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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NNM NEWS: GIVEAWAY & upcoming guest post


CLOSED 4/28/11 7pm EST WINNER is al_arely! Congratulations!

ONE more day left to enter The Clean Bedroom Giveaway for a $25.00 Gift Card and copy of the Green Babies, Sage Moms book, which includes an introduction by my FAVE Harvey Karp! 


And, keep an eye out May 12th for my guest post about Newborn Parenting on Mama Eve- Your Natural Parenting Resource!

Find her on Facebook and Twitter 
and let her know NNM sent ya! <3

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome to EASTER at our house: a Spiritual Revelation :)

Spring is HERE, well it was for one day :) Luckily, that day was spent amidst friends and family at baby A's Christening and Easter brunch.

Originally, I had no interest in getting either of my children baptized/Christened... but at the pestering of both their fathers, eventually relented.  My little Spiderman was baptized at a Congregational Church, along with his cousin. The ceremony was great in that we picked all the readings and stayed away from the preachy- 'you are evil until I pour this water on your head' stuff.

And this time was no different. I procrastinated as long as possible (she is 9 months old now). Easter Sunday was approaching, and my husband (Roman Catholic) was wondering how I felt about having her ceremony the same day as family would already be in town. How could I refuse?

So a few weeks ago, I emailed the church I walk by almost everyday in our cute little downtown, in our cute little town which I have fallen madly in love with since we moved here about a year ago. The church front looks welcoming and traditional, and I also knew- it wasn't Catholic :)

Their website explains, "No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are ALWAYS welcome here!"  So to me, that seemed perfect. I attended my first Sunday mass in almost 3 years on Palm Sunday, and low and behold.... I LOVED IT! 

The music, the community, the warmth, the love, and most of all, the hope.

Baby A's beautiful Christening/Easter dress, compliments of my MIL

baby A and hubby on our way to church

our church :)

It's official. I am one of "those" people. Those people that grew up with a severe aversion to formalized religion because of a science background that favored evolution, and because of that, refused to go to church. I figured they were all just as "preachy" as the ones I was forced to attend on Easter and Christmas in the early years of my childhood where I was told people that take the pill are Evil, and everyone is going to Hell, blah blah blah...

But after years of struggling, working, recent months of severe financial strain, and nurturing two children when sometimes I feel I have nothing left to give.... I have found something that helps me to replenish myself. That nurtures ME.

I might not believe in the Bible, per say (now, let's not start a religion riot here- this is all personal opinion) but I love love love the community feeling and the spirituality that comes with attending service.

Easter Sunday was no different- children singing, choir singing and dancing, brass instruments, conversation, and of course- salvation :) Aubrey's Christening was beautiful. There was no talk of her being evil.... nobody is going to Hell.... and her Godparents were there to take the Christening vows with us. The church was full of people in our own community who have vowed to help us raise her, an extension of our family, who all live far away.

It really does take a village to raise a child, and we now have our village. For that, I am very thankful :)

I am also thankful, of course, for our wonderful family. Our family that was able to share in our special day, and enjoy a delicious pot luck brunch (very cost effective way to do a gathering I might add), and we had beautiful weather to boot!

Here are some more photos of our amazing day:

How did you spend your Easter Sunday?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Clean Bedroom * GIVEAWAY * CLOSED

CLOSED 4/28/11 7pm EST WINNER is al_arely! Congratulations! 

Did you like my review of the Rejuvenation pillow from The Clean Bedroom ? Wanna win a gift card ??

photo credit: The Clean Bedroom on Facebook
Courtesy of The Clean Bedroom, our winner will receive a $25 Gift Card and their very own copy of Green Babies, Sage Moms 
(which has an introduction by Harvey Karp- author of Happiest Baby on the Block- one of my parenting MUST haves :) )

To Enter: 

1. Comment after the product review  with your favorite product from their website
2. Follow NurturingtheNaturalMama via Google Friend Connect, and comment below that you did so (be sure to include your email in your comment). 
3. Subscribe to The Clean Bedroom blog , and comment below that you did so in a SEPARATE comment (again, be sure to include your email). 

Additional Entries: 
For additional entries, you can do any or all of the following, but each must have a SEPARATE comment below WITH your email to qualify: 

* 'like' NurturingtheNaturalMama on Facebook
* 'like' The Clean Bedroom on Facebook and comment on their wall that NNM sent you!
* Follow NurturingtheNaturalMama on Twitter
* Follow The Clean Bedroom on Twitter
* Share this giveaway on your FB status by tagging NNM and The Clean Bedroom
* Tweet this giveaway

Ok, HAVE FUN! Giveaway is open until Thursday at 7pm EST. Enjoy! <3

The Clean Bedroom *Product Review*

* Product Review * Organic Buckwheat & Millet Hull Pillow

Wanna sleep like a baby?!

Of course, whoever made up that saying never actually HAD a baby :)  Regardless, let me tell you about a great organic way to improve your sleep. Check out the Rejuvenation Pillow from The Clean Bedroom!

The Clean Bedroom is a fabulous all organic store that specializes in organic mattresses, but also carries nursery items, non toxic kids furniture, air cleaning systems, and organic pet beds! Their home office and showroom is right here in Kittery, Maine! They also have showrooms in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.

* Keep an eye on their website for news on their upcoming expansion of the Kittery showroom! *

Recently I had the fabulous opportunity to try one of the organic pillows from The Clean Bedroom, and was sent the amazing Rejuvenation Pillow. This pillow, made of organic buckwheat, millet hull and eco wool, is (no lie) the single most comfortable pillow on the planet!

Not gonna lie, I am a down-feather pillow girl (I know, gasp!). But I like a firm mattress, and a squishy pillow. I am also a side sleeper. My husband on the other hand, is a back and stomach sleeper. So who better to try this pillow then BOTH of us?!

the pillow, arriving in it's exquisite packaging to my home!

au natural :)

The first thing I noticed about this pillow, besides the gorgeous packaging ( I couldn't get over it actually, the pillows wrapping job looked better than most of my wedding gifts!), was the fact that the box was heavy! This pillow has some weight to it, whew!

That being said, it is worth it's weight in gold! One side is like one of those rice filled heating pads for your neck, and the other is like any other pillow (the eco wool side). But it is a perfect balance for a range of sleeping habits. For example, I LOVED the wool side. I am a side sleeper, and if you can picture it- lie on my side with my arm under my pillow, essentially squishing it into my head. haha. So I loved having the "rice" side on the bottom so that I could conform it around my arm while still having my head supported.

My husband, on the other hand, being primarily a back sleeper, liked having the "rice" side on top, so he could conform it under his head supporting his neck. 

It is the epitome of pillow-versatility! :)

tag of the Serenity Rejuvenation Pillow

the width of this pillow is incredible, but without being bulky or overwhelming

packaging from the back

It also comes with an organic sateen cotton pillow case which is oober luxurious, without the inherent "sweat" factor of it's polyester-ish traditional sateen cousins :)

Why an organic pillow?

1. chemical free unlike it's flame retardant laden cousins. these pillows use the wool as a natural flame retardant, as I referenced in my last Sunday Surf.

2. many of the pillow options at the Clean Bedroom allow you to remove some the hulls, essentially customizing the pillow to your own taste- perfection!

3. Wool is also naturally anti microbial, as well as is great for people who typically suffer from dust mite allergies!

* You can check out more info on pillows on The Clean Bedroom blog, Picking Through the Piles of Pillows.

Surf on over to The Clean Bedroom's website and comment below telling me your favorite product!

Also, check them out on Facebook and Twitter, let them know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent ya! <3

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NNM NEWS: Guest Posts and Giveaways!

Check out the latest info from NurturingtheNaturalMama:

Upcoming Guest Posts:

* May 12, 2011: Newborn Parenting via Mama Eve: Your Natural Parenting Resource
* TBD: MYO Babyfood via Instinctual Mamas

Product Reviews and GIVEAWAY:

NEXT WEEK Review of the organic millet hull pillow from The Clean Bedroom
followed by a *GIVEAWAY* also sponsored by The Clean Bedroom

so stay tuned :)

Twitter Update:

NNM is now one of your official tweeters for Natural Parents Network 
so come FOLLOW US on Twitter!

(be sure to already be following NNM, of course)   :)

Where would YOU like to see NNM next?

Attachment Parenting Series: Nurturing Touch

For those who have been following our attachment parenting series, let's discuss principle # 4 Nurturing Touch ;

Let me share with you one of the quotes in this book that has stuck with me since I first read it. It is in reference to a Doctor who toured a children's clinic in Germany before World War I.

"As he was shown about the wards, he noticed a large old woman who was carrying a very sick infant. When he inquired who the woman was, the attending physician said, "Oh that is Old Anna. When we have done everything we can medically for a baby, and it is still not doing well, we turn it over to Old Anna, she is always successful"... as she rocked and held these fragile babies. Dr Talbot introduced this kind of care when he returned to Boston, and his methods spread. In 1938, Bellevue Hospital in NY established the rule that every baby should be picked up and "mothered" on the pediatric wards; that year their death rate fell from 35% to less than 10%" (p127).

So clearly, simply holding a baby will not answer all of our infant problems in the world, but just take a look around at other mammals. They carry babies on their backs, or hold them close to their chest, and encouraging a reciprocating touch relationship. Infants in certain African tribes have been found in research to be with their mothers (directly, as in being held or worn) 70% of the time, versus infants in the US and England, which conversely are only with their mothers (as described above) 25% of the time, and in daycares a mere 14% of the time.

Kangaroo Care

I know I have mentioned kangaroo care before, but this is one of the prime examples of nurturing touch, especially when it comes to premature infants. Essentially it describes skin to skin contact between the mothers (caregivers) and the infants. Babies that experience kangaroo care have been shown to gain weight faster, sleep better, nurse better, and have more stable heart rates and temperatures.

Chiropractic & Infant Massage

As I mentioned in my post about my own experience with chiropractic and infant massage , the benefits of each can be overwhelming. Both can help with nursing/latch issues, allergies, relaxation, general improvement in immune system, and overall improvement in the parent-child bonding experience. Infant massage classes are also available now in most communities.

photo courtesy of New England Chiropractic Westbrook, Maine


We've already discussed the topic of babywearing in fairly significant detail in A Parent's Call to Arms, and I'm an Attached Parent, Are You?  The moral of the babywearing story is this, every other culture in the world (yes, the world) besides Americans and much of England, wear their babies; and none of those cultures experience what we describe as colic. Hmmmmm....

Since this theory of Nurturing Touch carries through past infancy to continue the bonding experience with your child, older children can still enjoy massages and even the benefits of chiropractic. Additionally, frequent hugs and snuggles are also recommended. :)

How do you practice nurturing touch in your home? Have you tried infant massage or chiropractic? What were your thoughts?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Surf

There were so many great articles this week, I'm not even sure where to start. After a week that went quite awry for our family, this weekend has been a nice refreshing way to re start.

The first piece I found incredibly eye opening, and making me long for an organic mattress, was this post by The Clean Bedroom

Your Chemical Mattress describes how the albeit helpful, flame retardants in our mattress make any conventional mattress a square chemical plant. While I find my mattress incredibly comfortable, it never occurred to me as green as we try to be as a family, that our mattresses were probably the worst offender! Although I am embarrassed to admit it, we have a hand me down crib mattress that we used for my son AND baby A, my little Spiderman does have a new twin mattress that my parents were able to get him for his birthday last year, my stepdaughter has a futon with one of those foam egg crates over the futon mattress, and my hubby and I share a glorious new queen size mattress that we got an amazing deal- but now, we can see why. 

Naturally Organic, photo courtesy of The Clean Bedroom

I also wouldn't have thought that organic mattresses would have even been an option for our family financially. But perusing the website, they have organic crib mattresses that start at only $259 and come with a  FREE crib sheet (organic crib sheets can run upwards of $19.99/each at other locations. They also have kids mattresses for as low as $599!

You also have the option of checking out their Showroom Floor Models Clearance for incredible as-is deals! So all in all, a great post that made it so that this family is saving up for our new mattress purchases! :)

My next post of the week totally WARMED my heart! Across the Hall featured in Natural Parents Network confirmed my belief that you can be an attached parent/natural parent, regardless of how 'strictly' you follow the principles. I have mentioned on multiple occasions that my children both, like the child in this article, showed me when they were ready to no longer co sleep. They too, became fussy and restless until laid in their own cribs. So in my case, I am still an attached parent even from the next room. :)

UGH! and someone had an amazing post on alternatives to teething gels, etc. and can I find it right now??! no. and in fact, my teething infant is screaming in the background- so I better call it quits. If you know which article I'm talking about- please post the link below in comments for all to view! THANK YOU <3

Feel free to share your fave finds of the week below as well!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kids & Dogs

After hearing the horrible recent news of a 7 month old killed by the family dog here in Maine, it got me thinking about my own habits at home with my kids and my dog.

Let's start from the beginning;

Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby & Introducing Baby:

Just like every baby is different, every dog is also different, and may require more or less coaxing when it comes to introducing a new baby. Generally, near the end of your pregnancy, it is a good idea to wash a few outfits and blankets in the detergent you plan to use for the baby, and leave them around the house for the dog to get used to. What we did for my blind dog, was also placed one of those blankets on the floor and anytime he came near it, we told him to 'leave it' so that he wouldn't step on the baby when he recognized that smell on the floor.

Keep your dog's schedule as much the same as possible. Hire a dog walker to make you and your family's life easier those first few weeks if you need to. But keep walking and feeding times as much the same as possible.

When you come home from the hospital, have your dog smell the blanket that was on the baby first, and then allow the dog to sniff the baby. The majority of dogs will get used to this new creature in the house rather quickly.  Dogs that need additional training should consult a professional trainer in your area, and you can also use Good Owners, Great Dogs for quick tips.

Family Dogs In General

Not just the "high risk" dog breeds require professional training. In my opinion, whether you have children or not, any dog should have (at minimum) the training required to complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.  Higher risk breeds, besides needing knowledgeable and committed owners, need continued training to ensure their good behavior.

Proper training of any dog would include getting them used to a certain degree of ear touching, foot touching, petting while eating, taking toys away, etc. All things kids will eventually do. 

You should NEVER leave a child alone with any dog(s).

my little spiderman and one of our dogs (which now resides with his dad), Huxley a Great Dane 
How does MY family handle our dog?

Our dog Mackey, has her Canine Good Citizen certificate. Being a veterinary technician, she has come to work with me almost every day for her first 5 years. She has been well socialized with people, as well as with other dogs in dog daycare. Thankfully, she is an extremely apathetic dog and can well tolerate any kind of childish behavior! :)

However, this is where I think I go wrong. Having read the recent fore mentioned story of the infant killed in a dog attack, it made me realize a few things;

- I do occasionally leave my kids alone with the dog.
I run into the kitchen to make that extra cup of coffee, or prepare a bottle, etc. while both kids are in the living room with the dog. (now mind you, my apartment is NOT large. at all. ) But nonetheless, it doesn't even register with me sometimes to pay attention to where the dog even is. She spends the majority of her days lounging around and most days I barely notice her presence except for when she's whining at the door.

- I take advantage of the fact that I do not have a 'high risk breed', and assume that my dog would never hurt anyone. But the fact  is, she technically could.

- I let the dog lounge on the furniture, and beg from the table, and sleep on the kids bed. I let the baby feed her from the highchair, and the kids constantly steal the dish from her while she's eating.

That being said, my own dog is tolerant of anything. She gets her ears pulled, they attempt to ride her, they lean on her, the baby uses her as another piece of furniture, her feet get grabbed, and she nonchalantly stares at me when they steal her food :)

photo of Gwynndolynn Smith, courtesy of Portland Veterinary Specialists

Personally, there are certain 'high risk' breeds I feel more comfortable with than others. I would own a Pit bull, a Doberman, or a Rottweiler in a heartbeat. I (again, personally) would not own an Akita, a Chow Chow, or a Shar pei. Just me.

I can tell you, in the 12 years I've been in veterinary medicine. I've only been bitten by a dog once. It was a Golden Retriever.

What kind of dog (s) do you have and how do you handle your kids interaction with them?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

* FREE Find! *

If you haven't already, check to see if the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has a "location" near you (and this program is NOT limited to the United States).

Here's how it works:
- go online and register your child(ren)
- if there is an affiliate in your area (it will have you check your zip code first) then within 60 days they will send your child(ren) his/her/their first book(s) FOR FREE.
-then every month, your child(ren) get FREE age appropriate books in the mail!

My kids love getting theirs and it allows us to change up our nightly book reading routine. In between books we receive in the mail, we take advantage of our local library. Result? FREE BOOKS all the time! 

Love this and HAD to share!

* You can also help anytime by donating to the program using the information available on their website.

SPRING is finally here!

Wow! Not sure where you have been these last few days but the weather in my little slice of heaven has been FABULOUS!! Baby A has been rockin her g diapers and Baby Legs and my little spiderman was able to run around like a crazy man at the park in nothin but a T-shirt and some light khakis. And frankly, I probably could have had him in shorts- but he resisted.

Since Sunday, we have enjoyed several outdoor adventures, and it has been a great reminder about not only how nice it is to actually BE outside and smell the fresh air, and hear the birds, etc. but that nature is FREE people! Ok, so we did have to make a $3.00 donation when we visited Vaughn Woods State Park for a hike, but it was well worth it!

Check out some pics from our most recent family adventures:
baby A enjoying the swing at the park, it was sunny but still a bit cold :)

1st family walk of the spring! my poor stepdaughter and her crutches :(

Sunday hike in our beautiful town- Vaughn Woods State Park

my Superman, baby A, and me xo

superman and wonderdog, aka Mackey <3

Hamilton House South Berwick, Maine

mommy & her baby

Hamilton House Gardens- such beautiful sites made for an amazing day!

clearly Mackey enjoyed the hike :)

Superman took over backpacking duties halfway through :)


my spiderman at the park with his friend Lucas, this was the other day when it was still chilly :)

pushing baby A on the swings


baby A and her BFF Peyton :)

The moral of this photo album, is that having fun with your family (or by yourself) does not need to cost money! Just getting out and walking, running, taking the dog out, all of these things decrease stress and lighten your mood. And it gets the kids to burn off energy! :)

Our community park is within walking distance of my home, so we all walk there, the kids run crazy, then we walk back. By the time we get home, they're exhausted :) (albeit so am I)

During our little jaunt to the park today, I met a woman that works at the Thrift Store at our church (which I have yet to check out) and she says there is a whole closet of FREE baby clothes! Ummmm, hello??! You know where to find me on Thursday night!

So my lesson of the day? Get outside. Walk places. Talk to people. Hug your kids. It's all good for your soul.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Skoy Cloth Giveaway * WINNER *

* and the WINNER is *.........
 Comment # 3 was...
al_arely said...
i follow u on google connect
 Congratulations! Please email me at so I can mail you your SKOY cloth! You will also be entered TWICE into our next giveaway, sponsored by The Clean Bedroom.
 HUGE Thank you to Natural Family Supplies for letting my try out, and fall in love with, the Skoy cloth.