Friday, December 28, 2012

Mamatography 2013 Invitation

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining Diary of a First Child and I for a photography challenge in 2013 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved.

Did nothing but laundry today? Photograph it:


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

NPN Volunteer Blog Blitz!




I am proud and honored to be a volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight several wonderful posts from 20 volunteers with the Natural Parents Network. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of the Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of the best of 2012.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!


Jenn from Monkey Butt Junction


Most Viewed Post: Why I want to Homeschool / Why I Don't Want to Homeschool
Personal Favorite Post: Hello Mornings
Post I Wish More People Saw: Eating Healthy on the Road


Friday, December 14, 2012

Peeling the Paint off my Butt

The shower heads in our new place feel like they could peel paint! I got to looking while they were running and figured out the problem. Some of the little rubber nozzles were clogged because some of them were not shooting water out at all. This was causing water to shoot out that much harder through the open nozzles.

My very first thought was CLR. I have gotten rid of all chemical cleaners, though. I really don't want anything in the house that requires an MSDS. CLR is considered "Greenvenient™," but I'm not sure what that means. Could I possibly duplicate the results with vinegar? Here is what I tried:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Childhood Memories - Hers and Mine


Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When I was a kid, I went to camp. A lot. I attended YMCA Summer Camp and Girl Scout Summer Camp and Catholic Youth Camp... Some Summers I attended multiple sessions. I loved Summer camp! One year I had to pack a trunk for camp because I did 3 sessions, back-to-back, at 3 different camps, followed by the 1 month of visitation at my dad's. I loved the horse riding lessons, the swimming, the friends. I just could not think of anything bad about camp!


A couple of my counselors at Girl Scout Camp, circa... 1980-something

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tips for Parenting a Child With Special Medical Needs

This post was originally published as a guest post for the Natural Parenting Carnival on Becoming Crunchy last March. Now that I have nearly a year under my belt, I can tell you that these pointers still stand.

We were very lucky in that we got advanced notice that we would be having a child with special needs. We received Spencer's Down syndrome diagnosis about mid-pregnancy. I kind of saw this as having a new hobby thrust upon me.

Spencer's TherapySpencer's first therapy started with something
as simple as putting a toy in his hands.

I don't mean to make light of the situation, trust me. However, I now had a new passion to research. Isn't that what you do with a new hobby? Then I came up with a plan to manage his care. I put together a notebook with tabs for all the different types of problems he might have, so we could avoid overlooking anything. I added paper to each section and jotted down which tests he needed to have and when.

I'd been told that babies with Down syndrome don't really require much special assistance for the first 6 months. That isn't entirely true. Aside from low muscle tone (which is very common, but Spencer does not have), babies with Down syndrome tend to have small mouths. The reason this is a problem is that their tongues are not so small. They tend to thrust them forward and out. So far, Spencer doesn't do this too much, but he did need to work with a Speech Therapist when we were in the hospital. What? Speech? Yes, because they work with the mouth, not just speaking. It is hard to eat if you continuously push the food out of your mouth, ya know?

Spencer's Hearing Test in NICUSpencer had his hearing tested in the hospital and again shortly after leaving. He'll be tested again at 6 months old and then annually throughout childhood.

Spencer has required several extra medical appointments by comparison to "typical" children. (At 2 months old, he has already seen a pediatrician several times, a cardiologist, an audiologist, and has had 2 x-rays done, soon to be another. He also has blood-work to be drawn soon.) I had originally thought I'd purchase a Day Timer or other such calendar book, though I really love my Google Calendar. As a minimalist and being broke, I put off the purchase and never did get to it. Instead, I now print a month or two ahead (from my Google calendar!) and keep it in his notebook. This makes it easier to book follow-up appointments while I'm on site without the risk of double booking. You do, however, have to make sure to keep all calendars synced. I have to come home and immediately add appointments to my online calendar.

My quick tips, from my minimal experience parenting a child with special medical needs:
  • Sync your calendars!
  • Organize your specialists.
  • Find a pediatrician that is a "Medical Home1."
  • Keep copies of diagnoses and treatments for your own records.
  • Try to group your appointments in a way that works for you. We have NO appointments next week, it will be a nice break.
  • When you get overwhelmed, talk to someone! Get help if you need it.

Do you have some tips I'm overlooking? I truly am very new to this special needs job.


1 Medical Home is a style of management over chronic medical and behavioral conditions with compassionate care coordination. (Our doctor keeps close contact with all of the specialists we see and brings all their information together.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I love her, but... GRR


The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the concept of loving versus liking our children and their behaviors. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I have a 3-year-old girl who seems "very 3" and an active 10-month-old son that idolizes her. She loves to make him giggle, but she hates it when he grabs her hair. This doesn't seem to stop her from sitting directly in front of him or even dangling her hair at him, taunting him. Then, of course, she screams when he grabs it.

Just this morning, she was emptying his toy basket, playing "with" him when he apparently tried to grab his own toy / basket, so she shoved his head. I flipped out! These kinds of things are happening more and more often. Children around babies have always made me nervous, now I'm living with it Every. Day.


Sasha taunting Spencer with a toy she
doesn't actually want him to have.

I feel like part of my issue is the protective aspect of being a baby's mother. I have to protect him, even from her. I wonder if some of it is just our history of nursing aversion. The gist, though, is it seems like we're going through a stage of my not liking her a LOT of the time!

I think this is normal and see nothing wrong with it. I realize its the things she does that I dislike so passionately, not her specifically. It is very difficult, though, to separate the act from the person. The trick is making sure our children always feel loved.

I know my kids don't always like me, either! Doesn't this really apply to everyone we love?


***

Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • Learning to Like and Love — JeninCanad at Fat and Not Afraid divulges the long journey it's been to learn to love, then like, her son.

  • How Do You Like Yourself? — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about teaching her children likability.

  • You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children reminds herself, just as she reminds her children, that unconditional love is not dependent on liking what a person does.

  • I hated my three year old — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how much trouble she had dealing with her 3 year old.

  • I love her, but... GRR — Jorje of Momma Jorje vents a bit about annoying behavior, but loves her children... even when they drive her nuts!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spencer has DS?

When Spencer was first born, we could pick out the markers for Down syndrome, but we really just saw our son. My friends also said they didn't think Spencer looked like he had Down syndrome. At first, it was reassuring. It was a good feeling. No parent wants their child to be identified by their afflictions. Then it seemed like every time I talked to a friend, I was hearing it. It started to bother me. It was as if rather than being identified by Down syndrome, Spencer was being identified by the fact that he didn't look like it. Eventually those comments died down.

A couple of months ago, for the first time, a "stranger" asked me if Spencer had Down syndrome. I think I took it in stride. She was a fellow mom in our local cloth diaper group. She noticed that Spencer looked like Noah, a fairly famous little boy that is kind of close to Spencer's age and also has DS. He is famous because of the blog Noah's Dad. This lead into a discussion of Spencer's health. As my regular readers know, Spencer has minimal health issues brought on by DS.


Since then I've had a few more people ask if Spencer has DS. I think they may have all had someone in their lives that had DS, so they were better "trained" to recognize the common traits. Still... it was becoming a little bit jolting. Yes, my son does have Down syndrome. I am not ashamed of him or his chromosomes. I just don't know if I was ready. It took me by surprise.

Now I find myself wondering if his DS markers will become more obvious as he gets older. Only time will tell. Whatever the case, I love my son more than I ever imagined! His care is not at all overwhelming. Down syndrome does not define him or my relationship with him.

Have you ever asked a person if they or their child had DS or some other affliction?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Volunteering to Burnout and Back


Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Service Projects

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.

***



I once created and moderated an online homeschool group. I helped keep a Mom's Night Out going for that group. And then I started and ran Homeschool Scouts. When I got burned out from constantly reminding people each week that we needed a volunteer to lead, a volunteer to bring snacks, and a volunteer to bring drinks, I finally just said - Someone do this or nothing is going to get done. Guess what, nothing got done. The group fell apart.

Fast forward a few years and I started taking Tyler to Girl Scouts. She was homeschooling first grade, but I found a close-by group with a mixture of girls from different schools. I was determined to just be a mom. I sat elsewhere in the room and was not going to get involved. But... they needed a cookie mom. Alright, I'll be the cookie mom. When I went to train for that, the Cookie Coordinator said that Cookie Moms make great co-leaders. Next thing you know, I'm Cookie Mom and Co-leader for our troop.


Brownie Girl Scout Tyler, January 2007

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taboo Carnival Call for Submissions

Jorje from Momma Jorje and Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama are pleased to present the second quarterly edition of The Taboo Carnival. This Carnival will be held four times yearly (February, May, August, and November). The topics will be wide and varied but focus on subjects that are typically not discussed in the natural parenting/mindful living world of bloggers.

The November Taboo Carnival topic is:
I LOVE YOU, BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU!


Love. It is defined as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person or a feeling of warm personal attachment.”

Like. It is defined as “to find pleasant, to enjoy, to want to have.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Routine Battles

This post was originally published on Anktangle as part of the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting. I'm needing to write a follow-up, so wanted to publish this here:

***
It wasn't until our recent move that I finally got a good, steady routine going with Sasha. We now brush teeth and hair as well as go potty before bed. The potty part was the hardest for me to remember! I just GO when I have to go.

I had night weaned her only recently, so she was no longer waking to nurse. She would wake to pee, though, or even wet the bed if I didn't make sure she went before going to sleep.

Not long after the move, I started limiting bed time nursing to only 10 minutes. This occasionally made for battles, too, as she is learning to fall asleep without a nipple in her mouth.

And that is the short story background to get to this: sometimes we have tooth-brushing battles. She loves to "brush" her own teeth, but would fight letting me brush them. I am sad to say that I have argued and yelled at her. The only thing that seemed to work was threatening to not let her nurse before bed. I even tucked her into bed a few times before getting her to let me brush her teeth! I felt awful about it, though. That is not the parent I want to be.

While chatting with some other Natural Parents Network volunteers online, one of these friends suggested a bedtime routine list. I took her brilliant idea and ran with it! I wanted to make the routine fun.

Momma Jorje - Checkmarks

I started out by printing some images, but I'll get back to those. The fun crafty part started by making 3 checkmarks using 4 x 6 notecards. I colored them each a different color and set them aside.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I made a square template using notecards and traced them to make "blanks" on trimmed-down posterboard. I used regular white glue spread thin on the backs of my images to glue them next to the blanks.

Note that I looked for images to specifically assist in our struggles. The hair and teeth pictures are of a woman brushing the child's hair and teeth. I think it might be fun to use actual photographs from your own bedtime routine.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I stuck self-adhesive Velcro® to the back of each checkmark. If I were to improve on this project, I would have taken the Velcro® size into account and made the checkmarks fit better.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I lined up the checkmarks where I wanted them and set the other side of the adhesive Velcro® in place with them. Then I mounted (taped) the checklist on the bathroom door at Sasha's level.

Momma Jorje - Bedtime Checklist

I also mounted a pocket for the checkmarks. I used notecards again, but made the top piece slightly larger than the back piece to allow extra room for my checkmarks. This pocket is mounted out of reach.



That first night, she was so excited! Sasha was more than happy to do her bedtime routine and check each item off the list. I let her choose what order in which to do these things.

The next morning, she wanted to do the checklist again! That was great, as these same steps were great for a morning routine for us. (Our list only has brush teeth, brush hair, and go potty.) Later in the day she wanted to do the checklist every time she went potty! She at least wanted to place that checkmark every time.

The second day she was back to battling our bedtime routine. I am hopeful that the list will still be fun, but I think timing bedtime better might also help in our case.

How do you manage the bedtime routine in your house?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!

If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what's even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses. The companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of small businesses or work-at-home families.

Below you will find information on 74 companies from 25 of our NPN volunteers. The companies are giving away 89 products and gift certificates, for a total combined value of $2,550.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Giveaway: Jumbo Numbers - 20pc Wooden Puzzle from Serious Puzzles - $20 ARV {11.25; Worldwide}



This is a joint giveaway between Natural Parents Network and many other natural parenting sites. You may enter for all of the giveaways at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!


Natural Parents Network, Momma Jorje, and 24 other natural parenting bloggers are giving away 89 items perfect for gifting for the holidays as part of the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide. The combined total value of all of the items is $2,550.

Have you finished your holiday shopping? The NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to complete your gift-giving purchases for family and friends, while supporting many naturally-minded small businesses. The companies who have provided items for giveaway are almost exclusively made up of small businesses or work-at-home families.

The Rafflecopter entry system is at the bottom of this post (and on every post participating in the Gift Guide). Please visit some of the other review posts listed below and read about the fabulous companies offering giveaways in the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide.

***


Please continue reading to learn more about Serious Puzzles, which is offering our readers a giveaway of Jumbo Numbers - 20pc Wooden Puzzle By Melissa & Doug, a value of $20.



Friday, October 26, 2012

To Eat or Not to Eat

Welcome one last time (this year) to Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2012! Today I'm sharing a guest post from a friend who's son has feeding issues. (Please scroll to the bottom for a bio.) I think this sort of issue is rarely seen by the general public, so I asked my friend to share her family's experience.




Photo Credit: Trinnica Photography

Know Your Body

Welcome to the October edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Body Awareness.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing how they actively influence their children's body awareness and how they experience their own! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

Gonna jump right in... toilet humor abounds. Whether its the husband or the teen or the preschooler... I think everyone gets a little toilet humor in their lives. Bodily functions can be funny.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance

Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In honor of this day, I'm hosting a very personal guest post from my friend Julia from A Little Bit of All of It. Please scroll to the bottom to find her bio.



6 years ago, on October 12, 2006, I found out my first baby was miscarrying. Today women all around the world are faced with this news as well. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In an effort to bring awareness to miscarriage, I'm sharing my story here with you today.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, we were so happy. Only 2 months of trying and we had that glorious positive test result! I remember literally jumping up and down with joy. At around 8 weeks I had some cramping and spotting so the midwife suggested an ultrasound. She said it was probably nothing. The date was September 11, 2006, a Monday. Much to our relief we saw a tiny beating heart.

Lost - Claire's baby - "Maternity Leave&q...
(Photo credit: wcm1111)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Helmet Hell

Welcome to Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2012! Today I'm bringing you a guest post from a friend who's daughter has Down syndrome and is having to wear a helmet. (Please scroll to the bottom for a bio.) I think often the general public see children in helmets and do not understand why they have to wear them. This is one reason...



During my pregnancy with Lily, I always carried my her on the right side, so much so that my belly even looked lopsided! When she was born, she favored everything right; she would gaze at her right hand, she would only look to the right and she preferred to lay with the right side of her head down. Needless to say, I was not surprised to learn she had developed plagiocephaly on the right side of her head.

Plagiocephaly is basically a flat spot on your child’s head. It is very common and very treatable. During the treatment process is where we were introduced to the helmet.

I was not afraid of the helmet, I was not afraid of the way people may stare at my daughter wearing the helmet or even what people might say to me about the helmet. In all honesty, it just did not bother me at all and I was excited and ready to get Lily’s helmet and begin the process of re-shaping her head.

Here is how our quest for the helmet begins:

Lily was 3 months old when her occupational therapist began measuring her head. She would do this once every two weeks and by the time Lily turned 6 months old we had all the necessary paperwork to submit to insurance for her helmet. We began seeing a prosthestics doctor who scanned her head with equipment that made her look like a space alien! This new way of scanning is pretty cool as it does not require making a mold of their head but rather scans their head with what looked like a barcode scanner you would see at your local retail store! He also concurred that she would benefit from a helmet and filed the required paperwork.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mamatography - Week 39

Day 267

(09/23/12)


Sasha threw all the bean bags at once.
Then she walked right up to the potty for her next try. She won!


She's got the right idea on these carnival games!
These were at the annual picnic type thing at hubby's work.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Self Image has to Come from Within


Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Self image... By the very name of it, it isn't about what others think or tell you... it is your own self image. Our children's own self image. It is such a worrisome topic! I don't want anything to discourage a healthy self image in my children. At the same time, I don't want it to be a fragile thing. My children hear my husband tease me about physical traits, hearing loss, age, you name it. But they also hear him compliment me all the time. They hear me laugh along with the teasing and tease right back.

What can we actively do to encourage a healthy self image? I try to set my kids up for success, for starters. I set them up with tasks or experiences that I know they can tackle with success. I comment when they accomplish things. It doesn't have to be a compliment, though. I don't want their self image to be reliant on outside opinions - that isn't self image. I spent too many years relying on someone else's opinion of me for my "self worth."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tracking Health & Down Syndrome

Welcome to Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2012! I am hoping to feature some pretty awesome guest posts this month. To kick us off, though, I thought I'd give you an update on Spencer's health. Let me fetch his notebook...

While I was pregnant with Spencer, I created a notebook for tracking his health. There are tabs for each "department" of his health. Each tab has a business card taped to it, as it applies. Within those tabs, I made notes of specific conditions common for babies / children with Down syndrome and how/when tests should be administered.

The cover sheet in front of the tabs is a Down Syndrome Health Care Guidelines Record Sheet which tells me when to have various things checked.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mamatography - Week 38

Day 260

(09/16/12)
Sasha's Birthday


Daddy helps Sasha open presents.


Sasha & Charles playing with gifts. Family in the background.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Naughty Knotty Mommy

Perhaps I should preface by sharing with you that I've been having some health problems of late. I have been waiting over a month to get in to see the doctor. Meanwhile, I'm dealing with a lot of random fatigue. After eating and while driving, just random. It is really hard to stay awake sometimes. I'm fighting sleep right now, actually.


2 month old dreads... of shame

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mamatography - Week 37

Day 253

(09/09/12)

Baby shower yesterday, baby shower today. This time for my little brother and his fiancé.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Babywearing from Every Angle


I am proud and honored to be a volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight all aspects of babywearing. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of myself and other Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of my favorites.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!


Benefits of Babywearing/Reasons To Babywear



Sasha in Ring SlingSasha in the no-sew ring sling I made.
November 2009

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sasha's Birth Story

In celebration of Sasha's 3rd birthday, I'm finally sharing her birth story here:

On Tuesday morning, we got up at 3:30 AM for Elmo's Monday of work. I stayed up, though I usually sleep while he is gone. I took a half hour nap before our doctor appointment at 11:30. Sasha was healthy and the doctor stripped my membranes again. It was obvious none of us really expected it to work this time, since it did nothing the week before. We made an appointment to have my water broken at the hospital at 7 PM on Wednesday. We went on about our day. There was no increase in contraction strength, no bloody show, nothing all day.

9 month belly - SashaMy last belly shot - taken the evening before Sasha was born.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mamatography - Week 36

Day 246

(09/02/12)

The weather got hot again and our A/C couldn't keep up. I wish I'd thought of playing in the cold water for Spencer earlier in the Summer!


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