17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Peekaboobaby Winner

And the winner of the Peekaboobaby- a hip nursing cover for moms on the go is....

Ash who apparently doesn't "care about flashing people" but she doesn't like to "squirt" 'em. Sweet. Email us your mailing address at talesfromthecrib at gmail dot com and we'll pass the info onto Julie at Peekaboobaby!

And to all you losers out there, you know you still want one. Actually you really need one. Go on, click the link and buy yours today. And don't forget the free shipping! Which print will you choose for a Peekaboobaby of your very own? It's totally up to you!
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

I love...

In no particular order:

The sound of my kids laughing SO hard. So so hard...

Fresh pizza...


The kind of nap where your whole body just MELTS and you CRASH...

Chocolate milkshakes...

Driving in silence...

Sitting on the beach watching the ocean change...

A great baked potato...

The sound of my son singing Primary songs - there is no sweeter sound...

What do you love?
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House Rules

Yesterday I babysat 3 kids--2, 5, and 10 years old. They had a great time with my kids. We went to the library, played ball in the back yard, had a snack, watched a movie, the works. But it was high energy, high maintainance. And when dinner rolled around I expected the friends to go by my house rules for dinner.

Namely, don't complain about your food, eat it (or at least try it), stay in your seat until excused, and generally be polite. I made sure to tell them I expected politeness etc., because I've had them for dinner before. Wow. What a struggle. It was as though I had not said anything of what I expected of them...kids were complaining, running around, not eating, etc. We stuck by our rules and continued to insist they remain seated. I reminded them about being polite about what they were served as I kept hearing "yuck". And I thought I had served a kid-friendly dinner. Sigh. I gave my own kids 2 nilla wafers for eating all their dinner. I wasn't going to give the others any but I started feeling like that was too mean so I gave them 1 each for eating a little of their rice. (Definitely bending house rules.)

So, when you are watching someone else's kids what do you expect of them? Do they have to eat their veggies? At least try a bite of what you serve? Are you easy on them since they're guests? What about non-meal time? Have you had to be firm? Would you ever put a friend's kid in time-out the way you would your own child?
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Peekaboobaby

I apologize for the lack of freebies in August. You can all blame it on my move. But, we have got some good ones lined up for the next few months so keep your eyes peeled! This month, our freebie comes from Peekaboobaby, a company that makes and sells "hip nursing covers for moms on the go".

No matter which side of the "women's right to flash their breasts in public to feed their child" debate you may fall, I think every breastfeeding woman sometimes finds herself in a place where a cover might make her feel a little more comfortable breastfeeding in a public place.

Peekaboobaby was started by Julie Silvey, a momtrepreneur of four with one on the way. She began making stylish (yet oh so practical) nursing covers a couple years ago as gifts for all her mommy friends and got such a fantastic response that she decided to turn her private gift giving racket into a small business.

These nursing covers provide hands free coverage even during the sometimes tricky "latch-on" while also providing discreet viewing for mother only. Say goodbye to crazy breastfeeding contortions! The high quality, hand-picked designer fabrics and extra large terry pocket (good for holding anything from a nursing pad to a cell phone and wiping baby's mouth) make PEEKABOOKBABY covers unique.

Packaged in darling organza gift bags, these covers make great gifts, especially for that annoying mom who won't find out the sex of the baby and you are forced to try to find something gender neutral (which is next to impossible). Go ahead and get the beautiful floral, it doesn't matter because it's for mom! You can also pick up a matching burp cloth if you're feeling generous. And don't forget the free shipping through the end of the year!!!

And if the fantastic product isn't enough to make you love Peekaboobaby, Julie also gives back to moms in need. When her best friend used a Peekaboobaby everyday for eight months in the hospital as she pumped (using a double pump) for her baby, Curran, who was fighting a battle with infant leukemia, Julie realized what a lifesaver her covers could be. They allow mothers with sick children to stay by their bedside and pump while talking to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff all at the same time. Curran passed away one year ago this August, and in his honor, Julie regularly makes & donates Peekaboobaby's to the hospital for use by mom's in the same dire situation as her dear friend. I love that.

Now dry your tears because now it's time for the freebie!!! Julie is offering a Sophia Mango PEEKABOOBABY nursing cover to this month's freebie winner (see Sophia Mango print to the right-so chic!). Will you keep it for yourself or give it as a gift? Will you pass the freebie word along to all the expecting mother's you know or keep this little secret to yourself. It's up to you! (although I am sure Julie would appreciate you passing on the word!)

Make your comment now!

How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Friday (9/28) midnight EST to enter.
-Make a comment (any comment) on the post
-Please don't post under Anonymous - use a Blogger login or the "other" category.
-Winner will be randomly picked and announced Saturday (9/29) morning.
-Please only enter (comment) once.
-Tales contributors are excluded from winning the freebies--sorry :(
-Freebies can only be shipped to US addresses.

What's with the Freebie?

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Make Stuff: Fabric Scrap Paper Doll

I came across this idea way back when on Kiddley. It was a guest post from the talented Sarah of Small Object (you have to check out her official mail stamps her stamp necklaces and unique family tree). Anyway I bookmarked her post, started a fabric and trim scrap collection box and made a vow to come back to the idea when I needed a birthday present for one of Princesses' turning-5-friends.

This summer I finally had the chance to explore and expand upon the idea of making a fabric scrap paper doll. Here's how you do it:

-Download Sarah's doll template from Kiddley or draw your own doll shape. I decided to draw my own so I could make her look like the birthday girl.

-Copy the picture 50 times on white cardstock.

-Grab a handful of random fabric scraps from my overflowing scrap box and a handful of trim scraps and placed them in ziploc bags. Start saving scraps ahead of time!

-Add a couple gluesticks and a couple pairs of good kid scissors (it's fun to create with a friend!)

-Make a "sample" to show what the kit is all about. I had Princess do this step for me and by the end, she was begging for her own kit. Oh, my little budding fashion designer.

-Place it all in a fun box. I was lucky enough to find a cute patterned suitcase at HomeGoods for $6 and tied a bow around the handle (no need to wrap!).

This is a great way for sewers/crafter to use up all those scraps of fabric and trim - no matter how small or strange shaped! If you are an avid scrapbooker, you could do the same thing and save your patterned paper scraps to use instead of fabric. If you are neither a sewer, crafter or scrapbooker, ask a friend, mother, aunt or grandma who is to start saving their scraps for you so you can make this fun, cheap and semi-"green" project.
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Close Call

Thankfully, I never walked in on my parents...

I'm not sure how I would have felt if I had witnessed the deed between them. I don't like to think about that very much. However, it is on my mind because my DH and I have had two close calls lately. Yes, after 2 kids and 9 years of marriage, we are still having sex.


Anyway, just when I thought we were both getting old, our agility was tested when we heard that doorhandle twist...and we raced for cover. I know my daughter had no clue what was going on because she was half asleep...and I am totally ok with being open about our bodies and all, but 5 seems a little young.

So, that's the end of the post...just want to know if it's happened to you, have you ever walked in on your p's or had your kids walk in on you and how did you handle it....? I know with this apartment living that I do, I am probably not out of the woods...close quarters and all.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

PRE-Potty Training Advice Wanted

My daughter is only 17 months old, so I'm not ready to start potty training her. Everything I hear from pediatricians, nurses, others mothers, is that it's best to wait until after 2 years old, maybe even later. If anyone feels differently, I'd like to know.

But the advice I'm really looking for is this: is there anything constructive I can do now to make the process easier later; or will I just be complicating matters by even trying to approach the subject at all?

These are the things I'm tempted to start doing now:

1) Put a training toilet in my bathroom so that when I go to the "potty" she can sit on hers too (clothed).
2) Put her on the training toilet unclothed once or twice a day, at specific times a day, perhaps right before bathtime, and explain to her what she does on it.
3) Bring her into the bathroom when I can tell she's going in her diaper and explain to her that this is where she does what she's doing in her diaper. (Would this just get in the way of what she's doing?)
4) Find a picture book or two on the topic (I hear there are some pretty clever ones out there?)

Any other PRE-potty training tactics?

But I don't want to jump the gun on this and turn potty training into a two-year process. A few months ago, she started pooping in the tub, so I pulled her out and put her on the regular toilet, and she actually successfully finished on the toilet. But it upset her. And ever since then, when she looks like she might poop in the tub (or actually does), I ask her if she wants to sit on the toilet, and she very adamantly says no and gets upset if I try to push her into it a little. So I'm afraid of any attempts backfiring.

Here are the reasons I'm even thinking about it this early:

1) She is extremely curious about everything (especially when in the bathroom with me)
2) She is starting to talk and communicate well
3) She understands so much (for example, we were showing some extended family the other day how well she can point to various parts of her body and the following exchange took place between her and dh:

"SJ where is your bottom (I'd never asked this one before)?" She quickly pointed to her bottom.
"What comes out of your bottom (neither of us had ever asked this before)?" She paused for a moment; you could tell she was thinking; and then said, "Poopee." That's evidence of pretty good understanding, if you ask me!

So should I capitalize on it or just leave it be for now? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear your suggestions, especially if any of you started these kinds of small measures early and regretted it. Or vice versa: you wish you had started small measures earlier.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Random Fashion Notes for the Weekend

Random Note #1: I received my first ever Shade catalog in the mail the other day. I guess I somehow missed getting off their list in my journey to declare my independence from junk mail. I have to say, I am kind of glad that little catalog made it to my door. I thought it was very well done. A few things really caught my eye: The short sleeve, white, button-up shirt. A great wardrobe basic and with 3% spandex, it has the potential for a great fit plus amazing comfort.

Also, check out their two new Extender Slips - the solution to another problem plaguing most Mormon women - the too-short skirt. It is also is a great reminder to women to wear a dang slip under that not-see-through-inside-but-it's-a-different-story-once-you get-outside-dress! Call me old fashioned, but I think slips are still a very necessary, yet hugely neglected underpinning.

Anyway, I have a few skirts that I have used to layer under dresses that are not particularly "short" but the constant chasing and bending over while caring for a baby/toddler makes them feels too short and uncomfortable. And I fear that I am flashing people unknowingly. I know I am not the only woman with this problem. These new slips from Shade can make a skirt or a dress more wearable, comfortable and worry-free by adding a couple inches to the length. And just for the record, I don't quite understand the shape of the Extender Slip on the Shade website, but if you click on the "view on model" button, it makes more sense.

Random Note #2: I received my first issue of Eliza magazine finally after the first one they sent got lost in the mail (BTW, they were really nice to get another one out to me as soon as I brought it to their attention. I love good customer service!). I posted a while back that I was extremely curious to see how they handled the subject of modesty in their magazine. Was it purely going to be about covering the body? Or about living modestly. Two things that don't necessarily go hand in hand.

So here are my thoughts: This new modest fashion magazine featured beautiful photos of models wearing clothes that covered more skin than those in your average fashion magazine. But every outfit wasn't necessarily "garment appropriate" which is fine with me--I realize they are marketing to a larger audience than Mormons and everyone that knows me knows I don't define modesty as covering all the parts that garments cover. I wear garments, so I cover them because it's the appropriate thing to do not because I think that a woman who shows her shoulders is necessarily immodest. I digress.

Many of the clothes featured in the editorials were really expensive, designer pieces which didn't appeal to my "trying to live modestly" side, but really it really appealed to my designer side. I'm talking about some really beautiful, yet modest, eye candy. Some of the spreads seemed really young and half of the magazine was dedicated to weddings, so when it came down to it, there wasn't a whole lot of magazine that I could relate to.

What I did enjoy was the small section featuring vintage wedding pictures. Really fun. And it looks like they are going to continue this vintage picture idea in the following issues as well so if you have some fun, vintage pictures, you should contact them and make a submission.

In the end, I think the magazine has potential and I'll stick with them for a few more issues to see how they evolve and because I love to support women who have taken their passion, thrown in their beliefs and have tried to create a business from it.

Random note #3: In case you haven't heard, there is a new site called The Modest List that claims to bring you "the crème de la crème of modest fashions". They have links divided into categories like fashion, swimsuits, wedding gowns and accessories (can anyone tell me what makes a modest vs. immodest accessory?) I think it could turn into a great reference list for the modest-minded dresser.

Random note #4: Project Runway is probably my most favorite show on tv. I have watched every season religiously. While I was saddened to hear that the new season would be airing later this fall rather than during the boring summer, the news of a new Tim Gunn makeover show brought me some consolation. I really love Tim Gunn. Sometimes I fantasize that he is my super-fashionable father and how fabulous it would be to get his design-eye genes. Then I think of my own father whom I love dearly and decide that it would fine if Tim Gunn were just my design mentor instead.

Anyway, I have watched the first few shows and have been sorely disappointed. He and his sidekick are way too over the top when it comes to labeling what they see as fashion monstrosities. The poor mom last night cleaned out her entire closet and had not one thing in her "keep" pile. Not one thing. Then the fashion moguls gave the mother of two a strappy sundress and heels as her "running errands" outfit. I am sorry, but you two are way out of touch with reality. Does this mom need to wear a t-shirt and capris everyday for every event? Of course not, but to think that heels, blouses, and dresses can become the new uniform of a mother that spends most of her time in the trenches is pure lunacy (they also gave another woman a beautiful dress and heels for her new "dog walking" outfit).

Get her some new underwear. Give her some tips on how to flatter her figure and find clothes that fit properly. Build her confidence. Get her out of her rut. Those are great things. But don't make women feel bad for not looking fabulously fashionable everyday at every moment. People wear clothes for all different and valid reasons--comfort, emotion, communication, as well as figure flattery and style. It's just not reality to assume that the last two are the only things that should matter. But I guess reality doesn't make for good tv.

I will say that I loved the moment when Tim Gunn let out a visceral yelp when someone mentioned the word "leggings". My thoughts exactly.

UPDATE: Random Note #5: Thanks to my long lost BYU Clothing and Textiles buddy, alibop, I have now been introduced to VintageHem.com. They deserve a fashion note of their own -- not just a comment. Alibop was right, they have a large selection of slip extenders featuring fabrics ranging from tulle to silk to polkadots to eyelet and in many colors besides the basic black. Go check it out. They are very cute. Most of them have raw edges which isn't great to wear under all styles (the Shade slips are definitely more sophisticated) but this makes them great for more casual skirts and dresses. The only thing I don't love is that the slip above the ruffle is always white, no matter the color of the ruffle. I wish it all matched because when the slip peeks out from your dress or skirt (which is likely to happen during normal movement) it's a little weird to see a big chunk of white when your dress is black and the ruffle is black. I'm sure it's a cost issue, but maybe in the future when sales build up, they will be able to fix this.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

How Does a Girl Survive Bedrest?

I've been away a while, buying a house, getting moved, etc, etc. I'm not quite ready to post about the hell of it all--I might not ever be ready to be honest. But during it all, I found out some friends of ours were going through their own, more serious trying times.

The wife is pregnant with her first and because of some recent complications, she has been has been put on 10 weeks bedrest. That's right. 10 weeks. In the hospital (so no cheating). She can get up to take a 5 minute shower every other day. That's it. Ugh. The good news is the doctors say if she sticks to it, the baby should be just fine because they don't forsee any other complications. Great news. But the bad news is that she has to survive 10 weeks of bedrest without going mental. Ugh.

So here I am calling out to any women out there who have been on bedrest or have known someone close to them who has been on bedrest. How did you get through it? How did you keep busy? What's your best advice for making the time tick by? And what are some things that I (and others) can do to help her get through this trying time? FYI: I don't live close anymore, but other friends do.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

The Upside to Flying With Young Children

There have been many horror stories spread around the blogosphere about flying with children, and I have to admit I enjoy reading all of them. I even have a few of my own thanks to our frequent cross-country voyages. But this is a different kind of story. It is a story about how flying WITHOUT children can be so much worse...

I was recently flying alone with my two boys (ages 4 and 2), returning home from a trip to the West Coast. Our first leg was from Portland to Chicago. It was a long stretch for the boys to be sitting in a confined space, so I was completely absorbed the entire four hour flight with keeping them busy and relatively quiet, doling out sippy cups, crayons and goldfish like a Vegas blackjack dealer.

Imagine my surprise after our landing to hear the elderly woman sitting behind us sobbing, mumbling over and over how she thought she was going to die.

I vaguely recalled some turbulance in the air and a storm brewing outside our little airplane window and I was really annoyed that the fasten seatbelt sign stayed lit for most all of the flight so I couldn't take my kids to the potty. Yes, the landing was bumpy, but when my boys landed smack in the back of the seats in front of them, hadn't they jumped out from their seatbelts themselves?

Surely, the little old woman must be paranoid, maybe even suffering some dimentia? I jumped up out of my seat to look around. We were at the gate, but everyone on the plane sat still in their seats and the cabin was completely quiet. A guy in his twenties a couple rows ahead of us was hyperventilating...or maybe dry heaving...into his barf bag. Other passengers looked visably shaken.

Wow, I thought, there was a potentially catastrophic event going on all around me, and I was completely oblivious inside my little caccoon with my boys and our portable DVD player and fruit snacks and CARS coloring books and handwipes. People around me were likely praying for a safe landing and for their lives to be spared....and I was praying that my 4-year-old wouldn't burst from the five juice boxes he consumed during the flight before we could locate a bathroom. The childless folks around me were probably wondering if they would get to see their loved ones again and I was wondering if crayon came off of airplane tray tables.

I have a whole new perspective on travel with children from this experience. Really, traveling with toddlers is the only way to fly....
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spaghetti Night

We have all had spaghetti night, maybe some of us weekly.

I feel that I have found the best spaghetti night for my time and my buck.

No more enriched wheat flour spaghetti and ragu (well, unless that is part of your food storage)...instead try whole wheat thin spaghetti. It is better for you, and if covered in sauce, your kids probably won't know the difference.

And speaking of sauce...if you don't have time to stand over a hot stove with that handed-down-from-generation-to-generation sauce recipe, try some good on-the-shelf versions of sauce. I am a big fan of all things Newman's Own...and you can even get organic versions, and buy a 3-pack at Costo.

Now for the add-ons. My family loves these turkey meatballs from Shady Brook Farms. They have great texture, heat up quickly in the sauce, and have just the right spice to them.

I usually like to serve my meal with some greens, either some sauteed spinach, fresh green beans, or just pop in some frozen veggies if it is getting close to grocery day.

Now for the yummy but probably not-so-good-for-you part of the meal...the garlic bread. I used to make a lot of Texas Toast, but I have recently discovered Papa Ciro's HANDMADE Garlic Knots. THEY ARE SO GOOD and cheap (especially when on sale). Read this:
Bread Category's New Twist: Papa Ciro's Handmade Knots
Papa Ciro's Handmade Knots, new to the bread category, bring convenience, flavor, and variety to any meal, according to Joseph Vetrano, company president. "We offer the only garlic knot for retail sale," he says. Other flavors include cinnamon knots and jalapeno garlic knots. The family-owned Roslyn Heights, N.Y., company makes its bread knots by hand using a family recipe.

Now, given that they are in Roslyn, maybe they are only local to us here in NYC, but PLEASE look for them in your freezer aisle because they are amazingly delicious!

So, that's my spaghetti night...what's special about yours?

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Improving Your Photoskills - Camera Cleaning and Protection

Just like our belly buttons cameras are delicate and need a good cleaning every once and a while.

Take out your camera right now and look at your lens. Does it have water spots or finger prints on it? These spots usually are not immediately evident since they start out small, but over time these spots multiply and eventually blur any images you are trying to capture.

Cleaning a camera lens is not like cleaning a window. DO NOT use ANY house hold cleaners on your lenses or eyeglass cleaners. Instead I suggest getting a special lens cloth like this one . It is a special kind of fabric that dose not make lint and it has a special chemical already inside it. I love this particular one because it is sewn in to a little bag that can be clipped onto your camera bag so it is compact and you won't lose it. If the lens is really really dirty consider getting lens cleaner fluid .

Any ammature or professional camera store should have something like this.

Another item that is useful in cleaning your camera is a canned air. This can be used to remove bits of dust and sand. Resist using your breath because you could accidentally get your spit on the lens which is bad for the lens. It sound funny, but I had classmates who did it and it ruined their images.

Sand is the number one enemy of camera equipment. It will scratch lenses and grind on the inside mechanisms of your camera. So be careful when you take it to the beach and periodically clean our your camera bag from dirt and sand.

Once you have your cloth and your canned air you are set.

Cleaning the lens

1. Make sure there is no dust or sand on the lens. A few short burst of canned air should do the trick.

2. Hold the lens to the light to get a good look at what you are cleaning.

3. Wrap the cloth around one of your fingers. Use a small circular motion as you rub the cloth on the lens. Try your best to let the soft part of your finger to apply presser instead of the nail.

4. If you can take your lens off of the camera body clean both sides of the lens. Once you have taken the lens off you will be able to see a mirror in the body of the camera. It may or may not need a little burst of air or wipe down.

If you can not take the lens off of your camera you may be able to get to it through the body of the camera, take a look and read your manual. If it is possible, your manual should have the instructions on how to do this.

If you suspect that any of the interior parts of the lens are dirty or has sand in it, PLEASE take it to a professional. It won't cost much to have them take it apart and clean it $30-$50 maybe. This will prolong the life of your camera. I once had a camera that needed it's aperture cleaned because it was sticking which made the exposures too long and ruined about every third shot. So frustrating.

Cleaning the Camera Body

If you can't get to the inside of your camera body, don't worry about it.

If you can get to the inside of your camera:
This area is not as sensitive (except for the back of the lens) but it is good to clean. In general canned air will do to remove the dust. No need to wipe anything. Take a look around in case there is animal or human hair in there (hey it happens, and is bad news).

Cleaning Your Camera Chip

When I say chip, I am not talking about your memory card. I am talking about the special light sensitive chip that captures the photo. Hopefully you never have to clean this. The reason being that it is VERY delicate. It is (usually) the most expensive part of your camera. Most digital cameras are not even designed to let you get to it for this reason.

The only time you should ever clean this chip is if all your pictures have the same smug or black dot in the same place, even after you have cleaned your lens and blown out any potential dust.

In this case read your manual carefully and follow the instructions.

Protecting Your Camera

Lens cap
Use them. If you lose it, buy a new one (front and back for removable lenses please). They are the first line of defense

If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses:

UV Filter
This is a clear glass filter that screws on to the front of your lens. It will protect your lens from dust, sand and scratches and can improve image quality . They cost usually between $8-$20. If it gets damaged, no biggie, just throw it away and buy a new one. Any ammature or professional store will have them. If you don't have the time to go to the store buy them on line. You will need to know which size of lens you have (ie 50mm or 35mm-75mm zoom). The front of your lens should have this information. This is your second line of defense.

Camera Bag
So many kinds of bags. You will want one that has some padding and that YOU will want to use. It is not necessary to get the really expensive kinds. The one I used I bought at Fred Myer like 5 years ago and it cost about $15. You can find them on Ebay, Target, Walmart, or at the photo stores. This is your third line of defense.

With Carrie's recent burglary I got motivated to get renter's insurance. It is cheep and easy to set up. Of course it is wise to go over with your insurance company which situations it will cover.

I hope I haven't over whelmed you all with all this information. Cameras are precious and are an investment. Maintain them and they will serve you well.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An Alternative to Scrapbooking

I hope I don't get booed for suggesting that there is an alternative to scrapbooking, but I wanted to share my form of memory-keeping just in case there is one other person in the world who is NOT good at scrapbooking.

I have never been crafty. I don't have a shred of talent in this area (except that I can tell what looks good and what doesn't...and anything I make usually falls into the "doesn't" category.) After having my first son and taking a gazillion pictures and endless video footage I figured I needed to organize and highlight somehow. Enter iMac.

I had tried to make a video for my parents of our Lake Powell trips on my PC and I almost went insane. I don't even like watching it because it brings back major feelings of frustration, discouragement and anger (do I sound crazy? I almost went there doing that video...grrr). I had heard that Mac's were supposed to be much easier to work with in that dept, so I agreed to do a wedding video for my sister in law. It was simple. It was fun. It was easy. And it turned out beautifully.

iLife (which comes on every Apple computer I believe) is an incredibly user-friendly program for picture/video editing and sharing. I decided to create a video and picture slide show for each year of my child's life highlighting their experiences from that year and abandon all things scrappy. I am almost done with my son's video: Year One. He already loves to watch it. His dad loves to watch it. I love to watch it. There are so many things you can do with iMovie and they are very simple and intuitive. I have to admit, the video looks good. It's a project I feel proud of.

I am not saying everyone needs to go buy a MAC (although you really should, they are wonderful) but consider video scrapping. It may sound expensive to buy a whole computer, but I did a scrapbook for my mom's 50th birthday last year and that stuff is NOT cheap. The supplies, the paper, the add-ons or embellishments or whatever they are called, the glue sticks, glue dots, glue lines, glue gun, the ribbon, the mat stacks, the cute cute cute stickers and quotes...it all adds up. If you are a scrapper - you're good at it, you enjoy it, your happy with the outcome - stay right there. Scrapbooks are wonderful to have and I am sure kids appreciate them immensely. But if you get frustrated and don't enjoy it much (like me!) maybe give this video thing a try. The finished product will be enjoyed and loved just as much as a book.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's September 11th Again

And I am sitting in a house full of boxes and just a few hours left before my internet connection gets turned off while we move from one house to another. September 11th is always a somber day for me, packed full of emotions. Emotions that I try to push back to the dark recesses of my mind where they now quietly live during the rest of the year. Today will be easier to get through because it will be jam packed full of the manual labor and excitement of a move. But I still remember.

Last year we had a great collection of posts devoted to the 5th anniversary of Sept 11th. If you would like to look back on them. You can find them here:

Remembering September 11th - Introduction
How I Experienced 9/11 by Marian
How Can I Forget by Zinone
Journal Entry a Week After September 11th by Brandolyn
Expecting a Baby on 9/11 by Kage
Forever Changed by 9/11 by chloe
I Remember by TftCarrie

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Day 3 of Kindergarten

Dear Teacher,

Thanks so much for dealing with my daughter today. You looked super cute, even if those heels weren't ideal for carrying a large child up 5 flights! YIKES.

We took Pukey to the doctor and she appears to be fine. Her "pain" escalates quite a bit in my presence. Her doctor suggested that sometimes a cold or a virus can (he used a fancy medical term here) sort of group in the hip area, and to watch her for fever or other symptoms. I doubt this is happening.

I personally feel that her behavior today was a combination of a small bit of pain (growing pains/charlie horses at night), EXHAUSTION, change, adjustment, anxiety that she is not talking about but manifesting in physical symptoms, and who knows what else. The doctor suggested we keep her home tomorrow, so we will.

I think you did the right thing today by not encouraging her behavior, and I hope that we can nip this in the bud. I feel bad for her either way: Whether it is real pain or just her way of coping with change, and I am hoping to be here for her as best I can.

On another note, I saw the pictures that they drew, displayed on the bulletin board outside your room...so cute....and while we were waiting for the doctor this afternoon she showed me the sign language for pink, red, green and black.

Thanks so much for helping this little girl who is so special to me, find her way in this new, wild world.

[She ended up going to school on Day 4, and according to the teacher, did fine. However, when I picked her up, she was crying and limping again. She went home and went straight to sleep at her request, and later was caught doing jumping jacks and dancing in between the limping. I have never seen this fake injury coping mechanism for change and transition. I am trying to validate the cause behind it, but not the "injury" itself. I could use some advice from ya'll about this phenomenon. And this concludes a week of Kage posts...who knew school would provide so much fodder?]

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Favorite Children's Books

Alright all you parents, it's time to freshen up your children's book supply. I am a mommy x 3, an elementary ed. graduate, and taught preschoolers for years. This is a favorite topic of mine. So, whether it's the library or the bookstore, take a look at some of these, my favorites.

To begin, some classics:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy World (or any of Richard Scarry's)
The Snowy Day
Quick as a Cricket
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse
Caps for Sale
The Little Red Hen
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See
Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear
Dr. Seuss!

And the less familiar, but so dear to my heart:

Rosie’s Walk
A Zoo For Mister Muster
Giant John

Start your littler ones off with these I love:

In the Small Small Pond
If You Give a Moose a Muffin (there are many "if you give a..." books that are great)
The Napping House
Dear Zoo (this is a favorite for the lift-the-flappers)
Any of Sandra Boynton's
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle has a billion books to browse through)
Good Night Gorilla
Each Peach Pear Plum

Where’s Spot (if you're hooked, there are a ton of Spot books)
Chugga-chugga Choo-choo

If your kiddos are perhaps a bit older and like a little more of a story...

Tikki Tikki Tembo
Stone Soup
It Could Always Be Worse (this may be good for you Moms too!)

Because of the rhythm and rhyme in Nursery Rhymes, they are some of the best literature to read your kids. But not all Mother Goose books are created equal. Here are two of my favorites because of illustrations and layout:

The Very Best of Mother Goose, edited by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells
Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose

A couple every little girly girl will love:
Fancy Nancy

Once your kids are familiar with fairy tales, get them laughing (and you too, for sure!) with these spoofs, they are so good!

The Three Silly Billies
Falling for Rapunzel
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Also, I recently discovered Mo Willems who wrote the pigeon stories. Take a look at his stuff if you have kids age 4+. His books crack my kids up (ok, and me too).

This list is only the beginning of books your kids will love. What are your favorites? How about that one that your kid makes you read fifteen times before you can set it down?

Here are some references for more great children's lit:

Newbery Award winners list
Caldecott Award winnners list
A great list of children's non-fiction
A great list of children's fiction
Introducing children to poetry
A child's first chapter books
Children's books with female heroes
Holiday books for children
Children's Christmas stories
Audiobooks for children

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Down East Free Shipping

Hey Ladies, I know that Tftcarrie has written a lot about the various modest clothing lines out there, and one of our collective faves is having a free shipping sale...

is the code for Down East Basics Free Shipping. I like quite a few of their tops for the fall season, and maybe one of their dresses...and the price is right. So enjoy.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007


As an allergy-sufferer, I completely and totally understand the reasons behind a classroom being NUT-FREE.

Since I am a label reader, it is easy for me to avoid NUT-foods both for my daughter AND when I am providing the snack for her class. However, I understand that NUT-FREE (or ANYTHING-FREE) is a lifestyle that might take some getting used to.

A teacher I know complained quite a bit at what a PAIN it was to have NUT FREE in the school. A friend of mine also expressed that it was UNFAIR to the rest of the class to be restricted from NUTS when only one child suffered from the allergy.

I guess they have never had a severe enough allergy to understand. I am allergic to nuts, but my SEVERE allergy is to shellfish. Once I was at a party, and unbeknownst to me, put my hands down somewhere where there had been Shrimp, later when I itched my eye it swelled up on the spot. I was a child then, so I probably wouldn't be poking my fingers in my eyes as much now, but that is precisely the point isn't it? A 5-year-old, no matter how responsible they might be is not going to be on the lookout for peanuts EVERY second of his/her day.

I watched the faces of the parents yesterday when the NUT-FREE anouncement was made: no nuts for lunches, no nuts for snack (which also includes products manufactured with peanuts), and there were some eyes popping out of the sockets. It will be inconvenient because my daughter happens to enjoy a peanut butter sandwich, but I am ok with it.

On the other hand, if my daughter had a peanut-allergy I certainly wouldn't expect the whole class to go nut-free, I would just try to educate her the best I could, show the teacher how to adminster an epipen, and call it a day.

Thoughts? Chloe?

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

To Bond or not to Bond...to Keep or not to Keep...

I have only had babies in my twenties, so I haven't been faced with the amniocentesis decision (a test usually offered to pregnant women 35 and up, unless other reasons indicate it is necessary).

And to my best understanding, an amnio is done to determine birth defects or mental retardation and the sex of the baby. Knowing about a birth defect or a retardation would be so wonderful. I could attempt to prepare myself for this baby in a more specific way than if the baby was "healthy/normal".

During my last pregnancy, my midwives definitely spoke about amniocentesis as a test to determine whether or not you would take the baby to term. I found this a bit surprising, that that was the only context in which they spoke of it.

Today I met a woman who was pregnant with her third child. I could not tell by looking at her, she just volunteered it: "I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and third on the way...but I am getting my amnio this week so in the meantime I am trying not to get too attached."

I found this statement to be so strange. First of all, if you already have two children, what will that conversation be like when the amnio comes back abnormal and you decide to terminate? What if the amnio is abnormal, that means the child is unworthy of bonding/attachment? How do you knowingly carry a baby and purposely NOT bond with it until you are quite a ways through it?

I just did not understand exactly what she meant by that statement.

Do you?
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