Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Not Easy Being...Well, You Know

I believe in global warming, just as I believe in gravity, osmosis and medicine. It's science, it's real, and I know we ignore it at the serious expense of future generations. Politics aside, I think it's up to all of us to find small ways in our busy lives to try and do what we can to preserve resources and reduce our footprint. But I'm also a realist, and I know that the really big changes are up to the powers that be -- the scientists behind the products and infrastructure that really operate the country and the world. Without real fundamental change, I suppose I feel a bit fatalistic about the whole thing -- like what can I really do as an individual to make a difference? Other than vote. Which I do.

Global warming aside, I must admit that the real reasons I look for eco-friendly, nontoxic products for health & beauty and home cleaning are selfish ones. When I was pregnant with H, I started to think a lot about what I was putting in my body. I know I went over the top at times and grossly overestimated the potentially harmful effects of given products and foods. But I did a lot of reading about the variety of chemicals in everything, from food to moisturizer, and it disturbed me. As an oncologist recently told a friend, at this rate we're so chemical-ed out that for too many women it's not a matter of if they'll get breast cancer, it's when. It's a sobering thought.

So I try to maintain a healthy balance for me and for the kiddo (the husband too, though I can't get him fully on the bandwagon). I do use chemicals in products, and there are certain things, like foundation, that I just can't let go au naturale. But I read labels and try to avoid parabens, phthalates, etc. I just don't buy the argument that "we're all going to die anyway" or that "there are harmful things everywhere." I just think, why not try to limit some of that junk and avoid carcinogens? Again, it's science. I mean with those arguments, why not avoid the doctor and try blood letting next time you're sick, too?

Anyway I started thinking about it all again this week as I am setting up cleaning service in my new house (the old-school, hardscrabble New Englander in me still feels very tentative and slightly embarrassed when talking about my cleaning ladies, but yes, I have them, I love them, and I just think people have different gifts, that mine is not cleaning, and my time is more wisely spent on other things). I'm trying to get cleaning products down and it's hard to get the right balance between "green," nontoxic choices and things that will really work. I think I've got it down to vinegar and water for floors, Bon Ami for scrubbing sinks, etc., Whole Foods Green Mission all-purpose spray (or similar) for general purpose cleaning, and a harsher Tilex or Soft Scrub in showers around once a month for build-up. Oh and this great product called "Spit and Polish" for stainless steel from a company called Murchison-Hume.

That's my lineup, at least for now. What green products are you loving these days?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal Joy

The royal baby was born today, and instead of bitterness over the blatant fertility on display (or envy over the Duchess' embarrassment of fashion riches at her disposal), what I thought today was that an adorable couple was expecting a baby, and it was everything that event is supposed to be: fun, exciting and bringing joy to a family, a nation and a fleet of admirers across the globe. It reminded me that although bringing a baby into this world, for me, will never be without a dark, murky underbelly, at its core it's about new beginnings and promise and hope, not only for the baby but for those who love him (or even fans from across the globe who are a little enraptured with the glamour and tradition of the royal family).

Thank you, Kate, for putting the fun back into it for me, vicariously, if only for a day. My wish for you is that in spite of the press corps, the hoopla, the restrictions of protocol, you get what every mama deserves, to relish all those magical first moments with your sweet little boy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In the Moment

My sister-in-law is pregnant with twin boys, and as of last week when contractions intensified to under 10 minutes apart, on bedrest. This is an IVF pregnancy, and I need to state upfront for the record that I don't begrudge her a minute of much-deserved joy (and I personally could not be more excited to meet my nephews). But I can't help but feel envious of her.

I've sat right where she's sitting, and I know how nerve wracking bedrest can be when you don't yet know the outcome of a complex pregnancy. But oh, the sweet anticipation. To spend the day searching online for nursery gear, all the highs and lows of parenting a baby still in front of you -- I just want five more minutes in that fleeting space. I want to wait for, and then meet, my sweet H all over again.

It's so hard to fully appreciate where you are, without looking back, to grasp that today is the yesterday you'll look back on soon enough. I really do get that these days, with my three-year-old boy, are just as precious, just as fleeting. I want to marinade in them, to be better at taking mental pictures, to just appreciate. So often I find myself zoning out, thinking about the next thing, the work I have to do, the things I want to buy for my new house. These moments are rushing by, every stage giving way to a new one, and sometimes I'm just not present.

I may not have another baby. But right now I have a three-year-old boy and I want to make every moment of that count. Every single day I am grateful and amazed that he's even here, but I want to somehow apply that better to the day-to-day with him.

How do you make the moments count?

On another note, for some reason Google decided to do away with Reader, and I now find myself without a blog reader or my list of much-loved blogs. I did download my data from Reader before they turned that off, though Google doesn't really provide much guidance on how to use it, so I may have to start from scratch. If you a) know how to access the data and/or apply it to a new reader once you download it from Google, b) have found a new blog reader that you can recommend, or c) write a blog you think I read or would like to read, please, please leave me a comment so I can piece my blog life back together.

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