As much as I like to pretend that I’m the only blogger in the world and that the Mama Goose blog is the only place in the entire internet that you ever need to visit, that’s not actually the case.  In fact, the extended Mama Goose community has a pretty impressive presence in cyberspace.  Our customers blog about everything from homeschooling to food to inspirational creative awesomeness.  (Sorry — Maya’s kind of my internet idol.  That was the only way I could think of to describe her blog.)  You can see a list of our customer blogs over on the right sidebar — if you and your site would like to be included, just shoot me an e-mail.

This week, one of our wonderful customer bloggers was sweet enough to write about her love for the Goose.  The post below originally appeared on Wednesday on Kristina Petrella’s blog, 3under4, a great read for anyone who knows the joy (and exhaustion!) of running around after multiple little ones.  Thank you, Kristina, for sharing your place in cyberspace with us! We love you, too!


From 3Under4:  Shopping at Consignment Shops


What exactly do newborn babies do?

Eat,

Sleep,

Poop.

Yep. That’s pretty much it.

Even so, it is always tons of fun to have a few cute outfits to dress them up in,

you know, to take your mind off the fact that you are

sleep deprived,

sore,

and

THEY still hurt. Like crazy.

Even so, I can barely bring myself to spend close to ten dollars on a newborn outfit that will fit for 2.5 days (ok, that’s an exaggeration–it is more like 3 weeks) or get pooped in and ruined on day 1. So what is my solution?

I shop at second-hand and consignment shops.

In particular, I tend to shop at one consignment shop–Mama Goose. They have a wonderful selection of secondhand clothing for pregnant/nursing mamas, newborn babes, and children up to age twelve. It is also super accessible, even if you have a stroller (which I always do). I rarely visit this store without at least two of my children in tow. Needless to say, it is always an adventure.

Earlier this week, in my nesting frenzy, I found a bag of my son’s eighteen-month clothes. I was thrilled and decided to take them to Mama Goose, just to see what I could get for them. I was thrilled to get $28.00 in store credit (there is a cash option). As my clothes were being sorted by the lovely staff, I perused their inventory and stocked up on the following….

8 outfits…all Carter’s and yes, the blue one in the upper right corner still has tags on it.

The yellow one on the left is probably what she will come home in.

(Another look at the outfit with tags)

I also snagged 14 onesies at $ .50 each as well as my splurge…the used Robeez were $6.95. Normally they would be out of my price range, but they are in super good condition and they were super cute.

I spent $42.00. With my $28.00 store credit and my coupon card ($10 off your next purchase), I paid $2.77 out of pocket.

And THAT, folks is why I shop at consignment shops, because these are some super cute deals for basically pocket change.

-Kristina of 3under4.com

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Guest Blog: Asha the Activist

September 18, 2010

Last month, I spotted Asha and daughter Hazel at the anti-fracking demonstration before Andrew Cuomo's visit to Ithaca. Silly Asha. You all should know better than to let me catch you doing anything interesting. I'll make you blog about it!

Political activism has been a way of life for my family since before I was born.  My mom got kicked out of her first college for participating in the lunch counter sit-ins in Chattanooga, TN in the early sixties.  Around the same time, my dad went on a 30-day hunger strike in support of a professor who lost his job over his opposition to the Bay of Pigs.  Together they landed in Tanzania, where my dad fulfilled his alternative service because he wouldn’t serve in Vietnam.  After returning to the States, they ended up in Washington, DC with my dad working for the national Quaker lobbying group, Friends Committee for National Legislation.

As Quakers, my parents believed deeply in the importance of service and activism.  I worked in soup kitchens, got toted to big protest marches on the Mall, performed in children’s musicals about nuclear disarmament, tried to get myself arrested in front of the South African Embassy protesting apartheid when I was thirteen.  As a college student, I could always call my parents if there was going to be a big protest in DC, knowing they’d open their doors.  The conversations would go something like this:

“Hi, Mom.  I was thinking of coming home for the march this weekend with a couple of friends.  Would that be okay?”

“How many is a couple?”

“Um, about 17?”

“Sure, we’ll pack them in like sardines.”

They would welcome everyone and get up the day of to cook an enormous breakfast, which we would eat on the living room floor while my dad lectured about the importance of non-violent direct action in social change.

After college I moved to Seattle and got involved in the Cuban solidarity movement, leading me to travel to Cuba twice.  I was also in Seattle for the first big US protests of the WTO, marching and working with the Independent Media Center there to get the word out about what was really happening on the street.

My activism in Seattle increasingly surrounded me with people who were angry and uninterested in pacifism, causing me to become increasingly ambivalent about non-violence and unhappy with my life. It began to wear on my soul, this constant rage surrounding me, this constant asserting of “No!” with no offer of a viable, alternative “Yes!” So, when my soon-to-be husband announced her wanted to be an organic farmer I agreed to walk away from all of it and work on building something positive. Something that could be the world-changing, viable “yes” for me and mine.

Now we have two children, the oldest of whom is 7 ½, and the question of getting back to activism is starting to come up.  We’ve always talked very explicitly about why we live where we do, why we farm the way we do, why we eat the way we do, so she would understand the reasons why our life is different than many of her friends at school and most of our family.  I can attest to it being easier to be a freak if there’s a higher purpose.  We also always talk honestly about race, class and sexual orientation so that, even though she’s not growing up in a terribly diverse place, she understands that not everyone in the world is like her, nor should they be.

In the last year we’ve gotten involved in the anti-hydrofracking effort in the region and have been talking about it a lot in the house and with our local family.  Hazel is smart, very observant, a good listener, so she’s been asking questions and working through what she thinks about it.  Mostly she just doesn’t understand why other people don’t get that we have to protect the land that we live on, that provides our food and water.  Our land is such an immediate part of her daily life that she can’t imagine that anyone else wouldn’t have that same relationship to the Earth.

I have been trying to encourage her to think about all of this and develop her own opinion on it while also discouraging her from getting really stressed about it.  I can see her spinning up into worry that bad things will happen to our home and I know how that feels.  I had nightmares about nuclear war as a kid because of all the talk around our house, and I don’t think it was healthy.  The only thing to do, though, seemed to be to encourage her to do something about it rather than just worry.  So, I took her to her first protest.

We went to the anti-fracking rally before Andrew Cuomo’s recent gubernatorial campaign stop in Ithaca.  I didn’t know how she would handle the whole thing but she was a champ.  She stood, holding her sign, through the whole rally without a fuss, so I suggested we go see Cuomo speak at the Women’s Community Building.  She sat patiently for an hour in the auditorium while we waited for him to speak and then, when he started talking, she pinned her No Fracking button to her stuffed animal’s belly, and stood up (in a room full of sitting adults) and held it over her head.  She also insisted we go speak to Cuomo at the end to tell him he needs to protect our well and our land.

We spent a bunch of time talking about the whole thing when we got home.  I explained the concept of elected representatives and that Cuomo was trying to get elected to represent us but that he couldn’t represent us if he doesn’t know what we want.  I told her that part of living in a participatory democracy means that you have to tell the government what you want and fight for what you believe in.  This made perfect sense to her and she got really excited about writing him a letter to tell him what she thinks about fracking.  She went on and on about our land and our water and then she added, “And Mommy, in the PS can you tell him that he also needs to let everybody that loves each other get married?”

Clearly, my girl’s on a roll and she’s focused on what means the most- loving the land, loving each other, fairness and speaking up.  And she feels that by speaking up she can make a difference.  It’s all I could ask for.

-Asha for the Goose

Blog Me Up, Baby!

July 11, 2010

So, you know how sometimes you’ll have an acquaintance who invites you to do something socially and you don’t act on the invitation, because part of you thinks that maybe that person was only extending the invitation to be polite?  It occurs to me that perhaps the couple of times that I’ve solicited guest blog posts  my requests have been received the same way, and so I’ve decided to ask again, slightly more formally.

This could be you! Doesn't she look happy and well-accessorized? And like she's about to go on a fabulous vacation? (Okay, so that part you'll have to take care of on your own.)

Dear Reader,

Won’t you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE with a locally-grown, organic cherry on top consider writing a guest post for the Mama Goose blog?  You’ve got to be sick of hearing about me by now.  I’m a broken record — my house is a mess, my kids are demonic, my parenting skills are negligible, blah blah blah.  You know you want to throw your proverbial e-hat into the cyberspace ring!

You could guest blog about anything, but perhaps that’s overwhelming.  Might I offer you a list of potential topics?  To start with, we’ve still got tons of store products that need reviewing (See Kai Run, Livie & Luca, and Teva shoes; Mama Marsh Diapers; Bravado Nursing Bras, Charlie’s Soap, etc.) Then, there’s the eight million aspects of parenting about which I either know nothing or have not yet formulated my thoughts:  raising multiples, homeschooling, children and religion, raising children vegetarian, preparing pets for children, preparing children for pets, balancing children and careers, and on, and on, and on…

You could even just write a blog post about another mom you know, who you think is awesome, or a kid you know, who you think is awesome.  I’ve even been thinking about getting some younger guest bloggers — if you’ve got a kiddo who likes to write, hook a girl up!

In all seriousness, we really want this blog to reflect the wonderful ever-evolving Mama Goose community and, to do that, we need to hear from more of you.  Speak up!   E-mail me at meryl@mamagooseithaca.com with completed posts, drafts, ideas, anything.

XOXO,

Meryl at the Goose

Guest blogger Danielle Brown, like many of our Mama Goose customers, is an impassioned homebirther who is very concerned about the crisis New York state midwives are currently facing. She was kind enough to share important information and her own experiences in this post.

 

I am not inclined to try to change anyone’s mind about homebirth or midwifery care in their own lives but I won’t waver when it comes to the necessity of birthing options for all women. Our Ithaca area homebirth midwives are losing their written practice agreements because the one physician who was signing them locally is no longer available to do so. Recently, New York City homebirthers lost their access to homebirth midwives as well. While I am aware that this issue isn’t just about homebirth, as a homebirther myself, much of my focus falls on exactly that. In my estimation this issue is wholly about access to care and the disregard for a woman’s right to choose the birth she deems appropriate. The written practice agreement stands as an effective barrier to midwifery care and homebirth care specifically, thereby eliminating those birthing options in areas where licensed midwives are unable to attain them.

 I vividly recall the fear I felt when faced with the possibility of having a hospital birth. While talking with a friend I mentioned this apprehension and she suggested that I look into midwifery care. With that suggestion I realized that what was right for me was to seek out midwifery care and specifically, a homebirth. I knew that I wanted a completely natural birth with no unnecessary intervention and I planned to breastfeed; decisions which lend themselves to homebirth midwifery care. Both of my children were born at home here in New York, each attended by a licensed midwife and although the initial decision to have a homebirth was fear-based, my convictions about my decision continue to grow.

In the United States roughly a third of births occur via c-section, which doesn’t even closely follow the c-section guidelines as laid out by World Health Organization. Women who have had one c-section are often told that they will be denied a vaginal birth [after cesarean] or VBAC, despite the fact that they did not necessarily elect to have the initial c-section. This has led to the existence of sites like The Unnecesarean which, in good company with Pushed by Jennifer Block and the movie The Business of Being Born, observes that midwifery care is part of the solution and a means to move away from the medicalization of birth.

Last year, my children and I attended the homebirth picnic at Taughannock State Park and it was nothing if not delightful. It is rare to have the opportunity to spend time with so many likeminded people, to see so many other women in one place who birthed their children in the same manner as I did. Seeing our midwives and their assistants mingling amongst the families, stopping to chat and see the children they skillfully and lovingly helped to be birthed was an invaluable experience. It was a profound demonstration of the existence of a homebirth community, and in my mind, also served to establish homebirth as a way of life that needs to be preserved for those who wish to choose it.

In the state of New York midwives are required to have a written practice agreement or WPA, signed off on by a practicing OB/GYN or hospital. At this time supporters of midwifery are working to have the WPA requirement removed and a call to action has gone out. The Midwifery Modernization Act or MMA, bill S5007 / A8117, was referred to the Higher Education committees last year and while it is faced with serious opposition from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they are being countered by a swell of support for the bill by those of us who believe firmly in the autonomy of midwives and wish to see the bill moved out of committee for consideration.

The current educational and licensure requirements for New York midwives are extensive and the track record of midwives as a distinct section of care providers speaks for itself. There is a large body of evidence which establishes that midwifery care is directly connected to better outcomes for mother and baby as well as lower costs, in part due to lower cesarean section rates. Despite this, midwives in New York and 35 other states are not allowed to practice as independent health care providers.

Now is the time for action in New York State; it is our time to take a stand. The depth of my conviction about the issue of midwifery care stems from how I feel about homebirth but moreover it has to do with the desire to choose where, with whom and in what manner I will birth my children. If you believe that women should have birthing options and unrestricted access to midwifery care both in and out of hospital, please read the call to action and take your stand.

~Danielle

Danielle's beautiful son and daughter, born 10-7-07 and 2-22-06, both at home and attended by a licensed midwife.

In a way, it’s always Earth Day at Mama Goose.  Reuse is one of the fundamental values underlying the Goose’s existence, and we strive every day to contribute as best we can to a greener world.  It’s not always easy, though, as guest blogger Amanda Jaros, of Parents for a Peaceful Planet and Tamarack’s Trails, tells us as she shares her Earth Day thoughts. 

The first time I remember participating in Earth Day was in 1990, when I was 14 years old.  My eighth grade class had a tree planting activity on the school grounds.  The school had just expanded and the construction zones from the previous year’s building had left many areas without landscaping or tree cover of any kind.  So out we went, my whole class, to the sidewalks around the school, the front pathways, and the back baseball fields, with trees — tiny little saplings hardly more than sticks.  We spent time digging holes, and then planting and watering our little sticks, each with a tag and a child’s name on it.  I remember feeling proud, happy, like I was doing something good for the planet that I had recently begun to realize was in jeopardy because of the activities of my species. 

Twenty years later, I plant trees all the time.  Every year my husband and I order trees from the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District tree sale. We traipse around our small plot of land and plan out where the little baby tree will be most appreciated.  Sometimes I feel as if we are doing a great job of being “green.”  Living sustainably.  Walking softly.  And I feel proud again, to be doing my part.

Then I get into my big van and drive across town to pick up my kid from school.  I don’t take the bus, I don’t use the Carshare.  I drive myself and my family around town constantly, guzzling gas and adding to the air pollution.  And I feel sad, like I am doing my part only to add to the problem.

Then I cook dinner and not one scrap of food makes its way to the landfill.  The untouched noodles from the four year old’s plate end up in the dog bowl, the leftovers from the twelve year old’s distaste of cabbage end up in the chicken coop, and the other little bits of this and that make their way to the compost pile, eventually to be returned to the garden bed to grow more cabbage.

Then our kitchen faucet breaks and we have to buy a new one.  The old one gets thrown in the trash along with much too much packaging.  In the process, I decide to clean out under the kitchen sink, where I find more Wegman’s plastic bags than they have at Wegman’s, an unbelievable number of take out food containers, and the hidden stockpile of reusable plastic water bottles, that we always forget to reuse. 

And it goes on and on like this.  Some days I see that all the little actions add up and I feel like my family and I are doing great in this challenge to live lightly on the Earth.  Some days I think that we could be doing so much more.  Both feelings are true, but neither is the truth.  After twenty years of having Earth Day in my consciousness, I think I have learned one thing… Earth Day is NOT about criticizing ourselves, blaming each other for our eco-shortcomings, or forcing our family into an organic, recyclable, green, or zero impact box.  It is NOT about chastising ourselves for failing to remember to bring a reusable coffee cup to the coffee shop every time, or keeping secret that we like to buy processed goldfish crackers for our toddler along with the organic yogurt, or berating ourselves for saying we are vegetarian but not resisting a meal of yummy salmon here and there.  Life is most certainly not perfect and neither are we humans. 

What I think Earth Day IS about, is doing your best to take a step closer to appreciating and learning about the one planet we have to live on.  It IS about teaching our children the wonder of planting gardens and harvesting our own food, even as we buy cookies from the grocery store.  It IS about considering not shopping at stores that pack the shelves full of junk from China, but shopping at local businesses who offer reused and recycled clothing and goods.  It IS about talking to other parents, sharing information with other environmentalists, asking for help from other concerned members of society.  It IS about slowing down, looking to understand, and taking a deep breath of tree cleaned air. From what I can see, Earth Day is about balance.  By all means, take your child outside and help them plant a tree today!  And when you are tired and dirty and all the work is done, it IS okay to offer that child a sugar cookie for a job well done. 

I went back to my middle school some years after 1990, eager to see how big the trees my class had planted had gotten.  To my surprise and sadness there were no trees!  The area that I had planted was a nicely mowed grass lawn, not a tree in sight.  At first there was shock: my Earth Day Tree had not lived!  The tragedy, the loss, the injustice of it!  But as I have moved on and life has carried me further and further from that time, I see that it is ok that my little tree did not survive.  As we adults juggle the sustainable life with modern commercial societal pressures, I think we all must learn the balance.  I say this because, in part due to that one tree on that one day twenty years ago, I have planted many other trees, and I am teaching my children how to plant trees. I am also teaching them that even if they get another plastic bag when they go shopping, even if they enjoy watching TV or a movie like the rest of us, even if they like sugar cookies better than organic wheat free non toxic fruit bars, above all else they must learn to be kind to themselves.  In these slowly greening waters of society, that is what Earth Day is about.

-Amanda for the Goose