Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, March 30, 2012

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama 
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Month of Taking Action

Since last May, I have been trying to reduce my impact on the environment by making a small change each month. This month I have been working on taking action, and specifically, I have been busy writing letters to my representatives to help to try and change the policies that affect our country. So far I have written letters touching on the regulations of the meat (and slaughter) industries, letters about testing the safety of personal care products, letters about labeling genetically modified foods at both the state and national level, and letters against the state of Oregon giving water rights to Nestle to bottle water for profit.
I sometimes wonder how much me- one person, and one without any political power, how much good can voicing my opinion really do? Does my senator really care what I think about genetically modified foods or the regulation of cosmetics? But, if a bunch of people, each one individual, all write in to voice our opinions, than the message may start to be heard. Our representatives are supposed to be representing the people (that's us), so if I don't voice my opinion to them, than I feel like I really can't complain when things don't go the way I want them to. So, speak up! Share your thoughts and make yourself heard.
I plan to make letter writing a regular part of my routine and hope to knock out at least one set of letters each month. There are certainly enough policy issues for me to complain about!

As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Are you willing to write a letter this month to voice your opinion? Together we can make change! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along

Happy yarn along! Joining in with Ginny over at Small Things.
This week I am reading Having Faith by Sandra Steingraber. I read her book Living Downstream in college, and last year I was lucky enough to see a screening of her new movie with the same name. At the time, I added Having Faith to my goodreads to-read list, and have finally found the chance. I am just a few chapters in, but so far I am enjoying it. I am also reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. I read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a couple months back, and when my mom send this out for me, I couldn't resist.
In terms of knitting, my week has been a disaster. Phoebe's small things sweater sweater has been eluding me, and what I thought I could knit on dpns actually requires a circular knitting needle, and sadly, I am still at the same place I was last week. I also started a wee bunny for Finn's Easter basket (loosely following this pattern, but with a lot of changes). I made the entire body and head, decided I hated how the variegated colors were looking, and so I frogged it and have started over again with different yarn. I am liking it better this time, thankfully. And, most of my knitting that has actually happened is on a gift that is a surprise, although I made several mistakes in that as well. Not my knitting week I guess!
As I am hoping to get the bunny and sweater both finished in time for Easter, hopefully I will have fun things to share next week!
What are you reading and knitting? Pin It Now!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eaarth: A Review

Eaarth: Making  a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bil McKibben, is one of the scariest and one of the most inspirational books I have read in a while. This book is about climate change. The climate change that is already happening, and the climate change that is going to continue to happen. McKibben talks about how we have already surpassed the amount of atmospheric CO2 that our planet can safely handle (350ppm) and how that is continuing to rise. He demonstrates the changes that are happening, from droughts to hurricanes, storms to pest damage....and things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse. We are still spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and even if we did stop all emissions, right this instant, the planet would still continue to warm for many years to come.
McKibben addresses many of the problems that are going to arise in the not-so-far-away future: climate refugees, people starving, homes and land lost, diminishing water resources, floods and natural disasters. It's too late for us to fix things by installing a few solar panels and taking the bus once a week. The problems are way beyond that and will take a total revamping of our mentality and our society for the needed change to happen. The facts are simply depressing, and many times throughout the first half of this book I felt so terrible for my children because this is the future that I am passing along to them. They will be in the thick of it, and who knows what the future will hold for them. This is some seriously scary stuff. All so important to be reading, but really hard to come to terms with. When they say the truth hurts, I think this is what they meant.
Fortunately, halfway through the book, McKibben's writing takes a turn, and he starts to talk about what can be done. How we can (and will need to) change and shows some great optimism in how the human race can do this. There are going to be bumps and challenges, and life is going to be tough, be there is hope for a future. And the sooner we act, the better.
I was actually brought to tears at the end of this book when the author talks about the power of everyday people to make change. A few small steps can really push policy and the future into a new direction. But, this is about the people demanding change. The people being willing to curb our growth in exchange for the possibility of a less-bleak future. Cutting our emissions so that our children may enjoy some of the luxuries (like electricity and running water) that are so common in this day and age.
This book really made an impact on me, and despite how depressing the first half was, I feel like it is such an important topic. It's uncomfortable to read because it is the truth.. a truth that we do not want to face and a truth that we are mostly avoiding. I have decided to have my class next term read this book for the class literature review; I feel like it is a book that everyone should have to read, to remember and to act on.
Want to get involved? Check out, Bill McKibben's global movement to solve the climate crisis. You can sign up for update, start an event in your city, and hear more about the truth. Pin It Now!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Joining in with Amanda from Habit of Being for another weekending post....
This weekend was amazing!
Friday afternoon brought some much warm needed sun (and warmth).
Phoebe had her first go at gardening (and at eating dirt---yum!)
and our first pea spout emerged from the ground.
A late afternoon trip to the park
which led to an impromptu dinner with friends.
Saturday morning, after a quick breakfast of bagels and coffee,
I headed up to Mt. Hood to snowboard for the first time in over 2 years!!
There was fresh snow, blue skies, and warm temperatures.
It was amazing.
Thanks to my hubby for making that happen.
The only thing I was missing was a partner in crime,
but my out-of-shape legs only lasted for a couple of hours anyways.
Saturday evening we enjoyed some down time in the yard.
Dinner at home and some reading before bed.
Sunday morning we headed out to breakfast (so nice to not have to do dishes!)
I made it to yoga class for the first time in a long time.
A dog walk, some cleaning, a play date for Finn.
Dinner at home (a little wine too).
Now both kids are asleep and I am headed to the couch for some knitting, lazing, and movie watching.
Phew! How was your weekend?
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Friday, March 23, 2012

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama 
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Snowy Morning

The first day of spring was Tuesday, and today we awoke to a blanket of snow across the yard. Snow always makes me a bit excited, giddy even... but, I am also ready for some weather that more closely resembles spring. I am ready to hike, to garden, to wear sunglasses. This is always the worst time in Portland... when everyone else is having spring, but we are still having winter... possibly for about 2 more months. My family in Chicago is currently enjoying (?) weather in the 80's. It sounds nice, but also a little freaky. Is there anyone who still doesn't believe in climate change? Pin It Now!

What We Throw Away...

Last Halloween, Portland moved to a new system of trash collection. Our compost, which used to be only for yard debris now accepts food scraps, and is picked up each week instead of bi-weekly. The other change was in trash pick up. Trash, which used to be picked up every week, is now only picked up every other week.
When I first heard this news, I was a bit scared. We have more trash than we would like, mainly because of dog and cat poop which has to be picked up and thrown away and can not be easily composted in an urban setting (we have been trying to compost some of our dog waste, but it is not really working on our very small piece of land). As soon as these changes were made to Portland's trash collection, we became diligent about being careful of what we put in the trash. We made sure that all food scraps were going to our backyard compost pile or to the city compost, but we also started being more diligent about saving plastics that could not be recycled curbside and dropping those off at a recycling center about once a month. And, we realized, with a couple small changes, we didn't really have as much trash as we thought.....this reduced trash actually works great for us, and in fact, we rarely even bring a full can out to the curb on trash day.
It has been a bit of a concern, however, when we have had big cleaning and purging sessions (like this past weekend). Some things are not recyclable and if we can't think of another use for them or a place to bring them that would find another use for them, then there is not much to do except throw it out. A good example is our car seats. Todd got in a car accident several months back and so the kid's car seats needed to be replaced. The hard plastic parts of the car seats can be dropped off at collection centers, where they will be recycled, but they will only take the hard plastic part. That means the belt and cloth sections are trash, as Goodwill and other similar places will not take them either. I racked my brain trying to think of a way to use them, but when you live with 4 people in 800 square feet, we don't have space to hang onto things that we will likely never use. So, into the trash they went. Another good example is styrofoam. It CAN be recycled in our area, but it is about a 30 minute drive each way and you have to pay to drop it off. So, for the small amount of styrofoam we had, it was not worth the drive. So into the trash that went as well. And this week our trash is full already, and we still have a few days until the trash will come.
Some Portlanders have complained about the new trash system, or have had to increase their can size to accommodate the bi-weekly pick up schedule, but I am happy about it. In general, it has made me much more conscientious of my trash and what I am putting in there. Can it be recycled? Can it be reused? I hope one day to take a Master Recycler course, however, right now that is a bigger commitment than I have time for.
In the meantime, I am still looking for ways to be creative and to reduce my family's trash even more. Does anybody have any great suggestions? Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yarn Along and A Lucky Winner (That's ME!)

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things for this week's yarn along. I managed to finish up Phoebe's tea top this week. I used this pattern, but I knitted it in the round instead of flat and I added buttonholes and buttons instead of the ties. I like how it came out, especially with the buttons I found in my stash! My Emma Star hat also finished blocking. I like how it turned out, however, I sort of feel that it's not quite "me", which I had actually anticipated happening while I was knitting it. I have forced myself to wear it a couple of times, and I think it is starting to grow on me. This week, I got to cast on 2 new projects, for the first time in quite a while. Ahhh, the fun of casting on. I started this sweater for Phoebe in a beautiful coral color Malabrigo yarn. I also casted-on a surprise knit in my sparkly grey yarn that I got from the Yarn Crawl a couple of weeks ago. I think it may end up being a gift for someone, so I am going to keep that one a secret, at least for now.
I am still reading Eaarth by Bill McKibben, and am actually close to done. It is powerful (and incredibly scary) and I have decided to have my class read it next term. A review to come soon. I am also reading Morality for Beautiful Girls, the 3rd in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. With all of the doomsday reading in Eaarth, I needed something a bit more lighthearted.
In other exciting news, our very own Ginny over at Small Things hosted a giveaway for 8 patterns from Mamma 4 Earth (aka Linda) who blogs at Natural Suburbia. I have been a follower of her blog for awhile, as well as a fan of her patterns! (If you remember the aardvark I knit Phoebe a few weeks ago.. well that was a Mamma 4 Earth pattern-- so cute! And the pattern was very easy to follow, always a plus). Anyways, the winner was ME and I spent quite some time mulling over her pattern selection yesterday in order to decide which 8 to choose. It was hard because they are all so fantastic! Thanks to both Linda and Ginny for this great giveaway! I think I will have my hands full with some stuffies to knit!!
What are you reading and knitting?
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toxins in Your Makeup?

Did you know that most personal care and cosmetic products contain untested and unregulated chemicals? And did you know that many of these products have been linked to health problems, yet they are still on the store shelves, in your bathroom, and on your face?
Most people use several personal care products each day. I am a minimalist when it comes to makeup and such, but I still use soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste on a daily basis and I sometimes use lotion, nail polish, chapstick or lipstick, plus sunscreen during the summer. That is up to 8 or more products that I could be using each day. Although I try and use products that are better for me and the environment, labels are hard to decipher and can be deceiving....
The chemicals that exist in many care products are usually only present in small amounts, but if you are exposing yourself to chemicals from multiple sources, and doing it each and every day, those exposures can start to add up. And, if you are pregnant, you are exposing your unborn child to the toxins in your care products as well.
Personal care products may contain:
  • Parabens- These are used as preservatives and mimic estrogen. They have been linked to reproductive issues and cancer.
  • Fragrance- This can be anything, and fragrances often contain allergens, neurotoxins and interfere with hormones. And, the chemicals in these fragrances don't have to be labeled because they are "trade secrets".
  • Phthalates- These are found in many fragrances. They have been linked to birth defects, asthma, and reproductive problems.
  • Formaldehyde- Yup, the same stuff you use to embalm dead things. It has been linked to cancer.
  • BHA- This is another preservative and is also linked to cancer.
  • Oxybenzone- Commonly found in sunscreens. This chemical is a hormone disruptor and is particularly concerning for use in pregnant women, 
But why would toxic products be on our shelves? The government wouldn't let companies sell dangerous products, would they? The truth is that the FDA is responsible for regulating personal care products, but, their authority doesn't even begin until the products are on store shelves, and even then, their regulatory power is pretty minimal. The FDA does not test products for safety before they hit stores, and the FDA does not require that the manufacturers to test products for safety in most cases either. Companies do not have to list ingredients contained in fragrances (which could be any number of chemicals) and the FDA does not issue recalls for products on the shelves. If the FDA does believe a chemical to be harmful, they can take that company to court.. but this puts a heavy time and monetary burden on the FDA, and so it almost never happens. In Europe, companies must prove that a product is safe before it goes into the shelves. But here, in the good old US of A, the people have to prove (in court) that a product is dangerous before it will be removed. Which means that since the government is not looking after us, we need to look after ourselves.
So, what can you do?
  1. Use fewer products and in smaller amounts.
  2. Avoid fragrances! Buy things that say fragrance-free, as "unscented" may just mean a fragrance that smells like nothing.
  3. Make your own personal care products! I make my own salve and lip balm, which is super easy. I have made my own soap but it is more time consuming than I am willing to do on a regular basis. I would like to try to make my own lotions and shampoos though.
  4. Research your products and look for safer products. Instead of normal deodorant, I use a crystal. Instead of regular shampoo we use a bar shampoo that only has a few ingredients. A helpful website is:
  5. Can't find information on a product you like? Call them and ask if their products are safe. Ask if they have done safety tests on their products.
  6. Write letters or make phone calls to the FDA or to your local representative asking for stricter regulations on chemicals in the marketplace.
  7. Talk to your local store. Ask them if they know the safety on the products that they carry. Tell them which (safe) products you would like them to carry and why.
  8. Find more information at If you live in Oregon, you can also sign the safe makeup petition.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Carbon Nation: A Review

In prepping for my class next term, I watched an interesting movie called Carbon Nation that discusses global warming and our planet's addiction to carbon (aka fuel).
This film is a little haphazard in the way that it switches back and forth between topics, but it covers some important ground.The film talks about how much energy we use and how we could be (and should be) getting that energy from alternative sources. They talk with people who are invested in wind energy, people who are growing algae as a renewable fuel source, folks who are creating electricity from geothermal hot springs, companies that bring jobs to install solar panels on low income houses, and ways to make buildings more energy efficient.
Interspersed throughout all of these amazing alternative methods of energy use, the film talks about our carbon footprint and the fact that global warming is already happening. Glaciers are receding, storms and hurricanes are increasing, groundwater is being depleted, dead zones are being created because of changes in ocean currents, and bug infestations like (pine beetles) are plaguing areas that no longer get cold enough to kill the bugs off. Atmospheric carbon is currently around 387 ppm, and what has been called the "safe" level, 350 ppm, has already passed us by. This means that we need to make changes and we need to make them NOW (or several years ago actually).
My biggest complaint about this film is that they don't actually talk enough about the terrible problems that global warming is going to cause (or is already causing).... I think that people need to get scared into action, and this film is not quite scary enough. It is gives hope, but by giving that hope, it almost passes off the worry to whomever is in charge of all this stuff.. and that certainly isn't the individual, right? (wink, wink).
This is a film worth watching. And although if I were the film maker, I would have organized it completely differently, and would have put more emphasis on the WE-ARE-SERIOUSLY-MESSING-UP-OUR-PLANET aspect, but I think it is relevant and shows a lot of important information about the age of energy in which we live.
Definitely worth a watch, and if you have netflix, it is currently on instant play. Pin It Now!

Friday, March 16, 2012

This Moment: Best Buds

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama 
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eating Animals: A Review

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is a non-fiction book that punches you right in the guts. It gets right down to the nitty-gritty (and mostly nasty) that is involved with the consumption of animals, especially factory farmed ones. It is brutally truthful, with no holds barred. And it is intense.
The reason why I decided to read this book is that I had read Everything is Illuminated, a work of fiction, also by Foer, and decided I wanted to give another book of his a go. Boy, I had no idea what I was getting into.
As a book, I found this a tremendously powerful read, full of facts, but also compelling and interesting. However, it was not easy to read this book; the graphic details about the horrific truth made it too much to take sometimes. It literally brought me to tears more than once, almost made me vomit, and made me question the sanity of the entire human race.
I first became a vegetarian right when I went away to college. It was a combination of reading Diet for A New America and seeing the "grade D meats: for prisoner and institution use only" stamped on the boxes of food in the CU dorms.  I was actually a very strict vegetarian for about the first 10 years, and then have wavered back and forth between a vegetarian and a mostly-vegetarian, to a baconatarian, or whatever seemed to suit me best at the moment. In recent years, I have mostly not eaten meat, but have eaten it when dining with other meat-eaters (trying to be less demanding). In recent months, I have been shifting back towards eating less meat and had come to a point where I had decided that I was going to be vegetarian again, at least for awhile. And then I read this book and I decided that meat eating was not anywhere in my near future.
This book touched on why we eat animals and why we eat the animals that we do (like, for instance, why is it normal to eat pigs, but not dogs?). Foer gets into talking about confined feedlot operations, the huge impact of animal farming on the environment, and especially global warming, and the terrible terrible treatment that these animals undergo. And not just the ones raised for meat, either. The ones raised for milk and eggs as well. In the US, farmed animals produce 130 times as much poop as the human population of the US. Gross.
Foer also touches on the tons of antibiotics used in animal farming, which are making diseases immune to them, the potential threat of a pandemic from diseases mutating from the animals we raise for food, and the fact that the animals raised for food have been so genetically altered that they are very little like their counterparts found 100 years ago.
The portions of this book that really spoke to me the most were the stories of the animal cruelty: the beatings, the inhumane practices, the deaths without dignity. It made me sick to my stomach to hear the ways in which these animals were treated. On a regular basis. And, fish included. Even wild-caught ones. It made me realize that we need to demand better conditions for the animals that we eat. Whether we do this by voting with our dollars, and only purchasing meat raised from non-factory farms, or we demand change at the policy level makes no difference to me or the animals, but clearly, something has to be done.
After reading this book, I decided to re-instate my vegetarianism and am now questioning the fish that I enjoying eating so much. I have tried go vegan before, several times, and have had a terribly hard time with it, but I would like to reduce the amount of dairy that I consume. We have always purchased milk without growth hormones and 'cage-free' eggs, but after reading this book, I really question what that means. I want to go to the farm where my food is coming from and see their animals. I want to make sure my cheese is coming from a cow that is having a decent life. But how feasible is that? Especially when my husband loves meat about as much as he loves me and my son eats cheese on top of his cereal (no, I am not joking). My family enjoys animal products. A lot. And so my family decisions need to have other peoples thoughts and feeling included.
I think my best bet is to head to my local farmers markets and try to purchase animal products from growers that are not keeping their animals in confined conditions. But what about those mid-week runs to the store for more milk and cheese? Luckily, New Seasons, our local organic grocery, does a pretty good of researching the farms where it buys it food. Now I just need to do a better job of informing myself.
This is a read that I would recommend to those questioning a move towards vegetarianism, or anyone with a stomach of steel. It is in no way pleasurable to read about how an animal become a meal, but I think that it is important to know where our food is coming from and what it took to get it there. Knowledge is power, and the more we know, the more we can impact change.
Now, I think I am off to write some letters on food policy...... Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things for this week's yarn along. Hooray! I finally have some new books to share this week. I have just started (and am almost finished with) The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. An easy read, although a bit depressing. I have also started reading Eaarth by Bill McKibbon. I am considering having my class read it for their literature review next term.
I have also finished my Emma star hat (for me!), just in time to wear for a few weeks before warmer weather rolls around. It is being blocked right now, so pictures to come soon.... Still working on Phoebe's tea top. I am really hoping I will finish it off in time for next week's yarn along.
And then... I won't have anything on the needles, which will feel weird because I have had at least 2 (or more) things going for a couple of months now. I hope to find some time this week to browse ravelry and see what I want to cast on next... fun!
And, this photo? Well, we spent a good part of the morning yesterday inside in a fort that we built in Finn's room. It was raining out, and it just seemed like the right thing to do.
What are you reading and knitting? Pin It Now!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Speak for the Trees

The book, The Lorax, has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember, and in the past year or so, it has become a favorite of Finn's as well. So, when we heard there was going to be a movie made, well, we just couldn't help being excited. Over the weekend, Todd and I took Finn for a special treat, and headed to the theater to see the film (we brought Phoebe too, but she slept through the entire thing!).
The film was great. Fun. Funny. And, like the book, it carries a wonderful message about taking care of our planet and all of the creatures on it. The film actually even takes it a step further than the book, making a parody of the typical American suburban lifestyle and our love of consumption. The only parts about the film that I didn't love were the voices... both Danny Devito and Ed Helms have very unique voices, and although they matched the parts perfectly, I kept picturing their faces the entire time!
So, yes, I loved the movie. And if you check out the the film website, it actually has some really cool info about The Lorax Project, which includes some games and activities for kiddos. The website also has some links to a lesson planning page for teachers, which may be something fun for the homeschoolers out there.
OK. So, yes, the film was fun, Finn had a blast, and the movie and website are all sending a good message. And I hate to be a downer, BUT, the marketing associated with this film, specifically for the new Mazda, seems to negate some of this good that the film is doing. There has actually been quite a controversy about this on the blogosphere, and many folks are outraged. Stephen Colbert even made fun of the commercial on the Colbert Report last week.
However, annoying greedy car companies aside, the movie was fun, and I hope that it helps our children become more aware that they are the vehicles for change. Someone needs to start speaking for the trees, and it needs to be soon.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not."
-The Lorax
Have you seen the film? Will you see the film? Pin It Now!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finding A New Rhythm

The past couple of months I have been feeling like I haven't been as good of a mom as I should be, or could be anyways. I haven't been reading as many stories to the kids, Finn has been spending more time playing computer games or watching movies than normal, and I just seem to be less-present than I should. For some reason, I seem to have gotten bogged down with stuff... grading assignments and preparing for class each week, laundry, trying to keep the house clean, blogging, all of those things that I spend my time doing that take away from my time with the kids. I feel like so many days I get up, get everyone fed, walk the dogs, do the breakfast dishes, make a snack, clean up, and then it is almost time to make lunch already. I watch the hours fly by and I try to 'maintain' and Finn and Phoebe entertain themselves with brief mama-interjections of what can and can not happen.
I decided that, somehow, I wanted to be more present in my children's day. Not just by being there, in the same room, but by really BEING there. Interacting with them. Playing with them. Loving them. Not every moment of every day (mom and kids both need breaks from one another, mind you!), but a lot more than I am giving them. Does this mean I am never going to wash another dish or fold laundry during my children's waking hours? Definitely not. But I have decided that it is time to find a new rhythm.
Todd and I talked and decided that we were both going to spend more time contributing to house clean up after the kids were in bed each night. Things that I normally tried to do during the day, like sweeping and cleaning the counters will be left for after dinner (unless I can involve the kids, or happen to find a moment when they are both happily occupied). My work (grading and prepping for class) is going to be mainly left for after the kids are asleep as well. And, blogging, my time-sucking little friend is also going to wait until night time.
What does this all mean? Well, the house has to get clean (sort-of at least), and my work needs to get done, which means that I am going to have less time for everything else in my life. Less time to blog (so posts may be shorter or less frequent for a few weeks until I find my groove), less time to read, knit, and less time for watching movies. Plus, now I have to stay motivated after the kids go down instead of getting my relaxation vibe on. The good side is that cleaning that would take 2 hours to get done by just me while dealing with the kids takes only 20 minutes for Todd and I to do together, without kids.
And, the trade off for this is that I have more quality time with my kids. They are only going to be little once. When I realized that I only have 18 months left with Finn before he is in school 5 days a week, I couldn't believe it. His little boy years are quickly coming to a close, and I want to absorb as much of that time as I can before it is gone.
So, I guess I am in this period of trying to find a new rhythm. To prioritize my needs and my wants in order to be able to be the mama who I really want to be. To cut back my "to-do" list and spend more time focused on my kids "to-do" list. To incorporate my children more into the chores of my day so that it is not a choice between mama and maid or mama and chef, but both simultaneously. I realize that for this to work, I am giving up a little bit of my "me" time (but still making sure I have enough to keep me sane!) in order to give my kids a lot more "us" time. It sounds wonderful doesn't it? I only hope that we can find a way to make it work. Pin It Now!

Friday, March 9, 2012

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama 
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Little Bit of Sun....

Last Sunday, we were lucky enough to get a warm (almost 60 degree) afternoon that was gloriously sunny. After a few weeks of mostly dreary rain, we sure did need it. We managed to take the dogs out to the Sandy River Delta to let them (and ourselves) run like the wind. It was magnificent. Word has it that today is supposed to be another sunny day... as Todd has the car today, I don't think we will be off on any exciting adventures, but we do plan on spending some time outside!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yarn Along

Another yarn along already? Joining in with Ginny at Small Things again this week.
So, if you remember, I had a mad spurt of casting on several weeks back, and I swore that I wouldn't start anything new until I had all of those casted-on projects finished. I am down to the final two.... Phoebe's tea-top in yellow and and this hat for myself. I am hoping I will finish this hat before the weather gets too warm around here!!
Over the weekend, a friend and I did part of the Portland Yarn Crawl. Essentially, each yarn shop has a raffle basket that you can enter to win just by going in, and some shops had free patterns, deals on yarn, etc. I don't need any more yarn, and actually, one of my New Year's resolutions has been to use up some of my stash... however, I finally caved, at the last store we went in to, and bought myself a skein of light grey wool/alpaca with some glittery strands in it. I just couldn't resist the sparkle effect. Plus, how could I not get a small memoir from the yarn crawl? Anyways, I bought it with making a cowl for myself in mind, but with spring getting closer, who knows what it will become. Any suggestions? I think the cat likes it!
I finally finished Pride and Prejudice last night (and ended up really enjoying it!) and still have a little ways to go Eating Animals.. Hopefully next week I will have some exciting new reads to share with you all!
What are you reading and knitting?

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Year Long Adventure: Month 11: Striving for Environmental Change

Each month since last May, I have been striving to find ways to incorporate permanent changes into my life so that my family and I can live more sustainably.  Some months have seen much better results than others mind you, but we are working on baby steps here! Anyways, March is my 11th month in my year long adventure (wow! where did the past 10 months go?!?) and this month I will be striving for environmental change.
What does "striving for environmental change" mean exactly? Well, it means putting actions to my beliefs. Writing letters to my representatives to encourage policies that promote environmental health and sustainability. Participating in actions in my community to creative positive change. Sharing knowledge with friends and neighbors so that they can create change too. Stuff like that.
I hope to knock out a few letters in the upcoming weeks (especially as I gave some letter-writing assignments to my students, and when I give an assignment like that, I normally join in as well!), and I will keep you updated on my progress. Pin It Now!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Big Thirst: A Review

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman is a book that explores the human relationship to water. Water is a savior and water can be a killer. Some areas spend money trying to deal with too much water while others spend even more dealing with issues  of not enough water. About 1 billion people around the globe don't even have access to clean, fresh, safe water to drink, and millions have to walk very long distances to fetch water each day.
This book talks about systems of water conservation (like in Las Vegas, where water is so precious) and systems of water reuse. Many cities are now including a non-potable water system for things like watering lawns, giving water a second use before sending it off on it's way. Other cities are actually treating their wastewater so thoroughly that after it is cleaned, it comes back out the tap as drinking water. Sound gross? It's not really. But, it is a likely future for many cities suffering from constant water shortages.
In the United States, 49% of the water used is used by power plants to generate electricity. And 1/6 of all of the water that travels through municipal pipes leaks out before reaching it's destination.
Water is a necessity. Water is a recourse. Water is a commodity. And the only thing certain about water is it's uncertainty.
This is a great book that touches upon all angles of water and water use across the globe. At times I found the writing style to be a bit over-dramatic, but it is packed full of good information. A must-read for anyone concerned about the future of water on our planet. Pin It Now!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring is in the Air

When I took the dogs out for a walk this morning, it was cold. I was bundled. But something was different. Spring was there-- it was in the air. The breeze was just a bit warmer than it has been, the birds were singing, buds and bulbs were bursting with new life, and the air smelled like a new beginning. Despite the cold, I felt spring on her way.
Don't those early signs of spring give you such hope? Pin It Now!

Friday, March 2, 2012

This Moment: Some Birthday Fun

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama 

...except this week, I am cheating, and including 3 photos from Phoebe's special day (I know, I have blogged a LOT about the little girl turning one, but it just blows my mind how fast the time went...)

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy First Birthday Baby Girl!

One year ago today you arrived into the world.
Your arrival was much anticipated.....
Your brother was 3 weeks early and we expected you to come early as well.
So when you came on your due date,
it seemed like you were so far overdue.
I could hardly wait.

The birth was fast, you were beautiful,
And I was so happy to snuggle into bed with you in my arms.
My perfect little girl.

My, how things have changed in only a year.
My helpless little newborn is now an independent-minded little girl,
with a personality all your own.
You are silly and snuggly, loud and determined,
and I couldn't imagine a more perfect little girl.

Happy Birthday Phoebe!

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