Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dinner Just Got Cheaper

You must check out this site:

I'm going to try her Cuban Black Beans and Rice recipe this week, and I'll report my findings.

We're entering into summer, which means nearly half our income is gone. A majority of my husband's students take the summer off, which means 3 months that we get to eat rice & beans, and beans & rice. As I always prefer to look at the silver lining--we get SO much more husband/daddy time. Nine months of the year he's working 70+ hours a week, so that I don't have to work full time. We'll be using the next 3 months to reconnect and spend time together as a family. I can't wait!

If you have a great money-saving idea, or cheap-but-delicious recipe, PLEASE SHARE! We've already pre-paid to take part in a local farm co-op, so we'll have tons of fresh veggies (along with our own garden). Now I just need some great new summer recipes.

I also recommend you sign-up for Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate newsletter. I did about a year ago, and I've received a lot of great tips--such as:
  • Making your own laundry detergent and household cleaners. Best part--I know what's going in them. Check out: I'm going to get the detergent kit and soilove.
  • Re-using toilet paper rolls, and lint from the dryer to make fire-starters for camping (I LOVE recycling and re-purposing!)
  • Unplugging energy-holders. Do you know how much energy is wasted in your house by power-strips, televisions, and other devices when they're turned off, but not unplugged? What I've discovered is I am also sleeping better, b/c it's so quiet. No hums or buzzes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yes, You NEED A Doula

From the March/April 2009 issue of The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing:

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continuous Labor Support for Middle-Class Couples: Effects on Cesarean Delivery Rates
Mc Grath, S.K. & Kennell, J.H. (2008). Birth, 35, 92-97.

Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of continuous labor support by a doula for low-income women laboring without the support of family members. The purpose of this randomized controlled trail was to examine the effects of support from a doula for middle-and upper-come nulliparous women who were accompanied by a male partner during labor and delivery. Nulliparous women in the third trimester of an uncomplicated pregnancy were recruited from childbirth education classes in Cleveland, Ohio; 420 women who met the study criteria were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n=224) or the control group (n=196). Couples in the experimental group received a doula's continuous bedside presence and support during labor and delivery. Doula support included touch, teaching, reassurance, and encouragement of the woman and her male partner. Ten women served as doulas for the study, all of whom completed training requirements equivalent to Doulas of North America International certification.
The doula and control groups were similar in race, marital status, maternal education, and maternal age; 78% of women were white and 88% were married. The doula group had a significantly lower cesarean birth rate than those in the control group (13.4% vs 25.0%), and significantly fewer women in the doula group required epidural analgesia than women in the control group (64.7% vs 76.0%). Among women with induced labor, those in the doula group had a significantly lower rate of cesarean birth than those in the control group (12.5% vs 58.8%). In response to a questionnaire administered at 24 hours postpartum, 93% of the women and their male partners rated the presence of the doula as "very positive." The results of this study suggested that doula support has positive effects for middle- and upper-income women who also have support from a male partner, particularly in terms of a reduced rate of cesarean birth.

Commentary by Maureen Heaman

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh, The Things I Will Do

This was intended to be my obligatory Mother's Day post--you know, every mom who has a blog must write some sort of post on being a mother--but May has been by far our most hectic month this year. This also gave me time to review my thoughts, and I realized that what I wanted to say almost sounded as if I'm complaining about being a mom. 
You see, I intended to write out all the things I will do once my kids are older and/or gone from our home. All those things I used to do, or always wanted to do... like sleeping in.
Truly, my heart was not that of complaining or despairing over things I want or miss. The idea was born out one day while spending time with my all too quickly growing children. 
I had pretty severe postpartum depression after E was born, and it is all too easy to allow sadness to consume my thoughts. It takes concerted effort to turn that frown upside down and find the joy.
My little ones are growing up so fast, some days it seems they literally are growing inches before my eyes. A few nights ago my son, without being asked, assisted me with set up for the Your Best Birth event. He jumped at the opportunity to serve and help his momma. He set out chairs, and helped carry tables. He helped his dad get cords, and hauled just about anything his 4 year old body could lift. I was in awe of my little man--his strength, his heart, his attitude.
In times like these I find myself tearing up--aching to hold their little bodies in my arms forever. It's amazing how this kind of love can break your heart and fill it up over and over. Some times the only way to combat the trembling lip is to think of the things I will fill my time with when they don't need their momma quite so much.
Without further ado:

Travel with fewer bags to further places.
Start and finish a conversation in a normal time period.
Complete a project in one sitting.
Sleep in--past 7 a.m., without interruption all night.
Read books with fewer pictures, and with chapters.
Cook smaller meals, and eat leftovers more frequently.
Clean the house, and have it stay clean for more than an hour.
Bend over less.
Kiss my husband without hearing commentary or complaint.
Wear the same shirt throughout the day, and have it stay clean for more than one wearing.
Leave the house on time, and arrive on time to appointments.
Use the nice dishes, rather than plastic plates and cups.
Have more time for rock climbing, knitting, writing, and all those hobbies that sit collecting dust these days.
Visit friends more regularly.

So, what's on your list? Come on, it's okay, you don't have to feel bad to miss or desire those things we gave up or put aside to be moms. It's alright to look forward to doing them again, especially if it helps you find joy in the all to short season that is motherhood.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

That's A Good Question

Someone asked me the other day, "Why WOULDN'T someone want a doula at their birth?"
I have a couple guesses, but honestly I don't know. I've even had women know I'm a doula, seem very interested in me attending, but eventually decide against having a doula.
Various reasearch studies show that women with doulas experience less pain, have fewer interventions, and are less likely to have a C-section.
However, doulas are still relatively new to the scene in America. Many women don't even know who they are, what they do, or how to find one.

So, I'm asking you--why wouldn't you want a doula at your birth?

Your Best Birth--the book

I received my copy a few weeks ago. I just finished the chapter on doulas (as well as the first 100 pages), and I LOVE IT!
I'll have a full report after I'm finished, but if you are expecting I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

Don't forget you can pick up a copy at our book event and live webcast on Wednesday, May 13th at 7 p.m.