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Levi through June

Not to sound cliché, but it’s really amazing watching my son grow up. He is this amazing little person who captures interesting aspects of both Peter and me and the rest of our family. He plays games like normal kids, and he tests limits like normal kids. Overall, though, I doubt we could be blessed with a happier kid.

Today, Levi really took off walking. Levi has done everything on his own schedule, even down to his teeth. His teeth are actually a very poignant example. He was cutting his first teeth since four months old, but no tooth really popped through the gum-line until he hit one year. Eight months of cutting teeth and baby Orajel! Likewise, everything else has been on his own timeline from when he rolled over first, sat up, stood up, and now walking.

Walking has been interesting. We are now at the point where parental comparisons seem to be at an all-time high. “My kid walked when he was 3 months and was speaking in full sentences by 5,” it seems the brags go. Every parent competing to see who really has the smartest kid. We know our kid’s smart, but how do you prove it when they aren’t walking on their own at nearly 17 months? You don’t is the bottom line.

But today, Levi did walk completely on his own, turning, falling, squatting, and getting up for almost an hour! He lapped that little living room rug countless times, and the entire time he was giggling and clapping, knowing what he’s accomplished. He can walk.

What crystallized for me, though, was an awareness of how well this kid knows himself, and at such a young age. We adults strive to ‘know thyself’ for a lifetime, and he’s got it right now. He has taken his time maybe because he’s aware that big ole head of his makes balance difficult. He practiced ‘downward facing dog’ for weeks and squats for several days, and tonight, did he use them!

I didn’t capture any video of our now walking-monster, but instead, I made a video capturing who this kid is. I hope you all enjoy.

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How do I make my whites whiter?

If you can’t use bleach to make your laundry shine, what should you use? The answer: vinegar and baking soda.

In the previous post, I described three items to have in your home for everyday cleaning: vinegar, baking soda, and soap. We do have additional cleaning items, such as a specific laundry soap (BioKleen), and I even have a specific toilet bowl cleaner (Ecover). There are some things to keep in mind that I learned the hard way.

I have suffered from eczema for almost ten years now. The first five years of having this skin condition, I did not know what it was. By accident, though, I found that by not using products with scent or dye, my skin was simply happier. Soon, I found myself replacing Tide with All Free and Clear. I like static free laundry, so the dryer sheet was replaced with a dye-free, perfume-free variety. Over time, I gravitated to biodegradable products, such as BioKleen and Ecover (Lord knows there are others!), and found that I could do lightly scented things, but it had to be natural.

Research showed me that city-dwellers have higher incidences of allergy than those who grow up on the farm, more specifically, people who grow up with livestock like cows. Some conjectures drawn from these findings are that we keep things too clean in the city, and our exposure to allergens is fewer than those living in rural settings, so we don’t allow our bodies to build up proper immunity. Allergies include asthma, seasonal allergies, and skin conditions like eczema. As stated above, one way to remedy these irritations is to get back to basics in cleaning.

So, if we shouldn’t use bleach to clean because it’s poisonous and kills too many good things, it brings us back to the question of what we should use. For our laundry, we use the standard measurement of BioKleen (which happens to be highly concentrated and cost less in the end because you use less) with baking soda and vinegar in the bleach spout. Try a tablespoon of vinegar at a time.

Having a baby has shown us that there are some stains you do want removed, and for those tougher stains we use Ecover’s stain stick. Lately, though, that hasn’t been very much because the regular routine works fine.