So apparently my written voice reads a little twangy. Call me a southern, but I don't think I have a drawl. Although I did find it quite funny that Holland (a friend of Allison's that reads the blog, who I have not yet met) reads the blog and puts it into a southern accent in her head. Maybe I ought to adopt that as my writing style. I have never been a professed "writer". In fact, I always thought I was pretty terrible at summarizing, creatively drawing a verbal portrait, and making myself sound educated on paper. And, I was right. The only reason you people read my blog anyway is to see my chunk of a baby Avery. I am okay with that. However, I figure I might as well do a little creative writing and some self help therapy at the same time! Kill two birds with one stone. Anyway, Holland, I am looking forward to meeting you and clearing up this confusion.
I promise I won't inundate you with everything there is to know about Organics, but I do want to point out some of the reasons we eat a lot of organics at our house: 1. Free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, or chemicals. 2. For a food product to call itself "Organic", at least 95% of its ingredients must be free of the things I named above, as regulated by the USDA and other organizations. 3. It is undisputed that Organics are better for you. 4. The first year of life is the most important for brain development, and so we will only allow Avery to have Organic Formula and Organic Baby Food. I found out I had Crohn's disease in November 2007. Crohn's is an intestinal disease that causes lesions on the inside of the small intestine. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration, malnutrition and death. Mine is luckily, very mild, but did involve extreme bowel distress to the point of hospitalization. It can come and go based on a number of factors. But in order to keep it from worsening, I read a lot of books and medical articles on the subject. They recommended learning what triggers my attacks (liquor, green tea, and fried food) eliminating them, and switching to organics. So I slowly began incorporating them into my weekly grocery trips. Now, our meals are about 70% organic. Some things are impossible to find, so we do the best we can. We eat free range chicken, and we receive a bi-weekly shipment of fresh, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables from Grow Alabama ( http://www.growalabama.com/). Publix has a great selection of "Green Wise" foods that are better than non-organic. I have not had a Crohn's attack since that initial one and I believe it is because I started eating healthier and organically.
Avery has just begun to eat solids. She has only had rice cereal and applesauce. I will begin to incorporate more fruits and veggies when she is old enough. I will make her baby food myself. I just learned how easy it is! Take whatever leftover organic foods I have and steam, blend, and then freeze in ice trays for perfect little one ounce servings. Very exciting! The last organic topic I will discuss is Organic formula. Breast milk is best, but I had to wean Avery for very selfish reasons...I needed sleep and time to myself! (Sorry kiddo, but happy Mommy means happier Daddy and Baby in the long run!) So if you do switch to formula like I did, be prepared for expense and a lot of choices. Currently, we are using Similac Organic, and I liked it just fine until I read that it has cane sugar in it which makes it sweeter than other formulas, which can lead to overeating, and childhood obesity. So, we are making the switch to "Vermont Organics" as soon as we finish up this can of Similac. I am also hoping it is a little easier on her stomach (as she has had a little constipation.)
Yesterday I said that I would post on safe baby products. (I will discuss the necessity of organic food for babies and the rest of us another day.) SafeMama.com is a great resource for products that do not contain Parabens or Pthalates. There are several brands that are relatively easy to find at your local Target, Publix, or hippy health store...
1. California Baby*
2. Burt's Bees Baby*
3. Kiss My Face
4. Dr. Bronner's*
5. Nature's Baby
6. Terressential's Baby Care
7. Tom's of Maine*
*products I have personally used.
There are many more. Most products will advertise that they are free of the bad chemicals. Read your label. There is a great book called Raising Baby Green by (unironically) Alan Greene. It has good ideas for making your own personal hygiene products as well as a good list of house hold, garden, and kitchen products that are non-toxic. Not only is this better for you and your baby, but also for the earth and future generations. Another favorite book if you are looking to eliminate all toxic products from your home is The Safe Shopper's Bible: A Consumer's Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics, and Food by David Steinman and Samuel S. Epstein. This one is great, but a lot of the products are difficult to find. Tom's of Maine is a good brand for Mom and Dad's bathroom, but I don't love their deodorant, which seems to be a little sticky. For household use, I prefer 7th Generation, which you can find at Publix. I use their dish washing detergent, dish soap, laundry detergent, and fabric softener. They are all effective and safe. Lastly, be very careful with sunscreen as many of them contain chemicals that are very harmful to young children as well as adults.
http://www.skinbiology.com/ has this to say about sunscreen: Chemical sunscreens have three primary defects: 1 They are powerful free radical generators. Their free radical generation increases cellular damage and changes that lead to cancer. Psoralen - such a compound that is used to treat psoriasis increases skin cancer rates 83-fold. 2 They often have strong estrogenic activity. Estrogenic - "Gender Bending" - chemicals interfere with normal sexual development - Engendering a host of secondary medical problems - see more below. 3 They are synthetic chemicals that are alien to the human body and accumulate in body fat stores. The human body is well adapted to de-toxify biologicals that it has been exposed to over tens of millions of years. But it has often has difficulty removing new and non-biological compounds such DDT, Dioxin, PCBs, and chemical sunscreens. Chemical Sunscreens Include: Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone) PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA) Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate) Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate) Digalloyl trioleate Menthyl anthranilate Avobenzone [butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789] - This is the only chemical sunscreen currently allowed by the European Community. However, its safety is still questionable since it easily penetrates the skin and is a strong free radical generator.
So, I hope I didn't freak you out or bore you to death. You can only do so much at a time. Burts Bees makes a sunscreen that is pretty good. Kinda sticky, but chemical free. (After some more research, I have found two more sunscreens (Badger and Mexitan) available online.)
In happier news, here is Avery trying applesauce (organic of course) for the first time! MMMM!
TJ, Avery, Evan, and I went to the lake for Memorial Day. Avery was not feeling great on Saturday, and I had a very difficult time getting her to take a nap. She finally wore herself out and slept pretty good the rest of the weekend! Last night, she woke up twice, but did not require a bottle, she just needed her paci. I am hopeful again this week that this trend will continue, but fully do not expect it to.
Here is the little angel napping away on Sunday. And yes, she is on her back. Not quite sure why she is okay with that now? She still goes to sleep on her belly for night time though.
Her skin has all cleared up too! She had some eczema and baby acne that is all gone! I don't know if I have ever blogged on the disaster the cosmetic industry calls "personal hygiene products". So let me get on a soap box for a second. There are so many known carcinogens in shampoo, lotion, makeup, deodorant, etc. The Cancer Prevention Coalition says this "Cosmetics are the least regulated products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). The FFDCA does not require pre-market safety testing, review, or approval for cosmetics. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pursues enforcement action only after the cosmetic enters into the stream of commerce or sometimes after it is on the shelf. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that 884 of the chemicals available for use in cosmetics have been reported to the government as toxic substances." Even things labeled "organic" and "natural" don't have to adhere to any standards, and in fact may contain just as many chemicals as the non-organics. Please read your labels, especially in baby care products, and by only the best for your children. They may be more expensive, but in the long run they are much safer, and better for the environment. Ok, that being said, when I stopped using lotion on Avery's skin, her eczema went away in less than a week! More tomorrow on the brands that are safe.
This is a (blurry) photo of Aves the week she came home from the hospital. I almost can't even believe she is the same baby. Then, below is her 3 month photo...even though she is 3 1/2 months now.
How fast she has grown! It is so surprising to see her do new things. I love that she is turning into a little girl, but I hate that it is happening so fast!
Sunday night, Avery slept from 8:30 to 7am!! I did have to go and put her pacifer back in twice, but she didn't need a bottle, or be held. It was great! I keep hoping that nights like that will catch on, but no such luck yet. Last night she was so sleepy that I put her down at 7:30pm. Mistake! She slept great until 10pm, when I had to put her paci back in her mouth. Then, again at 1am, TJ got up with her because she was hungry. She went back down at 1:30am and then was up again at ten til 6, ready for another bottle. Needless to say, no one got much sleep around our house, and everyone but Avery woke up a little grumpy. Maybe tonight she will sleep good enough for all of us to get 8 straight hours.
Allison and I agreed last night that becoming a mother is possibly the greatest feeling in the whole world...but not necessarily right at first. Not that I didn't love Avery, I just didn't know her. I felt guilty that I didn't immediately have this extreme motherly instinct that I was sure I would have. Butit grows. It's uncontrollable. It's positively amazing. This little home invader is the single most incredible person I have ever met, and she can't even talk yet. I am saddened that I will never get to re-experience having a first child. It was great. I can't wait to have more, but I know it will be different. Not that I will love my other child (children?) any less, but the consensus is that you love them differently. Sorry for bursting that bubble for all the second and thirds out there. Evan can attest that how my parents raised me was very different that how they raised him. I was VERY overprotected, he could do whatever he wanted. He never got put on restriction, but he also learned from a lot my mistakes. So I suppose it is a trade off.
I love that he and I are 3 years and one month apart. It is the perfect age difference. We didn't share friends when independence was necessary, but now we do when age doesn't matter so much. We didn't have the same toys, and luckily he wasn't a she, so I didn't have to share clothes. (We all know Evan never could keep up with his own clothes, let alone mine.) Point of all of this rambling is that I want Aves to have siblings, but not yet. Our neighbor's daughter is having her second child in July, on the same day as her first baby was born a year earlier...apparently it's called Irish Twins. My luck we will be the same way. And I would be thrilled to death, but I sure would like to get my body back before we do that again.
TJ has always had a green thumb. Me, not so much...I pretty much kill any plant that isn't plastic. That is why I love fake plants...I know, I know, they are cliche and gather dust, and anyone who is anyone despises them. But I love the green that they add to the house and how they help fill up bare spots, but, back to my point of how I kill actual living plants. Yesterday, TJ, Beverly, Aunt Tince, Hannah, Avery, and I created a garden down at Hobbie Road. As in a real eat-what-you-grow kind of garden. I was pretty hesitant at first, given my propensity for being an Atom Bomb to the Hiroshima plants of my backyard. We got out there, and started hoeing the soil, spreading some seed, and putting plants in the ground. It was amazing! I began to release some pent up aggression as I chopped up roots with my tools. By the time darkness had set in, I felt like a new woman. I was proud of all we had done, looking forward to the harvest, and I felt the instant gratification of seeing our little plants turn into neat green rows of future food (and Organic for that matter!). Hannah took care of Avery while we worked. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of our labor or of Aves enjoying the sunshine. We ended up planting watermelons, cantaloupe, wildflowers, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, okra, and squash. We are going back to plant snow peas and pumpkins. Just think of all the homemade baby food I can make! There are problems though...we have deer, insects, and weeds to contend with. AND, of course, simply because I was involved, they have a significantly increased chance of premature death.
This me, being "Naked Baby"! My favorite alter ego. It is my super happy, usually clean self. Aren't my arm rolls cute? This is my inquisitive face. I am trying to figure out why Mommy always has that camera thingy in my face, and I am contemplating spitting up.
This is Charlie, a big fish, and Avery. I jokingly referred to Charlie as "Chaalie bit Me" all weekend long. If you haven't seen that YouTube video, you must watch it immediately. The fish didn't have a name, but he sure did taste great!! Avery really wanted to taste him in this picture, but we told her she had to wait until she has teeth. And this is a really strange photo that is wonderfully grainy, that was taken two weekends ago at the Mill House. But, I have to get back to work! More tomorrow!
I am going back to work on Monday. I have mixed emotions about it. I am putting Avery into daycare three days a week and Mom and Beverly will each have a day as well. I went into the daycare thing with a very closed mind. I just knew I was going to hate it. I worked as a preschool teacher at a daycare right after I graduated college in Birmingham. It was inner city kids, and their parents would drop them off at 6am and pick them up at 10pm. The kids had so many problems. I know you have to make money for your family, but it was so sad that the children were the ones that really suffered. Plus that daycare was very poorly run. Needless to say I didn't last too long there, but I digress. So I went to visit the CPA preschool last week expecting the worst. Much to my surprise, it was small, well organized, and CLEAN! Now, don't get me wrong, there were still a few snot nosed little boys in classroom 3, but I am pretty sure that dousing children in Clorox is illegal and sounds a little inhumane. I just expected a lot more illness since it's the tail end of cold and flu season.
The infant teachers were so sweet too, they gave me all the fire/tornado/hurricane/tsunami drill information I needed to relay to Safety-Greg and Safety-TJ-in-training. Then she said that she would give me her cell phone number so that I can call and talk to Avery any time I wanted to, and she will text me pictures if she does anything super cute! That pretty much sold me, as I am addicted to taking pictures of my chubby cheeked child. So check that off the list. I can go to work part time and know Aves is in good hands.
In other news, Mom, Grandma, Avery, and I took a girls trip up to Huntsville to check out the Bridge Street Shopping center. We had heard that they had gondolas, Kate Spade, and fine Italian food. They did, and the shopping/dining was excellent. I recommend it! Then we drove to Birmingham for a night at the Marriott, and a little more eating and shopping. Avery did great! I just knew she would be a good traveler. Also, I will post pics when I get to a better computer. Avery is getting cuter everyday!
Avery and John Mills are growing so fast, I can hardly keep up! It has been a whirlwind since John Mills arrived, with new and exciting milestones everyday. TJ and I are so blessed with such a perfect little family. We are still adjusting, which keeps life interesting! Welcome to our family blog! Sometimes boring, sometimes funny, its the Williford way of life!