A native Iowa Citian who returned to raise my family here, I find myself *far* more opinionated when it comes to everything from the restaurants to the city council. Here is my $.02.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Reduce Reuse Recycle

A good friend of mine recently pointed out to me that I am a wee bit of a hippy. True. My husband and I are avid recylcers and use mostly natural cleaning products...Except in my toilets because Lord knows only bleach kills that funk. In my defense, I love my modern conveniences, do shave, don't use drugs and out grew my tie dye phase in college.

Recycling is a passion of ours. It wasn't of mine the first 23 years of my life. I fought Matt tooth and nail on this issue. It was far easier to throw stuff away and be done with it. (I do occasionally have a relapse. Sometimes I just get mad at the 65 lbs. of recycling from two weeks of collecting on my back deck and throw away a milk jug. That is rebellion at it's finest. Even then I feel guilty. Please God of the Landfill, forgive me. I hath thrown recyclable materials into the heap. Sometimes I even dig it back out. Pathetic, I can't believe I am even admitting to it.)

Chomp on this thought before you toss another bottle into the trash. "It is important to remember that recycling recovers valuable raw materials. If we make aluminum cans from recycled cans, then we don't have to disturb the environment by mining and smelting the mineral bauxite which is used in the manufacture of aluminum. Recycling reduces pollution and saves energy." www.recycle.com

Matt always says "I want to leave this world a better place for my children." Sweet huh?

So after being named a hippy, I realized just how much we recycle. It would be more if we still had our compost bin but Oh. My. God. The wretched smell that seeped forth from that beauty could kill anything that came within 30 feet on a hot summer day. I said NO MORE. I am still shocked I won. Although Matt reads this blog and I can just tell you what I will probably now get for Valentine's day or Mother's day this year.

What do you recycle you ask?
Everything. Even Styrofoam is recyclable but our city doesn't do it because of the cost.

  • yogurt containers
  • milk gallons
  • boxes - food boxes (pasta, cereal, crackers, etc.) Kleenex, diapers, wipes, tooth paste refills, Swiffer refills, markers, paper, soap, etc.
  • shampoo bottles
  • insides tubes of paper towel and toilet paper rolls
  • clothing tags once you have taken off the annoying clear plastic connector
  • paperboard most often found on the back of a plastic covered toy
  • plastic bags
  • paper bags *although Hy Vee sells these canvas reusable bags that we use when we don't forget about them*
  • glass jars and bottles
  • aluminum cans
  • newspapers
  • pop, beer, wine and water bottles
  • mail - envelopes, magazines, catalogs *anything that does not have personal information on it, that stuff goes to the shredder*

I admit, I had to peek at my back deck to see what all was looming out there. Time to send hubby to the recycling center.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Got Kids?

I am the last person who should be shelling out advice, especially on parenting. My 2 year old didn't sleep through the night until he was 15 months old. We have a perpetual heap of dirty laundry and it's been a week since our dinner table has seen anything green on it besides boogers (inadvertently.)

Here are things I would do right the first time...

Buy a super comfy rocker that reclines. Major bonus if the company can have it made in a fabric that repels moisture for those projectile vomits, poops, leaky bottles, etc. I stress the reclining portion. It may cost more, but will save you in chiropractic bills from the crank neck you will get from passing out in the chair with your snuggly baby on your chest from 1-3 am. Then again from 3:14 to 5:36 am. Then again from 6:11 until the alarm goes off.

Take a minute to think, whatever hour of the day, you are not alone. There are millions of parents all over the world in the exact same position feeling like they too, are the creator of the world's only baby-not-sleep-a-lot-omous.

Invest in gas drops. You can use them the day you get home from the hospital. Every two hours. For as long as you need. Our new babe screams her brains out at night along with red faced grunts. Gas-a-roni. Most nights we do a pre-emptive strike and give them to her an hour before bed time. Doesn't always work but at least we get a head start. NOTE: It takes an entire bottle to relieve adult gas pains. Not recommended. This comes from experience. (Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

Learn to smile and say "Thank you." If you choose to breastfeed or not to breastfeed, be prepared to have every person you meet tell you what to do with your bodily fluids. Technically, I think this is illegal in most states. Or should be.

Expect less. Ask for more. Take up offers for dinners, house cleaning, laundry helpers and baby holders. Even if you just take a shower, it makes a world of difference. We adored those generous souls who brought us dinners. It was probably the biggest help and lifted our spirits after those very tiring first few weeks. If you don't live close to family and close friends, stock your freezer. I found my husband devouring casseroles. He won't eat my casseroles to save his life but when other people do such a nice thing, everything seems to taste delicious.

If you need them, take your pain meds. If a doctor writes you a prescription, take it. I was goofier than a drunk at Sunday school but I felt great. There is an overinflated need to be super heros this day in age and I think those women are just nutty. Isn't there an old saying "ignorance is bliss?" End of discussion. Pass me my Percocet please.

Burp often. Babies need burped after crying just as they do after being fed.

Change diapers often. Better safe than sorry. A little butt cream at night is a good preventive action against diaper rash. The Target brand is more than a dollar cheaper, doesn't stink and works the same. Same goes for gas drops mentioned above and pretty much every other product except diapers and wipes.

Which brings me to...Pampers. Swaddlers are the best, then to Cruisers. You won't ruin clothes with those projectile poops. Babies stay dry. Little boys won't pee up their armpits. They are all around the best diaper and well worth the few extra pennies. Coupons make them the same price as the other brands. Clip. Clip. Clip.

Don't let your family or society make you feel guilty about any choice you make. From baptism to sleep issues. The only person I listen to is my pediatrician and always my instincts. Your doc will know when it's right to start cereal, that your bigger/smaller than average baby is healthy as can be and overall what works best for your wee one. Babies are clumped into categories, neglecting the fact that they are individuals. Tiny individuals. Tiny individuals who love to pee and poo with the diaper off, but that pee and poo might be coming from a future president of the United States.

Baby acne, cradle cap, crossed eyes and other weirdo things that happen to almost every baby can't be avoided. Relax. It bothers you more than it bothers them.

While writing this I was interrupted by the gassy baby mentioned above 14 times. Not that I mind, it means I got to kiss her goodnight 14 more times tonight. What could be better than that?