Friday, December 27, 2013

the right book...

On a typical night, I get Sasha ready for bed and then read a bedtime story before taking her up to bed. On a typical night, Spencer would fuss and yell and even pee while I was trying to get through a story. Even if I wore him on my back and held the book where he could see it, he was just not interested.

We go to a Library Storytime for Preschoolers almost every week. Neither of the kids actually pay attention to the stories there, either. Sasha is much more interested in the other kids (and, more importantly, their toys). Spencer just wants to explore (if he isn't on my back). During a recent storytime, our Ms. Vicky read The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (affiliate link) Mo Willems is her favorite author.

Whenever Ms. Vicky reads a Pigeon book, she uses a particular voice for Pigeon. She read this book with the same crazy, gruff voice for Pigeon and a very tiny voice for Duckling. The story looked fun and Sasha also likes the Pigeon books, so I checked the book out for the week's bedtime story stash. Spencer was busy playing when I started to read, as he often is. I mimicked the voices Ms. Vicky uses (as well as I could). Spencer came over to watch and giggle. Every time Pigeon spoke, he giggled. He was glued to the story! Both the kids enjoyed it.

Ever since that one, fateful night, Spencer has been interested in Story Time every night! I always try to be animated when I read aloud. But now I feel like (mostly) I have both kids' full attention! Spencer has even started to bring books to me to read to him. He is more patient to let me get through those.

The moral(s) of our story?
  1. Be animated and fun when reading to your kids!
  2. Don't give up, you may just not have found the right book yet.
    And bonus:
  3. Some funny voices hurt your throat! Try not to be so over the top as to be painful.
What books are kid-favorites in your household?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 51

Day 349 - December 15

It is finally and suddenly looking like Giftmas around here!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mamatography 2014: Sign Up Now!

mtbadge2I hope you have all enjoyed my Mamatography posts this past year (and the year before, as well!). It is a really fun project, but we understand that it can be hard to commit to (and keep up with) posting a photo from every single day for 365 straight days, even with just posting weekly or monthly!

For those that need a lighter version (my co-host included), we're changing things up a bit for 2014. You will be able to participate in one of three ways:
  • Photo a Day
  • Pic / Pick of the Week
  • Best of the Week

You do not have to decide in advance how you plan on participating, you can decide on the day you post the pictures on your blog. You can write about your picture, or just have a heading, or go totally wordless too. This means you can adapt it to run alongside other picture-a-day or wordless/wordfull Wednesday posts too, if you wish. I still tag my posts as wordless, even though I totally include captions! This year has almost been a sort of pictorial diary for me.

Here are some examples of the options mentioned above:

  • Photo a Day

  • Pic / Pick of the Week

  • Best of the Week

However you choose to do it, the concept of Mamatography is to have a way to remember the everyday, the mundane, the beautiful. If you only did laundry today, take a picture of that. If you did batch cooking, take a picture of that. That’s the idea behind Mamatography – being able to look back on your year, the bright and beautiful, and the mama-stuff no one takes note of. Include as much or little about your children as you wish. Document your weight loss, your sewing. Whatever takes your fancy!

What do you need to participate?

  • A blog – if you don’t have one, you can start one for Mamatography quite easily!
  • A camera or camera phone.

So, if you’d like to sign up to join us in this project for 2014, do so here, and we’ll send you a getting started email next week!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 50

Day 342 - December 8

Uneven surface walking is homework for Spencer's Physical Therapy.
This bunk bed box was perfect fun for the kids!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 49

Day 335 - December 1

Holiday Meal, Take II - I had green bean casserole and ham left, so we did it again!
That evening we took the kids to see one of the larger light displays in town.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big Change; Seamless but Big

Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .

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 and wisdom about life changes.

With my oldest child, I wanted so badly to be a stay at home mom. It just seemed impossible. We couldn't afford to become a one-income family. I did, however, manage to arrange contract work and work from home. It was my second best option.

I later got a divorce and fell in love again. I was living with Elmo when Sasha was conceived. Once again, staying home was just not an option. I returned to work at six weeks and it was so awful. She was attached to me and would cry so hard when I left for work (twice per day since I came home to nurse her on lunch breaks). I would then cry for the entire drive back to work. It eventually got easier, but I still would have preferred to stay home.

I later switched from my Full Time job to a Part Time job so I could be home more. This would also give us more time to conceive a son. We were working opposite hours, so it had been tricky. We'd been trying for 4 months. Within 2 months, I conceived Spencer... and was laid off from my job. (I was a professional Home Health Aid for my mother, but she had a stroke - leaving me laid off. She passed away 2 months later.)

When we sat down with the Genetics Counselor to receive Spencer's official [prenatal] diagnosis, we were prepared for it. We learned that day, though, that Spencer would be eligible for Disability Social Security Supplemental Income because he had Down syndrome. My husband even pointed out that day that perhaps him having Down syndrome was something of a blessing in disguise. Confused? By replacing my Part Time income (which was now missing anyway) with SSI, we could possibly afford for me to be a Full Time Stay at Home Mom, for the first time in my life!

I think the transition to full time homemaker (the term I feel best suits my "job") was much easier and more seamless than returning to work after Sasha was born. I have always been an attached parent so it was painful to leave for work. Plus, I was already managing at least my fair share of the "home making" anyway. I had already been planning meals, washing dishes, caring for my children (when I was home). The biggest difference? I think the biggest difference has been in the financial aspect. I know we could live a bit more care free (or at least worry free) if I had a "real job." My first thought is that my time at home is more valuable than the job / money. But really... I have always managed the health care for my family. Elmo is not comfortable dealing with medical personnel and Spencer has a lot of appointments. We often have weeks with an appointment every day. I can't imagine I could attend all of those appointments if I worked outside the home, unless it was maybe a weekend job.

One of my biggest life changes, aside from becoming a mother, has been going from managing things for other people in exchange for money to managing my family's home and health care in exchange for love and appreciation. It is a much more rewarding job. The pats on the back are sweeter. For me. I know staying at home isn't for everyone. It is definitely for me. It was a good change to make.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she'd left behind - that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama's parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she's ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up... for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter's transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, "Will I be enough for what comes next?"
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen's hobby of writing and blogging - it has turned into a side business. She's sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you're interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
  • Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep's soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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