The Bag of Potato chips I’m Glad I ate

2158This photo takes us back to July 2010, on Luke and my honeymoon. Here I am visiting my good friend Stephanie, a raw vegan, on the beautiful island of Kauai. This bench was sitting in view of a breath-taking waterfall, and lush rainforest. This was the life.

At the time, my husband and I were on our health food journey, but didn’t even know it…. Our diet consisted of  “humane certified”, organic free-range meats, and organic dairy. We were so dedicated to eating only humane meat that we never ate it if we didn’t cook it at home. So, no fast food meat, no hotdogs, or anything like that. We didn’t even eat meat at our own wedding. Although we ate some organic foods, we were still unhealthy and eating a lot of processed stuff.

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How Co-Sleeping/Bed Sharing Works (in our family)

Now that Kaia is 16 months old, and walking, and can entertain herself… I have a little more time to make videos (I said a little right? because I’m still chasing around a toddler!) This has been a video I’ve been wanting to make for a while. I wish there was more info out there on how to do things your way, when you don’t have this example in your real life.

Co-Sleeping/Bed Sharing is one of those things that you have to find what works for you. I’m not recommending anything… just showing how it works for us. With that said, in our society it can be hard to even know what co-sleeping looks like, or how it works, because we don’t know anyone who does it.

I made this short video to show what has worked for our family, and some safety tips. And so you can see what it looks like. I forgot to mention that mothers who don’t breastfeed are not recommended to sleep with their babies. This is a personal choice however.

We got our co-sleeper from www.simplymommyonline.com – We have the Organic Snuggle Me. We loved it. Also, check out our channel for the review of this product!

Thanks! Bless !
Sara

8 Weird Ways My Body Changed AFTER Pregnancy

pregOh the joys of pregnancy.

We all know the normal stereotypical pregnancy “symptoms” & many of us have experienced them. The nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hemorrhoids, sore breasts… I don’t need to remind you… But no one really talks about the weird ways our bodies change AFTER pregnancy.

So, here’s what happened to me…

#1 Sensitive teeth – This one started happening while I was pregnant, and never went away. Another way that pregnancy affected my teeth is that my wisdom teeth started breaking through during my pregnancy. After I delivered the baby the wisdom teeth stopped growing, and now they are half way grown in (and causing no pain- but I have to get them removed soon).

#2 Stomach muscles split– If you’re really lucky (like me) you will get diastasis recti after your pregnancy. Which basically means your stomach muscles are separated, and you have to do special exercises to put them back together.

#3 Rib cage flare – One day, months postpartum, I was laying down and noticed my rib was sticking up really high. The left rib was sticking up way higher than the right one. After a google search I found a lot of women’s rib cages move after pregnancy. My chiropractor wasn’t surprised at all, and said “It happened because your baby kicked you!” But, I had no idea that my rib cage would flare up!

#4 Stretch marks – This is probably one of the more common post-pregnancy changes. But for me, I didn’t get any stretch marks on my stomach. I only had stretch marks on my breasts (which went away after about a year). I didn’t expect that. (It could also be from when they grew into melons during my painful engorgement when my mature milk came in.)

#5 Darker hair – I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but ever since my pregnancy my hair has been getting darker & darker. I used to have fairly light blonde hair, but now (14 months post-pardum) it’s nearly dark brown. It has never been naturally this dark.

#6 Scar tissue  – Any woman who had a vaginal birth can tell you their vagina never feels the same. For me, I have scar tissue that took a long while to feel better. Sex was painful for nearly 10 months post-partum.

#7 Moles, Moles, Moles! – While I was pregnant, many of my moles swelled up like an inflated balloon. Then, after I delivered Kaia they deflated. Which, I later found out was normal due to the high blood volume while pregnant. Another thing that happened was that I got several NEW moles. Which, again, after a visit to my dermatologist I found out was something normal that happens while pregnant.  (However, always get those moles checked… just incase!)

#8 Gas bubbles are never the same – ok well this one is off topic. But I had to mention it. Every time I have a little gas bubble I remember back to when Kaia used to move around in my belly. Sometimes It makes me go a crazy & consider having a second baby (good thing I have all these wonderful reminders why it’s not a good idea!) 😉

 

7 Things I’ve Learned Since I Became a Mother

kaia treeSince I have to write this while my 13 month old is taking a nap, I will skip the intro & get right to it….

#7 – My parents are people too

Growing up I always felt like my parents knew everything! They almost weren’t even human. But, it turns out, they are just regular people. They were babies once, who grew into children, who grew into adults, who had a baby of their own and had no idea what they were doing (just like the rest of us)!

 #6 – How to do everything one handed

Before my daughter was born I decided to “baby carry” and to never let her “cry it out”. It was a personal choice… a very demanding personal choice that I have (during many late nights) thought about abandoning. BUT I never did, and while my left arm was full of baby, I had to figure out how to do lots of new things with my right. Sure, I could have used a baby sling, or wrap, and sometimes I did, but other times it was just easier to pick her up and hold her. Who else has learned how to rip toilet paper, open a jar, & spray off a table with one arm? It can’t be just me.

#5- To thank my Mother

I don’t know if I ever thanked my mom as kid. I don’t even remember feeling grateful for her. I guess it’s just beyond a child’s mental capacity, or maybe I was just selfish. Either way, I am thanking her now. I thanked her while I was pregnant (& apologized). I thanked her after I gave birth (& apologized). I thanked her during my 2 month sleep deprivation (& yup you guessed it I also apologized). I can’t thank her enough now, and I hope one day my daughter does the same.

*My LO just woke-up which leaves me to type with one hand as I nurse her. Which brings us back to #6 & forward to #4….

#4 – To value my alone time

I don’t remember the last time I set out to do something alone, and actually did it alone. Even going to the bathroom isn’t always accomplished alone. Babies need their mamas, and they don’t know that sometimes we want 5 minutes to our selves. I’ve learned to enjoy the moments I have alone. Showers have a whole new value to them, and I’m sure I am not the only mother who learned to enjoy the peace and quiet that exists in the shower walls. (However, I know that my daughter won’t need me this much forever, so I enjoy her dependence as much as I can without going crazy.)

#3 – Not to judge other people, especially parents

I guess I had the luxury of having choices when I was childless, and that made me think that everyone had choices. But, I’ve learned that sometimes (espiecally when you have a baby), you have very limited choices. We may set out to do something one way, and end up doing it a completely different way. For example, I didn’t want to be induced, but it happened. I never thought I’d consider giving up breastfeeding, but I almost did. I didn’t want my daughter to watch television, but she does. Sometimes the choices you want to make are just too difficult to see them through. I will never judge another parent for their choices, because I have learned that we are all doing the best we can in our situations.

#2 – To live in the moment

From the moment my contractions started, until this moment right now I have had to live in each and every moment. When you have a baby you have to always be alert, and pay attention. Especially when you are a stay-at-home mom. One second away from the baby could mean a finger in the outlet, a choking hazard in the mouth, or a roll off the changing table. It is a curse, and a blessing. A lesson about life, indeed.

#1 – To see the miracles

Looking at my daughter reminds me how miraculous life is. My husband and I made her! We made life! I look at her little toes and can’t believe that they used to kick me in the ribs. How incredible is that? And if that isn’t enough, kids have a way of always seeing the beauty in life, and they don’t hesitate to point it out to you. I love when my daughter brings me into her world, and reminds me what it was like to be a child. I look forward to seeing the world through her eyes… to see all of the miracles.

 

A little tid bit about this blog…

This blog is for new parents, and parents-to-be, who are interested in raising their children differently than what the western culture deems “normal”. You might be interested in parenting with an attachment parenting type style.

Once we decide that we want to parent this way, there are many decisions to be made, but no clue on how to make them. Many of us have never actually seen a mother breastfeeding, or a baby sleeping in bed with its parents, or anyone washing cloth diapers. So, how are we to know how to do these things?

We could ask our parents, and our friends. However, most of them also have no experience in the things we are interested in.

One of the things my daughter has taught me is that the human species learns by example. That is why we turn out like our parents, and why Kaia mimics everything that I do. But, it is also one of the reasons that attachment parenting, and “unorthodox” parenting styles sometimes don’t work out for the family. We don’t have anyone in our lives to learn from and follow their example. Since the world is a big place, there has to be other moms and dads out there that are like minded, so the internet is a great place to connect.

If you are looking for some advice and don’t know where to look, this is the right place for you. As a new-mom I know how tough it can be to raise your child this way when no one around you agrees with you. Sometimes we might even fail because we don’t have enough support to do things our way. This is especially true when we have no visual example of what attachment parenting look likes. We might ask ourselves if we are even doing it right. I know I almost gave up on breastfeeding because I was convinced the baby wasn’t getting milk when she was. I had a lactation consultant come to our house because I didn’t have anyone else to tell me if she was even drinking!

So, to help women parent this way I make review & how-to videos, take photographs and blog about different things that my family does. It’s my hope that showing mothers how we make attachment parenting (and the like) work for us, they will see how it can work for them. Make sense? I hope so.

Here some of the things I touch on:

Natural birth, birth in general, breastfeeding, breastfeeding supplies, a healthy diet (I chose Raw til 4 Vegan), cloth diapering, elimination communication (how to start late), co-sleeping, bed sharing, baby carrying, holistic medicine, starting solids late, plant-based foods, attachment parenting, gentle discipline, distraction, reviews on products, and many other similar topics.

 

When I was pregnant I was obsessed with researching EVERYTHING. Everything about pregnancy, everything about birth, and everything about babies.

I guess you could call me a hippy. I didn’t want to follow government guidelines, or blindly go along with ‘what everyone else is doing’. Sometimes I feel that we, as humans and parents, need to do some of our own research and find out what is true for ourselves. For me, that meant a lot of digging into what ingredients were used in baby items, what it was really like to breastfeed, what ingredients were in vaccines, how cloth diapers worked, what baby products were safe for my baby’s skin, what holisitic pediatrician would be a fit for our family, what co-sleeper would be safest for our bed sharing plan, what midwife would deliver our baby, and so on.

Even though I had nine months to do my research, I was still not prepared for the obstacles that life put in our way during, and after our pregnancy…

From birth complications, to a hospital stay, to latch issues, engorgement, plugged milk ducts, detergent reactions, cloth diaper routine problems, to sleep issues, back and rib pain from poor breastfeeding positions, sleep deprivation, and calorie intake issue, to stomach issues and colic, to baby carrying issues, and feelings of un-acceptance from loved ones… I was not prepared.

If you are pregnant, and reading this in hopes of becoming prepared for motherhood, you should know one thing right now… no matter what, you will not be prepared.

I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to hear this. I certainly didn’t, but it is very true.

So now that I’m here… on the other side of pregnancy… the motherhood side… I thought it would be helpful for other hippy moms (and moms-to-be) for me to show you what it’s like to parent this way. Because, for me, I had no one in my life who had experience with breastfeeding, co-sleeping, holistic medicine, baby carrying, or attachment parenting. Whenever I ran into a problem I was on my own. When I got engorged I didn’t have anyone to go to for advice since I didn’t know a single woman who had breastfed. I would have given up on breastfeeding all together if my midwife had not sent a lactation consultant to my home.

Having support is so important if you want to succeed, and I feel that many women- who want to parent this way- don’t have the support they need. I know I didn’t. So, here I am…. ready to led my helping hand to new moms who don’t know what they are doing (because none of us do), and maybe my hind-sight will help you figure out the obstacles that you might be going through (or will be going through soon enough).

Before I end this rant, I would like to say one last thing: Being a mother is not easy. Of course, it’s wonderful, and a miracle, and a total blessing. But, those are the things that everyone talks about. I want to take a moment to talk about what no one seems to talk about. Motherhood is tough. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought that I would love everything about being a mom. I figured since I was going to baby carry that I would simply strap the baby to my chest, plop my breast in her mouth, and go about my business. Dead wrong.

There are some days when you think to yourself “I just need a minute to myself” and that is OK. You need to know this, because I didn’t. We are pushed passed our physical, and emotional limits on a daily basis. Breaking down from time to time is completely normal. Things will most likely not go the way you plan, and let that be ok. Expect the unexpected. And know that everyone is just pretending… no one really knows what they are doing either. We are all simply trying our best…and that’s all we can do.

Why “Loving Kaia”?

Kaia is the name of our daughter. Her name means ocean, or sea in Hawaiian (where we hope to move to). Since Kaia came into our lives she has changed us for the better. Loving Kaia has made me a better person. Loving Kaia is the reason I wake up in the morning now. Loving Kaia is why… everything!

Bless! 🙂

 

I want to put a little disclaimer here:

I am not perfect. I am not certified in anything, and I am not a professional. I’m simply a mom who is showing you what worked for me, and my family. Also…. I want to say that I am proud of every parent. I don’t negatively judge any parent’s philosophies or choices. Being a parent is the hardest, most beautiful role in our lives, and we all do it differently. Just because I chose a certain parenting style doesn’t mean that I think less of parents who chose otherwise. I understand that we all must make choices that consider our beliefs and circumstances.

Sometimes I get upset when I unintentionally offend people (but that is a huge lesson in motherhood… to let go). None of us are perfect, and that includes me. I am far from perfect. When some people read my thoughts they are instantly offended, and that is not my intention. I try my hardest to come across as loving and accepting, but some people will always misunderstand me. If you find yourself in this place, please know that I am not negatively judging you or your parenting. I am only showing how I do it…. for other like-minded women. If you do not agree, then this website is not for you.

 

Kaia tree blossom (placenta burial)

The placenta. What is there to do with it? Most people I know don’t even consider it. It becomes the hospitals waste, and disapears into the unknown. Not many people really care about them at all…and even go further in thinking it’s weird to care about them.

However, for me, I knew from early on that I wanted to do something with our placenta… It was too beautiful of a thing to discard of like a piece of garbage (I mean spiritually, of course, because physically it looks like a gooey brain). Even though I knew I didn’t want to toss it out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. So, I did some research to find out what my options were.

I read that some women consume their placentas. So, I researched the benefits of consuming the placenta, and I considered it. I did some digging on the internet to find out what other moms did. I found out that some ate them raw, some whipped them up in a smoothie, and some made them into capsules to be swallowed. I questioned if it were something I may have done if I were in the wild, and if wild animals do it. Which they do.

kaia treeAfter much thought I weighed the options. Consuming the placenta seemed like the most natural thing to do, and had many health benefits. However, I just couldn’t imagine doing it. The thought of eating it felt gross to me. The placenta isn’t appetizing. It looks like something from a Fear Factor episode. I knew it was something I wouldn’t be able to stomach. So, I decided not to eat it. *With that said, I want to mention that I respect all the mommas out there who were able to consume their placentas. I know they probably get a lot of flack for doing it, and I’m not trying to put them down. I think it’s a good choice out there. It just wasn’t for me.*

Even though eating the placenta felt gross to me, it wasn’t the only reason I chose not to eat it. I also felt that I wanted to honor the placenta, and I couldn’t imagine eating something I wanted to honor. So, I decided to research how other cultures honored their placentas. What I found was that the Hawaiians honored their placentas by planting them in the ground with a tree. I loved this idea, so that’s what we did.

The following weeks after Kaia’s birth the placenta remained in our fridge while we waited for the ground to soften. A big tub with the word “PLACENTA” written on it sat next to a jar of peanut butter. It was a funny sight. Then, when Kaia was a few weeks old we went to a local farm and picked out a tree. The tree was bare and looked dead, but the farmer said it would grow pretty pink flowers over the summer. The species was called a “Pink Valure Crape Merdle” or something like that.

Kaia PlantingIn April, my husband dug a hole in my parent’s backyard, while Kaia and I were resting in the shade. The three of us buried the placenta under the tree, and then said a little blessing. It was a beautiful moment, and I was really happy we were able to do it. I was excited for Kaia to grow with the tree, and to have her visit it over the years.

It took awhile, but over the next few weeks the tree started growing small dark green leaves. By the time it was August it finally began blooming it’s first flowers. I noticed them a few days ago when I saw a pink blob on the tree from our window. It was on the same day that I became inspired to start Loving Kaia.

I took a walk outside to appreciate the beautiful tiny flowers that were blooming. They smelled fresh and were soft to the touch. I decided to take Kaia out to see them. I ticked her face with the pedals. She laughed.kaiaflower

Kaia’s tree blooming on the day I started Loving Kaia feels like a beautiful symbol of what’s to come. In my heart, I feel that this community will enrich so many lives and help so many people—or at least I am hopeful. I’ve never felt so inspired before and I feel that the energy of the universe is creating this through me.

Everything seems to make sense to me now, in a way I’m not sure I can put into words. ….but I’ll try….

Compassion starts at conception. Without compassion we create an apathetic world. A world that is angry, a world that tortures animals, a world that is materialistic and careless, a world that doesn’t help its fellow men, a world that is full of fear and hatred, and a world that has stopped unconditionally loving.

The answer to our problems can be summed up in one word: Apathy –and perhaps we develop this apathy because we aren’t cared for as children… because our continuums were not met, and we became afraid… Afraid of everything… Even to love. So, that’s why this is so important. Because, creating compassionate children creates a compassionate world.

Well, that’s how I feel at least.

Last minute advice: If you aren’t sure what to do with your placenta, and you can’t work yourself up to eating it, then placenta burial is something you should consider. If you’re like me and live in an apartment, you can ask someone close to you if you can plant it on their property. I was lucky to have supporting parents.