How To: Blessing Way

Getting the Idea

When it came time for me to have a baby shower, I did some research on-line to find fun activities and unconventional rituals. Before long, I learned of a ceremony to honor pregnant women called the Blessing Way. Originally a traditional Navajo healing ceremony, as with most inductions into western life, the Blessing Way has been modified and melded to work for any spiritual intention. Most importantly, it is meant to celebrate the woman about to give birth and imbibe her with strength for the important journey ahead.

After reading over different ideas for things to do at what I had decidedly termed my Blessing Way, I chose a few that best suited me and called up my friend Sarah to ask her to host it. Admittedly, she was a little taken aback at first. While Sarah is certainly “crunchy”, she had never heard of a Blessing Way and didn’t have much experience with “pagan” ceremonies. I assured her that it wouldn’t be anything too far out, just a different take on an already familiar tradition of throwing a party for a pregnant friend. She agreed, listened to my ideas, and set about inviting folks.

Not Your Usual Shower

Many Blessing Ways include grooming the mom-to-be. Read more »

Instead by Johanna DeBiase

An image posted— fingers

and toes irrelevant, but

wide searching eyes and loud

wailing cries (yes, even the


cries). He turns when his name is

whispered and smiles at funny

faces. Embellishments too—

a full head of curly hair,

Read more »

How To: Eco-Friendly Baby Shower

You don’t have to be Sheryl Crow or hire a personal party planner to have a Green Baby Shower. In fact, you don’t need to spend much money at all. An eco-friendly baby shower not only saves on waste but also on cash. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

  1. Email invitations. Modernize and save on paper. Nowadays everyone has email, even your Great Aunt Grete (okay, maybe give her a phone call) so there is no excuse to use snail mail anymore. There are some great website available to keep your party invites organized. While you are at it, take this opportunity to start your baby’s website.
  2. Break out your good china, your sturdy ceramics, your plastic picnic plates or all of the above. Basically, skip the paper. Yeah, I know, you don’t want to wash the dishes. Play the pregnant card and ask your partner to do them for you. After all, you can barely reach the sink. While you’re at it, use cloth napkins and recycled glass bottles for drinks and flower arrangements.
  3. Buy your food local and organic. Visit the local farmer’s market and purchase that fancy goat cheese you’ve been craving to serve with that fresh olive bread at the next booth over. Get imaginative with radishes, asparagus and jicama. Baby Showers are not expected to be full-on sit-down meals so schedule it between meals and serve fun snacks.
  4. Notify your guests of the theme and ask them to bring gifts in the same vein. Such as organic bedding, clothes, bath towels and dolls, biodegradable or cloth diapers, wooden toys, and BPA-free bottles. If you are sending e-vites, add links to your favorite baby gift sites. Or, include a link to the earth friendly gift registry of choice. You can also suggest that they find creative green ways of wrapping their gifts such as with a baby blanket, the comics or in reusable tote bags. Go one step further and ask your guests to carpool. Read more »

The Long Way Home

Walking Down the Road

Each place we went, we needed new tools to navigate with baby. In Carlsbad Caverns or Big Bend National Park, our Ergo baby carrier was indispensable while in San Antonio or Austin, we could not do without the stroller. At the Aransas Wildlife Refuge where alligators looked suspiciously at our dog, our daypack became a diaper bag and in the electric humidity of New Orleans, a portable fan helped us all sleep better at night. We figured it out as we went along and considered every day a learning lesson.

In the end, the most difficult part of the whole trip was the adjustment of returning home. Flora was used to being within twenty feet of us at all times in the van so, in our house, she hated when we left the room. With more space to move, she quickly began doing so and we learned how much more cautious we had to be. The old tricks to get her to sleep we used before the trip no longer worked and we had to continuously employ the tricks we used on the road; i.e., driving in the car, walking with her in the carrier. While she used to sleep through the night before we left, her new separation anxiety prevented that. But that is life with a baby. Once you have it figured out, they change; and this too shall pass.

Why We Would Do it Again

All together, the journey made us better parents. Read more »

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Playing in the rear of the camper

Step two: packing for a six month old baby for an uncertain amount of weeks, in variable climates, sleeping in a van at night with no running water. This was the biggest challenge of all and I won’t say I was completely successful at it either. I packed a lot she didn’t need and forgot a few things too. Sun screen and sun hats, pajamas and onesies, long pants to keep the sun off those little white sausage legs, sweatshirts to keep her warm on chilly nights, wash cloths for sink baths and burp cloths for everything else, and that’s just what was in her suitcase. We had a diaper changing station set up for quick changes anywhere anytime. No cloth diapers on this trip; all paper, all the way.

I brought a box of toys and books with a playmat and her Boppy pillow which served invaluable when we pulled over to make lunch or dinner. On a nice day, I sat her outside the van on the grass to play on her own, the dog keeping guard. Mosquitoes biting or a chance of rain, I planted her at the end of the van on the floor and out of the way. I must mention here that she was the perfect age; able to sit up and play independently but not quite mobile enough to get too far.

Where she would sleep was also an initial obstacle. Fortunately, the mini co-sleeper that we use at home was the perfect size to fit in the rear of the van when the “adult” bed was pulled out. Yes, it was more difficult to pick her up and nurse her at night, but she got her usual sleeping quarters and we got our space.

On the (Slow) Road

Sleep; the all consuming and precious commodity of parenthood. Read more »

Texas (with baby) Or Bust

(Note: This is an older series that I wrote for, but since their blog is no long in existence, I didn’t want these to go to waste. I am posting the series here for others to find.)

Camper Beethoven headed to Texas

When we decided to take off on a road trip for a few weeks, the last thing we considered is how we would make it work with our six-month old daughter, Flora, and eleven year old dog in tow. Instead, we were anxious to get away from the seven foot piles of snow outside our door and the slow accumulation of resulting mud in our driveway. Generally, we act first and think later with the faith that everything will work out for the best, which, I’m happy to say, it always does.

Our destination: south and sunny. One of the best features of my life is that my husband, Eric, is a freelance journalist which means he can take his work anywhere and even create more work while we’re traveling (this might be better for me than him). With mobile broadband and a cell phone, we could basically choose our journey. Eric wanted to do some coverage of hurricane recovery in rural areas of the gulf coast region. I had never been to New Orleans. In between our home in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of Northern New Mexico and the bayous of Louisiana is one big land mass called Texas which would soon become our mission to explore.

Our Mystery Machine

With dates set and plans made, I began the process of rapid preparation. Read more »

Fisher-Price Recalls

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 (BabyCenter News) — Fisher-Price has recalled about 2.9 million (about 2.8 million in the U.S. and about 125,000 in Canada) infant playzones, playgrounds, and other toys with hazardous inflatable balls attached to them in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Read more »

City Mouse vs. Country Mouse


Almost everyday I go for a jog, pushing my daughter in her jogging stroller. We head toward the national forest about a half-mile down the road and usually take the low road along the river. It’s a bumpy ride and I brings snack and water for her to keep her content. We have created a routine of stopping at the turn-around point, to throw rocks in the river. She is usually dressed like a fairy since that is her normal garb around the house. So, I sit, rest for a moment, and watch my little fairy catapulting stones and listening for the sounds they make.

I consider what I am missing out on by living so rurally. Read more »

Dora the Explora Makes Me Want to Shoot Myself

I try to avoid movies or t.v. shows that are heavy with marketing and merchandising. My daughter likes to watch Winnie the Pooh, Yo Gabba Gabba and Bambi. Of course, these come with their own set of stuffed animals and clothing, but nothing comes close to the marketing of Disney’s Princesses and Nick’s Dora the Explorer.

My daughter’s friend, a boy, is really into Dora. I mention that he is a boy because Nickelodeon, for some reason, felt it necessary to have a boy, Diego, and girl, Dora, version of the same Latino adventurer character as if one gender could not empathize with another. Anyway, my daughter showed interest, so I went as far as to borrow a DVD of Dora from the library. Do I regret it! Read more »

Elisabeth Badinter: Nutty French Grandma

Does she look like she's a chain smoker or what?

Elisabeth Badinter’s new book, Le Conflit, La Femme et La Mère (The Conflict, The Woman and The Mother), is an argument against the resurgence of earth mother domesticity including cloth diapers, homemade baby purees and breastfeeding. Check out this article about her in UK Times. Instead, she advocates smoking and drinking, formula and boarding schools. What makes me angry about her is that she has three children who she raised in the 60’s and 70’s, before we knew smoking was bad or knew about global warming or environmental toxins. It was a different world. Also, if having children is such a burden, why have one? And once you have one and realize the extent of the burden, why have two more? Read more »

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