Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birth At Home

Here is the link to a NY times slideshow that depicts that beauty and strength of homebirthing families in New York.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Wonders of Play Clay!

I was invited by the one of the owners of Earth Mart to do a series of lectures on Sustainable Family Living at the store. The series was not well marketed and attendance has been.....well....less than ideal. In any event, I've had time to shop around the store. During my last trip I picked up some Play Clay in the Cherry Berry scent. I was assured that it didn't taste good despite the delicious fruity scents.

The next night right before I attempted to cook dinner (always a challenging hour in our household) I pulled the Learning Tower over to the end of the counter top, threw on our trusty smock and let Soph explore with the clay. She played for over an hour and a half with the miracle toy. She, of course, started with a little taste and then decided that it was more fun to smoosh it between her fingers. It has been a lot of fun.

A small warning. The smell can be a bit overpowering. It is far more pleasant than the traditional PlayDough, but on a day when I had a headache the scent of the Cherry Berry Clay exaserbated my brain pain. If you have family members that are sensitive to scent or susceptable to headache or nausea, I'd stick with the home made stuff.

Here is a recipe:

Kid Friendly Play Dough
  • 1 cup flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Mix in saucepan over low heat. It does not have to heat very long.

Dough is ready when it rolls into a ball.

Keep dough fresh in an airtight container.

If you need to make different colors, add food coloring while mixing over heat.

I haven't tried it, but I suspect that you could add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture in place of a few drops of the vegetable oil if you were interested in having scented dough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another "Tired, Crazy, Official Mom" Angered over Motrin Ad

Yes, I'm another "Tired, Crazy, Official Mom" that was terribly offended by the Motrin ad that was supposed to target the community of babywearing, Attachment Parenting parents (yep, that's Geo and I).

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the advertising meetings. The whole table must have thought this ad was a good idea.

I can imagine raising children without cribs, exersaucers, bouncy chairs, pack-n-plays and all the other things that new parents are basically forced to believe that their children won't survive without, but I couldn't have done it without the slings! Wearing Sophia kept her close to my heart, gave me two hands to cook, clean and knit with, ensured that she maintained a safe body temperature, kept strange people from touching her, and most importantly it kept her happy. While sharing space, energy, and basically, mom's body, the parent-child pair learn each others cues and parents can more quickly respond to a baby's needs. Only good things come of wearing your child.

There are so many challenges to raising your children. I survived Geo's deployment with the help of a very long piece of cotton and I tied my beautiful daughter to my torso everyday and night. It practically became another article of clothing. It made single parenting manageable.

And I never took a pain reliever. The sling took a load off of my shoulders by evenly distributing the Pea's weight, and a load off of my heart because she was healthy and happy right next to me.

Edit: I'm adding a link to an interesting NYTimes piece.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Cards for Wounded/Recovering Soliders

As the holiday seasons nears I start receiving email about the community's effort to support wounded or recovering soldiers. Before the heightened need for domestic security, families could address extra holiday cards to "Any Wounded Soldier" or "Any Recovering Soldier" and mail them off to Walter Reed and other military facilities, this is no longer an option.

Cards sent to "A Recovering American soldier" or similar will not be accepted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center and no soldiers will receive them.

There are, however, programs where cards can be sent. The American Red Cross has stepped in and started a Holiday Mail for Hero's program. Please reference the article below. It also includes a link to the Walter Reed website (where the article was published) and the correct address to mail your holiday cards to.


The American Red Cross is sponsoring a national "Holiday Mail for Heroes" campaign to receive and distribute holiday cards to servicemembers and veterans both in the United States and abroad.

Holiday Mail for Heroes, which began Tuesday, Veterans Day, is a follow-up to the 2007 effort that resulted in the collection and distribution of more than 600,000 cards to hospitalized servicemembers. This year's program will expand its reach to not only wounded servicemembers but also veterans and their families. The goal is to collect and distribute 1 million pieces of holiday mail.

"As we enter this holiday season-a time to celebrate with family and friends-it's important to remember the thousands of men and women who serve our nation in harm's way and those who are recovering in military and veterans hospitals," said Army Col. Norvell V. Coots, commander, Walter Reed Health Care System. "The Holiday Mail for Heroes program is a wonderful outreach effort and a great way to acknowledge the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform."

Holiday cards should be mailed to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD. 20791-5456

All cards must be postmarked no later than Dec. 10. Cards should not be mailed or delivered to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

For more information, visit or for Holiday Mail for Heroes program guidelines.Walter Reed is not accepting mail addressed to "A Recovering American Soldier."

Click for the original article, found on Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Website

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sometime The Little Things Seem So Big

The pure joy on Soph's face when she escapes the grasp of one of her chasing parents.

This picture kills me. She has been putting my shoes on and walking around the house. Something about this simple act made me realize how much she has already grown. Little teeny, tiny feets kicking against my internal organs :) Feeling your developing baby play in the warmth and comfort of your body is like a private blessing. Too small for the outside world to see or feel, it is an intimate bonding experience between Mom and Babe.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We're Seeing Pink

We decided to have a 21 week ultrasound. The testing provided us with a look at every lovely bone and perfectly shaped organ in our lil' Bean. Growth and development are right on target and everything look gorgeous (other than the little bugger looking like a sea monkey!).

We kindly decline most prenatal testing because we're healthy, low risk and many of today's tests are not medically necessary (this could be the subject of a doctoral thesis and is a point of contention between the medical system and those trained to provide assistance to low-risk birthing, lets save it for another post.) In any event, we had this ultrasound during both pregnancies in order to ensure that all was well inside "the bubble" and to decrease the possibility of a surprise immediately following the Bean's birth (in our spare room).

Sophia had a play date with several friends and we had our appointment while she floated around in a fairy costume for most of the morning. The ultrasound tech was very detailed and she noted each area of the Bean's body as Geo and I started at the screen with anticipation and amazement. As with most things, the output was much easier to read with some experience. After capturing photos of each organ and all important bones the tech asked if we were interested in knowing the gender of our little one and we both said "YES!" There was no question that we were interested. She bounced around my belly trying to get a good angle and showed us how our little angel ways positioned face down with his or her knees pinched shut. She tried for several minutes to convince Baby Schwartz to open up and let us peek.


We were asked to wait for the doctor, but she was guessing that it was a girl since she didn't see anything "poking out." After the longest 7 minutes of the day the doctor came in. He reviewed the findings and proceeded to scan around. At the end of his examination he was able to determine that our little sea monkey was a girl.

George is SO out numbered! (even the cat is a girl!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures for the Crowd

It has been a month since my last post and I have started to receive harassing emails. I've been neglecting my photo posting obligations. So here are a few photos of our Peaster enjoying the warmer fall days.

Even on the colder days she stands at the door and begs for one of us to take her outside. She is our nature girl, that 's for sure. She loves walking the neighborhood searching for new and interesting bugs, playing with the dogs across the street and splashing around in any available water.
She has a beautiful way of connecting with the world. Her innocent pleasure makes me appreciate some of the things that a busy life has hurried me past. She sees and hears things that adult ears have long tuned out and it isn't until she points to the sky and signs "airplane" that we actually hear the passing jet. There are so many things that she brings to our awareness. Everyday with Soph is like a lesson in living.

We're forever blessed by you, love.