MegaEarly Bird


*CRACK* The thunder wakes me. Squinting at the clock, to make up for the lack of glasses, I see that it’s 5 am. I just nursed baby an hour ago. I hope the thunder doesn’t wake her, too. My next concern is for my other two girls and their sleepover friend, in the tent in the yard. Will they be scared? Will they get soaked? 

Ok, time to wake hubby and check out the situation. I ask him to go get them. Out of bed he gets, and I trail behind, a few minutes later. He is already back inside; no girls. “I brought them an umbrella,” he tells me. Well, that just won’t do. I want them inside, in warm, dry beds. By now, it’s pouring. They must be awake and wet. Hubby heads out again, while I go to Jeana’s room to turn on the nightlight and make ready the bunk beds. They are already full of kids! “I heard the thunder, so we came in,” Jeana tells me, excitedly. Ah, good. Poor hubby is the only one who gets soaked; back to bed we all go.

*WAAAA* The baby wakes me. Squinting again at the clock, I see it has only been a half hour; I had only just fallen back to sleep. How many times has she woken, now? Three? Four? I’ve lost track. I curse the gods for creating this whole teething business, and out of bed again.

After an a bit of nursing and rocking, baby is back to sleep. It’s after 6 am. I can only hope that I get a little more sleep. How long will baby give me? 30 minutes? An hour? Opening my eyes again, I see she was kind. It is almost 8. This is considered sleeping in, in this house. My lovely hubby gets up with her, allowing me to drift off one last time.

The next time I see the clock, it’s almost 9. This really IS sleeping in! Still, I don’t want to get up. I almost want to keep sleeping; I have a lot of wakeful nights to make up for. But, what’s that smell? Eggs? Pancakes? Ah, life is good.

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MegaQuitter


There are times in life when change breeds change. These times, like moving, starting a new job, or having a baby, are an excellent time to make healthy improvements and leave bad habits in the dust. So when I became pregnant with my third child, I began making such changes in my life. Here are some things I have quit in the last couple years:

SMOKING:  This is the 4th or 5th time I have quit this disgusting addiction. Once, even for 3 years! I have always started again once I was working with or hanging out with people who smoke. I sincerely hope this is it for me, though! Thank you, Sophia for forcing me to quit!

FAST FOOD/JUNK FOOD:  This wasn’t exactly by choice. I have been dealing with IBS for several years, and fast food and other sugary crap are the worst offenders for my belly. I did enjoy a short respite while pregnant, and indulged a bit on this front, but that was short-lived. Junk is back on the quit list!

DISPOSABLE DIAPERS: I never thought I would have gone this route, but cloth diapering is change I am so proud for undertaking. I am benefiting my baby, my wallet, and the planet! Disposable diapers are made with nasty chemicals and remain in landfills for hundreds of years. Cloth diapers are cute and reusable! Thanks, Anna for showing me this possibility!

SODA/POP/COLA (by any name, it’s still flavored water and corn syrup): One of my most recent quits, and one I have been contemplating for quite some time. My main holdup was in finding a good substitute. I tend to sip my soda all afternoon (only about 1 can),  so I needed to find something else to sip on. Water just doesn’t do it for me. Actually, it was promising until my BPA-free, reusable plastic water bottle grew ickiness in the mouthpiece. EW! I wouldn’t continue buying water in plastic bottles, so what then? My mom suggested iced tea, since she drinks a quart every day. I found a good combination of teas, and have been brewing daily, ever since! Yay for iced tea! Extra points award for it’s ability to taste good hot, warm, or cold, and not go flat!

COFFEE: Coffee has been an off-again, on-again habit for me. I had a feeling that it, or the mass amount of creamer I use, was contributing to my IBS issues. I didn’t drink much: about 2 cups of half-caff a day, but it was hard to quit! I brew up a cup or two of black tea (no creamer necessary) instead, and I am good to go! Tea wins again!!

TOXIC CHEMICALS (Ok, it’s a work in progress):  I explore this topic in The Great Greening. I am attempting to rid my home of chemicals that are toxic and unnecessary. I have made great strides, but have encountered a few road bumps. Make-up, deodorant, dishwasher detergent, and fabric softener are areas in which I am still working on improving. Yay for Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps!

• YELLING (Well, for a day or so): This is also a work in progress. In A Day With No Yelling, I discussed not yelling at my children and otherwise throwing tantrums. I did well for a day or two, but I fell off that wagon. I am working on my temper and patience, and am hopeful for the near future!

One of the tricks to quitting an addiction or bad habit is to change your routine! When something comes along that forces such a change, make the most of it! Don’t just change behaviors, change your mind-set! If I think of myself as a healthy, nature-loving person, it makes something like smoking extremely unattractive.

If I can do it, you can too! What have you quit? What do you want to quit?

MegaEarthy: The Great Greening, Part 2


As explained in Part 1, I’m trying to use all-natural products and ingredients to clean my home, my body, and my family. I began in the nursery with the introduction of cloth diapers and wipes, with my own homemade wipe solution. So far, so good on that front!

My go-to diaper detergent

The laundry detergent and chemical-free dryer balls that I use for the diapers, also are working well on my regular laundry. My only issue is with the softness (or lack thereof) of my bath towels. Without any chemical softeners, they come out stiff and scratchy. . . Moving on.

BATHROOM
After researching homemade shampoo and conditioner, I elected to purchase a ready-made version. Many brands use the word “natural,” but that just means it contains something natural, not that the entire product is natural, making shopping difficult. However, after a trip to the local health-food store, I came away with products that I, so far, really enjoy. I already use a face wash that I purchased at the same store, and I love that also.

An area I am having difficulty with is cosmetics.  I would love to try Bare Minerals or something like it, but they are just too expensive.  The owner of the health food store gave me a sample of Kiss My Face’s tinted moisturizer as a foundation alternative, and I had my doubts, but I actually really like it! She also gave me a natural lip gloss, and not only does it look great, it tastes great too (honey mint)!  I have temporarily settled for some mineral make-up from Physicians Formula, though they are not exactly all-natural.  It’s the closest I could get at Rite Aid.

So many uses!

I also have had trouble finding an all-natural body wash.  The ones I was able to find at the drug store that claimed to be natural, still contained sulfates.  I decided to stick some Dr. Bronner’s in an old foaming soap dispenser that I had, since it’s quite watery.  The foaming really helps and the peppermint version I use is quite refreshing! I actually really loved a wash I had been given from ecoTools, but apparently they no longer produce it.

Also, the natural deodorants I have found aren’t that great.  They remain sticky and cause chaffing.  I’m experimenting with using a thinner layer; we shall see.

SO FAR:

A few set-backs; make-up, fabric softening, and deodorant are presenting challenges.  Dr. Bronner’s is amazing and has many uses;  I will see about getting the mild, baby version for replacing baby wash.  I’m already underway with household cleaning, but will include that in my next post.  Mostly, Dr. Bronner’s, vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.  I will just say, my house smells amazing 🙂

To be continued. . .

MegaEarthy: The Great Greening, Part 1


I’m always interested in living more green.  These days, however, it takes a conscious decision and a bit of a commitment to really make it work.  It is easy to walk into the grocery store and pick up a bottle of laundry detergent, but even though my clothes may look cleaner, is it really the healthiest choice? They make “free and clear” alternatives, but those are usually still full of irritants and chemicals that are harmful to us.  The best option is to make our own alternative cleansers.  I’ve made attempts at this and do use some green cleaners, like Dr. Bronner’s, and also have made use of things like vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil to get things clean.  But, I do not feel my meager attempts are enough.

Green Cleaning Ingredients

Inspired by, yet another informative documentary, I have renewed my green resolve.  The film, Chemerical, follows a family which vowed to remove all the toxic chemicals – from cleaning supplies to make-up and shampoo – from their home.  I want to do this for my family!!  I have already made some steps in this direction, but I want to go all the way!  But, where to start?

The Nursery

May the Great Greening begin!

I’ll begin with the most vulnerable member of the family, the baby.  I began going green for baby a few months ago with replacing her disposable diapers with cloth diapers.  This was a move that surprised even me!  Another documentary, No Impact Man, inspired this decision (along with my crunchy friend, Anna!); one that I wish I had made sooner!  It requires a bit of a financial investment – one that you make up for quickly – and also a time commitment for laundry, but it’s worth it!  Such a simple way to go green!  I recently began making my own baby wipes and booty-cleaning solution, to replace the chemical-laden commercial wipes.  I’m a novice at the sewing machine, so it’s slow-going, but they are under way!

Next, for baby, I plan to look at replacing her shampoo, baby wash, and lotion.

The Laundry Room

Baby is also exposed to the same chemicals in laundry detergent as the rest of the family.  Now, this one seems trickier to me.  I do have a recipe for laundry wash, but am feeling pessimistic as to how the clothes will feel without softeners and anti-static preparations.  I will, however, keep an open mind and give it a try.  I am also wondering how well an alternative cleaner will work in my new high-efficiency machines; we shall see.  I am excited to find out!

To Be Continued . . .

Check back with MegaMomma Musings to see what other changes will be made, and how successful I’ve been in what I’ve done.  Please feel free to respond with tips or recipes to help me out!

MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 2


Tired of yelling at my children; basically letting them turn me into Momma Monster, I decided to see if I could get through a day without losing my cool. As described in Part 1, my childrens’ ridiculous behavior often leads me to exhibit my own ridiculous behavior. Call it “going crazy,” “losing it,” or “acting like a fool,” I thought it needed to change. How can I teach my kids to deal with stress and frustration properly if such things drove me to throw an adult-sized, toddler-worthy tantrum? Could I possibly change this behavior and go a whole day without yelling?

Short answer, YES! I did it! I can’t say it was easy, but it helped that my hubby woke up on the wrong side of the nursery rocking chair (where he “napped” with baby at 5am), which left him the irritable Daddy Monster, yelling in the early morning hours. It is surprisingly easy to keep my cool when I witness someone else acting the fool. Calm down, I think to myself, upon hearing him act the way I usually do. I kept this in mind during times when I would usually blow up.

Paige, being especially Impish

When tempted to freak out, I would instead bring my child (ok, usually Paige the Imp) close and whisper to her about her behavior. I noticed myself getting more quiet, as opposed to louder. It helped that my Dad didn’t think I could make it past 2pm. My folks actually stopped by around then and, strangely enough, this was when I almost lost it. After repeatedly asking Paige to put away a toy that baby wanted, but could not have, and her repeatedly ignoring my request, I felt my blood begin to boil. I needed to prove to my Dad, as well as to myself, that I could do this, I was able to keep my rage in check.

So, yes, I made it the whole day and didn’t lose my cool. The next question is, how long will this last? Hmmmm. After getting up with baby every two hours (again) last night, coupled with the kids stuck in the house on a rainy weekend, I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it to lunch. I’m going to remind myself, when the steam begins to pour from my ears, to set a good example and, maybe more importantly, not let them see me act the fool. I do want them to take me seriously, after all!

MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 1


Bad habits are hard to break. I know; I’ve broken some (like smoking and drinking soda) and practice, still more (namely, yelling and nagging at my family members).  Yes, I yell at my children. I hate that I do this. One thing about bad habits is that you KNOW they’re bad, but you can’t seem to stop. I yell because I am trying to express how angry and frustrated I am. In the heat of the moment, I don’t see any other alternative.

Silly, exuberant, Paige

The anger and frustration is generally directed at my 7 1/2 year old, Paige. She’s the kind of child you might label, challenging. She knows exactly which buttons to push to make me crazy. By “crazy,” I mean red faced, steam coming from my ears, yelling, and door slamming. She refuses to listen to me with regard to. . . anything and everything. She refuses to eat any dinner, at least every other night. She neglects brushing her teeth, then lies about it. She plays too rough with the baby, despite constant reminders. Anything I ask her to do, she responds to by calmly explaining why she’s NOT going to do it. This makes me crazy.

Can you guess which one earned the nickname, “The Imp,” from my sister?

There is actually a second part to how she gets to me. Discipline is all but impossible with her. Nothing seems to get the message through to her. Time-outs (our old stand-by) don’t work (sometimes, she volunteers), and neither does being sent to her room. I’ve taken away countless toys and clothes (I have 2 garbage bags FULL in my closet), I’ve grounded her, and spanked her. I’ve forced her to eat, as well as sent her to bed with no dinner. She just doesn’t care. She’ll just smile and help load toys into the plastic bag, because she doesn’t want to put them away. We’ve tried reward charts and chore charts; bribes and allowance. Nothing seems to have any impact on her behavior. This also makes me crazy.

A quiet moment between Paige and Sophie

Until now, making me “crazy” had one sure result: my yelling, slamming doors, and generally throwing a fit. I’m sure I look ridiculous. I would be mortified if my friends, family, and neighbors saw my behavior. I hate feeling so angry and I hate acting so outrageously. I always start out with good intentions, and with a calm demeanor, but my fuse is short. It doesn’t take long for me to go 0 – 60. I just need to CALM DOWN! I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this, and I’ve already spoiled the experiment for TODAY. Starting TOMORROW, I’m not going to yell and I’m not going to slam anything. I’m just going to go cold turkey. Any mental preparations I’ve made in the past have not helped. So, please stand by and find out if I can make it one whole day without yelling. It’ll be a Saturday, so all three kids, my husband, and the dogs will be here to present challenges to my resolve. Wish me luck!

MegaRant


Just needing to rant today. I’m losing my mind between the constant night-waking and the unpredictable nap “schedule.” It’s so frustrating when people tell me “she should be on a schedule by now,” and “she’s too old to be waking up so much.” What am I supposed to do with that? I do relay this information to baby, but for some reason, she does not change her behavior.

So, am I supposed to let her “cry it out?” Should I stop rocking and nursing her to sleep? I’m SO at a loss, here.

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