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.

Friday, November 30, 2007

24 Days of Christmas Books

For those of you don't remember my post last year about my favorite new Christmas Tradition. Go read it now so you know what I am talking about and return.

If you have gathered together 24 books this year, tomorrow is the day to begin. I can't believe it's December already!

Now for a couple variations on the tradition:

-You could do the 12 days of Christmas books (instead of 24). I think we are actually doing the 17 days of Christmas books because that is how many we have collected over the past 3 years.

-If you are trying to use less wrapping paper this year, you could use one reusable gift bag that gets magically filled with a new book each day. I think we will be doing it this way because not only is it green, it is also a great way to have control over which books get read on each day - saving the longer ones for days when you know there is more time to read.

I also wanted to share our new book additions for this year because it's not to late to pick some up from the library or the bookstore.

One Winter's Night by Leo and Diane Dillon. We love animals in our house, so this one is sure to be a hit as the story parallels the Journey of Martha's and the birth of her calf with the journey of Joseph and Mary and the birth of baby Jesus. Good for the toddler set.

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola - The little girl in the book is unable to finish the gift her mother was making for the baby Jesus. All she can find to give is an armful of weeds. This book is a retelling of a beautiful folktale of how the first poinsettia's came to be.

Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H Schneider - This book came highly recommended and did not disappoint. It is the story of a little tree who gives of himself freely and reminds everyone about the true meaning of Christmas.

Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani - I picked this one up at Princesses School Book Fair. It is a simple book that uses the Jingle Bell song with added verses that simply talk about how children from other countries celebrate the Christmas season. Good for the toddler set.

And finally, today I went to my favorite neighborhood used book store and found a couple more at rock bottom prices.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
by Susan Wojciechowski - I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but I have heard many great recommendations. It is longer story better suited for older children.

Carl's Christmas by Alexandra Day - We have always been Carl book lovers. This one is a beautiful picture book like all the rest. You can use your own words to tell the story of Carl's adventures as he spreads the true Christmas spirit. Or you could tell the story like this dad so you will never have to read to your children again. Great for the baby and toddler set.

Please share your own favorite Children's Christmas stories or variations on this fun tradition.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mormon Chocolate Addicts Anonymous

Last night DH and I were watching a news story about presidential candidates and how they relate to their public through food. They showed old footage of former President Clinton at McDonalds, as well as more recent footage of Barack Obama eating corndogs in front of a crowd and Mitt Romney at the grocery store shopping for Fruit Loops. The broadcast journalist doing the story questioned whether Romney, who apparently has a reputation as a health nut, really liked sugared cereals or was pandering to the public.

DH and I had the same reaction: Of course he loves sweet cereal....he's LDS. I am much more skeptical that he regularly or even occasionally does his family's grocery shopping than of the fact that he has a sweet tooth.

This news piece really got me thinking about the brownie and jello salad culture of our religion. So, my questions to you my friends, are three-fold: First, does the stereotype of sugar-addicted Mormons really hold true? If so, where exactly did it come from? Is it simply a socially acceptable vice to be a sugar addict, or are there other contributing factors? And finally, are we really keeping the Word of Wisdom (at least the intent of the law, if not the letter of the law) if we truly cannot get through our day without something coated in chocolate?

As one who falls in the category of needing chocolate every day, please don't confuse my tone as one of passing judgment. Also, please keep your comments free of political leanings because I don't want to hate you if I disagree with you. Ready. Set. Discuss....

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Load up your Ipods...

Now that Thanksgiving is over, you are officially allowed to listen to Christmas music! Hooray!

Last year I wrote a post all about my favorite Christmas tunes, so this year's list will be an adendum to that post.

This year I want to begin with buying a cd for a cause:
I just saw a Brodway show last week (one that wasn't closed) and learned about a CD that I never knew about! Every year Broadway stars record a Christmas album for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. There are 8 out there, so make sure you check out which artists are featured. If you thought Thoroughly Modern Millie was the best thing since sliced bread, make sure you get the cd featuring Sutton Foster.

For a complete list, click here.

Every year I see these VERY SPECIAL Christmas CDs, and they stand out to me because I like Keith Haring's artwork. I looked them up just now, and learned that buying one helps the Special Olympics, also a worthy cause. For a full listing of cds available, click here. On A Very Special Christmas LIVE, you can hear two of my fave artists, Mary J and Sheryl Crow rocking around the Chrismas tree.

I know it's late coming, but there are some enjoyable tracks on the first of two Rosis O'Donnell Christmas CDS. All proceeds benefit FOR ALL KIDS FOUNDATION.

Going Green? Check out Barenaked Ladies' Green Christmas (it has little, if nothing to do with being eco-friendly, but the title works)!

Albums or tracks of these albums to check out:
Blind Boys of Alabama: Go Tell it on the Mountain

Bette Midler: Cool Yule (for the headwear alone). Tracks to check out: 2, 4, 7 and 9. My opp is that Bette does upbeat best.

Josh Groban: Noel (for you Josh fans)

I am also considering purchasing the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular, since that is where my family will be on Christmas Eve! Just one of the many surprises I have up my sleeve this Holiday season.

Sick of the Messiah? Well, you shouldn't be, but if you are hungering for a different instrumental album, try the Nutcracker or Vince Guaraldi Trio Christmas tunes (found in those crazy Peanuts Gang cartoons).

Gospel Choir:
I am on the hunt for the best Gospel songs. So far I have found:
Christmas Negro Spirituals by New Orleans St. Peter's Gospel Choir...listening makes me feel like I am on the front row....I like it. Go Tell It on the Mountain and Joy to the World. So far, I am only finding it on itunes.

I also love the Georgia Mass Choir singing Joy to the World with Whitney Houston on her ONE WISH album.

Anyone else found some gems?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Tender Cargo

It's the holidays so we are rolling out the freebie's big time. This next one in November comes from a previous freebie-giver as well as a bloggernacle regular, cchrissyy. You may remember some of the details of this natural born momtrepreneur, but just to catch everyone up, cchrissyy opened her online store, Tender Cargo, after working to put her husband through school (using ebay sales a half.com bookstore and secret shopping) and at the same time having three children very close together. With her previous experience in online business and a whole lot of first-hand baby product knowledge, Tender Cargo was born--a web-based store selling pregnancy, baby, and child related products.

What I think sets Tender Cargo apart from the millions of other online baby boutique is not only do you get a store filled with interesting, hand-picked, and high-quality products, the store is also fulled with loads of good information about the products straight from cchrissyy--a mother herself. Most orders are also shipped same day and if you have any problems or questions, you can reach a real live person (cchrissyy) immediately by calling their 1-800 number. I love good customer service.

And with all the crazy toy recalls, toy shopping this Christmas has become a little more thought provoking this year. Cchrissyy's passion for high-quality, safe and natural toys began before opening her store and has continued to grow. Just browsing through the Tender Cargo's beautiful and thoughtful toy selection makes you want to breathe a huge sigh of relief. The organic cotton dolls and the new line of toys from earth friendly Plan Toys are wonderfully classic, educational and have been held to the highest safety standards. Cchrissyy wrote a great post sharing her take on the toy recalls. You can read her thoughts here.

The winner of cchrissyy's generous "it's good to have friends" November freebie will receive a $25 gift certificate to Tender Cargo. The winner's "friend" will also receive $25 gift certificate to Tender Cargo. So make your comment then tell all your friends (with the condition that you are their "friend" if they win, of course) . Then start thinking about what you would spend your winnings on. How about this awesome Pikkolo baby carrier that rivals in design and practicality the infamous Baby Bjorn? Or this great no-rinse cleanser product with an even greater name: Momspit - which was apparently "inspired by the original”? Or how about Diapees and Wipees, a great baby shower gift? Or the super affordable MobyWrap? Or you might just have to go with a toy, after all it is the Christmas season. I love the breakfast set and Noah's Ark.

And to all Tales readers cchrissyy is also offering free shipping on the following products categories (until 12/2):
-Zolowear Slings
-Under the Nile organic clothing
-Pediped shoes and the Pedoodles boots

Just enter the coupon code "talescrib" at checkout.
(free shipping is USPS 1st class domestic or international, or UPS ground)

How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Friday(11/30), 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(12/1) 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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Monday, November 26, 2007

I will not be eating Turkey for a VERY long time...

When Pukey puked on Thanksgiving Day, almost midsentence ("Mom, I had too many sweets today, 3 brownies and a cinnamon roll and two hot chocolates...), I figured it was because of the list she was spouting out.


when Poopy puked at 3 AM later that night (her first time ever I might add), I thought something might be up.

In the morning they both seemed fine. I chalked Poopy's pukey up to eating cranberry sauce STRAIGHT out of the dish...like a lot of it.

My suspicions were confirmed when Pukey puked her lunch almost instantaneously after eating it. I knew that my DH and I were possibly in for it, not to mention the 5 house guests we were hosting for Thanksgiving.

Late that night I got a little tickle in my stomach but proclaimed it psycho-somatic and went to bed. At 4 AM it hit. I was wretching but not quite puking, but when my DH started puking that's all I needed. I was alternating covering my ears and listening, b/c though disgusting, hearing him actually helped me get it all up, which was what I needed to feel better and get back to sleep.

By morning we were still making runs to the bathroom and our children were looking at us with much concern in their faces. It was time to phone a friend.

I phoned my friend who HAPPENS to be the compassionate service leader AND my visiting teacher AND lives minutes away by walking. My words were these: "I am in need of some compassionate service." As I lay in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, she came in and saved the day. She dressed the children, put the sheets in the washer (the guests had left earlier that morning with my DH threatening to puke the entire ride-I would have sent them in a cab!), straightened up the family room and took the children.

I emerged from the bathroom in the early afternoon, put the sheets in the dryer and went to bed. I was awakened by a text saying my kids would be home at 6, just in time to start getting ready for bed. At 5:30 I rallied...b/c I thought the kids might be even MORE concerned if I was still paralyzed in my bed. I decided to tackle the beds, but they were done. I asked my DH if he had done it...nope. My friend had come back to finish the job, while her vt companion made christmas cookies with my kids and put up her tree.

Both of them arrived with my kids and put them in their jammies and made plans to pick them up for church the next day.

If I had been in my healthy right mind I would have cried for their compassion and service and love. It is not easy for me to ask for help, but we were in dire straights this past week, and our loved ones came to the rescue. (Another friend also helped us with a delivery we needed to make...thanks to you friend!).

Anyway, at the conclusion of this Thanksgiving Week, I give thanks to my dear friends, and for Christ's example that allows us to help each other when help is needed. I am grateful for service, visiting teaching, friends, and ONLY 24 hours of puking...Happy Thanksgiving!
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Made with Love

I love homemade gifts. I love making them, I love giving them. I blame it on my mother - an uber talented woman who with 30+ grandchildren and 15+ great-grandchildren still makes almost every Christmas gift. We tell her she's crazy, but I totally understand her response. She loves homemade gifts as much as I do. The visibly close connection with the human hand is very comforting to me. And giving/getting something that is one-of-a-kind is just plain cool.

This year as I did my Christmas gift planning, (which you have to do early when you plan on making gifts) I noticed my "to make" list was rather long. Too long. Not realistic. So I headed over to one of my favorite websites in the world, Etsy, where you can get homemade gifts without making them in your own home - a dream for the crafter and non-crafter alike. There are so many amazing things to look at and love (and want to call your own).

Here are a few kids gifts that caught my eye during browsing (but know that Etsy has something for everyone). Things go fast around Christmas so they might already by sold (most things are one of a kind), but I have found that most vendors have been more than happy to do custom orders and requests. I assume that as Christmas gets closer though, they might not be as willing.

I love all the homemade food--from crocheted cookies, to chenille ice cream cones to stuffed veggies and felt pasta. So perfect to replace all our nasty plastic play food.

These crocheted cat hats are adorable and all the proceeds go to the sellers local animal shelter. You can't beat that.

If you've got a lot of naked Barbies around your house, these little grandma-made dresses are so perfect.

For the little superhero in your life, these custom capes are awesome.

For the girly-girl, these beautiful felt hairclips make a great stocking stuffer.

If a play kitchen set is on your child's wishlist this year, a cute little apron completes the deal.

You can find so many childhood classics like bean bags, felt finger puppets, flannel board stories, homemade play dough, and shadow puppets.

And if you have always wanted a puppet theater, this one is cute and affordable. And don't forget all the puppets.

What kids wouldn't love these teepees?

And this beautiful doll bed with matching bedding is a doll-lovers dream.

If you have gifts to find, take a look over at etsy before you head over to Target. You are going to love what you find and you're going to realize how good it feels to support "handmade" (and the many moms who love to create and use Etsy as their outlet).

UPDATE: As the last has been brought up, much of what I have linked to has beed "sold out" but most things have been relisted again by the sellers, you just have to click on their store to find the relist.

Also, you have to check out this baby elf hat I just found. So adorable and it has free shipping!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I have to admit, there aren't many times I long to go back to my NYC living days. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely LOVED our time there, but it is my nature to fully invest and enjoy whatever life I am in at the moment and not wish it were something else. Anyway, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the exceptions.

Right now, I miss NYC terribly. I miss spending each Thanksgiving morning huddled together with our friends, sipping hot chocolate as we watched the Macy's parade balloons float by. Then a nice walk through Central Park on our way back home to turkey's that may or may not have cooked, to gravy that may or may not been edible (my dh will never forget the "Great Gravy-less" Thanksgiving of 2005) or to burned orange rolls. There was also one year we tried ordering our Thanksgiving meal from Boston Market to save time and hassle only to have the taxi get a flat tire on the way back home introducing a big hassle of it's own. That year, we also leaned the bed of our studio apartment against the wall and ate dinner picnic style on the floor because we didn't have near enough seating to accommodate everyone.

We tried our best to recreate the Thanksgiving dinner's of our childhood and though we rarely succeeded, figuring it out with friends made memories that I will always be thankful for.

On another Thanksgiving note, dh and I had to give our "we've just moved into the ward" sacrament meeting talks in church last week. We were assigned the timely topic of "Gratitude". During my preparations, I came across this article on teaching our children gratitude. Not only did I love her practical suggestions, both dh and I were struck by her description of how parents often teach gratitude in negative ways, like:

"You ought to be grateful for all the stuff you have," we tell them angrily after we have tripped over their toys for the 10th time.

Or we often using something she calls "reverse envy". In this case it goes something like this: "You should be grateful for your toys because there are some children who don't have any toys"

I know that I have been guilty of using both methods. Not because I necessarily thought that they are particularly effective ways to teach gratitude to children, but mostly because those are the words that often come out in the moment. But I never really thought about the real negative effects this type of teaching could have on my children - especially the "reverse envy" which has the ability to produce feeling of guilt and pride instead of true gratitude. It seems genuine gratitude comes from a deeper place than the shallow comparison of what you have to what others may not have. Maybe it is a place for some people to start, but to build your gratitude on this "reverse envy" base is shaky at best. Because even if everything material is taken away from you, an attitude of gratitude should still be able to live on. In fact, studies done on the psychology of gratitude have shown:

Grateful people are not necessarily ones whom the world has showered with gifts; people of modest financial means or who have suffered personal tragedies nevertheless may report themselves as grateful, while the well-to-do and good-looking may exhibit little gratitude.

We all have so much to be thankful for no matter our circumstances in this life.

If you have a second, you should go over and read the article (and this one is really interesting too). Again, I love her practical and positive ideas on how to teach children gratitude. At this time of the year (though I know an attitude of gratitude should know no season as it has been called "the essence of our worship" on more than one occasion), I am especially motivated to work harder to have the spirit of gratitude in my home.

What kinds of gratitude inspiring activities have you tried in your home. Are there things that you do that help keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive all year ? (I would also love to hear your Thanksgiving dinner mishaps if you have 'em, just so I don't feel quite so alone :)
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Snug-a-Bug WInner

The winner of our November Freebie, a fabulous Warmsie Set from Snug-a-Bug is...

who said, "I need some warmsies for my wee onesie's chubby little thighs and bunsies!! Pick meeeeeeee!!!"

Please e-mail us with your Warmsie Set size and color choice and your shipping address so we can pass it on to Krista and Melissa at Snug-a-Bug!

And to all the non-winners out there, the weather is still getting cold and now is the perfect time to pick up a Warmsie set for yourself because Melissa and Krista are offering FREE SHIPPING to all the Tales readers through November 25th. Just enter the code: TALES into the comment box at checkout and the shipping cost will be refunded back to you.

***Still haven't heard from Belle, the winner of our Sign Babies freebie, so stay tuned for a new winner who will be announced on Monday morning.

UPDATE: I guess my threat of picking a new winner has finally gotten the elusive Belle back to the computer, so we will not be picking a new winner for the Sign Babies freebie on Monday. But keep on your toes, the freebies for the holiday season are not over yet!
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Friday, November 16, 2007


Lately I have been feeling out-of-body. Like, I am totally in my life, but every once in a while, I have a moment, and I take a step out and just observe it from behind someone else's lens. And frankly, I find it kind of hysterical:

Poopy on the toilet trying to "get the juice out" of her bum, me sitting on the floor in front of the toilet, alternating turning the sink faucet on and off (to stimulate that tingly feeling) and giving her sips of her not-too-chocolately-it's-more-a-mental-thing chocolate milk, and Pukey standing in front of the bathtub playing a D Major Scale on her violin for the fourth time.

Poopy on the toilet, trying to "get the water out" of her bum for 20 minutes, me, sitting on the floor, up against the wall trying to eat my cereal with fresh raspberries that oddly were on sale for only $2.99 in the middle of November, Poopy wanting bites, but only WITH those precious raspberries.

Me, in the car...having dropped Pukey off at dance, and needing to get Poopy at school. The drawbridge is up 200 yards away, and apparently stuck. I put the car in park and start to finish my book, hoping that some miracle happens and I am actually able to pick up both children in the appointed time. After much waiting, reading, New York Driving, and hope in my heart, I made it with about 25 seconds to spare.

Me, at the post office. Strategically going at 11 am (after the morning crowd, before the lunch crowd), with ipod and two sets of reading materials in hand...waiting. No children. Lady behind me engages in this conversation:

Lady: (disgruntled). This post office always takes SO long.
Me: (smiling, nice). I don't complain.
Lady: Well, that's what we New Yorkers DO.
Me: Not me.
Lady: Well, maybe when you're 80 you'll have something to complain about.
Me: It's my goal not to. (smile).

Me at Gracious Home, trying to find a star to top my Christmas tree. In 10 Christmases with my DH, I have NEVER had a proper star. I have two requirements, it must be silver and reasonably priced. I hear the employee behind the counter say: "Should I label it Ms. Ripa?"
The woman checking out, NOT Ms. Ripa says: "No, Consuelos, C-O-N-S-U-E-L-O-S"
Employee: "That will be 1000 some odd dollars. And it will be delivered to Ms. Ripa tomorrow."
I look at the price tag of my star, $18.00 and think....that's a little pricey, but buy it anyway.

Me again, this time walking in the rain, choosing to not wear my rainboots because it's just drizzling and severely regretting it. Later that day, getting wise to the rain, switching my flats for the boots only to take them off again b/c now I am driving, and it is too difficult to drive in those boots. The doorman graciously comes out in the rain to open the heavy gate to our parking lot, only to close the door to the building so I have to fumble for my keys and get pretty wet in the process. Ugh.

Me, allergic to latex, faced with blowing up a balloon to start our paper mache turkey centerpiece. Idea! non-latex cleaning gloves on hands, thick layer of vaseline on lips. Door rings, in comes my handyman I am sure wondering why the gloves and scary vaseline. oh well. I blow up the balloon then promptly wipe the vaseline off my lips...no reaction. Hazzah! outsmarted my allergies, and we have a turkey breast in the works.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Tiniest Sunbeam of Them All

[Photo courtesy of Happy Nanny]

My Asher will be a Sunbeam this coming January. He is in the 25th percentile for his age in height and weight and will be 3-years old for only two weeks before he enters Primary. Last week they brought in the prospective Sunbeams to Sharing Time. Asher was beaming from ear to ear as the other kids sang him the Welcome Song. He looked so adorable up there.....and so little!

We dealt with a similar situation with our oldest son, Noe. His birthday is just a couple of days before January 1 and he is also in the approximate height and weight percentile as Asher. With the Primary President's blessing, our solution then was to hold him back a year (Noe also was born 7 weeks premature and has an autism diagnosis). It sounds so horrible, holding back your kid from Primary.....but it was the correct decision for Noe. Noe is really thriving in Primary this year as a Sunbeam and most all the kids in his class are only a month or two younger than him.

We don't feel the same need to hold Asher back a year, but I would love some suggestions on how to prepare him for the transition from Nursery to Primary. I want him to have a really great experience in Primary and I think he will adjust quickly, but I feel like I should be doing some things now to help prepare him for the structure of Primary.

Have you done anything with your own children to help prepare them for Primary that you felt was helpful? If so, just consider this Sharing Time at Tales.....

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Snug-a-Bug

Two freebies in November? That's right! If you have been with us for a while, you might remember our first ever freebie, one year ago, came from Snug-a-Bug, a company recently started by our very own contributors, Krista and Melissa. Well the weather is turning cold and they are back again offering a fabulous freebie to the Tales readers.

For those who missed it the first time around, the company started from just a small idea born from a mother's battle to make sure her baby was warm enough (but not sweating under all the layers) during their outdoor adventures through the cold NYC winter.

A few years (and a couple of new babies) later, these two moms have turned that small idea into a company with an innovative product that solves this very problem by providing warmth without the bulk. The hi-tech fabric (a fabric with wicking capabilities) used to make their "Warmsie set" makes them so very practical for cold winters everywhere completely solving the bulk issues associated with winter "strollering" and walking with bundled baby in a carrier.

For suburban moms, the "Warmsie" makes strapping into the carseat during the winter so much easier for mom, and much more comfortable for baby. And the styling of the "Warmsies" makes them so cute it would be a shame to consider them just "underwear". For more about how to wear the "Warmsie" (and to see great pictures of adorable children wearing the "Warmsie"), check out their website.

The winner of this Freebie will receive a "Warmsie" set (a $40 value) in their choice of color and size (0-4 months through 3T) and just in time for winter!
If you are planning to be outside with your little one at all during the chilly winter, your warmsie will be put to good use.

If you don't live in a place that has what my husband calls a "real winter" (he's not bitter at all about living in So CA), check out the "Warmsie" made in a lighterweight fabric which is great for cool (not just cold) weather and pass this along to friends and family who enjoy the wintery outdoors!
Oh, and just to give you a heads up, if you don't win the freebie, all Tales readers can get FREE SHIPPING on their Snug-a-Bug order through November 25th! Just enter the code: TALES into the comment box at checkout and the shipping cost will be refunded back to you.

Now make your comment!

****P.S. If anyone knows "Belle", the winner of our last Freebie from Sign Babies, please let her know that she needs to contact us, and quick (by this weekend) or else we will have to pick a new winner. In the history of Freebies from the Crib, we have never had a non-responsive winner before. Hopefully she is just taking time away from the computer to do other productive things with life instead of ignoring us! *****

How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Friday(11/16), 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(11/17) 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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Everyone IS Pregnant

Okay so it looks like Kage was right, everyone IS pregnant. We had a bit of a dry spell here on Tales for a while, but a few of us are now back in the baby business. Michelle our "Dr. Mom" and Beth, our "newbie mom" (not so new anymore!) have just recently announced their pregnancies. Congrats girls!
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Beck Fireside

The Sister Beck fireside was last night.

My part in it was very minimal. I sang a hymn right after the opening prayer and then Sister Beck's brother (who lives in our stake) introduced her, and she gave her talk and it was over.

I heard most of her talk...got a little distracted by my youngest towards the end. She began with her love of the gospel which was about the only time she got a little choked up. She reiterated her testimony of standing strong and immovable with our faith and families and did mention that "we do families better than anyone else."

She polled the audience: who grew up members? who baptized in last 5 years? who speaks another language? who has lived outside US? Who is single? who is attending with their family? etc. She wanted to get to know her audience better.

I enjoyed hearing her speak about her experiences in Brazil. She lived there for 5 years as a young girl when her father was the mission president, and went back again as part of her General YW calling. She spoke about how much the church had grown in one generation and spoke about the temple dedication and jubilee. It was the perfect story for us because we just had our jubilee, and we have members of many nations in our stake.

She then spoke a bit about family home evenings growing up and sharing the Book of Mormon with her granddaughters. That's the last I remember, though I do know she looked up some scriptures with the audience as well.

I found her to be relaxed and funny. Her husband was way funny. He winked at the audience when acknowledged and chewed gum with his arms folded the entire time...very casual, not what I expected at all.

I decided after watching her speak that the assignment of speaking at general conference must be quite overwhelming. And the amount of time she is given to speak is SO brief, that it is not a time for us to get to know her. In this fireside, where she had 45 minutes, she could be relaxed and make a joke and pause to smile. I found it much more meaningful than the brief statement she was able to make at GC. I think she might have been trying to be a bit poetic in both her General RS and GC talks...by using phrases repeatedly..."Mothers who know..." and for some of us it did not quite land.

I do respect her for this huge assignment she has, and I do sustain her and I desire to support her. I just kept thinking of my own mother who is 1 year younger than her, and sort of has the same haircut, and seeing her in that light made her much more real.

And she was wearing separates.
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If We Die, Who Will Take Care of Our Children?

I don't even like thinking about the possibility of dh and I both dying. It's just too sad. But, I know it is a good idea to make plans even if the scenario you're planning for is quite unpleasant.

Here are some things I've thought about - Are the grandparents too old? How will siblings react if you choose one over the other? Should you choose a neighbor, so children don't have to be completely uprooted from their life (assuming they are older and in school)? How do you weigh shared values, financial stability, family connection and geographic location? Should the chosen guardians also be given full control over any money that is left to the children, or should the money be managed by a different person? Should you name one person instead of the couple just in case their marriage hits the rocks? And it seems like whomever the choice, you probably have to reassess the choice every so often because circumstances can change so often. Right? And once the decision is made do you tell your children about it? Or let them help in the decision process? I guess this might depend on their age at the time?

For those of you out there who have already written out their wills, how did you decide who will be named guardian of your children if you die? What was your thought process?

It's such a hard choice, don't you think?
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Sign Babies Winner

And the winner of the November Freebie, a 6 pack of ASL flashcards from Nancy at Sign Babies, is....

Belle, who said "this will make my day so much easier!" Congrats Belle and good luck with your signing! Email us your your mailing address yo talesfromthecrib at gmail dot com and we'll pass the info onto Nancy at Sign Babies!

If you are still interested in picking up a pack of flashcards (or a 6-pack like the winner!) now is the time to do it. The six-pack is on sale for a limited time for $49.99 (instead of $65.99). And Nancy's book, Baby Signing 123 -- the ultimate in understandable ASL references for you and your child-- is also on sale right now too. I keep thinking what a great gift this would be - the book and the flashcard pack of "first words" - for an expecting friend (or new mom) for Christmas? Baby shower?

You should also check out the article's at Nancy's website on how to get started teaching your child ASL here. And remember, signing is not just for babies look here for articles about signing with older children.

Thanks Nancy!!

You can hear Nancy and her 3 mommy cohorts on the Babies and Moms Radio show live every Friday morning at 9am MT or anytime at babiesandmomsradio.com.
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Friday, November 09, 2007


I heard the news on the phone every time. First that she had laid down on the tracks with a friend, then as the weeks and months passed, the news of her progress.

She didn't die when the train hit her. She lived. She was broken and battered and brain dead, but alive. I got a few parts of the story...teenager, considered a high-risk teen, drugs, all those phrases that go along with THAT kind of news.

She passed away a few months after the attempt.

Every time I read about her or talked about her or heard more about her, I would just listen or read and say "uh-huh." and "what?" and "oh my." And I would touch my heart and I would watch my daughters wrestle or dance or watch tv or eat their food. I pictured her when she was that age, for that is when I met her, that is when I knew her, and then I imagined what happened, what changed between then and now.

How is it possible that these little darlings that want to tell me everything: "I smell somefing," "I have a boo boo. KISS IT!" "Dance, Mommy!", "Mom, can I tell you about what happened today with Brian?" ...that want me to read to them, watch movies with them, dance with them, talk with them....how is it possible that it can change so drastically?

What am I in for? What have I done? What will I do? How will I keep the communication lines that are a little TOO open now ("Mom, I got a little bit of poo in my underwear" Great honey...thank you.), open FOREVER. How will I keep them close and safe? How do I know that when I tell them to stay away from this, that, and for sure all of THAT, that they will stay away? How will I know when they are sad, in pain, hurting? There is so much that could go wrong....it's overwhelming.

Then today, I watched my daughter in ballet class, and her teacher about the age of my friend from days gone by who is now resting in peace: So graceful, so beautiful, the world at her feet. She danced so beautifully and my daughter tried to imitate EVERYTHING she did to a perfectly graceful T....and I saw my daughter as her teacher, and I saw all of her glorious potential and I started tearing up, until the dance was over and my daughter came running to me, hugging me so hard that my hot cocoa spilled all over me. And I didn't get mad.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Plug in the Iron ; )

After the barrage of posts across the bloggernacle about Sister Beck's recent talks in both the relief society and general conference, including our blog here, I find this upcoming weekend in Queens to be quite... interesting.

Sister Beck is coming to the birthplace of Tales. Yes. She will be speaking to us this upcoming weekend. When I heard that announcement, my first reaction was: Oh, SNAP! It will be really fun to see her and hear her in-the-flesh. It is going to be a really great opportunity for me to actually see, listen and feel what she has to say.

I am especially excited about the fact that our audience happens to be in the most diverse zip code in the US of A. It will be fascinating to see what the spirit moves her to say in the moment...but I guess that might not happen if she has a pre-written talk.

To further the situation, I was asked just today to provide a special musical number for the fireside. Those of you who know me well know that I do not appreciate the, what I consider to be, last-minute notice, but of course I said yes.

And immediately my mind went to that phrase: "clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection". I do own a few dresses. Will it be ok, however, if I wear separates? It IS a fireside after all, and not Sacrament Meeting (which was the context in which she used the phrase in her talk). And I decided that yes, it's ok. And I will wear them, probably without ironing them first.

I am bringing this up only to say that after reading over Mothers Who Know once again, and finding that I fall quite short of her expectations, especially in the "Mothers Who Know Do Less" requirement of her talk, that I am still going to attend her fireside with an open heart, and try to put myself in her shoes, try to see her perspective.

Also, I see this musical number as an opportunity to speak directly to her my testimony, my needs, my soul. I bear my testimony best when I am singing, and maybe my voice will communicate to her that I don't fit the exact bill of what she thinks I should be, and that's ok. I will be singing my favorite hymn, Where Can I Turn for Peace? I'll let you know how it goes.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Freebies from the Crib: Sign Babies

When Nancy Cadjan’s first son was born, the doctor who delivered him took one look at the little guy and said, “This baby has an attitude.” She was right. Her son had something to say and was so frustrated because he could not communicate with his mom. Nancy had been studying baby signing for many years and decided to sign with her son from that first day.

During her experience of signing with her son, Nancy realized that there were no books or printed materials designed for signing with babies. She created her own “book” in a photo album by gathering pictures of the things she and her son were signing. A friend at work saw the “book” and said, “If there is not one of those out there, you have a product and I am your first customer!”

Nancy took on the challenge and created the Sign Babies ASL Flash Cards, the first ASL-based baby signing flash cards designed for the youngest signers. Unlike every other product out on the market, Sign Babies does not require a child to read to use the cards (that seems like a big DUH, but really this was the first time). The cards are illustrated with a child-friendly drawing of the item or person that the sign refers to. The back has an easy-to-understand illustration and hint to teach the parents how to make the sign. Other ASL books use a cryptic language to describe signs (open and close the dominant O-hand) instead of saying something like “squeeze your hand like you are milking a cow.”

I love Nancy’s rule for everything she does in her business -- Everything has to be understood at 3 am. It's become her rule because most moms are up at 3 am when they realize that they want to know something or need to remember a sign. So, everything has to pass the 3 am test.

Her new book, Baby Signing 1, 2, 3 is an example of that. She divides baby signing into ages and stages so moms just need to learn the signs that are relevant at a specific age. And she literally wrote the book at 3 am after feeding her daughter (plus she negotiated the contract in the hospital after giving birth—a typical momtrepreneur thing to do).

I can't imagine doing anything that productive right after having a baby (besides taking care of the new baby of course and maybe throwing some food at the other children), but Nancy credits inspiration with the book’s great success (#1 among all ASL-based baby signing books). She says she never could have written it without prayer and inspiration since she was still recovering from her baby.

Nancy also does a weekly radio show called Babies and Moms Radio for 1 million moms who tune in on the internet or take her with them on their iPods. Nancy and her 3 "mommy" co-hosts chat about all the things moms chat about and with 17 kids among them, they're full of mom wisdom to pass along plus product reviews and lots of freebies too. You can catch it live on Fridays at 9 am MT on Grapevine Talk Radio or you can listen to the podcasts here or download them from iTunes. I downloaded a few podcasts to check out while I clean the house tomorrow.

So now on to the freebie, Nancy at Sign Babies is offering the winner of November's freebie a 6 Pack of Sign Babies ASL Flash Cards (valued at over $66). The pack inlcudes 150 signs covering everything from food to family to fun.

Jen did a great report on the study Effects of Sign Language on Hearing Children's Language Development a while back here on Tales and I know we have had repeated comments about teaching sign language to children on many other posts, so I don't think I have to sell you on how cool signing with your kids is. I caught a glimpse of the ASL magic with Pumpkin after we taught her just 3 words. I can't wait to explore it more with the next baby. And I can only imagine how helpful these flashcards would be in helping parent and child learn to communicate better. So make your comment now!!!!

How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Friday (11/9) 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 (11/10) 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?

If you are a momtrepreneur with a freebie to offer, let us know at:
talesfromthecrib (at) gmail (dot) com
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Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Management of Clothes

Managing my son's clothes is quite the task. I'm looking for advice. Changing seasons and sizes almost puts me over the edge.Every brand has different sizing making it especially difficult to put things in storage. Right now I have things boxed by pj's, onesies, outfits, pants and shirts for 0-6 months and 6-12 months. The problem is, what about that 4-6M sweater that fit my son when he was 11 months old? Where should that go? What if the next child fits into it when he is 3 months old?

Then there's the whole seasonal drama - do I store by season? Season and Size? Throw everything into one box and see what fits if and when I ever have another boy? And I only have one child. I can't imagine how I am going to do this with multiples. And throw a different sex onto that? Yipers. I need a system.

So I'm coming here looking for ideas on how to manage childrens closets. (Toys and books and bedding is a monster for a different post). Advise away people!
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