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. . .

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!

MegaMomming at Home


When a woman becomes a mother, whether for the first or the fifth time, the decision of whether or not to leave home and baby to go to work is a difficult one. I know, because I’ve been faced with this decision three times, now. Leaving my first two babies to return to work was one of the most heart-wrenching things I think I’ve done. Yes, it is good to rejoin the world of adults and to be productive, and it was essential for my family, financially, at the time. That didn’t make the transition any easier.

New baby, Sophia!

This time around, with the birth of my third child, I’ve decided to stay home. My husband would love for me to bring home a paycheck, but he hasn’t complained (yet). He did, in fact, agree to this arrangement before Sophia was conceived (though he claims he doesn’t recall this conversation). Staying home with baby was my only condition when considering having a third child, and he agreed to my terms. Luckily, he now has a well-paying job and, so far, we have been able to afford this arrangement. I am now a stay-at-home-mom!

Being a full-time mom is not exactly what I imagined it to be. I envisioned an immaculate home, running errands, doing crafts, making nutritious meals for my family, and having plenty of time left over to play with baby. Somehow, however, these things aren’t part of my daily life. I do keep my home pretty clean and orderly, but as I look around, I see much that needs attention. I very rarely run any errands, partially due to the unpredictable nature of Sophie’s naps (I also detest grocery shopping). I do cook, once in a while, but that time of day usually includes a fussy babe who is severely lacking in the nap department; can you say “clingy?” Additionally, my children are notoriously picky-eaters; who wants to slave over a meal that you have to convince everyone to try? I DO play with Sophia, continuously throughout the day, but who has time for crafts?

Lunchtime!

One of my biggest time-eaters seems to be Sophie’s naps, or lack thereof. Sometimes it feels like I spend half of the day (or more) nursing and rocking and TRYING to get baby to sleep. It’s so frustrating when I KNOW she’s tired, but she won’t stay asleep, after falling asleep, then waking when put in her crib. Nap-strike days are the worst for me. She, funny enough, seems fine these days, and even energetic. . . I’m not sure how. The lack of her naps leaves me exhausted and frustrated.

Time-eater number two: laundry. Between daily diaper washes (which take a couple hours, at best) and regular laundry (every other day, or so), my washer and dryer are working almost constantly – and so am I. With both of these time-eaters working against me, I hardly have time to load, run, and unload the dishwasher, make lunch for Sophia and I, clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, vacuum, and pick the kids up from school (no busing in my small town).  How do moms who work full-time get any of these things done, when I can barely keep up??

Playtime with Momma

It is true that being a working mom is tough – I’ve been there, too – but I argue that it can be equally tough (though in different ways) to be a SAHM. The stresses brought on by everyday baby-rearing (like Sophie’s nap issues and sleep-deprivation), combined with the pressure to keep up the home, and the lack of adult interaction really does make being a mom the hardest job you’ll ever love.  That being said, I am thrilled to be able to share my days with my little one; they are only this small for a short time, after all. I feel blessed that I get to be with Sophie all day and am witness to every first in her young life. In fact, I just saw her take a couple, wobbly steps, while writing this! I wish all moms could have the opportunity to stay home longer with their babies; I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else!!

MegaBlogging


So, why am I starting a blog?  I guess, being a mom, I have reasons to vent. Being 2012, I think I’ve forgotten how to write with pen and paper, so keeping a traditional journal is out of the question. What better way to explore my insecurities, doubts, and daily successes and failures than to proclaim them to the world (or very few, if I’m more unpopular)?

A little background on me; I live in Northern Michigan. It is beautiful here and I love it during spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, winter sucks and lasts around 6 months. However, when I consider living elsewhere, I remind myself that we rarely see tornadoes, never a hurricane or earthquake, and snow, compared to other natural disasters, is fairly minor and rarely deadly. I suppose I’ll suck it up, and suffer through the seemingly endless winters. So, when I complain during the middle of a snow storm and people ask me, “well, why don’t you just move?” this is why. Besides, the gorgeous seasons and endless supply of natural lakes and rivers make up for it!

I have lived elsewhere. I went to school at Western Michigan University, which is downstate. After panicking over what I should major in, several times, I ended up with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Recreation.  I loved learning about these subjects, and did rather well. However, I never gave any thought to how I would put these to work for me, so to speak, after graduation.  Being that, without a Master’s or PhD, there’s not a whole lot you can do with these degrees, I have never found myself in a career in Sociology. After graduation, I moved to Boulder, Colorado with a boyfriend, and it was here that I began taking a correspondence course to become a veterinary assistant. I held an entry-level job there before moving back home, when said boyfriend and I split.

It was then that I met my husband and we created, rather quickly, our first child. We hurried to purchase a mobile home in a park, where I broke up with him. I chalk this up to pregnancy hormones; a few short months after the birth of our daughter, Jeana, we were back together and engaged.  A year later, we were married (with our daughter, 18 months, joining us in the ceremony).

After trying to conceive for 8 months, we were expecting Jeana’s little sister. Over the years, I will question the sanity of this choice many times over. When Jeana was almost 3, Paige was born and we moved to a smaller town and bigger house, to make room for our growing family.

At this point, I decide there’s NO WAY I’d have another baby. Paige is a handful and a half and, as they’ve gotten older, the girls only get along about 1/2 of the time. Somehow, we mother’s tend to forget about the tedium and discomfort of pregnancy, the horrific pain of labor and delivery, as well as the insanity brought on by countless sleepless nights and endless diaper changes. We begin to CRAVE babies.  It’s this unexplainable drive. And so, after 3 1/2 years of trying and simply not trying not to, we were expecting our third girl.

As of August 2011, we are a family of five, which I never thought possible.  Flash forward to today, May 2012 and Sophia is now 9 months old, and it is here that we begin our blogging adventure. Jeana is now 10 and Paige (who was always “Baby” to me) is 7 1/2. Sophie is at the center of all our lives, and has us wrapped around her chubby fingers. I don’t think that any of us would have it any other way, as she has certainly captured our hearts! Things are simultaneously, perfect and horribly trying. This is my first attempt at stay-at-home mothering, and it certainly is the hardest job you’ll ever love! My days can be extremely stressful, but there’s no other way I’d rather spend my time; immersed in the wonderful bond of mother/infant.  I hope you’ll enjoy my trials and tribulations!