trying to conceive a child of their own to no avail, they believe that God is leading them in this direction.
If you don't wish to participate in the giveaway(s), you can also help out by lifting the family up in prayer! Thanks for all your help :) Click here if you'd like to visit Crystal's blog to learn more.

You Became Mine

Forever and yesterday-

a miraculous, breathtaking shout

melting away;

calm silence in Daddy's arms.

Forever and yesterday-

chalk-covered miniature being

offering a quivering lip;

two squinting sapphires captured my heart

Forever and yesterday-

I held you in my arms!

Happy THIRD birthday to my Big Boy! Mommy loves you so much! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LIFE LESSONS- Tales of a Domestic FAIL and Why I Started this Blog

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself,"- Anna Quindlen

Is there really any job out there that's better at making you feel inadequate than mothering? Or maybe it's just me?... Anyone..., anyone out there feel the same way? From the moment I laid my eyes on my Big Boy, I felt both unimaginable love, yet also, incredible inadequacy. No one warned me about the feelings of guilt that would creep in at night before I hit the pillow; no one wrapped up "Advice about Inadequacy" in cute little ribbons with baby pins attached to it- yet here I was at a complete loss of words to describe what I was feeling. But maybe again, it's just me...
Before I became a mother I was an educator, a writer, a reader, a photographer, a dreamer. Somewhere between seeing a pink plus sign and blowing out that first candle, I became just "a mother." Now don't get me wrong, being a mother is the most wonderfully glorious, amazing gift that there is and I am by no means belittling the insurmountable task of raising another human being , but what I am saying is that often, along the road of mothering, we as women (or maybe again it's just me), lose ourselves- our true selves that make us capable of mothering. Let me try to explain. When I first had Big Boy, I continued to work outside of the home and so still had my "teacher identity" along with my "mother identity." My other loves and hobbies might have been overshadowed by my "mother" self, but I still had that teacher role to fulfill. After the birth of Little Man, I was blessed to get the opportunity to stay home full time with both of my beautiful boys, and yet six months into my "domestic life," I was honestly kind of miserable.
You see, what happened is that the moment I became just a "stay-at-home" mom, I expected that all the areas of mothering that I felt guilty about- all of my mothering inadequacies, would just magically disappear now that I had the time to work on mothering full-time. So when my house was still unorganized; the laundry still wasn't done; I STILL hadn't_____ (you can fill in the blank with any number of things that SAHM's are "suppose" to do), I felt both terribly inadequate and guilty for not being the "perfect" mom.
I grew up in a "Martha Stewartish" home where all things domestic came naturally to my mother and she flourished and glowed through that opportunity. I, on the other-hand, am completely opposite of Martha- Housekeeping-FAIL; Meal-planning- FAIL; SEWING-FAIL, the list could really go on and on, but we'll just leave it at Basically, I'm a domestic fail. The domestic life just doesn't come naturally to me. Something that God is starting to remind me of though is that although I may feel "inadequate" I am never inadequate in His eyes. He designed me in a particular way so that I could mother my boys just the way that they need to be mothered. He chose ME to be their mother based on those qualities that do come naturally to me such as reading, writing, spending time outdoors (I'm also seeing a pattern as to why I only have boys). AND He's here to hold my hand and make up for the areas that I do lack because ultimately, my children are HIS.
SO, I'm working on finding my own voice again to strengthen my mothering; to realize that I'm never going to be that woman that "has it altogether," and to be ok with that. Now that's not to say that I'm not trying to learn and get better at areas like meal-planning, house-cleaning, etc., but it is learning to accept the fact that it's OK if I'm not perfectly domestic.
I'm working on becoming my true self- being honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses and not fretting over the areas that I lack in; being able to truly celebrate moms/ women that do flourish in areas that I lack, yet not be intimidated by them.
Thus my journey begins and the reason for my blog- to find my true self in light of WHO God made me to be and in light of His Grace and Mercy that allows me to be an imperfect mother.
This blog is my attempt to "think out loud" and renew my love for writing while sharing things that I am passionate about. It's more for me than anyone else (but maybe I will encourage someone else along the way).
In the end, it won't matter to my boys if their house was particularly organized- the laundry neatly folded into piles- their rooms decorated just so; but what they will remember is how their mother loved them and I hope finding myself again will enable me to love them better.
I can't go another day comparing myself to______, or beating myself up because my house isn't as clean as I think it should be. I could waste my whole life never to obtain that level of perfection and miss out on the small things that make my life so truly blessed- the kisses; the smiles; dirty knees- the love of boys that seem to have been in my life forever, yet yesterday all at the same time... I don't want to waste my life feeling inadequate, but again, maybe it's just me...

Wordy Wednesday- NOT A BOX

For those of you that don't know, I have a background in early childhood education and taught kindergarten for five years. Because of this, I have a passion for children's literature. In an attempt to share my adoration with the world, I will be hosting "Wordy Wednesday" in which I share a beloved book and ideas on how you can use that book with your child. The first book that I want to share with you is Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.
In this book, the author appeals to, "Children everywhere siting in cardboard boxes." The main (and only character), a rabbit, shares with the readers all of the different possibilities that his imagination can come up with for his cardboard box.
Big Boy absolutely LOVES this book! The first time I read it to him he giggled at all of the illustrations and couldn't wait to get a box of his own. Here are some ideas on how to use this book with your preschooler:
1.) As you read the book with your child, ask him or her to point out the different ideas that rabbit comes up with.
2.) Once your child gets a feel for the rhythm of the book, let him or her help "read" the repeating line, "It's not a box!"
3. ) Give your child a box and watch his imagination flourish :)

PS- If you love this book as much as we do, you are also going to want to check out

Wordless Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Mom!

AND the winner is...

CRYSTAL BIEHL!! Out of the 50 entries, chose number 15! CONGRATS, Crystal and thanks so much to everyone that participated!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rumparooz Raffle to Benefit the RDA

Ok. So this is a really strange way to start a blog. The truth is I've been working on/ throwing some ideas around for quite awhile, but have thus far failed to "take the plunge." Well somethings got me energized this morning and I just HAVE to at least try to make a difference.
Have you heard of the Real Diaper Association (RDA)? If not, first visit here and find out about the awesome things that this great organization is doing. The thing that breaks my heart is that unless the RDA can raise $2781 in the next five days, they will lose their executive director!
Here's where you come in: I first heard about the RDA and their #3500in35days from @ecochicparties where she threw a kickoff event for the fundraiser. As part of the party, Kanga Care, creators of Rumparooz Clothdiapers, generously donated a 12 pack of their OS solids in snaps and I was the lucky winner! If you haven't had the joy of experiencing these AMAZING diapers, please visit here to learn more. I received one diaper in every color! Seeing as I only have boys, and the hubcap would not approve of dawning their bums in "girly" colors, I have an Amethyst and Tulip diaper up for grabs! SO, would YOU like to win?!?
Here's the rules: This is a RAFFLE to benefit the RDA. To enter, please consider donating to the #3500in35days fund here. For every dollar you donate, leave me a comment (so if you donate $5, please leave me 5 comments). Make sure to also include your email addie so I can contact ya if you win (or twitter ID if you are more comfortable that way). The Raffle will run from today through Wed., Aug. 11 at noon Eastern time. Open to US residents only. All donations made to the RDA are tax-deductible. I will use to choose a winner from the comments at 12:01 PM eastern time on the 11th. The above link gives a $10 minimum donation, but donations via paypal directly to the RDA also count. Click here
I know it's a long shot, but I'm a believer in miracles and I KNOW we can make this happen! If you are passionate about #clothdiapers, please considering entering the raffle and you could win two AMAZING OS diapers while you're at it- a win-win :) Thanks for participating!