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Thursday, November 14, 2013

#TBT ~ Advent Begins December 1st - Make It a Family Celebration, and Not Just Counting Down Chocolates...

#ThrowbackThursday to what we did last year for Advent, and will repeat this year with a twist- WATCH for my Advent 2013 post Coming Soon.... <3 

Advent 2012

This year our family is working on strengthening our relationships with each other, and with God and our church. Having historically been what I would describe as more "spiritual" than religious in the past, I am learning a long with my kids, the story of the Bible and the birth of Jesus.

We have decided to celebrate Advent this year DIY style :)

It cost only 99 cents for the bags. Much cheaper than the traditional cardboard or chocolate laden advent calendars from the store.

I modified this idea from something I saw on Pinterest.

I filled each bag with a line from, essentially, the Nativity story. Although also modified, for my 2 and 5 year olds ;)

of course we also added some treats!

they got prepped and HUNG today over ribbon with clothespins!
What are some different things, DIY or otherwise, you're trying this year??

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cold Weather Doesn't Just Mean the Flu for Your Kids... It Could Mean Harmful Chemical Exposure!

Originally published by The Clean Bedroom ( November 11, 2013. 
By Theresa Sirois, blogger 

As some of you may remember, I also blog for NurturingtheNaturalMama, and I recently received an email question from a reader that I think may best be persued here, with The Clean Bedroom. Why? Because as I researched an answer to my reader's question, I found myself referencing several websites, including The Clean Bedroom! So since I'm busy gathering a bunch of information on alpaca products for you anyway, I figured now would be a great time for this post! 
The question I was asked was: "What are some healthy recommendations for babies/toddlers in the winter that are warm and not laden with toxic chemicals? We are renovating my kids bedroom and need some ideas... they are starting to get into new sizes, and I am wondering if organic clothing is worth the price?..." 

Here are some things to think about:
Flame Retardent Pajamas

Wool pajamas

 You can check out this great article, Pick Pajamas Free of Chemical Flame Retardents, from Healthy Child, Healthy World which says that PJ's labeled "flame resistant" are actually not the ones you want to purchase. They contain flame retardent chemicals which have "...been linked to a variety of health effects including genetic changes, cancer promotion, and liver and nervous system damage". 

    We've all seen the lables on the jammies that say "this garment is meant to fit snug. this garment is not flame resistant". Clothing with this label are "... free of toxic flame retardant treatments", and are thus a much safer option! Additionally, wool clothing is toasty, breathable and chemical free. You can check out some great selections via Etsy or sites like Simply Merino 

Sleeping baby
(shameless pic of my youngest daughter, Baby B .)

Blankets & Nursery Items 

    Since we're talking about a full nursery/bedroom renovation, I directed her to the Healthy Nursery Toolkit, also by Healthy Child, Healthy World. This infographic gives you all the information you need on what to replace or purchase if looking to build a chemical-free and totally "green" nursery! From the crib to the mattress to the furniture to the paint- they have it covered! And, of course, so do we here at The Clean Bedroom, ready to assist you in all your organic baby nursery needs ;) 

    In the world of all things kid-warm-and-snuggly, I've decided to just go with a personal winner in this department. My kids all have down comforters and organic cotton blankets. Except the baby, who before this winter, had nothing but muslin blankets in her crib for breathable safety! (less blankets, warmer jammies for infants). The muslin can also be used for swaddling of course~ which keeps babies warmer and safer (says the American Academy of Pediatrics) in their cribs.

Air Quality 

Most of us are aware that lead paint, asbestos, and smoking in the home are 3 major ways to pollute the air in your home, and all of which are particularly concerning if you have children. Consumer Reports tells us more about Indoor Air Quality and here are two easy ways to clean up your in-home air: 
  •     test all your smoke detector batteries regularly and ensure you have a smoke detector in each room of your home. If they are not combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors- install CO2 detectors as well, and also be sure to check those batteries regularly. Unlike smoke, CO2 in odorless and invisible!
  •     put an Air Purifier in the most used rooms of your home, especially in a child's bedroom. This will help allergy and asthma sufferers, and make for a healthier night sleep for all!  
Our hope here at The Clean Bedroom is to be a place you feel comfortable and confident coming to seek information on all things "healthy sleep" for your whole family. We warmly welcome, and always encourage you to ask questions!
Feel free to reach out to us via Facebook or Twitter or email us at  

SHARE with us YOUR # 1 must-have for your childs' room!    #TCBkids
***************And head on over to The Clean Bedroom and let them know NNM sent ya! <3 

Also, be sure to mark your calendars: 
Twitter party

Thursday, December 19th for our Organic Nursery Twitter Party.
Let's hear from YOU today~ #TCBgreenbaby on your favorite "green" nursery or baby product! 
In the meantime, check out our Green Nursery Pinterest Board 

As always, you can get the most up to date info from NNM from our Facebook page or blog.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Letter to My Husband

So many of you know, by the 'button' to the left and by following me on Facebook, that I have been in the midst of following several different Bible Studies relating to being a wife.

First, I completed the 30 day devotional, Wife After God: Drawing Closer to God and Your Husband by Jennifer Smith (aka Unveiled Wife), and then followed that by hosting a 12 week study of this devotional in my home with several women from my community.

I am now following along with Biblical Homemaking as she explores the newest book Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph (aka Women Living Well), and also following along with the weekly LIVE webcasts.

So while I'm sure the idea of this sounds lame, if not very 1950's, to many of you; I have to say that personally, this has been a wonderful and much needed journey. Having been divorced once and also experiencing an additional failed relationship, I needed to do some significant work on myself. Not just for my husband, but actually for myself, and what I've since learned: also for God.

I've talked about my spiritual beliefs before, and no, I don't consider myself some born-again Christian. I consider myself someone who finally opened the Bible, and found it relatable. And dare I say (gasp!) helpful, and inspiring!

Am I asking all of you to open your nearest Bible and BELIEVE or stop reading my blog? Absolutely not.

But I wanted to share with you THIS. THIS was a "homework" assignment in the Wife After God study, and this week in the Women Living Well study, we are in the "Complete Him" in your marriage challenge- week 1, and I felt compelled to refer back to THIS assignment.

my hubby & me, at our wedding in 2009

THIS ladies, is a Letter to my Husband. And it is sometimes even more fun to reflect on, than it was to write. 

I'd like to take a moment to suggest all of you married or seriously involved folk, take a moment (religious or otherwise) to your significant other/spouse/DP/etc and just SHARE what you LOVE about them, SHARE what you know YOU need to work on, and that you're aware of it, and then take INTENTIONAL action to do so. After all, isn't your relationship worth it???

Letter to My Husband 

Dear Hubby, 
I am so thankful to God for our marriage. I am thankful for our health, our family, and our love.
The past 30 + days I have been working on putting you and your needs, and the needs of our marriage, above all else. 
Admittedly, I have been far from perfect ;) but I hope you have noticed at least some improvement! 

I am well aware that I have much to work on. But in completing these weeks of study, and continuing with the WLW Study and webcasts; I have been able to read, meditate over, and pray about my actions and feelings as a wife. I will continue to study and pray about God's clear description in Ephesians, Corinthians, and most importantly; Proverbs 31 in how to be the best wife I can be for you, and for God~ mirroring Christ's love for the church. 

Please know that, as always, I am so appreciative of you loyalty, dedication, and tirelessness in providing for our family. Please also know that I am making significant and intentional efforts to improve myself in the areas of grace, patience, trust, respect, and [appropriate] submission; just to name a few! :) 

I know I have a ways to go- but you and our marriage are worth it! 
I am forever thankful that you are as forgiving as our own Lord Jesus: and that every time I repent and He restores, you accept. 
...then I make a mistake or misstep and we start all over! ;) 

But in all honesty, I can't imagine doing this with anyone else! THANK YOU for being you! 
I love you more and more everyday! 

....Yes, even when you're being a$$h*le! ;) 
<3 Me xoxoxoxox 

Christian or not ;) I invite you all to follow me for the most up to date information & inspiration on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest

What is your # 1 thing you LOVE about your partner? Let's all share some love! Comment HERE or #NNMlovefest 

L-R hubby, me, Spiderman, & Sissy at our wedding <3 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trick or Treat! Glam BLACK is BACK!

As you all know I have a strong affinity for gdiapers. I have written about them many times before and am in love with the ease & flexibility of the hybrids! And I just LOVE the style & fit of the gdiapers! 

As many of you prep for the holiday season, first up is a night of pumpkins, candied apples and of course, costumes! So why not make it easy on yourself? This sleek black number can be worn with a festive top for any of the upcoming holidays- or even for a formal evening at playgroup ;) 

Whatever the event, GLAM BLACK is BACK!
And I should add, so are some of my other favorite gdiaper accessories: 

Oh my gosh! And I would be amiss without adding that there is now another extremely adorable addition to the gdiaper accessory family: the gbeanie!!! Really? Could it BE any cuter?! 

from the gbeanie 

And for a limited time, recieve $20 OFF the newborn bundle. You can order by clicking HERE 

So be sure to follow NNM via the blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for the most up to date info on all things natural mommy AND, of course, gdiapers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for all things gdiaper.

Show of hands for how many gmums we have in the group? Post here, FB or Twitter #gmum.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

RE PUBLISH: Too Beautiful for Earth, Heaven's Newest Angel Baby is Mine ...

This article has been re published in honor of 
October, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month 

Some say they are too beautiful for this Earth, others say they are so special God hand picks them as his Angels... however you phrase it, Heaven has it's newest Angel Baby... mine. 

The Doctor said I had been "struck by lightening twice"- I have now conceived twice while on the pill. And I get it, with so many women who struggle with infertility out there, how is it that someone like me conceives TWICE on the pill? I have no idea. First time I can chalk it up to perhaps imperfect compliance, this time-  I have no explanation. Nonetheless, it happened.

So just as anyone who thought they were being "safe" that finds out they're pregnant would do, I freaked. I had a complete and utter panic attack. I have a nine month old, I'm still on medication for PPD (the label for which says it can cause birth defects), I've been taking the pill, and drinking alcohol! EEK! So I go to the Doctor, who draws some blood... assures me I'm probably early enough where it won't matter... and talks me down of my stress-cliff. I go home more self assured and semi- ready to try and explain this to my husband.

Needless to say, by the next day the thoughts have sunk in and we're ready to dig in our heels and make our growing family fit into our tiny apartment, and even spent well into the night before chatting about names and the other idle chit chat that goes along with the beginning stages of pregnancy.

That's when we got the call.

I would need my bloodwork rechecked the following day at my OBGYN's office. When my OB called, the conversation started with "I am so sorry..."

What?! You're sorry about what???....

My HCG levels had dropped, and I was told if I hadn't already, I was having a miscarriage.

"This is not a viable pregnancy."  What does that even mean? Simple translation: Your baby is dead. Now I get it, to some this seems dramatic- especially for someone who was probably only 6- 8 weeks pregnant. But my baby's heart was beating. My baby was alive, and is now dead.

The few family members we had told have attempted to console us with the ever popular "something just wasn't right", or "your body just wasn't ready", or "everything happens for a reason"- and while I can appreciate all of that, it still means my baby is gone.  And what makes me feel the worst, is that s/he was so tiny at such an early gestation.... I get a lump in my throat even just THINKING about typing this... that s/he probably got.... gulp..... flushed down the toilet.

I, for all intents and purposes, could have flushed my baby down the toilet.

This devastates me most of all.

But the biggest lesson I have learned from all of this, is that miscarriage is such a silent and lonely struggle. You don't tell anyone because you don't want people to think you're just seeking pity, but then everyone around you is going on with their daily lives, talking about the night out with friend A, or their trip to the bar with friend B, and you were just told your baby is dead. And no one ever knew your baby even existed.

How do you get support? Who do you talk to? You're certainly not going to go around asking 'hey, have you had a miscarriage? I just did and I'm not sure what to do next'.

I have at least found the following links which have either brought some peace/support to me, or I feel could help others:

My Forever Child: Memorial Jewelry

We Were Gonna Have a Baby, but we Had an Angel Instead

Bethany's Baby from Bethany's blog

And I have found much needed solace in my husband, and in our Church. And tonight, as I rocked my baby A to sleep, I held her a little tighter, kissed her forehead a bit longer, drew in a deeper breath of her warm baby smell, waited for her own breathing to even, and then laid her down and watched.... and then did what I haven't done in ... well, I think my whole life... I prayed. I prayed to whoever this God is, that my other babies stay safe. And that I wanted to thank Him SO much for the blessings I DO have in my life. My two existing, healthy, happy babies... my wonderful husband.. my beautiful step daughter... my family.... my friends...

and then I asked Him, pretty please, if He could just take tonight, to rock my baby to sleep...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

mymackey : Saying Goodbye

So, yet again, it has been a while since I blogged last. Which, I know, in the blogging-world, is a huge no-no if you want to maintain your subscriber base and social media following. 

But, truth be told, I've been in a bit of a funk- I'll save that story for another day. 

But I felt the need to write today because Thursday, I euthanized my faithful companion of almost nine years. My dog Mackey, named after Vic Mackey from the FX show The Shield, had been my steadfast, loyal friend through the most challenging and simultaneously delightful years of my life. 

They say God places Angels among us. 

Call me nostalgic just because of the timing, but I have no doubt Mackey was that angel for me. Through a divorce, a separation, 3 children, then 4, a new marriage, and moving 8 times.... Mackey has been there (that is, when she wasn't running away- she was a winter breed you know ;)) 

We often called here "Eeyore" because of her pure apathy towards life. Unless life involved a squirrel. That was different... 

She was happy to sit around all day as I figured out this parenting thing, or just didn't want to get out of my jammies. And she was equally as happy to jump in the car and visit friends or family or go for a hike. She never woke us up at 3am to go out, she could go allll day if she had to, never had an accident in the house, and was far too apathetic to be destructive. Her only vice was food. She was a begger. And a food stealer if you weren't looking. And our under-the-table-vacuum, and dishwasher-pre-rinser. 

I went to get her with my first husband, when she was just 12 weeks. I printed out her picture online, filled out the applications, and went to pick up... her brother. Yep, that's right. I did NOT want a female dog. Sadly, her brother had already been chosen. So my then-husband and I looked around at the other puppies running amok and jumping on us and chasing other puppies or pieces of paper around this woman's garage... when I spotted the sister. The sister I said I didn't want. 

There she was: sitting in the corner, far too bored to be bothered by all this commotion. And what was that? She was missing a toe?? It looked like it probably needed surgery, and I was working at a vet. So that was it. We took home the lemon. 

After repairing her foot, spaying her, training her, and getting her used to her new routine of going to work with mommy every day- her many days at the vet as a greeter also suckered her in to being subject to an extra cautious mom- extra bloodwork, teeth brushing, daycare, and several ultrasounds. A combination of which soon proved that she had renal dysplasia, a congenital defect of the kidneys. It was unlikely she would live past the age of three. 

Seven years later... yep, seven.... we had what I suspected was nothing more then a little skin tag removed from her gums above her canine tooth. We sent it out for pathology (again, extra stuff because I worked at a vet) and it came back as fibrosarcoma, a form of cancer. 

A little over a year later, I noticed a lump on the opposite side of her gums, about the size of a nickel. Within weeks, it had swelled into her nasal cavity. We essentially hospice-d her here at home, with the help and guidance of her veterinarian, for the last several months. It became more and more difficult for her to breathe- and despite her normal days and attitude, normal appetite, and normal activity level- the nights were getting so hard on her- trying to breathe laying down. We knew it was time to say goodbye. 

She wouldn't lay down- which I knew she wouldn't.... I held her head and neck, and had one arm under her chest. As her body became heavier and heavier, I was able to easily scoop her onto my lap and continue to stroke her face and kiss her head. I reminded her what an amazing friend she had been. And that I hoped she would remember us too. 

We were blessed to have so many weeks to say good bye. 

I am afraid someday I will forget those last few minutes... and I hope I don't. I hope I don't forget that feeling of her resting her head on my shoulder.... the warmth and "Mackey" smell of that huge tuft of fur on the back of her neck..... her seemingly peaceful gaze into nothingness.... 

Fly away home, babygirl.... fly away home.... 

March 22, 2005- Sept 19, 2013

I hope she has found her friends who have gone before her, and her brother or sister who would now be turning 2 in a few months. 

Have YOU ever lost a pet? What resources did you find helpful? Comment below, or find us on Facebook, twitter, or Pinterest. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Birthday Depression... and NO, not my OWN Birthday!

It's the eve of Baby A's 3rd birthday.... wow, 3 years! Seems crazy!!! She was my only "easy" delivery ;) Came on time, on her scheduled C section date [you can read more about her delivery HERE] and it was, overall, a relaxed hospital stay. No major complications like with Spiderman, and I had full family, friend & hubby support.

Baby A's first photo <3 Just seconds after her birth <3 
But as I scroll through pictures and memories, as I often do when my children's birthdays approach.. I am not reminded of the ease of her actual birth. I am sucked back into a vortex of never-ending screaming. My stomach begins to curl into a knot as I recount the endless visits to chiropractors, pediatrics, medications for reflux, the pain of nursing with a poor latch, the use of the SNS, and still sitting (or as we often did, pacing) throughout the night (and day) with an inconsolable child.

There are no words. As soon as I even start to THINK of those first 12 months (yes, I said 12 months) I am immediately brought to tears. I can't fathom HOW I made it through! How WE made it through!

It reminds me also though, that there is an important message in this story besides what I learned about "colic" or why, in retrospect, I think Baby A was colicky- the message is essentially NOT to judge a book by its' cover.

Now, we hear this again and again- but here's what I mean: those 12 months were the worst of my life. Trumping my divorce, the horrible war that ensued following the demise of Spiderman's dad and I's relationship, my moving, financial struggles.. it trumps all! I tried going back to work at 6 weeks, but I couldn't- there was no way. She wasn't sleeping more than 15 minutes at a time then. (and NO, I am not exaggerating.)

So thankfully, my employer had a position open when I called back about 6 months postpartum. I started work then, but rarely slept, and now was just even more hurried during the day to get things done while still attempting to get 2 kids to daycare, one kid to high school (both in towns about 30 minutes from each other) and then get to work (another half hour away) and then do it all over again on the way home.  As I'm sure every working mother experiences, it was impossible.

I felt crappy. I felt like work wasn't happy as I scurried in in the  morning and shot out in the afternoon; my kids weren't happy as they were the first dropped off and last picked up; my hubby wasn't happy because I was stressed, tired, and the financial strain of the commute and daycare was just too much. I was desperate.


On top of all of this, I felt a constant barrage of 'you're a bad mom', 'you're unstable', 'you can't concentrate', 'you don't seem motivated', 'you're too emotional' from ALL areas of my life.

No one outside our home could have understood the utter despair that I was going through at that time. YOU choose to say something to someone, or implicate something in someone's direction, and you have NO IDEA how much they are actually holding on their shoulders....

... I was actually supermom then.


I felt like no one else could have gone through what we went through and come out on the other side. No one.

Now, no doubt there are some other colic-survivors that hear what I'm sayin here! And no doubt, there are mothers and fathers of EVERY family that have their own trials and tribulations that could preach the same message: and THAT is precisely my point.

You never know what happens inside someone's home. Inside someone's heart.

Please, new parent or old friend... do NOT prejudge a situation, or a reaction, or an overall demeanor. Ask questions, offer support, and provide love/friendship/companionship/fellowship.

Today though, as I push the trauma of those first 12 months aside, I am astounded at how far we've come. We are now delighted with our diva-licious, princess, girly-girl, mama-in-the-making, mothers-helper, mini-me... and my bestest girl in the whole world! <3 

We love you Baby A- and can't wait to celebrate your 3rd Birthday with you tomorrow! muah! xo