Body After Baby Challenge: Green Mama Amanda, Week 2

Week 2 is here and reflecting on the week I am very happy that I can report that I succeeded at reaching my goal! Tuesday I was able to get a really great aerobic work out on the trail at the top of my street. My baby girl in her Ergo alone is a workout, but then add dirt trails, hills, stairs, and about 2 miles...I was feeling good. I was able to get my aerobic activity in on Wednesday and Thursday as well.

I'm feeling great! I love how when I incorporate more aerobic activity I feel better, I sleep better, all around I enjoy life a little more. I am not one who "likes" to exercise, I find my motivation so lacking when I "force" myself to exercise. I think that's why this is working so well for me, because instead of forcing it, I instead look at it as just "going for a walk" with my baby and my dog. What better way to trick my brain into thinking we're aren't really exercising.
That's my update, I hear my baby girl waking up from her nap.

Can't wait to hear how you did Mama Lia.

Non-Toxic Children's Art Supplies

Wouldn't it be nice to know exactly what was in your child's art supplies since, just like most everything else your child touches, some (if not most) ends up in their mouth?

For a while I thought I was doing a good job in finding and making available non-toxic choices, especially when the packaging states that the materials are as such. Yet, just like with food, if the ingredients aren't listed, how sure can I be that they are safe, toxic-free?

I went searching for some artistic mediums for my budding artists that I could be sure were safe. It took a lot of looking, but I finally found one that I love and can see the ingredients list.

Clementine Art Supplies, of Boulder, Colorado (I love that town!) is an all natural, certified non-toxic, environmentally friendly. They have a full line of natural paint, glue, crayons, markers, and modeling clay.

Which is great! My kids are begging for some clay to get their hands on. There is also a gift set that is perfect for any child, which is double-great, since I have some birthdays parties coming up :)

What favorite all natural, non-toxic art supplies do you use and love?

:)


Body After Baby Challenge: Green Mama Amanda, Week 1


Mama Lia this was a great idea and I am joining the challenge. Let me start by writing out what motivates me, then I'll get to my goals.

For me motivation comes from my husband and my baby (and future babies), I want to be the best I can for them. I want to be healthy, happy, and full of energy because if I am all of this, their life is better. We all know that when mama is happy, everyone is happy. I'm motivated to raise my children seeing their parents live a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and organic food. I've never been motivated by a number on a scale, actually up until my daughter was born I never owned a scale. The only reason I bought it after she was born because I was excited to see how much she weighs each month. Not to mention I'm already at my pre-pregnancy weight and in my skinny jeans so for me this isn't something that will be part of my goals. Instead my goals are going to be focused on long term, lifestyle changes. My husband and I already eat only organic food so for me my goal is going to be strictly exercise.

Now onto my goal.

Goal #1: Do aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week
I already do Mommy & Me Yoga once a week, but I need to get aerobic exercise included in my life. I think this may be the easiest and hardest goal all in one. In one respect all I need to do is load up the baby in her Ergo carrier, put the leash on the dog and get outside and walk (I'm not a runner) and when I say walk I mean high speed walking. The type of walking that increases your heart rate and gets the sweat started. Sounds easy, Ergo (check), baby (check), dog (check), a bottle of water (check, of course this is my reusable bottle), I should be all set to go. Not to mention I'm lucky to live in a climate that allows for year around outdoor activity, and I take advantage of it. I think this goal is the hardest because as a stay at home mom I find myself consumed with the "job" of taking care of the household, running errands, and doing everything I need to do to make my house a home. All the while raising my 5 month old daughter, keeping her entertained, teaching her sign language, Italian and English. Between taking care of the house and my daughter I don't remember to take time to take care of me. There are days that when my husband gets home from work I'll realize I didn't eat lunch. Before I had my daughter my husband and I would bicycle home from work, 10 miles down Hwy 101 watching the sunset over the ocean, some of the best commuting of my life. My husband still is able to bicycle into work and home, at least in the summer when the sun stays up later, but for me I need to schedule my aerobic activity. So I'm going to put a reminder in my phone every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9am to get myself in the routine.

For now I'm going to start with just this one goal, if during the challenge I come up with another goal that I'd like to include I'll do so. But for now, this is the most important goal for me and I need to focus on it.

My starting point right now?
Activity level = yoga
weight = I'll tell if you tell! (I'm with you on this one Mama Lia)
skinny jeans = fit perfectly

I'll continue to post weekly updates and see if I can reach my goal, and rather than being something I have to schedule, I hope that soon it becomes a lifestyle change.


Body After Baby Challenge: Green Mama Lia, week 1

Ok, so I joined the challenge...I'm motivated...but do I have any goals that I'm hoping to reach? Hmm, I don't know...do I?

I should, because having goals keeps up the motivation. So, ok, goals. Think, Green Mama Lia, think...

Alright, I got it!

I don't have a goal weight in mind and I already fit into my pre-baby jeans, so I think my goals are going to go beyond the norm. That's ok with me, I enjoy my freedom outside the box ;)

I think I'll organize my Body After Baby Challenge goals into two separate parts:

Goal #1: Eat Healthy Choices Only
My main goal is to eat only organic, local, fresh, whole foods all week, no matter what meal/snack, so finding it within my budget...it'll be a challenge in and of itself! But I believe eating whole healthy foods without pesticides, growth hormones, and toxic chemicals is the way to go if you want to be healthy, not just look nice.

Goal # 2: Increase Activity Level Daily

Ha! Ha! This one's going to be hard. I am a runner and usually run 2-3 times a week, 3 miles as the norm. But I haven't run since November because of some weird health issues I've been having, and they've also been keeping me from my usual active lifestyle. Sooooo.... My goal is to add either some easy activity to every day, either yoga, walking, or dancing in the living room... :) I hope to get myself back into my normal swing of things, as I love being outdoors hiking and running and just being active! I think that's one of the best things about being alive.

I'll post updates too, because I think it's important to check in and make sure what you're doing is actually working.

My main goal is to feel as good - health wise - as I did before I had kids. Having kids is really hard on your body, and I want to get back in shape so I can keep up with everything and everyone I love. Every week I'll keep track of how I feel in general and decide if the food/exercise choices I've made are working or need to be tweaked a bit.


My starting point right now?
Activity level = zero
Healthy Food Choices = so far, so good
weight = I'll tell if you tell!
pre-baby jeans = still fit, don't hate me!

Ok, so you asked for goals, you got goals...I'll post weekly and see how this challenge pans out for me.

;)



Body After Baby Challenge: Let's Get Motivated!

MamaNotesAlright green mamas, are you ready for a challenge? I know I am, so that's why I'm signing us up for the "Body After Baby Challenge"!

Oh, don't look at me like that...this is going to be fun, I promise ;)

This weeks question from the challenge's host MamaNotes is simple:

what motivates you?


Do you want to fit in your pre-baby jeans again? Be fit and trim in time for bikini season? Or just plain ol'feel good?

As for me, what motivates me the most is whether of not I feel healthy after my meals. I don't particularly care what I look like - fit, thin, trim. Yes, I do enjoy fitting into my pre-baby jeans, but I'm not obsessed about how I look at this point of my journey. I'm not posing for any centerfold anytime in the near future.

But what I do care, really care about, is how I feel.

If I eat pre-packaged, processed foods that contain wonderful ingredients such as HFCS, MSG, and the like, I feel like I've been hit by a Mack Truck the following day. No joke, and no pun intended (my last name is Mack ;). So my constant challenge is to find good healthy food choices for every meal, every snack, every day.

And this is no easy challenge since I'm a stay at home mom, make no extra income, and live in a high dollar area. And while I've chosen this lifestyle of frugalness with pleasure - as I love consignment shops and being thrifty in general - when it comes to food...there isn't much wiggle room when you want the good stuff.

But in order to feel the best I can feel, I need to eat whole foods, preferably organic, and totally fresh. This motivates me to find local markets, even in the winter time, where I can buy fresh produce, eggs, breads, and grass-fed meats and dairy. To find local markets near you, check out LocalHarvest.org. They've got a listing for everything.

Joining the challenge? What's your motivation?

:)


Everyday living with Cloth Diapers


It's been a while since I've had a chance to get on and blog. My little family traveled back East for Christmas and with the holiday's time just got away from me. We got to introduce our little miracle to Aunt Lia and the rest of the family, it was a great trip however since we've been back we've all been sick. Those darn airplane germs!!! We are finally all on the road to recovery and I decided I needed to get back into the habit of posting blogs.

My daughter is now 5 months old, which I still CANNOT believe. It has gone by so fast, I have enjoyed every moment. Everyday is something new, she is just getting so big and my life is finally complete.

I was thinking back to when I was expecting and all the advice (wanted and unwanted) I would get from fellow mothers, other pregnant women, or just random strangers who for all I know have no children. One of the things I heard a thousand times was "how HARD cloth diapers were going to be." I still remember mentioning cloth diapers to the nurse at the hospital the day my daughter was born, and she said "Well good luck, it's going to be way too much work." I just smiled and nodded, that was my response to most of the "unwelcome" advice I would receive about everything from breastfeeding to the sleepless nights.

I knew even before I was pregnant that we would use cloth diapers, I was NEVER worried that it would be too much work. And guess what, I was RIGHT! It's been so easy. Seeing that these are the ONLY diapers my daughter has worn since the minute we got home from the hospital we took them on our week long vacation. Yes, that's right! We took cloth diapers on an airplane and used them for a whole week away from home. Crazy I know!

I wanted to do a quick calculation to see how many diapers we've used on our daughter since she's been born, the number is astounding. Roughly 1,200!!!! I can't even imagine having thrown away 1,200 diapers. Instead I have an endless supply that just go into the washer, then the dryer, I fold them and they're ready to use again. I never have to run to the store to pick up a new pack of diapers because we ran out, or because she grew out of the size we had. I love knowing that these same diapers I am using on my daughter right now will also be used on all of my future children.

I find with most things regarding having and raising a child the advice you get is typically filled with horror stories. I remember how people told me I'd never sleep again once I had a child, I'd never get to do the things that I've always enjoyed doing, how it would change my life. And you know what, it has, it has changed my life, but for the BETTER. I am the person I have always wanted to be, from the moment I gave birth to my daughter, I became empowered.

Cara's Top 10 Foods to Enhance Fertility Naturally

The following list is by Cara Bergman, a Licensed Acupuncturist specializing in fertility. Visit her website at www.StillwaterFertilityClinic.com.

1. Bone Broth - old fashioned chicken soup made with the bones. Add a splash of vinegar to the water so that the nutrients come out of the bones and into the broth.

2. Liver - especially from grass-fed animals. Eating liver once a month provides nearly the same nutrients as eating red meat every day of the month.

3. Lacto-fermented Vegetables - If you haven't tried these, read more about my favorite brand Fab Ferments

4. Fermented Cod liver Oil
If you only take ONE supplement ever, it should be fermented cod liver oil in my opinion. It is an excellent source of Vitamin D among other things.

5. Wild-caught
Salmon high in Omega 3's

6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Great uterine tonic. Good to drink throughout pregnancy.

7. Greens - especially wild greens like dandelion.

8. Kefir both yogurt and kefir have beneficial bacteria. The difference is that the bacteria in yogurt is transient - it will do good things and then leave your system where as the bacteria in kefir colonizes and continues to fight off pathogens in the gut.

9. Nettles tea - look for this in health food stores. It supports the adrenals and helps your body build blood.

10. Grass-fed meat Animals need to be outside eating a natural diet to be healthy.


Healthy Candy...Good for You Suckers & Lollipops!


You know the scenario well...


You're at the bank and the kids are being well behaved, acting as cute as ever, because they know what's coming...the bank teller, after she and mommy finish their transaction, will hand them over something as well...

A sucker!!!

The same holds true for a slew of other places: the pediatrician's office, teachers at school...even the dentist for crying out loud.

Although candy is fun and sweet (and I know most of us moms have a chocolate soft spot, so we can't blame our little ones) there are so many preservatives in candy (when does that stuff ever go bad??), high fructose corn syrup (a dangerous highly processed additive that has been linked to heart disease), and my favorite, food coloring (paint!).


When you get down to it, that sweet treat starts to look more toxic than yum.

Good thing there are sweet alternatives. Even some healthy ones!

I personally love Yummy Earth's Organic Lollipops and Vitamin C Pops and can get then at my local organic market. They come in small resealable pouches that you can easily stow away in your purse and car. On occasion I also add a single Vit C organic lollipop to my kid's lunch boxes, especially in the cold months. Any little bit helps them fight against all those germs!

Keeping a stash readily available in your purse - Vit C Pops in fall & winter, assorted organic lollies in spring & summer - makes it easy for to say, "No thank you," to well meaning bank tellers and the like without your children having a melt down.

They'll already know mommy has the good stuff in her purse.

:)

Good-Bye 2009...Hello 2010! Bringing in the New Year with Peace, Love, and Good Health!

Happy New Year, Green Mamas!!! Hope you had a great time bringing in the new year last night :)

I don't know about you, but I was actually glad to see 2009 go. It was a mentally exhausting year for my family.

True, a lot of good things happened in the course of that year that I am thankful for. I became an Aunt two more times, a new niece in August and a new nephew in December. I love babies. Plus it gave me the opportunity to watch my beautiful sister-in-law become a mother. And a beautiful mother she is.

However, watching my wonderful mother-in-law go through chemotherapy for breast cancer, helping to take care of her almost every week from January to June (whenever she'd let me help! ;), and watching her spirit drain out of her was how we started off 2009. Thankfully she made it through, has been doing good since, and had enough hair by Christmas to do it up nice. She's a spirited high energy woman that I want around for a long time. Yes, you heard me. I like my mother-in-law!!! :) How many people can say that? I hope and pray her 2010 is a healthy one!

The year also saw some of my best days. In the beginning of July, my husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary! And our relationship is like a fine wine...as the years pass, it keeps getting better. Then a few weeks later I got to go to sunny southern California and run on the beach every morning, eat fresh local organic food each and every day. I felt fantastic! I've been having some of my own health issues and for some reason I didn't feel them while on vacation.... Fresh food, fresh air, beautiful vistas...Think I might have to make Del Mar my home sometime soon! ;)

Then I flew back to Maryland two weeks later that July...and not even two days passed before I experienced something that I hope and pray no one ever has to experience, ever. I watched a little boy die. Finding him. Calling 911. Watching them work on him. Holding his little hand, saying good-bye...

And for no reason. It was unexpected, unexplained. It happened just like that and the only reason the doctors and examiners can come up with is unexplained natural causes. Absolute horse shit.

Although we've become even closer to his mother and father, our good friends already, due to the tragedy, I'd rather have become better friends through something else. Like going on a week long vacation together, them with their kids and us with ours. We were planning something like that. Going to do it sometime in the future, not sure when. Don't we all plan something and take forever getting around to it, simply because we think we have time?

Why did this have to happen to little Andrew? How does a two year die for no known reason? One minute he was dancing with my daughter in the living room, playing with toys, and running around the house having a good ol'time. The next minute he was tired, laid down for a nap..can't wake him up. It wasn't SIDS. He was breathing, alive. But only faintly there...then gone.

It was SUDC - Sudden Unexplained Death in a Child. I agree with Andrew's father. The acronym should really be SUCD, because that's exactly it. It sucked. I hope no one has to live through that ever ever ever ever ever... The only thing I can pray for now, for Andrew's parents, is that they find peace and love in 2010. I know it has been hard for them. I know it'll never be the same or easy ever again. Anything that will bring them some peace of mind to help them through each day is what I hope for them for their new year.

My hopes for my own 2010? That it is an uneventful year. Sorry, but I just want it to be a quiet, low key year. Sure, I'd love to see my book finish it's edits and find an agent who wants to publish it. But I'll trade all of that for a year where nothing major happens. No one gets sick. No one dies.

So...Knowing that the Universe - God - gives you what you give, I'm getting all of this off my chest now so that I can start anew. Start this year on a good note, a happy note, a positive note. And you should do the same if you have any lingering angst against 2009. I am purging my negativity towards last year in hopes for a wonderful prosperous new year. I am filling up my heart, mind, words, thoughts, and spirit, with love, good things, peace.

Here's to a wonderful 2010 for everyone ...

Good health
to all ... Peace of mind to all ... Love boundless to all

...