Monday’s Mama is Earth Mama FOR REALZ.

This Monday I am pleased to introduce Jessica Claire Haney. Jessica is the founder, publisher, and editor of Mindful Healthy Life who is likely going to be annoyed that I totally added an Oxford comma to her bio.

Jessica Claire Haney Headshot

Jessica is very busy. She is the author of the Guide to Holistic Family Living in Metro DCShe volunteers on issues related to wellness in public schools and was the founder of the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network. A writer working on her first novel, Jessica offers writing, editing, and consulting services.

She probably also sings to plants and harvests artisan catnip for feral felines. I’m assuming.

I met Jessica in 2016 at MommyCon DC. We realized that we were basically neighbors and planned to get together for coffee someday. You all know how that goes. I’m not convinced that she even drinks coffee. Jessica seems more like a kombucha kind of lady. Last October, we randomly ran into one another at the Type-A Parent Blogger Conference. We totally hung out that weekend, and Jessica is the sweetest. I’ll miss running into her at those East Coast Conferences.

SPEAKING OF CONFERENCES, Jessica will be at BlogHer Health next week so if you are there too, tell her I said hello. You will have an instant friend. Jessica might be the kindest person on earth. I’m not sure. I haven’t met EVERYONE.

Jessica was nice enough to answer my questions. Jessica put SO MUCH THOUGHT into my silly little Monday’s Mama questions. That is just who she is. Genuine. Considerate. And MINDFUL, y’all.

jessica claire haney

1. What is  your go-to yoga practice, or meditation, or whatever else works to keep you centered in your every day life?

I have been doing yoga since 2001, and in the past few years, I’ve tried to integrate it into other aspects of my life. Sometimes that’s been more successful than others. I’ve taken my mat to the lawn of a blog conference – two years in a row – but had other times when I fell off the wagon.

I’m super pleased that I’ve been starting each day with movement for the past six months. I do a jiggling and tapping along my meridians that is sort of a Qi Gong “lite.” It gets your lymph flowing and awakens your energy pathways to clear out stagnant stuff. I do it three times – head to toe – followed by three deep breaths and centering.

Then I do a yoga sequence that takes just about 12 minutes. I do it first thing, no matter what, and I think it’s really helped to do this daily. On school days, I do alone in the dark. On weekends, it happens whenever I get up, even if my kids are running around or watching TV or trying to crawl under me.

The kids don’t often join in on their own mats, but sometimes we practice together. At least they see me doing yoga regularly now, and they know they are doing it on my business card and website, so that’s something!

2. What is one easy thing we could do/change we could make for those of us wanting to stay both mindful and healthy in their everyday lives?

Easiest: Get out in nature every day.

Harder: Eat foods mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store.

Really Big: Make a list of goals and ideals for how you want kids to feel and to interact with the world as they grow and mature. Consider what kind of future you really want for your kids for their heart and soul and then to think about what behaviors, habits and special moments align with that vision.

3. What is your most crunchy hippie belief or practice, in your opinion?

How could anyone start their day without scraping their tongue, make it through without at least a few essential oils, or go to bed without spraying magnesium oil on their skin?! Ha ha ha.

(Darlene here: Jessica gave me those links. Thankfully. I left them in in case you ALSO wanted some further explanation.)

Oh, and I am a sucker for health and wellness conferences and events. I probably attend even more than most reasonably crunchy people.

jessica haney at conference

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I don’t speak Bakesale!

No, seriously, I just opt out. Given my history with celiac disease and my kids’ genetic markers for it, we are all gluten-free and I’m mostly grain-free. It’s clear that my kids have also inherited the need to be super conservative with sugar consumption.

Of course, sugar isn’t good for anyone, and neither are artificial dyes or artificial flavors, so I wish schools would stop elevating sweets in a public way with bake sales and birthday celebrations and other treats and leave families to manage their indulgences outside of school. Lots of kids have more severe food issues than mine, and it is no fun for anyone to feel left out!

(Darlene again: Jessica is TOTALLY RIGHT OF COURSE but I like cupcakes. So.)

There are plenty of non-food ways to celebrate and have fun. For a school to serve the needs of the whole child, I’d like to see it pursue best practices toward health and wellness. I’m so glad to see more gardening integrated into schools so kids can have a better understanding of healthy eating and of where food comes from.

school-courtyard-gardens-Jessica Claire Haney

Follow Jessica on Facebook,  Twitter and on Instagram. Jessica’s personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama, which is also on Facebook and Twitter.

And remember to say hi if you see her at BlogHer Health next week. She won’t even give your cheese danish any side eye. Ask me how I know.

Oh, HELLOOOO, Tiny Smile.

Let’s talk about toothpaste. Yes. Toothpaste. Hello Toothpaste.

Babystar is incredibly discriminate about her toothbrushes and her toothpaste.

I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to Hello Products for including their toddler toothpaste in the gift bags at the Type-A Parent blogging conference last October.

We tried both the Apple and Watermelon flavor, and Babystar LOVES them. And now I can buy hippie toothpaste just like I always wanted.

hello toothpaste2

Before I tried the Hello toothpaste (that I honestly thought Babystar would reject based on our experience with the strawberry Tom’s of Maine children’s toothpaste), I bought a tube of Orajel My Little Pony toothpaste ($3.24). And I have purchased more of the only toothbrush she will accept, the Woobamboo brand ($6.88 with Amazon Prime).

The Hello tubes were free, and I have plenty left. But I’m excited to have a new brand that she loves that isn’t full of artificial colors and plastered with cartoon characters. Very. Excited.

I am easily excited.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,780.93

Monday’s Mama is Crunchy AF.

Introducing Rachel Barry from Pretty in Baby Food. You may already know her, as she is an AMAZING resource for all things Natural Parenting on both her own blog, Pretty in Baby Food, and the soon-to-be-released Guidance Guide website. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She is full of knowledge AND often hosts giveaways. She is definitely worth your follow!

Seriously, you guys, if you wonder about anything baby wearing, cloth diapering, baby feeding, traveling with baby, or basically any 2017 mama concerns, Rachel Barry is YOUR GIRL. Don’t let her cute name fool you — Rachel Barry is not actually an anthropomorphic strawberry. Nor is she a character from Glee.

20160511_194540

But she probably DOES spontaneously sing throughout her daily life because Rachel is mom to one beautiful and rambunctious toddler (and toddlers love songs). She is also currently pregnant with her second child. Rachel is a natural parenting and cloth diaper advocate. Her hobbies include dreaming of long walks on the beach while drinking her cold coffee during the day, writing while her daughter naps, and cruising. Her dislikes in life are doing the dishes, cleaning, and laundry. (Except diaper laundry. That’s her favorite. 😊)

Rachel answered a few questions for me here and OF COURSE she took the opportunity to school us some more. Thank you, Rachel!

 

1. What would you do with thirty whole minutes all to yourself IN A ROW every day?

Oh man! This is like the holy grail of alone time. I would probably make myself a cup of coffee, and read or write. (Sometimes I might use it to use the bathroom alone while also reading or writing. Ya know. TO see how my husband feels when he get’s to go to the bathroom. Haha!)

2. I love that you use cloth diapers. Why do YOU cloth diaper and what is your most favorite brand out there? (I know. That is two questions. I cheated.)

Haha! I cloth diaper because it saves my family money. In the first year alone of cloth diapering I have saved my family almost $1,000.00. The second reason I cloth diaper is to reduce trash. I was tired of lugging 4 bags of trash to the curb every trash day. By switching to cloth diapering I have been able to get it down to 2 bags of trash on trash day. Many people don’t know but disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to degrade in a landfill where as a cloth diaper when thrown out can take 6 months to a year depending on what fabric it is made out of.

As for my favorite brand that is a tough question to answer. As a blogger who reviews cloth diapers I have a lot of different brands of cloth diapers in my stash. I have specific cloth diapers for day time, nap time, and night time. I also have specific colors for when my football team plays, and certain holidays. I can say I prefer cloth diapers that are made of natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo. 😉

3. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE? 

I am not quite there yet, but I am more inclined to lean towards NOPE. (This might change depending on how involved my children want me to be.) Right now I would rather just donate money then bake something. With food allergies I would not want to leave anyone out or accidentally make something that someone was allergic too. If they wanted me to sell cloth diapers door to door to help raise money I would probably do that in a heart beat. Hahaha! 

20170315_210811

Rachel is super smart and very generous with her knowledge. Pop on over to Pretty in Baby Food and soak up her wisdom.

A Friday for Remebering.

Babystar and I are out of town this week for a funeral. It’s not the sad kind, except that all funerals are sad. My Uncle Frank lived to be 91 years old and was in good spirits but also in pain when I saw him last year. In fact, the wake was a little too serious this afternoon because the man who would make everyone laugh was lying in the casket instead of telling stories, joking with the adults, and lovingly teasing the children.


This guy.

I had this lighthearted learning-to-count post scheduled for tomorrow, but instead I am in a hotel room with my sleeping toddler in a town full of memories and so instead here is this.
(Turning forty and then a family funeral is making me soft. We will return to our regularly scheduled sarcasm shortly.)

So. Me. Nostalgia. 

I was a Teen Mom before it was capitalized. I had my first child at the so very young age of nineteen. This was 1996; MTV still played music videos and books still had paper.
There was no Teen Mom television show; there was no 16 and Pregnant. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, and no Twitter.

There. Was. No. Internet. Can you imagine? We still spelled out all of our words. OMGLOL.
Ok, there was a tiny bit of internet. We had America Online and we paid by the minute and the chat rooms were (mostly) full of creepy old men. Computer games were on floppy disks. We still addressed our emails like old-fashioned letters.

There were no DVRs. My son (and later daughter, born in 1999) watched Blue’s Clues on VHS cassettes like every other child of the Nineties. (Babystar watches Blue’s Clues on my phone in Target if she hasn’t had a nap.)

As regular readers know, just as my two children of the LAST MILLENNIUM were headed off to college, I had a brand new baby in 2015.

Back in 1996, the doctors would have called mine a Geriatric Pregnancy. In 2015, it was no biggie. I was an Old Mom, but so was everyone else.

(Um, who coined geriatric pregnancy? Because that person is clearly an asshole who has never met a pregnant woman.)

Raising babies in the 1990s and raising babies now is mostly the same but also ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

We still need to take care of the babies in utero.

I remember the excitement of the sonograms in the 1990s. We had one grainy black and white sonogram at the beginning of the pregnancy to check out the heartbeat and then one later on in the pregnancy to check the fetal progression (and usually find out the sex!). They were very exciting and you got a nice snapshot of a blurry black and white semicircle so you could try to figure out which side was the head.

In 2015, I had SO MANY SONOGRAMS. It felt like they lasted for hours. They were definite twenty to thirty minute ordeals. I remember wishing them over so I could go pee. The technicians checked out every little tiny part of baby in utero, which is AMAZING. Science is amazing! But it also took forever (to me), as I was expecting a quick slimy belly time and ‘ok there’s a baby cool beans’ and then boom, done.

We still need to birth the babies. 


Back in the nineties, my labor was induced with my first two babies because they both went past their due dates. My son was only five days past his due date (and it was a first pregnancy!) when the doctor insisted I head to the hospital for induction. He called me high risk solely because of my age and my poor little baby boy was born jaundiced after over twenty-four hours of labor — including over two hours of active pushing. After he was born, the doctor reached his arm into my body to pull out the baby’s placenta. (Yes, you read that right and it hurt more than the actual birth. Also, I’m sorry for that godawful visual but I LIVED it.) The nurses weighed and measured and bathed and swaddled my son before finally handing him to his father (not me) and I had no idea that there was any other way to do this childbirth thing.

I went to a different doctor when pregnant with my second child. My daughter was induced at ten days past her due date, but other than that the labor was easy. I’m sure it was just luck, because ideas had not changed much in two years and I still had never even heard the term ‘Birth Plan’.

Thankfully, we know much more about childbirth now. I think both the medical professionals AND the parents are much more informed. My doctor and I agreed from the beginning that we would not force baby to come before she was ready. I have heard from friends (and strangers on the internet) that babies are not even really considered late until two weeks past their due date. My placenta was delivered by the doctor. My baby was placed on my body as soon as humanely possible (she had an issue but it was resolved in minutes) and we had skin to skin contact, which we now know is as important for parent-to-baby microbe transmission as it is for parental bonding.

I have read that some parents are choosing to delay the cutting of the cord for a few minutes to help baby transition earth-side. I know that a lot of people are choosing midwives and doulas and home births. I love that there is a conversation between parents and the medical professionals. I love that we now know more about our options and have choices and voices as parents.

We still have to feed the babies.


In 1996, I took my jaundiced son home and a nurse came with us to set him up in what we lovingly called ‘his nightclub’. He had to spend almost every minute under ultraviolet lights with his eyes completely covered and the rest of his body completely naked. We were told to take him out every two hours to baste him. (Just kidding. We had to feed him and clean him and clean the dishtowel lined baking pan in which he laid. Lay? Lie? You know what I mean.) The nurse helped me with breastfeeding but also brought us ready made bottles of Similac from the hospital and encouraged supplementing ‘so mama could get some sleep’.

His bilirubin count came down and he was out from under the lights within a week, but the resulting nipple confusion from the bottles that we were encouraged to feed him made breastfeeding difficult. I know that NOW. I did not understand what was going on back then, so I kept offering the bottle when he had a difficult time at the breast. No one told me to stop.

I was much more successful nursing my second child, but again, I think it was luck. 

With my last little sweetheart, I was inundated with the benefits of breastfeeding before baby was even born. I had a Feeding Plan in place while still pregnant. The nurses at the hospital all checked to make sure baby was latching well, and even kept the baby in the room so I could feed her every two hours (or more) from the moment she was born. I took a breastfeeding class before leaving the hospital, where I asked about pumping so others could feed the baby while I slept. The woman teaching the class told me that was a horrible idea and if I wanted her to, she would be happy to speak with my husband to make sure that he didn’t feel like he had to ‘have a turn’ feeding the baby. (Um, I was just wondering if I would ever sleep again, but the message was definitely received. Hard no.)

About six weeks in, my sweet little baby started having screaming fits at night for over an hour. My firstborn did the exact same in thing 1996: the doctor called it ‘colic’, and it lasted for almost a year. In 2015, the pediatrician put ME on an elimination diet to see if something I was eating was affecting the baby. The baby was indeed sensitive to dairy via my breastmilk for almost the first year of her life. I now think that my poor baby boy had the same issue twenty years ago, but the doctors didn’t know to even try removing dairy from his diet.

Per the doctor’s recommendation, I started my firstborn on cereal at four months and he was eating jars of Beechnut by six months. Twenty years later, I read for hours the benefits of Baby-Led Weaning versus purees. I decided to feed this baby purees because she had no teeth by the time she seemed interested in food at seven months old. I made all of her pureed baby food myself to avoid preservatives and whatever other scary chemicals are in ready made baby food. I know IN MY HEAD that ready made baby food is fine and certainly more healthy that it was twenty years ago but the information overload really got to me so I felt like I had to make all of her food in order to be a good mother. The mommy guilt is strong these days.

We still need to raise the babies.

The internet is a wonderful and terrible thing. I love reading Mommy Blogs and being a part of parenting groups on Facebook. I can now get advice from literally hundreds of people within minutes. Twenty years ago, we had a handful of baby books and our friends and family to turn to for answers. Your friends and family generally won’t tell you the worst case scenario every time, but you can ALWAYS find that on the internet. Dr. Google is terrifying, irresistible, and always available at 2am when that last thing you need to do is freak out over your child’s symptom that is probably fine but might kill them immediately. My 21st century baby often had pretty severe dyschromia, which is like marbled skin tone, as an infant. The internet told me that it was totally normal except sometimes. She might be fine or she might need emergency medical treatment. Of course I called her doctor in the middle of the night who told me to get offline immediately and that I would not be able to miss it if my baby became limp and needed to go to the ER. I have tried with mixed success to stop searching baby’s symptoms, at least when the sun is down.

My firstborn’s first birthday party was a few friends and family bringing gifts and eating a cake that I made from a boxed mix and decorated myself. The cake was kind of ugly but no one really cared and I barely even noticed. Including sodas and paper plates and napkins, I probably spent $50.

Today I would post that cake on Instagram with the hashtag #PinterestFail.

Thanks to Pinterest, (and also thanks to having a much older sister that loves Pinterest), my millennial baby’s first birthday party was gorgeous and themed and crafty and we all drank out of mason jars and the entire house was decorated and we spent HOURS on DIY crafts and STILL spent $500. I love Pinterest but I also kind of despise Pinterest.


I totally let the 90s babies drink soda, but only Sprite because it didn’t have caffeine. I can count on my fingers the number of times my two-year-old has had juice. JUICE. She had never had soda. Maybe when she’s eighteen.

I remember telling my two older kids how big they were on their first birthdays and turning their car seats around so they could see the world. I will rear-face this toddler until she can convince me, via Powerpoint, why she is old enough to forward-face.

I dressed my first two babies in baby clothes. Baby clothes with Winnie-the-Pooh or ladybugs or dinosaurs or cutesy flowers or some other type of childish motif. My 2015 baby wears rock band tees and handmade pants made from organic cotton and purchased from an independent shop on Etsy. (And Cat and Jack from Target because we are basic/AWESOME like that.)


In the nineties, we worried about how much tv to let the kids watch. Now we have to decide if the toddler can play with our phones, our tablets, our laptops. I personally do not let my toddler play games on my phone or iPad but I GET WHY PEOPLE DO. I totally love that she can video chat with her grandparents and other relatives that live far away. It makes everyone seem closer. That helps, this week. And all the time. But also this week.

I used to print out photos from actual cameras that used actual film and send them with Christmas cards to our far away relatives. Now I can send pictures via text or email or social media. The extended family definitely feels more close. Babystar met a lot of new (to her) cousins this week so I suspect the FaceTime will be flowing. Are we the Jetsons? I think maybe we are, so why doesn’t my car fly?

I also FREAKING ADORE that today my phone is also a camera. AND it records videos! Twenty years ago a video recorder was at least the size of a tennis shoe and maybe the size of a pair of heavy boots. I have a few albums of baby pictures of my first two children, and a few videos from Christmases or school plays. I have literally over ten thousand pictures and hundreds of videos of Babystar already.

And I took a few of her playing with her new cousin-friends at the wake today. 


What is it going to be like raising a teenager in another fifteen years? Will we have self-driving cars by then? Please tell me we will have self-driving cars by then.

xoxo 

The Target Baby Box Rocks My Socks.

I love the Target Baby Box ($7.41 with tax). I really appreciate the ability to try out baby products without a huge investment. Ok, I MOSTLY appreciate getting a package of fun little travel size products in the mail for less than $10, but I like the trying them out thing second best. Or maybe third best. I like getting mail, I like having little cute bottles to tote around, and I like being able to try out the products without a huge investment. Oh, and I also like looking at the pretty gold box all wrapped up like a present, and I like that the $10 coupon that is included that makes it basically free. MORE than free, actually. I would be silly NOT to buy the baby box. Plus, of course, I get the opportunity to try out new baby brands or products that I otherwise might not have purchased.

(I totally have an image of Steve Martin sitting in front of a Christmas tree on that burgundy chair on Saturday Night Live, and reciting his Holiday Wish skit. I hate that skit. I know that most people love it, because it is included in the ‘Best of SNL’ Holiday Special every year. But Steve Martin annoys me and I am not sure know why. I think it’s because of Shop Girl. He played such a sleazy guy in that film, which he himself wrote and likely cast. So maybe I don’t like him because he is a really good actor? I like The Jerk, Parenthood, Father of the Bride, Roxanne, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I did hate him in Little Shop of Horrors but I think that was kind of the point. Anyway, I realize that I just basically ripped off a SNL sketch and I wish I had at least recreated one that I liked.)

The most recent Target Baby Box came with $20.54 of baby things. I know this because one of my brilliant college student children did the math. Check out the breakdown.

Method 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Method 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent Free + Clear

  • 53.5 oz for $12.99
  • 8.1 oz for $1.97

 

 

Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash

Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash

  • 13 oz for $5.99
  • 1.8 oz for $0.83

 

 

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

  • 10.14 oz for $12.99
  • 1.69 oz for $2.17

 

 

Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash With Organic Calendula

Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash With Organic Calendula

  • 7.8 oz for $4.29
  • 1.7 oz for $0.94

 

 

Philips Avent Freeflow Pacifier (0-6 Months)

Philips Avent Freeflow Pacifier (0-6 Months)

  • 2 pack for $5.49
  • 1 pack for $2.75

 

 

Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray Lavender

Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray Lavender

 

  • 2 oz for $2.99 (FULL SIZE)

 

Triple Paste Rash Ointment

Triple Paste Rash Ointment

 

  • 2 oz for $7.49 (FULL SIZE)

 

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes Free and Clear

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes Free and Clear

  • 64 ct for $2.99
  • 30 ct for $1.40

 

 

TOTAL VALUE $20.54

PLUS the Baby Box included a ‘$10 off of $50’ Target baby coupon. Do you know how easy it is to spend $50 in the baby section at Target? So easy. So so so easy. So basically, the Baby Box is free even if I don’t use any of the cute miniature products.

Because the truth is, I’m not going to use all of these products. I will give some away, like the Avent pacifier and the Triple Paste rash ointment. They are fine, I just don’t use them. I will use some right away, like the Method laundry detergent and Honest Company hand sanitizer spray. That 30-pack of Seventh Generation wipes is currently in my diaper bag. I will save the Mustela lotion to try after further research. And I will likely toss some immediately. We already know that the grown-up versions of Cetaphil and Dove contain some very suspicious ingredients, and so far I assume the same is true of the baby versions.

But did I mention that the Target Baby Box has POLKA DOTS!?

Target Baby Box

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,435.30