April 16, 2009

Crunch Crunch

So, how "crunchy" am I?

There's definitely more crunch in my step than there used to be, but it's mainly because I've done a lot of research, lived life as a parent, and have deep desires to do things the way we do them now.

To some people I'm over the top. To others, I have a lot left to c

We had a homebirth. One of the best decisions we ever made! But do I think that everyone must have a homebirth now? Nope. Only if it's your kinda thing.

We co-sleep. Right now it's just with the two youngest. It's something we just go with the flow right now and it just works for us. Right now.

We wear our babies. We're more likely to wear Ivy in a baby carrier than put her in a swing or bouncy seat, but we do have those things. Because there are times that they are handy! But mostly we would rather keep her close, at a higher altitude so that she can learn mo
re about the real world around her. And let's face it, because she just wants to be held.

I breastfeed my babies for a long time. I nursed Gray until he was two and a half (and I was pregnant some of that time) and I plan to nurse Ivy until she and I decide together that it is time to stop. We will do it as long as we both find it pleasant and natural and a happy experience.

We cloth diaper. Came in late to this, but looooove it. Look!

Who takes photo of diapers? People that cloth diaper. This is an example of what I just folded out of the laundry- we use mostly Bum Genius, and the occasional Whisper Wrap and Thirsties with unbleached Indian pre-folds, and some new organic GroBaby diapers (the dark purple ones on top).

We see a Natural MD & pediatrician. We will see regular doctors if necessary. But thankfully, it isn't often necessary.

We don't vaccinate. No exceptions. (If you think this is irresponsible, please don't assume you know our story. Because we have a story. I just don't feel like going into it here on this nice day.)

We distill our own water. (But I've been known to enjoy a tasty cold Coca-Cola Classic or Dr. Pepper now and then.)

We use natural cleaning and health & beauty products. Our favorites are Method, Seventh Generation, Maggie's Soapnuts, The Keeper, and California Baby. My favorite eye shadows and blushes are from Alima Pure.

We have cloth grocery bags. (Well, who doesn't, these days?) I've been really slacking off in using them consistently, though.

It's taken years to get even here. There's so much more I'd love to do. I want to be a full-time vegetarian or maybe vegan again. I want a garden. I'd like to compost. I wish I knew how to make our own clothes and only buy used or strictly freecycle.

And I admit that my boys are much too familiar with those famous golden
arches. Hey- we're real. It's all about making good choices most of the time, and everything in moderation.

The great thing is that we have the freedom to choose what that moderation means for ourselves and our family. No matter how crunchy or chewy or soggy that may be.

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  1. "Who takes pictures of diapers? People who cloth diapers." It's so TRUE!

  2. It's amazing what motherhood does to your world view! I would never have considered myself one bit crunchy--and now my friends think I am a hippie because I am breastfeeding with no intention of stopping at a particular point, cloth diapering, and trying to be less wasteful (cloth grocery bags, using what we have).

  3. Love the way you put it...what is best for our family. We do many of those same things, but haven't made it some of them...yet. But it is what is best for our family and others need to respect that.

  4. Oh my goodness - if we had that many bodies in our bed, I'd never get any sleep! Those tiny little bodies seem to take up alot of room in a king sized bed. Good for you for being able to do it though :)

  5. That's kind of exactly where we stand too. Babywear, cosleeping, extended nursing, natural products around the house (don't ask me about my amazing new steam mop... I'm way too in love with it- my floors haven't been this clean since pinesol!) Mix of cloth and natural disposable diapers. I eat meat probably twice a week. But at the same time, there are things that I do that probably aren't the greenest. It's about what works for us and moderation. Just like you said.

  6. Hey, you know what? Thank you. I do some of these things, and some I don't. Some I was doing before they were "fashionable", and some things just aren't for our family.

    But regardless, THANK YOU. With all the "one-upping" and cutting down that goes on all over the Mommy world, but especially in blogging and on message boards, it's so nice to see someone post things that may be "the newest trend" or a controversial topic without leaving an air of superiority. As you said, to each his (or her) own, but educate yourself before you make the choice and don't blindly follow the herd. It is obvious you have done your research and YAY for that!

    One thing you didn't list was ERF - I know Gray is a little older, but have you considered it for Ivy? It's a new topic in our house, and our 13 month old is our first extended rear-facer, but last week the AAP announced it suggests ERFing until two and we're feeling great about our newest "crunchy" choice.

  7. Thanks for the reminder that it's okay to have a balance between a "normal" life and a "crunchy" life. My husband and I are far from where we aspire to be, but we realize that life is a journey and we plan to continue to incorporate more natural and organic means into our lives. I can only HOPE to arrive at the same place you all are at one day.

    Congratulations on doing everything you can to provide a healthy and sustainable life for your family, and for the inspiration you've instill in others through your blog.

  8. I love that there's a happy medium! My famiy thinks I'm super crunchy because I grow my own veggies in the summer and even can some of them. We ask for wooden toys at Christmas time. And we're big on doing outdoors things instead of say playing video games or watching movies.
    But we still totally go to drive-throughs all the time and buy tons of crud we don't need and end up using maybe half of it.
    I just figure every little bit helps, right?
    It's nice to know what works for you and your family and not feel pressured to be completely one way or the other all at once.

  9. You're quite crunchy to me. Much more than I am, but I'm getting there. I'll never be total crunch, because that just isn't us, but we do what feels right to us.

    I think you're an awesome parent and person. Go on with your bad self! ;)


  10. Love this post, Steph! I like the thought that we all do what is best for us, no matter what that best may be. I do a lot of these things, but there are some that I don't do (like natural cosmetics... I just can't totally make that switch!), and I will admit that certain natural groups have made me feel a bit like I'm looked down upon for not making 100% crunchy choices, 100% of the time, which is so silly (I was once told that Luke's birth was psychologically not a real birth because it was in a hospital, though all natural--funny it felt real to me!;p). Parenting is hard enough as it is, the least we can do is try to support the choices people make--even if we don't totally agree with them.

  11. I think you are very well balanced. I appreciate that when you say moderation - you mean MODERATION. Moderation can be a dangerous word because you can kind of make it mean whatever you want. But anyway, I am cheering for you :)

  12. That's the prettiest stack of diapers I've ever seen. I'm glad you do what you think is best for you and your family. Back in my days when you were a baby it was unheard of to sleep with a baby. I was such a dreamer and was afraid I would roll over on you, plus the snoring your dad made would keep you awake. I see how happy Ivy is and the love she has for her momma, so it is working perfectly!

  13. I am a firm believer of accepting where you are and making goals to get where you want to be and it seems to me that is what you have done! I live in a very crunchy town and am just about normal (to my town's standards) in my crunchiness...maybe a little weird because I nursed Asher until he said "All done, Mama."-this at 19 months, my heart was broken, but you can't force them.

    How do you like the GroBaby diapers? Wanna do a review for us wondering minds?

  14. Don't you just LOVE the Gro baby diapers? I have one at the moment (in blackberry too) and I am in love with it. They will never replace my BG 3.0, but it is so trim and I like the fact that it is a natural fiber.

  15. Thanks so much for keeping it real! We are extended breast-feeders too, and I love to wear my little sugarplums. I think my six year old may just still sleep with me when she's a teenager (which is fine with me ~ hubby is a firefighter and is away every third night anyway).

    Unfortunately, I think it is my husband who thinks I'm a tad too crunchy (well, he and many others). While I aspire to a higher level of, um, crunchiness :)

  16. You make me want to be crunchy! :)

  17. I love the diapers picture. :) We considered not vaccinating but with the upcoming trip to Africa we decided to do it. But then I have read your story and if I were you I probably wouldn't. We are not so crunchy but would like to be more so. We are working on it. And that is good enough for me.

  18. That's so true - do as you feel - be as green as fits your family. We used to have a composter, now we live in an apartment. I don't always take my grocery bags to shopping - because we use the plastic bags we receive from store as trash bags and for dog walks. We never use kitchen paper towels, we never used baby wipes. I breast fed all three kids.

    But I don't recycle cans - just because it's not convenient, they don't collect cans where I recycle everything else. And we eat less than 5 cans of canned food a month, and it seems such a trouble to drive & recycle them. I know I should, but I don't. And which one is worse anyway - throwing them away or driving all the way to recycle them?

    It's good to understand and accept that everyone can not do everything. We do what we can, and it's good to give ourselves a pat in the back every now and then for the good things we do, instead of just focusing what else we could be doing.

  19. Neat! It really is true that each family needs to find its own way. We do what we can, but not as much as we would like to. Sometimes, things just don't work out the way you would like. I wanted to cloth diaper, but we have no washer/dryer, and only make the laundry trip once a week. Breastfeeding was something I blissfully assumed would be a no-brainer, and then, about 20 lactation appts. and various doctors and lactation consultants later (not to mention many feedings spent sobbing from the unexplainable agony on one side), my milk never fully came in. I struggled through 4 months before it dried up. He is on organic formula, and we hate it, but what can you do?
    We grow our own veggies, eat local grass-fed beef, co-sleep, babywear, use organic baby care (Arbonne and Earth Mama Angel Baby) and, after countless hours of research and prayer, we decided to not vaccinate.
    Thanks for the nicely balanced post!

  20. I love that you're so honest about these things. I couldn't agree more; it's not the individual choices that are important - it's the fact that we have the opportunity to even MAKE choices, that we even HAVE alternatives.

    Great post!

  21. I love seeing how other people do things, and I love that you share but don't judge others. We all have to find our own groove. xoxoxo

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  23. Very well said. We all do the things that work for our own families. I used to think I had to "fit in" to a certain parenting style category completely. But I got frustrated because I didn't fit into the mainstream parenting completely because I use slings (not as much as I'd like because of bad back, though), have used cloth diapers at times, would love to have a homebirth, cosleep, and don't CIO. But I also don't fit into the "crunchy" parenting category completely because I do use disposable diapers most of the time, am not as concerned about nutrition as I admittedly should be, have had all my kids in the hospital (2 c-sections), and a bunch of other stuff. Then I realized that it didn't have to be all or nothing. I don't have to fulfill anyone else's expectations on how parenting should look, I just need to follow my heart with what works best for my family. And sometimes different parenting styles fit my life better than at other times, it doesn't have to be set in stone.

  24. I love that you're crunchy AND real! I took pictures of my most recent bumgenius diaper purchase for the baby on the way!!

  25. We're mid-crunchy too. Cloth diapers, home birth, no vacs, breastfeeding. But I also give in to the temptation of really bad Tex-Mex tacos and too much store bought stuff.

  26. I LOVE this post! If you ever have time to answer questions, I have a couple...

    What/how do you distill your water? Do you recommend any type of brand?


    I cloth diaper as well and we also use bumgenius. I was curious about washing them. They tend to get a little "stale" smelling. Ive tried mixing baking soda and vinegar?? But its just not doing the trick. I really dont want to use bleach. Do you have any advice?

    Thanks so much!!


  27. "Who takes pictures of diapers? People who cloth diapers."


  28. You sound like me. I cloth diaper, and take pictures of them.
    I use cloth grocery bags. The real reason I got them is because I was tired of my plastic bags breaking halfway to the car.

    Im trying to do other things, but getting y husband on board is another story. Keep up the good work!

  29. WAIT!? These things aren't a part of everyone's life? ::Looks at picture files filled with every fluffy mail delivery we've ever gotten::

  30. i was wondering if you could give me your opinion on cloth diapering. i have a sixth month old baby girl who has started having a reaction to her diapers (pampers swaddlers) i am considering switching to cloth diapers b/c i can not stand seeing her sweet soft skin all red and peeling. am i crazy to switch to cd's at 6 months old? i do have 3 other kids and a load of laundry. and where do i begin to figure out this journey? i read your post, bummed out, and a few of your links are not working (jillian's drawers) can you wear the bum genius by themselves? ok, enough questions!!

    thanks so much!

  31. i feel so much of this post and have TOTALLY taken pics of our cloth diapers with the intention of getting around to a post like this....sometime. =)

    thanks for sharing what the dark purple ones are....i was going to ask. =)

    the only think i regret is not having homebirths because my births are 100% covered from being a nurse at the hospital i deliver. though, we don't have that insurance anymore soon...and we're {almost} certain that we're not done. = )

    i love that you're a supporter of each doing what works best for their family....i agree!

  32. Yeah... The story you alluded to was one of the big ones that helped me decide to stop vaccinating! We may reevaluate when our kids are older (one isn't even born yet) but right now it's a no.

    We do most of those things too, and I am definitely stuck in the middle. Mainstream people think I'm nuts most of the time, and "crunchy" people probably think I'm wasteful and should do more. At least the crunchy people I know are nice enough to guide me, but not judge :-)

  33. great story! :) i think "your" story evolves over time....kinda like doing cloth diapers. we began our "story" with organic/natural foods and making things at home from scratch and then we went into gardening and composting, etc. we've discussed cloth diapers and can't decide. we do not co sleep. our children DO not like it. we've tried.

  34. Eeek! I think there is something wrong with feedburner today because I see you posted this early this morning (and 35 comments ago!) and I JUST now got it in my reader. Hmph.

    ANYWAY, you know I am ALL ABOUT the sorta on the crunchy thing. You and I practice a lot of the same approaches to natural living. I would love to hear more about distilling your own water!

  35. Love the cute flower diaper!! If I ever have a daughter I will HAVE to get one!

    And I never thought of myself as "crunchy", but I suppose since becoming a mom I am starting to...:)

  36. I love this post!!! You certainly have the knack of saying this is what works for us!!! We are so with you on just about everything... I think I could definitely learn from your gentle spirit though... We also take photos of cloth diapers... there is nothing like a terry nappy all snuggly round the bottom of a little person!!!

  37. I take pics of my cloth diapers! They are just so much fun. How do you like the whiper wrap/thirsties and prefolds? Not sure if I can swing BumG for the new baby. We have some for our 9 month old and love them but they seem $$.

    How do you co-sleep with the two lil ones. We are going to be in that sitiuation in August and I am a little nervous.

  38. I love this blog! Years ago when I was called a "bunny hugger" whatever that means because I did just SOME of those things. Thank you for writing this post!

  39. So, how do you like those new Grobaby diapers? I am thinking about trying one, I just have to talk myself into spending the money. :)
    And yeah, I take pictures of my cloth diapers. :)And I TRY to use a reusable bag when grocery shopping, at least for small purchases. But I am totally impressed with you distilling your own water- you go girl-!

  40. I've started going a little greener too in the past year or so. Not quite so green as you. I have a serious gag reflex so the cloth diaper thing is just not for me. And my babies don't come out naturally, so, what are you going to do? But I've just bought a compost bin in the last few months (they have them at Sam's!), I use the reusable bags, I'm all about the breastfeeding, the gardening and the babywearing...hmmm, green is looking good on me! LOL

  41. It's so true what you say about either being viewed as a complete and total health nut or as someone who's still got a long way to go. I consistently feel stuck between the two.
    Oddly, I do all of the things you do (sans vaccines -- we did a few), and I want to begin gardening and composting. Both of those, plus using rain barrels, are summer projects that will soon begin.
    Lately, we've also been making more of our food -- hummus, yogurt, soups. No preservatives when you make it yourself. ;)

  42. You amaze me. My kids are all grown, so obviously I'm not doing a lot of the things you are doing. I do try to do my part in the green movement though.

  43. Me, too! I take pictures of our cloth diapers. LOL Glad to know I am not the only one. :)

  44. Great post!

    I will be honest I have differing opinons on some of the topics you discussed but as moms I think it is most important to reach the choices out there and make the best decision possible for your family.

    I am working to be greener, slowly but surely and love it!

  45. It took me a while to get to the cloth diapering myself. But the cuteness? That will get through to you sooner or later.

    I am also becoming crunchier as I go along in my parenting journey. Having kids changes you, there's no two ways about it. And how it's changed me is by slowly turning me into a hippie. Whatever works, right?

  46. Being a mom certainly made me more mindful of "crunchy" topics.
    Love the diaper pic! Cloth diapering is certainly more visually appealing than disposables.

  47. I could've written that exact same post! (Well, minus the golden arches part. ;) )
    Love how confident and at ease you sound... I'm sure you're seeing the benefits of parenting with that natural attitude in your children every day. It's incredibly rewarding!

    Much love to you and lotsa happy crunchy hippie vibes! ;)

  48. Way to go! Being honest about yourself and your life. I am a co-sleeper with my youngest two. I am not a cloth diaper(er) but I tried them with my baby girl. And unfortunately I wasn't able to breastfeed my children, but again I tried. We all have to do what's MOST comfortable for us. I love your honestly. You are so genuine Stephanie and that is rare these days! It was a pleasure to meet you and Ivy back in Feb. at Blissdom. Oh and your blog is still my favorite!

  49. you are doing better than we are! love the diapers :)

  50. We so live the same lives...right down to that beco baby carrier-- um, best. carrier. ever. (at least for the one and up set-- my back is so screaming "THANK YOU" at the top of its lungs. What I think is the mark of a person who really knows themselves well, a person who lets go of the ego and is all about the authentic, is how they describe their lives...and always add with sincerity "that's what works for us." It is a struggle for mamas, I think, to celebrate those who do things differently and still trust what they do too. I remember a time when anyone who didn't read Mothering Magazine cover to cover was simply not. in. my. tribe. Letting go of, well, every judgement or attachment to what others are doing is SO freeing...it is all about what works for each mama, each baby, and each community. We're all in this together, so to speak. That being said....oh, how I love a pretty cloth diaper picture:)

  51. We co-sleep and have for over 7 years now . . . I love it . . . I won't know what to do when I don't have babies in my bed anymore. And I am still nursing my almost 3 year old! I think I will stop on her 3rd Bday - well, maybe!

  52. I think we do most of the things you listed. :) Next on my list of things to change is water. Can you tell me about your water distillation machine thing?

    Thank you for posting the link to the mineral makeup. I have been looking to switch to something all natural and their prices seem reasonable as well.

  53. I love the way cloth diapers look on my little man when he's running around. I'm hoping to try GroBaby diapers soon, what do you think of them?

  54. I am curious. When my kids were little, they had to be vaccinated before they allowed them to go to school. How is it now? Is it a choice before they go to school or do you have to get an excuse from health care providers?

  55. Hi Steph,
    We co-sleep, breastfeed and baby wear too, and love it!

    We combine cloth diapers with EC (elimination communication) or baby Pottying. That could be your next 'crunchy' adventure!


    P.S Baby Wearing makes EC easy!

  56. You are so amazing Steph and it's not that I want to be crunchy or something I am not. But that I have women like you to look up to, to learn from.

    I also have chosen not to vaccinate..OMG... someone shoot me!

  57. I too posted on how crunchy I was not too long ago! I can't even begin to tell you how many people think I'm crazy for not vaccinating my child. There are no exceptions here either! I love the cloth diaper photo too..I can't help but to snap photos of my bum genuis pink diapers, after all, they are way too cute not to!

  58. Those are some darn cute diapers!

    I made myself get in the habit of using my cloth grocery bags and it makes me feel SO much better. I could pick up some more good habits though, that's for sure! : )

  59. Great post (and fun title too). I guess we're pretty "crunchy" too.

    * I had natural childbirths for both my girls.
    * We co-sleep.
    * We babywear.
    * We breastfeed.
    * We vaccinate on a modified schedule.
    * We strive to eat "whole" foods and stay away from most processed stuff.

    And we'd love to go to a Natural MD. Can you tell us more about that...? For example, does your insurance cover it? And do your kids go there too or just you and your husband?

  60. P.S. I love that photo of your cloth diaper "stash." It's so bright ad cheery...

    Maybe one day I'll "convert"...

  61. Love your "crunchiness"! Have you tried Ecover cleaning products? Great for everything in the house, including cloth diapers! Keep up the great blogging.
    -Deb for Ecover


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