Sunday, April 22, 2012

fake tree-hugger to try cloth diapers

Recently I have been reading a lot about cloth diapering. It is something that I have always liked the idea of, however when it comes to actually putting it into practice, it seemed too overwhelming. Being overwhelmed tends to be a theme in my life anyway. But it seems complicated to think about. Learning how to fold, washing off nasty poop from a diaper several times a day, laundry 5,000 times a week and it just seems messy. As much as I like to say that I am a tree hugger and care about the environment, the truth of the matter is, sometimes I am just lazy and doing it the way everyone else does it just plain easier.

So, I am going to experiment and try it. At least part time. Starting out a few days a week just at home, then seeing what happens from there. I still have a crapload of disposable diapers anyway. I just ordered my first cloth diapers and they are on their way, there is no turning back. Why? Because in my research it doesn't really seem all that difficult now. They've made cloth diapering kind of easy, no learning how to fold, using old school giant pins (which is what Bill also envisioned when I mentioned it to him.). There are a few different kinds/styles. Many grow with him size-wise. It can be cheaper in the long run, apparently is more comfortable for the kid and there is much less diaper rash.  

The downsides, besides the seeming inconvenience includes: getting buy in from anyone who might watch him seems daunting and imposing(maybe it won't be). Also the access laundering and water usage. Thus increasing my already increased water bill and time laundering.

We'll see. I've gone with "all in one" style diapers because they are apparently the easiest. And my lazy butt wants to make this as easy as possible. And if I end up hating it and wanting to give up, the resale on cloth diapers is actually pretty close to new from what I have seen/heard.

I am an idealist. I love the idea of lots of nice sounding things. But my nature is to usually do the least amount of work possible (including spending money) to still get good/adequate/impressive-looking results. I think they call that middle-child syndrome. :) At least I am self-aware.

I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Gramma Fronczak

Its no secret that I love birthdays. My birthday, your birthday, Bill's birthday....etc. A chance to celebrate a person, life, etc. Why the heck not? I don't think that you have to go crazy. No big parties, no expensive gifts, no billboard signs. Its just a chance to feel important, a little less lost in this great big world.

Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 65 today. Almost three years ago now we laid her to rest.

Her last few years were super difficult. Her mind and body slowly deteriorating. I remember her last birthday clearly. Beth and her boyfriend came up and we all (my hubby included) took her out to her favorite restaurant, The Red Lobster. She had just started having to use a wheelchair. She stared intently at and whispered to those lobsters they keep in the tank upfront, waiting to become your dinner. And she couldn't stop eating the cheddar bay biscuits. But really, who can resist those savory buttery pieces of heaven? She delighted in every gift she opened and just repeated over and over again how lucky she was and how much she loved us.

Even before she got sick, she wasn't perfect. But what parent is? She pretty much raised 3 girls single-handed and with some of her own disabilities. We watched her live out her dreams (horse farm, raising kids, going back to school to study art). She worked super hard, sometimes working 2-3 jobs at one time to support her family. She was a woman of strong Christian faith, and lived it in her own way, not to anyone elses rules (that how she lived her life anyway, to her own rules.) She was a proud woman. No one could tell her what to do or how to do it. She often spoke about how she would literally kill anyone who ever laid a hand on any of us kids. And she loved us kids. LOVED kids. ALL kids. I remember her always talking about wanting to have more children. And always hoping for and dreaming of grandchildren.

Well, her final dream was realized. Sadly, after her passing. Isn't that always how it seems to go? Baby Benjamin will never physically in this life meet his grandma Fronczak (though I believe that she knows he exists and is celebrating him with our Lord and other family members who went before us). I believe he will meet her one day. It makes me sad to think about that. She would have just drooled and doted over this child, hoarding him from any other visitors. She will be the first to do that in heaven.

My gift to you today mom, is to emulate your fierce motherly love. With all of your goodness and imperfections, the greatest thing I learned, and never doubted what that I was loved. What greater gift is there than that? To give that to my son is the best thing I can think of to give you and to make you smile, knowing you played an important role in this great big world. Through me, Ben will know your fierce, immeasurable love.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On going back to work

Well, its t-minus one week from tomorrow until I go back to work.
Yes, I am aware that I could take up to several months for maternity leave if I wanted.

Now I am afforded the luxury of only going back to work part time. I realize that not everyone can do that. And I am beginning to see the draw of being a 100% stay at home mom. But for me, working 2 days a week does something for me. I want to preface again, that this is what it is "for me"...with all my issues and history, etc. I want to go back to work a little because it gives me some sense of purpose outside of home,allows me to utilize my skills and degree ( to keep my resume up to date), and consols the early messages I was raised with of the importance of "work" and never having to depend on anyone/always having a way to be independent.

I want to be very careful and say that being a parent is a full time job. It is work. and I am in no way putting off or down any stay at home parent. I think there there is no greater or important job than raising your children. I actually wish I was brave enough to stay at home full time. I am speaking from my own demons and issues and point of view.

Going back to work also gives me a small break. It also gives us the additional income that we could use.

I am trying not to think too hard about going back to work. Just do it. Because honestly I am afraid that the idea of leaving my son  will overwhelm me. Now I know that I have good childcare in place. But that guilt (that also has been ingrained in me) and that I think naturally comes with being a mom may kick in. I'd like to deal with it when it comes, not the entire week leading up to it too. Remember months ago when I dropped my kitten off at kitten day care while I went to Florida? Yeah, and I cried like a guilt-ridden hormonal pregnant woman (which I was) as I drove away? Now multiply that times my own offspring. I am slightly concerned. (so is my Monday boss!). A- if you're reading this...I may not be in best form next Monday.

Since the kitty incident I have figured out a little of my issue there. Haven't worked on it though. Mix normal guilt and add the guilt history of leaving your very sick mom (who you are in charge of taking care of) in the hands of a skilled nursing facility because you are no longer able to do it yourself. And then she eventually passes away. (I know so much in my head how this would eventually happen, I did the best I could, yadda yadda yadda...but the guilt still remains...).

I am lucky that my other work times are either evening or somewhat flexible during the week or can be done on the weekend. So at least he will be with dad. And his dad is so great with him. But even that... I am constantly thinking about being gone too long, or did I leave enough milk or whatever other concerns. I'm thinking this is completely normal. Right? Other moms?

So apparently the overall theme of this is guilt. Something to work on anyway so be a better mom. Tee last thing I want to do is to put that message/burden on my son. I want to be the best parent that I can. And I believe for me, working  a little will assist me in doing so. It is good for me. And though difficult at first, I think it will overall make me happy and feel more fulfilled and refreshed and empowered. Happy mom, happy baby. That is the final reason/say so in my decision to go back.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I saw someone do this amazing picture with a baby laying over a bible passage and had to recreate it with my son. The passage was out of Psalm 139...
13 For you created my inmost being; 
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you 
   when I was made in the secret place, 
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
   before one of them came to be.

And so here is my version.

Why do I just love this so much?
My perspective is that this child was given to me as a gift. Entrusted in my care. He is not just mine. A God who is far more creative and wise than I can ever imagine, has seen me fit to watch over this little guy. Somehow.
That God loves this kid, as He does all people with perfection and without condition. He made Ben to be wonderful. And its my job, with God's help, to raise him towards his fullest potential.  What an awesome, humbling and completely scary responsibility.

Friday, April 6, 2012

of markets, veggies, meat and such...

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Grayslake spring farmers market and to be honest, I'm pretty excited. I love farmers markets and these days, I do get excited about any possible outing.

Spring Market

Why do I love farmers markets so much? They fit in nicely to some of the ways I would like to see the world and my values.

First of all, all of the items you purchase are local. One of the biggest expenses to food is shipping costs and mark up in a store for extra profit. While farmers markets food isn't exactly cheap, I know it all goes back to the actual farmer. And I am also a believer in supporting small businesses. I would rather buy cupcakes from the local small bakery then buy the prepackaged manufactured ones from Jewel. And personally, I would like my local economy to be strong and support my community.

Small farms and farmers tend to use less herbicides and insecticides. Better for the environment, better for my health. Also without being "certified organic". Do you know how daunting the process is for a farmer to receive that certification? many local farmers are already technically organic, without having the official title.

Also, have you ever tasted the difference between fresher vs. storebought items? For example, potatoes are a staple in our house all year long. Last year we tried to grow potatoes as a part of our garden. When we harvested them and ate them right away...holy cow! they were ridiculous. The difference was apparent right away. Soooo much better fresh. Who would have thought with potatoes? Also, have you ever had fresh honey compared to the store bought crazy manufactured crap. there is no comparison

One of my favorite reasons is that you can get to know the farmers and actually see where the products come from. Many times I have been invited to come see the farm/where the product comes from. This is actually been a big thing for me with meat. its no secret that I went vegetarian maybe 10 years ago. The main reason was the ethical treatment of animals, which in big factory environments, is pretty God-aweful and I will not have my money goes towards that. I mean, animals kept pent up indoors their entire lives in inhumane (with no room to even move) conditions fed food unfit for human consumption. Yet we are going to eventually consume it? I could go on and on about this, but I will spare you. However IF I KNOW AND APPROVE OF WHERE IT CAME FROM , technically, I will eat it. I just want to know that the animal got to live an animal life and ate what that animal normally eats (not hormones, and all grain, etc). Animals eat animals, its the circle of life, but it should be a good life. Two local meat farmers invited me to see their farms. I did. I approved. This became a larger issue when I became pregnant and wanted to increase my iron and protein intake. While there are other ways in your diet to do it, I felt comfortable signing up for local Farmer Nick's winter CSA and can drive up to the buffalo farm (Lesters) and drive by the happy buffalo I am about to consume.

Is the farmers market meat more expensive? yes. But we then eat less. We really weren't meant to eat as much meat as we do anyway. And  we feel better about our purchase.

Also, they are outdoors and frankly, I just like to be outside. And add shopping to the mix (which I also enjoy) , we have ourselves a great experience

And so tomorrow, Ben and I venture to downtown Grayslake to support our community, local agriculture, support ethical farming, get outside, to shop and to have a merry time.

Support your local farmers markets!!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Being active in super important to me. Not just because of the health benefits, but if you know me, its pretty impossible for me to be/sit still (which creates issues for me in other areas of life).
I'm not terribly picky in the how, or sadly the "how well", I just like moving, especially if it involves being outside.
when I was pregnant I considered how I was going to be able to be active again postpartum and get my workouts into my day/week.
Do you now what my plan was? To put the baby in a bouncer or pack and play or whatever and have it by my workout equipment and sit there nicely or sleep while I work out on my elliptical, bike, weights, whatever, or possibly run when Bill gets home.
Ah, plans, its funny how the best laid ones fail (current moms just laughed out loud at my "plan")
Ben certainly doesn't sit quietly or sleep by himself very long (however could do either in my lap for hours), and the time he does, I need to use for simple things like showering or going to the bathroom or making a sandwich. Also, when Bill gets home, its really the  last thing on my mind. I just want to make dinner and have a quiet break and am pretty tired by then.
I have found, however, that it is not impossible. sometimes we just need to get creative.
Now, I have gotten the ok for all physical activity from my doctor, which is why I have been pursuing this more aggressively.
First of all, I have a new neighborhood friend who I go walking with many weekday mornings. We go a little over a mile and a half and I carry Ben in my Baby Bjorn (which, for the record is a God-send. it is the kind of thing I now will be getting everyone off of their registries). So carrying an extra 8-9 pounds while walking is good activity. and the mile and a half goes by fast with good company.
Additionally, today I took out my stroller (which is also a jogger) and Ben and I went running with the stroller. Runs without the stroller will most likely be on the weekends or when I gather up the nerve to ask someone to watch Ben while I run. Last weekend I went.
Finally, as odd as it sounds, on low settings with the Bjorn I can carry Ben while I am on a machine. It certainly won't work when he gets older, but works for now.
And we walk around the house a lot anyway, carrying Ben, esp when fussy.
Now its not obsessive, its not daily, but its several times a week which I feel super good about.

And the greatest part is is that Ben seems to enjoy it. We are together for a lot of it. He falls asleep with my movement on walks and in the stroller, etc. hes a mover for sure, he is always kicking off his swaddlers, blankets, whatever. Perhaps he's got my "need to be active" thing. And maybe he'll be a baseball player yet.