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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Those Crazy Dreams

You'll probably think I'm weird, and pardon me if this is a little TMI for you-
but my dreams lately are driving me (just a little) crazy!

Have you ever had really, really vivid dreams?

The kind that actually wake you up, and leave you surprised that it was just a dream?

I've always been a "dreamer" (the hubby, on the other hand, claims he never dreams)- and I notice my dreams get a little crazy at certain times in my life.  (When I was pregnant, they were nuts!)

But this is a little different.

I have been dreaming, repeatedly lately, that I am pregnant.

Not with the huge belly, just looking like I look now 
(ha! and I said not with a huge belly, didn't I!),
but in my dreams I keep feeling the baby kicking and moving.  

To the point that I'm waking up several times in the night because of it!

Do you put any stock in dreams?
Image Source:

It was a dream that prompted me to take the test to find out if I was, or wasn't, pregnant with Regan- the dream was so vivid, and in it I felt so sure, that I just "knew" the test would be positive.

And it was.  :)

But, this time around, I am not "with child" (I did check!).

So, what's with this craziness?

All I know is, I'm tired.  
It's not like I get enough sleep lately anyway- what with a baby that wants to nurse several times in the night and who doesn't think she really needs to go to bed before 10 or 11 p.m. (although, that is progress!).

You'd think the dreams could lay off- really.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Great Article, From Parents Magazine?!

I am not usually a fan of Parents magazine.  

I mean, nothing against them, I just prefer to spend my money on subscriptions to magazines like Mothering, Kiwi , or The Green Parent- something that fits my parenting style and outlook a whole lot better.
 For some reason, I have been getting Parents magazine for quite a while now (perhaps as a baby gift someone purchased a subscription for us and forgot to let us know?)- it's okay, has some good tips for general parenting "stuff" now and then, usually a neat recipe or two.  But, on the whole, I'm usually dissappointed in what it's pages hold.  
HOWEVER- this most recent issue contained a nice surprise!  I was so pleased to see this kind of information in a place- like Parents- that will give it a lot of public attention , that I decided to share it here.  

{Just as a side note, one of my favorite "safe" places to find plastic "stuff" is The Soft Landing- check it out the next time you're in need of a new item.  At the very least it will give you a name brand or specific item to look for when you're at the store.}

Hopefully a lot more companies will begin to take note soon- and if not, hopefully more people will become better educated (myself included!) and be better able to keep their families safer.

How to Keep Your Family Safe from Toxic Chemicals

BPA ... Phthalates... You know they can be dangerous for your family, but you may not know all the ways they enter your body, or -- most important -- how you can limit your exposure. Parents investigates.
By Virginia Sole-Smith

Amy Ellings thought she knew what to expect last year when she agreed to donate blood for a study that would measure the levels of chemicals in her body. It focused on pregnant women in their second trimester in order to gauge what kind of chemical "body burden" they might be passing on to their developing baby. It sounded a little sci-fi, but Ellings, of Olympia, Washington, knew she led a healthy lifestyle: "I'm a public-health nutritionist, so I was interested to see the results, but I figured everything would be normal."
Not quite.

Two months after she gave birth to baby Nick, Ellings learned that her blood samples had contained 12 different chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with the body's ability to produce hormones. Two of these chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA) and diethyl phthalate (DEP), were at levels higher than those found in 90 percent of American adults. "I was blown away," says Ellings. She wondered whether she'd been exposed to these chemicals because she'd grown up in a small industrial town. But BPA and DEP break down quickly, which means her blood test revealed only what her body had accumulated within the previous three days. "I was shocked to learn what my unborn baby and I were exposed to," she says.
You might think Ellings is an isolated case, but biomonitoring studies show that these endocrine-disrupting chemicals (or EDCs) are now found in virtually all of us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified detectable levels of BPA, for instance, in 93 percent of people tested, and phthalates like DEP in at least 75 percent of the population. "These chemicals weren't in most consumer goods as recently as 40 years ago," says Parents advisor Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, and director of its Children's Environmental Health Center. "Now they're in our bodies, and we don't understand all the ways they could impact our health because no previous generation of humans has ever been exposed to them."
What we do know: As the environmental exposures and chemical burden on our bodies has risen, so have rates of diseases, particularly those that impact kids, including asthma, childhood cancers, autism, and ADHD. Hormones, and chemicals that mimic them, may play a key role in the evolution of these health problems because they work as chemical messengers, traveling through the bloodstream to affect the development of tissues and organs, as well as influencing body processes like metabolism and reproduction. "There is no more dangerous time for this toxic exposure to occur than during pregnancy and early childhood, when organ systems are still in development," notes Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
But nobody knows what level of toxic exposure might trigger a particular disease. Even though many EDCs break down quickly, their levels are constantly increasing in our body because we encounter them every day -- in our food, beauty products, and even from the furniture in our own home.

The New Pollution
EDC exposure works like this: You go shopping and stock up on canned goods, baby formula, cleaning supplies, and shampoo, all of which may either contain BPA, DEP, or other endocrine disruptors or absorb them via their EDC-containing cans and packages. Then you eat, breathe, and in some cases, rub these chemicals directly on your skin. Once they're in your body, you release small doses into our waterways every time you urinate. And when you're finished with the products, you send the leftovers or their containers to break down in a landfill, allowing them to circulate further in the environment.
EDCs do their damage early on, causing small changes to a fetus's developing cells that may have a ripple effect throughout that child's life. "We used to think that the placenta protected a fetus from these kinds of exposures, but studies have shown that phthalates and other endocrine disruptors cross the placenta barrier," says Dr. Landrigan. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization, released a biomonitoring report last year that detected more than 200 environmental toxins in the cord blood of newborn babies. Fetuses accumulate these chemicals in higher concentrations than their moms do because their immature liver and kidneys can't excrete them as well as adult organs can. Although Ellings says that 7-month-old Nick is happy and healthy, it's too soon to know whether his early chemical exposures will lead to future problems.
These are three of the most common EDCs and the specific ways you and your family are exposed.

Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A (BPA), pronounced [bis-FEEN-al A]  
What it is: An industrial chemical that is used to make some types of epoxy resins (which hold things together) as well as polycarbonate plastic, a hard, shatterproof plastic used in some food-storage containers
Where it is: The linings of metal food containers and drink cans and some aluminum water bottles; any food containers, baby bottles, or other plastics that are labeled #7; CD cases; eyeglasses; dental composites and sealants
The risks: "Since the 1930s we've known that BPA can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body," says Richard Denison, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund. Studies on lab animals have found that early exposures to BPA can predispose them to develop prostate and breast cancers later in life; it may also lower fertility by impairing normal development of eggs and sperm. Researchers at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported in March that 2-year-old girls who had been exposed to higher prenatal levels of BPA displayed more aggression and hyperactivity, while other research has suggested links between BPA and increasing asthma rates and cardiovascular problems.

Phthalates, pronounced [THA-lāts]  
What they are: Chemicals, including diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), added to vinyl and other plastics to increase flexibility and to personal-care products to keep their fragrances
Where they are: Anything vinyl; most soaps, lotions, and hair products, especially those with "fragrance" or "parfum" in their ingredients -- all of which may off-gas or degrade, releasing phthalate particles into household dust. Phthalates were banned for use in products for kids under 3 by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, but they're still lurking in many other plastic toys, and any baby products made before the ban.
The risks: "Exposure to phthalates is associated with reduced testosterone levels in kids and adults," notes Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers at the University of Rochester have found that prenatal phthalate exposure correlated with subtle signs of feminization (like undescended testicles) in baby boys and less masculine behavior as the boys got older. In April, a study at Mount Sinai's Children's Environmental Health Center also found that children exposed to phthalates in the womb were more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD between the ages of 4 and 9.

Flame Retardants
What they are: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used in products to lower the risk and inhibit the spread of fire.
Where they are: On electronics, furniture, carpets, children's pajamas, and other household items that are required to meet flame-retardant safety standards. As these materials age, they release PBDEs into household dust, which we then breathe in. The CDC estimates that 97 percent of Americans have detectable levels of PBDEs in their body. PBDEs are now banned in several states, so manufacturers will be phasing them out of consumer goods over the next few years.
The risks: PBDEs don't break down as quickly as most other endocrine disruptors, so they persist in the environment and in the body for years. Women with higher levels of PBDEs may be half as likely to conceive as women with lower levels, according to a recent study from University of California, Berkeley. Children who had higher concentrations of PBDEs in their umbilical-cord blood at birth scored lower on mental and physical development tests between ages 1 and 6, according to research from the Columbia University Center for Children's Environmental Health.

How We Got There
Why are such potentially dangerous chemicals allowed in so many household products in the first place? "You can't put a new car on the market without extensive crash testing first, but there aren't any similar precautions in place for chemicals," explains Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence Canada and coauthor of Slow Death by Rubber Duck. When used as industrial chemicals, EDCs are regulated by the much-maligned Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which doesn't require that they be tested or proven safe before being used. Instead, it's up to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to show that a chemical is unsafe -- that it poses an "unreasonable risk" -- before it can regulate or ban that chemical. "The bar is set so high that the EPA can essentially never meet it, and therefore dangerous chemicals are in all sorts of products," says Dr. Denison. Congress's original rationale for giving a pass to industrial chemicals like BPA, he explains, is that they weren't designed to be biologically active or get into our body in the same way pesticides or drugs would, and wouldn't pose the same risks. "Now we know that was naive. We should presume these chemicals could be a problem until their producers can prove otherwise," he says.
Some canned-goods manufacturers, such as General Mills (which makes Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes) and Heinz, are responding to consumer concerns. They're reformulating some of their products to be BPA-free or are planning to line their cans with safer chemicals (which they haven't yet identified). But public-health officials worry that until better procedures are in place to regulate claims like "BPA-free," consumers can't be assured seeing this term on a label means a product is safe. (Experts predict the next hallmark of safety may be products marketed as "EA-free," for estrogenic activity.) "At this point it's still better to choose items that are BPA-free," says Dr. Woodruff.
Meanwhile, some experts continue to believe that the EDC levels found in biomonitoring studies are too low to be a cause for concern. "It's the amount of any given chemical, not its presence or absence, that determines its potential for harm," says Carl Winter, Ph.D., a toxicologist and director of the FoodSafe Program at the University of California, Davis, as well as the scientific spokesperson for a trade group called the Institute of Food Technologists. Still, consider a 2005 study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, which found that mice exposed to BPA in utero at a level of just 25 parts per trillion experienced double the amount of milk-duct growth as mice with no BPA exposure. That alone would lead you to believe that even the tiniest amount could affect your body.
"Finding any synthetic chemical in a person's body should be a big red flag that we need to really study that chemical," says Gina Solomon, M.D., a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The American Medical Association issued a statement last fall calling for the government to increase regulation of EDCs in consumer products. And certain EDCs are banned in multiple states and cities, including Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Washington, and Wisconsin, Chicago, and New York's Suffolk County. Suffolk County, for instance, issues a $500 fine to stores that sell baby bottles or sippy cups that are made with BPA.
In April, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced Senate and House versions of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, which would overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under this new law, manufacturers would have to demonstrate that new chemicals are safe before they can put them on the market, and all existing chemicals would have to be assessed for safety over the next five to 15 years. The Obama administration has signaled that it will support the bill. And in April, a panel that advises the president on cancer issued a 200-plus-page report calling for all levels of government "to protect every American from needless disease through rigorous regulation of environmental pollutants," including BPA. "We expect the chemical industry to fight reform tooth and nail, but there's broad bipartisan support for more regulation because nobody in his right mind supports exposing kids to toxins," says Smith.

Making a Difference
With EDC exposure so ubiquitous, you may wonder if you can keep your family safe. "The good news is that it's completely doable to make small changes that have real benefits," says Dr. Woodruff. For example, many of these chemicals pile up in household dust, so dusting, wet mopping, and vacuuming frequently can reduce your family's exposure, especially if your child is crawling and at that stage where he's putting everything in his mouth. (See "Safer Swaps," below, for more simple substitutions.) "Since many of the EDCs have a short half-life, they can be quickly flushed out of your body once the exposure is removed," explains Smith. Which is exactly what we want to hear as we wait for chemical-policy reform and for scientists to understand the full scope of these daily yet preventable EDC exposures. As Amy Ellings says, "You shouldn't have to worry every time you shop for your family."

Safer Swaps 
Whether you make one, some, or all, your family's health will benefit -- and fast.

Instead of: Personal-care products that list "fragrance" as an ingredient  
Try: Fragrance-free shampoo, moisturizer, and other staples. Burt's Bees, California Baby, and Earth Mama Angel Baby are three phthalate-free brands. Find safer products by checking their ratings in the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database at

Instead of: Heavily fragranced cleaning products  
Try: A spray bottle filled with a solution of half vinegar, half water. Or use Clorox, Seventh Generation, or Method, cleaning-product brands that are free of phthalates and most other EDCs.

Instead of: Buying new toys without knowing what they may contain  
Try: Seeing whether their test results are listed on, an online database of more than 5,000 products run by the Ecology Center, a Michigan environmental nonprofit.

Instead of: A water bottle that's made of plastic or aluminum (which may be lined with BPA) Try: Stainless steel

Instead of: Canned goods 
Try: Soups or tomatoes that are packaged in glass jars; fresh or frozen produce; dried beans

Instead of: Liquid formula in metal cans 
Try: Powdered formula in cardboard or plastic. If you must use liquid, choose concentrate in glass or plastic.

Instead of: Microwaving in plastic or pouring hot liquids into BPA-containing bottles or containers Try: Transferring your leftovers to a glass or ceramic bowl before you heat them up, heating baby formula in BPA-free bottles or by putting the bottle in a bowl of warm water.

Instead of: Using any plastic, especially baby bottles and other children's products, labeled #7 (polycarbonate) or #3 (PVC)  
Try:Remembering this mantra: "4, 5, 1, and 2 -- all the rest are bad for you." Look for a product labeled BPA-free and find out why it's safer. WeilBaby bottles, for instance, are made with Tritan (a copolyester that is also free of phthalates) and manufactured in the U.S. on equipment that makes only BPA-free products. BornFree Eco-Friendly Baby Bottles are made from polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), a plastic that does not contain BPA, PVC, or phthalates, and can be returned to the manufacturer for recycling. has more ideas for affordable, nonplastic food-storage containers, bottles, and children's goods. When you do use plastic of any kind, don't put it in the dishwasher.

Instead of: Carpets, curtains, and furniture that have been treated with flame retardants  
Try: Naturally fire-resistant wool, hemp, and cotton. (With furniture, and other big purchases, before you buy always ask the manufacturer whether it uses a chemical coating.)

Take Action for Tougher Chemical Laws 
Check out these Web resources to get involved.
Join the MomsRising "Safer Chemicals" campaign:
Through the Environmental Defense Fund, send a letter to your Congressperson, letting him or her know that tougher chemical regulation is important to you:
Stay up-to-date on pending legislation with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition:
Learn more about the research of the Washington Toxics Coalition, which conducted Amy Ellings's test:

~Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Moment of Mommy Encouragement

“The more that people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all.” 
~ Dr. Benjamin Spock, his observance after a lifetime of working with families.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

As Promised...

Pool-Baby pictures!



Sewing, Shop-ing, and Swimming

I am so excited!

I just this morning picked up the cutest, cutest, cutest printed PUL fabrics for making some more cloth diapers!

These fabrics are stretchy knits that have been laminated with PUL to make them waterproof, so they won't require a diaper cover (who would want to cover up that kind of cuteness?!).

I can't wait! 

And, speaking of, I wanted to take a sec to let anyone interested know that, even though the Mama & Nonni Handmades shop is on vacation, I am happy, happy, happy to take custom orders.  
Diapers, bibs, burp cloths, cloth wipes- I'm more than happy to sew them up for you!

The shop's vacation is only temporary- "Mama" has gone back to work full time, and "Nonni" is just still trying to get her ducks in a row.  So, we're mixing it up a little, trying to figure out who will be doing what, and how it will be getting done.  :)  We're hoping to have listings back up on Etsy this fall.

BUT, if you're interested in having something made before then, just let me know!  ;)

You can contact me for custom orders, or order inquiries, at:  Bright Beginnings Playgarden @ gmail . com (without all the pesky spaces of course).

And, as for swimming, well today will be Regan's first day at the pool!  
As the heat index here is around 100 today, we're looking forward that trip this afternoon!

I'm sure I'll have many pool-baby pictures to share afterward, but for now here are some to tide the grandmas, aunts, and friends over.

Be back soon!  :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Simple Thoughts Sunday- 7/18/10

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
~Douglas Adams

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Appreciating the Home Life- 7/17/10

"Houses become homes when women make them so."

-Dr. Laura (The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Would still smell as sweet, right?  ;)
And, so, I've been thinking of changing the name of the blog.

"Just Another Day in Paradise" is fun- I like it, and it kind of is what we're living here (I reference the song, not literal paradise!), but it's already taken.  More than once, actually.  Just look at all of these Paradise's:

here , here, here, and here- just to name a few.

The problem is, that I'm not coming up with something I like...

I'd like the new name to reflect what this little 'ol blog is about- family life, learning to live more simply, being real, the ups (and downs) of parenting, and learning the "home arts".

Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Doesn't THAT sound "grand"!  ;)

I found this:

from this site.  

It says "june 2010", but I'm just plain adopting it in general.  

A lot of these have been my "goals" to make happen/ make habit this summer and carry on into the rest of the year.

I'm progressing slowly- but progress is still progress.  ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Appreciating the Home Life...

As an inspiration to myself (and maybe some of you out there too?), I'm going to try to post sweet, encouraging, quotes like these- as I find them.  :)
"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home do more for the soul 
than their simplicity might suggest."

-Thomas Moore

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lucky Again!

It's hard for me to believe, but my "lucky streak" has continued!

I was the lucky, lucky winner of another giveaway!

This time, I won some great organic baby goods from Dress Me Up, a wonderful 
little company from Victoria BC.
Dress Me Up (via their website) "specializes in beautiful, organic toys for young children that are gentle and safe, and always art-inspired. We are a mama-made (not factory made!) independent cottage industry located in Victoria British Columbia, Canada."

Regan is now the soon-to-be lucky owner of a Teething Bon-Bon and Leaf Bib, courtesy of the Luvinthemommyhood giveaway.  How great is that?!

(Image from Luvinthemommyhood.)

Perfect timing too- Miss Regan is currently NOT pleased to be working on cutting 
another tooth or two.  

Please do take a moment to check out Dress Me Up and Luvinthemommyhood- maybe you can be lucky too!  ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little Perspective...

...In the midst of a week of very little sleep.

"To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lucky, Lucky, Me!!!

The powers that be must be feeling sorry for me in my completely sleep deprived state, because...

I  WON!!!!!!!  :D

 (Image from The Cloth Diaper Whisperer)

And, I never win.

So, I'm doing the Happy Dance.

I'll be at it all day, too, so don't bother me.


Desperately Seeking Sleep

The Small One, who may very well be known from here on out as The Sleepless Monkey-Tyrant, is creating havoc with my sanity.

I am not capable of staying sane with little to no sleep.

And, the child's average bedtime these days is 1 a.m.

Exaggerate I do not.

I am desperate for your help.

How do you get your little one's to sleep?

I am not expecting her, at nine months, to sleep through the night.

I don't mind a night nursing or two- in fact, I enjoy the closeness and the cuddling.

I just want to know how to put her to sleep.

Once she does go down, she usually stays that way (at night anyway- daytime naps are a whole 'nother thing) for a couple of hours.

What is your bedtime routine?  What works for your children?

Our "usuals" (rocking, nursing, singing, patting, etc.) aren't working anymore.

It was literally a two-hour plus fight tonight- involving a kicking, bucking, crying, refusing to be rocked, nursed, shushed, sung to, or patted baby.


Dear Lord, give me strength.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Giveaway at Bella Luna Toys' blog!

Have you heard of this book?

Making a Family Home

I've been wanting it for a while now, and Moon Child , the Bella Luna Toys blog, has a great interview with the author posted today.  

And, they are giving a copy away to one lucky winner, so go check it out!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A POX on our house!!!

Yep, that's right- Chicken Pox that is.

Regan has it.  

I have no idea how or where she contracted it, being that she's home with me, not in a daycare or childcare setting, and that we're pretty much home-bodies (unless we're visiting family- which we've done several times just lately).

But, have it she does!  She's doing pretty well so far- no fever yet, just continuing to slowly show more of the blistery little bumps here and there.  She's, for the most part, not even crabby- but I (as the mommy) can tell that she's just not quite her usual self.

I'm actually rather happy (gasp! I know- bad mommy!) that she's got it- we're not big into the whole vaccination thing in general, and I've heard (both from friends and the doctor) and read that the shot isn't nearly as good- and not as permanent- as getting the "wild" version.  Don't get me wrong- I really feel for her and the possible suffering she may yet be going through before it's all said and done- but it's (for the most part) a harmless childhood disease that only makes its "victims" suffer more the older they are when they get it.

We've been told that babies generally get the most mild cases, and that to get it as a teenager or adult can not only cause a lot more suffering, but also brings with it the risk of more complications- like pneumonia.

So, we're pox-ed.

The next 7-10 days look like they'll be spent here at home.
(While we aren't worried about Chicken Pox ourselves, we respect that it is very contagious and that there are many families who would rather their children not get it.)

Apparently those who are pox-ed are contagious until the spots are all gone- and, at least until a child is covered with the things, the Pox seem to be quite elusive.  I haven't yet been able to get a good picture of my chubby little baby's polka-dotted legs.


Oh well- looks like a lot more cuddle time is in our very near future.