Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hands Free Parenting

I've recently discovered an amazing blog. The Hands Free Mama. I've become a huge fan overnight.

See, I've read her post "The Important Thing About Yelling, numerous times and am a huge fan of it. Because it's a very sound, logical, and resounding topic. But when the Hands Free Mama popped up in my newsfeed again this past week I was intrigued and delved into her site.

In the post I read she mentioned her "breakthrough breakdown" and I clicked the link to read her story, why she started parenting hands free, and what I read hit home. (Read more from her post here.)
From that breakthrough, breakdown moment, I began seeing my phone in a new light. I saw laundry, dishes, the constant need to keep things perfectly organized in a whole new way. I began seeing requests to serve on committees and chair events with brand new eyes.  I realized that the ability to respond within seconds to an email message and multi-task three things at once was maybe not such a great thing after all. Finally after years and years of over-commitment and meaningless information overload, I began to see those things for what they were: Daily Distractions. And with much regret, I realized I’d been holding on to “distractions” tighter than I had been to my own family, my own health, my own happiness–my own “things that matter.”
Tragically, my children had gone right along with my overscheduled, distracted life–not knowing they were missing the heart, the focus, and the company of their mom. They had no idea they were being given the leftovers, the worthless scraps of their stretched-too-thin mother.
WOW! Does that not hit you in your ego? In this technology obsessed culture we live in we often mention the phone-driven teenager, never not texting, gaming, or on social media. But we often overlook ourselves. The adults, the parents, who hold their phone in higher regard than most other things/people.

That might offend some of you, but take a good hard look at yourselves. We are always on our phones or computers. Our children want us, need us, and we're busy. We're playing Candy Crush, or Facebooking. Or Instagramming adorable photos and videos of our kids, instead of just living those moments with them.


Hurts doesn't it?

It hurts because it's so true. It's so painfully true.

This society is so tragic. Our children and teenagers are already so messed up because of various other travesties, can you imagine the generation of children resenting their parents and the technology that stole their childhoods? The self esteem issues? The need to feel validated on the internet?

I don't want that for my daughter. I hate that thought so much it hurts, way down deep inside.

On her blog post "How To Miss A Childhood," Rachel writes the recipe for missing out on your child's life:
How to Miss a Childhood
*Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority.
*Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand—treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
*Decide the app you’re playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
*Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
*While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
*Go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won’t notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
*Check your phone first thing in the morning … even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
*Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
*Don’t look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an “uh huh” so she thinks you were listening.
*Lose your temper with your child when he “bothers” you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
*Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can’t she see you’re busy?
*Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day—or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
*Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember you did this all the time.
*Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Ouch. How do you think that child/toddler/baby feels? I would feel hated and neglected. Unwanted and unimportant.

Rachel goes on to write just what will happen when you live life according to that recipe. Go check it out. It'll break your heart. It broke mine.

The Hands Free Mama wrote another awesome post that goes along with this perfectly, "The Children Have Spoken," which shares some quotes exposing just how children feel about their parents and technology.
“My mom is on the phone all the time. She never gets off.”
“My dad has a problem putting down his phone.”
“My mom texts and drives.”
“My mom talks on the phone the whole time she is driving. She doesn’t even say ‘goodbye’ when I get out of the car.”
“Sometimes I say something and my dad doesn’t hear me because he is typing on his phone.”
“My parents are so busy with their phones that they forget to feed me and put me to bed. I am forgotten a lot of the time.”
Read the rest of that post and feel your eyes and heart open. The writer is correct. Kids do not sugar coat things. It's so sad!

What's even more sad is I've seen that in my daughter's eyes and it hurts me so deeply that I've already allowed that to take root, when my daughter is only 14 months old. I've seen that look when I go on the computer, go on Facebook. The hurt in her eyes when I get exasperated cleaning out my email and she wants to play. I feel so so horrible that I've let technology come between our relationship. Kids aren't around long before they become teenagers, babyhood/toddlerhood expires even faster.

I've decided I'm going to try the "hands free" lifestyle. And I know it won't be easy, it never is when you break a bad habit.

But my daughter is more important that a phone or computer. My moments with her are more valuable than any game or social network. Our relationship means more than technology.

If you want to read more about this topic, and maybe take that step yourself, I highly suggest checking Hands Free Mama out. It may be your saving grace.

"It is not easy to consider the possibility that the distractions of the modern age have taken an undeserved priority over the people who matter in your life. In fact, when I admitted this difficult truth to myself almost two years ago, I experienced an emotional breakdown. However, that breakdown became a breakthrough that propelled me to begin my life-changing 'Hands Free' journey." -The Hands Free Mama

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Crunchy Daddy Takeover!

{Hello all, Alyssa here. My husband Justin wrote a post for me, and here it is! If I write anything or have any input, it will be in bold and written like this. Enjoy!}

It’s official.  The Crunchy Mama blog page has been invaded by the husband!

That’s right.  This week’s blog will be done by the man that my wife, Alyssa, has talked about on many different occasions.  

Now you would think that Alyssa would have asked me to do this, but actually, I was the one who asked her if it would be ok to take over for a change.  Usually, my wife writes about different kinds of topics which range anywhere from light topics such as eating organic foods, the wonders of coconut oil, or even her latest posting about “no-pooing”, to more controversial topics such as vaccinations, breastfeeding in public, or circumcision.  The reason why I wanted to write this week was because I wanted to share my perspective from being married to a “crunchy mom”.  And honestly, this post is more directed to the men who are married to crunchy moms who might not be fully comfortable with the crunchy beliefs that their wives have.  This is a message to you from a man who used to feel the exact same way.

Of course, today, my wife and I are on the same page as to how we want to raise our children, but that wasn’t always the case.  Originally, I believed the most mainstream opinions that the world today has conditioned everyone to believe, such as you are supposed to give birth in the hospital, you are supposed to get your kid vaccinated, and that you stop breastfeeding after 6-8 months and then give them regular milk.  My wife had to do a lot of research to get me to see a different perspective. 

For starters, when Alyssa and I found out we were pregnant with our daughter, the topic of whether to have the baby at home or in the hospital arose.  At first, I definitely wanted to have the baby at the hospital, but she wanted to have the baby at home.  She set up a meeting between us and a few midwives that she knew so that they could explain to me the differences.  At first, I thought it was just going to be a couple of old broads giving me their old-school opinion, but it was actually well-trained women who have done research and gone to school for this that were sharing with me real-life experiences that they have had.  But it wasn't until one of them asked me a simple question that I really got on board with the idea.

One of the midwives asked me, “how long have humans have been around?”  I said that they have been around for thousands of years.  She then asked me, “Did you know that hospital births have only been around for the past hundred years?”  At this point, I saw where she was going with this and I understood.  If women have been giving birth at home without hospitals for thousands of years, then why couldn't my wife?  Childbirth is a natural bodily experience.  A woman’s body is conditioned for it, but somehow, the world has conditioned us to believe that it is more of a surgical procedure that requires a doctor’s assistance.  Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t instances where a doctor isn’t needed because there are sometimes complications with childbirth, but for the most part, childbirth is a natural process that should be able to be done anywhere. 

Throughout the course of the 9-10 months that my wife was pregnant, she did more research about different topics such as vaccinations.  Again, I thought that vaccinations were just another thing that you are supposed to do.  Nope.  I found out that actually, widespread vaccinations in the U.S. have only been around since about 1812.  Before that, not a lot of people were getting vaccinated.  Nowadays, there are vaccinations for almost everything, but what a lot of people don’t know is that they are not necessary.  In fact, many vaccinations today can be more dangerous than the actual sickness or disease that they are meant to prevent because of the ingredients in them.  Most vaccinations are composed of mercury, heavy metals, and in some cases, aborted fetal cells.  Don’t believe me?  Do some research.  You will be shocked at all the crap in vaccines.  I wouldn’t want that crap in my body, so why the jack would I want to pump my new-born baby full of that garbage.  Honestly, the only real vaccine that a baby needs is breast milk, which brings me to my next topic. {Ultimately, the vaccine debate is something you need to research for your family and decide what you feel is best for your children. Our choice to not vaccinate has been a long time in the making, after a lot of research, praying and soul searching. You can read more about my research and perspective on vaccines HERE.}

When my wife told me that she would breastfeed as long as she could, I thought she meant around 6-8 months, but she literally meant “as long as she can”.  When I asked why she wouldn’t switch to regular milk, once again, I would get schooled by her extensive research.  A women’s breast milk is constantly changing depending on the baby’s needs.  It is full of natural proteins, nutrients, fats and sugars that a baby needs in order to develop and grow.  Not only that, but a woman’s breast milk contains all of the antibodies that a baby needs in order to fight off infections and other sicknesses and ultimately, naturally strengthens the baby’s immune system, whereas vaccines will most likely weaken it.  

When I asked about regular milk, I found out that milk actually doesn't have much of a nutritional benefit to our bodies.  Apparently, there are good and bad types of calcium.  Because of all of the processes that milk goes through in order for us to drink it, our bodies aren’t actually able to absorb the calcium that is in milk.  Also, because of the hormones that are injected into the cows and the milk itself, more and more children, especially girls, are going through puberty earlier than usual.  So giving our daughter milk was out of the question.  

But what about formula?  Again, I learned that formula is not an adequate replacement for breast milk.  In fact, formula contains fats that are not easily digestible and if given too much, can result in childhood obesity.  I never really fought with my wife on this matter, because to me, if my kid is healthy, happy, and is growing, I don’t care how long they breastfeed.   Our daughter is over a year old and is still breastfeeding.  Yes, she eats regular foods like chicken, eggs, and puree baby foods, but she still gets her daily fix of milk from the tap. {I would like to add that this is not a hate on formula or moms who use formula. We realize there are instances where some moms cannot physically breastfeed. Our belief is that in general, for the average mom and child, breastmilk is the ultimate nutrition and food we can give our child, and shouldn't be a "will I" or "won't I." Not only to save money but because the benefits are innumerable and there really is no comparison. Also, there is such a thing as "toddler formula." If there is toddler formula, I don't understand the controversy over me breastfeeding past one haha.}

Probably one of the biggest crunchy debates that my wife and I ever really did have when we found out we were having a baby was the topic of circumcision.  And again, I thought that it was just something that happened to all boys when they are born.  But this was the one topic that really got my wife going on her research.  If we had a boy, she did NOT want him circumcised.  Doctors in America (emphasis on "in America" as we are the only country to routinely practice circumcision on infants) say that there are health benefits to circumcision.  The most notable belief is the decreased risk of a sexually transmitted disease.  Really?  If cutting off the end of my penis reduces the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, then chopping off my ear reduces the risk of me getting an inner-ear infection. When I heard that that was the most notable benefit to circumcision, I couldn’t freaking believe it.  How about this?  Don’t have unprotected sex unless you want to have a kid, I’m sure that reduces the risk of an STD better than circumcision.  Besides the fact that America routinely practices infant circumcision and has one of the highest STD rates in the industrialized world. Europe doesn't routinely circumcise and their rates are a lot lower. Just saying. {to read more about circumcision, the lack of benefits, and other info, click HERE.}

After reading about the “benefits” of circumcision, I also read about the risks, and as it turns out, if the doctor botches the procedure, the baby may end up having to have its penis fully amputated and in some cases, the baby can actually die.  Don’t believe me?  Again, do some research. Babies die of circumcision related blood loss more than a 100 times a year here. You will be shocked to see how common it actually is that a baby dies from a botched circumcision.  I knew that circumcision was the removal of the foreskin of the penis.  What I didn’t know was that when a baby is born, the foreskin is actually fused to the penis and that, over time, it retracts naturally.  So when a newborn baby boy is being circumcised, the doctor is actually peeling flesh away from flesh.  How would you like to feel that?  I’m sure you wouldn’t.  Try taking a scalpel to your finger and taking off your attached nail, for an example. 

What really convinced me against circumcision was after hearing all of this, Alyssa asked me to watch a medical video of a circumcision being performed, and the way that the doctor was so brutally handling the child and the amount of pain I could see on the baby’s face and hear in its cries made me realize that I would NEVER want my kid to go through that kind of pain.  So, if God ever decides to bless Alyssa and me with a son or sons, they will be staying intact.

I know that most of the men sitting here reading this might be thinking that I’m totally nuts, but seriously, I was the same as you and have had same reservations that you might have against your wife or girlfriend's viewpoints.  But seriously, if you take the time to do the research, you will learn that your crunchy wife might not be as crazy as you think she is.  I thought mine was, and look at me.  I’m almost as crunchy as my wife!

If you want proof for anything that I have talked about, let me tell you this.  My daughter is now over a year old and since the day she was born, she has never been sick.  She hasn’t had so much as a cough or a runny nose.  Why?  My wife and I believe it's because we don't vaccinate her and she's been breastfed so long, she has quite the immune system.  Another kid that I know who is around the same age as our daughter has had all of their vaccinations and they have been sick on several different occasions with things that there vaccinations should have prevented you would think. 

I’m very blessed that my wife is as crunchy as she is, because if she wasn’t I couldn’t even imagine how our daughter would have turned out.  Without her doing her research, we probably would have gone to the hospital to deliver our daughter where all sorts of interventions could have changed the outcome, gotten her vaccinated, and given her formula instead of breast milk.  All in all, things could have turned out very differently than they are now.

Today, I am about as crunchy as my wife when, before, I was pretty “creamy," I guess that would be the opposite of crunchy if we are going based off of peanut butter types. I hope that I was able to give you guys a little insight to what its like being a guy who is married to a crunchy mama and hopefully you have learned a few things and will do your own research so that you are prepared to be the best father you can be to your kids.

                                                                                                                Best wishes,

Monday, November 11, 2013

My No-Pooing Adventure

Do you.... no poo?

Because I do. Or don't?

However you want to phrase it, I've started to no-poo my hair. Which means, for me, I only wash my hair with conventional shampoo once a week.

There are many different ways to no poo, and different spans of time and lengths between washings (if you do) and that's what I'll be sharing with everyone today.

My introduction to the idea of no pooing was my cousin Britney. We were at this awesome annual hippie fest that goes on every summer near us, and were visiting a cute booth set up by a very nice and talkative older couple. They made their own hair and body products, and were talking to us about the damages of shampoo on our hair. The husband had worked for an automotive factory and informed us that shampoo companies used some of the same ingredients he used once upon a time to strip oil and fuel and crud off car parts (that's apparently what makes shampoo sudsy). I am fairly certain this is what got my cousin on board. (I could be wrong and am open to correction from the source!)

This link here, at naturemoms.com goes into greater deal and offers some great input and suggestions, as well as some of the ingredients used in shampoo if you'd like to read more into that. My way of no pooing is similar to hers, and as I have pretty oily, moist (moist, eww what a word, not dry? Let's go with that) hair the baking soda works great with my hair. I've known people to say no pooing dried out and/or damaged their hair, so if you have more dry, stiff hair I would suggest going easy with the baking soda. I will be adding some homemade shampoo recipes (including what I do with my hair) so you can play around and find out what works best for you if you decide to try to no poo!

Now what my cousin does is straight up nothing on her hair. She went a few weeks without any shampoo or products whatsoever to break her hair's oil cycle. See, as the link above explains, shampoo strips away our hair's natural oils. We need those oils! And since we strip them away, our hair overproduces them to make up for what was taken. Are you one of those folks who has to wash their hair everyday (maybe twice a day) because of how oily your hair is? Shampoo is not helping you. I was like that, trust me!

So after Britney broke her cycle, she bought some crunchy granola hippie all natural super expensive shampoo from Earth Fare, and I think the last time I talked to her about she said she washes every 14 days. She does not use any baking soda or anything on her hair. And that works splendidly for her!

Not so well for me. After a week I couldn't take it and washed.

Now, she still showered and wet her hair, she would just scrub with her fingers and water. But I couldn't take that personally and looked for some suggestions. The first I found and tried and liked and I played around with it. I use 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part baking soda and mix this thoroughly, I keep it in an open jar on my shower sill (we have a wonderful, privacy killing window in our shower). I then have an old peri squeeze bottle I use apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of water and a few drops of essential oils in next to my powder jar, this is my "conditioner." Other people use baking soda dissolved in water and put that in a squirt bottle, same with the ACV (apple cider vinegar), so read a few links and try a few different routes to decide what works for you!

Now I first off brush my hair thoroughly (dry) before I get in the shower. I wet my hair and part it down the middle. I use my fingers to grab some of my mixed powder and put it down my part on my scalp and massage it in. I then do this around the frame of my face and then do a few other parts on both sides of the middle, rubbing in my powdery mixture, and then finally a bit at the base of my neck. I then go back all over with my fingers to massage my whole scalp (no added powder this time.)

After this, I rinse well, massaging with my fingers. I then take my ACV peri  bottle and squirt some on my scalp and work it in, massaging and then rubbing down the strands of my hair. I leave this in while I wash and everything so it sits on my hair a while, just like what I did with my conventional conditioner in the past.

After I'm all clean, I rinse the ACV  from my hair. Lots of massaging haha. Rinse and scrub well, elsewise the smell of the vinegar likes to linger. Mmmm! This is also why I use essential oils to add some light scent. On my wash day, I do not personally use conditioner. But if you want, go for it! See what works right?

This works well for me. I usually wash my hair with conventional shampoo on Saturdays or Sundays. I probably will not add length to my cycle, I like where I'm at. Some people, like my cousin, go different lengths or different/no products. Gotta play around for your personal hair.

Now about seven or eight weeks ago I regrettably chopped my hair off. It was soooo long, past my chest, entangling me and getting caught in my arm pits while I slept, and I loved it. But it was really damaged from a lot of dye and bleach and a short amount of time, and I couldn't take the split ends; no matter how often I got a trim they sprung back with in a few days.

So I cut off about three to four inches and added some very blunt layers. Which I loved at the time but hated myself for two weeks later. I missed my length! I missed the wavy hair I had before the chemicals stripped the life from my strands...

(Dye is my drug of choice. Its so unhealthy and damaging for me, because I changed hair colors as frequently as Ramona Flowers. I love it. So much. It's a constant battle to not buy some when I go shopping. Anyway...)

I happened to start no pooing that week. And in the past five or six weeks, look how much my hair has grown...

Top photo courtesy of Instagram, bottom photo courtesy of my webcam.

One of the more shorter layers I put in, about mid-cheek, is now at my chin! The layers at my chin are now at my shoulders. WHAT?! Yeah. Pretty fast. I'm taking better care of my hair (who knew brushing wet hair was damaging) and get this... no.split.ends. None!

No pooing has also brought back a lot of life and volume to my hair, I believe the cornstarch is helping with that. And it's been bringing back my waves!

Mid way through the cut, my no pooing, and today.

If I wash with my powder/ACV concoction, and hair dry I have some waves again! I am thinking with some more time and growth they may get even better.

So that's been my adventure with the no poo system! If you want to try it, play around, I'm giving you some links to read. Would I ever let you down by not providing links?!

Keep in mind the first few days and even weeks may not be pleasant if you're breaking your oil cycle from the nasty crud in shampoo. Push through! No pain no gain right?

(P.S. I still love shampoo on my wash days because it smells soooo heavenly. Why are evil things so lovely. WHY?!)

Oh hey, also, that static winter likes to bestow upon our hair? Only an issue on my shampoo days.

As always, these links and more on my Pinterest! Check out my hair and my style boards.

Click here for my Pinterest page.
http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/no-poo-troubleshooting-and-common-questions/ - best link ever. It has alllllll the answer for troubleshooting and issues you may have, and has suggestions for different types/styles of hair and reactions etc
http://empoweredsustenance.com/no-poo-method-damages-hair/ {This post makes some good points, and though I disagree with the negative remarks on baking soda, it has some valid suggestions if it's something you can't/don't want to use. Also search through Pinterest for some homemade shampoo ideas if that's something you'd rather do!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

When You're Too Crunchy For Your Own Good

If you follow this blog, you probably have somewhat of an understanding of the term "crunchy." After all, this is a crunchy mama's blog here you're reading.

My idea of crunchy is who I am, obviously crunchiness varies by person and strength (eg: super crunchy to slightly crunchy.... scrunchy?)

If you are any kind of crunchy, have you ever had one of those moments? The ones where you think to yourself "how far have I gone into this crunchy world?" You know, the hazards of being crunchy?

I had one of those moments hit me this week. Let's call this recurring offense The Stains.

Predominately crunchy? You know all about coconut oil and its uncountable uses. You accordingly use it for everything. But then.... DUNDUNDUUUUN.... It's The Stains. You know. You've had them before. The coconut oil stains. Essentially the grease stains of the modern hippie.

I was changing my daughter's diaper and applying coconut oil to her bum. Whatever happened, my oil-laden fingers made contact with my lovely, gray, soft, favorite shirt..... The Stain made its appearance right squat in the middle. Multiple washings did nothing, I was broken inside.

Fast forward to me making my homemade deodorant. Allllll baking soda, corn starch, and of course.... coconut oil. Fast forward a bit more and you'll see another one of those... those.... Stains.

In a summer and fall surprisingly free of crunchy mishaps, yesterday happened. I cannot recall why exactly I was using an essential oil, but as a crunchy mom it's bound to happen. I was tilting my EO bottle, but the oil wouldn't come out... so I started shaking it hoping this would magically release the dam holding back my jasmine oil. Which it very quickly did. The event was akin to a scene in Friends, slow motion with symphony music blaring in the background in tune with the travesty. My oil went EVERYWHERE. Which, with the prices of EOs was devastating enough. But then.... The Stains. All. Over. My. Shirt. Another favorite, a soft v-neck army green Old Navy uber comfy tee.

I may have lost it.

I may have said words I don't normally say. (Akin to Phoebe's breakdown when she lost the Ms. Pac-man game on Friends.)

The Stains were all over my beautiful comfy shirt! I was too crunchy for my own good.

Luckily I found out about the old Dawn dish soap trick.

{Now, I'm fairly crunchy, but I wouldn't say I'm super crunchy. I have researched the crap out of so many things that there are some sacred things I won't touch. Dish soap and Starbucks are good examples. So I don't know if there is anything iffy about Dawn or the company that owns them, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were, but I spend enough money on other specialty things I am okay with buying "mainstream" dish soap. And pumpkin spice lattees.}

I didn't exactly listen correctly and used Gain soap instead of Dawn, which can be a fatal mistake causing fading, as I've read. Dawn is used because it's petroleum based and gets rid of grease.

Anywho, I kinda did my own thing and mixed a random amount of Gain dish soap with baking soda. While it worked, I would recommend going with the Dawn route. I didn't notice fading yet on my shirts (hang drying) but I did noticed a bit of fading on my pillowcases.

Essentially, Dawn can get rid of grease stains, even set in ones. The apparent go-to at home major stain remover is 1 part Dawn to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and will allegedly remove any stain whatsoever! So I aim to try it next time I go to the store.

The moral of this story is, sometimes you will experience mayhem that makes you think "oh goodness I'm too crunchy for my own good." And this is only one of my stories! But it's okay, because all the crunchy things you do that are beneficial makes up for the self-inflicted mayhem.

Or I am totally alone in this and made a fool of myself and my clumsiness. And no one ever has the crunchy "aha" moments like I do....

....And now that I think of it, I was using Jasmine Oil in my apple cider vinegar rinse for my hair. I've started no pooing.... but that's an entirely separate post.

That's all I have for today folks, I've got a diaper to change and Christmas movies to watch!\

~The Crunchy Mishap

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Resources

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It's a difficult subject to talk about. I have experienced loss myself, as have a few people close to me. It isn't something anyone can fathom unless they experience it themselves.

I have talked about it here before. Miscarriage is extremely hard to process, and I cannot begin to understand how hard it must be to lose a child. To anyone who may be reading this, please know that you are not alone and that eventually, someday, the pain will lessen. It will always be there in the back of your mind, you will never forget it. But it will come to sting less. You will be able to see a pregnant woman without crying someday, you will be able to stomach pregnancy announcements, and seeing a newborn won't make you want to hide in a closet for a few weeks clutching yourself.

Dear mom, it is soo hard. You have gone through a lot. I know how it hurts. I know how dead you feel inside. The confusion, the anger, the bitterness, the injustice of it all. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and let you cry til your eyes were empty. I wish I could make you hot cocoa and help you move past your pain.

If you are interested in some resources for parenting and infant loss, please look into the following links below. They will offer some great help. These links are also helpful if you have not experienced loss yourself but would like to offer help/support to someone who has. My pinterest page has a loss board with these links and more as I find them.

If you feel you are suffering depression, please do not be afraid to ask for help, be it from friends, family, or professionals. It is okay to need help and support. It's not a sign of weakness.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One Year Ago Today... And Where We Are Now

One year ago today, I was 42 weeks pregnant, and had a beachball attached to the front of me, with a squishy little baby coated in vernix floating around and waiting to make an appearance.

At midnight of October 1st 2012 I went into labor. My contractions were pretty easy to deal with, and two hours later my water finally broke and I laughed in joy that it was finally happening. Another two hours later we packed up to go to my inlaw's where I would be birthing, and my deep, wide, and comfy birth pool was waiting for me.

After 16 hours of hard labor, at 4:11 in the afternoon, I became a mom when our little Bree was born and I reached down to pull her out of the water.

I was up at midnight today, slept, and now at ten something in the morning I realize that 16 hours is a long time. Honestly, while my contractions felt never ending, that night flew by and didn't seem that long! Bree is happily sleeping in her crib while I catch up on the Ellen show and sip coffee.

Soooo much has happened and changed in this past year. And while it can be slightly annoying how many people tell you variations of "it flies by so fast cherish your time," its annoying because it's painfully true and hits us in the face constantly. We are very aware how fast time goes by. It's been a whole year! Where did it go?!

Seriously. It flew by. I blinked, and I didn't mean to. Those long hard sleepless nights I wanted to be over.... it seems like forever ago. Wanting her to get to 6/7 months so we could play with solids so I wouldn't have to freak about pumping enough if we wanted to go out... came far too quickly. Wanted her to sit up, to play.... it all very quickly came about. Now Bree is standing and walking along things and working on walking with letting go (just a few steps at a time currently).

A big plus for us, and I am so proud to say, we made it to a year of breastfeeding! Yayyyy! And still going strong. Bree will be done with boobie milk when she is ready to be done.

The birthday party was a huge hit and a ton of fun, and very exhausting. Bree seemed to have fun, and was so stinking cute!

She is now well stocked as far as clothes, toys, and books. Yay for provision! We are so thankful for all the friends and family who came to celebrate and support us, as you have all along!

I am so proud. Seriously. The pride and love for Bree makes my heart swell so much I have chest pain from it. Look at her! She grew inside me! Talk about the miracle of life. For ten months God perfected her as she grew in my womb. He helped me birth her into this world, and is helping us raise her.

Gahhh crying over here. So much emotion. I am so proud of Bree and excited to see her grow, to see her personality shine through... but it's so hard. This year passed so quickly. Soon she'll be two... then five... then 12... then 18.... This love is so strong. Being a mom is truly the most amazing thing ever. I hope I can be the best mother I can be for her. To guide and teach and have the perfect level of discipline and grace and understanding.

Bree is already such a great person. I know she is growing into a fantastic girl who will be a kind, thoughtful, and wonderful young woman. She tries to share her paci and her pouches of fruit and her cheerios... we haven't even taught her what sharing is. She gives hugs, frowns and kisses you if she knows she hurt you (1 year olds are surprisingly strong bitters/hitters!) and all of this is her. This isn't taught, it's the kindness of her spirit. I hope I am able to teach her further and grow that kindness in her. It's a weighty responsibility, raising a human who will be a functioning part of society!

In this past year Bree has grown and learned so much, I'm excited to see where this next year takes us!

Happy 1st birthday to my little girl! I love you Bree.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Very First Birthday!

So sorry the blog hasn't been up and busy lately, it's been a crazy month for our little family over here!

In new news, it's our little girl's very first birthday this coming Tuesday! Her party is this weekend (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme, woo!) and it's all very exciting and busy. With the usual mixed emotions a mom will have. Excitement for her milestones, sadness because she's growing up. All that good stuff. Just yesterday she took her fruit pouch out of my hand and fed herself! What is this?!

She is also slowly working on standing and taking steps without support. Granted, it leads to a lot of falling down, but that's how her pulling up on furniture started and she got the hang of that really quick!

Over the summer I started my seemingly endless search for a smash cake recipe that met my high standards for her diet. Not to sound cocky when I say that, but I figure she has the rest of her life to eat GMOs and crappy food, so I just want to keep her system as pure and clean for as long as I can. I honestly didn't want a smash cake, she is mostly breastfed with a few small meals through the day, and hasn't really had any breads or cake-like substances. But my husband and his family really wanted a smashcake, and in the long run it isn't that big of a deal, but it just couldn't be all sugar and white flour.

Pinterest and Google weren't yielding much for my search. I swear, there really needs to be a crunchy mom search engine, so when you search it automatically cuts through all the crap websites I want no part in and only shows things from natural/alternative living sites. That would be such a blessing!

So, I changed my wording in the Pinterest world and began looking for gluten free or dairy free cakes, thinking surely any recipes I found in that search would be far more satisfactory than the ones I found previously. Luckily, I found a few I really liked (pinned to my "Kiddos" board on my pinterest! Link at the top of the page) and over the course of this past month settled on the one I will be making for Bree....

And the winner is.........Our Haven Hill's Baby's 1st Birthday Cake recipe. It's made with bananas and applesauce, pretty safe sounding.

And THEN the search for suitable frosting started. Oyyyyy freaking vey. It was a quest of blood sweat and tears. It appeared impossible to find a frosting recipe that wasn't full of sugar, dairy, or dye. And I may sound crazy, but that's just not acceptable for the baby who has only ever had breastmilk and fruits and veggies. (I'm sure I sound cray, but reallyy..... McDonald's, junk, all of that.... she has the rest of her life to try stuff like that. Happy clean belly now.)

A similarly "crunchy" mom suggested looking up whipped coconut milk recipes, and voila! I found a great "frosting" recipe! Oh She Glows offers this fantastic alternative to dairy/sugar overload. Click the links and read them! They make this Crunchy Mama so happy inside!

So, the decorations have been bought, the recipes found and printed and ready to start, all we have to do is make the food and set up. Yay for the very first birthday party!!!!

And a special thanks to Pinterest for just making life easier. You will suffice until the crunchy parenting search engine is available someday.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Teething Problems

My daughter has been teething since around three months. It was not fun when it started, not at all. Bree was cranky, sad, and screaming. There was one day where my husband had to come home from school early because she was inconsolable and I was in hysteria (she wouldn't even nurse, it was a hard day for both of us). Luckily, his presence calmed her down and she was able to fall asleep.

I didn't know what to do to help her. I didn't want to give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen, 1) because I didn't want to give her drugs and 2) because something just told me not to. (Gotta love mama instincts!)

Luckily, a mama friend offered me an amber teething necklace. Life changed that day, and I swear I'm not being dramatic.

The day after we got the necklace, Bree was a different baby. She was calm, smiley, happy, and actually napped again! I was the happiest mom in the world. All was right in the world. That, gripe water, and Hyland's homeopathic teething gel made the ride much easier. (You can read more about Baltic Amber teething necklaces HERE. There are many brands out there, and a lot of places sell them now, just be sure that it is authentic Baltic amber! Inspired By Finn is a good brand, and there are a lot of good Etsy stores too, just shop around. Again I say, authentic Baltic amber.)

The past three weeks or so however, Bree has been Grumpy McGrumpypants again. She has four top teeth, and four bottom teeth, and is working on her two bottom cuspids. It's not been pleasant. She was no longer sleeping through the night, fussy and screaming, biting, warm, holding her head.... all the negative side effects.

Going to my Facebook tribe of crunchy mamas across the country, I was desperate. I asked about Ibuprofen and Tylenol, and this is what I was shown:

Don't Suppress That Fever (And Why I Don't I Like Tylenol)
FDA: Benzocaine and Babies - Not A Good Mix
How To Help Ease The Pain Of Teething And What Products To Avoid

Reading those things and my want to not give Bree drugs until she's older made me look at other options. Luckily, when I went to visit my drugstore, a few rows above the infant Ibuprofen (and for two dollars less than the dye free ibuprofen and acetaminophen) I found a homeopathic teething remedy! My day was made. It's called Kids Relief (I think it is a generic version of Little Remedies, both of which I recommend) and uses chamomile, arnica, and St John's Wart to relieve pain and inflammation from teething. There is always a natural alternative, which I am so thankful for. I'd like to maintain a pure body for Bree as long as possible, there's plenty of time for Tylenol and non organic food when she's older, am I right?!

If your little one is teething, my heart goes out to you. It isn't easy for our little ones, and it isn't easy for us to see them go through the pain. Look into the teething necklace, and another good option also is a nursing necklace for you that is safe for chewing; they can hold onto it and gnaw on it when you hold them/wear them, and since it's attached to you, if they drop it, it's safe! Get some gripe water, Hyland's, and other homeopathic remedies, and just be patient with your sweetie. I know it can be frustrating having a needy, fussy baby, believe me! But what I am trying to remind myself on the hard days, is that she won't want me like this forever, she will grow up in plenty of time.

All my love to you and yours,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Here It Comes, Another Hot Topic!

The following post is a sensitive subject to many, please keep an open mind.

The debate over vaccines is often a bitter fight. Both sides are passionate and both sides claim to be educated on their decisions to either vaccinate or not vaccinate their children. I am writing about my side today.

Point blank, we do not vaccinate. As I continue with this post, I will share the journey to this decision, but for now let me say that I am not aiming to convince people to vaccinate, delay, or completely forego vaccines. I just want people to make informed decisions and decide what is best for their family. Get ready, I have a ton of info in here for you to read!

How I Started Learning About Vaccines

My journey started when I lost my first pregnancy. That's when I began questioning everything and realizing I knew nothing. I only knew what society conditioned me to know and do. Just as I questioned "conventional" hospital birth and circumcision and began my research, vaccines popped into my head.

Now, I was raised by a nurse. I was one of the first children in my state to receive the chicken pox vaccine when it came out. I believe I received most of my shots through childhood. However, by my teen years, my mom began having a more holistic approach to life. I can honestly say I was rarely taken to the doctor and only remember a tetanus shot and a steroid shot for pneumonia.

I remember my mother refusing a hepatitis shot, and I remember her refusing the Gardasil shot. Which, knowing what I now know about Gardasil (sterilization and death, among other things), I am incredibly thankful for. (Read more about Gardasil HERE)

So I began reading up on vaccines, especially the ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients for various vaccines below, chart courtesy of Informed Choice.

VaccineManufacturerMicrobesAntibioticsChemicals / Heavy MetalsAnimal ByProducts
Acel-Immune DTaP
diphtheria - tetanus - pertussis
diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis adsorbedformaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, thimerosal, and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80)gelatin
Haemophilus influenza
Type B
Connaught Laboratories
Haemophilus influenza
Type B, polyribosylribitol phosphate
ammonium sulfate, formalin, and sucrose
Merck & Co., Inc.
measles live virusneomycinsorbitolhydrolized gelatin, chick embryo
Merck & Co., Inc.
rubella live virusneomycinsorbitolhydrolized gelatin, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
anthrax adsorbed
BioPort Corporation517.327.1500nonencapsulated strain of
Bacillus anthracis
aluminum hydroxide, benzethonium chloride, and formaldehyde
diphtheria - tetanus - pertussis
GlaxoSmithKline 800.366.8900
X 5231
diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis adsorbedformaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, and thimerosalwashed sheep RBCs
(not licensed d/t expiration)
live vaccinia virus, with "some microbial contaminants," according to the Working Group on Civilian Biodefensepolymyxcin B sulfate, streptomycin sulfate, chlortetracycline hydrochloride, and neomycin sulfateglycerin, and phenol -a compound obtained by distillation of coal tarvesicle fluid from calf skins
recombinant hepatitis B
GlaxoSmithKline 800.366.8900
X 5231
genetic sequence of the hepatitis B virus that codes for the surface antigen (HbSAg), cloned into GMO yeastaluminum hydroxide, and thimerosal
FluvirinMedeva Pharmaceuticals888.MEDEVA 716.274.5300influenza virusneomycin, polymyxinbeta-propiolactonechick embryonic fluid
trivalent influenza virus, types A&Bgentamicin sulphateformadehyde, thimerosal, and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80)chick embryonic fluid
hepatitis A
GlaxoSmithKline 800.366.8900
X 5231
hepatitis A virusformalin, aluminum hydroxide, 2-phenoxyethanol, and polysorbate 20residual MRC5 proteins -human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
HiB Titer
Haemophilus influenza
Type B
Haemophilus influenza
Type B, polyribosylribitol phosphate, yeast
ammonium sulfate, thimerosal, and chemically defined yeast-based medium
ImovaxConnaught Laboratories800.822.2463rabies virus adsorbedneomycin sulfatephenol red indicatorhuman albumin, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
IPOLConnaught Laboratories800.822.24633 types of polio virusesneomycin, streptomycin, and polymyxin Bformaldehyde, and 2-phenoxyethenolcontinuous line of monkey kidney cells
Japanese encephalitis
Aventis Pasteur USA
strain of Japanese encephalitis virus, inactivated
formaldehyde, polysorbate 80 (Tween-80), and thimerosalmouse serum proteins, and gelatin
recombinant protein (OspA) from the outer surface of the spirochete
Borrelia burgdorferi
kanamycinaluminum hydroxide, 2-phenoxyethenol, phosphate buffered saline
measles - mumps - rubella
Merck & Co., Inc.
measles, mumps, rubella live virusneomycinsorbitolhydrolized gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
measles - rubella
Merck & Co., Inc.
measles, rubella live virusneomycinsorbitolhydrolized gelatin, chick embryonic fluid, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
Connaught Laboratories800.822.2463freeze-dried polysaccharide antigens from
Neisseria meningitidis
Meruvax I
Merck & Co., Inc.
mumps live virusneomycinsorbitolhydrolized gelatin
(new smallpox batch, not licensed)
Aventis Pasteur USA
highly attenuated vaccinia viruspolymyxcin B sulfate, streptomycin sulfate, chlortetracycline hydrochloride, and neomycin sulfateglycerin, and phenol -a compound obtained by distillation of coal tarvesicle fluid from calf skins
oral polio
3 types of polio viruses, attenuatedneomycin, streptomycinsorbitolmonkey kidney cells and calf serum
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Merck & Co., Inc.

capsular polysaccharides from polyvalent (23 types) pneumococcal bacteriaphenol
Pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine
Wyeth Lederle
saccharides from capsular
Streptococcus pneumoniae
antigens (7 serotypes) individually conjugated to diphtheria CRM 197 protein
aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, soy protein, yeast
measles, mumps, rubella and varicella
Merck & Co., Inc.
live measles (Enders' attenuated Edmonston), mumps (Jeryl LynnTM), rubella (Wistar RA 27/3), and varicella (oka/Merck) strains of virusesneomycinmonosodium L-glutamate (MSG), potassium chloride, potassium phosphate monobasic, potassium phosphate dibasic, sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate dibasic, sorbitol, and sucrosehuman albumin, human diploid cells, residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and proteins, bovine serum, hydrolized gelatin, and chicken embryo
Chiron Behring GmbH & Company
fixed-virus strain Flury LEPneomycin, chlortetracycline, and amphotericin Bpotassium glutamate, and sucrosehuman albumin, bovine gelatin and serum "from source countries known to be free of bovine spongioform encephalopathy," and chicken protein
Rabies Vaccine AdsorbedGlaxoSmithKline 800.366.8900
X 5231
rabies virus adsorbedbeta-propiolactone, aluminum phosphate, thimerosal, and phenol redrhesus monkey fetal lung cells
recombinant hepatitis B
Merck & Co., Inc.
genetic sequence of the hepatitis B virus that codes for the surface antigen (HbSAg), cloned into GMO yeastaluminum hydroxide, and thimerosal
oral tetravalent rotavirus (recalled)
1 rhesus monkey rotavirus, 3 rhesus-human reassortant live virusesneomycin sulfate, amphotericin Bpotassium monophosphate, potassium diphosphate, sucrose, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)rhesus monkey fetal diploid cells, and bovine fetal serum
(not licensed due to expiration) 40-yr old stuff "found" in Swiftwater, PA freezer
Aventis Pasteur USA
live vaccinia virus, with "some microbial contaminants," according to the Working Group on Civilian Biodefensepolymyxcin B sulfate, streptomycin sulfate, chlortetracycline hydrochloride, and neomycin sulfateglycerin, and phenol -a compound obtained by distillation of coal tarvesicle fluid from calf skins
(new, not licensed)
Acambis, Inc.
in partnership with Baxter BioScience
highly attenuated vaccinia viruspolymyxcin B sulfate, streptomycin sulfate, chlortetracycline hydrochloride, and neomycin sulfateglycerin, and phenol -a compound obtained by distillation of coal tarvesicle fluid from calf skins
TheraCys BCG
(intravesicle -not licensed in US for tuberculosis)
Aventis Pasteur USA
live attenuated strain of
Mycobacterium bovis
monosodium glutamate (MSG), and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80)
diphtheria - tetanus - pertussis
Aventis Pasteur USA
Corynebacterium diphtheriae
Clostridium tetani
toxoids and acellular
Bordetella pertussis
aluminum potassium sulfate, formaldehyde, thimerosal, and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80)gelatin, bovine extract US sourced
Typhim Vi
Aventis Pasteur USA SA
cell surface Vi polysaccharide from
Salmonella typhi
Ty2 strain
aspartame, phenol, and polydimethylsiloxane (silicone)
Merck & Co., Inc.
varicella live virusneomycinphosphate, sucrose, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)processed gelatin, fetal bovine serum, guinea pig embryo cells, albumin from human blood, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue
yellow fever
Aventis Pasteur USA
17D strain of yellow fever virussorbitolchick embryo, and gelatin

These ingredients alone swayed me, and others I know, to not vaccinate. Aborted fetal cells, aluminum, mercury.... It caused a pit in my stomach. I had an instinctual feeling we shouldn't do vaccines, and this table really confirmed in my heart what I was feeling.

In this fabulous link, "Why We Didn't Vaccinate Baby Noor, the writer states
"I think it’s very important to carefully consider possible harm vs. probable benefits before subjecting your child to something.  When we did that, we concluded that the vaccination regimen that is prescribed in the U.S. today is clearly much more likely to do harm to our child than to help her, even just using statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control itself."

This dad's view is very similar to mine, and why we are not vaccinating our daughter. I encourage you to read it!

Most of the diseases children are vaccinated for began declining before the introduction of vaccination anyway. Vaccines are not what caused the diseases and viruses to fade, proper sanitation practices, clean water, and hand washing did.

Reasons We Made This Decision

As I continued with my research I came across a book, The Vaccine Manual For Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, which I highly recommend reading before making any vaccine decision. It lists ingredients, adverse reactions, probability of disease, defines the different diseases and viruses and what they truly entail, and the probability of bad reactions from the disease as opposed to the scare tactics we are taught in our society. For instance, did you know that 95% of people exposed to polio will show no symptoms, 5% of infected people exhibit mild symptoms, and paralysis (the biggest scare of polio) is 1 in a thousand. Plus, the disease is statistically low in the US, and began declining before the vaccine came out. This book has scientific data, charts, and tables, and has great resources. It also has an informative foreward by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neuroscientist and current professor who talks about the affect of vaccines and possible harm they can cause, and goes into great detail about the various ingredients and the affect they have on the brain.

For me, after viewing the real statistics and data, and the rarity of the respective diseases and the fact that they are easily treated, I saw no reason to inject my daughter with all the toxins and heavy metals. There is not ONE study showing the safety of all the combined doses of vaccines and the affect they could have on someone's system. That's too big of a risk for me.

Another thing that got me thinking was the Hep B vaccine given after birth. For a person without an STD, why would you give this to a child? Its for a sexually transmitted virus! My child won't be sharing needles or having sex, so why give this shot, especially after birth when they are so new, before they have an immune system built? It doesn't make sense.

Here, Dr. Sears talks about the aluminum in vaccines...

  • Aluminum can cause neurologic harm.
  • A study from 30 years ago showed that human adults will increase their urine excretion of aluminum when exposed to higher levels (suggesting adults can clear out excess aluminum).
  • Adults taking aluminum-containing antacids don't build up high levels in their body.
  • There have been reports of infants with healthy kidneys showing elevated blood levels of aluminum from taking antacids.
  • The AAP found that people with kidney disease who build up levels of aluminum greater than 100 micrograms per liter in their bloodstream are at risk of toxicity.
  • The AAP also states that the toxic threshold may be lower than this.
  • The paper states that aluminum loading (meaning tissue build up) has been seen even in patients with healthy kidneys who receive IV solutions containing aluminum over extended periods.

  • In "V is for Vaccines" this mother explains why she doesn't vaccinate and gives some great links/resources that helped her reach her decision. "At the start of my research, several diseases/illnesses really scared me. I mention which ones they are as I go along. When I say I "almost got" a vaccine for one of the diseases, I mean that it scared me enough to seriously consider a vaccine. At this time, those diseases still scare me, but I have done much research to know that, at this time, I still think it is best to not vaccinate."

    In this link, 10 Things I Wish The Mainstream Media Would Get Right About Parents Who Don't Vaccinate, the writer makes some valid points:
    "If you are a parent who doesn't follow the recommended vaccine schedule, you have probably read the same articles I have (I don't mean the PubMed journals, which of course you have read.  I mean the ones in parenting magazines or newspapers).  You know the ones.  It is almost enough to make you suspect that they are all quoting from a really old article--circa 2004, perhaps?--because they all make these same 10 mistakes.  

    1. Basic info/terminology. Virus vs bacteria. Antigen vs adjuvant.  Live virus.  When you talk about the pertussis virus or removing thimerosol from the MMR it is hard to take you seriously. 

    2. The autism angle.  Autism is a big concern for some parents.  I get that.  But contrary to popular opinion, it isn't the only or even primary concern of many parents.  Auto-immune issues in general, fetal tissue in vaccines and other things influence many of us as much or more than a fear of autism. 

    3. Herd immunity.  There is always the suggestion that non-vaxers are the ones who put others at risk by derailing herd immunity.  The truth is that herd immunity is largely a myth.  How many adults do you know that are fully up to date on all boosters?  Um, yeah.  Furthermore, not all diseases or vaccines are created equal (some are not even designed to prevent transmission, let alone the varying rates of efficacy) and while herd immunity might be plausible for a few, it isn't for most.   All the non-vaxers that I know are fully aware of this--one reason why we study MMWRs, and educate ourselves on the symptoms and treatment options for many VPDs.  We certainly don't rely on herd immunity in most cases.  

    4. Remembering how bad the diseases are.  We are told with ineffable condescension that vaccines are a victim of their own success. If we could only remember a few decades ago...  Aside from the fact that hygiene, improved medical care, nutrition and other things are at least as responsible for declining rates of mortality, the perception has changed significantly. Nobody was scared I would die when I got chicken pox.  Even measles was not considered to be a big deal in most cases (and there is mounting evidence that we are trading a week of illness there for chronic allergies, asthma and other diseases).  Some diseases are very serious, but so are the vaccine reactions.  

    5. Equality of diseases and vaccines.  All diseases and vaccines are not created equal.  My four month old is not at risk for Hep B or tetanus.  Pertussis scares me.  Mumps?  Not really.  The fact that my children are exclusively breastfed for a year, and continue to breastfeed after that affects my decision on Hib. I could go on and on.  The risks vary according to age, family history, geography and many other things.  Similarly, some vaccines are more reactive than others.  Some are very effective, others are not. 

    6. The obsession with thimerosol.   This still gets trotted out every time along with experts patiently explaining that thimerosol was removed from most vaccines years ago.  While it was more removed from some than others, thimerosol isn't the over-riding concern for most of us.  Aluminum, which is present in very dangerous amounts, concerns  me more.  There is a whole cocktail of nasty stuff in most vaccines (varies according to brand and type). 

    7.  Fear of antigen overload.  The same person talking about thimerosol sweetly pats us on the head as s/he explains that worries over too many vaccines at once are unfounded because the antigens are so weak. After all, we are exposed to far more bacteria or viruses at any given time than the ones injected in a vaccine.  Well, yeah. The problem is all the adjuvants.  The antigens are too weak to provoke an immune response on their own, so they are made into a threat with adjuvants like aluminum and other toxic substances.  Forget about the antigens.  Explain how levels that greatly exceed the FDA limits for toxic adjuvants aren't a problem.

    8.  Environmental exposure.  You are exposed to these toxins in the environment, anyway.  Yes, we are, and while that isn't a good thing there, either, in most cases, our bodies' natural defense systems help excrete them.  Being injected into your muscle tissue bypasses a lot of that, and when you are talking about babies whose blood-brain barrier isn't developed, that is concerning. 

    9. Vaccine side effects are redness and soreness at the injection site and a fever.  In rare cases, anaphylaxis may result.  True. The implication is that fever isn't a big deal, and anaphylaxis is so rare that we shouldn't worry.  Fine. What about the other side effects?  Read the safety inserts, please.  There are many serious side effects, including respiratory illness, arthritis, paralysis, an assortment of auto-immune disorders, and more.

    10.  Concerns about vaccines are based solely on the anecdotes of so and so who posted a story on vaccinesRthedevil.com.  Most of us started questioning because of reactions we saw in our own children.  But we didn't stop there. We spend countless hours poring over medical journals, researching the diseases, ingredients, the immune system, etc., learning all we can.  Some are immunologists, neuroscientists and other medical professionals. We are educated and informed about vaccines.  Talk to us. And if you are going to write about us, learn a little more first."
    Most of the people I know who don't vaccinate chose to stop vaccinating or to not do it at all because of the severe reactions they've seen and the ingredients that are so toxic. Why is it okay to inject these toxins into our bloodstream when a HazMat team has to come in and close down a school to clean up a syringe that fell to the ground and broke, spilling the contents on the floor? Again, doesn't make sense to me.

    The Autism Factor

    I'm still now sure what to believe about autism and vaccines right now. One thing I do believe is that it isn't good to mess with our bodies, especially with chemicals and toxins, and this is why I try to raise my daughter as naturally as possible. Chemicals and toxins are definitely linked with autism and the brain. Irish scientists have found a link between gut bacteria and autism, and two recent studies suspect that induction of labor may have an effect on autism and the brain. Science Based Medicine says 
    "Compared with children born to mothers who received neither labor induction nor augmentation, children born to mothers who were induced and augmented, induced only, or augmented only experienced increased odds of autism after controlling for potential confounders related to socioeconomic status, maternal health, pregnancy-related events and conditions, and birth year. The observed associations between labor induction/augmentation were particularly pronounced in male children."

    I do think there is a link between vaccines and autism. I cannot say that every case is caused by vaccines, and not every vaccinated child will become autistic. But I do know the government believes there is a link. Otherwise why would the government's vaccine injury court grant two families millions of dollars because of their childrens' autism and encephalopathy they believed were caused by vaccines. The government did not admit in court that vaccinations were the definitive cause, but they must have seen something that these cases were won. The vaccine court has had a LOT of cases like these, but it isn't something you hear about in the news often.

    More info on the vaccine injury compensation program HERE.
    Studies Showing Link To Autism and Vaccines - downloadable document
    Scientists identify way to test autism in one-year-olds using blood test... for those who say it only appears around/after two. I really believe it has to do with environmental factors.

    Hard pro-vaxxers like to argue that vaccines cannot possibly cause autism or developmental disorders, that the problems simply arise around the general time of vaccination. That just isn't a satisfactory answer for me. Something causes it. And the toxins and heavy metals absolutely can penetrate the brain barrier. Studies have shown victims of Alzheimer's have mercury in their brain, and it affects the progression of the disease. The thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines never leaves the brain. And I don't like that, personally. Perhaps its a genetic issue and is overwhelmed by the sudden flood of heavy metals... maybe the heavy metals cause it... I really do not know, and I will continue to learn about that as I find information about it. However, at famous Ina May Gaskin's The Farm, out of alllll the births they've seen since the seventies, no medical inductions or vaccinations, they've never seen a case of autism. Food for thought.

    30 Scientific Studies Show The Link Between Autism & Vaccines
    http://www.fourteenstudies.org/ - "I think that the government or certain public officials in the government have been too quick to dismiss the concerns of these families without studying the population that got sick. I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis as irrational without sufficient studies of causation."
    Dr. Bernadine Healy, former Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), largest U.S. federal agency responsible for conducting and supporting medical research. Dr. Healy has no known conflicts of interest in the vaccine-autism debate.
    - No real world studies of the vaccine schedule have ever been done. Of the 11 separate vaccines given to American children (many given multiple times), only one vaccine -- the MMR -- has ever been studied for its relationship to autism. Yet, American children get 6 or 7 different vaccines simultaneously at 2, 4, 6, and 12 month doctor appointments.
    - Not one study compares vaccinated children to unvaccinated children -- every study only looks at children who have received vaccines. This is like comparing smokers who smoke one pack a day to those who smoke two packs a day, seeing no difference in cancer rates, and saying cigarettes don’t cause cancer.
    - The studies are rife with conflicts including authors who have been paid by vaccine companies and federal agencies and foreign governments charged with administering vaccines.
    - Many of the studies reach false conclusions or conclusions that have nothing to do with the simple question: do vaccines cause autism? They are simply being misrepresented in the press by public health officials taking advantage of a docile media that is heavily dependent on advertising from pharma companies.
    This link here will take you to Dr. Tenpenny, a doctor who promotes healthy living and prevention and not vaccinations as a way to prevent illness, and an informative video you can feel free to watch about info on vaccines and reactions.

    In THIS LINK a medical chemist explains why he doesn't vaccinate.

    What Doctors Know/Are Taught About Vaccines

    Questions To Ask & Claims VS. Facts About Vaccines

    Read HERE about the scary world of vaccine additives.

    Miscellaneous Info

    HERE you can find info on the normal childhood disease and how to treat them.
    Adverse Effects of Vaccine Injury Table pdf
    HERE are exemption forms for all states and state requirements if you are delaying/not vaccinating and sending your child to daycare or school. Most states offer medical and religious exemptions, some also offer philosophical, and others only have medical.
    The Value of Your Child's Life According To Those Promoting Vaccines
    If You Vaccinate, Ask Eight... Questions For Your Doctor About Vaccines
    Australian Vaccination Network - American, Aussie, or wherever else you may be from, this site has lots of great info!
    Hep B Vaccine Pulled From Vietnam After Three Newborns Die
    CDC Says MMR & Pertussis Vaccine Can Cause Brain Damage
    Does Vaccination Cause Autism? Here's What They Know...
    Package Inserts For Vaccines
    Thimerosal (mercury) Info
    Want To Vaccinate My Child? Sign This Form First - a downloadable form for physicians to sign before vaccinating... "It's been over a year since hundreds of parents have downloaded this form and there are still no reports of any signatures. Many physicians won't even look at the form while they dismiss a parent's anti-vaccination stance as ridiculous. The behavior is a clear indication of a very misinformed Physician who does not have his or her patient's best interests at heart. They are not willing to inform their patients of the risks, only the benefits they feel are acceptable. They are not open-minded to any other side of the debate except their own biased view passed down through the medical system."
    Seven Reasons To Delay or Refuse Vaccines
    The Healthy Unvaccinated
    FDA Recalls Flu Vaccine
    9 Arguments For The Vaccine Debate
    NBC News: Shot May Boost Superbug

    Pages on Facebook:

    I have also included more links on my Resources page and my parenting board on Pinterest.

    In writing this, I hope that I may have opened your eyes to something you may not have known before. That is my goal for this blog, raising awareness about topics that aren't commonly known about/talked about in the mainstream. If this has raised any questions for you, I highly recommend delaying vaccinations until you can read more and come to a decision for yourself and children. You can always start them again, but you can never undo what's been done.

    Ultimately, we do not vaccinate because the benefits do not outweigh the risks in our book. The viruses and illnesses are not frequent, and in the event of such an illness, they are easily remedied. (Of course there is the rare serious event, that will happen whether you vaccinate or not.)

    Our daughter was exclusively breastfed until seven months and is currently still breastfed, an added protection against illness and building a healthy immune system. To us, breastfeeding, a healthy diet and good sun exposure, and vitamin supplementation if necessary, are great alternatives for prevention. As Christians, we also heartily believe in our protection and divine healing. In comparison to other children her age, our daughter has never been sick and has a very strong immune system, and we believe it is our job to protect her from harm, toxins and unnecessary heavy metals included.

    If you leave a comment, please leave only kind and considerate ones. Remember that parents like me read what we do and make the decisions we do out of best interest for our children, and most with beliefs similar to mine will not be swayed. Thank you for reading! Until next time...

    ~The Cruncy Mama