Thursday, July 31, 2008


Some days I feel that our home is over-run by toys.  Yet it seems we don't have nearly as many toys as many other kids I know.  But every where I look I see "stuff".  I'm reminded just how many toys the kids have when my Step-Dad tells stories of the kinds of things he and his brother played with as kids and how they used their ingenuity to come up with fun ideas (they also used their ingenuity to find trouble too but we won't go there).  Anyway, I digress... somehow that "stuff" just makes me feel so full and greedy.  I want to raise an appreciative boy, and I want him to enjoy these generous gifts he was given by us and many other family and friends.  So I decided to box Samuel and Sydney's toys up in rubbermaid containers and rotate them each week.  I'm hoping Sam will appreciate his toys more this way and that the toys will continue to feel new to both of them.  I also like the fact that our living room and Sam's bedroom is now a little less cluttered.

But even what seem like good ideas can have some glitches along the way, right?  Well, when Sam came down this morning to see a good chunk of his toys were missing he said, "Did I throw those toys Mommy?  Did you take them away?  Did you give them to another boy that will like them?"  The poor kid thought I shipped all of his toys off to another little boy!   You see, we have a rule here that anytime a toy is thrown, it's taken away for the day.  So that explains why he thinks I took the toys away, but you may wonder why he thinks another little boy has them.  Well, I admit it, I once told him in the heat of the moment after he had been throwing trains Sydney's direction that maybe we should give the train set to a boy that would take nice care of it.  So I tried to tell him that no, I did not send his toys to another little boy, and I tried to explain the rotation concept but I think until he sees those toys back on that living room floor he's going to think they are in some other little boy's room.  Poor little guy!  Why must he remember EVERYTHING I've ever said!

congress is listening!

For anyone who isn't a regular safemama reader, I thought it was worth passing along this great news they posted yesterday!


Yesterday, Congress voted on the Children’s Safe Products Act which approved a nationwide ban on phthalates in products intended for children under 12. We’ve been waiting for this so we’re happy to say goodbye tophthalates DEHP, DBP and BBP… three chemicals used to soften plastics in children’s toys like bath squirties, soft books and “rubber” ducks. The Act is part of a final Bill to reform and improve the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This is obviously good news and further confirmation that there is enough doubt in their safety as well as demand for strict regulations on children’s products. And don’t think you didn’t have anything to do with it. Members and supporters of alone sent in over 100,000 letters to congressman urging them to support the Act.


This ban will take effect in 6 months so in the meantime be on the lookout for products loaded with phthalates.  I know I've started loving more "natural" toys to avoid plastic all together.  I've enjoyed sites such as Inspired Play and Natural Pod (a Canadian store).  Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of plastic toys that I have no intention of throwing out, but I am trying to get smarter especially about the toys that Sydney is likely to put in her mouth.

In other news, I was happy to see that Safemama published their safer bug repellent report.  Turns out the brand I was already using (Burt's Bees) is one of their favs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i guess streaking runs in the family

I decided we needed a day out.  Both the kids and I tend to have a better day if we go do something away from our home.  So we went to the zoo even though it was one of the most humid days of the year.  Luckily the zoo has a new grizzly bear exhibit all decked out with gushing geysers for the kids to run through and cool off.  As Sam and I head to the new exhibit I became slightly distracted as an old friend I hadn't talked to in forever called so I wanted to at least pick up.  As I'm talking I begin to notice a few "looks" (you know, the look from other disapproving parents who would never let THEIR kid do what you let your kid do... wait, maybe I'm the only one that gets those looks).  So I promptly look down at Samuel to find his pants and underwear are around his ankles!  He was so excited to run in the water he decided he better get undressed.  I quickly end my call and got him in his swimsuit, luckily without a fight.

All in all it was a successful trip, despite a melt-down because Sam didn't want to leave.  But little did I know that our streaking for the day was not yet over.  And you can bet your life I would never have guessed I'd be the offender.  And since I guess I don't mind humiliating myself, I'll tell the story.

This afternoon I was nursing Sydney when I got a knock on the door... I'm sure you can see where this is going... Since we NEVER get random knocks and since I knew my neighbor was missing her dog I thought I better answer it.  So I lift Sydney up, cover myself up, and go answer the door.  It was a nice neighbor woman with 4 children she cares for.  We talk for a minute (I learn the dog was found!) when suddenly I feel a cool breeze.  I look down and apparently I had not fully covered myself up like I had thought, exposing my left breast!  Upon realizing my faux pas my face became beat red and I told her how utterly (no pun intended) embarrassed I was.  Luckily she nursed her own children and she was cool about it.  But THOSE POOR POOR CHILDREN.  Gawd I hope I didn't scar them for life.

I have a feeling we won't be getting any more knocks from neighbors.  I'm sure it's only a matter of a day or two before everyone around here knows.  It's really a shame because I was just starting to make friends here!

Monday, July 28, 2008

overheard at my house

I yell from the living room to Sam in the bathroom, "Whatchya doin' Sam?"

"Painting with my potty."

Suddenly, I hear the pitter patter of little feet run from the bathroom to the family room and see a wet trail of footprints behind my little streaker.  Sure enough, he "missed" during his potty break and decided to use his feet to paint with his potty.  *sigh*

Time to go clean the bathroom floor for the 3rd time this week.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

update on my baby bears

This blog has evolved a bit for me.  It started as a place for me to save all my favorite resources.  But I've quickly realized it also serves as an easy place to document history for our photo albums.  I figure bragging about the kids falls under the category of "all things mom" so why not.

Last night Sam turned to me and said, "We a great family."  Awwwwwwe!

Lately whenever you ask Sam a question he says, "uhhhhhhh
hhhhhh" while he thinks before he answers.  He must have picked that up from me since I'm always forgetting words when I talk!

He is also putting "so" in front of sentences, as in, "So where we goin' Mommy?"

The other day he put a ball under his shirt and said, "Be
 careful Mommy, there is a baby in my belly.  Remember when Sydney was in my belly?"  Funny, that's not how I remember those 9 months at all.

And whenever anyone is hurt, sad, etc. he comes to the rescue, as in:  "Don't worry Mommy, I will always take care of Sydney."  Or, "I will help you feel better, Mom.  Here's my blanky and pillow.  Now you feel better."

He likes to pretend he's a fireman lately.  He puts his hat on backward so it looks more like a fireman's hat and then he puts on his rain-boots:  Voila, a fireman, all his own idea.  Even if it's 90+ degrees outside, he insists on wearing his fireman boots.
I'm so proud of Sam, he was so fearless at the waterpark we went to last week.  He was swimming like a fish, head getting wet and everything.  At 2 1/2 he even went on very big slides all by himself (this is him below coming down the green slide, which started toward the top of the indoor park's high ceiling and wound it's way to the bottom where Tad was waiting for him).

In Sydney news... she's not a big fan of food.  Is she really my child?  She'll take a few bites and then she's bored with it.  I'm slightly concerned actually but I know that nutritionally she's getting everything she needs via breast-milk and her daily vitamin.

Sydney is also "crawling".  It's her own version though.  She uses her back 2 legs and her head to scoot forward.  I imagine she'll be doing traditional crawling very shortly.  My little girl is growing up so quickly!
Sydney is such a happy girl, she truly brightens our day and adds so much to our family.  And she remains this happy even on low sleep.  She gets less sleep than Sam!  Until 2 months ago she consistently slept through the night.  For whatever reason, those days are over.  I've recently learned that her Great-grandfather, also named Sydney, slept very little.  So maybe we should have went with a different name.  She's "talking" up a storm too.  Lots of "da da da da" and cute little breaths along with it so of course Tad thinks her first word is Dad.  It was for Sam too, though I'm not convinced Syd yet knows what "da da" means. ;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

i'm so NOT hot

You may have noticed I've been absent.  Sam, Sydney and I accompanied Tad on a business trip and made a stop at a water park!  Talk about heaven for Samuel!  Pictures and details on that to come.

For now I'll share a funny story that happened the morning of our departure.

I was driving on a road I rarely drive coming home from dropping our dog off at the kennel, which by the way is more like doggie paradise than kennel club.  Suddenly I notice this guy checking me out.  But he was more than checking me out.  He was watching my car's every move.  Now, normally I'm a VERY modest person in my opinion.  But I must have been in a good mood excited for our trip and feeling extra confident that day as I thought to myself:  "Damn, I'm good.  I can turn a head today with 2 kids in the back seat!"... and then... I see the flashing lights through my rear view mirror.  A cop.  Turns out I'm not all that hot and that guy was simply watching a ditzy lady not notice a cop trying to pull her over.

All is well that ends well though... I guess I was at least looking good enough to just get off on a warning.  And for what it's worth, I was being honest when I told the police officer I thought the speed limit was 40 (I guess it was 30.  oops!).

And shhhh... don't tell Tad.  He doesn't know this story. :)  But Samuel knows I got pulled over so it's only a matter of time before everyone else does too so I might as well let my family and friends get a good laugh out of it.  Tad will get a good laugh too, and then promptly tell me to drive more carefully!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

getting organized

I have so many things on my "to-do" list but yet I seem to struggle just keeping up with daily life. I thought staying home with the kids would also give me an opportunity to do all the projects I've been putting off (scrapbooking, finishing the decorating touches on Sydney's room, touch up painting, etc.).  Yet my day is plenty busy getting kids clothed, fed, napped, fed, exercised and mentally stimulated (if I'm lucky), napped, fed, bathed, and to bed.  And of course they rarely sleep at the same time so there is no such thing as a lunch break for mama!  

Today I did manage to check one minor thing off the to-do list while Tad kept Samuel entertained swimming in the lake.  Boy was I jealous of their fun, but if felt good to get something done.  

It seems I consistently forget things at the grocery store.  So I decided to do what perhaps many others already do:  I created a standing grocery list of items our family buys.  The food is listed in order of location in my grocery store, which I'm hoping will help save me time on my trip.  I have a comments section next to each item for further clarification if needed.  I found many grocery checklists on the web but since they listed off practically everything a grocery store sells they were 4+ pages long.  This list is 2 pages long (1 page if you print front and back).  Here is a screenshot of a portion of the list.
I plan to put this list on my fridge and check things off as I notice they are needed.  If I want to get really crazy, I'll highlight any items for which I have a coupon.  :)  

I used this on my shopping trip tonight and I didn't forget one single thing!  The only problem:  I spent $50 more than usual (though I did stock up on items we typically are not out of).  But I saved gas money as I think I avoided the repeat trips I typically have to make for forgotten items.

Here is a link to download it if anyone is interested; You could customize the excel doc to include items you frequently buy.  I apologize as some of the check boxes are really messed up (there are many on top of each other but you can't tell until you start to delete them).  I just don't have time to fix it right now.

P.S.  I created this on a Mac but it should work on a PC as long as my formatting works in your excel version.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

more on potty training

Samuel continues to do great with potty training!  But it hasn't been without it's challenges.  I told him it's his job to know when he has to go, so I try not to give him reminders, and he's good about going.  However, I do insist he go at certain times during the day (before sleep and after waking, for example) and Mr. Independent is often not willing to go when it's at the suggestion of others.  The problem is, if he doesn't go just after waking, he tends to wait until it's an emergency and if he then has a tantrum or a time-out, that's when the rare accident will occur.  Since I can't force the kid on the potty, I went to the potty pros for more info.  I stumbled upon a couple good resources that I thought I'd pass along.

Even if you aren't a fan of the methods introduced on this site, you will find other useful tools.  Lots of potty paraphernalia is available here.  I personally was excited to find the printable potty charts.  I'm using a potty chart to give Sam a sticker every time he goes potty (and washes his hands, another challenge!) both on his own and when I ask him to.  After 4 successful days of going potty when asked he'll get to pick out a toy at Target.  I'm hoping it won't take long for going potty after waking to just become a habit that I don't have to enforce.

Narmin Parpia, author of "Potty Training in One Day - A Guide for Today's Parents", is the potty training expert on this site.  I think the "one day training" method was first widely introduced by Dr. Phil and similar methods were later written by authors such as Teri Crane in "Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day".

Another spot to purchase PT products.  Here is a wider selection of potty seats, etc.  

I can not believe how many products are out there centered around PTing!  I personally had a little chuckle at the following products.

And this one may be a good idea, who knows.  But I couldn't resist posting this product since their motto is, "Where our aim is to improve his."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

out of the mouth of sam

More from our 2.5 year old Samuel:

Whenever I do something that inadvertently hurts Sam (e.g. take off a band-aid) he says, "Don't do that Mommy!  I'm delicate!"

And just this morning:  "You a good boy Mommy", as he pats my head like a dog.  To this I say, "I'm a girl."  And his response (with a sneaky smile this time), "You a good boy, Mommy."  *sigh*

Our Sam sure is a character and keeps us on our toes with his antics and smart come-backs.  It sure is a good thing he's cute and is constantly putting a smile on my face because we have been having many challenging times lately when I wonder if he needs a trip to the dentist for that special "sedative drink" that Shannon refers to in a recent post of hers.

pyrex lids

Did you see today's safemama post?

Pyrex lids are BPA free!  I've been wondering, as we have a lot of pyrex.  But I haven't taken the time to research it myself.  Thanks for the continual great research safemama!  LUV that site!


Monday, July 14, 2008

what's for dinner?

What's for dinner?  We're having my all time FAVORITE pork loin recipe on the grill.  I love pork but it's hard to find the right recipe that doesn't dry it out.  My brother says the secret is to grill pork in aluminum foil, though I've never tried it.  I usually have great luck with this recipe linked here.  By the way, you'd never guess by tasting that a primary ingredient is ketchup!  And since I don't have cider vinegar lying around I've substituted with rice vinegar with no problems.

And then for dessert we're having grilled bananas with cool whip.  YUM!  Check out that blog, I really like it!

If you have a favorite cooking site/blog let me know.  I usually rely on and

Hope you are having a great start to your week.  Time to get a cookin'...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

kids say the darndest things...

Sam:  "Are you old mommy?"
Me:  "I don't know; do you think I'm old Sam?"
Sam:  "Yes.  Let me get my doctor kit.  I'll help you."

Sam:  Picks up a stick and says, "This is my sword!  I'm protectin' you!"
Me:  As I'm trying to discourage sword-playing (though I think it's inevitable anyway), I say, "That's not a sword Sam".
Sam:  "You right.  It's an ice-cream thrower.  POW!  (as he waves it violently) You have ice cream on you!"
Me:  "Mmmm.  That tastes good."
Sam:  "It's not on your mouth, Mommy!!!!  It's on your clothes."

Sam:  "You a good Mom, Mommy.  But just knock it off and settle down!"
Me: ....... knowing exactly where he's heard that one from .......

Friday, July 11, 2008

adding it all up

1 put-together (for once) mom with baby in baby bjorn, walking hand-in-hand into target with her sweet toe-head toddler
1 sticker from a target greeter given to said toddler for promising to mind his mother and to "stay in the cart"
1 escape-artist toddler, yelling in target 5 isles away from his mother only minutes after promising to behave
1 toddler under lock-down who lost all walking privileges and was told any future escapes would result in an immediate departure without our end-of-trip "target lunch" (hot dog)
1 happy mom that she didn't have to follow through on that threat
1 toy to distract toddler in cart
1 bruised hand from said toy thrown at mother
1 less toy
1 stranger giving praise for disciplining toddler in target
27 reminders to stay in the cart and then we would get to eat lunch at target (no I'm not above bribery)
5 announcements to strangers that he's 2 years old and has to go potty
1 sprinting mom and cart to the bathroom on the other end of the store
1 pair of wet underwear (his, not mine) because the toilet is too tall
1 10% off everything at target coupon
lunch at target
1 mommy who realizes on the way home that she forgot to buy bread
1 crying baby
1 boy who said, "I love you Mommy" on the ride home
a successful target shopping trip 
(you should see our bad days)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

a great family activity

This past weekend we took some time away from potty training for some fun!  We made stepping stones to replace some of the lime-stones we have leading from our front door to the deck entry off the side of our house. 

Tad simply dug a hole and filled it with concrete. We let it set a bit and then dipped our hands/feet and decorated with beads. I bought Sam turtle beads and brightly colored beads.  For Sydney: pastel and flower beads.  On the stone I share with my husband, he refused to have any beads around his half - men! - so I only decorated my half. *sigh*  Sam had a lot of fun with this activity and Sydney did great with it too!  Here is the result of our home-made handy-work:

The finished product below (more landscape work is needed but you get the idea).  We thought we might do this again in 5 years or so and replace more of the lime-stones and see how much the kids have grown.  We need one for the dog too of course. ;)

Samuel, helping as usual:

Sydney, sitting pretty:

If you don't have concrete lying around and you are looking for a mold and instructions ready for you, check this out:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

the downside to potty training

I'm happy to say that Sam continues to do GREAT with potty training!  He's had just one accident in the last 5 days, and that was on Monday.  It will be a while before he's nap/night trained though.  He's a sound sleeper like his mama!  It has been nice to be diaper-free but there is a downside, and here it is:

1.  You spend A LOT of time in the bathroom.  On Monday, we must have spent half our day in that room.  We read in there, we talked in there, we sang in there, and I'll admit - we even ate in there.  GROSS.  Thankfully our bathroom quality time is decreasing.

2.  You get no sleep.  Sam has to use the potty 3-5 times before bed.  While I want to encourage potty breaks, he hasn't been getting to sleep until between 9 & 10:30 when normally his bedtime is 8.  And when Samuel is sleep-deprived he acts even more crazy than his already active self.  I'm exhausted trying to keep up with this lovable maniac.  Yesterday at the park a woman said to me with a sigh, "He's all boy isn't he?"  I knew what she really meant.  I said, "Yup, he's a lot of fun!"

3.  Your new namesake is now poop.  Let me explain, and sorry in advance for too much information.  When Sam poops more than one poop at a time, he names them before he flushes them.  As in, "Look!  A Daddy poopy, a Mommy poopy, a Sam poopy and a Sydney poopy!"  Lovely. 

4.  You talk about pee and poop a LOT as if it's as innocent as talking about the weather.  You assume it's normal conversation that others will enjoy, so you blog about it too.  I used to hate the word "poop" but now it's one of my most used words.  I decided not to substitute with words like "BM" or "#2" because everyone knows what you really mean:  poop. 

5.  A streaker is born.  Since we have occasionally taken the "naked approach" to potty training, Samuel has realized he loves being naked.  He loves it so much in fact that today he started taking off his clothes outside.  At the park.  In front of other children.  And their parents.  He got off his shorts and underwear and came running to me yelling, "I GOTTA GO POOP!"  So I pack Sydney up and we start heading for the porta-potty.  Mid-sprint to the porta-potty he decides he doesn't have to go, must have just had gas I guess.  So he starts running back to the park and insists on playing naked.  Who in the world would want to climb up a ladder, slide down slides & hang on monkey bars naked?  Sam, that's who.  It's all a blur but somehow I managed to get him back to the porta-potty (naked).  I tried to tell him that some people get arrested for this sort of behavior but I still only managed to get his underwear on prior to packing us up to go home after our potty break.

6.  You visit more porta-pottys during toilet training than you've seen in your entire life.  Every time we go somewhere Sam's first question is, "Do they have a bathroom?"  Good question for a potty training kid if you ask me.  But I don't think it has anything to do with him formulating a plan in case of a potty emergency.  Instead I believe he has this need to check out all potties.  It's like he has to show off his skills to every potty.  Christen every potty, if you will.  Lord help us at parks with multiple porta-pottys as he would like to inspect each one.  And I CRINGE.  I GAG.  I try to tell him they are all occupied but ONE, yet he tries to open each one.  When we finally manage to get into a porta-potty, he gives me the low down on if kids have gone poopy before him or not.  I'm hoping by purchasing the following for my car we may avoid future bad porta-potty experiences or worse yet an emergency with no potty in sight:

7.  New found independence.  Sounds great, right?  Well now Sam wants to clean up the little potty after a potty break.  But he doesn't just rinse it out.  He wants it to be filled and then he wants to play in it.  I tried to tell him that's "poopy water" but now he just tries to splash his hands in it while yelling "POOPY WATER!  POOPY WATER!" 

8.  A need for privacy.  Sure, everyone wants privacy while they go potty.  But Sam is now insisting on closing the door all the while I'm hearing noises in there I can't translate and picturing potty everywhere but the potty.  I'm slowly convincing him that a little help from Mom and Dad is necessary.

I feel the need to get to #10 but I'd just waste your time.  8 is enough to give you a picture into the life I've been living the last several days.  It must get easier... right?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

potty traning for dummies

In case you were wondering, the dummy is me, not my 2.5 year old.  If there were a book on what NOT to do during potty training, I could clearly write it.  

Samuel has been interested in the potty for quite some time.  Everyone said it was too early, but he wanted to use the potty so I let him.  I never pushed him to go but he's been requesting to go every night before bed for a good year.  Eventually we did need to "encourage" this trend because if he would forget to go it suddenly became a stall tactic, requesting to go after already in bed.  Recently I've been wondering how I can get him to go on the potty during the day too because I really felt like the only thing holding him back was me (to be honest I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of potty training).  So I bought a book I've heard good things about:  Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day: Proven Secrets of the Potty Pro

I scanned the book and got some good tips from it.  I also got good tips from The Potty Whisperer (thanks for the link Mom!).  Just as I was about to revisit the book and get myself a complete potty training plan for our "Potty Day", it seemed potty training was about to begin whether I was ready for it or not.  So much for planning.  

Lately Sam has been wanting to be naked boy so I decided to embrace this phase and use it as my opportunity to bring out the potty.  I told him he could stay naked in the house as long as he did his important job of using the potty (a good thing to say to Mr. Independent!).  I didn't really have high expectations and I didn't plan to push.  But guess what, being naked worked... but the timing couldn't have been worse.  I mean, this was July 3!  We had guests coming over on the 4th, plans for a couple boat rides and a trip to the local fair over the weekend!  

He did have 2 accidents on July 3 - one was during a time-out (which he's since learned that saying "I gotta go potty" gets him out of time-out *sigh*).  July 4 went well though I did throw diapers on him in the afternoon because I didn't want him to stress about any accidents with our friends over.  And Sam has been completely dry for the last 2 days (though he still needs diapers at night).  I'm so proud of my little guy because he really had to work hard for this PT success!  Our weekend included a trip to a porta-potty and an attempt at peeing off the boat (which was quite the sight, lol!) and STILL he remained dry!  All future boat & car trips will have a potty AND a diaper on board by the way.  Poor guy is a bit hesitant on this whole poop-on-the-potty part but with a blanket in hand (gross!) and a verbal "bye-bye" to the poopy all is good in Sam-land.  

The author of the book "Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day" recommends a party at the end of the day.  There was no time to plan a party for this unplanned training so instead I asked him who he wanted to call to tell about going on the potty.  Well, he asked to call the neighbors.  So we called them even though all their children and Grandchildren were over for dinner (again, great timing on my part).  They understood what a big deal this was and gave Sam tons of praise over speaker phone.  Neighbor Dale was pretty quick to hand the phone back to his wife after Sam yelled, "I WENT POOPY TOO, DALE!" but he was very sweet to him nonetheless.  We've called a couple Grandma's too and Sam is a proud boy.

While it certainly wasn't "potty training in a day", 3 days aint bad.  Thank goodness my little guy could overcome the bad timing and my terrible planning.  I'm sure we will have challenges ahead but it was a lot less overwhelming than I had anticipated.  

moms know best

I've recently been informed of a CNN article on the safety of sunscreen (thanks, Denise!).  Sunscreen is definitely a must, but it turns out there are some sunscreens that are safer than others because as you can imagine, sunscreens can be loaded with chemicals.  Additionally, it turns out some aren't doing as good of a job as you think they are doing.

I chuckle a bit at the timing of this CNN article.  I've seen information on the safety of sunscreen on the "mom-blogs" for months and yet CNN is coming out with the info just now.  Better late than never though; sources like CNN are trusted by a wide audience.  It reminds me of the times when I've told my husband some information only for him to validate me a couple months later after he hears it on NPR.  ;)  I swear I'm going to keep my finger on the pulse of mommy bloggers and my mom friends on my message board because they really are "in the know" when it comes to current events in regard to children!  Go mommies!  

I first was alerted to the sunscreen issue by my friend Shannon.  It makes sense to me that the chemicals in sunscreen might be harmful; but when you are trying to prevent a problem it's easy to forget about the ones you may be creating along the way.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not AT ALL trying to discourage sunscreen usage, but I do hope to become smarter about finding the safest ones.

Both safemama and zrecs have some great info on their sunscreen research and reviews.  But my all time fav resource is the Environmental Working Group (EWG)'s Cosmetic Database.  Here you can find both the toxicity rating and UVA/B protection rating for most sunscreens.  And if your sunscreen isn't listed, simply add it to the database by listing all the ingredients.  The EWG did their own sunscreen study and this is the result.  Look for toxicity ratings with low numbers.

I've tried 3 of the "safer" sunscreens.

California Baby, No Fragrance, SPF 30:  This is a highly rated sunscreen by both safemama and EWG.  So that holds major clout for me.  I do like that it has no scent and that it's safe.  It is pretty thick though and does leave a bit of a white film on the skin but it's no biggie.  It's water-resistant so that is also a huge plus for me.

Be forewarned, it took me 3 weeks to receive this sunscreen from Amazon! I've heard it's on back order almost everywhere.

Blue Lizard, Sensitive (or Baby) SPF 30:  This is rated good by EWG.  What I like about this sunscreen is that it's more attainable being that it's available at CVS.  It's more affordable as well.  The physical attributes (somewhat thick) seems somewhat similar to California Baby to me.

Weleda Children's Sunscreen, SPF 18:  I LOVE how this goes on smooth and doesn't produce a thick film!  It's a bit oily but simply shaking the tube helps a great deal with that.  I think it smells a little strong but my husband likes the scent.  Safemama recommends it and it's also water-resistant.  It wasn't rated by the EWG until I entered it into their database.  The product received somewhat of a high rating (high = bad) so that confused me since Weleda is known for their natural products.  I think that the ingredient "fragrance" is throwing the score off.  Typically fragrance involves harmful chemicals.  But when it comes to Weleda products, the fragrance is actually derived from essential oils (something that is in asterisks on the ingredients list that the EWG database can not pick up).  However, the product also doesn't get a great UVB protection rating so that turns me off a bit.  It does have a high UVA protection rating.

I plan to only use California Baby on my infant.  It's rated very good across multiple sources.  I will use any of the above on my 2.5 year old (depending on the circumstances) and on myself and my husband.

P.S.  The cosmetic database is useful for looking up any cosmetic product to find it's toxicity rating.  Not all products are listed but the database is growing each day and you can help by entering products and their ingredients as well.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy 4th of july!

I hope this post finds you relaxing on the 4th.  We have some friends coming over with their kids and plan to do fireworks right on the beach after a day of playing on the lake, boating & BBQing.  It should be a great time with good company and lots of food as usual.  Good thing our Bowflex is arriving next week.  LOL!

In baby news... after my co-op run I'm stocked up on veggies and fruit and have decided to make Syd some home-made baby food, something I often did for Sam too.  This may be a huge mistake as so far she hasn't taken to ANY food.  I thought she was ready for food because, well, she's almost 7 months old and she has been eyeing the food on my plate for quite some time!  But every time I give her baby food she spits it right back out.  I don't know if she doesn't like it or if she's not ready.  I've tried rice cereal, pears, and avocado.  I had the best luck with the avocado.  But even when she has eaten food, it only came back up a half hour later. *sigh*

Anyway, thought I'd pass along a great site for making your own baby food!  It's much easier than you'd think.  Just whip it up in a blender and freeze in old glass baby food jars or ice cube trays (to be later stored in freezer bags once frozen).

And a few Sam-isms to share:

Anytime he's too little for something I tend to say, "That's for adults only."  Well this morning he said to me, "Mom, I'm an adult; you can be a little boy."

As I was putting sunscreen on him today he said, "Don't frost me like a cake!"

His little imagination just blows me away.  I certainly didn't pass down that trait.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

i'm beginning to think i'm bad luck

In the last month I've been to 3 funerals.  Our dear neighbor, a friend's father, and another friend's mother.  And unfortunately there were 2 other recent funerals that I did not attend:  my step-father's brother (who lived in Vegas) and a friend's father-in-law.

Then today I got an email from a dear friend requesting prayers for 2 deaths within her circle of friends and family.

And tonight, our fish died.  Betty the Beta has been with us for a couple years.  She's been sick for a while so I'm sure she is loving being back to her feisty self in fish heaven.

Please don't misunderstand; I know our fish's death should probably not even be mentioned in the same post as death's of people who will be so dearly missed.  But I can't help but feel that I've been surrounded by death lately.  And while most of my sadness surrounds the sympathy I feel for those especially close to the people who have passed, I'd very much like for this trend to cease.

The saying is, "things come in threes", NOT EIGHTS!

Special prayers going out to...
Ginger who lost her husband.  
Amy who lost her Dad.
Angela who lost her Mom.
John who lost his brother.
Heidi who lost her father-in-law.
Jessica who lost her friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

oh Canada!

A shout out to my Canadian friends!  HAPPY CANADA DAY!  

And in breaking news... I found my LilyPadz!  WOO HOO!  Though I still better get another pair soon to avoid future embarrassment!

I just got back from a very nice service for my friend's mother.  What a beautiful job they did honoring a wonderful woman.

And for a random tidbit of the day... yesterday I got Sydney's eyes checked free of charge as part of the InfantSee program.  Click here to find an ophthalmologist participating in the program.  By the way, both kid's eyes checked out good.  Sam is seeing at approximately 20/30, totally normal for his age.  I was also concerned he might be color blind as we've made absolutely no progress in teaching him colors even though he's done well at learning other areas.  We won't know for sure for a few years, but it's looking like he can differentiate between colors.  So that's great news!  And it turns out color-blindness is passed down via the Mother's side, which is a relief since Tad's Grandfather was colorblind.  Though there are a host of other vision problems that may be passed on from my end.  LOL.  As for Sydney, she passed her exam too.  And her occasional cross-eyed look is also normal and she should outgrow it.