Stroller Superiority

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I think I finally found it. Mostly anyway. I wrote about my quest trying to ever find the perfect stroller. It doesn’t exist. The one feature I love most, seats that can face out or in, just isn’t on most strollers and if it is, the rest of the stroller may not be what I need.

I didn’t even use a stroller hardly with my oldest. Or my 2nd. It wasn’t until I had two under two that I really saw a need sometimes to have one. And it’s very nice for carrying their stuff. We had a tandem, Contours Options Elite. And I really, really liked it, despite the naysayers that it’s not ‘high end’ enough, or is hard to push. Frankly I found it easier to push than it’s higher priced counterpart the Baby Jogger City Select. And it had a basket that none of the other modular tandems measured up to. HUGE! But my wrists are chronically sore, haven’t really figured out why yet, and I need something smooth as silk to push. Once the “two under two” were no longer that but 3 and 18 months and 60+ pounds together I couldn’t handle pushing the tandem anymore.

I looked at an UppaBaby Vista, but it wasn’t that much easier to push than the contours to make the huge price tag worth it ($1,000+ for all the needed parts to use it as a double) and it would have a very limited lifespan considering the second seat only goes to 35lbs. Why do they do that?! So begrudgingly I started looking at side by side strollers which I was assured are always easier to push than tandems. Even bought a Britax B-Agile double which was in fact easier to push than our tandem. But still I wasn’t quite sure it was as easy as it got. I’d heard moms raving about how easy the Peg Perego Book For Two was to push. But at $600+ it was just priced too steeply for our budget. Until the day after we bought the Britax stroller one came up on Amazon warehouse deals for less than $500. I also had a few gift cards and some reward points to use which brought it down below $450 with free returns and free shipping. Too good to pass up.

I’m glad we got it. The push is truly amazing. I tried out every double stroller at Buy Buy Baby and nothing compares. Ball bearings and suspension on the wheels make it a very smooth ride for the kids and I can literally push it with one hand even with both kids and a loaded diaper bag in it, aided by the middle grip on the handle that helps you find the center to guide it better.

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The basket is quite large. I have no issues fitting full Ju Ju Be Be Prepared in there.
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The seats are big enough to fit my average sized almost 3 1/2 year old who is 35lbs. for some time to come. Also fits my 1 1/2 year old well, though I put the calf rest in the up position for him since he can’t reach the foot rest yet. The harness is a bit different-I think they call it a floating harness or something, but it gets the job done and is adjustable both in the shoulder straps and hip straps, and height adjustable as well. The seats have a very good recline, though you will need both hands to put it back up to straight. And the irritating way many strollers have very reclined ‘upright’ seat positions isn’t found on the Book For Two. They are plenty upright. When you lie the seats down there is the option to have just mesh at the back or cover it with the canopy material.

The canopies each have a peek a boo window, though I wish it was mesh, it does get the job done and you can secure the panel over the window or open.

And the canopies are massive, which is great. 20170715_202228

But aside from the amazingly easy push, which I can’t take a picture of, I think my favorite feature is the fold, which I’ve never seen an easier one, especially on a double. If you’ve folded a Baby Jogger City Mini and think it’s great, it’s got nothing on the Book! Squeeze the fold handle. That’s it. You’re done. Standing fold. To open? Unlock the automatic lock and then squeeze the fold handle, pull up on the stroller handle.
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Standing fold
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It is not an extremely compact fold, but it’s not bad. The Contours took up less space in the back of our van but only because it’s long rather than wide. I’d definitely recommend this stroller above most other doubles, especially the most popular one, the City Mini, whose basket is almost completely inaccessible.

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Quest For the Perfect Stroller

My mother will tell you I have an obsession. Or a couple: car seats and strollers. Strollers came first, way back when I had my oldest who will be 13 years old this month. Started with your usual travel system stroller that fit the infant car seat on it. A feature I used exactly zero times because he vehemently hated all car seats for his first 8-9 months. It was slightly cutesy, a Safety1st run of the mill stroller with a teddy bear on it. I hated it. Couldn’t push it with hand, which was what I was always trying to do because rather than being IN the stroller my child preferred to be carried. His stroller was just a cart for his stuff. The brake was hard to do with flip flops. Something always seemed to be not working exactly as I wanted it to. So I got rid of it within a couple months and set out to find another.

At that time I realized they had this amazing thing: strollers where your baby could face you! I was so excited and decided I had to have one of those. They came in two varieties: either you moved the handle back and forth or you flipped the direction of the seat. I preferred the handle moving, it was easier. But they were few and far between. Oddly enough it was a very common feature on older strollers. My oldest was born in 2004 so by older I mean 80s, early 90s-ish. Those old polka dotted Graco things that pushed awfully but the handle flipped back and forth. And they never had a parent tray or a kid tray. So I set out to find the ideal stroller where baby could face me or the world with a baby tray and a parent tray.

I felt incredibly lucky when I found an older Peg Perego Aria at a thrift store for $4. Ostensibly there because the material on the inside of the canopy was torn up. I figured I could fix that. I really liked that stroller. Better than the other 3 I’d found anyway, that I cleaned and resold. Then I found a Kolcraft Ranger Quattro stroller and despite the pesky recall on it I set out to buy one used. Here’s a pic from the recall: http://wemakeitsafer.com/Kolcraft-Ranger-Quattro-strollers-Recall-665175-057544

Briefly I earnestly sought out a Graco CoachRider but discovered before it was too late that it wasn’t likely to fit in the trunk of my ’99 Honda Civic Coupe. I think right about that time I gave up on having a stroller with my first. He didn’t like it anyway and for all the trying different ones he was unimpressed with them all and wanted to be held or to walk.

The next time around with babies, 10 years later, I knew I had little patience with ‘big box’ strollers from Wal-Mart and knew it may need to last more than one child so I only considered higher end models. Modular strollers are what’s popular so I got a used Britax Vigour with a crappy canopy. It veered to one side when we used it and the basket was pretty small. It hardly got used, though, because I used a baby sling or a baby wrap most of the time. I sold it when I got pregnant with our third baby and started looking at doubles. I do still have a single because I won a GB Lyfe travel system after the third boy (all boys so far!) was born. The seat was reversible and converted into a bassinet. And it was free!! I bought a used Contours Options stroller for our double and thought I was set. Until I realized the newer model Contours Options Elite was much, much better, and prettier, and sold the used one to get a new one. THEN I really thought that was it. And the GB Lyfe and Contours Options Elite lasted for well over a year.

While pregnant with our third I started having a really hard time pushing the Options Elite. I try to get out and walk every day with them, but together they are more than 60lbs of kid plus diaper bag (big diaper bag) and my carpal tunnel wrists couldn’t handle it. Apparently a side by side double is much easier to push than a tandem. So…I started shopping again. And buying again. I looked at the oft loved CMGT, Baby Jogger City Mini double. But I hated it. The basket was unaccessible because of a bar on the bottom rear. And the seats needed additional straps to help hold them more upright than the naturally reclined position they were in. Plus it didn’t have my main requirement of a stroller: option to have baby(ies) face me.

ZT018-LGN-awards-2017 https://www.contoursbaby.com/retail/2016-contours-options-elite-tandem-stroller/

But as it turns out very few double strollers have this parent facing option past the little baby phase, at least not in the side by sides. And the tandem options were mainly Baby Jogger City Select which pushed like a bear and had the kids so close together someone’s foot would be in the other’s face, and the UppaBaby Vista which had limitations in the low weight limit of the rumble seat, though it is very easy to push. I checked out StrollAir My Duo, but it has some serious quality issues so I crossed it off the list. Valco made one that’s now very hard to find and expensive so I skipped that, too. I immediately eliminated the Bugaboo Donkey for being extremely heavy, cumbersome, having a too low weight limit, and feeling sluggish when pushed. As well as the exorbitant price. And I realized then parent facing seats weren’t happening on my double. I resigned myself and decided I really wanted a Peg Perego Book For Two because anyone online who had one raved about the one handed push. Upon seeing the almost $700 price tag, though, I assumed I wouldn’t be getting one.

I waited for a Britax B-Agile double to pop up for sale locally and when it did, in a pretty blue color called peacock to boot, I snapped it up.

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It was easier to push, but not in the excellent condition I’d hoped. And then Book For Two show up open box on Amazon Warehouse deals the very next day (what are the odds?!). So my understanding husband agreed we could get the Peg stroller and see if it was better. We were both shocked when it got here at exactly how easy it is to push. Seriously: one handed with 60+ pounds of kids in it and a heavy diaper bag. If the seats parent faced it would be perfect. It is absolutely it’s only drawback. Stay tuned for an upcoming review on it. At the point we bought the Peg there was then 3 double strollers and 3 singles in the garage. Luckily I’ve since whittled it down to 2 doubles and a single. One more double to sell. Just hard to let go of the parent facing option, even if I can’t hardly push it. I think we’re done stroller shopping now. Barring the addition of twins one day or something. I reserve the right to change that.

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Snoofybee: Changing Time Game Changer + GIVEAWAY!!

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Odd name, fun to say. I reviewed this a while back but had forgotten to post it. The Snoofybee is a product conceived by a frustrated parent trying to keep baby’s hands clean during diaper changes. Trying to hold feet, hands, and clothes out of the way is like wrestling a squirrel. I’ve had one about a year now I think and keep one at home and in the van. My youngest usually isn’t as thrilled to be Velcro’ed up in it as the kids in Snoofybee’s video but maybe that’s because I haven’t made use of the cool loop you can hook a toy to for distraction while changing. He was 13 months in the photo below.

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It’s easy to open and close with one hand and would fit in most people’s diaper bag; mine  carries cloth diapers and wipes for 2 kids so I use the clip on it to hook it to my bag. They come in cute non-childish prints which I appreciate. Inside and out is easily wiped clean. I even tried it with my older diaper wearer when he was 2 1/2 just to see if it could wrap around him and it can though of course it’s not really needed for him. It’s not a high priced item, it’s a great one to add to a baby registry rather than the standard flat changing pads. Snoofybee touts it as 3-in-1: changing mat, toy mat, diaper clutch. I’ve only used it as changing mat and diaper clutch. I believe their use of the word playmat is somewhat misleading since you don’t generally want to wrap your child up in it unless you’re actually changing their diaper. Check out their website for prints use videos! https://snoofybee.com/  Snoofybee has generously agreed to sponsor a giveaway so one of my readers can win one, too! Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below and if you win you may choose between Mint Dot, HoneyComb, or Mustard stripe print for your Snoofybee.

Snoofybee Changing Pad Giveaway

Child Passenger Safety Week

I was trying to figure out something to post on here this week, but a certain person in our lives insisted on inserting some drama into it that veered me off the path and I forgot about Child Passenger Safety Week! Child Passenger Safety, or in most circles, the use of car seats/boosters, is a passion I have, which may seem odd. Why is it a passion? It became one when I learned that cars were and are the #1 killer of our kids. More than drowning, falling, any medical disease, burning, all the things we protect them from cars are the most likely taker. And yet with that kind of impact, over 80%, some estimates put it over 90% but the 80% is well documented, are used WRONG. That’s right, either installed wrong, used wrong, wrong seat for the child’s height, weight, or age, missing pieces, expired, incompatible with the vehicle sometimes people get really creative in their version of ‘wrong’ like the guy who bolted plywood to his back seat and then bolted the car seat to it. True story. Or the fireman who thought if one seatbelt was good 3 should be awesome and therefore installed a mom’s seat with all 3 belts at the same time. LOL I love his enthusiasm.

My purpose isn’t to shame, I did stuff wrong, too. Namely, I realized I was using a seat that had been expired for several years, it had been another family member’s. So I bought another one and my son quickly outgrew it in a matter of months. I’d spent $150 on that seat, had not planned to need to replace it so I desperately researched.

This is the seat I bought him first (well, actually the first seat was an infant carrier that was a total waste of $60 because he outgrew it at 4 months!) Note the ears creeping over the back of the seat:
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I discovered the only seats my 33lbs 2 1/2 year old fit in were $300+ and posted to craigslist asking for a used Britax seat, the most common of the options. Luckily a local woman who was passionate about CPS already emailed me and said getting a used seat wasn’t a good option. She linked me to car-seat.org, my home away from home for the last 8 years, and put me in touch with a charity, the Kyle David Miller Foundation, which at the time was on a mission to provide higher weight harness (HWH) seats to families that couldn’t afford them but had kids that needed them. They put me on the waiting list and told me it could be up to 6 months. Another blessing came in the form of a CPST nurse at our children’s hospital who gave me one of her training seats, a Britax Marathon. Having never used a higher end seat, I fell in love with it pretty quickly. The ease of use! And it fit my big kid. ❤  As luck would have it is was also a really sought after cute paw print cover.

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IA couple months later the Kyle David Miller Foundation sent a Sunshine Kids Radian to a tech who then brought it to us. She fought it in the backseat of my ’99 Honda Civic EX Coupe, and sadly, she lost. It was 100 degrees out that day, I felt bad. So they had her take it to another family, and they sent her back to us with a Britax Regent, known as the king of car seats at the time. This thing went to 80lbs harnessed and was a beast. A throne! Here he is minutes after she installed it. Check out all the space above his head! He was a 3 year old in the 95% for height and weight by then and yet he still had years left in it! It fit an average 8 year old in the harness. And it was very easy to use, although heavy.

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A while later I was able to save up and get him the next seat he’d need, one that would turn into a booster. Again we needed tall with high weight limits, so he got a Britax Frontier, and later I traded that up for a Britax Frontier85. Loved those seats. They were heavy, but fit him well, and were very solid and pretty easy to use. I just now got rid of those after realizing I have no one to sit in them anymore!

So that’s how I got passionate about it. I wasn’t totally ignorant on the subject, but someone pulled me aside and shared some important info. Once I realized the danger involved I learned all I could. Which led to me wanting to help other parents who I figured knew the little I knew, too. So I became certified a few years ago and run an inspection station through our church where the state also provides some seats to give to eligible families who cannot otherwise afford them. It’s a blessing to me to be able to give back to the community that way. 🙂 But…I’ll be honest, my own check seats prove that about 90% of the seats I see are used wrong somehow. And the parents are usually surprised.

Biggest things I can share follow:

1)pick the right seat for age/height/weight, age being the first really important factor. Stages:
–Rear facing, newborns start in a rear facing seat, contrary to popular belief this does NOT have to be an infant carrier with a handle. We started this baby in a Combi Coccoro, convertible seat instead. KEEP the kids rear facing until you literally have to turn them forward because they’ve outgrown a rear facing convertible, most of which now rear face to at least 40lbs. Then…–Forward facing in a 5 point harness, either in a convertible car seat or a combination seat (convertible goes rear and forward, combo goes forward and then booster). Keep them this way until at least 5 years old, and then train them how to sit still and upright in a booster seat.
–Booster: minimum 5 years, 40lbs, though a lot of kids aren’t ready until about 6 years old. Then use the booster until the child passes the 5 step test: 1. child sit all the way at the back of the seat?
2. knees bent comfortable at vehicle seat edge?
3. shoulder belt across shoulder, not neck?
4. lap belt rides low across the thighs, not belly?
5. can stay seated this way for the whole ride, every time?
And is at least 8-10 years old, at least 80lbs, and at least 4’9″ tall. Seatbelts in cars were made for 150lbs adults, not kids.

2) Next is never ever ever buy a used seat of unknown history. Seats expire. And lots of people do things to compromise the safety of a seat, like wash the harness straps in a washing machine, or check or gate check it on an airplane. Or drop it. All no-nos. There are budget seats out there that will work in a lot of situations, if you need help, ask me or find a tech, we’re happy to answer questions about what seat to get for your budget, vehicle, and child.

3) Britax does not a magic bubble make. 🙂 All seats are equally safe as far as we’re told, they only receive a pass/fail from the tests and precious few release the actual results. What makes a difference is how easy is to use. The easier it is the more likely you are to use it right! We techs have a saying, too, RTFM! roughly translated it’s, ahem, read the freaking manual. They come with manuals for a reason. They really do need one.

4) LATCH is not the be all end all it was supposed to be, seatbelts are just as safe and frankly usually easier to use. Just don’t use LATCH and seatbelt at the same time.

5) Don’t use coats in car seats. Or Bundle Mes. Or after market pads, inserts, nothing that goes between kid and seat. Basically the word aftermarket is ugly. The Mighty Tight falls into this range. We’ve seen it shred seatbelts. That’s certainly not doing anyone a favor.

Those are my big ones! Here’s some extra ones:

1) NEVER put an infant carrier seat on the top of a shopping cart. Neither the cart nor the seat were made for this. It’s a dangerous duo.
2) Don’t leave an infant in the infant carrier seat. It’s a CAR seat and should only be used in the car or atop the stroller. Too much time in the seat is unhealthy. If you’re worried about the temptation like I was, skip the carrier and get a convertible. It’ll save you money in the long run, too.
3) Not car seat related, but no one should ever sit in a lap belt. There’s a reason they don’t make them anymore. In particular, never use a booster with a lap belt only. The only thing lap belts are good for are installing car seats.

I think that’s it for now. There’s lots of nitty gritty stuff, but these are some good basics. Please ask questions if you need to! For good measure here’s my newest little one in the Combi Coccoro, proof tiny babies (he was 6lbs 9oz) CAN indeed use convertible car seats from birth (please note we were not getting ready to drive and I had not tightened the harness yet, it’s too loose at the thighs!):

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Buttons Diapers Giveaway!

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As a giveaway junkie I’m excited to be on the hosting end of my first giveaway. I reached out to the manufacturer of my favorite cloth diaper, Buttons, and she graciously agreed to give one of my readers a Buttons cover and insert of their choice. I knew long before I got pregnant, heck, long before I even had a boyfriend, that I would cloth diaper any future kids. This may very well be the first of many posts on it, brace yourself, but to me it just didn’t make sense to use disposables. Cloth is cheaper, better for the environment, cuter, safer for baby, and though peopl who’ve never done it may have apprehensions, I think it’s actually easier. We never have that ‘oh shoot!’ moment at 10pm when we realize we’re out of diapers. We don’t have to worry about spending $50+ a month for a box. Is that even an appropriate guess? My other son is 10, it’s been a long time since I had to buy disposable diapers!

I lucked out having a couple of great friends who gave me some cloth diapers to try out different types and brands. It can be an intimidating world. But I’ll go nitty gritty into it all in another post. This post is all about the Buttons. I did not receive any free Buttons diapers from the sponsor (or anyone else, lol) to do this review. I approached her about a giveaway because of all the kinds I’ve gotten to try these are my favorites for 3 reasons: simplicity, cost, customer service. Well, and they’re cute, that little embroidered button on the butt.

Buttons are an AI2, read: all-in-two, system. There is a shell  or cover and an insert. Here’s the blurb from the Buttons site describing their system:

“Our one-size diaper covers can snap to fit babies from 9-35 lbs, and are made of 2 layers of soft wipeable PUL with double gussets around the legs. Our snap-in diaper inserts are soft and absorbant, and come in two sizes…Elastic at the back and tummy makes a custom fit.”

“Our daytime inserts are made of 4 layers of absorbent micro fiber, with a luxuriously soft layer of fleece on top. Buttons cloth inserts snap into our one-size diapers covers. Plus, they come in 2 sizes for your growing baby (small fits babies 9-20 lbs., large fits babies 20-35 lbs.).”

“Our nighttime doublers have 6 wonderful layers of micro fiber, for extra absorbency, and work as a doubler with Buttons daytime inserts snapped on top. Buttons cloth inserts snap right into our one-size diapers covers. Plus, they come in 2 sizes for your growing baby (small fits babies 9-20 lbs., large fits babies 20-35 lbs.) *Note: the nighttime doubler is made to be used with our daytime insert snapped on top. Only the daytime insert has a top layer of soft moisture-wicking fleece to keep baby’s skin dry.”

I’ve now tried diapers from many major brands: AppleCheeks, Kissaluvs, Rumparooz, Smart Snugs, GroVia, Thirsties, Happy Heineys,BumGenius, and a couple WAHM made ones, which I really liked. I’ve also tried some of the so-called “Chinese Cheapies”: Sunbabies, Alva, Kawaii, Babyland, Baby Wizard, THX. Buttons is my favorite among them all. I recently decided to get rid of all the others that I’ve bought and replace them with Buttons via some Amazon gift cards I got using Swagbucks.

The review:

The most appealing part of Buttons to me is the simplicity. No stuffing pockets, no waiting forever for all-in-ones to dry. No elaborate folding/rolling routines with flats. I tried each of these things. Snap the insert in, put it on. I love that I don’t have to pre-setup all the diapers for other people to be able to change the baby, either. It’s too simple. No more worrying if I ever got all the pockets stuffed before the next wash day. No, I didn’t. I almost never did. Put them together on the fly which would lead to my dear husband putting an empty pocket on the baby. Oops. And it’s one step in putting it on. Baby is too wiggly for putting on a fitted and then a cover.

The second most appealing point is cost. These are good quality diapers, and yet the price is a good median price: $12-$13 per cover, 3 inserts for $10.50. And you can get by with only a few covers per day, I usually only need 2-3, occasionally 4. Because you reuse the same cover all day until it gets soiled. As in…dirty. Wet is OK. We even use Buttons at night with the doublers. No tricky night time routine, these are the only ones not leaking on us during the 12 hour night time stretch. No, my almost 5 month old doesn’t sleep 12 hours straight, but it sure helps him sleep better that I don’t change him each time he wakes to nurse.

Third is absorbency. These inserts are thick and dense, but very soft with the fleece on top. He never feels like he’s been sitting in a wet diaper, even after the aforementioned 12 hour night. I did have to wait a while to use these with him, as he was less than 7lbs at birth. But by month two and under 9lbs he fit them OK on their tightest setting without overlapping the wings, shortest rise.

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And here is today at 12lbs, this is with the nighttime doubler in. It does make for a very fluffy thick bum, but it works!

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To enter this giveaway you’ll need to go to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/midwestcrunch and click the giveaway tab.

Here’s a mobile friendly link: http://bit.ly/1lXbgvp

And please visit Buttons Diapers at: www.buttonsdiapers.com,
On Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ButtonsDiapers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Buttons_Diapers
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/buttonsdiapers/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ButtonsDiapers

Check them out! I hope you like them as much as we do.

From A Self-Avowed Nursing Cover-Upper

I finally really get it, why covering up is a sore subject for breastfeeding moms. I thought I got it before, but it wasn’t personal yet. I nursed my first son for a few months, and always used a cover when I was out and about, and often at home if anyone else was home. For this one, he’s being breastfed longer and I didn’t buy any product with the explicit purpose to cover up, such a Hooter Hider (lovely name) or any of the other massive monstrosities that cover up mom from neck to waist and also completely cover up baby. Instead I have just thrown a receiving blanket over my shoulder, careful not to actually cover baby’s face which I feel is uncalled for and even dangerous. I don’t usually worry about it at home, but sometimes when people are over I know they’re uncomfortable so I have. But you know what? I shouldn’t be made to feel I should have to hide feeding my child in my home, or anywhere really.

Luckily I haven’t had a really horrible experience at a business. The worst negative attitude I got was from my husband’s ex-girlfriend, and her opinion is not something I’m all that worried about. Although getting accused of showing her kid pornography because I nursed in front of him was….different.

But yesterday came this aha moment. I had a family member with me in the car, we stopped so he could get cigarettes. No smoking in my car or anywhere around me or my kids, so he stayed outside. I told him if he was going to smoke for a bit then I was feeding the baby who feels that hunger is cause for a meltdown that everyone must hear. So I’m nursing and notice that said family member is no longer smoking, but still outside in jeans in 90 degree humid heat. Odd, but OK. I even commented to my older son that I wondered what he was doing, and he was just standing but sitting at the parking curb right in front of the running van. It had to be HOT right there. He gets in just as I’ve decided the baby must be done because he’s not eating but just hanging out at the food supply making sure it doesn’t go anywhere.

I said, “I wondered why you were out there so long, it’s hot!” And he said angrily, “Because I was waiting for you to finish and cover up!” obviously irritated that because of me and my baby he had to stand out in the heat. It’s been a long time since I felt so shamed. For a moment I felt dirty and ashamed of what I’d just done, and that I’d so disappointed my family. Tears stung my eyes. The best I could sputter was, “I was just feeding him. I feed him in public all the time. I wasn’t doing anything bad.” But in that moment I really felt like I was. It hurt coming from him. And for just a moment it made me think maybe I really should only feed my child in private. Except…I was in my car. It was rather private.

Even though I know better, even though I know I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about, even though I know it’s his problem and not mine, my epiphany was that THAT is why I cover up. It has nothing to do with me thinking it’s necessary and everything to do with being ashamed of what I’m doing. Only I shouldn’t be. I’m feeding a child the way God intended. As a Christian, this really does matter to me. I believe God expects modesty. But this modest God, he also designed breasts to feed a child. In all his infinite wisdom, this is how He chose it should be done. He had to know babies were going to get fed places other than private home bedrooms. He had to know these little babies he would bless parents with were going to be wiggly grabby creatures who take offense at being covered. Knowing all that I cannot agree with thinking I should cover up all the time. I’ll be honest and say I’ll probably still make an attempt because I still feel as though it’s shameful sometimes, emotions are hard to get rid of even though I know better.

I really never thought it was a big deal to cover up. But my almost 5 month old thinks so. He doesn’t like anything covering up around his nursing area, lol. So I’m going to try and get over it. I find ics of women breastfeeding throughout history helpful. It’s a strange paradox that we live in a time where modesty is rare, breasts are hanging out all over the place, and yet nursing garners negative attention. And that throughout history nursing was just taken in stride. In a meeting to buy a house and baby’s hungry? feed him, right there, in front of your husband and the banker man, no one will think twice. And Hooter Hider Udder Cover hadn’t yet come into existence. Sitting for a family portrait and baby’s hungry? Feed him, it could take almost an hour to get the pic anyway. Everyone will know exactly what you’re doing, they will see some breast skin, maybe even a nipple, but they won’t care because hey, it’s how babies eat. I so wish this attitude was more prevalent. Because I’d really like to never again feel ashamed of feeding my child. Or dirty. Like I’d just done something wrong and sexual in nature in front of the world. By early 1900s it became the difference between being poor and rich: the poor breastfed their babies, the rich found it too primal in nature and not ladylike. But prior to that, it was what you did. We can blame at least in part the availability of infant formula. These pics are from Harvard library:

Here’s some picsbfing3 25483_363766787508_7683687_n bfing bfing2

And here’s an entire FB page devoted to pics of women nursing in history: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricBreastfeedingPhotos

First giveaway is coming!

giveaway

I have nothing of true importance to say, I just couldn’t keep it to myself that I’ve got the first sponsored giveaway coming with the first review. I have to finish writing it up and taking some more pics, oh, and figure out how to use Rafflecopter as the host of a giveaway. I’m well versed in how to enter on one, haha! So keep your eyes open. As the one and only hint to the subject of the review and giveaway, the company owner shares my name: Amy. I know, that helps, right? Right!?

 

I ha

I have joined the leagues of the soccer mom

We now have….a minivan. Ugh. How I hate writing that. We realized a few weeks ago that we had outgrown our tiny vehicles and needed at least one with more seats. We were, however, upside down on both car loans and had no money to put down AND Needed to keep to our small payment we had. Lots of issues to fill there. And I HATE minivans. I’ve always driven compact cars with a manual stickshift. I love my stickshift. Mostly I like Honda, but my last car was a Nissan Versa six speed manual. My angstful feelings towards minivans meant we started searching for 3 row SUVs. No easy task considering the age we needed to look at for our payment budget. Yes, we are payment buyers. Sigh. And we learned that the ones that were out there kind of sucked, I am not a Ford or Chevy fan. And their SUVs suck gas, it seems, at least the ones with third rows made mid 2000s. We found what we thought was the absolute perfect solution: a mini-minivan. A Kia Ronda. Oops, Rondo.

The Rondo is a lot like a Mazda5 only the Rondo seats 7, Mazda5 seats 6. But after driving all over tarnation to find a good condition Rondo we discovered that back row wasn’t as roomy as we first thought and the middle row had two positions: forward and backward. It wouldn’t work. Back to the drawing board I looked up the local dealer I’ve gotten all my cars from, and my family gets their cars from. But I assumed they’d have nothing in our under $10k price range because they’re a name brand dealer. BUT Lo and behold they had a 2006 Toyota Sienna, the holy grail of the soccer mom. An eight seater, no less, we have years before we’d grow outta this thing, if ever. It’s pretty, though:
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Dealer’s photo from the website

So I have joined the dark side. Where’s my cookies?

Chicken Chili

Beans are one of the cheapest way to feed a lot of people. Our grocery budget these days is almost invisible so we eat a lot of beans. Black beans, white beans, red, kidney, pinto. Key ingredient in this is the cumin. Don’t leave that out or substitute it.

2 cups dry navy beans
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans green chiles
cumin
pepper
salt
garlic
dried onion flakes (or real diced onion)
2 chicken breasts w/out bones or bones removed

cilantro (optional, just as a topping)

 

Cook the chicken breasts and shred. TIP: if you have a kitchenAid stand mixer use it to shred your chicken, no fuss, no mess, and it’s fast!

Put all the other ingredients together and cook preferred method, I use the crockpot high 4 hours if you soak the beans, 6 if you don’t, or overnight, or I use the pressure cooker, about 50 minutes, 30 if you soak the beans first.

Top with sour cream and cilantro.

Great with Jiffy copycat homemade cornbread, too. I’ll post a recipe for that later.