October 18, 2009

Team Hoyt shows the potential in all of us

As parents, we all say we'd do anything for our children. We care for them, fight for them, pray they'll be happy and healthy. Some parents, faced with extraordinary circumstances, demonstrate the greatest virtues of humanity in the service of their children.

Meet Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick wanted to run marathons. His dad ran with him. He wanted to complete the Iron Man. His dad was with him every step of the way. Warning- you might wanna get out the tissues:

To learn more about Team Hoyt, and their amazing journey, see their website here.

October 17, 2009

And Still I Rise

For those days when it all seems pointless...Maya Angelou reminds me to live with joy and courage. This gives me goosebumps:

October 16, 2009

On body image and motherhood

My ds is 7 weeks old today, wow time flies. Yesterday I went shopping with my best friend. She had her baby girl five days after I did, and we were eager to get out of the house even though it took us two hours to do so. We were two mommas in great need of pants that actually fit, balancing babies in slings while we took a range of sizes into the change rooms.

I had to remind my friend that it's ok to be big right now. Let me clarify...she looks like she had a baby 6 weeks ago, and she did. She also looks fantastic. But it's her first baby, and I can remember looking down at my body after my first and being both amazed and saddened by its new look. I didn't know what the female body is supposed to look like after a baby is born. All the celebs seem to go out and get tummy tucks and personal trainers and torture themselves thin by the time their baby is 6 weeks old. We really don't have a lot of resources to show us anything different, and many of our girlfriends, instead of helping us love ourselves, are complaining about how fat they are and how they need to lose weight even as they tell us not to worry about ours.

After my first two, I lost my extra baby weight gradually over several months. I think I was down to within 5 lbs of my prepregnancy weight at around one year postpartum. How did I do it? Breastfeeding my baby, eating healthy foods, and walking a few times a week. I didn't cut back on my food intake, and there were times when my babes were going through growth spurts that I was ravenous, so I ate more than usual. (I have to be honest here and say that I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where food wasn't an issue, and I have a healthy happy relationship with food.) The walking was more about getting out in the sun and fresh air and working out the creaks than focusing on a specific goal.

Even though I lost the weight, my body has never looked the same as it did when I was a maiden. I have a bit of a saggy stomach. My boobs sag, as does my bum. I'm a little softer and rounder than before. I have 'jiggly bits', to coin a term shared by my partner from his friend on Twitter:
"When did looking like a twig become sexy? Women should have jiggly bits. You hear me? JIGGLING IS SEXY, YOU FOOLS." ~ Jacquelynn Rasmenia Massoud

Women need to be more honest with each other about their motherly bodies. A few months ago I came across a great website devoted to loving our bodies as they are, called "The Shape of a Mother". On a more universal note, I love the website "AnyBody" and its challenge to limited representation of the female body in our society.

I guess the point of my post is: love yourself, share yourself, nourish yourself, take care of yourself. Oh, and get some clothes that fit. If you are still early on this journey to accepting your body, and you have to cut out the size tags to make yourself feel better, so be it. Or recognize size for what it is: a number. People can't see it, but they can see if you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes. For the record, I'm wearing new size 14 cords today.

PS There's been ongoing discussion about "real bodies" at Glamour magazine over the past few months....check out their article "These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size".

October 14, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101

Last year, with my third baby on the way, I found myself obsessing over cloth diapers. I'd been working at an upscale baby boutique in the previous year, and knew (or thought I knew!) all the ins and outs of cloth diapering. Now, I hadn't used cloth diapers with my dd (now 10) and my ds (now 6), mainly because it sounded so overwhelming at the time. But I was bound and determined to cloth diaper our newest addition in an effort to save both money and the environment.

After countless hours of research, I decided to try good old fashioned flat fold diapers. You know, the 27" cotton flannel squares? These are the ones that noone in the online cloth diapering world seems to talk about. I can only guess that's because they don't make anyone very much money. They are the absolute cheapest option out there. I was worried that the low price would equal low performance, but I was wrong! In addition, I only have a washer in my apartment so I wanted a diaper that would line dry quickly. These dry faster than anything else out there.

All told, I spent under $100 to diaper the new baby. Some of my flats are ready made white cotton ones that are available at any department store, and some of them are cotton receiving blankets that I've cut to size and zigzagged around the edges with the sewing machine. Basically, you can either buy the ready made white flats or make them from 100% cotton flannel sheets or receiving blankets. As long as they are 27" square, or close to it, you're all set. In addition to the flat diapers, you'll need diaper covers that keep the wet inside the diaper. These are usually made from PUL (polyurethane laminate), have elasticized legs and waist, and snap or Velcro-style closures. If you are going the easy route and purchasing everything ready made, it will cost you slightly more- here's the cost breakdown:

36 flat diapers @ $15.00/pkg of 6 = $90
(in my town, you can get Kushies flat diapers at Walmart for this price)
4 covers @ $15.00 each = $60
(this is the average price for Bummis covers in my area)
diaper pail = $10
(price is approximate, mine is a white plastic garbage can from Walmart)
40 cloth wipes @ $1.00/pkg of 4 = $10
(these are baby facecloths I purchased at my local dollar store)

TOTAL: $170

You'll also need to buy larger covers as your baby grows, but you can continue to use the same flats throughout.

Ok, so now that you have your stash, throw all your flats in your washing machine and wash on hot, once with detergent and once without. I use Claudia's Choices detergent because I have allergies to regular detergents. The Bummis website is a great resource, here is their list of recommended detergents for your diapers. After they are washed, throw them on a clothesline or in your dryer. This initial cleaning removes any residues or oils left in the cotton and will ensure top performance.

Once dry, you'll need to learn to fold your diapers. I find the Origami fold works best for small babies, and it is fitting ds well. I am planning to switch to the Kite fold once she's bigger. After you put on the diaper, you add a cover, making sure that there are no parts of the diaper sticking out of the cover, especially around the legs.

When I change ds, dirty diapers and wipes go in a dry diaper pail. If a cover isn't soiled, I just reuse it again. On diaper laundry day (I wash them every third day), the whole contents of the pail go into the washer. I rinse and wipe out the diaper pail with 1/4 cup of vinegar, and in nice weather put it out in the sun to dry. I do a prewash on cold, then a hot wash with cold rinse. Because the detergent I use is a zero-residue detergent, I don't need to rinse a second time. That's it...on the line the diapers go, dry, fold, repeat the process.

As a side note, instead of diaper cream, I use olive oil with a drop or two of lavender essential oil. This protects baby's bum perfectly, without using chemicals. I haven't seen a diaper rash when I use it with each diaper change, even when I used disposables with my first two. With my wipes, I only use water. Once baby is eating solids I use also use a bit of handmade bar soap that I get at the market.

I'm really enjoying cloth diapering, I just wish I'd had someone to sit me down and explain it all to me when I had my first baby. I would have had more dollars in my bank account and less guilt about all those garbage bags going into the landfill.

I'll be adding pictures of the Origami fold when I get the chance. Please let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help someone else get started on cloth :)

October 11, 2009


Today it's cold and blustery outside, but I'm warm and happy. I have so many things to be thankful for, things that I really DO notice on a daily basis. I'll post about all the little things as time goes by. For now I'll tackle the most important: I have a family that I love deeply, and they love me. I really don't think anything else matters.

My kids make me want to be the best parent and the best person I can be. They amuse me, they challenge me, they push the limits of my ability. I love watching them grow and change; it's a thrill and an honour to be their mom.

My partner helps me to accept myself and the world around me. He's my rock; he is the voice of reason and caring that carries me through the everyday problems both big and small. He's sexy, funny, trustworthy, a man of the world. With him, I am more comfortable with just being myself.

This past year has seen us grow both figuratively and literally as a family. We've been together as a new little family for about 18 months. We have a new baby. We're much more a team, we're more solid, we're the foundation for each other, and isn't that what family is all about? I'm one blessed, happy, thankful lady.

Driven to distraction

I did it again. I just wasted the last two hours trying to find another template for my blog. Jeez. I am very good at finding ways to keep myself from getting anything done.

Okay time to take a deep breath, forgive myself, get some breakfast and do something productive. Onward and upward.

PS I just realized that I have elements on my blog now that aren't supposed to be there, so I may be spending (read: wasting) more time trying to fix it. Crap!!

PPS FIXED!! And it only took two minutes. Off to make coffee :)

October 10, 2009

Please, Obama, let there be peace on Earth

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be!
With God as our Father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now.
With ev'ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!

-Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

My earliest associations with the word "peace" come from this song. I know every word, because each year at my elementary school's Christmas concert, the grade six class had the special honour of singing it. At the beginning (or was it the end?) of the concert, the lights would be turned off in the school gym and in they would walk: a solemn single file, each carrying a lit candle.

When my year came I was ready. I was serious. In quiet moments alone I sang the song with tears in my eyes and hope stabbing my heart. The night of the concert, in procession up the aisle, the candlelight was magical and all was right with the world. My 11 year old brain believed that by the time I was grown up, there would be world peace. We'd love each other into cooperation, because we were all equal in the eyes of God. All we had to do is be aware of it and the rest would fall into place.

Sometime in my teen years, I started to feel silly for loving the song so much. At the time I was trying to be all grown up and cringed at my naivety. I wasn't mature enough to understand how privileged I was to have experienced such innocence. I also had a vague feeling that the God in this song wasn't living up to his end of the bargain and was putting an awful lot of pressure on little old me to get the peace ball rolling.

Fast forward to the present. I'm sad to think that there are wars going on, every day, every minute. As a parent, I ache to think of children being subjected to fear, anguish, hunger. I honestly wish I could do more, because the sad irony is that, contrary to the song, I can't influence countries to stop fighting. I can't even pray for them to stop fighting because I am long past the day when I believed that there is someone listening.

On Friday, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded, not for deeds accomplished, but for the message of hope that Obama has instilled in his country and around the world.

I want to see the president live up to his message. With so many people yearning for peace and supporting Obama, perhaps one person can be the starting point for greater world harmony. I want to see Obama's promise of "Yes we CAN" come true on a global scale. My only wish is that this hope that glimmers in my heart will not be stamped out again.