Category - General

1
DC Birth & Babies Fair returns Saturday
2
Getting clear on air quality
3
Arts and nature in early childhood education
4
Showcase connects students to environmental realities
5
Welcome!

DC Birth & Babies Fair returns Saturday

Last year’s inaugural DC Birth & Babies Fair was a huge success and a great opportunity for expectant moms and newly postpartum moms. It was exactly what I wished I’d been able to attend before I became a mom 8 years ago. Having first had a c-section (after planning a birth center birth) and then a homebirth four years later, I felt like the Fair was a wonderful mix of all the resources a Metro DC mom might want to know her options and feel supported.

I took my toddler with me to the fair to staff a table for the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network, and I was beyond impressed with the class offerings and the exhibitors, not to mention the beautiful Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (near Eastern Market), where the event will be again this year on Saturday, May 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

DCBBF banner

Lindsay Gonzales of DC Birth and Babies FairI was honored when event organizer and childbirth educator Lindsay Gonzales asked me to sit on the fair’s Advisory Board with a great group of women representing all aspects of prenatal and postpartum care. Earlier this week, I asked Lindsay to share a bit with our readers about the origins of the event and her plans for this year’s event.

Q: What made you decide to put on this event in the first place?

Lindsay: The story of where it came from was a mix of my experience as an expecting mom and as a childbirth educator. When I was pregnant in DC and alone without family nearby, I felt there was a lack of resources, that there just wasn’t that much out there for me. When I became a childbirth educator, I realized just how many wonderful resources there really are that many families don’t know about.

I realized there was a real disconnect. There’s a challenge for families to connect with resources, and I wanted to make those connections easier.

Birth Options Alliance (BOA) was one of the first resources I did connect with, and I immediately felt a strong sense of connection to their mission and that they were a great resource for families. When I created the event I wanted to support BOA and their mission. This year, the proceeds from the raffle will go to Birth Options Alliance, which has a Yahoo email group, information about birth options, and local provider lists for every kind of prenatal, birth and postpartum service you might want, including doulas, breastfeeding resources, loss support, and mood and anxiety support, among many other times.

DCBBF expo

Q: What was the size of last year’s event, and what’s new at this year’s event?

Last year we had around 350 attendees and 100 professionals. With 23 programs — 10 drop-in clinics and 13 classes — and some 40 exhibitors, I think we’ll have over 100 professionals on site.

The drop-in clinic is something new we’re trying with hands-on sessions. Each hour we’ll have chat with one expert and a comfort session. They will be in the same place room so people can come for comfort and listen in on expert advice at the same time!

DCBBF RoundBelly Wellness

Q: Who’s been helping you?

Lindsay: The composition of the advisory board is very deliberate to be able to have someone representing early parenting and natural living, postpartum doula work, a midwife, birth doula, parent counselor. I wanted to have people bringing in different perspectives from the full range and scope of what we’re trying to represent. This is about being our happiest and healthiest in these important times. One of the best things about the Fair is that it touches on people’s health across the spectrum of wellness. It’s about women and their families feeling their best mentally and physically and even spiritually.

Q: I could not believe it when I heard on April 3 — exactly one month before the event — that you had to have an emergency appendectomy. How has that affected your planning this year?

Lindsay: Fortunately, my surgery was laproscopic, so it could have been worse, and I’ve turned a corner in recovery in the past few days, which is good.

When something happens, like unexpected surgery, it’s so helpful to have everyone come out to wish you well and offer support. It’s actually been a really great experience. Not every kind of event would work like this except for this community coming together.

Last year, everything was a big experiment and just a hope, and there was still so much support. We saw this need, and there were so many people willing to volunteer their time and expertise not even knowing if it would work and how many people would come.

Organizing an event in partnership with doulas, midwives and parenting experts is the most supportive thing anyone could ever do! Everyone involved is involved because they want the families of the DC area have the best experiences of pregnancy birth and parenting. We’re all united with the same focus.

DCBBF Sleep Well Solutions Eat Sleep Love

The website for the DC Birth and Babies Fair is http://www.dcbirthandbabiesfair.com/.

Registration for the event is $10 per individual or $15 per family. Use the promotion code birthandbabies to save $3.

Photos taken by Kea Dupree Photography and used with permission.

Getting clear on air quality

What do you do when your daughter comes home from school with her hair and clothing infused with scent, and her teacher assures you there are no Glade inserts or other synthetic air “fresheners” in her trailer? In my case, I thanked the teacher for her kind offer to stop wearing perfume but, thinking it’s not likely that this sweet woman is the cause of something that pervasive, I would be doing some research on air quality issues in our county and in general.

Hand sanitizer

After we attended a birthday party in a play gym and I left with hair that had the same smell that permeates my daughter’s hair and clothing every day at school, I concluded that it has got to be the hand sanitizer! I had to step away when they squirted the kids’ hands with it.  Sure, I’m much more sensitive than others to noticing these things, but  just because kids and other adults don’t pick up on the smell, that doesn’t mean the synthetic chemical agents don’t exist or that our kids should be regularly exposed to something that might have endocrine disruptors or other toxic agents. I expect to soon spend some more quality time at the Environmental Working Group‘s website to get clearer on where I should focus my concern. But there are also a lot of other great organizations working on air quality, especially in the next few weeks.

 

Child with breathing treatment

 

April 28-May 2 is Clean Air Week or Air Quality Awareness Week. The Metro DC/Baltimore-area non-profit organization Clean Air Partners is sponsoring a Twitter chat focused on air quality and respiratory health on Wednesday, April 30, 12-1 p.m. The chat, which will include regional organizations, health experts, and influential voices, will “seek to educate people on how to protect themselves from poor air quality and what they can do to reduce the threat it poses.” Follow @CleanAirPartner and use the hashtag #AirMatters. To learn more, check out Clean Air Partners’ Air Alerts, Haze Cams, and tips for reducing pollution.

 On a national level, next week the non-profit organization Moms Clean Air Force is sponsoring Mama Summit 2014 on Wednesday, May 7 with rallies at state capitols and in other cities across the country. Locally, the closest events to DC are in Frederick, Maryland and Harrisburg, PA. There is a Virtual Summit and ways to get involved all week, including a Twitter chat on Monday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. that will include EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and partnering organizations Clean Water ActionClimate ParentsEvangelical Environmental NetworkHealthy Child, Healthy WorldWomen for a Healthy Environment. Participate with the hashtag #MamaSummit and follow the organization at @CleanAirMoms.

Moms Clean Air Force suggests on Tuesday, May 6 to write a letter to the editor or a blog post on the subject “this Mother’s Day I believe that being a good mom means being an active and engaged citizen” and on Friday, May 9 to add your voice to the organization’s Thunderclap.

Blue skies

I’ve joined the Environmental Health & Asthma subcommittee of my school district’s Safety and Health Advisory Board and look forward to learning what efforts our county has made with respect to indoor air quality … and also to outdoor air quality, especially during renovations and tearing-down of old schools next to newly-built schools.


high school being demolished 2

Let’s hear what action you’ve taken and what progress you’ve made in your district! It would be great to share resources across Metro DC school districts.  Leave a comment below or contact us about a more in-depth guest post.

Arts and nature in early childhood education

Learning outdoors and creating with nature can be beautiful and fun, but for some educators, the how-tos are not obvious. On Saturday, April 26, the non-profit organization NoVA Outside is providing inspirational speakers and some hands-on professional development at its Early Childhood Outside conference, this year with the theme of “The Arts in Nature.”

leaf art first grade

The event will showcase the teacher-created natural playspace at site host Westlawn Elementary School in Falls Church and will feature a Keynote by Amanda Whiteman, Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist, breakout sessions, hands-on outdoor learning stations, featuring The Earth Loom, and practical ideas attendees can implement in their programs. A full schedule is available on the NoVA Outside website.

leaves as patterns first grade

Many teachers can get stuck in a rut of doing things in a way that feels safe and predictable, but NoVA Outside Early Childhood planning committee member Peggy Ashbrook argues that everything is better outdoors. “Outdoor experiences are so much richer than indoor experiences because changes happen every minute in nature. “

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The committee is excited to welcome their featured sponsor, Wolf Trap Early Learning Institute, for a day that will have educators and parents exploring dance, music, drawing, weaving and more as pathways to learning. Sandra Redmore, co-chair of the NoVA Outside Early Childhood committee, said, “Creativity naturally evolves and is strengthened outdoors.  Nature is dynamic, unpredictable and multi-sensory, full of easily observable patterns and relationships, making the outdoors an ideal setting for young children to learn through the arts.”

The event runs 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The third annual event is closed for online registration, but walk-ins are welcome.

Showcase connects students to environmental realities

Green teams, eco-clubs, Earth Force crews: environmentally-aware students of all stripes came out to the April 10 School Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) held at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts and on the blossom-filled grounds around Mason Pond. The event was the third annual showcase organized by NoVA Outside, a coalition of environmental educators that is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization.

This year, some 800 people participated from over 30 schools in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church and 30 partnering organizations in addition to 40 invited VIPs. The lobby of the Arts Center turned into an expo filled with rows of tables where schools shared their pride in eco efforts on tri-fold displays. Students spent one of the rotations of the day staffing their table to explain to their peers what initiatives their schools had undertaken in the realm of environmental awareness. These included gardens, inventive recycling programs, energy awareness campaigns and more.

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014 Claremont Viva Verde

Students shared excitedly what they’d learned from other schools’ exhibits. Some schools actively promoted action items; Arlington’s H-B Woodlawn’s Earth Force team is hoping to get everyone to Turn Out the Lights  from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. on April 26 and circulated information about this energy-saving initiative.

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014 Dr. Murphy Arlington

The event began at 10:00 with a keynote address by Cassandre Arkema and Antonio Mestre of Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School. Students then cycled through rotations that included exhibiting in the Center for the Arts and enjoying hands-on activities outside on the lawn above Mason Pond. It was the perfect day to celebrate learning outside!

Dozens of professionals committed to environmental awareness showcased their projects under two large tents. Exhibitors included nature centers and science-based organizations with microscopes and wildlife displays, education programs like Arcadia Farm and School for the Future, businesses with eco-friendly products including WormWatcher.com showing its compost bin and Tom Noll with his new children’s book, The Bicycle Fence (which he donated to our Earth Day opening giveaway), the first in the Recycling Creatively with L.T. series, to be followed soon by a book about raising chickens for eggs.

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014 Energy Bike

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014 field guide coverThe Fairfax Stormwater Planning Division invited students to investigate pond water and displayed a Field Guide it produced last year that has been given to all Fairfax County 5th grade students. It seemed thoroughly possible to spend almost the entire day  outside doing experiments and talking to to experts in their fields.

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014 field guide inside

 

But there was so much more inside! Middle school students on Earth Force teams had the opportunity to showcase their own research on the question of “What can you do to improve your watershed?” The “Caring For Our Watersheds” competition gave out thousands of dollars to competing teams, including first- and second-place winners George Washington Middle School and third place Kenmore Middle School.

NoVA Outside SEAS 2014  School for the Future

This was the second year for the Caring for our Watersheds competition and the first year that SEAS hosted the KidWind Challenge, which has students explore the power of wind energy and design and create a functional wind turbine. The middle school winner was Lanier Middle School, and Jack Jouett Middle School won the open division. National KidWind Challenge takes place here in town on the National Mall on Saturday, April 26.

Last year I volunteered to help out at the event, but this year, with the busyness of launching this site, I made only enough time t show up and enjoy it! It was thrilling to see children so engaged and learning from one another and from people in positions they might someday hold, now that they know about all the ways one can make a career out of environmentalism. The day seemed like the best kind of field trip, one that helped students connect what they were learning to the real world, both in terms of consequences and environmental awareness and also awareness about opportunities to work in the field. For a nice snapshot of the SEAS event, check it out on Storify.

NoVA Outside is putting on its third Early Childhood Outside Conference  also on April 26 at Westlawn Elementary school in Fairfax with the theme “The Arts in Nature” and is also sponsoring a book discussion on May 13 about Adventure: The Importance of Risk in Children’s Play.

 

Related articles from TheDCMoms.com

2014 SEAS Event

2013 SEAS Event

2012 Green Schools Expo

 

Welcome!

We’re so happy you found Mindful Healthy Life of Metro DC. Our aim here is to make it easy for you to find the resources you need to raise your family in a natural and holistic way in the DC Metro Area.

This site is still in its infancy launching on Earth Day 2014, but we’re excited about the three components it will feature.

  • We’ll feature a blog with posts by and about local parents and practitioners with profiles of local businesses and happenings of interest to those pursuing a mindful, healthy life.
  • A calendar with listings for events that help support our health and our connection to nature.
  • A resource directory with listings of practitioners, wellness centers, studios and other organizations that support healthy family living.

Visitors are welcome to post events to the calendar and to submit entries to the resource directory. Please help us connect and to grow this community!

We’re happy to consider guest posts. Please see our submissions page for details.

Until we get our feet wet, we won’t be accepting ads or sponsored posts per se, but we are happy to offer giveaways and to do promotions. We appreciate all shout-outs and sharing about our site. Please sign up for email updates to the site via the “Subscribe” button on the sidebar.

We are just happy to be here for now but look forward to building this site into a sustainable business that would pay for itself and still allow its creator to pursue a healthy family life!

Please visit our About page for more about how this site began.

cherry blossoms 2014 tidal basin jefferson memorial

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

Get connected!

 

Join our email list for the latest on events, news and tips to support your health journey and smooth your parenting path.
All subscribers will receive a free copy of our forthcoming e-book guide to Metro DC holistic family resources. E-book coming fall 2016!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Mindful Healthy Life eBook Guide to Holistic Family Living cover

Get our eBook Guide to Holistic Family Resources!

Join our mailing list to get a link to our eBook, the Mindful Healthy Life of Metro DC Guide to Holistic Family Resources. The eBook has hundreds of listings of practitioners, wellness centers, yoga studios and more plus activities, events, blogs, Facebook & email groups and lots of great ways to connect and engage in healthy living in Metro DC. You'll also receive our blog posts and seasonal newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!