Tuesday, December 30, 2008
...loves reading aloud, but wishes Clifford had never been written?!
...uses nursing as an excuse to eat a second helping?
...hasn't dusted in 3 weeks?
...has been tempted to give in and let the kids eat cake for breakfast?
...sends the kids outside so they can run and I can crash?
...loves to inhale the powder scent of Pampers?
...has been tempted to cut my long hair because there is spit up in it yet again?
...wouldn't trade what I do for anything in the world?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Bake for 5 minutes, or until chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon.
Remove baking pan from the oven and quickly place a red or green plain M & M into the center of each Kiss.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then allow to see for 1 hour in the refrigerator (or eat warm!).
Monday, December 22, 2008
First, I etched a simple design onto a white, unscented candle. (I used an empty lead pencil, but you could use anything with a dull point.) Since it is Christmastime, we decided to make tree and snowflake candles, but you could try other simple shapes.
We let our candles dry for 1-2 hours and voila!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
When Ben was four weeks old, Brian and I had to attend a funeral. We decided to leave the older kids with my mom, but my little nursling needed to go along. Knowing my casual/trendy slings wouldn't do, I decided to try the classy Rockin' Baby Pouch. The sleek cotton looked dressy but not showy. Unlike the pocket slings I've tried in the past, this pouch required no folding. Baby simply fits inside the pre-shaped pouch opening. Great for babywearing newbies!
I also love that this sling is reversible so if I have a more informal occasion to attend, I easily switch to this more "splashy" print!
Rockin' Baby Pouches retail for $82-- a little on the high end of slings I've seen but expected for the superior quality of the fabric and the added features.
Like this sling? Keep checking back for my sling giveaway in February!
Friday, December 19, 2008
- I was holding a baby while working.
- Those darn cloves bruise your thumbs!
The lovely fragrance and the precious mama/daughter time was worth it all, though!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Many have written interpretations of Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker. I've found most of them to be tedious and wordy for young children. Last year, Gavin and Maddie were fascinated by a video of Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing in this classic ballet. I tried reading them a written version of the story, but they were bored before I finished. This fall while perusing the library shelves for books to take home, I came across this gem:
I was excited when it was finally the right season to check it out! Written and illustrated by Susan Jeffers, this book is perfect for the younger age group. Though a simpler version, it is not condescending! And what beautiful artwork! Maddie, especially, was captivated.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to take Maddie this year to a live ballet performance of The Nutcracker and was amazed how much of the story she remembered and pointed out to me!
(We also like Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening with illustrations by Susan Jeffers.)
Monday, December 15, 2008
A friend of mine had a baby in November so I decided that was the perfect opportunity to pull out the cloth and embroidery floss and get to work. I made a super simple no-sew fleece blanket and embroidered the corner with the baby's initials and a floral design. I am able to embroider while nursing which made things even easier! It only took a couple of hours from start to finish.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Disaster #2: While I was upstairs, Maddie climbed onto the kitchen table and ate the candy off of our gingerbread house!
Disaster #3: Gavin climbed under the tree and opened one of his Daddy's presents.
Note to self: Keep kids with me AT ALL TIMES!
Gavin (4), Maddie (2 years), Owen (3 months)
Disaster #2: As if #1 wasn't enough, I awoke at 3 am the next night to more sounds in the "no-no" room. This time, he had the presents out again, but this time was trying to wrap them back up for me!
Reminder to self: Keep kids with me AT ALL TIMES!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Giveaway #1(Dominic boots): Commenter 8-- Sarah McKelvey
Giveaway #2 (Julie boots): Commenter 6-- (another) Sarah
Giveaway #3 (Paul shoes): Commenter 8-- Maria
Monday, December 8, 2008
When I told him, I was going to take a special picture of him to put on my blog for his birthday, he said, "Special? Like this?"
That's a 6-year-old boy for you!
Seriously, though, time has flown and I'm happy to celebrate my energetic, math-minded, tender-hearted, not-so-little-anymore boy who six years ago today made me a mom!
Happy Birthday, Gavin!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thanks to Molly and Tickatoo for their generous sling donation!
This week I'm going to review the first non-ring sling I ever tried. When I wore Gavin and later, Maddie, I had a closed ring sling that I was given by my local La Leche League chapter. I also had a hand-me-down ring sling that my mom passed to me after my sister Bekah outgrew it. I wore Owen in those but never felt as though I had the right fit. I wanted something a little snugger. I did a google search one day for a fitted pocket sling and discovered Hotslings. It took a few minutes to decide on a size. Hotslings has a wide range of sizes, but since they are based on a combination of weight, height, bra size, etc., I wanted to be sure I was choosing the right fit. I ordered one and began using it as soon as it arrived on my doorstep.
Since Owen was no longer a newborn, I carried him in either a kangaroo carry (facing forward with legs crossed in front of him) or a hip carry. This sling allowed me to take all three kids out shopping or for a walk without worrying about a curious little one getting away from me. With Owen securely in the carrier, I was free to hold a little hand in each of my hands!
I was amazed at the comfort. Owen was a whopper baby-- 25 pounds at 9 months-- but yet I felt very little back or shoulder pain even when wearing him for extended periods of time. The sling certainly saved my tired arms since Owen was a clingy baby and enjoyed being carried most of the day. Despite its heavy (excuse the pun!) use, I found my Hotsling held up very well. If it got dirty, I washed it and hung it to dry, and then it was back in use.
Knowing I was expecting a fall baby this time around, I wanted to get a fleece sling for chilly errand-running days. Molly at Tickatoo donated an Oasis Fleece Baby Sling by Hotslings for Ben and me to try. I was immediately taken by the soft texture of the fabric. So cozy. I was afraid fleece might be too stretchy, but while it does give, the fabric is sturdy and durable. The pouch on a Hotsling is more shallow than some pocket-type slings so it took some getting used to, but with Ben tucked securely by my heart, he fell asleep quickly.
This fleece sling is so warm, I have no fear of Ben getting chilled out in the cool air. I did find that my fleece sling was cut a little smaller than my plain cotton one so choose a size bigger especially if you plan to wear it over a sweater or coat.
Hotslings range in price from about $35-$57. They even have a pool sling made of waterproof fabric with built-in UV protection.
Don't forget to keep checking back for my sling giveaway this winter where I'll be giving away one of the slings I review! Can't wait that long? Sign up for my shoe giveaway by Monday at midnight!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
About a month before Ben was born, we realized we didn't have a place for his clothing and we set about looking for a solution. Gavin, Maddie, and Owen were currently sharing two dressers but they were at capacity. Not wanting to clutter the room with an additional dresser, we decided to start from scratch. We sold one dresser and moved the second downstairs. (More like an armoire, we decided to make it our TV cabinet.) We purchased one of these open storage units from Target. It fits into the closet so it takes up no space in the room. Each child chose a different colored bin and they keep their underwear, socks and PJs in their own compartments. (This system works well because Owen can put away and find some of his own laundry.)
For more Works-For-Me Wednesday, visit RocksinMyDryer!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Take for example my youngest sister, Bekah, who is 7 and in 2nd grade, and my two oldest kids, Gavin, almost 6 and in 1st grade, and Maddie, 4 and not formally in any grade yet. When this current school year started, Gavin began a 2nd grade math book. Bekah was finishing up the last chapter of her 1st grade math book. Maddie could count to 40 but couldn't identify written numerals. As far as reading ability, Bekah was starting to read a few books on her own while Gavin could stumble through and sound out a few words very painfully. Maddie picked up one of Gavin's phonics books and began reading on her own without any training!
In a classroom setting, would Gavin have been skipped ahead into 2nd grade or an accelerated group so he could excel in math or would he have been kept with his equals in reading ability and relearned math skills he was far beyond? Would Bekah have been held back since she had not completed her 1st grade work or would she have been allowed to continue flourishing in phonics with her peers? And what of Maddie?
A family member was telling me recently that her child was being made to repeat a grade because her reading was not up to par with the rest of the children her age. Her math skills were acceptable, but since she needed more phonics work, she had to be held back. The mother said it was upsetting to the child who wanted to move on with her peers and as a result, it was also upsetting to the mother. It saddened me to think of that little child becoming discouraged just because she was not moving at a predetermined pace.
It is not the public school's fault! How else can they handle classrooms of kids with varying skill levels? It is not possible to have one child in multiple grades. With homeschooling, there is freedom to let a child grow in their own timing.
Neither has been put in a box!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Now the wonderful folks at See Kai Run are at it again! This time they've donated three pairs of shoes for me to give away to you! I've listed the contests in three separate posts so you can enter and have a chance to win all three! Contests close Monday, December 8 at midnight!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
It has become habit at our house to each take a moment at the dinner table each night to say something we are thankful for. (One of the kids, speaking in a baby voice, usually tells what Ben is thankful for, too!) It is a joyful time as we all take the time to think of all God has done for us. He has certainly blessed us this year!
We have felt especially blessed since Ben arrived almost 7 weeks ago. What a precious little person! During my pregnancy, I was worried about how I was going to care for four children under the age of 6! It seemed overwhelming, but the adjustment has been smooth. Yes, we have an extra person to dress and yes, the noise level has gone up a notch, but otherwise, it hasn't been much different than having three children in the house. Can I dare say four will be easier than three? I'm so thankful Gavin, Maddie, and Owen are willing and cheerful helpers!
May we all be truly thankful in all things! Happy Thanksgiving!
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
Monday, November 24, 2008
There is no denying that Brian is Gavin's father! They look just alike! Even people who don't know us can pair the two of them up in a crowd. They both have this trick/talent they like to perform that we call "triangle eyebrows." It showcases their similar faces even more than usual! Maddie looks a lot like Brian, too, although it is more subtle since she has a feminine look about her.
I was hoping that I could have at least one child who looks like me, but so far, it is not to be! Owen doesn't look as much like the rest of the bunch, but he looks like my brother! Go figure.
|Owen with Uncle Ryan circa October 2008|
|Ryan circa 1984|
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I was unable to talk by now. I communicated only by nodding or shaking my head. I’m sure I was physically able to talk, but it would have thrown off my concentration. I was in a semi-sitting position. I know that it is best to be upright while laboring, but this was actually more comfortable and I was progressing well so I decided not to change. Heather asked Carol if she needed to break the bed down for delivery, but since I would have to be disturbed, Carol whispered that she would try to deliver the way it was.
Carol checked me again and said I had a bit of a cervical lip, but that it would probably melt away as I began to push. I started to feel increasing pressure and then the amazing urge to push. After the first push, Brian said, “You’re almost done.” I was surprised since I had just started, but it was encouraging because the pushing urge was so intense! With the second push, his head was out. I was clinging to Brian’s hand (and trying not to squeeze too hard) when Carol said, “Okay, Dad, are you ready?” With the third push, Brian was able to grab the baby’s shoulders and upper back and help deliver him! Less than ten minutes after I started pushing, Benjamin was born. I reached down and pulled Ben onto my belly myself. It was 7:33 pm on October 10.
There was no tearing so I felt very little pain as soon as labor ended. I wasn’t even sore. I kept Benjamin on my stomach while Brian cut the cord and while they wiped him off and evaluated him. I nursed him while Carol delivered the placenta. The room was still dim and peaceful, and I was euphoric (and hungry!).
When Ben was about an hour old, they weighed him and he came in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. We were surprised since the other kids were so much bigger (even Owen who came early). He was 21 inches long. He had a perfectly round head, dark hair, and very long eyelashes!
I am so pleased with my labor and delivery. This was my most satisfying birth of the four. I may have started off nervous about not knowing Carol, but Brian and I agreed that we are glad she delivered Benjamin because she was in tune to what I needed and eager to help me achieve the birth I desired. We appreciated her lack of hurry and her laid-back manner.
While I’m not up for it again anytime soon, Benjamin’s birth proved to me labor doesn’t have to be frantic but can follow its own timetable and be calm and enjoyable.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
After getting me settled in my room, Carol talked to me about my options. Knowing I desired a natural labor, she suggested walking around the unit or relaxing in my room’s Jacuzzi tub. She pointed out that my contractions were still not coming as often as expected at this stage, “but obviously it is working.” She also said that since my water bag was bulging, she could break it and kick labor into higher gear. She left it up to me, though, saying she was prepared to stick around as long as it took to have a baby. Brian and I talked about it and decided that we would let my body continue to labor at its own pace since that fit with our plan to have things as natural as possible.
Midwife means “with woman” and Carol was good at her job! She would come in the room and chat quietly with me or even sit silently when I needed to be quiet. Instead of relying on monitors, she would feel my belly during a contraction to measure its strength. She asked me why I thought many women feel the need to carry on and make people feel sorry for them while they are in labor. I wasn’t sure how to answer because I couldn’t imagine being loud or laboring in any other way. She said, “I had four children and labored just like you are laboring. I try to empathize with those women, but sometimes…”
Around 4:30, Heather suggested I try the Jacuzzi tub. She said she had used it during her labor and enjoyed it. I’ve heard that immersing in water can reduce labor pain, but I didn’t realize the extent of that truth until I tried it. I’m not sure if it was caused by the weightlessness that came from floating or an improved ability to relax in the warmth, but immediately the contractions were less uncomfortable. With my belly entirely covered by the water, I could still feel all the pressure, but the pain decreased. Time went by quickly while I was in the tub. The contractions started coming closer together and I sensed that I was in transition though I was still able to talk and relax in-between. Carol came in again and suggested she check my cervix. I was at an 8. Carol put a cool rag on my neck. That helped me relax so Brian continued cooling it and reapplying it.
I was beginning to feel a lot of pressure and the need to leave the tub. The contractions were coming so close together at this point, though, that it took awhile to time my departure! I took my time getting out and walking to the bed. The room was dim. Carol and Heather were talking in hushed tones so as not to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the room.
I labored for a short time sitting upright on the bed. Concentrating on my labor was taking up all my brain space at this point so I don’t recall as much detail from here on out. (Brian filled in for me what I don’t remember!) Though I still felt fine between contractions, they came so close to together, I stayed quiet to keep on top of it. If I lost concentration, I started to tense up which made it hurt more. I remember reading while I was pregnant that if you start to feel as though you can’t do it anymore, you are getting close to delivering. Once or twice, I felt this, but I reminded myself that it was almost over. Really the only part I had trouble with was the intensity at the peak of each contraction.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
At 9:30 am, I had a contraction strong enough that I had to concentrate to get through it. I was afraid to be alone with just the little ones so I called Brian and asked him to start preparing to come home. He had a 15-minute drive to return the work truck and then a 25-minute drive home. When he got home, we ate an early lunch and he entertained the kids while I laid down to rest. As I was drifting off, I kept hearing, “Where’s Mama?” Occasionally, I would feel a pat or a bit of breath on my cheek. Again, I woke up from sleep, having had NO contractions. I was fed up!
We decided to gather the crew together and take a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day for October—sunny and mild. I was barely out the door when the contractions started coming fast. I was able to relax and concentrate through each one, but it was difficult to maintain composure on a public street! Brian asked if I would rather go home, but I decided to keep walking since I seemed to finally be progressing. The kids had no idea what was going on. They kept stopping and asking me to look at leaves, feel the bark on the trees, watch the ants on the sidewalk, things we usually do on our nature walks. By the time we had circled the block a couple of times, I knew labor was steady enough to head to the hospital. As we continued to walk, Brian used his cell phone to call my mom to come over and we told the kids that this was the day their baby brother would arrive.
During the hour drive to the hospital, I was upbeat and talkative. During contractions, I had to hug my body pillow and close my eyes. I found that shutting my eyes helped me concentrate on relaxing all the muscles in my body. Relaxing my muscles reduced my tension which reduced my pain. As soon as the tightening ending, I was fine. All through the pregnancy, I had back pain—much more so than with the other pregnancies. My contractions followed the same trend. Even though they could be felt all over my abdomen, the majority of the pain was in my back.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:45 pm. As we walked into Admissions, we passed another very pregnant woman in a wheelchair, holding her back and breathing heavily. We commented that someone else would be having a baby that day, too. After getting my admissions papers, we headed up to the fifth floor birthing center. I was offered a wheelchair, but declined, knowing I was perfectly okay to walk. One nurse sat in the birth center’s nurses’ station so we walked up to her. She stared back at me with a blank look and said, “May I help you?”
I gave her a puzzled look, handed her my admissions papers, and said, “I have admissions papers.”
I stood there almost 9 months pregnant with my mouth hanging open! Brian jumped to my rescue. “She’s in labor,” he said.
“Oh,” says the nurse. “You’re here to be checked for labor!”
She ushered me into a bathroom to give a urine sample and sent Brian into a triage room—the same area where we ran into trouble with my previous labor! He could hear her discussing me with a second nurse. “She says she’s being admitted.”
“When is she due?”
“In 10 days.”
“Is she even having contractions?”
I emerged from the restroom oblivious to the conversation and the second nurse hooked me up to a fetal monitor. I was still talkative and smiling. My regular midwife was not on call that weekend and I found out the other midwife in the practice, Carol, would be with me during my labor. I was a little nervous since I didn’t know her or her philosophy nearly as well. She arrived on the scene within a few minutes, asked a few questions, and decided to check my cervix. “You’re 5-6 centimeters with a bulging bag of water!” The nurse seemed surprised. (Apparently the nurses had convinced themselves I was too calm to be in labor.) In the meantime, I found out that the other very pregnant woman we had seen downstairs in admissions was being sent home because she was 0 centimeters dilated! I guess demeanor isn’t everything!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I started having Braxton Hicks contractions at 4 months—not altogether unusual for a fourth baby. However, as my ninth month approached, they became quite frequent. I’m sure I was overly anxious, but there were many nights that I sat on the couch feeling my tightening belly and wondering if this could be “the night.” Every morning I would wake up still pregnant and a little grumpy about it, too!
I visited my midwife on a Wednesday morning 10 days before my due date and mentioned that though my baby was still wiggling around, he seemed to be quieter that particular morning. She told me not to get excited but that babies often settle down right before labor begins. The next morning, I felt the first “real one.” When “real” contractions hit, it’s an “ah-ha!” moment—the experience of labor comes rushing back and you feel silly for mistaking those Braxton Hicks for the real things. The problem was those “real” contractions continued through the morning and afternoon but stayed about 30 minutes apart. I was uncomfortable but not in regular, active labor. I puttered around all day—reading, taking the kids out to play (while I sat in a chair!), making pizza. My friend, Raya, called to see if the baby had been born yet, but I was too uncertain to tell her I thought I might be in labor.
I was really glad to see Brian come home from work! He was emotional support and another set of hands. The night was full of ambivalence. We kept saying things like, “If the baby is born tonight…,” and, “If I go to work tomorrow…,” and, “If we go out this weekend…”
After we put the kids to bed for the night, Brian and I decided to relax and play word games on the computer together. My sister-in-law, Sarah, and my friend, Lu, both instant messaged me to see if I had started having any signs of labor. I told them I was having painful contractions, but they were still far apart. They both told me they would be praying. Still not sure what to expect the rest of the night, I headed off to bed at 11:30.
I had a difficult time sleeping. Part of it was excitement. Part of it was fear that if I allowed myself to drift off I may wake up in the morning still pregnant! Part of it was Brian’s noisy snoring. (He was having no trouble sleeping!) Part of it was the fact that the contractions I had been having all day were quickly getting closer together. Around 1 am, I became wide awake and started timing them. They were 5-10 minutes apart! After visiting the bathroom for the 100th time that night, I decided to go downstairs to read. I figured if it was labor, I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. And if it wasn’t labor, I could catch up with a nap the next day.
I decided not to wake Brian. I figured I could labor on my own for awhile before getting him excited. I wanted him to be well rested before we made the hour trek to the hospital’s birthing center. I set a goal for myself to wait until 3 o’clock to wake him and to call my mom to come sleep-sit for the kids. Three o’clock came and went and the contractions were still 5-10 minutes apart! Then it was four o’clock and four thirty… Sometime in the night, I let Brian know there was no question I was in labor now, but that he should sleep until I needed him. At five o’clock, the contractions had slowed (ugh!) so I put down my book and decided to try to doze. As soon as I lay down, I had a whopper contraction grip me. I knew if they continued with such intensity, I would be back up within minutes, but the next thing I knew, I was waking up at 6 o’clock, having slept without one contraction! Talk about discouraging.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This week I'm going to review the ModMum baby sling, donated by Lisa at ModMum.
The ModMum sling is a pouch-style sling. You simply wear it over your head and one shoulder (like a messenger bag) and position your baby inside. There is no complicated folding or tying. After trying and loving several other slings of this variety, I was skeptical to try another brand. I figured since I loved the others so much, this one would be hard to get used to! I was wrong. This sling was so comfortable, I was hooked at once.
Just like with other pouch slings, Ben liked riding in a slightly upright position. The pouch was roomy enough that I could adjust him to his liking but secure enough that I never feared he would slip or fall out! Snuggled up to my body, I knew he was warm and comfortable, even outside in the fall weather. Once when we had to dash out in the rain, there was enough extra fabric to pull over his head until we got to (dry) safety. Though I've heard other moms rave about the convenience of nursing a baby in a sling, I've never had luck. Other slings held the baby much too tight against my body. But since this is a roomier sling, I gave nursing another go and succeeded! How great to put Ben in the sling to clean, take a break on the couch to nurse, and then return to my chore immediately without having to take him out or reposition him!
Choosing a size was easy. Sold in XS, S, M, L, or XL, sizing is based on weight and height of the wearer. I also love that this sling is reversible. I have the Taylor sling which is brown with colorful polka dots on one side and solid green on the other so almost every outfit I wear matches! I wore the sling out for walks, vacuuming, cooking dinner, and out to eat. There is really no end to the places you can wear your baby and since there is potential for getting the sling dirty, I was glad to know that since it is 100% cotton, it can be thrown in the washer and dryer to freshen it up.
The ModMum Reversible Sling retails for $54, plus shipping. Their other baby slings retail for between $38-$64.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thanks to everyone who entered. I hope some of you stick around. Be sure to check back at the end of November for my next big giveaway... and of course, my sling giveaway this winter!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
This was a fun little idea Gavin and Maddie and I worked on while I was expecting Ben. I decided that it would be fun if Brian had a small "survival kit" to bring along the hospital with him when I had the baby. Obviously, I would pack a suitcase of things I needed during my stay, but what about him?
I love getting free samples in the mail so I started scouting out samples that he could use. I ended up with a travel size bottle of shampoo, travel size deodorant, individual-size lemonade mix, four Viva paper towels, headache medicine, and several other things.
To fill in the blanks, the kids and I visited the dollar store and picked up a few other things like a toothbrush, a bottle of water, crackers, and some candy. I put it all in a gallon storage bag and we presented our gift to him at dinner one night a couple of weeks before my due date. He loved it and it really did come in handy, too!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
One day, she made cookies with the kids. When I make cookies with them, we have fun, but I tend to hurry them along and not fully enjoy the experience. I'm usually thinking ahead to all the other things I need to get done. Or I'm trying to finish before Owen wakes up from a nap or Brian gets home from work. When Kati made cookies with them, everyone immersed themselves in the activity. It took them over an hour to mix up the dough and get it on the pan. (This didn't include baking time!) Did the laundry get folded during that time? No, but you know what? There was still plenty of time later to do it.
I'm working on slowing down. It is hard for me because it goes against who I am, but I believe it is necessary! Why hurry through one activity to get to the next? I posted a to-do list on my refrigerator to help me out. When I think of a project I want to get done, I write it down. Instead of all my ideas rolling around in my head and me rushing around trying to get them all done, I work on the list as I get time. This has helped me prioritize and de-stress.
It was a prayer of mine during my pregnancy that I would not be so overwhelmed with what needed to be done that I didn't take the time to enjoy my new baby (and the other kids, too). I pray that God continues to help me with this. Won't you pray too?
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I decided to test The New Native Baby Carrier first. This carrier is a pocket pouch carrier. It is so easy to use-- simply slip it on over your head and one shoulder (like a messenger bag) and fit the baby down into the pocket. (There is a tacking stitch at the top of the carrier to aid in putting it on correctly and so the carrier cannot get unfolded.) There are multiple ways to hold your baby. For infants, it is best to cradle them so they get adequate head and neck support. (Ben prefered being cradled slightly upright.) As your baby grows, you can switch to a kangaroo hold in which your baby sits in the pocket facing out or a hip hold where the pocket supports him on your hip. All posititions allow you to have both hands free!
Benjamin and I both fell in love with this carrier right away! We started using it around the house in the first few days after we came home from the hospital. I put him in it to brush my teeth, get the older kids dressed, bake a cake, blow dry my hair, anything I needed to do while he was awake but I needed my hands. Often he fell asleep, lulled by my movement. At about two weeks, we made our first outing to Walmart and I did my shopping with him in the carrier. The same weekend, we took a walk in the woods and he snuggled in the pouch out of the wind and took a nap.
The New Native Carrier model that I have is black cotton and retails for $44 plus shipping. Sizing is easy. As opposed to other carriers that have complicated sizing methods, with The New Native Carrier, you simply choose a size based on what size t-shirt you wear! Everything about this carrier is easy. It can even be washed and dryed along with the rest of your laundry. I highly recommend this sling!
Don't forget to keep checking back for my sling giveaway this winter where I'll be giving away one of the slings I review!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Just like learning colors is more that just knowing color names, understanding numbers is more than just saying, "One, two, three." Last year, an activity in Gavin's math book had him making a chart to learn the numbers 1 through ten. For the number 1, he glued one Cheerio on the line. For the number 2, he glued two Cheerios and so on. He liked the activity so much that we also made a poster for the numbers 11-20. This really helped him connect the written numeral with the amount it represented.
It wasn't long after he made these charts that he began to grasp the pattern of numbers. He realized that after twenty came twenty-one and then twenty-two and then twenty-three... and that the same pattern held for the thirties and forties...
He made it his personal goal to learn to count to one hundred. Since charts had worked so well before, I made him a chart with all the numbers 1 through 100. At first, he used it as a cheat sheet, but within a week, he could count to 100 without looking.
(Another fun tool we used was Five Little Monkeys Play Hide and Seek which has the mischievous monkeys counting to 104.)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
When Ben was 10 days old, Brian had to go back to work so my sister, Kati, came to stay with me for a week. She was my Colonial woman! Having an extra set of hands was invaluable! She played games, held Ben, made cookies with the kids, washed dishes, folded laundry, read stories, changed diapers, worked on colors with Owen, got little ones dressed, helped us on an outing to ballet class and the library. The list goes on! If only I could employ her services full time! Even once a week! She even taught me a lesson, but that's another blog post!
Friday, October 24, 2008
We read picture books while Ben nurses. We went outside and collected leaves, acorns, and an interesting feather. We read a biography of John Smith. After finishing a book about Francis, the kids had me look up badgers in our giant animal book. They played color games and strategy games. They colored and made crafts. They recorded the weather for each day on a chart.
Practical skills were honed, too. They helped give the baby a bath. They made cookies. They sorted and put away laundry. They learned to put a CD in the player and turn it on!
It goes to show you don't need textbooks and worksheets to get an education.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After we brought Benjamin home from the hospital, I noticed that he had a hard time latching on. The bit of soreness I developed in the hospital became extreme pain while nursing him. I used Lansinoh which helped slightly but not nearly enough. I started noticing that his tongue looked a little funny. My suspicions were confirmed when we visited the pediatrician to have Ben's cord clamp removed when he was four days old. The doctor pointed out that Ben had a short frenulum, also known as tongue tie. The piece of skin that connects the underside of the tongue to the mouth was too short, making him unable to stick out his tongue to get a proper latch. The pediatrician assured me that he would probably outgrow it, and as long as he was gaining weight (he was!) and I was not having pain with nursing (hmmm!), we could let it go for now. He added that some people feel it is better to not have their babies go through the trauma of having the problem corrected when formula is an option.
I went home and promptly did my own research. I found out that the tongue clipping procedure is actually very simple and almost painless to small babies. As a child grows, the frenulum gets tougher and therefore, more painful to cut. I also read a list of reasons to go ahead with a clipping as opposed to waiting it out. Several-- poor latch, pain while nursing, and making a "V" shape with the tongue while crying-- fit our situation.
Having successfully nursed my older three children, formula or bottles was not an option for me. But the pain continued to get worse until I was in tears at the beginning of each nursing session. I finally broke down and called the pediatrician's office and told them I wanted Ben's tongue clipped. They were very nice about it and referred me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who gave me an appointment for 4 LONG, PAINFUL DAYS AWAY! Deciding to make the best of it and realizing the problem was a poor latch, I worked with him to latch better and the pain did decrease.
Yesterday, was the big day. The ENT doctor quickly agreed that we needed to clip his tongue. Ben slept through the beginning when the doc was examining him and applying a topical anesthetic. He whimpered when the doctor actually made the cut, but that was more from being woken from his nap then from pain. As soon as the cut was made and they made sure there wasn't excessive bleeding (there wasn't-- just a spot of blood), I was able to nurse him. Wow! What a difference. I am still having to be patient with Ben as he re-learns his latch, but my pain is almost gone! I am so thankful I did my own research and decided to have this done.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The transition this time has been the easiest by far. The older kids are old enough to help and even hold Ben for short periods of time while I fix a snack or go to the bathroom. Ben is a very laid back baby. He is the first of my kids to not nurse every hour! It is more like every 2 hours for him. He is also the first of my kids to really sleep somewhere other than my arms. This morning, I put him in his Moses basket (or "Jesus bed," as Maddie says) while Brian and I cleaned the upstairs. After lunch, he took a nap in it while I bathed, too. What a luxury. He sleeps in bed with us at night so I'm right there if he needs to nurse. As a result, I feel rested during the day. Maybe this will all change tomorrow when Brian goes back to work and I'm on my own, but for now...
I am happy to report that there has been NO sibling rivalry in this house. The only rivalry has been the arguing over who gets to hold Ben next!! I believe that a lot of kids have sibling rivalry and jealousy because it is expected of them. Most kids love having a new baby in the house! My kids certainly do. Gavin has already asked when we are going to have another baby. He says we need 100 babies.
Holding my 2 baby boys
Bonding with Baby Ben
"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"