Thursday, April 30, 2009

Green Audit #1

Today is April 30, and we are four months into the year. I thought it would be a good day to take a minute and see how the resolutions are going!

Resolutions 1 and 2 go together really. Our family has done a lot to reduce the size of our carbon footprint this year, and we are being way more careful about making mindful purchases. Here's some of the things we're doing:

1) We built a compost bin! The kids love to dump our kitchen waste into as well as helping me clean up yard waste to put in there. Trey took the pitch fork out there a couple of days ago and mixed it up really well, and it is starting to decompose really well. It has a great earthy smell to it. We are very excited to have a bunch of compost to put in our garden.

2) We have committed to serious gardening this year. We've put in a very small garden for several years running, but honestly it's been very small and not too successful. We're trying to actually grow a lot of things this year. So far we have rosemary, sage, lettuce, chard, and peas growing. They're doing very well. I had a heart attack the other night when it started snowing unexpectedly, but we managed to get most of our plants covered, and they all seemed to weather the storm pretty well.

3) We have indoor plants now! We are trying to "green" up the inside of our house. We have an aloe plant that seems to be doing pretty well. We also have a Jasmine plant that is growing like crazy! My friend Loelle gave me some cuttings from her plants, and they are still in the window and are doing really well, too. I plan on transplanting them AFTER the baby comes! The cat seems to love them as well, but so far she hasn't done too much damage.

4) We have all become more careful about recycling. We've recycled forever, but we have really gotten more conscious of it this year, and you can tell. We have to take the recycling bin down to the recycling dumpster several time a week. I think the bin itself has made a huge difference. We used to just have a bag that we'd hang on the cabinet door, and frankly, it was a real pain. The bin is much more convenient.

5) We have pretty much given up all disposable gift wrapping. We did have to buy gift wrap once, but that was because we forgot about a birthday party until the last minute, and I didn't have an appropriate bag made. That's the only time in four months though. I have a ton of gift bags made, and I have material to make several others. We're also trying to be really aware of the gifts we're giving. The kids have gotten really involved with the gift giving process making or helping make many of the gifts that have been given. It's really important to them to come up with gifts that they think their friends will love. They really enjoy the gift bags, too!

6) We joined a CSA (Grant Farms) this year. It's a local, organic CSA, and we'll be getting a produce box from them from mid-June to mid-December. I'm hoping to take the kids up there for a farm tour. We're also getting a fruit box for several months this year. It actually comes from the western slope, but not a lot of fruit grows well on the front range. We may be getting our eggs from Grant Farms as well. I love it that we're supporting a local, organic farm, and hopefully the CSA box will also help with my resolution of getting more fresh fruits and veggies in our diet!

7) We put up a clothesline! Okay, actually Trey put up the clothesline for me. I love it. I love the smell of the clothes when they come in off the line. They smell so fresh, and I love it that we're not using electricity to dry our laundry.

8) We're also using a new "detergent." The "detergent" is something that has been used for centuries. The product is called Maggie's soap nuts, and they are actually soap nuts that come from trees. You can't get more natural than that! I have yet to use it on diapers, and it may not be that good for too heavily stained things, but for normal laundry, it seems to work really well.

9) We're "greening" up our cleaning products. That one's pretty self explanatory! We're trying to use products that are more environmentally friendly, and we're using many homemade products as well.

10) We're being very careful about taking our own bags to the grocery story. Again, this is something that we've done for a while, but we haven't always been that diligent about it. We have a ton of bags, and we keep them in the car now. We've made big progress in this area. I actually had to deliberately leave my bags in the car a couple of weeks ago when I went to Target because I needed bags for my bathroom trash cans! LOL.

11) A small thing that we've started to do is to keep a big glass jug on the counter next to the sink. We try to remember to dump leftover water (from cups that the kids didn't finish, from the steamer, etc.) in it, and then dump it on the lawn, plants, or compost. It may not make much of a difference, but it helps.

12) I made a bunch of cloth napkins! Okay, this one may not actually help our carbon footprint because we tend to just do without napkins. LOL. Mom will be happy when she comes to visit though!

That's all I can think of right now, but I feel really good about the progress that we've been making. The kids are becoming little environmentalists, and I love it! They are so aware of the world around them. We are very proud of them. I have to say that it does my hippie heart good to see how green my darling husband has become. He's even joining a "green team" at church. If anyone reads this, I'd love to hear the changes you're making in your life to be more "green."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something to say

I have something to say, and it's not going to win me any friends. I've been called militant in my opposition of circumcision. I've had people tell me that my opinion was "extreme." I've had people be offended because I say that female genital mutilation is not any different from male genital mutilation. I could give you statistics. I could tell you why it's a human rights violation. I could tell you that the owner of the genitals should be allowed to decide what to do with them. But really, I think I only need to show people two pictures and ask them one question: Why is what's happening in the first picture a human rights violation, but what's happening in the second picture is not? (I'm going to place a warning that these pictures are horrific - click at your own risk.)
7 year old girl
3 year old boy

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blogging Anniversary

Ack! I can't believe I missed my blogging anniversary! I started this blog last year on April 24th, and it appears that I had a lot to share over the past year. So much has happened in a year that it makes me even more glad that I've kept this record of it all. Never in a million years did we think we'd be about to have another child enter our family. Trey lost a job and found a job. The kids have grown like weeds. The list goes on and on and on.

I do have a good reason for missing my blog-aversary. Last night I participated in a very cool event. It was a performance of Sources, a cantata by Jason Shelton and Kendyl Gibbons. Jason was there to conduct. Churches all along the front range participated as well as a small orchestra and three pianists. It was a truly amazing night, and I am very glad that I had the opportunity to participate. I can't wait to get the CD of the performance that I ordered. We ended up standing for a LONG time last night, and I could barely move by the time it was over, but it was totally worth it.

I also got Trey to take more belly pictures for me today, so here's my 38 week pictures! Yes, I am huge.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When you hold plastic, you hold eternity in your hand

I adapted that from someone else talking about styrofoam, but the same holds true for plastic. This post was going to be my Earth Day post, but I got home after choir practice late last night, and I was just too beat to blog! I've been doing a lot of serious thinking about all the plastic in our lives lately. Think about all the plastic around you. When you go to the store, notice every ounce of plastic on the shelves, in the produce section, the clam shell packaging, the plastic bags. Look at trash cans outside of stores when you walk by and notice all the plastic trash in there. Look at all the plastic packaging every time you buy ANYTHING. I was so thrilled when we found packages of organic underwear for the girls at Target that were in recyclable cardboard packaging! I'll bet you can't look around your room or kitchen for five seconds without finding multitudes of plastic. Now, think about this: nearly every ounce of plastic that has EVER been made is still in existence. We throw it away or recycle it and forget about it, don't we? Except for a small amount that has been incinerated (creating outrageously toxic gas), every single tiny piece of plastic that has ever been made is still out there - somewhere.

Where does it end up? Landfills? Yes. In our water supply? Yes. In our oceans? This is perhaps the creepiest yes of all. I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know this next little tidbit - I didn't until recently. Did you know there is a floating island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean that is TWICE THE SIZE OF TEXAS??? Yes, that's right - twice the size of Texas. There are similar islands in all oceans around the world. Wall-E doesn't seem quite so funny now, does it?

Now we come to - "the plastic conundrum." Can we just cut plastic out of our lives? Should we? My dear friend and I were discussing the plastic versus glass argument last night. Plastic is marketed to parents as the "safer" choice. You drop it on the floor, and it doesn't break! Wow - it's like magic. (Although that Costco size plastic jar of salsa that I dropped a few months back managed to shatter well enough sending mounds of cantina smelling gooey-ness everywhere.) The more I think about it though, I have to admit that I am beginning to think that a possible trip to the doctor for stitches isn't as big a risk as all the chemicals floating around in our environment and being ingested in our bodies on a daily basis. Even recycling plastic, while it helps, does not end the problem. Glass can be recycled very efficiently. A glass bottle can be recycled back into a glass bottle. A plastic bottle cannot be recycled back into a plastic bottle - part of it can be used for a new plastic bottle. Virgin plastic has to be used in all plastics that are used to hold products for human consumption.

I don't know the answer to "the plastic conundrum," but I do know that it's been weighing on my mind heavily. We will be working hard to reduce our plastic consumption in this household. You'll probably see little updates about how our "plastic diet" is going. Until then, if you want to read about the island of plastic - click this link:Plastic Ocean. Happy belated Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Well, Ray actually got this award a long time ago, but I have been unable to get the video onto my computer from my camera. We finally got it on Trey's computer. I don't know what the heck is up with that. Here is the long overdue video of my son receiving his SOAR award from Heritage Elementary. We are so proud of him!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beautiful, amazing, and perfect

My amazing friend Lara hosted a Mother Blessing for me yesterday. I've been trying to figure out what I would say that would do it justice, and I have finally come to the conclusion that it is not possible. It was the most perfect and amazing thing. Many of my friends were able to come and celebrate this pregnancy and coming baby with me. This pregnancy has been HARD - physically and emotionally. I know in the end, it will all have been worth it, and still it has been very hard. Having my friends around me for the specific purpose of honoring this new life being brought into the world and my journey into motherhood - again - was just amazing. Everyone contributed a beautiful part of themselves, and I was truly and completely overwhelmed.

I really can't begin to describe in words how beautiful the evening was. Christmas brought her flute and played two gorgeous pieces. She plays beautifully anyway, but they were incredibly moving. Probably the most surprising thing of the evening was when Lara read my own poem. It's a poem I posted a while back on this blog that I wrote after the birth of my oldest son. She read it with such passion that it really moved me. I never expected to be moved by my own words, but our journey into motherhood is very moving. That was a cool moment for me. They made a gorgeous birthing necklace for me (which I am just realizing - I did not take a picture of yet, so I will remember to do that and post it later!). Loelle freehanded a fabulous henna tattoo on my belly (I showed it to my midwives today and they were blown away that it was all freehand!). I love it, and I'm afraid to take a shower! LOL. I will actually shower, but I might have to tape plastic over my belly first! Regie massaged my arms and hands - talk about Heaven! Christmas (yes, she is the very agile one in the pictures!) made this very cool braid with my hair, and then Robin put flowers in it. Oh gosh, I'm still so overwhelmed that I know I'm forgetting things. At one point, there were children running through the house making lots of noise, and Trey was running after them shushing them, and I just started giggling. Yes, at most Mother Blessings there are very few children, and the ones that are there are usually very small, but it was perfect. Sure - I am a woman outside of being a mother, but being a mother has been the thing that has changed me and helped me grow into the woman that I am. Chaos and noise is a part of my life now and for many years to come. There are times where it gets old, but such is life! I wouldn't trade it for anything - I might threaten to from time to time, but I really wouldn't trade it!

It was a beautiful, amazing, and perfect evening, and it is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I hope to be telling my great grandchildren about the amazing Mother Blessing my friends had for me some day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The umbrella clothes dryer has arrived!

It arrived right in the middle of a snow storm! LOL. Since we still have several inches of snow in the backyard, it'll have to wait a few days before I can put it up, but I'm still excited. The outrageously dry climate here in Denver serves at least one purpose - clothes dry insanely fast. Honestly, it freaked me out a bit when we first moved here. I grew up in the South. My mom used to hang out our laundry (on a similar umbrella dryer!) all the time. It dried fine. However, clothes hung outside here - even with no breeze - dry so fast it is amazing! I bought the umbrella dryer and a bag of 100 wooden clothes pins. I'm excited to use it, but I am still too embarrassed to think about hanging out the "unmentionables." Yea, I know - it's silly, but it is what it is!!! I figure that'll just be my own little quirk, and maybe someday I'll get past it, but until then - everything else will get hung out to dry. With as much laundry as I have to do (including diapers), I figure we'll be saving a lot of energy (and money!). Trey laughed at me because I was so excited about it, but he's getting nearly as Earthy and "green" as me lately. (I'm so proud!) I'll take pictures of it when I get it out of the box and in the ground. If anyone is interested, here is the link to the online shop: The Clothesline Shop.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snow in April!

Ah, springtime in Colorado! Here's snow pictures from yesterday. If it had been five degrees colder - we'd have had two feet of snow!

Here is Livi's bean plant that is growing in our window. I need to figure out when we can transplant that thing outside because it is quickly outgrowing its container. There is another plant growing in there, but it hasn't popped it's head over the rim yet. She planted this seed in Sunday school, and she is so proud of it.

Last but not least - here's a cute picture of Louis playing in the cradle!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter pictures

My computer is being idiotic, so I am just going to post our Easter pictures!
First the boys:

Then I tried to take a picture of the girls, but Louis insisted on being in it! LOL.

Then the girls:

Then everyone on the porch swing:

Then Mama has to have her "stair step" pictures!

Last but not least - pictures with Mama and Daddy. Oh, and Trey keeps telling me what a good photographer he is, but let's notice whose picture is centered and whose is not! LOL.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Ding dong - the deck is gone
Which old deck?
The rotten deck
Ding dong - the rotten deck is gone

Now I can look out my door
And I can see the deck no more
Ding dong - the rotten deck is gone!!!!!!!

Nope - no picture because I'm just too tired after demolishing a deck to take pictures!!!! Time for another song:

I am woman hear me roar..........

A day in the life....

A friend of mine did this on her blog, and I thought it looked like fun. Here's the idea - keep your camera with you all day and document your day! Here's my day:
7:00am - say hello to the hubby who is already hard at work

7:20am - the little ones are still sound asleep in my bed

take the older munchkins to school

8:10am - have a snuggle with the little ones (Louis refused to wake up!)

Then starts the fun part of the day! Laundry, dishes, make the bed, vacuum, clean the kitchen (at least Livi didn't have school today because it was good Friday), feed and water the compost:

Work on demolishing what's left of the deck:

Livi with her "sledge hammer:"

Fold and organize the clean diapers:

12:00 Have lunch with the family at one of our favorite restaurants - Thai Flavor (I forgot my camera - but luckily Trey had his iPhone!):

1:50 Drop off the recycling:

2:30 Pick up the older munchkins from school:

At this point I have lost track of the time! We worked on the never ending rock pile and got filthy requiring baths for EVERYONE!

Take the girls to Target and Safeway while Ray waters the lawn and then Trey gives the boys a bath!

It's allowance "payday!"

Time to send the darling husband off on a well-deserved guy's night out.

Dinner time - chili fries and Tofutti bars.

Best time of the day - snuggle time on the couch while watching Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Off to bed for everyone! Send the older kids to bed and snuggle down with a little Pooh with my little munchkin:

Here's the idea - your turn! If you decide to blog a day in your life - let me know because I want to be sure and see it!