Monthly Archives: June 2008

Here Comes #3!

Whoops. I’ll admit it, getting pregnant again was definitely not on my to-do list. But this rascal had other ideas and decided to beat the odds to do so.


It’s kind of an awkward feeling. I’m delighted about having another baby, but at the same time, I’d meant to stick with just 2 kids. There’s some of that green guilt for adding yet another person to the world.

But it’s a baby. I really can’t stay upset about it for long.

Nice thing is that my green leanings have been steadily rubbing off on my husband. I wanted cloth diapers with our previous two, and he was flat out against it. He saw a show on National Geographic called Human Footprint about how much we consume throughout our lives, and the part that caught his attention most was on disposable diapers. He WANTS cloth diapers for this baby. So I’ve won that argument at last.

But there’s another impact for us. One car won’t cut it anymore soon. This is really rough because my husband is still looking for a new job. But our one car has a total of 4 seats. Won’t exactly work with this fifth person comes into our family. And with car seats we’re going to need something wide enough that all the kids will still fit. My oldest doesn’t legally need a car seat anymore, but I prefer her to be in one. She’s still small enough that it’s safer.

The second car is also needed because I just cannot visualize trying to take public transportation with 3 young children to handle all the doctor’s appointments a new baby requires. Beyond that I still want to live like we only have one car and keep unnecessary driving to the barest minimum we can manage.

There’s not much we’ll need to buy for baby right away. We have access to boy clothes and girl clothes from previous babies; just have to get them back from relatives. We were in the process of cleaning out the old baby toys from the garage, but hadn’t quite gotten rid of them yet. I have to see if the breast pump still works. I’ve never used formula and can’t imagine doing so with this baby. We still have our food mill for making baby food.

I can also admit to being some nervous about the pregnancy itself. I’m turning 36 soon, and my last pregnancy was not so easy as the first, ending in what could have quickly turned into a miscarriage. Fortunately an alert doctor caught the lack of amniotic fluid on an unscheduled ultrasound and sent me in for a C-section. Unfortunately, that means my new OB (we’ve moved since then) is determined to do a C-section at 38 weeks or earlier if necessary to avoid that problem this time. I was so hoping to avoid that, even knowing my odds were slim!

On the plus side, to be blunt about it, it means I can easily get tied off and make it even harder for an unplanned pregnancy to occur again. 3 kids is quite enough, and 2 C-sections is very much so my limit!

Fun Watching Family Get It

One of the struggles I’ve faced in going green in my life is with my husband and kids. Differing views on what is worth doing can be challenging.

That makes it so nice as things start to click!

My husband recently bought and installed a simple clothesline. His comment was that it was really too warm to be using the dryer. Last year he wasn’t interested in the idea. He’s now hung various loads out to dry and likes how fast it goes on hot days.

He’s getting it in more areas too. He’s as much a fan of using vinegar for cleaning as I am, I think. He used to complain about the smell. I’ve taught him that a couple drops of lavender oil takes care of that.

Kids are more challenging, although at 6 my daughter is really getting the basic ideas of recycling and cleaning up trash she finds when we go for walks. Both kids will ask which can a particular item goes into when it’s time.

Patience, I’d say, is really the key. You may not get them to do what you want right away, but over time you can get family members to see why you want to recycle, use less energy and so forth.

I’m Back

These past couple weeks have been crazy. I’ll put some of the blame for my complete lack of posting recently on the stomach bug my kids had. That’s not the whole story, but I’m not quite ready to share the whole story yet. It’s going to involve some big changes in my life, many of which I’m really feeling unprepared for.

Why Are People Hostile Towards Environmentalism?

One of the things that saddens me most in the environmental movement is how hostile people can be towards it. Some people don’t just disagree with living greener; they flat out oppose it. Calling people who care for the environment nut cases or granola are some of the milder terms used.

And yet, at it’s heart much of environmentalism strikes me as simple good sense. Where is the harm in trying to use fewer resources? In trying to decrease pollution? In trying to keep more animal species from becoming endangered or extinct?

Most of the people who really cannot stand environmentalism look to the most extreme points of environmentalism and apply it to anyone who simply wants to live greener. It’s as though the more moderate stances that are far more common are invisible.

You can point all you want to the fringe environmental groups who sometimes do more harm than good in their efforts to redirect how the rest of us live, but that’s not the average environmentalist you’ll meet every day.

Sure we want practical solar power. If it can be done more efficiently and cheaper than coal, why shouldn’t we? The technology has made some great leaps this past year, and is looking promising at long last. It may have taken a few more decades to reach that point than originally hoped, but that’s technology for you. Advances cannot be scheduled.

And yes, many an environmentalist would like to see fewer pesticides used on our foods. That’s why organic produce is becoming so much more popular. And it appears that pesticides are doing a great deal of harm to our oceans. Organic farming can be done quite efficiently, and in many areas of the world would be far more cost effective than the constant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

If the food is healthier for you and tastes better, while production is still good, why not?

There are not many environmentalists who want all humans to go back to a primitive lifestyle. Simplification is encouraged, yes, but don’t confuse that with primitive.

And of course there’s the fuss over global warming. Yes, environmentalists consider it to be a concern. Quite probably an urgent one.

Now I ask, what is the harm in trying to avoid global warming? Investigating it has resulted in a number of inventions, in new industries. I don’t think it’s going to hurt the economy as much as some fear. But the cost of ignoring the possibility could be much higher. I’d rather take my chances on trying to make a change today than do nothing.

No, not everything I do to live a greener lifestyle is comfortable. Most of what I do as an individual really won’t add up on a scale the world will notice. But the more individuals who work at it, the more businesses who take note and make an effort, the greater the impact we can have.

That’s worth it to me.

Aloe Vera – A Great Plant for the Summer

Like a lot of people growing up, I got sunburns pretty regularly as a kid. That’s what happens when you’re pale and you burn much more easily than you tan. But I learned early on to appreciate it the year my mother bought an aloe vera plant.

Aloe vera is a succulent. It’s pretty easy to grow and very useful. You can grow it indoors on the windowsill or outside in a pot or on the ground. It likes sandy soil, like many succulents. If you get frost, keep it indoors.

Any time you scrape or burn yourself it can help. And of course it helps delightfully with sunburn.

All you have to do is snip off one of the leaves and break it open. The gel on the inside is truly marvelous. It cools the burn or scrape quickly.

It can be a bit challenging getting the gel out. You can cut the leaves open and just rub directly on your skin, but the plant has some small spikes along the edges that may scratch you. Not badly if you’re using it gently, though. If using fresh leaves, avoid the yellow part inside the leaves. This can be irritating to the skin.

I like to recommend the plant over the commercially prepared aloe vera gels for a few reasons. The first is that I’ve always had the best luck with the gel straight from the plant. The effect just seems to be stronger to me. That could, of course, just be an illusion, but it is what I believe.

I also like that if you treat it right, you can just keep the plant growing, rather than having to buy new bottles all the time. It saves some waste.

And of course, if you use it straight from the plant you know exactly what you are getting. No worries about the other ingredients added to the stuff in the bottle labeled “aloe vera”.

Some people also take aloe vera internally from prepared capsules. There are a variety of claimed benefits to this. I’ve never tried it myself and so cannot speak from experience.

For me, the cooling effect this has on sunburn is the big reason I like to make sure to have a plant on hand during the summer. I always hope to not need it, but when a burn happens to myself or someone in my family, it’s nice to have a way to relieve the discomfort.