13 September 2010

Maternity Hiatus

I'm going on maternity leave starting tomorrow! My husband will be home in a few days and the baby will be here shortly after that. I'll be back once things start to calm down :)

10 August 2010

Why I Chose a Midwife Over an OBGYN Part 1

I get asked why I chose a midwife over an OBGYN all the time. For me, it was a no-brainer really. I could say it has everything to do with statistics and the health of myself and the baby but all of those things came to me later. From the beginning of this pregnancy I knew I wanted to have a natural birth, as far away from hospitals as possible, because I had terrible experiences with a "hospital" pregnancy. I'm going to break this up

When my husband got home from Iraq, he and I moved into an apartment with his brother in a small town outside Ft. Riley, KS. I hated it from the beginning. It was the dead of winter in Kansas and I had never been so cold in my life. I didn't go anywhere, ever. Things with my husband were tense. For some reason, we couldn't get along. And it was worst with his brother. We got into screaming matches. I cried daily. My husband would come into the bathroom to find my bawling in the shower, for NO reason. I wanted to go back home. I was miserable. Other weird things were going on as well. I was plagued with a stuffy nose that kept me up at night. Even that wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to pee five or six times a night. I slept all day long.

At this time in my life, I was also in the Army, but the Reserve. My unit was about to deploy and I couldn't wait. It was everything I had been training for and I was excited to actually do my job. One weekend I started the drive to my unit, which was six hours away. They had put me up in a hotel room so I could drive in the night prior. That weekend we were filling out life insurance paperwork and updating our wills. It was all becoming very real. I was nervous. Well, scared to death, really, but it was exciting too. My husband had just come back from a six month deployment and my brother was at the beginning of a year long deployment. It didn't seem that bad. On the long drive I got to thinking it had been a while since my last period. I wasn't sure how long, who ever kept track of those things? When I was about half an hour away from my hotel room, I stopped at a familiar WalMart to pick up a box of pregnancy tests. I knew that once I took one, I would feel better. This was sort of a routine with me. About once a year I would actually pay attention to my body and take a test so that I would just know I wasn't pregnant.

I got to the hotel room and immediately pee'd on the stick. For some reason, I started to get nervous. In the next thirty seconds I told myself I was being ridiculous, there was no way I was pregnant. I had been told it would take a great amount of effort on my part if I ever wanted to have children and it may not even be possible. Being pregnant was not a possibility. I, of course, was pregnant. And it was the absolute worst thing that had ever happened to me.

To be continued...

07 August 2010

Personal Mission Statement

 The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

Something I picked up from reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Stephen Covey that stuck with me was the concept of a personal mission statement.

Goal # 30. Write a personal mission statement and post it in my office - In Progress

I really like the idea of the personal mission statement because it helps me clearly see where I am now and where I want to be. I definitely needed help getting started on my mission statement so I used the statement builder on FranklinCovey.com to give me some guidance. The builder asks you some great questions about yourself and your life and generates a basic mission statement. I took what I came up with and revised it, adding a lot more to it, until I was satisfied. I put in a lot about my spiritual life and a set of daily affirmations. The idea of daily affirmations comes from my high school leadership teacher and my husband, who are both firm believers in their power (my husband has already written a set of affirmations for our baby). I've put it away for about a week and plan to reread it and revise again if I need to. Afterwards I'll post it here and in my office so I can read it daily.

Writing a mission statement has encouraged me to check out the adult version of that beloved book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I ordered it for super cheap on Amazon.com and have been thoroughly enjoying reading it. I'll post more once I get further into the book.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Are you familiar with the concept of a mission statement? Have you ever written one?

05 August 2010

Attachment Parenting

I recently purchased The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. after having it checked out way past its due date at the library (shame on me). I love this book. It makes so much sense to me, I really can't see myself raising my baby any other way.

The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby 

When I think of what life will be like when I'm not pregnant anymore, it makes me kind of sad. How will I live my day-to-day without feeling the baby kick? That concept is currently beyond me. But how else can I feel that close to my baby without constantly holding her? How will I know when things are going right, or not, if she's not physically close to me at all times, rarely separated by any great distance? How can I pass along all the good things that comes from my healthy eating without breastfeeding her?

Are these the only ways in which you can raise a healthy, happy baby? Certainly not. As with all things in life, I think when someone thinks they have the be-all, end-all answer to a question, they're further away from the truth than the rest of us. There are probably as many ways to "properly" raise a child as there are children on the planet. But having no child-rearing experience of my own, I think sticking with a proven system based on gentle methods is the best thing I can do for my baby.

Everything the Sears' suggest are things I planned on doing anyway but it's nice to read more about why it's so good for myself and the baby. They take the latest research on attachment parenting and present it in an easy-to-read format. Finally, I have medical research to back up my views on parenting when some of my more outspoken family members voice their doubts about my decisions. Next time I get incredulous stares when I mention co-sleeping, I can say "It's doctor recommended!" This book is a must-read for anyone interested in attachment parenting.

03 August 2010

Making the Switch to Cloth

I've been considering using cloth menstrual pads for about a year now. I looked into it and knew it was something I wanted to do but wasn't ready to invest the money. I kept telling myself I'd do it next pay check, next pay check. And of course, once I got pregnant it wasn't a priority. Researching cloth diapers the past few weeks has reminded me of my desire to switch to green feminine hygiene products.

So why go green in your underwear? For me, it's a matter of cleanliness and helping the Earth. This may be completely TMI but I'm one of those gals that is sort of prone to yeast infections. In the past I've noticed that I get them most often during the summer and right after my periods. I would use panty liners daily in the summer to try prevent some of these yeast infections but that only helped so much. After doing some research into the matter, I realized that using disposable hygiene products was part of my problem. This summer, being eight and nine months pregnant, I am in no mood to deal with yeast infections (is anybody ever in the mood for this? Probably not). As I'm more prone to them being pregnant and because it's hot as all get out (sweaty panties anyone?) I decided now was the time to start investing. I can offset the cost by making small purchases every few weeks until I have a nice stash for when I really need them, read: postpartum.

There are cloth menstrual pads available at places like GladRags.com but I knew from the get-go I'd be purchasing mine off Etsy.com. Handmade products are the way to go in my opinion. I spent hours and hours researching my options on Etsy. I looked at price, shape and materials. I knew I wanted flannel topped pads because the research I've done has shown me that it is an incredibly comfortable material. I didn't want PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) because it is a type of plastic; if I'm using these pads to be better for the environment, why would I put some plastic in them? I also knew I wanted them to be shaped like my regular pads with wings that snapped. I finally found Crea8tiveMama's shop where all these criteria were met at a very reasonable price. In fact, Crea8tiveMama has one of the best prices on Etsy. Since I'm still at least two months away until I'm postpartum, I decided to just purchase some panty liners to try.

I purchased the itty bitty panty liners, which are 6.5" long, and got to choose my own fabric from her selection. They shipped quickly and got to my house in a very short period of time. I immediately tried them on and have fallen in love. I'm so glad I spent as much time as I did looking for my vendor because I am in no way disappointed with my panty liners. I quickly realized having only four wasn't going to cut it because I don't have enough laundry to wash them as often as I need them. I've purchased eight more to round out my stash and I'm waiting anxiously.

Here are some other awesome products I'm dying to purchase from Crea8tiveMama:

A set of regular sized panty liners (9" long) for when I'm actually on my period. The itty bitty liners work great for daily use but I think I will want more protection for my light period days.

A set of postpartum/overnight pads. These pads are 11" long, have an inner layer of waterproof fabric (not PUL) with some extra absorbent zorb as well (what is zorb? Click for details.)

A set of pads for my regular to heavy days. Her regular pads are 9" long with an inner waterproof lining and absorbent cotton/bamboo blend.

Another benefit of all Crea8tiveMama's pads is that they fold up into cute little pillows and can be snapped closed.

My next question was how many pads will I need? After doing some research I found that the answer is different for every woman. You have to consider how long your periods are, how heavy they typically are, how often you want to change your pads a day and how often you want to do laundry. I figured up the amount of pads I'd need for my period. I typically have about 6-7 day periods which consist of 1 light to normal day, 2-3 heavy days, and 2-3 normal to light days. I don't want to have to wash during my period to have enough to last me and I want to change them more than once a day. I did a break down of my general daily needs.

Day 1: 2 panty liners, 1 overnight pad
Day 2: 2 maxi pads, 1 overnight pad
Day 3: 2 maxi pads, 1 overnight pad
Day 4: 2 regular pads, 1 overnight pad
Day 5: 2 regular pads, 1 overnight pad
Day 6: 2 regular pads, 1 overnight pad
Day 7: 2 panty liners

Now I just start buying :) Have you ever considered cloth or do you use cloth currently?

28 July 2010

Lesson Three: Setting Up a Recycling Center in Our House

 (from the Martha Stewart website)

I've been wanting to set up a recycling center in my house since we moved in. Frankly, I'm ashamed it's taken this long to get it done. I got this idea from none other than Martha Stewart. She suggests putting together several wide, interlocking bins to create your at-home recycling center. You can even put these bins on rolling castors to make them easier to transport to the curb, or in my case, the car since my town doesn't offer curbside recycling. Each bin should be labeled with what goes in and you can even post a list of what can and can't be recycled nearby.

I finally got my rear in gear and picked up some bins. If you want to be even more green, find some used on sites like Craigslist.com. I would have loved to go this route but since I've put this off for far too long, I just went out and bought some.

Sterilite 29308001 3-Drawer Wide Cart with See-Through Drawers and Black Casters, White 

This is not exactly what Martha suggests but it was the only thing I could find at Target. Sterilite 3-drawer bins are a decent price and come with optional wheels. The ones I picked up are not as wide, which I am not happy with, but they will work for now. When I find the perfect solution, I will repurpose these bins for closet storage (another thing I desperately need).

Do you have a home recycling center? What do you use?
Goal #70. Set up a recycling system - Completed

27 July 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral!

From the Machs Grun website: According to a study by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. Assuming an average blog gets 15,000 visits a month, it has yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 3,6kg (8lb.). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems.

The company has paired up with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree for each blog that writes a short entry about being carbon neutral, for free! One tree can neutralize the carbon emissions from one blog for 50 years. Thanks to Machs Grun and the Arbor Day Foundation for making this blog carbon neutral.

26 July 2010

Lesson Two: Balancing Work-Home-School-Family

I finally did it. I invested in a smart phone. Up until now, it was an entirely unnecessary expense. I was completely opposed to buying an electronic device with all those fancy apps and functions I would never use. However, since I've recently started my own business, I knew I had to give in. I broke down and bought the HTC Aria and I have to admit, I love it.

HTC Aria Android Phone (AT&T)

This phone is amazingly functional. I love that I can sync it with all my Google business apps. I receive my business e-mails directly on my phone and most importantly, I can keep my schedule up to date, no matter where I am. As the most unorganized person on the planet, this is incredibly important to me. I want to achieve balance in my life. Having started a business and being on the verge of birthing a child into this world, balancing my work-home-school-family life is more important than ever. So, forgetting the completely materialistic aspect of owning a phone like this, I am really hoping it can help me achieve this goal.

Goal # 16. Create and use a daily schedule - In Progress

I've started this goal by putting in my part-time work schedule from Foot Solutions into my Google calender. I then added Game Night, which is every Wednesday with my husband's family. I added in the appointments I already had set up with clients and my pre-natal and chiropractor appointments. I then synced all this information to my phone as well as Microsoft Outlook so I can access it all wherever I am. Next, I'd like to make some sort of hourly break down of how I plan to spend my days. How much time should I dedicate to school work, my business, cleaning and organizing my home, spending time with family? Over the next few days I plan to attempt to figure that out! Wish me luck :)

25 July 2010

Lesson One: 101 Goals in 1001 Days

Have you ever heard of the 101 in 1001 challenge? Here is a synopsis from the website Day Zero:

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

I've made these lists several times and have completed many tasks because of them. I have never made it to the end of my list before I let life get in the way. In order to accomplish these lists I'm going to blog about them. I am hoping this will be enough inspiration to keep me going!

What does the list have to do with turning myself into a domestic goddess? Everything! My idea of a perfect life is giving equal amounts of time to myself, my home, my family and my business, which I run from home in order to spend more time doing all of the other things.

If you're interested in making your own 101 goals in 1001 days list, I suggest checking out Day Zero for inspiration and a place to organize.

24 July 2010

Course Syllabus

I am completely in love with the idea of homemaking in the traditional sense. When someone loaned me a copy of Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home, everything I was trying to do around my own home started to make sense. My husband could not understand why I wanted things positioned a certain way around the house, or why I made a list that thoroughly described how I wanted each thing around the house to be cleaned. I didn't really understand it either, except that I wanted it that way. After reading that book, I realized I was sliding into the role of homemaker. It came naturally to me to want to do these things. What didn't come naturally was the knowledge or the organization. The want-to is all here, the know-how is not. Hopefully this blog can help me get there and stay there.

Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home 

I want a place to share some of my recently gathered homemaking knowledge. Martha Stewart has filled me up with all this information and I feel like if I don't write it down, process it, share it, I may not put it to good use. It will just sit in a dusty filing cabinet in my head and never be useful to me.

I'll also occasionally use this space to talk about Martha herself. I am completely in love with the woman. She is a genius and I absolutely look to her as a role model. Some of you may not understand why but I intend to fully explain that, all in due time.

I also want to display my home throughout its transitions. We bought the home in semi-decent condition; the previous owners did beyond their fair share of trashing the place. It's 2600 square feet make for a difficult home to clean and keep organized but I'm up to the challenge. I want to show our home as it takes shape into something beautiful. Join me as I embark on one of the craziest ventures of my life :)

23 July 2010

Welcome to the Conscious Family!

con-scious: 1) perceiving, apprehending or noticing
with a degree of controlled thought or observation;
2) capable of or marked by thought, will, design or perception

family: 1) a group of individuals living under one roof
2) a group of people united by certain convictions
or a common affiliation

Welcome to The Conscious Family! For the purpose of this blog, I will be using the definitions of conscious and family listed above. A short intro into my life: My husband and I bought our first home in Independence, MO. It is a 1928 Colonial Revival home that sits on two lots and needs a lot of work. We are expecting our first child and also take care of my 15-year-old sister. We're interested in attachment parenting and I believe in living a healthy, natural lifestyle. I've also recently started my own business planning weddings and am taking business classes. My husband is in the Army, currently deployed. I'm starting this blog to talk about the challenges I'm facing keeping all aspects of myself equally balanced while trying to achieve a green life and start a conscious family. I will also use this space to do a series called "Lessons in Domesticity" in which I will discuss all the things I'm doing to try to turn myself into a domestic goddess. I want to have a place to showcase my home as it (and I) transform into what I feel it was made to be.