Saturday, May 29, 2010

Best Baby Organics Contest

Best Baby Organics is a website/shop/blog that I kind of stalk. It's beautiful and I love their selection of products, plus they're cool people and working to make the world a better place for parents and babies. I'm working with them to bring a review to you at some point in the future, but until then I wanted to let you know about this awesome contest they have going on--you'll have to enter very, very soon, ends on May 31st! I'm bummed that I didn't know about it before, but I guess that's going to happen now that I'm Internet-less. Boo.

Here are the details:
You can win a $150 gift certificate to and just for entering, you'll receive a 10% discount code for their store. PLUS, when you vote for them (that's how you enter the contest), you're eligible to win a whole slew of other prizes from Pregnancy & Newborn. Who can beat that?

Here's what they say...
Every year Pregnancy & Newborn magazine surveys its audience asking them to vote for their favorite baby and maternity brands and stores. Voting is now underway for PNMAG Reader's Choice 2010. With your help we can be this year's reader's choice. Please nominate us and give us your vote:

To nominate and vote for us as "favorite online baby shop" and "favorite online maternity shop" enter as an "other" option in these categories. The whole thing takes about 1 minute to complete.

Go and enter or learn more by visiting:

Friday, May 28, 2010

My First Day As A SAHM

I’ve been home now for almost three weeks after being taken off of work early due to pre-labor symptoms. My midwife thought that if I didn’t have the stress of work, then my contractions, cramping, and trouble breathing would subside. I thought it would, too. Then, I met my toddler.
Let me preface this by saying that it has been my DREAM to be at home with my beautiful 18-month-old since I had to go back to work full time + when she was only 6-weeks-old. I never stopped crying, and though things got easier over the next year, having someone else take care of her has been the hardest and most depressing thing I’ve ever gone though. So really, even if I can’t work thanks to health reasons, I’m at home with my daughter now and that thrills the socks off of me!

So Day One came. Yes, I’m very pregnant. Yes, my house is a complete disaster because I’m never home long enough to clean it up other than the essentials. And yes, our kitchen is torn out and so all three of us are sleeping in our nursery as the rest of our rooms hold kitchen cabinets, dishes, and all of our bedroom contents. All of this was okay, though. We slept in (until 8am which was a big change from 6:15am!), ate our breakfast on the couch, and I even washed all of our dirty dishes in the bathroom sink and had them drying on a clean towel on the floor next to the bathtub which I had just scrubbed and sanitized (toys and shower walls included) the night before.

Things were going well and I wasn’t too exhausted yet, so I decided to attempt giving LoveBug a bath (not easy with this belly of mine). I managed with difficulty to wash her hair and had just finished rinsing it when I noticed something coming out of her bottom. You’ve got it, my daughter decided to poo in the bathtub. It was a lot (seriously a lot), and it began to spread. I grabbed her out and put her next to me while I tried to quickly scoop any solids I could get into a bucket and then into the toilet. In the meantime, I have a dripping wet toddler next to me who wants to get back in, and a towel thrown over the dishes in an attempt to protect them as I dripped water across them.

Then my daughter decides to pee all over my leg and the floor where she’s standing. How she managed to not just do this while she was otherwise relieving herself surrounded by floating ducks and boats, I don’t know. So there I am, huffing and puffing, pregnant belly, clean dishes on the floor, dripping wet toddler…all in front of a bathtub now ridden with bacteria, bath toys, and a sippy cup that I foolishly allowed my daughter to play with in the tub for the first time in her life. *sigh*

Somehow, I managed to only spend the next half hour to hour re-cleaning and sanitizing everything in the tub again. Thankfully, my daughter only had to pee once more during all of this and so my leg was left wet but not dripping by the time we could escape the bathroom. When it was all said and done, though, I got to sit on my couch with a naked toddler, smothered in little kisses and nose rubs, and met with the biggest and beautiful-est of smiles.

I wouldn’t trade this for the world.

I love you, LoveBug, and I’m glad to be your mama…even if I have to scoop out the bathtub water.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Diaper Free Baby book Review & Giveaway!

The Diaper Free Baby book Review & Giveaway
The Diaper Free Baby is a book about elimination communication (EC) by mother and Dr. Christine Gross-loh . I didn’t know much about EC before reading this, except that it sounded too good to be true (and a bit crazy) to think that an infant could use a potty instead of diapers. Well, I started reading and ended up not being able to put the book down. I highlighted it, thought about the principles explained, and then tried it with my then 17-month-old daughter. I am now a convert to EC and think that every single mama should receive this book at her baby shower!

Here are the basics in a nutshell: throughout history and even currently today, many countries only have their babies in diapers for a few months if even that. The US keeps our kids in diapers the longest, and this is really a more recent phenomenon with the invention of disposable diapers. Babies don’t particularly like to sit in their waste (have you ever noticed that a young baby will pee when you take the diaper OFF?), and in fact, we condition them to go in diapers. Eventually, a baby will ignore and then not realize his elimination signals. We as parents could notice these signals from very early on, just like we notice hunger or sleep cues in our child…however, we are taught that an infant isn’t able to eliminate in anything but a diaper, so we ignore those signals. As our baby turns into a toddler and gets to the age when she doesn’t want to do as she’s told or emulate mommy anymore, then we decide to “potty train” and teach our children to stop eliminating in a diaper and to start eliminating in a potty…except they don’t know their own elimination signals anymore! All sorts of interesting things are put into play during our traditional potty training, and often, it turns into a power struggle instead of something that just happens naturally.

Elimination Communication, in contrast, is about the caretaker or parent paying attention to the baby’s elimination cues and not ignoring them. That’s it. It’s not about “potty training” an infant, really. It’s not “training the parent”, as many well meaning people tell me is what I’m doing (haha!). It’s about me paying attention to my child and responding to what she is communicating to me. I wish I could tell you everything about the book—it covers the history and cultural aspects of potty training, the reasons behind using elimination communication, personal stories, photos (which my daughter loves—in fact, I had to read after she went to bed because if she saw me pull the book out during the day, she would take it from me so she could look at the photos of babies on potties!), and detailed information on how you can practice EC with your child.

The biggest thing that struck me (other than the fact that ECing makes a lot more sense than potty training) is that I can do it as a working mom. If I had known this before, I would have read this book before. I had thought that only stay-at-home moms who can chase behind their child with a bowl all day long could do this. In The Diaper Free Baby, it’s explained that you can actually practice ECing part time and even if you’re a working mom who only has a half an hour a day to spend going diaper free. I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing even though it sounded brilliant, but decided I would try it and not feel bad if it didn’t work out (the book offers great support to parents for the times when their child will NOT use the potty, too). LoveBug had just turned 17-months and I had ordered a little potty (which turned out to be a big potty, but I hadn’t gotten to the potty suggestions in the book yet and so didn’t realize that the typical “little” potties available in our US stores are actually fit for a 3-year-old, not my 20-pounder!). I let her go without a diaper for about an hour two different evenings during the week. I paid attention to what she did before she eliminated, and said “pepepepe” when she peed. When Saturday came, I let her run around without a diaper all day. She peed on the floor three times, and each time I tried to whisk her to the potty before she was done, all the while talking to her about it and making sure I said “pepepe” and made the sign language sign for “toilet.” I was about to give up when I decided to just let her try one more time. Sure enough, the next time she had to go, she pointed to herself and I took her to the potty where she peed. The second time, the same thing. The third time, she ran over by herself and sat down! This is my girl who uses sign language but who won’t say more than “da”!

Needless to say, I am completely impressed and I think it has nothing to do with her or I being extra talented or smart. It’s simply because I learned things in the Diaper Free Baby that I didn’t otherwise know. Now at 18-months-old and me being home with her full time for the last two weeks (thanks to being taken off of work early due to pre-labor symptoms), she is using the potty multiple times a day. She still wears a diaper sometimes and goes on the floor sometimes, but it’s almost always because she’s too “busy” to go potty. If I ask her to go, she goes every time! She’s also now telling me when her diaper is wet (she wants it off now), is recognizing her own elimination signals full time, and has started using the “potty” ASL sign.

I will be using EC much, much earlier with my son, now that I understand it. I actually feel bad now leaving a child in a dirty or wet diaper—why should they have to sit in that when they could just go in a potty?! This book has shown me that EC makes sense, is better for the child (and environment), and really can be done. I also feel good about myself now, knowing that I’m allowing my child to naturally develop her ability and choice to use a potty instead of me forcing it upon her, and that I’m not having her sit in her own waste just because she doesn’t mind.

Buy It! Visit buy two copies-one to keep and one to give to a friend.

Win It! Just tell me why you want to have a copy of this book. Be sure to leave your email address and a separate comment for each entry! Contest will end on or after June 15th at 1200 hours, EST.

*Blog about this contest or tell people about it through a parenting forum (2 entries)

*Subscribe to or follow me (each different way = 1 entry; Blogger, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
*Fav me on Technorati or otherwise vote me up somewhere
*Grab my regular button (2 entries)
*Have another great idea to spread the word? Do it and tell me how you did!
*Tell me your own potty-training or elimination communication story

This review is based on a sample book provided by Dr. Christine Gross-loh No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Building A Better Blog: Time Management

Blogging takes time and lots of it. If you’re a serious blogger, you know this. If you aren’t, then trust me. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a beautiful blog carefully maintained and updated by a woman who is a stay-at-home mom. All I can figure is that she either doesn’t sleep or her older kids do all of the housework, educating, and caretaking of the younger kids. Basically, if you don’t have a job that allows you time to blog or if you have young children, you’re going to have to be very careful at your time management in order to keep your blog up while still taking care of your home and family. No one’s perfect at it, but here are a few ideas to keep you going:

1) Be realistic about product reviews and giveaways. These take a huge amount of time (I figure around 3 hours per review/giveaway). If you don’t honestly have the time to put in, don’t do it. Your family is more important than reviewing everything available to you. Only choose the ones that you really need and that are worth this time.

2) Have a set time every day to write, and do it offline. Since I’m home now, I’m learning to blog while LoveBug is sleeping. I get on our computer that has no Internet access and type my posts into a word processer. Having a regular time and not being online keeps me focused and free from the distractions of my daughter, housework, and email. I’m also able to work on multiple posts at once which helps to keep the words flowing.

3) Keep a notebook handy to jot down titles of blog posts. There’s nothing worse for a blogger than to waste time at the computer because you can’t think of what to write about! I come up with some of my best posts while I’m driving (or at least I think they’re some of my best topics), so I just write down the titles then and write the post later when I have time. You’ll be surprised at how much you have to say if you do this!

4) Use a pre-written letter for product review inquiries and to notify prize winners. Simply save the letter, keep it updated, and personalize it for each contact. This will keep you from having to write a new letter every time you contact someone!

5) Organize your writings and photos into a “blog” folder on your computer. You might even go so far as to save documents by their date first and title second so you can quickly find things.

6) Upload your writings once or twice a week. Since you’re doing your writing offline, upload a bunch of them once or twice a week. Just set their “posting” dates to be spread out throughout the week so that your readers have new things to read every day or few days until you get into your blogging platform again. Uploading a bunch at once will save you time in the long run!

Want to get more hints and tips for Building a Better Blog? Visit our "Best Of" page!

Seventh Generation Giveaway--no one has entered!

Did you enter the Seventh Generation Giveaway yet? No, you haven't, because as I write one has entered! It ends on May 31st, so get to it and win yourself a great and green cleaning package!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Charlie's Soap Review & Giveaway

Charlie's Soap Review and Giveaway
My first experience with Charlie’s Soap was shortly after we started using cloth diapers. We tried using a Tide detergent for them and sure enough, pretty soon our diapers were leaking. After stripping them, we bought a jug of Charlie’s Liquid Soap and have never looked back. I had the awesome opportunity to not just try their liquid soap (of which my own jug had recently run out), but also to use their powdered soap and all purpose sprayer. After thoroughly testing each of these products, I can say without a doubt that I think this may be one of the best cleaning agents out there. The folks over at Charlie’s have figured out what they’re doing and it works!

Liquid and Powdered Laundry Soap

These are both very easy to use and very economical (as all of their products are). There is hardly any odor to begin with (you really have to take a big whiff of the liquid soap to smell anything, and this is coming from a pregnant lady), and none once your clothing has been rinsed. The best part is that the detergent really does rinse clean and doesn’t cause any build up on diapers in particular---so everything stays fresh and absorbent! It is also true that you don’t need to use any fabric softeners when using Charlie’s Soap on your laundry. Now, I’m probably going too far here, but I have even stopped putting stain remover on clothing unless it’s a particularly bad stain and haven’t had any problems with my clothes coming out clean. I love this soap because it 1) actually cleans all of my laundry so I don’t need three different detergent brands, 2) is affordable, and 3) takes up very little space because you’re using very little soap per load of wash. I think everyone should try Charlie’s Laundry Soap, especially if you’re sensitive to regular laundry detergents, have little ones, or use cloth diapers. Or if you just like plain old clean laundry.

All Purpose Sprayer

The first time we “tested” this product was on tile. My husband had just finished tiling a bathroom floor for some friends of ours and needed a way to remove the extra grout from the tiles themselves. I brought him the Charlie’s Soap spray bottle with a rag and whola! It cleaned the grout from the tiles with no problem whatsoever. My husband was really impressed since it’s a gentle and non-toxic product. Overall, it saved him a lot of time and effort—and kept him from having to breathe in scary chemicals!

I’ve also used the All Purpose Sprayer on carpet stains, to clean objects, and to scrub our bathroom. It smells…well, soapy. No fancy scents are added or anything, so you just get a soapy smell when using it. I like that both my toddler and I can breathe the fumes without worry, and that I don’t have to freak out if she gets it on her hands as she “helps” me clean something. I didn’t find that it worked any better than any other product for these purposes, but it does the job and creates bubbles which is always fun if you’ve got a little person who’s watching.

Overall, I think these are great products and I’m actually planning on switching all of my laundry to using the powdered soap just because it does such an awesome job, is affordable, and then I only have one soap to sit on my shelf instead of multiple ones. I just heard word that Charlie’s Soap is going to be changing their packaging very soon, too. Check it out:

From The Company...
Coming in just a month or so, our Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder gets a much needed facelift. The new jar will be air-tight to avoid any clumping, will ship, store, stack and show much better than the bag. But we'll keep our commitment to being friendly to the Earth. This new container will be recyclable and reusable. Shortly after its release, we will make available an easy-open 4 gallon container which is tailor-made for refilling stations! Customers can bring back their Charlie's Soap jar and get them refilled at your store. You can't get much Greener than that!

Buy It! Visit,, or your favorite “green” or natural parenting store.

Win It! Charlie’s is giving away to one of my readers the same soap pack that they sent to me (All Purpose 16 oz sprayer, 16 loads of Laundry Liquid, 80 loads of Laundry Powder)! You will love it and it’ll last you a while, for sure. To enter, please visit , learn something interesting (it isn’t hard), and come back and tell me your fact. Be sure to leave your email address and a separate comment for each entry! Contest will end on or after June 15th at 1200 hours, EST.

Extra Entries:

*Blog about this contest or tell people about it through a parenting forum (2 entries)

*Subscribe to or follow me (each different way = 1 entry; Blogger, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

*Tweet about this contest with a link (1x/day)

*Fav me on Technorati or otherwise vote me up somewhere

*Grab my regular button (2 entries)

*Have another great idea to spread the word? Do it and tell me how you did!

This review is based on sample products provided by Charlie's Soap. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Winners are being drawn!

It's amazing how full one's email inbox becomes when you haven't been online for a week...and how behind on blogging one can get! I've been keeping quite busy the last two weeks even without an Internet connection. My days have been spent catching up on all of the housework that's gone haywire with me working full time and us combining an entire floor of a house into three or so rooms. :-) I'm trying to remind myself to rest as much as possible though (if that really is possible with a very active toddler) since I'm still having a lot of contractions and other pre-labor symptoms. Blogger offers a great feature that allows a person to write posts and then delay their actual posting until a specified date. Thanks to this, once I have the opportunity to sit down at a linked computer for a chunk of time, I'll get some reviews and giveaways written so that you'll have something to read on a consistent basis while I work on getting connected on my end!

Right after this post is published, I'll begin using to draw winners of the contests that have ended, so be sure to check your email boxes! Then, be sure to check back often to enter the new contests that will be put up!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Seventh Generation Mother Nature Contest!

Win a green home makeover! Seventh Generation is giving away an awesome $5,000 green home makeover to one really lucky lady...The contest, which runs from now until May 31, asks you to nominate your “Mother Nature,” a person that has been inspirational to you by making their home, community and/or environment safer and healthier. The grand prize winner will be awarded a $5,000 green home makeover and both the nominated “Mother Nature” and the grand prize winner will receive a year's supply of Seventh Generation products. IN addition, a $2,500 donation will be made in our “Mother Nature's” name to an organization working to make the world a safer place. Six finalists will also receive a year's worth of Seventh Generation products to help them protect their planet home.

To kick off the contest, Seventh Generation is sharing the story of Ivette, "a trainer at Women's Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES), a non-profit organization helping low-income women in the San Francisco Bay Area establish cleaning service cooperatives that use environmentally-safe methods to protect everyone's health." The contest's site shares her inspirational story as well as natural cleaning tips and ideas from Ivette. Here are her top five cleaning rules, just to give you an idea:

Rule 1: Go Top-to-Bottom.
Whether it's a room or a bookcase, clean from the top to the bottom and you won't have to go back and pick up any stray dirt or errant dust that falls as you go.

Rule 2: Go Back to Front.
Always clean from back to front for similar reasons. If it's a room, start in a rear corner and work toward the door. If it's a cabinet, begin in the back and clean out toward the edge.

Rule 3: Work Clockwise.
Pick a starting spot and work in a steady clockwise direction. Working systematically in this way will ensure that you don’t forget anything and won’t have to spend any time thinking about it!

Rule 4: Don't Use or Do More Than You Need To.
Always start with a small amount of cleaning product and use more as necessary for tough spots and other challenges. Using more than you need to start only creates more work when it's time to rinse everything off!

Rule 5: Look Before You Leap.
If you're cleaning something you've never cleaned before and/or using a product for the first time, you'll save a lot of aggravation by always testing things first to make sure you won't cause any damage.

Win It!
To get you inspired to use natural cleaners and nominate a Mother Nature (myself, anyone?), Seventh Generation will be giving away the following cleaning kit to one of my readers:
- Ivette’s top three cleaning tools (pocket scraper, microfiber rag and scouring pad)
- Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes
- Seventh Generation Natural all-purpose spray
- Seventh Generation Natural dish liquid
- Seventh Generation Recycled paper towels

They sent mme the same kit to check out and I've actually been using it everyday. With living in a house that's being remodeled, having a toddler, and fervently "nesting" thanks to my son-on-the-way, I have a never ending supply of things that need to be cleaned! The "cleaning tools" have been extremely helpful and I can't believe I didn't have a scraper in my arsenal before! I used it to finally get our wooden highchair clean last night (we've had it almost a year now--it was really gross). While I don't care for the smell of the disinfecting wipes, I am finding them very handy as well to wipe out the potty chair that my daughter has been faithfully using, and since the other cleaning products have no smell, they are being a tremendous help as I wash dishes in our bathtub and eat on our coffee table right now (remodeling, of course)! I hope you win this kit if you have any children or any house in disarray!

To win, go and enter their contest at Like I said, if you are having a problem thinking of someone to nominate, remember that I'm sitting right here drooling about the possibility of winning a green home makeover. ;-) After you enter, come back here and tell me who you nominated! Be sure to leave an email address and separate comment for each entry. This contest will end on May 31, 2010 at 11:59pm, EST.

Extra Entries:
The usual--spread the word about this contest and my blog with links and tell me what you did. One comment/entry per word-spreading. You can tweet and Facebook about this contest 1x/day!

Otherwise, boost my blog somewhere (Technorati, Digg It, etc.) or grab my button and earn more entries!

Of course, you're already following me on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Google Friend Connect, and you're an email subscriber...right?...if not, get on it! Let me know which way you follow and your name for another extra entry (one entry per following way).

Good luck and be blessed!

Seventh Generation provided me with a sample kit for review. No other compensation was received for this post.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Refiner's Fire - Seven Babies in Heaven, Nine Babies on Earth

September, from One September Day (, offered to have me share her journey of motherhood and the loss of seven babies over twenty years with all of you. Her story is directly copied from her own personal blog and, I think, is a beautiful way to end our time of honoring Babylost Mamas. :-)

My husband and I met on a blind date - and the rest is History! Engaged after three months, and married after one year, 1989 - we were on the road to marital bliss! Or, so we thought! Young and full of an eager desire to start a family, we were excited to find out we were expecting a few months after we were married.

This pregnancy ended with a miscarriage after 6 weeks, and the pain that a young mothers heart endures at this stage was something new to me, and it was raw. Our marriage was built on a Biblical Foundation, and so the Lord gave me comfort thru this time of loss.

Hope renewed, we discovered we were expecting again 6 months later, and the excitement turned to severe morning sickness, that lasted all day, with severe hydration. The Dr,'s prescribed medicine to combat the sickness, and at 16 weeks, we returned to the Dr. for the scheduled ultrasound.

It was here that we were told to come back 4 weeks later to follow up on a few things.

My husband was not able to return with me to this appt. and so a close friend of mine came along for support. She sat patiently in the waiting room, not knowing that just down the hall, the worst news a mommy could hear were being given to me.

The Dr. asked me to sit down in his office while he told me that our baby had no kidneys, that they could see, and that she would not be born alive, if she made it far into the pregnancy at all.

He referred us to a specialist, and that was all he had to say.

I remember walking out of the office, completely drowning in sadness, and not even able to speak to my friend, or look at the rest of the expecting moms in the waiting room.

They gave us a choice - jump start labor, and "save ourselves" from unnecessary grief,, OR, carry her to term and "hope" for the best.

The drive home was as if I was outside of my body. I can remember looking at all of the people in the cars driving past me, with what seemed that had no care in the world, and I was alone - mentally checking out of this pregnancy.

We chose to carry our little girl to term. We had many prayers surrounding us the entire time. I received numerous cards of encouragement, and phone calls from many that said they were praying.

But, the grief was deep. Deeper than I ever thought I could feel,, far away from God's love and comfort. I was keeping Him at arm's length.

As her birth drew near, a particular Hymn became dear to my Heart - Nearer, Still Nearer.

She was born on October 10, 1990, after a long and painful labor. Breech position, no fluid - but a perfectly formed, beautiful little baby girl, who spent 30 minutes alive in our arms - granting me the largest blessing for that day. She was perfect. We felt the Lord's presence, the Holy Spirit standing there beside us every bit of those 30 minutes. I was at such peace. We took sweet pictures of her, prayed, and sang, and will always thank the Lord for those precious moments with our Elisabeth.

Her funeral came shortly after, and I will never forget that day. There was such an outpouring of love from those we knew, and even strangers we had never met.

The song, Nearer Still Nearer became a larger part of who I am today.

That day, as we buried our little baby girl to rest, my heart broke into a million pieces. I could not walk away from her grave. I felt as if I was abandoning her - it was all so wrong. A mommy is suppose to comfort and nurture her baby. How can this be?

The Lord had His plans...and I was being molded into a new creation.

Then, why did we again, after this, experience another miscarriage? Only He has the answers, and I have learned His plans are best. He only wants what is good for me. Did I find it through these times?

It is now 1992, and a healthy baby boy was born into our arms. This pregnancy brought its own set of complications, but our Benjamin came home with us. Vibrant, and bringing a JOY that I can never explain. Every moment with a long awaited baby seems to be tri-fold emotion. Thank you Lord.

In 1993, we were again given another baby, a healthy baby girl.

And then in 1995 - another healthy baby boy.

It was in 1996, that we were surprised to find out that we were expecting identical twin boys. My nervousness quickly gave way to excitement. It was strange to me though, that after 16 weeks, my measurements were way off, and I was growing faster than normal. We quickly found out that I was experiencing something called Twin to Twin Transfusion, and our lives were in danger. The twins and mine. I was measuring 40 weeks at 16 weeks, and had to make the trip to the Dr. 2 -3 times a week for quarts of fluid to be drawn off ( amniocentesis).

This was so painful. Physically and emotionally. The pain of every day was almost unbearable. The extra ultrasounds gave us a rare view of our babies growing daily. What a hidden blessing to see them so often. The Dr. informed us that if we were able to carry them to 26 weeks, we would do an early C-Section, and hopefully stabilize them in ICU. Each of our baby boys had their own personality. The little window we had to see them grow allowed us to bond, beyond the movement in the womb. They were so active. The Dr.'s defined them as Baby A and Baby B.. but we named them Luke and Aaron.

Why do I fight the Will of God , when I KNOW He loves me beyond compare? I "fought" this plan daily , as I carried the twins each day. I knew that if my life was in danger, then I might leave my three precious babies without a mommy,, and then if I was ok, then the twins might not make it? Where did my Faith go?

He was refining me.

At week 24, I awoke in the middle of the night to the twins movement, and a battle raged within my heart. "God,, WHY?" I surrendered on my knees that night, asking Him to Have His Will, and give Him the Glory. I love you Lord,, please give me the strength to endure this."

The next night, something different woke me up. The twins had stopped moving. I knew. I would never see my babies alive. They were resting in His arms. Safe.

After a long and emotionally trying birth, our baby boys were placed in our hands, and we bathed them and gave them our good-byes. It was an exceptionally difficult moment ,, handing them over to be taken from us. So unnatural.

Their funeral was numbing. We were treading water,, waiting for a rescue of time alone.

The healing came slow. Very slow. We both felt as if we had just been through a storm and were weathered beyond repair.

But it His Grace, and Mercy.

He had never left us, and if we didn't know His love personally, then would have completely drowned in waves of grief. He carried us through.

After the twins were born, we had three little girls, one year apart each.

And then we experienced another miscarriage.

There is something about a loss after such grief - it is almost as if you know what your heart is going to feel, and because we knew that God had never left us before, and so we were able to rest on His promises.
Our baby boy, Sam was born after this miscarriage. Beautiful, and healthy.

Then another Miscarriage.

And then 2 more girls. Oh, how precious they are to us. Sweet. They bring us so much Joy.

The Lord refined me through the 20 years that we have shared in marriage, and I know he will continue to. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. And I never thought that I would say that. I am only the person that I am today, because of what He brought us through, and How I could find Hope in the Midst of the Storm.
Praise Him with me! ? He is a Mighty Saving God, and Loves us enough to have the very best.
Read more from September about babylost mamas and families:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Resources for Babylost Families

For anyone who has already experienced the loss of a baby, below may be some helpful resources to help you feel connected, validated, and to ease you into healing while acknowledging the life of your child. For anyone who has not experienced the loss of a baby, there are some really wonderful things below that can help you in helping someone else who is going through the loss of a baby. Please, even if you think you will never be affected by the loss of a baby, take a moment to read through some of the links below so that you can better sympathize and support those who must endure such a journey.

Support and Information

Really, I couldn't do any better than the comprehensive list of Baby Loss Grief Resources that Earth Mama Angel Baby has put together at It is exhaustive and worth a visit! The resource links are grouped by category: Facebook Healing Community, Grief, Genetic Defects, Miscarriage, Full Term Loss & Still Birth, SIDS, Infertility, For Fathers & Grandfathers, Special Needs, and Grief after Abortion. If you visit anything, visit this link!

Baby Loss Comfort:
A place to remember baby at, grief resources, a "what to say" section, and Earth Mama Angel Baby baby loss comfort products.

International Babylost Mama Day:
Recently put together by Carly Marie, an Australian mother whom experienced losing her only son.

The Grief Effect:
A directory of grief projects by Carly Marie, including To Write Their Names In The Sand and other projects where she will honor your lost baby by writing her or her name on an Australian beach at sunset or sunrise and taking a photo. Truly beautiful work as well as links to her personal blog which is both soul crushing, healing, and inspiring all at the same time as she continues on her journey of being a babylost mama and mama to a few beautiful girls here on earth.

M.I.S.S. Foundation:
A nonprofit, international organization "which provides immediate and ongoing support to grieving families, empowerment through community volunteerism opportunities, public policy and legislative education, and programs to reduce infant and toddler death through research and education." They also have online forums, a newsletter, and many other resources for professionals, the media, and families dealing with the loss of a child.

Gifts to honor, remember, and heal by...

Earth Mama Angel Baby's Baby Loss Comfort Products: (bath and body products + more for the mama)

My Forever Child: (keepsakes and jewlery)

La Belle Dame: (miscarriage and infant loss jewlery)

There is hope and healing
More great links, you say? Add them below in the comments with a short description! <3

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Earth Mama Angel Baby Baby Loss Comfort Reviews

When a mother loses a baby, she is left not just with empty arms, but with a body that reminds her of that life and loss she has experienced. Since many friends and family members aren't sure what to say or do, many do and say nothing at all. It wasn't until I began researching in preparation for Babylost Mama Day that I realized there are products out there for these mothers, and after having experienced some of these products from Earth Mama Angel Baby first hand, I now know exactly what I can give to a grieving mother. These things won't fill that hole in her heart, but they will help her body and spirit heal at the same time while acknowledging her loss and giving her permission to grieve.

Earth Mama Angel Baby (EMAB) is a beautiful company--they offer affordable, fully organic and natural bath and body products (with a few other things like candles, heat packs, and music) that are wonderfully packaged with sensitive photography and carefully selected language. Their product selection is broken down into every stage of a mother's life--pregnancy, labor, post partum, breastfeeding, angel baby, and baby loss items. Not only has EMAB taken the time to create these things, though, but they also offer a host of information and support to mothers on their website. An extensive customizable birth plan template (which you may have seen me recently mention in this post), expert panel, FAQ, and a lot of resources for mothers who have experienced the loss of a baby are all available for free on their website.

This is a company that cares. I have been so impressed with my entire experience from them--the customer service is quick and thorough, the products are amazing, and they offer such a wealth of knowledge and resources! Any mother will be blessed by the EMAB products she receives, and especially the babylost mamas--the Baby Loss Comfort products from EMAB will truly make her feel recognized as a mother and give her the resources and permission she needs to heal both physically and in the heart.

 Seeds of Hope ($5.95) are easily sown, organic calendula seeds to plant, grow and nurture. The sensitive blessing on the back of the packet begins:

“I am planting these seeds in remembrance of you.
As I tuck them into the soil, I am planting my hope for the future
While I bury my dreams of holding you in my arms...”

I love the idea of having perenial flowers to sow in honor of a lost baby. It is a tangible way to say "I remember you" that will bring new life time and again. Many families aren't able to bury their babies in the way that they'd like, and no one can visit their burial place as often as they'd like...the Seeds of Hope are a way to keep the memory of that little life with you at home (or wherever you choose to plant the flowers) and in a way that involves life. I haven't been able to sow my seeds yet, but I'm planning on using them in a special place to honor my brother who was lost to a stillbirth and I can't wait to have that special section of my flower garden dedicated to him each year.

Comfort Bath Blossoms ($8.95) is a sweet blend of comforting and calming organic herbs and organic oatmeal. Immerse yourself in an herb-infused tub and let them comfort your body and your spirit. Soak your body, warm your heart, blend your tears with the bath water and let them drain away.

These make for a truly soothing, moisturizing, and delicately scented bath. It reminds me of a floral, minty-type smell, but the herbs are actually heavy on lavender and calendula with lemon balm and rose petals included. Since the "portion sizes" for each bath are left for you to determine, you could get from 2 heavily infused baths to 10, I'm guessing, just depending on your preference. It's easy to use the bath blossoms as a muslin bag is included in the jar for you to fill as you please and steep in the tub before you get in. I will certainly go so far to say that this product is awesome for any person and isn't limited just to the babylost mamas.

 Soothing Harmony Tea ($5.97) honors women who have had the saddest loss, but who still have postpartum needs. Calming, astringent herbs have long been used to ease the body and mind when so many women need it most. USDA Certified 100% Organic & Certified Kosher, Harmony Tea is a delicious combination of herbs rich in nutrients, and was formulated especially for women's needs both monthly and postpartum.
Harmony Tea synergistically blends astringent lady's mantle and cinnamon with balancing lemon balm, mineral rich nettles and alfalfa, and rejuvenating, cramp easing ginger for a delicious, care-filled cup of tea.
All Earth Mama Angel Baby teas now come in easy to brew tea bags. The tea bags are biodegradable, the tea overwrap is compostable and the 100% recycled and recyclable cartons were produced using wind energy. Steep, sip and relax.

While I'm unable to currently "test" this tea since I'm pregnant, I can attest to the great packaging, enticing ingredients, and a delicious smell. In fact, this box of tea is already in my hospital bag for after I birth my baby. The thing I love the most about this tea is that while it does contain all sorts of awesome things for a post partum body, the packaging focuses on the mother and both her phsycial and heart's healing instead of on what this tea is going to do for her after-birth body. Sometimes, a cup of warmth is a very appreciated thing when one has just gone through a traumatic event.

 Healing Heart Mist ($14.95) is a blend of pure essential oils traditionally used to ease sadness and soothe spirits. A comforting way to bring clarity and calm, spray it into the air, over your body and onto your linens to help your transition from grief to peace.

I LOVE the Healing Heart Mist! I've actually been using it about twice a day since receiving it in the mail and I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it's all gone. :-) It is absolutely the best essential oil blend I have ever smelled and really is comforting and uplifting all at the same time! Made in a water and organic olive oil base, it sprays onto skin and in the air very smoothly without being oily or just washing off. The blend is primarily a variety of citricy essential oils (tangerine, lime, orange, and ylang-ylang) but also include ginger. It is not too strong or too light, and does relax and make you feel better. This gets my vote as a gift for anyone at any time, but especially for the newly babylost mama who needs an extra dose of encouragement. :-)
While you can find Earth Mama Angel Baby products in many stores and online, I would recommend visiting and buying through so that you can also benefit from all of the extra things they have on their website...and they have weekly/monthly specials, too! A big thanks to EMAB for providing samples for this review. I'll be working with them again in the coming months to share some more products with you so be sure to check back!
Earth Mama Angel Baby provided the samples for this reviw. No other compensation was received and I was under no obligation to write anything positive.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Updates for ya'll

I am officially a stay-at-home-mom right now.

*big smile*

There's a lot I could say about this, but in a nutshell, it came into place because I've been having lots of contractions and other pre-birth symptoms for the last month and my midwife said "enough" at our last appointment. So I'm technically on disability leave until after the baby comes.

With this bittersweet turn of events in my life (THRILLED because I get to be with my 18-month-old daughter, but also nervous because I think I'm going to have an early baby and my house is currently torn apart due to remodeling, I have nothing ready for a baby, and by golly, I want him to be able to breathe when he's born, so I'd really appreciate it if he waited until we were 37 weeks along so that I don't have to visit him in the NICU and so that we can have our water birth!), also comes the distressing news that I don't currently have Internet access at my house. You know what that means--things will be delayed!

Because you're all awesome, though, I know you'll hang in there until I get the Internet at my house (advertisers, anyone?). :-) I won't be able to draw the winners of any of the Baby-Mama Shower contests today, so feel free to keep entering until I announce on here that they are closed (see? aren't you glad you read this post now?). Piece by piece, I'll continue to post the rest of the Baby-Mama Shower reviews and giveaways and I also have some other REEEEEEEEEAAALLY exciting things planned for the upcoming months!

So that's that until I have more time to write (I'm at the library right now and only have 36 remaining minutes until my time online is up, lol).

<3 Rachel

Friday, May 7, 2010

Etta's Baby Angels Story

Guest blog article by Etta for International Babylost Mama Day, which is being honored at Life More Simply all week long.

I am a 22-year-old wife and mom of two angels. We were by no means trying for our first pregnancy and it really surprised us and changed our lives forever. We were so excited to be parents and knew that it was right for us. I had to go on "maternity leave" right away because of the requirements of my job; I followed all the guidelines...and still never met our baby.

We had our first appointment at 10 weeks--just the "get to know you" appointment--and my Dr. sent me home with orders for an ultrasound titled "check fetal vitality." That was the first time I even thought something was wrong. At 12 weeks we had our first ultrasound. I was so excited that we were going to get to hear the heartbeat! When the tech started, I was just trying to see the screen but I didn't understand why she wasn't explaining what I was seeing on the screen. At the end she told me there was no heartbeat and the baby was only measuring at 10 weeks. My husband was in the room for the whole ultrasound but he didn't quite understand what had been said, so I then had to explain to him that we had lost our baby.

They weren't able to schedule me for a D&C for another 4 weeks and my body never realized it. I had the constant reminder of my pregnancy every morning because I was still experiencing morning sickness. After the D&C, I started getting infections regularly and experiencing a lot of pelvic pain. First, my Dr. identified that I was getting ovarian cysts, then he ordered a hysterosalpingogram and we discovered that my left tube is closed. At this point my husband was on deployment so trying for another baby was at a stand still. My Dr. told me to come back for more testing if we went 6 months without conceiving. Well, month 6 came and we were pregnant again.

Our insurance decided I had to go to a military Dr. for my pregnancy and they couldn't get me in until I was 11 weeks whereas my original OB was going to see me at 7 weeks. I was very upset at the delayed time of the appointment but they were not concerned about my first loss. I ended up going to the ER for some slight cramping mostly for peace of mind because I knew they would do an ultrasound for me; this was around the 7 week mark and I couldn't wait anymore. They sent me home, telling me the ultrasound and blood work all looked good.

Two days later I started spotting and kept justifying it, telling myself it can be perfectly normal. Another two days passed and I decided it was time to go back to the ER this time they told me there was no evidence of a baby on the ultrasound and my blood work was "less pregnant" than my trip 4 days prior. I was 8 weeks pregnant. The worst news was yet to come, they told me when they were discharging me that no tests were going to be done and I wasn't considered high risk until I lose a third baby. We are back to trying with no success as of yet.

All I have for my two babies are my tattoos. The wings were done first with footprints in the top, for our angel and the story of footprints. The cross and roses is the most recent there are two partially opened rose buds on the cross for our two little angels.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leslie's Angel Baby Story

Guest blog article by Leslie for International Babylost Mama Day, which is being honored at Life More Simply all week long.

My name is Leslie and this is the story of my angel baby.
In June of 2008 we found out we were expecting our third baby. Although it was an unplanned pregnancy, we were thrilled at expanding our little family. I called the doctor that very day to set up my first appointment for 8 weeks. My first two pregnancies had been relatively normal so I wasn't incredibly nervous for this pregnancy. When I was 6 weeks pregnant I woke up to some cramping. I tried to take it easy and rest, but that was difficult with my other two young children. At around 11 o-clock that morning I felt a sudden gush and the cramps intensified. I went to the restroom and discovered I was bleeding heavily. I tried to keep myself calm as I called the doctor and was told to come to the office immediately. I made arrangements for my other children and called my husband at work. He drove me to the doctor's office where I had blood tests and an ultrasound.

During the ultrasound the doctor found the small gestational sac. I had never had an ultrasound this early in the pregnancy so I wasn't sure what I was supposed to see. The doctor pointed out that the sac was a very abnormal shape and underdeveloped even for 6 weeks and that I was definitely miscarrying. I was sent home with instructions to come back in three days for more blood work to be sure my hormone levels were returning to normal. That was it. I went home, heartbroken, and held my then 9-month-old son and cried for several hours.

The following day I woke up with terrible morning sickness. I was very emotional and cried for several hours a day for the next couple of days. I was confused, though, as my morning sickness was increasing each day. On the third day I returned for more blood work and that evening my doctor called to tell me that my hormone levels were doubling still which meant I was still pregnant. She was baffled because of the abnormal sac from the ultrasound. We reviewed the ultrasounds and discovered that the abnormal sac was only 1 of 2 embryos that were growing. I had lost the twin. I was overjoyed that my pregnancy would continue, but I was still devastated that the other baby was gone. I went through many ups and downs over the next 33 weeks. I spent 10 long weeks on bed rest trying to hold on to the remaining baby.

The most difficult part of the loss was that it was pushed aside as if it hadn't happened. I ended up with one healthy baby in the end of all of it so nobody considered this a loss. I received comments such as "at least you still have a baby, it could be worse" or "that doesn't really count as a miscarriage because you still have a baby." It was painful as I grieved completely alone. I felt that I couldn't show any emotion about the loss of my baby or even discuss any pain I felt because maybe it really didn't "count" as a loss. Every baby that is lost instills a level of grief that only a babylost mama can understand. Maybe the baby that I now hold in my arms was a cushion to the grief that I felt, but she does not replace her sibling in my heart. My grief does not overpower my joy, but the joy cannot completely mask the grief either.

International Babylost Mama Day

May 2, 2010
International Babylost Mama Day

To recognize and honor the mothers who have lost a baby

You are not forgotten--you are a beautiful mother

When Your Birth Doesn't Go According to Plan

When I found out my husband and I were going to have a baby, I got ready! I sought what I felt would be the best prenatal care with an excellent midwife, read a small library of books, prepared the nursery, took amazing care of myself, ate well, rested, did yoga, practiced hypnobirthing… I was prepared for my baby, so prepared. I was not prepared, however, for the way I would feel after the birth. The way I would feel when everything went “wrong”. I believed to the very core of my being that everything I worked for would happen just the way I envisioned it simply because I believed it. It didn’t.

I did not expect to reach 43 weeks of pregnancy and have a hospital induction. I did not expect the have a scarred cervix that would refuse to dilate for the better part of three days. Even after 43 weeks of pregnancy I did not expect a 9 lb, 6 oz baby or cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)( or a c-section. I was so convinced I would be having a med-free natural water birth that I only skimmed those other sections in my pregnancy books. I did not expect my perfect pregnancy to have such a dramatic climax. I believed wholeheartedly that all the things I worked so hard for would come to fruition. I mean, I had a plan, a birth plan!

As it turns out, it's hard to plan nature. My cervix did eventually dilate to a full 10 cm and I pushed. I pushed for hours. I pushed until I lost consciousness, only to wake up with the next contraction and push again. When the decision for a c-section was finally made, I knew in my heart, it was time. The doctor that performed our surgical birth informed me that I had a true case of CPD, and I never would have birthed my son naturally. Yet, through all this, my boy never faltered. His heart rate remained steady, his breathing was excellent, and his apgar score was perfect.

And then, we amended our "plan". I was immediately allowed to touch and kiss my baby. He went directly to my husband who cared for him while I was being stitched up. Our baby was never without one of his parents. My husband brought him to me as soon as I was out of the operating room, before I even made it to our hospital room, where we continued with rooming-in as planned.

When we returned home, I struggled with a lot of negative feelings about our birth and the disappointment I felt at having "failed". We also had breastfeeding complications that only compounded the feeling of failure. Then, I started reaching out. I sought support and began to heal, but simply being with my son and keeping him close has had the most healing effect of all.

If your birth does not go according to "plan", do not despair, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with compassion. Natural parenting is not an "all or nothing" concept. The "plan" can be amended.

A big thanks to Carrie L McClain from Oh, Baby O! for writing this guest blog! Have an article you think would be interesting to Life More Simply's readers? Email it to lifemoresimply @ with the subject of "Guest Blog".

Check out Carrie's Blog to read more about her mothering, crafting, baking, and homemaking pursuits:

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Plan

Sometimes, my life doesn't go as planned, and especially if it has anything to do with a computer.


Does this happen to anyone else?

I had planned on posting every day during April. As we know, I almost made that happen, but not quite. I thank my work obligations for that one, but hey, that's what pays the bills so ya gotta let your responsibilities speak, right?

I had planned on posting a wonderfully heart warming tribute to Babylost Mama Day yesterday. Well, just in case you got online to read it--you noticed that it wasn't there! My beautiful 18-month-old daughter came down with a 103f temperature over the weekend along with some yucky poo. Yesterday evening, her right knee mysteriously began hurting and she is unable to bear weight on it again today, though her temp is down to the low 101's. :-( Needless to say, we didn't get to leave my house over the weekend so that I could use the Internet somewhere to post and turn in school assignments that were due last night at midnight. I couldn't get the computer/Internet to really work around dinner time when I tried at our house (not unusual). I waited to try again until LoveBug was asleep, then hauled my pregnant self out of bed to do my school work only to have the neighbor's wireless Internet connection not be strong enough for us to pick up, and then the computer died, too. *sigh* This stresses me out because that means a big fat ZERO on two assignments.

So today, I am at work, rushing to get things done that have got to be done today before I leave early for my midwife appointment. I am trying to figure out how I can get my school work done and praying that my teacher will somehow be gracious enough to still give me credit (unlikely--who has a story like mine?), and all the while knowing that my daughter is sick-sick-sick and I'm not the one with her. :-(

Who hands their baby off with a high temperature and leg hysteria? Me. Thankfully, she's with my R.N. mother who after having 8 children of her own is more than capable of handling a sick baby, but...I'm not the one with her. So my precious LoveBug will be going to the Dr. today with her Mimi (Grandmother). I wrote a note giving my permission for this, but really, that's a joke from any working mom. We are forced to "give our permission" to someone else every single day that we have to leave our babies. I think that's the worst thing about being a working mom--you render the control of your child to someone else and you just have to hope and pray they follow your wishes. It's funny that even the smallest things like asking your caretaker to keep a journal of what your baby eats and when she sleeps can be a big deal for them and thus some caretakers will do it and some won't. What's the big deal? Can't you understand that even if I'm not with my child, I AM STILL THE MAMA?! Who cares if I want to know how many times my daughter got her diaper changed during the day...


Okay, so here's the plan that I'm hoping to accomplish today:

1) Post the guest blog about when your birth doesn't go as you'd planned by Carrie (

2) Post about Babylost Mama day

3) Post another review and giveaway (yes, folks, we've got more baby and mama products coming!)

4) This week: take a break from new baby and mama giveaways to focus on remembering babies who have been lost and the mamas and families left behind. I'll be sharing the stories emailed to me from babylost mamas as well as doing a review of products specially designed for these mothers from Earth Mama Angel Baby.

What will really happen? Only God knows, but at least HE remains in control...and that makes me happy, despite any ridiculous situations I find myself in. :-)