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Posts Tagged ‘Baby’

Chasing Robins

Winter has been a season of reflection for us this year. With a birthday coming up soon, I have found myself thinking alot about the things that I do well as a parent, and things that I could improve on…and boy is there lots of room for improvement! One of the goals on my list this year is to be more present with my child. When you work from home, it is really easy to let everthing else get in the way between you and you children. When you wake up, you have dishes to do and breakfast to make. Pretty soon its naptime. By the end of naptime, dinner needs to get started and a few more emails need to go out. As I m laying down with him to sleep, sometimes the entire day went by without us playing even once! Each day I try and set aside as much time as I can to get my hands dirty, throw rocks, hunt for worms, and do whatever else a two year old would like me to. Since this past week in Seattle was absolutely beautiful, Liam and I have been spending our afternoons in the Arboretum literally chasing robins.

:: A peaceful park bench ::

:: a new beginning::

:: a very confused Robin::

:: a happy boy::

And yes – a little crafting during naptimes! After all – that two year old birthday is fast approaching. What better to make him feel like king for a day then his own crown! In case you’re wondering, the tutorial for this comes from my new favorite blog, Frontier Dreams.

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Animal Farm

A few weeks ago, Liam and I took a short trip up to Everett, WA to spend some much-needed time with friends. While we were there, my friend G introduced us to this vast toddler mecca that is Forest Park. Not only is there a 16-sprinkler water park for the kids to play in, the park also hosts a donation-only animal farm, a swim center, four-five playsets, and sports facilities! I think there is even more to do there, but that is what I was able to gather in the two hours that I spent there. What an amazing resource for the city of Everett! The best part about it was how happy it made Liam to be there. I have never seen him have so much fun in one location. A must-do for any mama in the Seattle area.

These goats were at the door ready to greet us when we arrived.DSC_0620

I think these two were Liam’s favorite. Watching him get the chance to play with such friendly little animals gave me somwhat of a glimpse into the future for a time that we may have a few of these little guys running around…..goats that is.  DSC_0623

 

The farm included rabbits, goats, sheep, ponies, horses, geese, ducks, pigs, chickens, and one baby calf. I have never seen anything cuter in my life.DSC_0636

After spending a good amount of time with the animals, we ventured over to the waterpark across the parking lot. The expressions on his face say it all. DSC_0650

DSC_0648

I can still hear him laughing…DSC_0664

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There’s something so tranquil about large bodies of water. I am not sure if it is the thought of them extending on for miles, wondering what is on the other side, or the simplicity of the sound. Its mystique drew me to the writings of  Thoreau, Emerson, and other Transcendentilists.  On really nice days, or days that we need some serenity, I take Liam and Dylan there and the three of us just relax. There’s no place quite like Seattle in the summer. 

On our way…..

On Our Way

gotta hold his hand….Hold My Hand

we finally arrive…at the pond

These toes were just too cute not to captureDSC_0054

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Summer solstice is here and I couldn’t be happier. Those baby ducklings are getting bigger, clover is in full bloom, and days to spend in the park seem endless. While I will surely miss the lovely spring we had here in Seattle, I am looking forward to many sunny days at Greenlake and refreshing ICED beverages like the rhubarb soda my friend M brought over a few weeks ago. The summer will also give me numerous opportunities to play with my new Nikon D2oo. Hope you enjoy the pictures.  

Liam

And aren’t those purple bottlebrush flowers just beautiful? Liam thinks so!

Purple Flowers

Although they are getting bigger, those ducklings are still clinging to their mama! Ducklings

Taking a break under the redwoods as we look for some goodies for L’s nature box.

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And boy does he love playing outstide with him mama.DSC_1146

 And after a long afternoon in the park, this is the face that sends us home and in the tub. Ahhh, a solstice well spent 🙂 DSC_1186

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The past two years of my life have been a whirlwind of new experiences. I married, moved across the country, and gave birth to my first child. Along the way, I have not only learned a great deal about myself, but have picked up some useful tips on friendship, parenting, and well… life.

1. When you find yourself pureeing peaches for your six month old…make Bellinis!

mmm....bellini

mmm....bellini

2. You CAN survive on four- hour blocks of sleep.

3. When you threaten to start stalking your friends, they will usually call you back. (I say “usually” because there is always one that I actually have to stalk!)

4. One hour to myself can seem like an eternity now that I have a child. It is something I look forward to more now than I ever did. I am not sure if it is the alone time or the eventual reunion with my child that makes it all worth it.

5. When you travel, the best places are often found when you stop looking for them.

6. Time out’s are for adults, not children.

7. The root of parenting is learning how to live in harmony with your child. It is not about “doing to” as much as it is about “doing with”.

8. The best food is not found in a box, a wrapper, or a bag; it is grown in your backyard, bought from local farmers, or sometimes even found on your daily walk.

9. Libraries are one of the greatest public resources we have. Use them!

10. Live life in the slow lane. Enjoy each moment, no matter how hard that moment may be.

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One Year Old

Liam's Birthday RingYesterday was Liam’s first birthday. For many people, turning one is a big deal. A month or two before the day, I found myself  apathetic to this 365th day of Liam’s life. At first, I thought there must be something wrong with me. I thought, “Why am I not going crazy over his brithday?” I even started searching around on Etsy to see if the thought of buying him a gift would strengthen my birthday indifference. I eventually found some things that I thought he would like and sent a little note to the family, but still…nothing. No desire to throw him a birthday bash, bake him a cake, decorate the house….nothing.

Then, while reading  Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by Barbara Patterson, I came across a beautiful idea that I would be also to share with Liam for years to come; a birthday ring. In a Waldorf-inspired classroom or home, a birthday ring  is a symbolic way to celebrate the anniversary of your child’s birth and show reverence for each year of their life.  There are many variations of how you can incorporate this into your child’s life, but traditionally the first step is to fill the ring with decorations in each of the holes. Those decorations can be choosen randomly, based on asthetic value, or they can be symbolic of your child’s journey throughout the year. Of course, I choose them to be symbolic. While thinking this over, I came up with another idea. I felt that it was important to incorporate my whole family in this endeavor. Since we live over 2,000 miles away from most of our family it was important to me that they were able to share this day with him.  I asked each of them to pick out a decoration that could be either a representaion of themselves as a part of Liam’s first year OR something that reminded them of Liam. This way, even though indirectly, they were here.

The next part of the ring ceremony is the birthday story. It is the story of their life for the past year. Each year, of course, the story gets longer as they grow bigger and stronger. As you get to the end of each year’s story, you take out a decoration, replace it with a candle, and light it. While it was totally optional whether or not my family would write a little something about their piece, although I hoped they would, I knew I wanted to. So last night I sat down and wrote the story of his first year. Since we are delaying the birthday ceremony until my mom gets here, it will be read to him on his pretend birthday later this month.

When I recieved all of the pieces from my family, it felt like Christmas. I immediately put it all together and took the picture you see above. When I looked at the ring, I felt as if they were all here with us. Almost instantly, I became overwhelmed with emotions. It made me realize how thankful I am that I have such a wonderful and thoughtful family. I know when Liam gets older, he will feel the same way. That is what I want Liam to know that birthdays are about….not just toys, parties and gifts, but something meaningful celebrating that year of your life with those you love.

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Cosmetics. They are everywhere. They keep our face clear, our skin soft, our eyelashes fuller, and our teeth sparkle. Every year, the American people spend over 27 billion dollars keeping themselves pretty. Now I know that may not sound like a lot with all of this billion dollar bail-out-business that has been going on, but 27 billion dollars is A LOT of money. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average person uses 12 beauty product a day. One in four use 15. The average man even uses at least 6. The true cost however, may not be coming out of our pocketbooks. Recent research shows that many of us are paying with our health.

Ok, so I’ll admit, I am also part of the problem here. Until a few years ago, I was a beauty product junkie. I don’t know about you, but every time I walked into a CVS or a Walgreens, chances were pretty high that I was coming out with a new product. All those eye-catching packages, all the health claims; they got me every time. It might be something as simple as chap-stick (gosh, where do they all go??), but a product left the store with me nonetheless. Five years of trying to clear out my product stash, and I still have a host of unused products staring at me every time I open my linen closet.

So why the change? Well, it originally started with my attempt to eat healthier and more nutritious foods. I figured with all of the added emphasis to what was going IN my body, what was going ON my body should be just as important. After all, your skin is your biggest organ right? So I then fell into the marketing trap. I started purchasing more “natural”, more expensive products. While I bought less of them because they were so pricey, I still bought them. I was convinced that products containing organic sap moss from Iceland must be better for me…right? I read over each label making sure I could at least pronounce all the the ingredients listed and was sure to stay away from things like benzyl alcohol, animal parts, and petroleum bi-products.  

Then as the years passed, I started reading about parabens. Parabens are the most widely used preservative in cosmetic products.  And when I say cosmetic, I don’t just mean make-up. They are found in body lotions, shower gels, shampoos, over the counter topical creams, and  pretty much just about everything. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Check any product in your house and chances are very high that one, if not all three, are listed on the ingredient list. Although they are used in very small amounts, if you are using 10-12 products a day, you are being exposed to them in everything you use. While the FDA claims that they are safe, parabens have found in breast tumors from women with cancer. They tested 20 tumors and found parabens in ALL of them.  The study did not make the claim that parabens actually cause breast cancer, but many other groups and companies have started taking precautionary measures and taking these parabens out of their products. ANd why not? Simply because that study didn’t prove parabens caused cancer, it also didn’t prove that they didn’t. The study was enough for me to make sure they are kept out of my products.

And as if reading reports on parabens wasn’t enough, I soon started reading about phthalates. Pronounced “thay-lates”, these chemicals are mainly used as plasticizers in order to increase flexibility in plastc. Think about all those rubber duckies, plastic teething rings, and shower curtain liners. Chances are, they are full of them. So whats so bad about that? Well, phthalates are also known endocrine disruptors. They mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. In one report, I read that the application of phthalates actually changed the sex of the frogs they were being tested on! According to the Environmental Working Group, phthalates have been linked to all sorts of problems in men including sperm damage, infertility, and reduced testosterone levels.  The unfortunate thing about them, is that unlike parabens, they are hard to find in products because they are not listed on the label. Due to patent laws, many companies can simply add the word “fragrance” to the list. It is under this, where many of these phthalates hide. They also hide them in acronyms such as DBP, DEHP, BzBp, and DMP.

Accoring to a PBS, Phthalates have been banned in the European Union since 2005. Nine other countries, including Japan, Mexico and Argentina, have also outlawed the chemicals. China, which makes 85 percent of the world’s toys, has developed two manufacturing lines, one for the European market and the other like-minded nations that ban phthalates, and another one for the United States and dozens mostly developing and third world countries that don’t restrict them. It took the US until the end of last year to pass a bill that would ban these and several other toxic chemicals from our children’s toys.  The next step should be to get them out of ALL of our products.

So what can you do? Well, you can start by checking out the toxicity of your products by going to the Environmental Working Group’s safe cosmetic database. One their site they also have a research section where you can look at a list of some of the toxic ingredients going into your products. Simply by refusing to purchase products with these things in them with say a lot to these companies. Remember purchasing power just that… power. With this knowledge, you can begin to make safer choices for yourself and your family.

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