Monday, April 30, 2012

Change can mean Puddles

Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this spring is Change! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on change in all of its many forms. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


We practice Elimination Communication. It seems odd to call it that with Sasha anymore, since she has been out of diapers for about a year. She literally tells us when she needs to potty, so there are no "signs" for which we must watch. We're also doing Elimination Communication with Spencer.

A lot can effect babies and toddlers as far as communicating their needs, including elimination needs. When we moved in October, Sasha was suddenly making puddles everywhere. We knew she was capable of getting to her potty or telling us she needed to go, but we had miss after miss after miss.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. I offer you a guest post today, from an old friend. Please scroll to the bottom for a bio about Angela.

Parenting is the hardest job I do. I have lost one son to suicide at 21, three years ago. My other son is 20 and moderately autistic. Connor loves his music, computer, TV, and eating pizza. He doesn't know about autism, he doesn't function at a level where he can tell me much about what he experiences emotionally. Instead on a bad day he throws things, breaks things, and sometimes pushes people around. He can talk, he doesn't know what to talk about. We do therapy, it will never end the difficulties but we try to give him words to use instead of meltdowns. At this age everyone who sees him in public knows that he isn't a competent adult, and is pretty accepting of his public behavior. But the news is full of adults with autism that run afoul of law enforcement untrained to deal with strange autistic behavior.

season art by Connorseason art by Connor

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mamatography - Week 15

Day 99

Traditional candy for breakfast on Easter morning. Of course she woke up early, without even having discussed the fact that goodies would await her! I think maybe she was whispering to me here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Minimalist: in a tree

I have a link for you again this week. This time it is an amazingly beautiful small living space... in a tree. It is literally built around a tree. Skylights open up for a gorgeous view of the surrounding forest.

I don't think the walkway would work with little ones. It would be hard enough carrying groceries across! What do you think? What is your craziest dream house? Is it big or small?

Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cutting out Paper


Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


I had been intrigued by the idea of "un-paper towels." I worried, though, if they could be used in the microwave. I had been using paper towels when "nuking' sausage. The directions even called for it! I couldn't find anyone willing to state clearly that their unpaper towels could be used in the microwave. Then I found My Picnic Basket.

My Picnic Basket Sample KitMy Picnic Basket (Etsy store)
sent me this sample kit for review.

Get free shipping from this Etsy shop by using coupon code: MOMMAJORJE.

I arranged to do a review, but the shop closed temporarily before I could get it written and posted. I did, however, receive a set of 6 unpaper towels (and a couple other items). I immediately put these cloths into rotation and loved them!

Friday, April 20, 2012

EC - Head Start on Potty Training

I've seen it said often that children with Down syndrome potty train at a much later age than other children. When we found out that our son had Ds, this was one thing I researched. I wondered if anyone with a child with DS had ever used Elimination Communication and whether it could work to shorten that time.

I definitely found some early mentions of using EC with children with DS and found the information encouraging. I'm not sure why I was worried, as if there would be some reason I shouldn't do it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Typical Visit to the Pediatric Cardiologist + Results

This week we attended our 3rd visit to the cardiologist. We still haven't gotten used to finding it on the big, confusing, under construction hospital grounds, but we're getting there. Once inside, we pretty much have our system down.

We arrive and admire the Finding Nemo fish tanks. Seriously, they are designed to follow the movie and have most of the characters in there. They are gorgeous! Daddy and Sasha even got to see them clean the tanks today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mamatography - Week 14

Day 92

Note to self: Sunday morning is apparently a very busy day at the laundromat. Do not attempt to do laundry at this time or you will be bringing wet laundry home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Minimalist: Tiny Space

If you've been following long, you know I'm always fascinated by people that design or engineer very small living space. This week I have a link for you that is a slightly different take than usual. This guy designs small, portable sleeping space, but it isn't living space. These things don't have kitchens and such, but they're more meant for taking to events and sleeping in a structure more sturdy, secure and comfortable than a tent.

Here, you'll understand so much better if you just go check out this article from DailyMail UK.

They're called "Eco Friendly Micro Houses" and they're made from household junk! My dad (and his dad) was well known for taking scraps from job sites to reuse on other job sites or for his own stuff. He built a tiny cabin to have on-location at a place we used to camp regularly. My grandfather reused the wood from an old skating rink to floor his home!

What is the best or most creative way you've seen materials reused?

Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Surf: EC & Bad Parenting

Another week full of appointments behind us. Each of the kids had appointments this week, including Sasha's first dentist visit. Thursday was the only day free of them.

Here are just a couple of links for you.

Pottytunities for Two

Clarifying Intentions with Newborns

What is truly the goal when practicing elimination communication with a newborn? This is a great article about what it is like to practice elimination communication in our mainstream society, especially with a new baby.


5 Hallmarks of Bad Parenting That Are Actually Good for Kids

I love Cracked.Com. They always take a no-nonsense, fun, often foul-mouthed approach to topics, including parenting. This article lets me know that maybe I'm not fouling up this whole parenting thing. I especially appreciated the section on risky play. Click over to learn something new.

What fun things have you read lately?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose

I posted last month about taking Spencer to follow up with the cardiologist and the doctor hearing a stridor. Our pediatrician referred us to an ENT to check for any obstruction in Spencer's throat that might be causing the stridor. We had that appointment yesterday.

The nurse sat me in a special chair in the middle of the exam room and checked Spencer's pulse. I was surprised that they didn't want to weigh him, she just asked me for that information.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Born at Home Toys

I happen to be lucky enough to stumble into a friendship with the couple that created Born at Home Toys. Rebekah is co-editor with me on Natural Parents Network for Wordless Wednesday.

Rebekah and her family came to town to meet me in person for my baby shower last year when I was pregnant with Spencer. It was so great to meet in person, but it was also a busy event so I didn't get to chat much with them. I did notice, however, that their family is peaceful. They simply have an aura of peace.

They brought me my first diaper cover and a package of new hemp inserts. They also brought Spencer a set of Sun and Moon Maple Teethers. Spencer just started teething so I thought to get these out for him. They are very lightweight, so he has no trouble holding them at all. They are beautiful pieces! Sasha ran off with them, though, because she loves them too!

I got the opportunity to get to know Chris, Rebekah and their children a little better at the vacation weekend with volunteers from Natural Parents Network. (You can see their post about the event here.) Chris and Rebekah also have a blog called Liberated Family. They offer some great, peaceful advice on sustainability, cooking, and family life.

Rebekah and her family came to town to meet Spencer and visit with us this week. Rebekah made a lovely little stuffed toy with upcycled fabric. It is a great thickness for Spencer's little hands and perfectly safe for him to stick into his mouth. They also brought a special gift for Sasha...

I have been wanting to get her this Happy on the Farm Animal Set since I first saw them! They are so very cool! As a bonus, these things smell amazing! Ronni said they "smell like happiness!" They just smell so natural and good. Sasha did not let go of the cow and the horse all night!

If ever you'd like some non-plastic, non-violent, imagination-encouraging, non-gender specific, natural toys for someone you love, please think of Born at Home Toys. This peaceful family makes awesome products!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mamatography - Week 13

Day 85


Chillin' on the couch, checkin' out the thumb.

Doesn't this look uncannily like a shot from last week? He honestly doesn't do this too often.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Playing in the Rain

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

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 shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children's personal care choices.

We recently purchased and moved into a travel trailer. We have it parked at a nice local RV park that provides water, electricity, cable, etc. My oldest was out of town during the move and as we were preparing her living space, we needed to find some storage for her clothing.

We filled the small shower stall with drawers. There are laundry and shower facilities on site. The water pressure through our travel trailer isn't very high and of course we're paying to heat the water ourselves and the hot water tank isn't huge. We decided we'd just commit to using the park's shower facilities.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Minimalist: Easter

A few years ago, a friend picked up this adorable Easter basket for our daughter:

This year was her third Easter and she is still using this basket. I was really wishing I had dug our Easter stuff out sooner this year. I thinned down our eggs. Also, my oldest is a teenager now so she got a giant chocolate rabbit - no more eggs. I set aside 28 eggs, 1 bucket + plastic grass to donate. If I'd done it sooner, someone could have gotten use out of it this year.

I kept 30 eggs and even then split them in half. Sasha got 15 eggs and next year I'll split the 30 between her and Spencer. It was so tempting to purchase the metallic eggs I saw, but we obviously had more than we needed.

Does it seem weird to store Easter stuff? It isn't really any different than storing stockings for Giftmas. In fact, you could even set baskets out the night before Easter in the same style. Make your own traditions. They shouldn't include wasting materials.

Do you save Easter stuff from year to year?

Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Surf: Dirty Leukemia

Do you ever get to the weekend, look back on your week and find yourself unable to recall what the heck you did?? I do! I always have to check my calendar or journal to get an idea of it. This week I found out that I am not diabetic after all! I also found out that my ear parts all work properly. I also took my teenager to a couple of appointments of her own. Next week we have appointments every day but Thursday!

So that is how things are here (busy, as usual). Here are the links I have for you this week.

Spencer Creek 2011 - Dirty MorningUh, yeah. We let Sasha get dirty.

Girls who play in dirt grow up healthier according to researcher

"Women infected with the auto-immune disease Lupus outnumber their male counterparts 9-to-1. While there isn't a concise explanation as to why the disease occurs more frequently in women, the expectation for young girls to stay cleaner than boys may provide a reason."

Doesn't that say it all? I, personally, think that our society has become ginormous germaphobes. Pfft! I loathe hand sanitizer. As in: I don't like the way it feels. I don't like the way it smells. And I don't think it is a good idea. To each their own. Reading this article may help you see how germs help our children.

Sleepy Mommy & Baby SpencerKnowing your baby has an
increased risk of Leukemia can be terrifying.

Down Syndrome Mutation Helps Leukemia Survival">Down Syndrome Mutation Helps Leukemia Survival

I knew that leukemia was a little more prevalent in children with Down syndrome. I also knew that children with Down syndrome and leukemia responded better to treatment than typical children with leukemia. Scientists think they have figured out why our children work this way.

So yeah, knowing that your baby has in increased risk of leukemia is terrifying. (Don't you find that word itself scary?) It is, however, slightly reassuring to know that he also has a greatly increased chance of beating it.

Did you read anything fascinating or fun this week?

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Social Media Connections

I actually have a larger following (officially) on FaceBook than I do on my actual blog. I do post to FaceBook whenever I have a new article posted here. I also post when I have guest posts published elsewhere, something I've been forgetting to do here. (I do add them to my "Published" page, though.)

We have some fun discussion over on FaceBook, too. We discuss posts here, but also other topics off the cuff. It might be what cute things our kids say or do. It might be how best to strip cloth diapers.

So I just wanted to extend a specific invitation to everyone that reads here to join us on FaceBook. I do not Tweet. I do not Pin. I blog and I share on FaceBook.

I hope you'll join us.

Friday, April 6, 2012

a fluffy secret

During Spencer's NICU stay, his temperature was checked under his arm, regularly. One or two of my favorite nurses helped me learn to check it, too. The babies have to have at least a ____° temperature before you are allowed to take them out of their warming bed.

Sometimes we had to check Spencer's temperature 4-5 times before getting a high enough reading. These nurses often blamed this on Spencer's "fluff." I just thought they were referring to his fat. Being full term (38 weeks, really), he was definitely one of the biggest babies in the NICU! He weighed 8 pounds, 2.5 ounces at birth.

Finally, one of the nurses explained something to me that I hadn't read in any book or on any website. Babies with Down syndrome are fluffy. Spencer actually has very thin limbs, compared to my other babies. But he has these fat pockets in his armpits. They make it harder to locate his "core" for checking his temperature. These fat pockets feel... less dense than what you normally find on babies.

Spencer in NICULook at those irresistibly fluffy cheeks!

This "fluffiness" also applies to Spencer's fat baby cheeks. Kissing them, you can feel the difference. His cheeks are softer than other babies! He is... fluffier! The extra tissue on his neck feels the same.

This tissue seems to shift / sag more than denser tissue, too. This is really only noticeable on his cheeks.

I simply can not kiss his fluffy little cheeks enough! I just thought I'd share this possibly little-known aspect of babies with Down syndrome. They are wonderfully fluffy! And you thought you loved average baby fat...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Minimalist: Breastfeeding Accessories

There was a dishwasher at our last residence. I started out pumping into and then even freezing 4oz bottles. They take up too much space! Besides, eventually you run out of bottles. I did finally get some bags for milk storage, but I still kept all my bottles. They were actually from when Sasha was an infant.

Then we moved into a Travel Trailer. I don't use 20+ bottles anymore. I donated all but about 9 bottles and gave a trial run to surviving with just 6. I soon decided I would survive just fine with 6 and donated the rest. I only kept enough screw tops and nipples for what I kept, too. I only kept 3 lids. I also donated a set of pumping breastshields that I didn't need. I have kept a spare set, though. I also kept all of my extra valves and membranes. They don't take up much space, could get lost or damaged, and this way I won't have to worry about replacing them.

Breastfeeding AccessoriesThis is my entire pumping / feeding kit.
It fits neatly into a cabinet.

What is more amazing is that I donated the pretty bottles. The plastic seemed thicker and so they took longer to warm milk, or at least that was my theory. I was surprised to find that hand-washing my cheap bottles made them more transparent! They'd become cloudy from only going through the dishwasher.

I've come close to having all 6 bottles dirty at once, but it is rare. My kitchen is very small. I do dishes 3-4 times per day to keep it clear.

How much stuff do you have for pumping and feeding your baby?
How much space does it take?

Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Surf: Yelling about Numbers on TV

Ever feel like you can't do anything but take care of your household? That is me lately. I've been having a hard time finding time to get online, other than an hour or two after the kids are in bed. Still, here are the links I scrounged up this week...

Why Yelling at a Child Is STUPID

I've been losing my patience a lot lately. I hate it when Sasha yells at me. I don't know how I can expect anything else when I've been yelling at her. This article articulates just how ridiculous it is to yell at... well, anyone.
Visit Natural Parents Network

Simple Cloth Number Cards

Sasha has seen us playing with cards lately and these would be a great play thing for her!

How to Wean Your Child (from TV)

We have televisions on far too much in our home. Did you know there is a Screen Free Week coming up? This real momma offers tips on how to cut back on screen time.

Which of these links jumped out and grabbed you?

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

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