Tag Archives: motherhood

Top Ten Homey Touches: How to Make an Apartment a Home

source dotandbo.com

source dotandbo.com

We were just married and on the same day we signed a lease for a small condo. Entering our first new place was like a horror novel. Upon opening the outside closet we discovered a pile of feces. (And, I’m not sure that it wasn’t human.) But, the goodies didn’t end there. We ventured further- the first room, the living room, was supposed to have new blinds up. Instead, the white blinds were lazing on the floor doing little for our privacy. Next was the bedroom, another set of blinds on the floor, but that wasn’t what was bothersome. Connected to our room was the bathroom, with NO door. Before I could get too torn up about the “no door” situation, another entirely different situation assailed my nose. A unholy stank hit me with staggering force. Braving on, we peeked into the bathroom. On the floor was a crumpled white t-shirt, or it would’ve been white had it not been for the brown streaks. I prayed silently, “Please be paint.” It was not. At this point the smell was almost too unbearable to stand, but we had more to see. Clasping each other’s hands as if contesting who could cut off the other’s circulation the fastest, we pressed on. That horrid smell, it was coming from the toilet. Mustering all my strength and will power, I used one unfortunate finger to flip the lid. What resided in that toilet was the most murky, ungodly, gagging thing another human could possibly make. It took weeks to scrub away the smell and ringed evidence from the criminal act that was committed on that poor toilet. I would like to say the horrors stop there, but they don’t. A couple days later I did laundry. After washing and drying a load I pulled the pile out, along with something else. That something, fell onto the floor. It looked like a little fuzzy lint. I put the laundry on the bed before leaning down to inspect the little fuzzy thing. It was the dried carcass of a brown mouse. And yet, we were so thankful for being able to rent a place, we didn’t complain. Now, we live in a much nicer dwelling (easy to do from where we started.) That being said, I never really made that apartment home. So, when we moved to this apartment, I decided I wasn’t going to wait until it felt like home to make home happen. In fact, I’m pleased with the results. My home, where I spend the majority of my time, is now a haven verses a prison.

My Top Ten Homey Touches. 

1. Keeping the peace. I know it can be hard when you have baby puke in your hair, two screaming babies, and a house that may as well be the home of the Adam’s family. But, experts in phycology can look at your environment and only account for 10% of you happiness. That is all! I’m not discounting an environment, because I know it still influences us, but how much more can we influence our environment? Peace isn’t something that occurs because everything is perfect, it occurs because we choose it. The center of a hurricane is known as “the eye of the storm” inside that raging beast is a peaceful and calm center. That is what I try to choose, and even if I fail to remain calm, I’m still encouraged that I’m more peaceful now than I’ve ever been. This attitude papers your home’s walls with something much more beautiful than any décor.

My creative area! I have to de-clutter it constantly.

My creative area! I have to de-clutter it constantly.

2. Clutter free. I’m not going to lie, I will never win the cleanest house, or even most-of-the-time-clean-house. Nope, my house is frequently messy, even if I clean it several times a day. Blame it on the kids, my creative spirit, or plain laziness, but that is the truth. However, it isn’t so bad with toys scattered hither and thither if I don’t have those sneaky piles of junk that goes who knows where. Mentally, I keep telling myself, everything has to have a place. I’m not perfect on this, but my constant quest to de-clutter has made our little apartment more than tolerable. And slowly, it is looking more and more comfortable.

3 Photos. The power of a picture should never be underestimated. Little baby hands, wedding kisses, and my brother and sisters’ goofy smiles can make a day bright even in the darkest of times. Not to mention, it is encouraging to see my family and myself growing and changing. If I’m grumpy with my husband looking at photos of us immediately makes me mushy and sentimental towards him (same with my kids!)

4. Making my bed. I have done this ever since reading an article about 5 Things Happy People Do. It was super helpful. Even if my house is a disaster the bed being made makes me happy and feel just a little more in control of the surrounding chaos.

Print sellers: Print on right can be found at idrawrainbows.com , middle print is from the shop ThePaperNut on Etsy, and the left from chiou.storenvy.com

Print sellers: Print on right can be found at idrawrainbows.com , middle print is from the shop ThePaperNut on Etsy, and the left from chiou.storenvy.com

5. Artsy Fartsy. I love art. I love to see it spilling a creative vibe and whimsy onto my plain white walls. I love buying prints and am so excited to see someone’s talent bless me and my home with inspiration!

 6. Function and beauty. Everything I own I try to not just make beautiful, but functional. An apartment only has so much room and storage, so if you aren’t using it, and it isn’t necessary, you may not need it. Luckily we can often up-cycle an item to make it more functional. For example, the changing table. It wasn’t being used for babies and it was taking up space, but I wanted somewhere to put shoes, toys, and on top something fun like a coffee center. I’m pleased with it being still useful and pretty!

Changing Table that is now my storage center. (Currently I have a record player and my vinyl records on top)

Changing Table that is now my storage center. (Currently I have a record player and my vinyl records on top)

7. Oh the smells we smell. Isn’t it crazy how everyone’s house has a unique scent, (or sometimes a funk.) I really like to make my house smell nice- I clean more, I feel better, and it can cover the strange odors a baby can make. When we first got married we were super short on money, but I took $15, which was a lot to me, and bought a box of bath & body wallflowers, candles, home oils, and home sprays that were listed on craigslist. To this day I use the same ones I bought and have yet to run out!

8. Curtains. I bought my curtains after receiving an electric bill last summer that topped $300! The Oklahoma heat ramped up to 100 F most weeks and we could not keep cool. The little AC unit in this apartment is not large enough for the space- even on full throttle it wouldn’t get down from 75 F. We decided to invest in power saver curtains (and get curtain rods) to hopefully offset future bills. They have helped a little with the bill, but mostly they are beautiful and look much nicer then the sheet we tacked up in our last apartment. Curtains are a homey touch that takes away the “temporariness” that is easy to feel in an apartment.

9. Contentment. This one took a long time for me. I have kids and being in an apartment, at times, made me feel like I failed. I know it is silly and plenty of families live in apartments instead of houses, but it took time to adjust my thoughts on it. It kind of goes with the “inner-peace thing,” but it is a little different. For me it involved not being embarrassed of my little dwelling and owning it. This is my place! I live here and I’m happy with it. I still want a house, and someday will have a yard and our own place, but in the meantime I am content.

10. Have a C.S. Lewis moment. A tea pot and a good book. Perhaps this is entirely a “me” thing, but a hot mug and a nice book is my way to relax and feel right at home. Fall is upon us and we are often burrowing into our home and thinking Hobbit thoughts. My cute little tea pot and china cups bring me a sense of home and hospitality. It’s cheesy, but images of “Pride and Prejudice” pop into my brain. Hot beverages and a great story make everything much more cozy and welcoming no matter where you are at!

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Mother and Lover: Finding Sensuality After Children

Two years of marriage and two children under two. You can imagine this has thrown a slight hic up in my husband’s and my sex life. We are parents, which is fantastic, but before that we were lovers. It is easy for my husband to bounce between these two roles however, for me it is considerably more difficult.  I love that women have so many roles in life, but it is harder to act them out than to speak of them. At the end of the day I face the “touched out” syndrome where I feel like a dirty dishrag. I have been nursing, cleaning nasty messes, and changing diapers. All this is explains why I would probably not be in the mood, but it wouldn’t change my husband’s needs.

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli- some inspiration to channel your inner Venus (Picture is from uffizi.org)

We attended a marriage conference earlier this year where we wrote down our top three needs in marriage. I wrote down stuff like conversation, affection, and spending time together. When I looked over at my husband’s top three needs they all said the same thing- sex, sex, and more sex.

My husband is the most giving and kind man I know. So you can imagine I felt a stab of guilt at this list. Here I was, my needs being met whilst his needs, his only need that makes him feel loved and cared for, was being extremely neglected. Now that I am no longer pregnant, it is time to focus more on one another. These thoughts below have been my game plan to feel more sensual and take care of my husband (and myself.)

1. The kids are in bed by 8:30 p.m. (It may be a totally different time for your family since everyone has a different work schedule) This out of everything we’ve done has been the most helpful. There is an end in sight for my mommy shift and to put on the hat of lover and wife. I know these roles are blended, but each one can only get so much attention that way. It helps to have that complete mental shift.

2. No screens after kids are in bed. This means television, smart phones, laptops ect. These devices can sneak into the bedroom and totally consume your love time! What is so important on facebook or pinterest that we must be browsing after lights out? The answer- nothing. If you need to unwind try to snuggle with your hubby, do some light stretching together, or even read to one another. Whatever is inspiring to physical or verbal communication.

3. Love yourself. That is right. I will only allow myself to be loved as much as I love myself. What woman is ready to be physically adored if she doesn’t adore herself physically? It may sound silly, but when I invest in my appearance it makes me feel better about me. If you can’t buy new clothes, get your hair done, or a massage try to do a small thing. Like a sexy bubble bath. What makes the bubble bath sexy? You! See, don’t you feel good already.

George Marks “Woman Taking Bubble Bath” from Art.com

4. Have a sex game plan. Wow, planning sex, isn’t that not sexy? Not according to “A Sex Starved Marriage” Couples who plan on having sex actually have more sex and feel more in-tuned to one another. My husband and I plan on how many times we have sex during the week and how many times each of us have to be the initiator. This may sound boring, but it makes us have a lot more sex because mentally we already have in planned! Sure spontaneity is encouraged, but when you go from none to some- I can tell you which is preferred.

5. Just do it! I recently watched a fantastic TED talk on the power of body language. The woman speaking mentioned that she would carry herself confidently even if she didn’t feel confidant, and strangely, it often made her a more confidant person. Instead of, “fake it until you make it.” Her motto was “fake it until you become it.” You may not feel like a sex goddess oozing sensuality and pleasure, as I often don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become one! Try to think of yourself in a different light, channel whoever you need to, but tell yourself that you are the sexiest woman alive and you are glamorous no matter size, shape, or style. You got it going on. And before you know it, it won’t be fake anymore. You will be the sexiest woman alive and you will not be just trying to fake a wonderful love life- you will be enjoying your wonderful love life.

These are my not so dirty sex secrets and I hope that today you treat yourself to some sensuality as well as your spouse. Please share your secrets in the comment area to inspire myself, and others for a better love life!

*And though it is commonly thought that women are the only ones who struggle in having a strong sex life it is extremely common in men, but not as talked about. Check out my two favorite books on marriage and sex, “His Needs and Her Needs” and previously mentioned, “A Sex Starved Marriage.”

Click here for “His Needs Her Needs” (you can also find it on Walmart.com) Best book on marriage I’ve found.

Click here for “A Sex Starved Marriage: Boosting your Marriage Libido: A Couple’s Guide” It is very informative and helpful!

Read this!

Read this!

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Fairy Tales and Faith

Imaginations run through the woods and over brook. The breath of the wind races along beside us the grass tickling the bottom of our sprinting feet. The pulse of Mother Nature’s heart pounds in time with ours as we suckle the outdoors, nurtured by the awe and splendor of her curved and creviced body.

After reading a yarn every place I look seems to have creeping creatures. The bugs are fairies in disguise, the sounds of crickets a symphony of pleasure and the song of summer. The words in a book give life and new meaning to the events that course through the mundane day-to-day. In the darkest times I have felt comforted and uplifted by words. Stories hold a power over the reader that extends beyond time and space.

Eowyn admiring part of my fairy and fairy tales collection.

Eowyn admiring part of my fairy and fairy tales collection.

We read to know we are not alone.”        -C.S. Lewis.

If you would like to help a child to develop into a caring, well-rounded, and independent person, read to them and to themselves. In a book a person will wear the lenses of countless viewpoints, find characters that struggle as they do, hope in the darkness, and the ability to overcome when all is counted for loss. A book is a portal to other countries, cultures, and planets. Fairy tales are hope’s food for young and old.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” -Albert Einstein 

Why fairy tales; not science, geography, and memoirs? There is nothing wrong with these and they should be put into practice as well. But, when they are young, when they are just beginning to peak at paper pages and are curious of the magic spells that lie in their grasp- it should be fairy tales. A fairy tale is a truth for the soul, not just mind. It rings true with every people group; we all have them, whether they be in the form of legends, myths, superstitions, or rhymes.

The purpose of such a tale is to stretch the possibilities of reality; to go beyond what we understand and see. To those landscapes of the mind plentiful with magic, unforeseen danger, but also endless wonder. Just as faith fuels our belief so fairy tales begin a child’s process of belief. Their capacity to believe in the unseen is astonishing- from the little funny gnomes who live in their walls (who are constantly taking their socks), to the monster lurking with a slobbery mouth under the bed or closet. A child’s heart longs to be a part of a world that is hidden within the one they live in. This seems to mirror the concept of a fairy tale that mirrors a spiritual truth. We all long for a world beyond our own.

Jesus used parables to connect with people. God inspired humans to write a holy book to connect Him to the entire world. People need stories! To inspire, relate, learn, build faith and put to place those complicated emotions. It is universal and entirely too important to skip out on.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Romans 10:17 NKJ)

In these ways- faith, imagination, belief-  make fairy tales instrumental in sharing Christianity. When you read the bible to your little ones, don’t read word for word, but as they were handed down, in the form of a story. Describe David, the young Sheppard, watching his fluffy flock of sheep when along came a humongous hungry bear. David knew his job was to protect his sheep, so bravely he put a stone in his trusty slingshot, swung it above his head, and released it- “WHAP” it hit the bear in the head. The bear lay still, never to hunger again…” The bible is called the living word, why not put a little life into it when you speak it to your kids?

Remember, fairy Tales teach us to dream. (Dream big mama for your family, wellness, finances, and spirituality.)

Happy Mothering!

Further Reading:

Indulge in this fantastically fantastic essay “On Fairy Stories” by J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” a series that inspired my daughter’s name, Eowyn.

http://public.callutheran.edu/~brint/Arts/Tolkien.pdf

Check out “Fairy Tales” by George MacDonald to enjoy a break from the typical Grimm Fairy Tales

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Fairy-Tales-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140437371/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374686396&sr=8-1&keywords=fairy+tale+George+MacDonald+penguin

Sources:

New King James Version of the Bible- verse located in Romans 10:17

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/fairy-tales

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/305767-we-read-to-know-we-are-not-alone

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Being Fired: Keeping Things in Perspective

I have never been fired- until yesterday.

Recently, I picked up a job as an independent contractor performing dispatch. It was really great. Our friend ran most of the business, I got to stay at home answer the phone, and put in orders. Super easy and since I’m a stay at home mom, no need for daycare. The work was just to make some extra spending money $50-100 a week. Still, to a mom who is very spend-thrifty it seemed to have endless possibilities.

I was shocked when I received a call from my friend’s son, he is very sweet, informing me that his dad was thinking of firing me. His dad was not in the car and didn’t realize his worried son even called. I laughed and told him he was being very kind to think of me, but not to be concerned about it. I quickly went through a list in my head of reasons why I would be fired. Perhaps the company was too small to consistently pay me, or maybe I wasn’t doing a very good job? (I was only trained in 30 minutes.) Surprisingly, when I called my friend, he said, “Yes,” they were going to let me go. But, not for reasons I would have thought. Some clients had complained about the children in the background.

Eowyn, Baby Dee, and Me

After being fired I found myself disheartened, but also bemused by the reasoning. Children have always been a way of life for me. My mother owns 51% of the successful company my parents share together. My mother has five- now grown- children.  When we were younger she was taking a million calls from people and running the business. She did it at home-with five kids (sometimes 6.) I didn’t really think of children as an annoyance or hindrance, but a way of life. She made business and kids somehow work. (Of course she would get frustrated on occasion.)

This being said, I do not blame the business or my friend for letting me go. I honestly understand why they would need someone more professional and available to catch every single call perfectly.

It would appear my children were a drawback in this ares. I do think, however, that children should not be looked as a hindrance to your dreams- financially, spiritually, or physically. It would be easy for me to get upset with my children, not just in this matter, but in others as well. Many parents know what it is like to be denied something or for plans not to work the way we wish because of our kids. I have found myself occasionally thinking about being a journalist, whisking myself away to Europe, or owning a beautiful house and being a little disgruntled with my children. Which is ridiculous! All these dreams and more are still possible whether I have kids or not. In fact, the greatest thing I will ever accomplish in my life is them. If you have had to delay plans or change them because of your kids I encourage you to not grow in bitterness. Children are a blessing of God and when you feel that way, confess it! My children are a blessing to me. I can even say my kids have opened more doors for me than they could possibly ever close. Sometimes I just need the reminder.

Happy Mothering!

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Save a Life: 3 Ways to Remember Your Baby In the Car

We all want our children to be safe. Safety is sadly often inspired by horror stories about why we do the things we do- cover light sockets, throw away plastic wrappers, no sharp corners. As a parent those stories keep you awake and your heart pounding through the morning news.  My motivation for sharing these particle important tips is to prevent devastation in other’s lives, not create fear. I do not want any person to experience a loss just because they were not informed.

“My people parish from a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Most of us know to have our infant buckled, rear facing, and the car clean enough to where nothing can fall on them. Before driving off we mentally check off all the things we need to do or don’t want to forget. There is one thing, the most important thing that we must never forget. The baby. How could that possibly happen? All of us have heard stories of mothers forgetting their babies in the car as they run of to the groceries, work, or into their home. Some people scoff and wonder how anyone could be so idiotic. I don’t wonder. I know exactly how.

Eowyn asleep on a road trip

Eowyn asleep on a road trip

If you have a baby and are up all hours of the night you are often sleep deprived. You can barely keep it together. If you are a working parent you have so many things on your mind and the baby!

I didn’t have children when I was sleep deprived, but if I had it could have cost both of our lives. When I was a high schooler I was working over 20 hours a week and attending a private school (after being in public all my life.) The adjustment to the workload and evening job left me exhausted.  I was also going through a very emotionally exhausting time as well. (Which as a parent most people can relate being emotionally drained too.) I drove home at night on country roads. Out in the middle of nowhere was a dinky four-way stop light. I ran it, not just one night, but for several nights.  Some nights I pulled into the drive and could not for the life of me remember anything about how I got there. I’m so grateful and lucky that I never got hit or hurt someone else.

Routine can trap us as well. Let’s say you are driving to work but first need to drop of your kiddo at the day care or sitters, your child falls asleep and doesn’t make any noise. You may drive past the daycare and into work without even making the connection. When you think of it in these terms it is much easier to understand how this could happen.

Here are helpful suggestions to avoid this:

1. The best thing to do when going out (especially if you are going to work and need to drop them off first) is put your purse or lunch in the back seat next to your child. You will have to look back to get your things and will notice if your baby is still in the back seat!

2. Mirrors. Many companies now make mirrors that allow you to glance back and see your child.  This is ingenious as you can also see their expression. Just make sure to look at the road instead of getting wrapped up in how cute your baby is. This should be helpful since you will end up being in the habit of glancing into that mirror to see your baby. You can buy the car mirrors at a local Wal-Mart or Target.

3. Have an alarm on your cell phone go off around the time you drop them off in the morning. Have it read, Check your baby’s car seat or baby dropped off? A small thing, but it could make a huge difference.

Please feel free to add other suggestions and tips for remembering babies in the car. I encourage everyone to repost and share with others. It is summer and way too hot for any child to be forgotten inside a car.

Happy Mothering!

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Why I Don’t Call My Children’s Privates by Fake Names

I’ve laughed with other girls as we discussed the names we called our privates growing up: the tink, cookie jar, nucker, pee pee- the list goes on. Those areas of the body were shrouded with mystery when they were hesitantly discussed. My mother would answer questions and give us plenty of reading material. Still, I felt strange about these areas. If I had to discuss my own body I would have felt humiliated and very confused about how. Luckily, being a reader and being supplied with the correct books, I was able to identify that I had a urethra, vagina, and anus. Sadly, there are girls who become adults who are not aware what area does what: Do I urinate from my vagina? Where do I menstruate? Where do I have sex?

What God says about our bodies

The importance of calling privates by the proper name is instrumental to how a person will view their body and perhaps their own sexuality. It may sound silly, but not sillier than telling your child their arm is called a body noodle, or their face the expression platform. Calling things by their proper name isn’t just for the sake of being politically correct. It has much to do with knowledge being power. Knowledge gives a child confidence. For example- If they are lost they are taught to look for a woman with children, or a cop- you establish early that cops are mommy and daddy’s friends. This gives your child a safety net.

When your child’s arm hurts they are able to express that, “My arm is hurt.” This should be the same with their privates, “My penis hurts.” See how giving something the correct name gives them ownership? That is their penis. That is their vagina. (I typically call it the vulva since calling everything the vagina isn’t accurate either.) This ownership means they don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed. Our gender is a huge part of our identity and not something to be embarrassed of. These parts aren’t “unspeakable.” They are a part of their body and as such if they are hurt or someone is making them uncomfortable, they are able to express that.

Telling your child about their body is a process. Many think, the talk is a one-time deal; it isn’t and shouldn’t be. As your child grows so should the discussions. The start should be the correct names for their body parts, or at least saying they are private. Eventually you tell them how their body is theirs; as such no one should be touching their privates. Also, if someone is making them uncomfortable they can talk to you no matter what!

I have known too many children, friends, and family members who have been hurt by predators to not take the safety of children seriously. I don’t teach my children out of fear, but as a preventive measure- not just against predators, but shame as well. I find it sad that too many people think talking about the body or sex to their children is vulgar. Someone is going to tell them and that information will most likely be incorrect and harmful. Most children have an idea of what sex is by the age of five whether you choose to talk or not. Take the initiative. Be the parent. How you discuss or don’t discuss something will dictate how a child will perceive that part of their life even as adults.

Happy Mothering!

The picture is from the store UnchainedBracelets on etsy.com You can actually buy this print! Click on the Link below.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/154933360/psalm-13914-i-am-fearfully-wonderfully?ref=exp_listing

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Hesitate to Vaccinate?

In recent years the safety of vaccinations for young children has been repeatedly questioned. Can multiple shots, on such a young child- often a baby, create side effects perhaps worse than what is trying to be prevented?

Some parents do not vaccinate due to views on the health effects a vaccination may have on their child. There has been continuous suspicion of some vaccinations being linked to autism, and even SIDS, however, I cannot find reliable sources to agree or disagree with such statements. For a small group, vaccinations are against their religious views.

My four siblings and I weren’t vaccinated until we reached school, due to the urgings of a school nurse. My mother’s reason had primarily to do with faith and the counter argument from the nurse was, “Don’t you have to believe, in faith, for your children’s health whether they are vaccinated or not?” Which to me is a good point for that argument. I urge you, however,  to seek your own couscous on that matter. (You are free to refuse immunizations due to religious purposes, except in the states West Virginia and Mississippi.)

Personally, I fall into that first category. Does it negatively affect the health of my child? I have nothing against vaccinations in general, just an uneasiness on the timing in which we do them.

My daughter, Eowyn after her first set of shots.

Dr. Sears, almost the only Dr to speak on delaying immunizations, is not against vaccines but the lack of research that has been performed on infants for the side effects of the vaccines. Some of these vaccinations contain Mercury. A pregnant woman is advised to stay away from fish and other foods that may contain trace amounts of Mercury. Magically when the child is born, you can inject trace amounts of Mercury into the baby’s body, and it is considered safe?

In high amounts Mercury is a neurotoxin and can have adverse effects on our nervous system. What is a high amount for an infant? This study has not been performed and is the main reason I do not like the multiple vaccinations given so early to a child. (Not to mention the aluminum and animal tissue in some of the vaccinations as well!)

I must stress though that I am not an expert.

Every Child By Two, a group that believes strongly for early vaccinations states on their website, “Polio, for example, paralyzed millions of children worldwide before the vaccine was created. In the U.S. and the world, measles infects nearly 23 million people each year. In 2005, measles killed about 345,000 people (311,000 of which were children under the age of five).”*

A valid point, and though I may have my concerns on vaccinations and believe there could be massive improvements, I do not wish to do completely without them. With my first-born, Eowyn, I was so uneasy about the vaccinations that I waited until she was over 3 months to begin giving her vaccinations. I didn’t research the matter as much as I wished I had. For my son, I will be spreading them further part and asking my doctor for as many Mercury free options as possible. Starting with what I think to be very important, such as the preventative for the whooping cough. If you feel spacing out the vaccinations is what you should do, I would suggest Dr. Sears book, “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child.” He has perhaps one of the most unbiased view points on the matter.

I truly believe it is up to parents to research the matter for themselves. Weigh the risks, do the research. You are the parent and ultimately no one- not a Doctor, Preacher, or Family member can care more for yourself and your baby than you!

Happy Mothering!

Link for Dr. Sear’s Book on Vaccines:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316180521/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0316180521&linkCode=as2&tag=askdcom0c-20

Sources:

http://www.mercuryanswers.org/health.htm

* http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org/why/index.cfm

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

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Thoughts on the Pot

Are western babies behind the times? Back in the 1950s, 95% of US children were potty trained by 18 months, now it is a mere 4%. Recently I decided to potty train my 18-month daughter and find it interesting that by this older standard, she is actually late in training! It is even stranger that in the US we potty train by age 3, yet worldwide the average age is 2. Why is this? Are babies less capable than they used to be? I would say no. I believe there are a couple of reasons to the delay in toilet training.

IMAG0197_BURST006

  • Babies used cloth diapers. Statistically children who use cloth potty train faster than when using disposable. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but my theory is that the baby watches you dump the fecal matter into the toilet and makes the connection- waste goes in the potty. Not only that, but they can feel the wetness in cloth while in disposables the gel absorbs so they don’t notice. I would also say a mother is much more driven to potty train if she has to wash all those nasty diapers.
  • Pampers had a “qualified speaker” insist that training children should be up to the child when they are “ready.” To push them would hurt their psyche. Having this said by the people who profit most by the continuance of a non-potty trained child is suspicious at best.  The the campaigns of using disposable until a child is ready- pushed a whole society from potty training until the child is at least 2.
  • Mothers train a child to use the bathroom considerably more than the father. Most mothers also work out of the home cutting into the potty training time. This isn’t necessarily a negative it is simply a fact. This creates a void though since a mother is now expected to work and balance potty training. A day care is not usually the ones to train so a mother is left with few hours to establish training. It becomes easier to wait until the child can be quickly and easily trained.

All this being said, I really can’t say that children should be pushed earlier or later to potty train. We live in a very different era than the 1950s. However, I do believe it isn’t an issue of capability, but perhaps lack of time and resources to train a child. It is has been one week of potty training and I have been putting Eowyn on the toilet frequently. She mostly walks around naked or in underwear during the day. Yes, she does pee on the floor a fair amount, but she also notices the wetness and isn’t fond of it. She has successfully peed in the toilet at least once every day. This to me is a huge success and though it may take time, I look forward to the day that I will only be changing my son’s diapers.

Some Facts

http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/A-History-of-Potty-Training.html

The link below-interesting story of mother’s who potty train super early. Not saying whistling works-but wow these children can be trained really early.

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/01January/Pages/Parents-can-potty-train-babies-by-whistling.aspx

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Postpartum: A Journey to Recovery

Everyone gets caught up in preparing for the baby- the clothes, the nursery, and the diapers, that you can easily neglect the mama! Whether you had a baby vaginally or by C-section you still have a recovery.  This recovery isn’t a, “Halleluiah, the birth is complete, let us celebrate and run everywhere to show off this cute baby!” It is a process. My own mother told me frequently through my labor; “labor is like a marathon not a race.” This applies to postpartum as well. The days and weeks after the birth leave many feeling vulnerable, emotional, and tired. I believe women relate more to the elderly, sick, and mentally ill because we go through such an intense time with our bodies during birth and postpartum. You just did one of the most amazing things on earth, you had a baby, and unfortunately it feels like it too.

Here are my tips and products I used to ease myself through recovery

  • Place a sign on the door of your home. My sweet midwife did this for me with my second birth and I am so grateful she did. It said the weight, gender, and measurements of the baby. It then went on to say, “Hello friends and family, the midwife has asked for short, helpful visits. Please find some laundry or dishes to clean so we can focus on family time, which is very sacred in these first few days.” I left it up for 2 weeks.
  • Accept as much help as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for it. My mother came over quite a bit after both my children’s births. She would do laundry, bring groceries, and do dishes. (I was pretty spoiled.) I believe every woman, after having a baby, should be spoiled. Getting this help will let your body heal faster. If you have had a C-section this is very important. Even when you feel like you can do things yourselves don’t turn down help when it is offered.
  • If you have another young child, try to have someone take them during the day or even for just a couple hours of the day. My sister-in-law was amazing at taking my daughter Eowyn for the first week throughout the day and occasionally at night. It allowed me to focus on the baby and take care of myself instead of trying to balance a toddler and a baby. (If you can’t get family help some doulas offer help specifically for postpartum.)

Here were the best tools and products in caring for my battle worn mom parts.

  • Padsicles- huge menstrual pads that are soaked in water, (you can even squirt witch hazel on them for some extra relief.) Then placed in the freezer. These will be like glorious ice packs for your perineum.
  • A Peri Bottle- this is like a must. It is a squirt bottle. Most hospitals will send you home with one. If you have a home birth buy a water bottle with a squirt top in advance. Toilet paper should not go near you if you’ve had a vaginal delivery! Instead, after you use the bathroom, or just want to feel clean, squirt down there with your new bathroom buddy, Peri.
  • Witch Hazel Pads- if you had the un-fortune of acquiring hemorrhoids through pregnancy, birth, or both, these are very nice. You can make your own or just buy them at any pharmacy. They sell bottles of witch hazel there as well and it is very inexpensive.
  • Nature’s Way Chlorophyll- I bought this at Whole Foods and would highly recommend every mother buy this. You can mix it in a fruit smoothie or just drink it straight, if you do buy the mint flavored one. There is no better blood cleaner or blood builder (For more information on Chlorophyll look for the link at the bottom)
  • Earth Mama products- I hate Dermoplast, the spray hospitals give for numbing your lady parts. The taste of the chemicals got in my mouth, and it tasted gross. This wouldn’t be so bad, but you have to use it a lot. With my second I decided that was enough of that. I bought Earth Mama, Angel Baby organics for postpartum. (The link is at the bottom.) They also have organic products for breastfeeding, babies, pregnancy, C-sections, baby loss and soaps for anyone. I highly recommend them.

    Earth Mama organics for postpartum

      • Mama Bottom Balm- was worth its weight in gold. I could put it on my perineum, and my hemorrhoids. It is specifically for those pesky hemorrhoids though, so whether you are a mom or not, I would recommend this for those. It was so soothing and didn’t smell weird! I used it almost every time I used the bathroom. Out of everything I had this was the very best.
      • New Mama Bottom Spray- it smells like cucumbers and works wonders. It is a fresh cooling spray that can even be used as a facial toner, once you don’t need it for your mama parts. If your torn, had an episiotomy, hemorrhoids or just swelling- it feels very nice.
      • New Mama Post Partum Bath Herbs- these little packs of herbs are heavenly once you boil it, allow to cool, and then place it on a pad against your perineum. It reduces swelling and seriously feels fantastic. You can even use the water that you boiled it in for a nice sitz bath later.

Happy Mothering!

The link for Earth Mama and Angel Baby Products:

http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/

Information for Chlorophyll:

http://sacredsourcenutrition.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-chlorophyll/#

Photo Source:

http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/gift/postpartum-essentials-bundle.html

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Introducing Big sister to Little Brother

IMAG0186_BURST010_COVERMy extended basketball belly was pushed out from my t-shirt as my daughter, Eowyn slapped her little hands on it as if hitting a drum. “That is your sibling,” I would tell her. To which she would pause and then go back to yelling and slapping the belly. Sometimes, it was like she knew there was a person in there. She’d put her head on my belly and talk quietly. In my mind I would imagine their relationship; would it be a sister, or brother? And, would they like one another?

She would be 16 months when he was born and still a baby. I needed her to be patient with the new baby. I wanted to teach her kindness-how to think and care for someone or something outside of herself. Her cute stuffed animal bunnies took part in my experiment. I would take one and pretend to nurse it, to which she would grab the bunny and throw it on the floor. After a time I would kiss it and say, “Eowyn kiss the baby!” and she would kiss it. And I would make it a big deal- praising her and telling her what a great job she was doing. Soon, she was bringing the bunny to me with a diaper. I’d put the diaper on the bunny and let her play the role of mama, patting the baby and kissing it.

When she did meet her brother, she was very indifferent.  She wasn’t even jealous; in fact Imageshe was just not impressed at all! I would try to make her imitate me kissing or hugging him and she would look down at him like he was the most disgusting thing in the world then go back to playing. Despite this, I was persistent in including her and eventually it clicked. While doing diaper changes she started handing the wipes to me, or bringing me a diaper.  Sometimes, she even tried to help wipe. It could get pretty messy, but I wanted to let her be the big sister.

Being the big sister doesn’t mean she has doesn’t get babied or put on the back burner. We have special mommy and Eowyn time every day where she is the center of my attention. I baby her and love on her to let her know she is very important to me. Interestingly, if we don’t have this alone time she is often difficult and whiny for the rest of the day.

It is easy to be scared of your older child hurting the new baby or getting short with them as your attention is being pulled in so many directions.  Despite these concerns try to be patient. I would encourage you to find a way to let your older child help. Too often one child or all the children can easily become the center of the family verses a part of the family. How can we make our children feel a part of the family? By giving them a purpose and a way to contribute. Be consistent in having them help you. Even at 16 months a toddler can pick up a little, help give you wipes and diapers, kiss and pat the baby, and so much more. It is never too early to teach kindness and helpfulness.

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