Inspiring natural, happy, healthy families!

I’ll Take It! June 21, 2011

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — My Natural Family @ 11:42 am

So many helpful thoughts and suggestions were generously offered to me throughout the week for the “help a new mother out” sale.¬† It pretty much reaffirmed how gracious and caring circle ME’s clientele are ūüôā¬† It’s hard to narrow down all the wonderful advice, so as promised, I’ll share a few of the tidbits that were¬†delightfully practical, and some that really warmed my heart (and some of them even made me cry a bit…these hormone fluctuations are going to be the death of me):

* It’s good to try to be “Super Mom,” but it’s okay (and expected) that in some areas you may fall short. Prioritize what aspects are most important to you, your husband, and your baby.

* My “advice” is to try to limit the number of parenting books you read (amen, sister) and instead find some moms you trust and ask them for help because they know you and can¬†walk alongside you on¬†your journey.

* The first 6 weeks are about survival: if baby is¬†bathed, dressed and fed¬†and mommy is bathed, dressed and fed then it was a successful day.¬† What helped my husband and I survive?¬† Establishing a ROUTINE!¬† As a first time mom, I found it very difficult to read my baby’s cues — is she crying because she’s hungry?¬† Tired?¬† Overstimulated?¬† Trying to figure out what my baby was telling us was easiest for me when we stuck to a routine (as this momma and I were talking, she shared that routine and “schedule” were not the same thing: routine is more the order of how you do things: feed, followed by activity, followed by sleep.¬† If you fed Baby, then did an activity, but she then cried when you laid her down to rest when she normally would just fall asleep, you know she may need to¬†be fed¬†again before she sleeps.¬† It’s not saying “Well I just fed you an hour ago and I’m not going to feed you again for another hour or two because that’s not our schedule).

* Sleep when your baby sleeps.¬† It’s not always possible, but when the opportunity is there jump on that train fast!¬† You don’ t realize how vital sleep is until you go 48 consecutive hours without it.

* Always pick the sling over the stroller.  Baby is much happier.


* Don’t forget about yourself.¬† The old saying “If Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy” is actually true.¬† It’s so easy to get swept up in being this beautiful little person’s mom that many forget that they also enjoy doing other things and have hobbies or work that they love.¬† Take care of yourself too and you will be better equipped to take care of your baby.

* Cherish both the quiet nights and early mornings — they grow up so fast, and you’ll never look back and wish you hadn’t held your baby through those sleepy times.

* Breastfeeding can be tough the first 6 weeks especially!  A pump will be the best investment you ever make.  Pump after a feeding if possible to up your milk production and get some of that vital hind-milk!

* My best advice to you as a new parent is to never forget to give your husband lots of attention also.¬† It’s so easy as a mom to get wrapped up in our children.¬† Put your relationship with him first as often as possible and your children will grow up in a two-parent home with a great example of what marriage can be.¬† By putting him first, you are creating the best future they can have.

*¬† Be who you want your kids to become.¬† This is ultimately our greatest challenge but also our most important task…Often we focus on WHAT we want our children to be rather than WHO we want them to be.¬† So we spend money, time and energy making sure they will be smart, athletic, creative, etc. by fretting over music classes, sports teams and tutoring.¬† But what really matters is WHO they are; that we are raising individuals who will be people of character, honor our earth and take care of one another.¬† And how do they learn that?¬† By watching us….After all, how many times do we catch ourselves thinking, “I sound just like my mother!”¬† That’s because, indeed, children mirror the character modeled to them.¬† So BE who you want them to BECOME.¬† And expect to mess up and need Grace along the way ūüôā

* Do not be afraid to apologize to your children when you’ve made a genuine mistake.¬†

Reading all these words of wisdom made me even more excited (and thankfully less terrified)¬†to embark on this journey of motherhood.¬† It makes me wish I could hold this kid in my¬†arms right now ūüôā¬† I think the most comforting things to hear were that I can expect to make mistakes.¬† On paper, and through my academic study of child development, various theories on parenting make it seem like if you¬†“just do this, follow this, and practice this your child will be perfect.”¬† Obviously, there’s no such thing as¬†a perfect child or a perfect parent, so to¬†hold yourself, your children or your husband up to unrealistic expectations can be disappointing, to say the least.¬† All we can do for sure¬†is¬†love our families abundantly¬†and unconditionally, and support other moms and dads as they make their way through the same daunting (and amazing) adventures.

What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned on your journeys through birth and¬†parenthood?


Skin-scare June 14, 2011

Filed under: Earth Friendly Products — My Natural Family @ 12:37 pm

I’m beginning to wonder if “dermatologist recommended” actually means anything.¬† A few years back I worked as an Arbonne consultant for about a day.¬† Turns out I’m an atrocious sales person,¬†but I did manage to learn a lot about ingredients that are present in everything from shampoo to face cleansers to cosmetics.¬† It really opened my eyes to the fact that we may not be putting the healthiest things on our or our kids’ skin, and quite frankly it made me a little angry.¬† Not at consumers, of course, but at the companies who were touting “All Natural Ingredients,”¬† “Hypoallergenic” and “Noncomedegenic” (this means your face wash isn’t very funny), as if these buzz words were enough to promise¬†a healthy¬†solution to blocked pores, dry skin, and dull hair.¬†

I started dissecting¬†ingredient labels on the products that claimed to be dermatologist recommended and all-natural: mineral oil, petrolatum (yes, this is a refined form of pertoleum…the stuff you use to fuel your car), sulfates, and parabens¬†were in EVERYTHING I was using.¬† After doing some research and learning these¬†ingredients are about the worst things you can put on your skin, both for superficial cosmetic reasons and not-so-superficial health reasons, I began to wonder why on earth these ingredients were even allowed to be in our¬†skin care products.¬† It was more than unsettling to discover that the US is one of the only advanced countries where the FDA does not regulate the cosmetic industry (they don’t even regulate our food very well, in my opinion.¬† But that is neither here nor there), meaning you can fill a bottle with nothing but 100% “All Natural” mineral oil and call it Baby Oil.¬† An oil that can create an unpenetratable¬†layer on one’s skin, making it impossible for pores to do their job and let the skin breathe, is marketed as a product for babies!¬† I decided one of my priorities would be taking the time to research ingredient labels on all my cosmetic and skin care products.¬† Thankfully, despite lax regulations, you¬†can find quite a few companies here in the US that actually do use organic, truly natural products that are sulfate, paraben, and petrolatum-free (Badger Balm and Burt’s Bees products are my favorites).*

Maybe I’m just getting too crunchy for my own good, but it’s enough to make me one of those crazy moms who screams anytime someone tries to put Banana Boat Sunscreen on my child’s face.¬† Wonder why that would freak me out?¬† Check out¬†to see¬†how some of our most popular cosmetic and skin care products stack up in the eyes of the Environmental Working Group.¬† WARNING: you might accidentally spend the better half of your day on this website and leave feeling somewhat nauseous and perturbed.

*This¬†post¬†is not intended to be¬†an add for Burt’s Bees or Badger Balm.¬† Simply, my personal experiences with these company’s¬†products¬†are good ones, and I respect their adherence to only putting natural and healthy ingredients in their products.


A Little Good Advice Really Pays Off. June 11, 2011

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — My Natural Family @ 3:21 pm

I’M GOING TO BE A MOM!¬† The reality of the situation is just barely beginning to sink in, but the hubs and I are pretty elated to say the least.¬†¬†Parenthood truly wasn’t in our plans for anytime in the near future, but if¬†I’ve learned anything of real¬†value¬†it’s that life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.¬† I’m pretty sure though that even if you’re actively trying NOT to get pregnant, all you have to do is drink a glass of tap water at circle ME…have you seen the number of pregnant women working here?!¬† It’s contagious.¬† Before any pregnancy test confirmed my fears joy, however, I knew something¬†was different back in early April.¬† I had this sudden visceral connection to¬†my strength as woman,¬†a¬†spiritual awareness of my¬†connection to¬†our Earth Mother and a keen sensation that my body¬†was somehow¬†paving the way to embark on the most magical, miraculous journey of a lifetime.¬† That and I was constipated.¬†

So, sure enough, on April 12th at 3:42 in the morning I peed on a stick and learned my first baby would be coming to meet us in 9 short months.¬† Oddly enough, my first thought was, “Well, I’ll finally¬†have a little street cred when it comes to giving parenting advice.”¬† I was half asleep.¬† But then I got really excited and woke my husband up to share the news!¬†

We had our 12 week appointment a week ago¬†and heard a good, strong heart beat on the doppler.¬† Our midwife offered to give us a non-formal ultrasound so we could see if it even slightly resembled a human yet, and it did!¬† The head to torso ratio was 1:1, but by golly it was cute!¬† And it was ACTIVE!¬† It was literally¬†swimming from one side of the amniotic sac to the other, flipping and wiggling all over the place.¬† Not even out of the womb and already a ham for the camera…I love this kid!¬† Our baby looked like it had ants in its pants.¬†¬† Ha!¬† Wouldn’t that be hilarious if he had tiny little pants on in there? Ahhhh…I’ve had a really hard time sleeping the past few weeks, so unfortunately my sense of humor is regressing pretty severely.

Anyway, this is certainly a whole new world for me.¬† The first trimester was a bit of an ordeal: I could barely keep anything down besides tortilla chips and pickle juice, which in turn caused a great amount of stress.¬† I thought for sure I was going to give¬†this kid¬†spina bifida¬†or something horrible because all I could eat was salty, empty calories.¬† Then I started stressing because I was stressed, thinking that my¬†anxiety would¬†turn my child into a neurotic, high-strung¬†worrier!¬† The books I read were no help either.¬† After leafing through one chapter of What to Expect When You’re Expecting I felt the book should be subtitled A Detailed Account of Everything That Could Possibly Go Wrong With Your Pregnancy.¬† Enjoy!¬† I thought merely laying off booze, cigarettes and crack-cocaine would be enough to support a healthy womb environment, but I was learning I couldn’t be more wrong!¬† I began to think that even the slightest bit of caffeine would send my unborn child spiralling into a speed addiction, and that coming within 80 feet of a cat would cause it to sprout a second head.

My mother, bless her heart, reassured me that the baby was fine and that I just needed to relax.¬† She reminded that there will always be something to worry about when your child is involved and if I didn’t learn to chill out I’d have an aneurism¬†before the kid got to college.¬† Breeeeaaaaaathhhhhe.

My mama, like all good moms I’m sure, have some truly sound parenting advice to share with expectant parents.¬† And I’d say from this post it’s pretty obvious that I could use some good, sound pregnancy and parenting advice.¬† So Bo Bryson, owner of Trinity Chiropractic and husband to circle ME’s owner Jennifer (who’s also expecting…told you!¬† It’s the tap water!) came up with a super fun idea:¬† come in to circle ME any time we’re open from Monday, June 13th – Monday the 20th with your best advice for me written on a piece of paper.¬† That printed advice will act as coupon good for 15% off your entire purchase that day!¬† You can bet that some of my favorites will end up on this blog ūüôā


Doing Laundry Au Natural June 6, 2011

Filed under: Earth Friendly Products — My Natural Family @ 4:59 pm

I’ve discovered I love being wrong.¬† Not when it comes to debates with my husband, mind you.¬† In those instances I very much enjoy being right.¬† But when it comes to thinking a product can’t possibly work because it’s a) natural and b) inexpensive,¬† I am happy to realize I am sorely mistaken.

For example, at first I was quite content with my dryer sheets and didn’t care that they were composed of an assortment of chemicals and additives I couldn’t pronounce.¬† They made my clothes soft and fluffy and even glazed them in a flower-simulated scent that I very much enjoyed.¬† But when the itchy skin and sudden breakouts started happening, I attributed it¬†to everything but what I was putting on my clothes and bedding during the laundry process.¬† At the recommendation of a dermatologist, I cut out dairy, soy, peanuts, bananas and anything else that might be causing my breakouts and rashes.¬† I spent tons of money on pricey body lotion and face washes¬†that temporarily soothed the dryness and bumps, but didn’t do much to combat them for good.¬† I was at my wit’s end when a holistic-minded, somewhat crunchy friend suggested that all my problems could be attributed to my dryer sheets.¬† She said children are especially sensitive to them, but¬†people can develop allergies to their ingredients at any point in adulthood as well.¬† Well, alright fine…but¬†what on earth am I supposed to do about my clothes?¬† I’ve dried them before when I’ve run out of dryer sheets and they take FOREVER to dry and come out so stactic-y they could stick to the wall.¬†

Enter dryer balls.¬† When I first heard of them I figured they might help my clothes dry just as fast, but wouldn’t do much to¬†ward off¬†static of make them nice and soft.¬† Alas, I was desperate, so I figured $10 for two balls wasn’t too risky of a gamble.¬† This is that moment I previously mentioned where I discovered I love being wrong.¬† Not only did these little guys get my laundry dry in¬†a mere¬†30 minutes, they¬†made my clothes oh-so-soft and there was no hint of bothersome static!¬† I felt pretty swell when I realized that I just spent the same amount of money on a product that would last me a couple of years¬†as I would have on¬†dryer sheets¬†that would only last me a few months.¬†¬† And the best part:¬† my skins rashes are gone.¬† Sweet relief!¬† I still have my lovely acne outbreaks every now and then…like five days out of every month…but I suppose there’s only so much you can do when your body is subject to the whims of drastic hormonal changes.¬†

I love saving money.¬† I love having soft skin and clothes. I love my dryer balls.¬† (And if you live anywhere near Lincoln, know that circle ME now carries the Dryer Max brand dryer balls for the low price of $9.99 per pair ūüôā ).


Wooly Love (and how you can win a free soaker!) June 4, 2011

Filed under: Fluff Stuff & All Things Cloth — My Natural Family @ 10:27 am

Sokay: I’m not sure if I have yet described my love affair with wool covers.¬† It seems crazy that wool could adequately protect furniture and bed sheets¬†from leaky diapers, but it does…incredibly well, as a matter fact.¬† Once wool is lanolized, it acts a waterproof yet breathable fabric, making it the perfect cover for nighttime and¬†a full-proof system for even the heaviest of wetters.¬† It makes me feel good knowing that it is a 100% natural fabric, so even if my baby ends up having sensitive skin it won’t act as an irritant and lead to rashes (unless of course the little guy ends up being allergic to wool.¬† Then my plans are foiled and I’ll probably even cry a little).¬† Add to that the low maintenance¬†factor (wool need only be washed once a week to once every two weeks or if poop gets on it; it’s naturally anti-microbial) and the adorable factor, and you’ve got yourself one perfect cover!¬† The craziest part is, because of it’s¬†naturally occurring¬†properties,¬†it will actually keep your kid cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The biggest (and perhaps only) turn off when it comes to wool is cost.¬† Wool covers can get rather pricey, ranging anywhere from $20 up to $50 (I’m sure there’s some crazy, custom-made¬†$200 cover out there that I just haven’t come across yet).¬† Definitely worth the investment, but for those of you who really want to try wool but just can’t pony up the dough, there is an answer to your problem: The Sleepy Sheep.¬† A Work-At-Home-Mom business based in Louisville, NE, Sarah from The Sleepy Sheep will custom make gorgeous and functional wool covers for any size baby, toddler or even adult (because of its trimness, wool makes a great cover for adults suffering from incontinence).¬† Her turn around time is super quick, and because she loves what she does and truly cares about each and every one of her customers, she is an absolute delight to work with!¬† Yet another bonus: her costs are ridiculously low.¬† The covers from her that we sell at circle ME¬†are as low as $11.00, and most are well under $20. ¬†She uses up-cycled sweaters (this √ľber¬†crunchy mama loves it!) and doesn’t have to pay any employees or compensate for overhead or advertising, so all her savings get transferred to you!

I’ve got even better news:¬† Brynn’s¬†Boutique (another amazing WHAM business) is hosting a Sleepy Sheep Giveaway!¬† Go to this link to¬†find out¬†how to enter to win¬†a soaker from The Sleepy Sheep.¬†

Here you can also see adorable pics of beautiful Brynn in a custom made wool skirtie from The Sleepy Sheep, and very helpful wool care and maintenence instructions.  Good luck all you wool-lovers out there!