Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pediatricians, Naturopaths, Obstetricians/Gyno's & General Practice Doctors: A List of Recommended Doctors who won't Hassle the more Natural-Minded Folk

It's important to actually like the doctor you choose. If you pay for their services, they should be respectful, considerate, and valuable to you as the parent/patient. That's why I decided to put together a comprehensible list of doctors from all over the valley based off of my natural-minded friend's opinions of them. Take it or leave it for what it's worth, but I trust these women's opinions more than the Medical Journal's list of best docs ;)

Starting with the Pediatricians...

This list is comprised using the advice of mommies like myself, woman who may or may not vaccinate on alternate schedules/not at all/choose only some vaccines, and want a doctor who doesn't make chiding remarks about personal parenting decisions. It's also a list comprised of the pediatricians who provided excellent service & took time with our children. That, after all, is what is most important.

West Valley
1). Dr. Engstrom from Pinnacle Family Medicine (Litchfield and Camelback- mothers give him 5 out of  5 stars).
2). Dr. Sarino of Desert Valley Ped in Surprise (5 out of 5 stars for him specifically, but no other docs in the practice were recommended)
3). Dr. Balderrama (Campbell & Maryvale Parkway. Some mother really love him- I, personally, brought my son and thought the staff were very friendly but chose somewhere closer to me).
4). Dr Barbarinde (Del Webb area)
5). Dr. Marcala of Surprise Pediatrics (mother rated her experience a 3 out of 5)
6). Pleasant Pediatrics (mother had no complaints about the way she was treated when she said she birthed at a birth center, not a hospital).

East Valley
1). Dr. Winterland at Mesa Pediatrics (BIG practice. Some mothers are very happy here, others are less thrilled with the size & staff of the practice)
2). Dr. Curran at East Valley Children's Center (101 and southern)
3). Dr Whitten at Caring for Families (a family practice in Awhatukee)

Phoenix/North Scottsdale
1). Dr. Agarwel of Agave Pediatrics (very highly recommended- Dr. Sears has included him on the list of pediatricians in Arizona who are ok with alternate vaccine schedules).
2). Dr. Laurie Jones of St. Joe's Pediatrics (very highly recommended in the Phoenix area)


West Valley
1). Dr. Q at Sunshine Healthcare (94th Ave and Thunderbird)

East Valley
1). Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (student doctors in Tempe- cheaper way to see a naturopath)
2). Anne Marie Palze (midwife AND naturopathic doctor- doesn't get cooler than that! Said to be affordable too)
3). Dr. Nicole Cain (Tempe area)

Phoenix/Scottsdale/Paradise Valley
1). Dr. DiCampli at Naturopathic Family Care (aka Longevity Medical) 
2). Dr. Wazny (Very highly recommended- Scottsdale area) 


West Valley
1). Dr Goad at Banner Estrella

2). Dr. Walter at Estrella Women's Health Center (103rd Ave and Indian School)
3). Dr Rosario (Indian School between Litchfield and Dysart) 
4). Dr Mystie Johnson at West Valley Woman's
5). Dr. DiLeo at West Valley Women's Care (Banner Estrella off Thomas and 91st)
6). Marv Erickson at Arrowhead Women's Center

East Valley

1). Arcadia Well Woman's (Scottsdale/Arcadia area)
2). Paradise Valley OBGyn (especially Dr Deka)
3). Dr Sally Wareing (believes in delayed cored clamping, skin-to-skin, less than 10% C-Section rate, VBACS) 
4). Bethany Women's Healthcare

Primary Care Doctors

1). Natalie Suedekum at Lifescape Medical (Bell and the 101 in Scottsdale)
2). Dr Tamara Lieberman (32nd st and Camelback)
3). Jennifer King at Osborn Family Medicine (Scottsdale & Osborn)

West Valley

East Valley 
1). Dr Whitten at Caring for Families 
2). Page Family Practice (Tempe - Julie Rake PA-C, Dr Robert Page, or Brandy Davis Ingram, PA. I especially recommend Brandy- she is down-to-earth and a big supporter of natural health methods).  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sweet Triumph

by: Isaiah Rodriguez
Bright and starry eyed
There I watched tears run dry
Cute and limp hear my cry
Turned over and down
An interesting frown turned upside down
They smacked my butt and said, “He’s fine.”

Born 11 minutes after arriving at the "Inn" on April 11, 2012 7lbs 8oz. Picture by Diane Hamre -Janelle 

Picture by Diane Hamre
And a father's first moments are beautiful too. 

This was taken after the first precious minutes with my long awaited son (5+ years and 4 miscarriages, 4 surgeries!). He was blue because he was bruised by his rapid delivery with a nuchal cord. We weren't sure so my friend Jenna gave him a little oxygen for less than a minute until we were sure. He was back in my arms and breast feeding within minutes of this picture! I had vernix and blood and baby pee all over me and cherished every bit! I cried with happiness! I felt most comfortable pushing like this but had spent a LOT of time in the rocking chair and shower.

Both pictures of me seeing my little miracles first time 1st picture is Sophia March 23,2012 and Taytum Sept 21, 2009. I love sharing this pictures! I could just stare at these pictures for hours with tears of joy!

This is right after they laid her on my stomach. Seeing her face for the first time! I lost it! :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Adoption Week: Part III: Alejandro's Adoption Story

This is the story of how my brother became part of our family. This is my mother's perspective... 

Our family a few years back...

In Nov, 2003, we got a call to foster a five week old baby boy. The CPS worker brought him over to our house in a baby carrier a few hours later. His name was Alejandro.

The weekend was crazy busy with our three kids' soccer games and other activities, so, needless to say, it was all a blur.  On Monday morning, however, I went to check on him and as I stood there watching him sleep, with his little hand in a fist above his head, it hit me. I loved him-really truly loved him. At first, the caseworker let us know our time with him was going to be short; however, it was extended several times. We had so much fun with Alejandro his first year. He was so happy, so good natured, & so much fun. He laughed hysterically if you squeezed his butt, made a farting noise, and then said "pee yew!" He loved to dance to hip hop music. He was the life of the party.

       After a year, a new caseworker came on board and decided "enough was enough" -Alejandro's mom did 50% of what she needed to do & the caseworker decided that was enough for her to have a chance of getting him back. It wasn't enough to actually give his mom full custody of him, so the caseworker would give him back to her and let the mom sink or swim. We were heartbroken - it was such a heart wrenching time for us.
In order to begin the transition period, we needed to meet the mom; strangely, we hit it off & my husband and I formed a bond with her. She was only a 19 year old girl, all alone in the world. My husband told me after we left that "we need to adopt her too."

     The weeks leading up to the final transition were so painful. People would make careless remarks like, "I couldn't do it. I'd get too attached"- we were so attached our hearts were breaking. I lost sleep, cried for hours, I was literally sick to my stomach. We were all so stressed out.   There is a beautiful verse in the Bible which says the Lord is close to the brokenhearted - which is so true He really got us through this time.

          Our little boy went home for long four months. We'd visit Alejandro as often as we were allowed. It was painful every time I'd have to give him back. 

And then we got a call. Did we want him? They were pulling him back into the system. My husband and I looked at each other that first night he was back, and without words, we knew each other's thoughts... we want him back, but please don't make us give him back a second time.

       We were so happy to be together again. Our little boy did not let us out of his sight-ever! It took a year before he could stay in the church nursery.

Alejandro at age 8
The road was long, but we adopted him a couple months after he turned 4. We, amazingly, kept on good terms with his mom. I believe in some ways we are her parents too and we are family forever.

      Now our son is nine and he still has a great sense of humor. We are so thankful to God that he's ours forever. - Cara

 And the other two! 

Yes, he cut his own bangs. Look at that smile!
He's quite the charmer!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On Gardening & Childhood Play


I've decided to take up gardening. Before you get too excited, I have to admit I don't have any advice or tips yet, just a whole lot of hand blisters and muddy tennis shoes. It really all started as one of those fanciful notions in my head.

"What did you do today, Krisann?"

"Oh, you know... the usual... toiling in my garden."

It just sounds so... sophisticated.

Anyways, I've wanted to take up the sport? hobby? profession? for awhile, but I finally lit a fire under my tush & went out on Monday to spruce up the yard & claim a gardening space. 

I spent all of the first day pulling weeds. My neighbor came out and gave me an award for hardest worker of the day, which I felt I deserved. Five hours of yanking weeds, while simultaneously nursing and singing to a baby strapped to you, is no easy task.

 On Tuesday, I then moved my attention to the plot of land I chose for my garden, where I proceeded to yank grass roots and shovel gravel for two additional mornings. 

In all of this manual labor, I got to thinking. 

My grandparents took my brother & I to Syracuse, New York two summers in a row to spend time with our Aunt Betty and cousin Matthew, when I was nine and ten.

I remember Aunt Betty's house was decorated in apple emblems everywhere & I was sure I would decorate the same way when I had a house.  But mostly, I remember Aunt Betty's backyard.

Trees that looked like they haled from The Hundred Acre Woods, a two story, good-sized fort for serious play, chickens with fresh eggs every morning (so that's where eggs come from!), and grass in every nook and cranny.

In Aunt Betty's backyard I was a lieutenant soldier in the Union army. I fought Confederate soldiers to a bloody death. I spied on them. I gave orders to my inferiors (a.k.a. my brother and younger cousin). And I played all. day. long.

Play in a backyard like that is blessed. It anoints you with Vitamin D & blissful memories.

I will always cherish that backyard because it marks the last time in my childhood that I was privy to the magical world that is play.

 After that, I grew up to be eleven & eleven year old's don't really play. Eleven year old's "hang out."

Shoveling gravel & pulling weeds strangely felt like grown-up play this week. It gave me time to bask in the Arizona sun, burn calories that didn't involve assimilating manual labor, and unplug from the world of technology.

 I was sure Ezra would become impatient in the carrier, but he enjoyed being outdoors as much as me, often peeking out from his carrier with great interest.

This venture of gardening hasn't led to any planting and producing yet, but it has already reminded me of the world I've forgotten- a world outside social media. A world I didn't even realize I missed until this week.

A world where my thoughts are louder than my phone ringer. A world where I am not too busy to notice the hummingbird on a nearby branch. 

 I feel as if it's the closest I can get to play with an adult mind too preoccupied with grown-up thoughts to be privy to that sacred world of child's play.

Besides, a bee kept buzzing in and out of my newly raked soil, as if to say he gave his blessing for the garden he would soon pollinate, so I took it as a good sign. My gardening ventures will be blessed like my play was so long ago.

I wrote all this in hopes that you will be inspired to regard your child's play as sacred. Social media is overstimulating this generation, so that they beg to stay in-doors and watch a flashy, colored box for hours at a time, all the while sacrificing the precious time that is theirs to play.

I miss playing, but I don't remember fully how to enjoy it. Now, it seems tiring and monotonous.

But once, it was magical. I wish I remembered how to play.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

30 for 30: Confined by the Limitations of My Own Closet

Truthfully, I'm never amazed by well-dressed women with money. There are plenty of beautiful clothes waiting to be swiped up by a woman who can effortlessly swipe her card any time she pleases.

No, I'm not impressed by your $1,500 silk dress & matching leather pumps. You paid to look that awesome.

What impresses me are the women I know that aren't spending much money and they still manage to pull off impeccable style.

Now, I'm not saying that's me. Maybe someday. Right now, I'm too focused on baby trends to care about what's trending for me.

Plus, my bank account went all Scrooge on me (I know, bank accounts have a mind of their own) in order to get student loans paid off in a jiffy.

 Goals are good. Goals are good.  

I love goals...

Anyways, I came across this challenge called the 30 for 30. Basically, for 30 looong days I must only shop and piece together outfits from my very own closet, without spending a. single. dime.

Challenge accepted. Each week, I'll share with you what I wore, since I know you are positively dying with curiosity!

Oh, and disclaimer, I'm not saying these outfits are my best work. Remember, I've got to be practical. ( I mean, can I feed Ezra in this??)

I'll even tell you where I got it, if I remember! 

Week I

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How To Survive an Arizona Summer with Little Ones Part I: Sunscreen

with shades like these, bring on summer
Arizona is a lovely place to live from Octoberish to Mayish, but it gets dreadfully warm in the summer. Arizona natives always brag about it being a "dry heat" in order to keep themselves sane for choosing to stay here 110 degree summer after 110 degree summer.

 I know, because I am a native here.

I have often strapped a little one into a car seat, trying clumsily to avoid touching the burning hot metal to their poor skin. And I have often tried to crank the AC, only to find they are soaked in sweat when we arrive at the next stop.

So, this is a little "how to" that hopefully helps us all out. Or, you can just stay locked away in your house all summer, you choose! ;)

Because it's detailed, I've broken it down into two blog posts. This first one is dedicated to all-natural sunscreens.

On Sunscreen

If you are leery of mainstream, chemical-filled products, than you probably aren't ready to lather your little one in any of the common sunscreens out there. As my friend Amey put it, "These sunscreens are only intended for babies six months and up. I'm not sure what magical change happens in a baby's skin at the six month mark to make it safe..."

Ha ha.

Besides, the companies making sunscreen are not well-monitored and too often exaggerate the effectiveness of their product. They may tell you their product will last all-day in the sun, when it really wears off after a few hours of use.

Shocking, I know. This leads me to believe skin cancer rates are on the rise for a reason...
Also, many sunscreens actually block the UVB rays our skin actually needs to make Vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin. 

So, I decided to do a little research. After reading all that, what am I going to lather Baby E in?!

 First, I looked at the store bought brands that advertised themselves as "all-natural"  because, let's face it, convenience often wins out!

They are as follows (in order of priciest to cheapest):

1). Dr. Robin for kids is an all-natural sunscreen with a 30 SPF. It is very pricy- $24 for a 3.5 oz tube, but it was created by a dermatologist and mother who was sick of all the chemicals in the sunscreens out there, so it may be worth the dime. Anthropologie.com and drrobin.md sell it.

2). True Natural is for long days in the sun. This one has a 50 SPF and ranges from $22-24 for 3.5 fl oz.

3). California Baby sells a few different sunscreens, including one for sensitive skin. The basic 30 SPF is about $20-22 for 2.9 fl oz. Their two pack sunscreen for sensitive skin is $40.89 on diapers.com.

3). Badger All-Natural kids sunscreen (can purchase on Amazon or Diapers.com) also has a 34 SPF. This one is $16-17 a pop for 2.9 fl. oz.

4). The brand "All-Natural" has a mercola sunscreen with an SPF 50. It can be purchased on Amazon for $17 per 5.4 fl oz.

5). The CHEAPEST, store bought, all-natural goes to Babyganics, though. A 50 SPF, 5.98 fl oz is $10.59 on vine.com. You can also purchase it at Target, diapers.com, giggle.com, and BabysRUs. At that price, it's still a pricier alternative to the Sun Baby lotions we used growing up!

Like I mentioned before, not all sunscreens are created equal. For a complete guide to finding the best quality sunscreen, check out this very groovy site :) but warning, they are not all-natural on this site.

Personally, I think making my own is going to be cheaper, but we shall see...

Side note: I would NOT recommend buying an all-natural sunscreen with a 15 SPF or less. You are just wasting your bucks. Instead, try coconut oil. It has a natural 15 SPF, and it really is all-natural. (I buy my organic, virgin coconut oil at Trader Joe's for $5.99 for 16 oz.  Also, Sprouts normally has deals for 20 oz at $20. The quality may be better but I'm not aware of any differences between the two. I've used both).

Make sure to avoid these ingredients in sunscreen (read more on keeperofthehome.org):

  • Oxybenzone (found in 65% of sunscreens)- a hormone disrupting chemical
  • Retinol palmitate (a form of Vitamin A- fine in the body, but probably harmful on skin)
  • Methoxycinnamate or Octinoxate
  • Padimate O/PABA
  • Nano or Micronized mineral particles

Really, really all-natural alternatives:

1). Essential oils, like myrrh and lavendar, are natural sunscreens. 5-10 drops in a carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, will offer protection from the sun at about a 15-20 SPF.

2). Coconut oil- again, about a 15 SPF

3). I found a few homemade recipes. For a homemade, all-natural sunscreen with a 20 SPF, click here.  

4). For a 30 SPF, click here (FYI: this one seems really easy!!)

5). If you are too lazy to click off my blog, I've decided to post one I found on Pinterest for you with a 30 SPF:

2 cups coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil
2 oz beeswax- buy it from your local beekeeper or you can find it on Amazon
4 oz shea butter
4 TBS 100% aloe vera
6 TBS zinc oxide


  1. In a double boiler over boiling water to melt coconut oil.
  2. Add shea butter.
  3. Add beeswax to mixture and stir with a wooden or metal spoon until wax is completely melted.
  4. Add aloe vera and zinc oxide.
  5. Transfer sunscreen mixture into a glass (no plastic) container as quickly as possible. Because the sunscreen is made up of waxy materials it will become thicker as soon as it settles.
  6. Run tap water over container to bring the temperature down.
  7. Ice the sunscreen by placing the container in the ice water and stir mixture until you like the creamy consistency of it.
  8. Cover container with paper bag and store in cool area away from direct sunlight until you are ready to use it.
  9. Stir sunscreen before applying it so the mixture is consistent.

Final Tips:

  • Use a mixing spoon that you won’t use on food again. Because of the sticky beeswax the spoon probably won’t be good to use again.
  • Be wary when dealing with zinc oxide because it’s harmful if it’s inhale.
  • Zinc oxide comes in different strengths. Tailor the strength to your SPF needs.
  • Add oils like lavender or peppermint for smell. (They also add sun protection).
  • This sunscreen isn’t sweat or waterproof. Reapply after going in the water.

Well, good luck to all of you! More to come on this topic!

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