July 22, 2011

Organic Mama Is Moving!!!

Hi there! I'm so glad you've stopped by to visit. I'm actually writing in a new place now and all my previous posts can be found there as well. So, if you want to make a comment, make sure you do it in my new space so I can respond.

Come visit me at Organicmamacafe.com

See you there!
Monna, the Organic Mama

July 7, 2011

"Someday" is a Dangerous Word

Someday is a word with a rather fanciful quality about it, isn't it? It is often imbued with unfulfilled longings, wistful nostalgia about who we used to be or dreams of what we might become - eventually.

Lately I've been thinking "someday" isn't as much fanciful as it is dangerous because we often use it to describe a day that never comes. For example...

"Someday", I'll lose weight and fit into those size 6 jeans again.

We'll get married "someday", when we can afford a wedding.

"Someday", I'll learn to say no to extra activities that eat up my spare moments and do what I'm really dreaming of.

"Someday" when things slow down, we'll go get that coffee and catch up!

"Someday", when we make more money, we'll stop using credit and pay with cash.

I'll open that coffee shop "someday" when I'm feeling more brave.

"Someday", when I'm finally back to my "real" size, I'll go shopping for that new wardrobe. In the meantime, these old clothes will do. It'll motivate me.

"Someday", we'll go on that vacation. I just can't take time off work right now. 

The problem with "Someday" is that someday never comes.

And all those dreams and hopes about what you want your life to be are just wistful thinking until you -

Set a goal

Make a plan


Execute it. 

What "someday" have you been putting off? Stop using the word "someday" and do it!

July 5, 2011

Bringing Isaac Home - You Can Help!

About a week ago, I spent a wonderful evening at a craft night reconnecting with friends I knew from my high school youth group. I know some of you who know me might be asking, "Craft night? Monna???" and then bursting into hysterical laughter. Ok, ok. I can take the ridicule. You might remember my Facebook pic of the unfortunate felting incident which clearly illustrates my singular lack of crafting skill. Therefore, why would I go to a craft night? So glad you asked.

Friends of mine created this craft night to create items that can be sold to support the adoption of a very special little boy named Isaac. My friends Jason and Jaime, already parents of three beautiful kids, want to add Isaac to their family.  Now, I could try to tell you the story of how they came to this decision or I can let you read their story here and point you to the blog where they're chronicling their journey here.

I will tell you that they have a huge amount of money to raise - $40,000 - to adopt Isaac. I can tell you that Isaac has Down Syndrome. In his country, Down Syndrom kids are usually institutionalized by age 4 and their survival rate after that goes down significantly. Isaac is now 3. I can also tell you that I have known Jaime and Jason for years and that just thinking of them always warms my heart and brings a smile to my face. They are lovely people, inside and out and are kind, honest and of the highest character. I know they will be wonderful and loving parents to Isaac.

Yes, I know. This baby is wearing a pink onesie. But, it really is Isaac
Just a note about adoption fundraising. Prior to becoming a parent, I thought this was a really strange idea. After all, if someone wants to adopt, shouldn't they be responsible enough to do it themselves? Then, I had kids and my heart opened to the needs of children around the world to be fed, clothed, rescued from desolation - loved. Now, I think of what I hope someone else would do to help my children if I were gone. And, then, I take every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children (and adults) near me, even if I only have $5 or my talents to offer. There are so many children who need homes and if I can help in any way, I'm on board!

So, I donated to Isaac's adoption as soon as I heard.

Hope you will help too. You can donate here.

Please -  Pass this link along to anyone who you think might be interested in helping!

 Here are some memories of the great craft night. Don't worry, I did not waste any crafting supplies by trying to create anything. This post is my contribution..

Darling little aprons
Jeanine, one of the lovely and craft-talented volunteers
Paper bead necklaces. These are hard work!
One of the necklaces, modeled by my friend Megan.
Beautiful friends from high school, Megan and Rachel. They look like they just graduated, right?
One of my favorite items, a pillowcase dress of retro fabric!
A volunteer to whom I should probably donate my own scrapbooking supplies. She actually might use them!
Darling little hair baubles. My daughter proudly wears one!
All the talented women! Jaime is gal in the middle wearing the gray shirt. Photo Credit to Megan O of The O Show blog

June 29, 2011

Feeling Blue? Practical Remedies for Post Partum Depression

Pregnancy and birth are two of the most amazing experiences in a woman's life. The power of our bodies to create, grow and deliver a beautiful little life is mind boggling. And, our bodies serve up a rather dizzying cocktail of natural hormones to create and sustain that tiny person growing inside us. While on the one hand, those hormones prepare us for birth by pushing us into a nesting frenzy and giving us that mama bear protectiveness after birth, they can also leave us reeling with the rapidity with which our emotions can swing from one extreme to another.

Since those hormone start ramping up from the start of pregnancy to at least the first few months after delivery (and longer if one breastfeeds), it's often hard to tell where the hormones end and where mom begins. Looking back at my two post-birth experiences, I remember times (when I thought I was acting completely rational) I would now categorize as, well, crazy-style! Then there were days when I knew I wasn't feeling right, like the time I visited my OB's office after my first baby, and began sobbing hysterically when realized I didn't have my insurance card and the office staff was rude to me. Seriously. Loud, hiccuping sobs. So embarrassing and so normal!

Now that I'm two and a half years past my most recent delivery, I can clearly see that while my emotions were probably a lot higher due to the death of my parents around the time I was delivering, I still definitely suffered from PPD each time. I contribute it to PPD partly because with each delivery, I felt a distinct change in my emotional and physical health around the two year mark. Thankfully, the first time, despite my having hysterics in public, my OB encouraged me that as long as I didn't feel I was a danger to myself or my baby, I didn't need antidepressants. As a mama who really does believe in avoiding pharmaceuticals as much as possible because of potential dangerous side affects, I'm truly grateful to her for her wise help.

So, what should you do if you're suffering from PPD? Here are some of the things I have done with success.

1. Get a little Vit D daily - as in Real Sunshine.
My dad always said that if you're feeling blue, open the blinds and let the light in. I think you should not only let the light into your house but go out for 15 minutes and let it shine on your bare skin. The brilliance of the light truly will illuminate your whole spirit. It remindes me of a verse I memorized from the Bible as a kid, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." The light of the sun is a powerful healer. Let in the light so it can blast the darkness away.

2. Get exercise daily.
You're up at crazy hours with a new baby anyway, right? Stumble out of bed and walk up and down your block. Seriously. You don't have to run a marathon. You just had a baby for goodness sake. Take it ssssssslllllllllllllllllloooooooooooowwwwwww.  And leave the baby with your partner. You need a break.

3. Take a shower. Every.single.day.
If you haven't had a baby, you may be saying, "Duh, Mons. Obviously."

Have I got news for you, newbie. Just wait till it's your turn. Hahaha!!  It's not that easy to shower when you have a 2 1/2 year old running around wreaking havoc while your newborn screams because you've put her down for the 45 seconds it takes you to pee. A full two minute shower with a screaming baby seems interminable and not relaxing. At. All.

But - Mama - do it anyway. Strap your precious munchkin into the bouncy seat, set it next to the shower and steel your heart against the cries while you lather yourself up and let that hot (or cold) water run over you for two whole minutes. Trust me. You'll feel like a new woman and your baby will thank you.

3. Connect with other adults besides your partner.
This is so much harder than it seems! There are no end to the reasons not to get out. First of all, gathering the gear to get two small children out of the house, not to mention ensuring they both have clean diapers, is a nearly overwhelming task. I learned to pack my diaper bag the night before and try to have my bottles filled (nope, breastfeeding did not go well for me!). Hot carseats, nap schedules and other stuff get in the way. But, keep trying! Find places to talk with adults whether it's a La Leche League meeting, mother's playdate group on meetup.com, church, the library or the check out at the grocery store. You need adult interaction and your partner needs a break - no matter how amazing they are.

4. Sleep every chance you get!
Every more experienced mom I knew said to me, "Sleep when your baby sleeps." And, just as many times I probably ignored that advice because I thought I was different. My house needed to be perfect. Boy was I tired! The second time I had a baby, I listened. Now I'm saying it to you. Just go to sleep. Trust me, the laundry will still need to be folded when you wake up - for the next 18 years. So, just relax, get some rest and everything will seem better in the morning.

5. Eat nourishing food and drink lots of water.
Look ladies, right after you have a baby is not the time to start a crazy weight loss plan. Relax and recover. Eat food that will give you strength - lots of great veggies, healthy proteins, whole grains, fruit and some dairy. You'll feel more nourished and up to the task.

6. Listen to music and dance like a crazy, crazy person.
This is actually advice from my first OB, Nichelle Whitehead M.D. Such great counsel. Be silly. Listen to something that reminds you of who you were before you became, "Mama" all day long. Jazz, Rock, Top 40, whatever. Dance around with your hands in the air and laugh at the sight you probably make.

7. Speaking of laughing, try it.
Find something that makes you laugh every day. Watch a funny show, read the comic strip, surf Youtube.com. There is something out there that will lift your spirits. Make it your daily assignment.

8. Visit a respected herbalist or acupuncturist for help. A good herbalist will be able to suggest herbs safe for nursing mothers. And, acupuncturists specialize in putting bodies and emotions back in balance. I find acupuncture so relaxing, I usually fall asleep during my treatments. Aaaaahhhh....

However, if you are depressed after having a baby, don't hide it. Talk to someone who loves you about what you're going through. Don't wait till you feel you're a danger to yourself or your baby. If you are, get help right away. Call your OB. Call your mom or your partner. Do not be embarrassed! Hormones and lack of sleep can affect our minds in surprising and profound ways.

Whatever your post partum experience, taking good care of yourself after having a baby is essential to your overall health as a mom, a partner and whole woman. Take care of yourself so you can take better care of your family!

June 28, 2011

Organic Mama's 3 Ways to Save in the Summer Heat

Summer is definitely here and I don't know about you, but I find myself needing cool refreshment a lot more often. Since I love to hit up my local coffee shops, I have to find ways to save a little extra to afford my regular coffee or tea - hehehe...

Here are some things we do or have done in the past to save money on our regular bills each month.

1. Save on your energy bills by switching to a Time of Use plan.
Both SRP and APS offer savings on energy to customers willing to shift using energy sucking appliance like dishwashers, washers and dryers to off peak hours. APS has several different plans and SRP offers online calculators to help you determine if switching your usage will save you money. Comparing basic usage to the cost savings reveals that basic prices in July are as much as 12.12c a kilowatt hour vs. time of use price of 6.65c per kilowatt hour. Pretty significant when you add it up! It might take some adjusting to get used to a time of use plan, but in the end, it can mean great savings for you.

2. Use water wisely in the summer
Whether you're gardening or just filling up that pool, avoid unnecessary evaporation by watering in the cooler hours of the day. The University of Arizona's Master Gardener site also offers great tips for growing healthier plants by watering deeply and more effectively to create drought tolerant plants that need less water.

And, if you want to save money by using less water indoors, do what my mom always did and set guidelines for shorter shower times. With five girls, you can imagine it was a pretty huge cost savings to cut our shower time from 10 minutes each to 2. Yikes! Now that I've paid those water bills, I can only imagine those bills!

3. Use a clothesline rather than a dryer
According to Laundry List, drying laundry in the dryer can cost between $0.15 and $0.40 a load. If you're washing for a family, this adds up! If you switch to line drying you'll not only save money on the dryer, you'll save money because your clothes will last longer.

My clothes are currently on the line outside and in this heat, they'll be dry within an hour. I also have an indoor drying rack in my townhouse and those clothes take a little longer. A word of wisdom about outside line drying...be sure you turn your clothes inside out and dry them in the shade to avoid fading the colors. Unless you're drying something white. Then, put it in the sun for natural bleaching power!

There you have it. Three ways great ways to save cash toward your savings account or toward a nice cold latte from your favorite local java joint!
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