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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Game Changing Baby Carrier - Free-To-Grow Tula Baby Carrier

For those of you I don't have the pleasure of knowing in real life, I'll give you a back story about our babywearing adventure and then introduce you to the game changing baby carrier by Tula.

First, let me introduce myself, I'm nearly 40 (feel free to send gifts now, or wait until July) and expecting my last child (#6 or baby E as we call him or her). I started baby wearing in 2007 after Carmen was born. I'm pretty sure it happened about the time I found out I was expecting Andre. These two lovable children are 14 months apart and I was a single mom living on the 2nd floor of an apartment building. I starting using a Sling-Ezee ring sling as a way to survive. I wouldn't have been able to carry groceries and 2 small children safely up the stairs had it not been for babywearing. 

Those first few months were awkward to say the least. Ring slings can be confusing at first. I had other mothers come over and try to help me, but ultimately, the best way to learn is by doing something often (and of course reading the instructions). As time went on, I added an Ergo soft structured carrier to arsenal as well as a mai-tai style carrier made by a local mom. I loved being able to carry one child at a time, but being able to carry both made me super-mom. 

Several years later, I was expecting Breccan and by then there were lots of different options for babywearing. I did my homework and then also decided to share my love of babywearing by starting a local parents group called Lakeshore Baby Love. By the time Breccan came along, I had a complete library of baby carriers. I still stick with my saying that baby carriers are like jeans, what works for one person may look like you know what on another. Similarly, each of my children seemed to prefer something different as well. 

Breccan loved the ring sling, woven wrap, and stretchy wrap as a new born but as time went on he seemed to prefer the Ergo Organic. Breccan was a hefty boy and as much as he preferred the Ergo, after time I preferred our Tula and it seemed to work quite well for both of us. Delphine who is our current youngest was a lillebaby lover when she was tiny (because it was easier to use than the Tula with an infant insert), then she graduated into the Tula Baby, MJ Baby Carrier, and now we most often reach for her Tula Toddler Carrier. She still enjoys a ring sling every now and then, or even a woven wrap. She is just over 2 and frequently still asks for "uppies". 

With Delphine, I felt that the Lillebaby complete was the only carrier we needed. In fact, at one point in time we had 8 of them. Once she was over 20lbs though, the Tula was less bulky. I kept a Lillebaby to use with our niece but still had trouble answering the question "if you could have just ONE carrier, what would it be?" and my problem with answering was the fact that you need an infant insert with a Tula...I just didn't have time to play around with the insert and a newborn, so I would tell people to buy a Lillebaby if they could only get one carrier, but my personal collection was really all about the Tula. 

Now we are getting to the game changing part - because Tula just came out with the Free-To-Grow Tula Baby Carrier that works from 7 to 45 pounds with NO need for an infant insert. Go ahead and ask me "if you could have just ONE carrier, what would it be?" I can say without hesitation "Free-To-Grow by Tula"! Here's a link to get one for yourself:

I'll add more to this article after October when we can really test out the squish-worthiness of this amazing carrier!


Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Those Farmers

There has been plenty in the news about farming - I'm not even going to get into it because it's truly something that has caused so much pain for me personally...but I just want you to know something about those farmers effected by the current economy. I didn't know anything about farming until 6 years ago when I fell in love with a farmer and 5 years ago we fulfilled his dream of buying a farm. I can't speak for 2nd and 3rd generation farmers, but I can shed some light into what it looks like to be first generation dairy farmers on a small family farm in 2017. This is partially in response to some of the hurtful comments on social media about "those greedy farmers", "those dumb farmers", "those people who rape cows", etc...

My husband had a dream as a little boy. He would play with his tractors and dream of being a farmer. He knows each of his cows and when they are sick he sits with them and provides comfort and care. He still drives the same truck he bought in highschool (that is, when it runs). His truck is rusted and falling apart, but it gets the job done and that's what matters. Most nights he sleeps on the couch because he's too tired to climb the stairs to our bedroom. Then there are those really rough days when I wake up and go down to check on him and he's asleep on the bathroom floor...unshowered, in his underwear, asleep sitting up. He hasn't taken a day off since our wedding. His glasses are scratched and need replacing, and he hasn't seen a dentist in decades because there's no time or money. His body aches, there are holes in his undewear, his pants, his socks, and his boots are held together with duct tape. He works from 6 in the morning until well past midnight - out in the cold, the sun, the rain, and he never complains. This is his dream. He does this so YOU don't have to. He works hard to provide for YOUR families so you can punch out at the end of the day and enjoy a swim meet or dance recital.

He misses church, swim meets, baseball games, and his wife takes herself to the hospital to have his children. His children try to understand. Last year we cashed in the last of my retirement fund to buy seed to plant crops to make food for our cows. The great thing about that was it's the first year in three years that we've had a positive tax return. I'm pretty sure most of you wouldn't work as hard as a farmer for does for absolutely no pay. The man isn't crazy though - he's passionate. He's passionate about his dream and he's passionate about his family and yours. The very people he helps feed are the same ones beeping and flipping him off when he's trying to get crops off the field. Most months he spends more feeding animals and fueling tractors than he makes shipping milk. Not only is it a thankless job, the farmer is not the one getting rich.

First generation farmers don't retire. They die...with dirty hands...hoping they've done well by God. Hoping they've left something for their own little boys who play with tractors. Hoping they've loved the land as they should. They don't retire and head for Florida, they stay and keep living the dream. That is, if they are lucky enough to make it. Some farmers die on the inside as they sell their cows, close up the barns that will eventually crumble, and look for some way to pass the time and pay the bills until they are lucky enough to die. Farmers wives hide the tears, bake the bread, keep the children happy, mend the clothes, and pray...they pray for the land, the cows, the children, their husband, the crops, and the weather. They pray for the dream that they see in their little boys eyes - shining just as brightly as it still does in their husband's. And they pray for God's strength to help their husbands. They pray they'll never find their husband holding the shotgun sitting on the bale of straw because the dream is over.

Before you make a quick judgment about "those farmers" please take a moment - get to know us. I
can't explain why my husband does what he does, but I know it's not due to greed, and it's not to get rich.