mommyonthegreen

Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time


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The End is Not the End

April 2016

I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but here is one more blog post.

I was sitting here wasting time on Facebook (it’s amazing how much time I can lose just clicking on the garbage that comes up on my newsfeed) when I could be doing something more productive. Like writing. Or like not using electricity at all. Like reading.

While I’ve been on mat leave I’ve been reading a lot. I recently read the Mitch Albom book “The First Phone call from Heaven”. In the story, one of the characters mentions the phrase “The End is not the End” in reference to heaven, and is also apparently a House of Heros song.

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I’ve also been trying to wean LM. I’ve decided I’m just done. He’s almost 9 months. It’s ok. I did my best. He’s going to be ok either way. Just when I think we’re done, we’re not. He asks for me (he does a little bobbing bird on my chest when he wants the boob. It’s kind of sweet. 🙂  When he’s really hungry he doesn’t care where the food comes from as long as it comes fast!). And I can’t believe I only have three months of mat leave left  😦

It’s time I put this blog to bed and move on. The amount of electricity I’ve used researching and writing this blog is not lost on me. My family needs me. I need me. And as much as I love blogging, it’s taking up more time than I can put into it to make it the way I want it. I’m too hard on myself for not posting or tweeting regularly, or making timely posts related to current events. I often feel rushed when doing a post and I make mistakes.

My plan was to go back to each post, add tags, edit grammar and spelling, add links for interesting things I’ve found out since I wrote the original post, update my progress, etc.  But lets be realistic – as they say “ain’t no one got time for that”!

And I’ve realized, just like I’m not perfect, just like we don’t parent perfectly or the way we might like too, this blog isn’t going to be perfect. So what if it’s not written like a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Just like parenthood, it’s raw and its real. So why change it now?

I started this blog for New Year’s 2014. Today, my 35th birthday, seems like a good day to finish it off.

So as a final post, here are some things I wanted to write about. I’ve been trying to clean out my e-mail accounts, where I e-mail my blog ideas to myself, and I just seem to have so many green ideas I want to write about while incorporating them into events in my life.  I didn’t want to be one of those websites that just lists a bunch of tips without actually trying them myself. But I want to share them for my readers anyway. Who knows, maybe some day I will try them. I guess I can always go back to this list. And some of them just made me laugh.

For each of you who reads this blog, try out a green challenge from the list below. In this way, the blog has no end.

Here they are, by category/topic/tag:

Waste Reduction

How did a sea turtle get a straw up its nose?

Worms could help reduce waste

101 uses for Mason Jars! (well actually just 18, but who’s counting;-) )

The Destiny of Restaurant Crayons

The Unintended Consequences of Banning Bottled Water

Waste Reduction on Campus

Upcycling

Repurposing an Old Toothbrush

 

Food Security/Waste

Tax Break for businesses that donate food

Just Eat it Restaurant Waste Video

Use it don’t lose it!

denHaan Greenhouses – local source for tomatoes and cucumbers

Fair Trade Recipes

French Law Bans Food Waste

Ugly Food!

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I was going to participate in the National Geographic Hashtag challenge, but as with a great many things I ran out of time. So here’s the photo

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#UglyFoodIsBeautiful

 

Sustainable Seafood – Loblaws

 

Infant Feeding

Breastfeeding Dairy Free

Lactose Overload

Breastfeeding & Alcohol Consumption

Formula FYI

Pump & Dump

 

Sustainable Diapering

The Diaper Divide

7th Generation Training Pants

 

Environmentally Friendly Sanitary Pads

Now that Aunt Flo is back in my life I’ve been thinking about this a little more.

The Honest Company

Goodbye Diva Cup

 

Environmentally Friendly Funerals/Burials/Estate Planning (not that I plan on trying these any time soon – for all the right reasons!)

Refound!

Burial Pods

 

Pets

Our kitty has recently had some health problems, which got me thinking about this even more

Ethically Sourced Pet Food

Crystal Cat Litter

Silica Cat Litter

Ecofriendly Cat Litter

Homemade Cat Litter

Homemade Cat food

More Homemade Cat Litter

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Natural Pest/Weed Control

Ants

 

Water Conservation/Pollution

Drugs in Drinking Water

The Surfrider Foundation

Gold in Sewage

Water used to grow favourite foods

Microbeads Banned

 

Eco-friendly Shopping

The True Cost of Clothing

Germs in Cloth Bags

The Green Mom Review

Toxic Items at Dollar Stores

Chemicals in Dollar Store Products

Dollar Store Product Contaminants

 

Parenthood

Advice to Fathers

The Most Expensive 2-hour Nap

A Day at Home with a Newborn

10 things kids should see their parents doing

Journey from Anti-Vaxx to Science

Please don’t visit my Newborn

10 ways to really help someone with a new baby

 

As I’ve said before, through this blog, I’ve learned that as with every thing in life, we have to make decisions. Just like we can’t always be that perfect parent, we can’t be the perfect environmentalist. But we try. We try and we hope it’s enough.

And then there’s this guy. Am I him? I don’t think I want to be him. If you can’t follow my blog, follow the frog.

http://www.upworthy.com/never-before-have-i-laughed-so-hard-at-one-guys-non-attempt-to-save-the-planet?g=2&c=ufb1

 

THE END


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February

February 2016

I come to you today from my dining room table. And no I’m not writing about food, I just needed to relocate my writing space while we have some renovations going on in our home office. Renovations which will hopefully create a warmer, cozier space for me to be creative, and save some energy as well. I’ve been hungry for this space for a while.

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And that’s not the only thing I’ve been hungry for. According to one of my favourite authors, Barbara Kingsolver (or her sources at least), the word for February in Cherokee (and other Native American languages) is “hungry”.*

Not that I’m starving by any means, but my weight loss struggle continues. One week I’m down three or four pounds, only to gain one or two back the next week, then stay the same for two or three weeks before dropping another five. I’m sure there’s a physiological explanation for this, but I’m not inclined to look it up.

I’ve been trying to be really diligent and careful about what I eat, and even my husband is noticing. I’m also frustrated at the lack of healthy options this time of year. Local produce, other than root vegetables, is hard to come by this time of year. In the words of Ms. Kingsolver, the time to think about eating local is in August, not January or February. After the spring and summer we had this year, I of course had very little put away in the freezer. And the grocery store isn’t much help either. All produce is ridiculously expensive, organic or not, and the winter has been full of recalls – spinach one week, cantaloupe the next.

I’ve also decided to stop buying almonds. We had been eating almonds regularly, but was recently reminded of how fattening they can be (though good fats I know). More importantly, they require a lot of water to grow and are often imported from California. Not the most eco-friendly nut choice.

Nevertheless, I am trying not to let this all get me down and I keep plugging away. In the back of my mind I know my weight loss goals may have been unrealistic (the timeframe in which I wanted to lose the weight, not the overall weight loss) and I should be proud of how far I’ve come. In fact, at the 6.5 month mark I am back in the 180s (only a few pounds above my weight when we moved into this house nearly ten years ago), and only have twenty pounds to go. This is cause for celebration, allowing myself the occasional beer- local of course (and no, the irony of consuming beer over almonds while trying to lose the baby belly is not lost on me. And yes I’m still breastfeeding I’m being careful. Just give me a break;-) ).

Garrison Brewery makes a lovely Nut Brown which both my husband and I have been enjoying in place of a Stella or other import. I don’t usually like dark ales, but this particular brew has a milder flavor, is not as thick or bitter as some others I’ve tried and leaves almost no aftertaste. I’ve also had a chance to test their geekier flavours at Hal-Con – The Klingon War Nog and The Vulcan Ale – both of which are potent but excellent.

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I’ve been in a happier place lately too (and no not due to the beer). We’ve made it through the darkness of January and are almost through February. Longer days, milder, damper weather and the sweet songs of birds mean spring is just around the corner. While we’ve had our fair share of snow, so far it pales in comparison to the Snowmageddon of last winter I still feel traumatized by.

Whenever possible, I’ve been feeding my soul with good books. I hope to post my mat leave reading list here on the blog when nap schedules allow. Recently I read Margaret Trudeau’s book Changing my Mind; probably one of the best I’ve read this year so far. Her story is encouraging to anyone suffering from mental illness, and a good education for the rest of us. I’ve learned a lot from her, and Wil Wheaton, who I’ve recently started following on my Facebook page and twitter. From both of them I’ve been reminded that it’s ok, and “normal” to feel sad and down sometimes. That it happens to all of us, and you just can’t let it consume your whole being.

With spring on the horizon I’ve also been doing lots of spring cleaning. I’m still using “green” cleaning products as much as possible, a challenge I started back in Week 34. Lately I’ve been doing less actual cleaning and more just “purging” of stuff. We have too much stuff, stuff that other people could probably use. Closets and storage spaces are getting a thorough inspection by me. And there’s a lot to go through. I had no idea how much stuff we held on to.

It all started after LM arrived. With an extra person, even if a mini-person, our house is feeling smaller day by day. Also, everything we had held on to from MD that we now knew we weren’t going to use (mostly clothing) was given away to friends of mine with little girls. And as LM keeps growing we’re continually giving things away. A good friend of mine just had a little boy too so lots of stuff went to her, and my sister in law is due any day and she doesn’t know the gender.

Other items, baby and non baby alike, are going on Kijiji and HRMGiveaway or to the Fairview Family Resource Centre.

Anything that we don’t think can be used by anyone but may have a purpose are going to Value Village. I was encouraged to learn that they have a textiles recycling program. Horray for the three Rs!

The basement reno also has encouraged the purging process. We had a lot of rearranging to do to make room for the contractor. And I just have the time. Between feedings (including trying new solid foods) the inevitable diaper changes and household chores, on days we can’t get outside because of the weather and now that LM is finally sitting on his own and content to play with toys in a semicircle around him, I have a little extra time to sort and get rid of things.

And one of these days I’ll open what I’ve started calling our Pandora’s box. An unlabelled cardboard box that’s been sitting on the same shelf in our basement since the day we moved into this house nearly ten years ago. I have no idea what’s in it. For a long time I was afraid. Very afraid. But not curiosity is getting the better of me, and plus I just want the shelf space.

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Well, here goes . . .

Cheers!

If you don’t have a Value Village in your area, use this nifty textile recycling search tool.

*Animal Vegetable Miracle

List of CFIA recalls 

Harder to loose weight breastfeeding

Losing weight after baby #2 

 

 

 


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Loosing My Mat Leave Mojo

January 2016

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I don’t know yet if I’m headed down the PPD path or if there is another entirely logical for the way I’m feeling.

I often find January depressing. Whether it’s the weather – cold, snowy winter has arrived in all its gloomy dampness, making it hard to get out and about (too cold for LM) – or the short days (lack of sunlight contributing to my sudden SADness), or Christmas being over for another year. We finally got our decorations packed up and all the leftover goodies put away. But looking at the houses up the street with their lights still on only serves as a reminder that the holidays have run their course.

I love Christmastime – the music, the movies, the decorations, the food, the act of giving to others and partying it up with friends and loved ones. Despite the anxiety (#ref Looking back) I can still centre on the joy. I enjoyed MD’s Christmas so much – but she was older, and things went at a little slower pace. She could open her own presents (with some help) and have some Christmas dinner. I was done breastfeeding so a bit of wine didn’t hurt either. This year, however, the whole season seemed to go by at light speed. With two, one of which was eating and napping at frequent and unpredictable intervals, and me being tired from middle of the night wakings, I didn’t stop long enough to soak it up.  I seem to have trouble letting go of all the things I didn’t get to do, rather than what I did.

Maybe its because I’ve been surrounded by people for the last two weeks and haven’t had time to myself – except for the four minutes I’m in the shower or on the shitter – to decompress and recharge.

Maybe its because I’ve been stuck inside with an almost five month old and almost five year old for the last three days. Even if the weather is nice, MD is too old for a stroller but can’t keep up with me walking.

I’m stressed about my lack of activity, and how I’m ever going to get the next thirty pounds off, and OMG I don’t want to go near a scale after everything I ate over the holidays, and how am I ever going to work up the energy to work out when I’m so tired.

Maybe I’m going through sugar withdrawal. I’ve been trying to eat better the last few days and my body is like why are you starving me! (even though its far from starving).

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation finally catching up with me. Why is it that I seem to need more sleep than my children? Will I ever sleep again?

Whatever the reason for this funk, I feel like being a Mom has stopped being fun. For the moment. I keep telling myself it will get better, and every time MD walks into the room I am reminded and reassured of that truth. LM is at a wired age – not quite ready for solids, no longer content to lay on a blanket on the floor and look around but not yet crawling, still needing naps about every two hours. I’m the kind of person who craves structure to feel like I’m functioning normally, but with LM, while having a semblance of a routine, we still lack enough structure in my day for me to feel satisfied and productive. Just a few more months I tell myself, just a few more months, he’ll meet these developmental milestones and all will be well for another while.

Then the guilt kicks in. Guilt for wishing my life away. Guilt for not keeping our daughter home from day care at least part time. Guilt because I’m tired of breastfeeding (tired of him biting the boob that feeds him, but determined to meet my 6-month goal. What about the cost to my wellbeing . . .?). Guilt for just wanting our lives to go back to normal (even if it is a “new” normal). Guilt for being so selfish. Guilt for not appreciating my beautiful, funny, healthy children, when so many struggle to have children or have had to stay goodbye too soon. Guilt, and anxiety, because the closer he gets to that “fun”stage the closer I get to going back to work. And now I know that I can never get this time back. This time that I wish I could pull a Stephane Dion and “do over” with MD.  MD who in six weeks will be five years old. I well up as I think and type this, the thought of that number five on her cake, of registering her for grade primary in a few weeks. Sad that my little girl has grown up before my eyes. Sad that I feel as if I’ve wasted so much of her childhood wishing myself forward to the next stage, fighting the stages that were hard, trying to figure out how the heck to be a mom, forgetting to live in the moment, until we’re suddenly at now and time is going too fast and I wish I was in that episode of Stargate where Major Carter slows down time so the human-form replicators can’t get off that planet. I know someday they won’t need me any more. I don’t want them to wonder where I was when they did.

Maybe it is all of those things. Plus one more – maybe I’m going to get my period back next month. I remember feeling similar with MD just before that landmark, but that time I was angry. So angry I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with my family. I had no idea that the first post partum period was accompanied with this wave of emotion. It’s a little easier to deal with when you know what to expect.

Maybe I just need to write it all down. If only I could get the hour or so to put it all together in this post. I need to write. I need to cry. But I’m afraid if I start either or both I won’t be able to stop. But I have to be able to stop, to put a cap on it at least temporarily. Because my kids need their mom.

 

So this is life

Forgot How to be the Happy Mom

The Truth about Maternity Leave

 

 


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Fried

July 28, 2015

The kitchen is clean, the dining room is clean, the bathrooms are clean, we’ve rearranged, purged, decorated. And it’s hot. My cheeks are hot, my ankles are hot, I could go on. Well, not actually that hot, but at the risk of sounding cliché, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. I have some flowers planted (yes I actually managed to contort myself into a position that allowed planting of things, though they’re probably molding in the dirt with all the rain we’ve received), and I’ve read and read and read. So I thought I’d do one more blog post because I just don’t know what else to do with myself.

Lately I’ve been reading about natural methods of inducing labour. I’ve been trying long walks, Thai food, pineapple, other things that my husband can help with . . . nothing yet. (Baby Centre has some great suggestions). We had a false alarm last week – the couple of days before I’d been feeling nauseous and generally how I feel before I start my period. Thursday morning I started having contractions every ten minutes for about two hours, and they seemed to be getting stronger and weren’t going away when I changed position. So we got everyone up and dressed, got breakfast (because I was suddenly starving!), and the contractions suddenly stopped. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Nothing for the rest of the day (until suppertime I had one – that’s all). And nothing since.

I am getting frustrated because I’m just tired of being pregnant. I know that sounds selfish – this little being needs the time it needs to grow and be healthy. I was all psyched up to give birth and now  I just feel like it’s never going to end. My daughter was two weeks early (38 weeks 2 days) and based on the size and position of my belly, everyone around me has been saying all along “there’s no way you’re making it to August”. My actual due date is August 8th. My own prediction (the little feeling I got about midway through) was July 28th – today. I was two days off with my daughter (predicted February 15th – she was born February 13th). All of our friends and family are anxiously awaiting any news, and my husband is anxious to have it over with. But you know what they say, “a watched pot never boils”.

Speaking of cooking, as we purge various items in the house we decided our frying pans were toast, so they’ve gone into the yard sale pile. (Admittedly it might have been my cooking spray (Week 33) and “spaghetti scrubber” experiments that did them in, but we won’t go there right now 😉 ).

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My brilliant husband managed to find a frying pan at Superstore made from recycled metal (pictured above). Which made me happy 🙂

For more ideas for things to do while waiting for baby, check out this post by fellow WordPress blogger: https://householdwords.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/things-to-do-while-waiting-for-a-baby-to-be-born/  and Growing Slower: http://www.growingslower.com/2013/05/getting-ready-for-baby-2-checklist.html


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The Home Stretch

June/July 2015

This is likely my last blog post for some time: expecting the arrival of Number 2 in the next few weeks. Then again, who knows, maybe we will be blessed with a mellower child and I’ll be able to post a few lines here and there. At my last Dr.’s appointment she says to me “that belly is filing out nicely isn’t it”. I felt like responding with “really, I hadn’t noticed”. If I don’t have this kid soon I’ll need to go shopping again – my clothes are starting to reach their maximum stretch point! Almost muumuu time! ( I wonder if I could find one of those at Value Village . . . ).

June has been a frustrating month. I have a giant to do list, but I am feeling frustrated at the level of helplessness pregnancy imposes on me. Physically I either just can’t move my body the way I need to do what needs doing around the house, or I just don’t have the energy level. My amazing husband is doing all that he can, but we’re going to have to find some help elsewhere. I’m tempted to research some green house cleaners in the city, but as with many of my projects it ends up ballooning into something I don’t have the time or energy to handle. Hoping the neighbours kids come through and can help with the yard work at least.

Physical limitations aside, June was also been a very busy month for us:

  • 100 in 1 day went off without a hitch (except for the rain). We exceeded our goal of 100 interventions, and collected over 60kg of food. There were lots of great environmentally-oriented projects too, such as The Wave of Waste.
  • Went to physiotherapy to treat my hip/foot problems and it was successful. Tried to do some gardening but ended up twisting my knee (which heeled after a week or two, but I don’t want to tempt fate a second time). Trying to do battle with the Japanese Knotweed which returns with a vengeance every year (see Week 20 and here for more information on this awful, awful invasive plant).
  • My Dad had to have surgery, which while he knew he would have to have some day and was not life-threatening, the health care system made it seem like it was nothing more than a tooth extraction, when in reality the recovery period has been a lot more uncomfortable and long than expected.
  • I taught a three day course at work, which I love doing and am thankful I was able to get through without having to boil water.
  • And completed my French oral exam – which at the time I thought I hadn’t done well at all (I had studied, but I hadn’t been in a French class since February, and with everything else going on I just couldn’t get into the right head space). I am thankful that I achieved the mark I need to keep my competitive edge in the workplace.
  • And with all of this going on, our daughter is experiencing a bit of regression toilet-training-wise, wetting herself at nap time. So at her request back to pull ups for a little while 😦

Needless to say, while blogging has been on my mind and very much something I’ve been looking forward to wrapping up before Number 2’s arrival, it hasn’t exactly made the To Do list each weekend.

Now that June is past, I’ve pretty much got things wrapped up at work (only three days left!), and the baby’s room is ready to go, I’ve been trying to maximize mommy-daughter time. Last week we spent the morning at the farmer’s market (which we also hadn’t done in several months) and yesterday we went to the beach.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to not get upset with myself for all of the driving and take-out packaging that seems to have re-entered my lifestyle – I keep telling myself it’s only temporary.

What “green things” have I been doing (when I have the mental, emotional and physical energy to even think about it):

  • Buy local – it is growing season – finally! – and speaking of Farmer’s Markets, I found a lovely little fruit and veggie stall in our neighbourhood. All they need is a fish truck, an artist and a few musicians and they’d be a full fledged market! Which connects nicely with one of my 100 in 1 day projects related to community building (read about it here);
  • Reuse baby gear – we’d kept just about everything, so it all came out of the closet and got cleaned up;
  • Purchase used baby gear instead of new – for things that we needed to replace or add to the collection. It is yard sale season after all so I was able to find a couple of things, like an infant seat (for the house, not a car seat). When I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t think we needed all of the “extra” stuff that went with a baby (like swings, infant seats, breast-feeding pillows, exersaucers etc) and that it was materialistic – but learned very quickly that it wasn’t a capitalist ploy at all but a matter of survival, as I’m sure anyone reading this who’s a parent can appreciate. We did purchase a new stroller, because they take such a beating (and we got a good deal)!
  • Speaking of reused baby gear – my husband and I finally reached a compromise on the diaper front. We spoke with some apartment-dwelling friends who also used cloth diapers both children and learned of some tricks that will hopefully make cloth diapering less work than before. So the cloth diapers we used for our daughter are freshened up and ready to go. I’ve also agreed to use disposable – if we can use “environmentally-friendly” brands.

There are basically three brands available at our local grocery store:

PC Green – materials are 50% recycled and/or sourced from sustainable sources; fragrance, latex and petroleum free (including no bleaching). Stage 1 (8-14 lbs) $15.99 per pkg of 66 (~24 cents ea.). The President’s Choice company offers a number of other “green” products, and has a number of other sustainable programs on the go, such as Sustainable Seafood. Nevertheless, “greenwashing” is always in the back of my mind (see Week xx).

Seventh Generation– Another company offering a variety of green products. Diapers are fragrance free and unbleached. However I have read and heard from reputable sources that they dye their diapers the light-brownish colour to make them appear more natural. This marketing technique, if true, kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me. Stage 1 $14.99 per pkg of 40 (~37 cents ea.)

Naty– Made by a Swedish company that offers a number of other eco-friendly products. Made from biodegradable materials, unbleached, and latex and fragrance free. Stage 2 (6-13 lbs) $ 12.99 per pkg of 34 (~38 cents ea.). Not sure if they’re made in Sweden and shipped over.

So it looks like the PC Green might be the best option, and it is also the option that Nurtured once recommended to me.

Depending on what you have access to, here are some other options that might work. Cloth are still thought to be the best option, especially when reused for a second child – all of the water and electricity usage that goes into making and cleaning them is apparently still less than what goes into repeatedly making disposables. For some other options, read here and here.

Once the baby powder settles we’ll experiment and see what works best for us in our “new normal”.

  • I’ve also been collecting links related various environmental issues that I have blogged about. I’ll share a few on the blog and via Twitter. One is “plastic free July”. A good challenge for some day, but not for me today.

Until next time, have a great summer! (And yes, I will post baby news!).