Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ornament Soup

Ornament Soup

Empty pot
Wooden spoon
A couple of ornaments stolen from the X-mas tree

Place ornaments in empty pot and stir with spoon. Take ornaments out. Stir empty pot. Put ornaments in. Stir again. Offer a taste to everyone in sight.

This was Boo's creation while I was fixing dinner last night. Mmmmm...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out With a Bang

Well, this year is going out with a bang. Life really does throw some crazy surprises sometimes. However, it's in the "rolling with the punches" that we become who we are.

Our latest surprises? Our poor bunny Oscar died. He could not fight the infection any longer I think. We came downstairs this past Sunday to find that he was no longer with us. It's very sad. His cage is gone. We moved it out. Boo hasn't asked about Oscar at all, which seems strange to me. Perhaps somehow he knows - at least to the extent that a two year old could know something like this. He was a wonderful and loving pet. He will be missed.

Our other surprise happened Sunday evening. We were on a shopping trip and our car breathed it's last breath, revved for the last time, or however I should say it. We knew this was coming, so not a total surprise. But we didn't expect it to be quite so soon. So for the second time in the last five years we find ourselves temporarily without transportation. How I miss the days when T and I had two vehicles between us. I long to get back to that so that losing one car is not total loss of transportation and freedom. It will happen though. We just need to practice our patience.

So here we are. A few days later and all is calm. I had some good news health wise yesterday. So it was nice to have a positive thrown in there. My daycare kiddos are back today. That's another positive. After not having them for an entire week, it's nice to see them all today. We went out and played in the snow today. Twenty minutes to get ready for twenty minutes of outdoor play! It was a blast though. The kiddos loved the toboggan that T picked up for the daycare earlier this month. There's even a little hill in the backyard courtesy of my sloppy gardening style. Basically it's leftover sod that was never removed from the yard before it started to break down and grow tall weeds during spring and summer. I'm sure that it looked very trailor trash. But now all covered in snow, it's the perfect size for a toddler toboggan hill. The kiddos loved going "wee" down the hill!

I have a lot to look forward to in the new year. My business is going great and I feel confident that it will continue to do well. I have some exciting things that I'd like to add to the daycare, all in good time though. I will be ending this year on a very positive note, spending time with my family and with my wonderful nieces on New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Mish Mash

A little of this and a little of that is probably what this post is going to evolve into, hence the title of "mish mash."

First of all, the daycare has been going extremely well. Better than I could've hoped actually. It's the first time in years that I've been able to truthfully say that I love my job. Yes, I have my "want to pull my hair out" days, but that's life. I have wonderful kiddos and families. It's so wonderful to see Boo have so many delightful children that he can count as friends. Granted, if he had his way, maybe he'd have his friends over a little less, but overall he does a wonderful job of sharing his home, toys, and his mommy with others. So this Christmas season I feel so thankful for the wonderful families and kiddos that I work with. Not only do I have great families, but I have filled every spot. It's hard to believe that five or six months ago I was wondering if I'd have to throw in the towel on the home daycare idea. It's been a huge exercise in patience and trust, but I do believe that God has taken care of us.

We've been crafting and creating X-mas and winter themed art this month. It's been so fun. We've also done a few Montessori-inspired activities with a X-mas theme. One of my favorites was sorting light bulbs into X-mas tree shaped silicone candy trays. It was a fun way to work on color recognition and sorting. The kiddos really seemed to enjoy it.

I took Boo to the $ store to pick out presents for important people in his life. This was fun, but I must admit that the experience was not quite the peaceful and perfect endeavor that I had envisioned in my head. I had such a vision of lovingly helping him make choices between this or that object for so and so. Instead I had a whiny toddler who wanted to look at everything for himself and didn't really care much about picking things out for anybody. Ah - toddlerhood in all of it's egocentric glory! We did end up choosing things, but the process was much more chaotic and stressful than I had pictured. Oh well. I'm still glad that we went though. Even if he doesn't quite "get it" yet, the idea of giving to others is something that I want instilled in my children even at a young age. So I guess enough experiences like the $ store experience will lay that foundation one little piece at a time. And perhaps one day I'll realize that he "gets it" and there won't be one defining experience that taught him about giving but a mish mash of chaotic, whiny, disorganized experiences all mushed together that instilled the value of charitable giving.

Sidenote- what's with my use of "mish mash" this month. Seems a bit much. Oh well.

Wally's coming along quite nicely. He seems as though he's starting to mellow a bit. I'm loving that. As he mellows more and more his time out of his crate is extended more and more. I dream of the day that he can wander freely in the evenings. Right now he's kind of like Wonderpup the wonderspaz when he's out. He can be a bit much. Even Boo finds him overwhelming much of the time. They are doing MUCH better together though. There was a time when having them in the same room together was a constant cry fest for Boo and a constant nip fest for Wally. I would say that Wally's definitely a non-nipper. This is saying a lot considering he turned into a little alligator for awhile after we brought him home! And he's so great with the daycare kiddos. He feels very protective of them. When the big people (aka parents) come in and start handling their children during pick up and drop off, poor little Wally goes a little nutso. It's a bit comical how he watches out for them. His crate was moved from the kitchen to the office, known as the "special room" to the kiddos. It's so nice for him to be more a part of things. The kitchen was a bit too isolating for him I think. And there's much more to absorb the sound when he barks in the office, versus in the kitchen where the sound just bounced around and gave me the world's biggest headache! I love my dog, but owning a dog is so different than I visualized. Not in a bad way, just different. My dog can drive me so insanely batty some days, but I still love him. In that way, he reminds me so much of a toddler! I never understood this until I became a dog owner. I'd always seen other people with their dogs, happily petting them, watching them perform tricks, and all of those cutesy things. But it's in the maddening times I think where the depth of your relationship with your pet develops. Practically anyone can love a dog when he is "behaving", but to care for a dog and love it when it's being infuriating is a whole new level of love. I think this is so similar to how I feel about parenting - the depth comes from the struggles!

Oh, we now have a three legged rabbit. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that. Poor Oscar had a tumor and had to have his left rear leg removed. He was supposed to have his staples out Monday, but he had an area that became infected. So he's on a different antibiotic and we go back tomorrow to see how he's doing. I really really hope the infection is gone. The vet talked about cutting further up if we can't get the infection to heal, but I don't know. I don't want to keep chopping the poor bunny. I'm just hoping he heals this time so that we don't have to think of alternatives. He's definitely more with it this week. I wonder if the pain medication he was on last week made him lethargic. He's hopping around, eating, drinking, and seeming more like himself. He's just having a harder time keeping himself clean. We've had to really step up the grooming in order to try to keep infection at bay. Hopefully we've done a good enough job of it this time around. So I'm hoping for no infection when we go to the vet tomorrow.

Right now kiddos are napping peacefully. Naptime - my favorite part of the day. My kiddos are so good about laying down and napping. Another thing to be thankful for!

Well, I guess it's time to stop writing and get wrapping. There's still lots of gifts to wrap. I'd like to get it done so that we can focus on getting the train/craft room ready. I guess I didn't mention that. We're using our second bedroom as a train/craft/someday school type of room (for when Boo starts his homeschooling). I'd also like to store extra toys/daycare materials/art supplies in there. Yes - it's going to have to be organized to the nth degree in order to accomodate all of that. So anyways, we've been piling bags of junk that have been gathered up around the house in this room. We've gotten through a lot of it in the last week, but we still have more to clear out in order to make way for the train table. There's now way the room will be finished before X-mas, but we just need to make it functional enough to put up Boo's train table, wrap it up, and stick a big bow on top. The boy is getting trains galore for X-mas. We ended up doing a train theme for his gifts. It was definitely not intentional. It just happened. Every single gift, with the exception of stocking stuffers, has to do with trains! I'm eventually going to get my sewing machine and supplies set up in this room. The idea is that if I don't have to spend 1/2 an hour finding and dragging machine and supplies out for sewing, I might actually sew? We'll see how that works out. I do miss sewing!

We have a slew of busyness coming upon us in the next few days. There's a lot of family gatherings. It'll be good times, but it will be busy and hectic. So I'm going to try to remember to stop and breathe, look around, and intentionally take in life around me. I'm going to try to enjoy the precious memories as they're happening and focus on my little one's face and expressions and words as he enjoys this X-mas season.

God Bless!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Connect with Respect

That's the phrase you'll read over and over and over in The Happiest Toddler on the Block. And it's not written in an idealistic and unattainable manner. Dr. Karp has done something wonderful. He has taken great ideals that I strive for in my parenting and laid them out in practical tools for parents.

As much as I write about discipline, I'm sure those that read know by now that I'm a huge fan of having many tools in the parenting toolbox. So many parents set out to not yell, shame, spank, be overbearing, and many other things that our society has come to see are ineffective and possibly damaging to children. But without replacing methods that were used on us as children, it's like trying to climb out of quicksand. You know you don't want to sink, but without tools there's nothing to grab hold of. The way I see it, the more tools that I have, the more I have to hold onto, and the more likely that I will not sink in my parenting. We all have setbacks and momentarily slipping up, or sinking a bit into the sand, is not the same thing as sinking completely and indefinitely. I am convinced that our overall tone and attempts at respectful, empathic, loving parenting matter much more. So the time that I lost it in the car when we were trying to get somewhere in a hurry is not going to "ruin" my child. Yay - huge sigh of relief. Just as we continually extend grace to our children as they develop and stumble a ton along the way, we must extend that same grace to ourselves. We're not going to do ourselves any good as parents if we beat ourselves up over our mistakes!

Anyways, I guess I kind of digressed a bit as I really wanted to write about Dr. Karp's methods, but it's an important point as I think many parents, including myself, struggle with the fact that they cannot be perfect or good enough as a parent.

So on to Dr. Karp. His book is AMAZING. If you read one parenting book in the next year, choose this one. I honestly believe what I'm saying. He's got a bit of everything in there. He talks about encouraging those behaviors that are working well, discouraging the annoying behaviors, and stopping the absolutely unacceptable behaviors. He talks a lot about time-ins and feeding the meter. He likens our childrens' need for love to a parking meter. It must fed all day long or you will have a problem. With the car it's a ticket. With a child, it's bad behavior. Children who feel loved and respected will behave better. This is common sense and something I truly believe, but he gives us practical ways to show our children that love and respect.

Over and over he talks about connecting with respect. When children are upset we've been taught to immediately distract, ignore, reason, and many other things that do not address the upset. He says we're all missing a step. We need to first acknowledge the child's feelings, however ridiculous or selfish or what not. Then move on to distract, reason, redirect, or whatever technique is appropriate for the situation. He gives a practical way of getting on a child's level and showing them that you get what they're wanting, feeling, and/or trying to say. I have seen would-be tantrums nipped right in the bud with this technique. Dr. Karp says that the reason children get louder when asking for what they want is often because they do not feel understood. You know the scenario. "cookie...cookie...(now the knees start to go up and down, the voice goes up a bit)...cOOkie...Cookie...COOOKIEEEEEE... No amount of "No honey", "not right now", "not until after dinner" seems to do the trick. Why? According to Dr. Karp's research and methods, the child thinks you don't "get' him. I will tell you that I have tried his methods in just such a situation and the loudness/intensity of my child immediately drops as he realizes he's been heard.

I could go on and on. But the reality is that I will not be able to fully describe his theories and techniques. Please, if you have a toddler, and you feel the need for some tools in your parenting toolbox, pick up this book! I wish I had gotten this book when Boo first moved into toddlerhood. It would've been immensely useful even way back then. Try it - I would bet just about anyone could take away at least one useful element and probably a lot more!

Friday, November 20, 2009

In Honor of Angel Baby

I realized that our baby would be approximately two months old if she were here (I write in the feminine to simplify, as we have no way of knowing). I'm posting this not as a pity party, but as a remembrance of a baby that was so beautiful that she sprouted wings and went to heaven right away.

I've realized that I have a strong desire to name this baby. But there's a lot of pressure in picking the perfect name. But I want my baby to have a name in heaven. Silly I know. And who knows how these things really work in the after life, but it's something that's important to me.

Ani Lucille Tribbett - Estimated Due Date 9/5/09, Flew to heaven around 1/31/09

Ani means "beautiful" and Lucille means "bringer of light". This seems appropriate as she was a beautiful light in our lives for a short while.

In her honor I'm re-posting the original poem that I wrote for her.

Peek-a-boo Angel Baby

Peek-a-boo baby

Oh where did you go?

Peek-a-boo baby

I long to hold you so

Tiny one, did you fly to


Mommy can’t hold you there

But God can.

Peek-a-boo baby

I’ll find you someday

On a cloud, on a star,

Beyond the Milky Way

Dear precious one

Until that time

Bask in God’s love

Which is truly divine

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feeling Lucky

My hubby and I went to a marriage conference recently and I feel very privileged to have taken part. It's called the Love and Respect conference. I think the man who put it together has struck gold.

Anyways, I definitely feel a new appreciation for who my husband is as a person. It's easy to see all of the things that are ugly about a person (and we all have those ugly areas), but wouldn't life be so much more wonderful if we worked extra hard to find the good?

I feel blessed for who my hubby is. He gets up everyday and cleans my daycare area for me so that I can rest before my daycare kiddos get here. He heads to a job that is not really his thing and works hard every day to support his family. He's got a great sense of humor, always wanting to laugh and he has a heart of gold.

Sure we've struggled in our relationship as we're going on seven years of marriage in February of next year. But I think it's in the struggles that we became who we are today. And it's not perfect by any means, but definitely enjoyable and something I would not want to do without!

Cheers - to marriage - sip sip (coffee this time of morning)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Happiest Toddler

I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on The Block by Dr. Karp. I'm not done with it yet, but I'm riveted. I have to say that I think this man has found a nugget of pure gold through his experience and research.

To be honest, I don't want to go into detail with his theories and techniques because I couldn't possibly do it justice without violating copyright laws. If you have a child under 4, get this book. I'm so convinced of its value that I've already ordered the companion DVD so that I can have that and the book available for check out to my daycare parents when I'm done with it. Amazing, insightful stuff!

The Happiest Toddler

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reminder to Self

Every once in awhile I try to reread some articles and resources that I've posted and/or looked at previously. I read this article this morning.

5 Steps

I try so hard to be loving and gentle in my approach to parenting. But we're all human, myself included. Sometimes I need reminders of how I want to approach mothering and techniques that will help me on my way.

Sometimes I need to be more consistent. For example, despite my love of the above technique, Boo is not always "helped" when he should be. This is especially true when I'm busy with other children during the day, feeding a baby, trying to get lunch on the table, and all of the other things I do in a given day. Or, and this makes me cringe just to write it, when it's the end of the day and I'm too plain pooped out to get up and deal with his discipline. Yes - I have my moments where I'm guilty of barking orders from the couch!

So I resolve to do better today. That's all anyone can do as a parent - admit inadequacies and work on them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Puppy Training Update

Well, we've had another training session. I must say that already Wally is a new puppy! The nipping problem? Pretty much gone. He still gets too wound up at times and nips, but that's the exception, not the rule. Yay Wally!

Currently we're working on sit, down, name recognition, "come", learning to walk correctly (i.e. no tugging on the leash, wandering off, etc...), "leave it"(teaching him to leave something that he wants alone). The BIG project right now? Grooming. He can't stand the nail trimming process. In fact he throws a little doggy tantrum when we try. The trainer cut his nails for me Monday and he went ballistic. So I get to hold him and pretend to trim his nails every night while he eats a treat.

I am really enjoying my time with Wally. Boo loves him. Boo loves to play fetch with Wally. Wally doesn't really bring the ball back, but he'll stand by while Boo picks the ball up and throws it again for him! It's so nice to see them interact together. Wally rarely nips/jumps at Boo anymore. He still occasionally has to be crated for it, but rarely. And it's usually because he gets too excited and jumpy.

I'm really glad that we decided to work with a trainer. She's really teaching us a lot and it'll be great to have a well-trained dog that can eventually interact more not just with our family but with the daycare kiddos also.

If anyone needs dog training, it's Tip Top Dog Training.

Checking in Midweek

Well, so far so good this week. Even though I ate a lot over the weekend, it came out of my extra weekly points that weight watchers allows. So I'm doing okay. I've been able to stay in my points every day and it's showing on the scale. Also, activity wise I think I'm doing okay. With having 5 children in the house 4-5 days a week I pretty much don't sit down all day. I'm constantly on the move. We still do our morning walk. Granted, this is not at all at a brisk pace. I have two walkers now and that really slows me down. But oh well. I try to go for another walk in the evenings with Boo and Wally. That walk's a bit faster since Boo rides in the stroller!

I'd love to get in some yoga during naptime, but right now I'm lucky if I sit down for 20 minutes during naptime (even though the kids sleep for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours). But there's so many things that need to get done in that time, plus there's a little baby that usually wants fed somewhere in there!

Anyways, it feels good to see some progress on the scale after buckling down and putting forth the effort!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nursing into Toddlerhood

There's been a lot of change for Boo in the past month. We've pretty successfully night weaned. He still wakes up now and then and cries for milk in the night, but not nearly so often. And it doesn't take him that long to go back to sleep. I'm also working on setting more parameters around his daytime nursing. I'm really wanting to keep it to an "at home" thing now. We have our usual times - naptime and before bed. Additionally, mornings where there's no daycare kiddos when he wakes up and sometimes in the evening when he wants the extra comfort.

I feel bad though. We went out the other night and stayed out past his bedtime. He could not handle the fact that he wasn't getting his milk while we were not at home. And in his defense, it was bedtime. I stuck to my guns, but I'm not sure that was the best decision. He was horribly upset. Perhaps a more sensitive decision would be to not plan to stay out way past his bedtime until he's gotten used to these new rules. At the time I didn't feel as if I was being horribly insensitive...just firm. Looking back on it, I think it was too much too soon.

We've also had other changes in the house. In the past two weeks I enrolled three kiddos in the daycare. Woo hoo - that's good news. And so far I think it's going really well. But of course that's a lot of change for a little 2 year old to handle. Now instead of sharing me with one child, he's sharing with four kiddos. Plus, one is an infant who gets to be held and fed bottles of milk. Boo has definitely noticed this and has tried to ask for his milk when the infant is being fed. A simple "not naptime" or "not now...after daycare" does the trick. He's pretty used to that rule.

"Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" is a book that I read awhile back and it's a great read for anyone who chooses to nurse into toddlerhood. One thing that is great about this book is that it talks about setting limits when children are over 2. The author supports mothers setting limits that they feel are necessary to make themselves more comfortable with nursing their toddler. I think it's important for mothers who choose extended nursing as the right path for them to realize that extended nursing does not mean they have to be a 24 hour snack bar. I've actually felt really great about the limits that I've set. I still enjoy our nursing relationship, but I was starting to feel a bit burned out on it. Having parameters that I'm comfortable with have made a huge difference in how I feel about nursing my little Boo right now.

Well, remember that busy daycare home I mentioned? I must get back to it. No one's awake from nap yet, but there's a few more things I'd like to do before they are!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Milk Goes Night Night

Well, we've been working on night weaning Boo. We've had 4 nights of night weaning so far and he's doing a wonderful job. My main reason for night weaning is that Boo has this habit of clamping down once he's asleep and I have one side that's constantly sore for that reason. I don't mind nursing through the night because he climbs into bed with us partway through the night anyways. So it's not like I have to do anything other than turn the right direction and I can do that while half asleep. That's much easier than having to get up and bounce him, rub his back, sing to him, or whatever other method that would be necessary to soothe him back to sleep. However, since I'm now in pain on one side all the time it's not relaxing to nurse at night because the pain wakes me up. So we've decided that now is the time.

The first night he screamed and screamed and screamed for 45 minutes. Poor guy. I kept repeating that "milk goes night night". He was not happy about it. But with some singing he finally went back to sleep. The second night he cried for maybe 20 minutes and then fell back asleep. The third night he cried a little bit, not for very long at all. Then he turned away from me and cuddled up to daddy. I wonder if that was his way of being mad at mommy! Last night he didn't wake up and ask for milk at all! I think he will be pretty well night weaned by the end of this week. Yay! I'm so proud with how well he's doing with this!

It's hard as a parent to withhold something that your child loves so dearly. But I can see that he's adapting very well. And he still seems very secure in our relationship. So I hope that means that I've done some things right along with all of my lovely mistakes!

Well, I'm off to vacuum the downstairs before daycare starts this morning. Fun fun!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Training Wally

Well, I don't remember if I posted or not that we have a new family member. His name is Wally and he's freaking adorable. He come home when he was about 10 weeks old. He's a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. His coloring is red and white. He's a sweetie, but he's definitely your typical mischievous puppy!

I'd been calling around and calling around looking for training for him. I finally found someone. She has a new to the business even though she's been doing it with her family for years. Her business is called Tip Top Dog Training. So far I like our trainer. She's come to our house once and I've been working with the plan that she gave me. We'll meet again next week to see how he's progressed and go from there. I love that her philosophy of dog training is very positive. She uses the clicker method for training dogs. I can definitely see already that Wally is going to do well with this kind of training. He seems very smart and quick to catch on.

We did have to start with a bit of punishment which neither I nor the trainer were thrilled with. But unfortunately Wally thinks he's running the show at this point. He's been nipping quite a bit and was not caring much about time-outs alone as a method for curbing the nipping. So when he nips I have to hold him down and say "Enough". Once he stops trying to get up and/or nip at me he's allowed to get up. Any jumping on or nipping at Boo and he's immediately crated. This results in a puppy who is carried to his crate practically every other minute that he is out of it! But with consistency Wally will get better and learn to keep himself under control when he's out so that he doesn't have to go to his crate.

It's really nice having one on one instruction right now. After another session at the house we will likely resume lessons at her facility. This will be great because she has a couple of different dogs that will be good for helping to socialize Wally and help him learn his "doggy manners" when it comes to interacting with his own species. Also, this will help him with bite inhibition.

Boo was not sure at all about Wally when we first brought him home. He has come a long way, and I mean a really long way! He loves Wally. He loves to give him biscuits. And if he was allowed shoes, legos, and anything else you can think of! I can see that they're going to be great friends. I'm so glad that we got a puppy while Ayden is so young. He was starting to develop a fear of dogs and I definitely don't want him to grow up afraid of dogs.

Puppy training is time consuming. Wow. I mean, really time consuming. But it is fun too. I enjoy our sessions together. They are a kind of stress relief for me. Already I can see how much Wally adds to this family. I think once he's properly trained he will be a million times more enjoyable than he already is. Getting a puppy was a huge decision and I'm so glad that we took the plunge!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Boy Bed

Boo is officially in his big boy bed. We have one of those cribs that converts to a toddler bed with a rail. The rail only covers a portion of the side though. I'm not sure if this is standard? Anyways, he's adjusted really well to it. He got some Cars toddler bedding from his grandparents for his birthday (we put in the request in anticipation of this He's super excited that "McKeen and Mater" are on his bed. He's done really well. I was nervous how naptime would go. Monday was easy. He fell asleep before getting in his bed, so I just carried him there and put him in bed. Tuesday he was not asleep before nap and went into his bed awake. He laid there quietly and looked at me. I left the room and told him "night night" which is what I've been able to do with his daytime naps. He usually plays for a bit and then falls asleep. So I was curious how we would do when he could get out of bed. Well, I plopped myself down in the computer chair in the office. The office is across the hall from the bedroom. Anyways, before too long I hear little feet pitter pattering across the floor. So I get out of the chair and he must've heard me coming. I saw a flash, and I mean flash, of Ayden streak past the doorway. By the time I got to the doorway and poked my head in he was laying in bed face down. He must really think he fooled me! Anyways, I told him that he had to stay in bed and go "night night". To which he crinkled up his face and let out one of those "I don't like this" cries. That was short-lived. I heard him talking to himself for awhile after I left the room again. After it'd been quiet for awhile I poked my head in and sure enough he was asleep!

Wednesday he went right to sleep and today also. Although today he didn't stay in bed. He fell out of bed. I was sitting here in the office goofing around online/cleaning the office when I heard a BIG thud followed quicklky by a cry. Poor little guy fell out of bed head first. He has a HUGE knot in the middle of his forehead. Nothing that a little TLC and cuddling didn't fix. But he's definitely awake. He's sitting here right now talking about his favorite subject - trains!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Whoa - did anyone else read it that way?

Okay, maybe I'm just being paranoid. But I was looking at my "Options" post after someone commented on it and realized that if read just the right way, that first paragraph could possibly be way misconstrued. Our marriage is fine. We weren't discussing options for that part of our life. Did anyone else read it that way? If what I meant!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Age of Two

Ah - we have arrived. The age of two in all of its independent glory. It's definitely challenging me to continue to grow as a parent.

I have watched my baby grow up before my eyes. It amazes me how much he's grown, even in the last year. He's transforming from a baby to a little boy.

Some of his current likes:

TRAINS - the boy is fascinated with them. Aren't we in the right place for We live relatively close to a set of train tracks, so we've taken him on occasion to sit in a parking lot and wait for a train. He loves to make trains out of his blocks, legos, whatever he can make a train with! Whenever he hears a train he must point it out. He loves to make the "choo choo" noise.

Wally - Finally, he is starting to like our puppy. Their relationship is still strained at times, but it's getting much better. He loves to give Wally treats.

The ABC Song - He LOVES this song and does a great job of singing it!

Talking - He's a talker. His vocabulary has exploded. He uses so many complete sentences now. I'm just amazed at how he's developed.

Reading - He loves to sit with mommy and daddy and read to us or be read to.

Gammaw and Papa Time - He loves his "Gammaw" and "Papa" time. When he gets to go bye bye with them, he gives hugs and kisses fast and then it's "bye" to mommy and he's on his way out the door FAST. I feel like chopped liver next to Papa especially. But I'm so glad they have that special relationship.

His Family - He loves to talk about his cousins. At random times he'll start naming them off along with his "Uncarley" and "Uhmissa".

Walks - He LOVES going for walks with mommy and Wally and "Nanial" when he's here.

Park - He loves to "wing" at the park!

Well, that's all I can think of for now off of the top of my head. I hope to update his blog at some point. But I'm waiting for film developing. I have film going all the way back to March of this year that needs to be developed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, I'll give you a bit of a clue as to what's really got me stressed. I don't want to go on and on and be whiny about it. It's too much of a habit for me to fall into whining when life isn't going my way. I'm trying really hard to break that habit.

So, without tons of detail, I'll just tell you that our "Plan A" for life isn't working out right now. T and I had a date night/business meeting in order to discuss our options. We're trying to be patient, but at the same time, one can only throw so much time, energy, and money into a plan that's not working before realizing it's time to go back to the drawing board. Granted, I'm not sure we've arrived completely at the "throw in the towel" point, but I'd say we're pretty darn close. So we've got some options that we're discussing for a "Plan B" and maybe even a "C" and a "D" the way that things seem to be going.

On a personal note, I think that my outlook on life and ability to function is tied too closely with what I would call "success". And unfortunately, my idea of "success" is tainted by our capitalist society, with its materialistic ways. Really, I have more success than some others. My success shouldn't be defined by a specific salary or lack thereof. It shouldn't be defined by what we have or don't have. There are successful things in my life if I look deeply enough. My marriage is successful, albeit insanely frustrating, difficult, and maddening, but still intact and growing. My child is a success in the mere fact that he is here and loving and wonderful and more than I could've ever asked for in life. My faith in God is intact, despite being raked over the coals on more than one occasion. It's incredibly freeing to me to think that some infinite being loves me enough to have created me and continues to put up with me. By all rights, I probably should've been struck by lightning by now!

Anyhoo, we're thinking outside of the box with our options. We've been brainstorming and are pretty much at a place of "anything goes." I do know this. Life is an adventure and is full of risk. I'm not willing to just sit around and be unhappy with the state of things indefinitely. Far too many people are willing to settle or give up because it's too hard or scary to change. We're ready to see where opportunity will take us. I will say that it's probably taking us somewhere more scenic and hopefully warmer (at least in the winter time). So we'll just see what happens!

Monday, July 27, 2009


I've been MIA for awhile. I'm not really sure why. I think this summer's been pretty tough and this duck is struggling to stay afloat. I won't go into the details. Suffice it to say that it's so difficult to be a wonderful, loving, and nurturing mother when one feels beaten down by life.

Anyhoo, I don't want to turn this into a negative post. With it being my first in awhile, I really just wanted to pop on and say "Hi."

Also, I realize that no matter how much life seems to take a toll, I have so much in being a mother. Having a sweet little boy does seem to give me an even greater reason to overcome life's obstacles. I owe him so much for that.

The thing about AP parenting that makes it wonderful isn't that any of us have achieved perfection, but that we keep striving to be better as parents. And being "better" as a parent will look different on different days depending on my capabilities. I realize that during periods of my life when I feel beaten down, I may not be capable of nearly as much as a mother as I am when I'm feeling more alive and optimistic and wonderful about things. It would be so easy on bad days to give into bad and lazy parenting practices. And I'm human. So I do - I have many moments of failure. Times where I yell and/or say things that I don't mean. Times where I move him off of the coffee table or diaper changing table for the millionth time that day and my hands are a bit rougher than I'd like as I move him. Or my voice tone is mean and scary instead of firm. Anyone who agrees with gentle discipline as a practice believes as I do - that scaring a child into compliance is not what will help a child to grow up healthy, happy, and spirited (in the good sense). The compliance might be more immediate when a child feels frightened, but the overall effect is damaging to the spirit. So, when I have lapses in parenting where I use threats, scare tactics, and other harsh methods I tend to get really down on myself. But I think the key is remembering that what's going to affect my child the most is the overall pattern of my parenting and not the day to day mistakes, if that makes any sense. And so I'm thankful that I've found this "AP ideal" to cling to, something to challenge me when things get rough, something to encourage me to continually strive for a loving, gentle, and nurturing approach that is respectful of my child as a human being. Having an ideal helps me to get back up after repeated failures. It's my own little map for this path called parenting.

Anyways, just some recent thoughts and I hope that I won't take too long for my next post!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teething - a reflection

Well Boo has most of his teeth now. We bought him a teething necklace early on in life and he's worn it ever since. Now granted, it's hard to know if it worked because he's worn it pretty much ever since he started teething. But I will say, other than a few restless nights here and there I can't really remember a time when he was horribly miserable from teething. So I feel like this teething necklace actually works. I wasn't sure what I thought when I bought it, but I figured if it didn't work he'd at least have a stylish necklace!

Anyways, here's a link to the site where I bought mine. There's lots of places online to order them. This place was cheaper than some others and I'm happy with the quality of his necklace.

Inspired by Finn

Friday, May 15, 2009

Really Proud

Well, I've been hard at work this week launching my website for my business. I'm really proud of it. It's not complete and I'm sure I'll add to it as the suggestions roll in and as there's a need for more information. But here's what I have right now.

Precious Gem Childcare

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Can Say "Yes"

Just thought I'd post about something that works sometimes when Boo says "no." I tell him Boo can say "yes mommy". Sometimes he still says no. But there's quite a few times where he will say "yes mommy" and do whatever it is I'm asking him to do.

I learned this approach years ago as an infant teacher and it is much more effective overall than the familiar line "Don't you tell mommy no." I think it's because it tells the child the exact response and behavior you're looking for instead of just telling them what you don't want them to do. Hmmmm...that sounds familiar.

Anyways, it works for me enough of the time that I thought I'd share.

Passing this on for a friend

Please read this. I'm passing this information along for a friend who works with youth in Aurora. I'm asking readers to consider taking a minute to vote and help this children's soccer field get funding. Thanks!

Hi Everyone,

A couple of months ago I nominated our soccer field to get a $15,000 renovation through Kellogs Frosted Flakes Plant a Seed Campaign. Out of 3500 fields that were nominated, we made it to the semifinals as one of the top 100 fields. Out of those top 100 fields 30 will receive the grand prize. I need your help to make this happen. 50% of our total score comes from how many votes we receive for our field from the public -thats you --- please follow the instructions below and vote to support our field of dreams. Thank you so much for your vote and support it means alot to me but more importantly to the children we serve.

Wait until box appears that says “Vote Now & Help Us Decide Where”

Click on those words

click on “vote now” in the center of the screen where Tony the Tiger is
Enter Aurora Township Youth Soccer Fields under “field name” & click search
Field should appear in upper left corner, click on “see more info”
scroll down to bottom of screen
select “vote for this field” – enter you birth date and hit submit – enter your email and the code shown and hit submit – vote every day as our final score is based on how many votes we can accumulate –it is 50% of our total score
You may “send to a friend” or “add a comment if you like”

Thanks again

Vicki Marques
Associate Director
Aurora Township Youth Services

Friday, May 1, 2009

Anger Management for Parents

I thought I'd follow up all of the discipline idea posts with some ideas on anger management. Let's face it. Even when we have the best intentions, our discipline method/style becomes inappropriate and/or harsh when we let anger get the best of us and don't maintain our self- control. So I decided to search the internet for anger management ideas for parents.

When Mom Has a Temper Tantrum

Managing Your Own Anger

I'd post more, but my toddler is starting to pull all of the books off of my bookshelf. Gotta run!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Permissive parenting v. gentle discipline

This is going to be a little blurb. I'm not up for a huge blog entry today. But I know that some are concerned that not using spanking and/or time-outs seems permissive. Let me be clear. There is a difference between permissive parenting and gentle discipline.

In a permissive household, parents tend to avoid conflict at all cost. Discipline and limits are often missing.

Here's a simple example. Child has been given two cookies for dessert. Child wants more - big suprise there. Child wines, stomps feet, and cries "cookieeeeee." A permissive parent would give the child another cookie in order to avoid the conflict. A parent who uses gentle discipline would let the child know that they can't have another cookie. Personally, I would keep it simple and say something like, "I know you want another cookie. I'm sorry. No more cookies." I'd probably repeat "no more cookies" a couple of times while my little one cries for "cookie." I might try distraction. Although, I've found that once my little one makes up his mind for another cookie he's nearly impossible to distract. If he won't be distracted then I may simply remind him "no more cookie" and turn my attention elsewhere. It doesn't take long for him to get over it. I don't try to reason with him, persuade him, etc... He's not even two - that would go nowhere! I just let it be and he's over it quickly.

Now granted, there are a lot of parenting issues that come up that seem larger than this cookie situation. But gentle discipline can be used in all kinds of situations to set limits. The difference between gentle discipline and permissive parenting is that there is a limit and the parent is willing to set it.

Another example is a toddler who repeatedly stands on the coffee table when that's not allowed in this house. Some might view this as outright disobedience and spank after they've had to remove the child several times - this would be more authoritarian in approach. Personally, I would not feel the need to punish as toddlers routinely test boundaries and also routinely forget instructions. It's part of their developmental level. However, the limit is still there. What this means is that I personally must get off my butt everytime the toddler is on the table and physically remove the toddler from the table. Usually I pair this with a verbal reminder of "feet go on the floor." I also look for ways to distract toddler and get the toddler involved in something other than climbing back onto the coffee table. A permissive parent would let the toddler stand on the table in order to avoid the conflict.

Anyways, I didn't expound as much as I'd like to, but I'm just a little tired this week. But I did want to write something about this as I know that gentle discipline is not permissive in nature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Toddler Discipline

Here's a couple of articles that I thought were good regarding toddlers:

Discipline for Toddlers

This next one is a great list of ideas. Some of them I've already tried, but I got some new ideas from reading this.

Ideas for Toddlers

I like the idea of teaching a toddler how to "touch" with just an index finger. I thought that was a great strategy. Usually Boo is allowed to touch and grab or not at all, but teaching him how to lightly touch with an index finger would help him to satisfy curiosity without putting whatever breakable object at risk. I'm thinking of his Grandma and Papa's house here. Talk about breakables everywhere. Good grief! :)

#7 in the touch category was also great. I'm great at saying "That's not for Boo", but not great with the follow-up of showing him what he can have. Sometimes I do, but I'm not nearly as consistent and good at that as I could be. Honestly, a lot of the time it's out of sheer laziness! Sometimes I don't want to get off the couch and find him something that he can have. Granted, this is not usually at home. Since I do home daycare, pretty much everything within reach in the downstairs of our home is for him. But this happens more when we're out and about, at relatives, in the community, etc...

#1 in the stopping activity section has worked well for me. When we go to the park Boo says "bye bye" to the park, the swings, etc...I use this pretty much every time we leave somewhere that he's been enjoying himself. So far it's worked really well. Of course I'm probably jinxing it now.

#5 in that same category is a good one. For example, when I tell Boo and my daycare kiddo to "clean up toys", they'll sometimes sit and look at me and continue playing. I usually get much better cooperation when it's "Let's clean up so we can go outside, eat lunch, fill in the blank." Granted, this doesn't always work. And there's not always something that will be rewarding to them afterwards. Sometimes we clean up just to clean up and we're not going anywhere or eating anything. The clean up song helps, but even that's not guaranteed. I've found sometimes I have to physically hold their hands, use hand over hand to help them pick up a toy and put it in a basket. Then, with that level of help, they'll often jump in and pick up. And then sometimes, I get no help at all and I just model picking up the toys while they play. With an older child, of course I would be comfortable with some sort of logical consequence for not picking up toys, but with toddlers I'm comfortable just modeling the appropriate behavior for now.

Anyways, I won't go on and on, but I thought the article had a lot of neat ideas. I'm definitely going to try some of them that I haven't tried yet.

I plan to write a blog entry on natural/logical consequences and how it is different from permissive parenting. However, my brain is feeling too tired for that right now. I want to do the topic justice. So in the meantime enjoy these additional links.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Gentle Discipline Resources

I was hoping to post a new resource every day until Spankout Day, but I didn't get that done. But anyways, here's a few things that I found.

This first link is actually a foster parent training link, but it's about Natural and Logical Consequences. I love natural and logical consequences. It just makes so much sense to me. Anyways, take a look if you like. It's a little presentation that you have to click through. I didn't read through the quiz questions, but you could if you wanted to.

Natural and Logical Consequences

This one also talks about natural and logical consequences as well as some guidelines.

Natural and Logical

This is some food for thought on time outs.

Time out

Some more food for thought on time outs.

Why Not Time-Outs

Well, that's quite a few links for now. Grab some coffee, kick your feet up, and enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Article from Get Off Your Butt Parenting

This is an article I found while looking for sources to post between now and April 30th. This is an interesting article in that the author points out the extremes to which spankers and non-spankers polarize. I've definitely seen and felt this. Meaning that to the non-spanker, when a spanker's child is having behavioral problems it's because they're spanked. Likewise, to the spanker, when a non-spanker's child is having behavioral problems it's because they're not spanked. And really, what's important is the whole package. What else is the parent doing? What other methods of discipline are routinely used in the home? Does this parent find ways to incorporate positive discipline?

Now, granted, my position on spanking is still the same. I would never advocate for it and I don't personally believe in spanking. However, I do have much loved family and friends who have chosen to spank and that alone would never make me think of someone as a "bad parent."

Anyways, without further ado, here's a link to the article:

Let's Not Talk About Spanking

And, for kicks and giggles, here's an article about GOYB (Get off your butt) parenting.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 30th is Spankout Day

Ever heard of Spankout day? I came across this recently. Here's the definition copied straight from the website that I came across:

SpankOut Day USA was initiated in 1998 to give widespread attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment of Children) sponsors SpankOut Day USA on April 30th of each year. All parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children on this day, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools.

(Taken from The Center for Effective Discipline)

Anyways, I just wanted to put this out there for those who might be willing to give it a try. It's just one day. It'll give parents who participate a chance to maybe learn some new ways of dealing with frustrating behavior. I've already got some gentle parenting links on this page for those who might want to learn about some alternatives. I'd love it if a few people would give this a try.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I have no daycare kiddos today as Boo is sick. So I've been rearranging today, when I'm not sitting and holding Boo anyways. T and I had decided that we wanted to change around the upstairs. The arrangement had been a bedroom for Boo and a bedroom/office for me and T. That has not been working well. In our bedroom we had a computer desk, a huge bookshelf, a dresser, a printer stand, and a bed. And let me tell you, it's not a big bedroom. So, it's just been too cramped and almost impossible to keep clean because there's just too much stuff that goes into one little room. Boo is pretty much never in his bedroom. He naps in there during the day, but we still cosleep at night. So this is what we decided. We nixed Boo's bedroom as it's never used. He's at the age where he really doesn't want to go into his room to play by himself, know what I mean? That will come later. So we moved our bed into his room and we now all share a bedroom. So what used to be me and T's bedroom/office is now only going to be an office. Boo's toyshelf from his bedroom was moved into the office so that he has stuff to play with if we're spending time in there at the computer.

Now T will have room for his art desk in the newly created office. Eventually we'd like to add one of those little children's easles to the room so that Boo can create alongside daddy or mommy.

Anyways, I'm digging the new bedroom as I'm excited about being able to go to sleep at night and not see the piles of junk on the computer desk. And I think this arrangement makes way better use of the space in our upstairs. By the time Boo is actually wanting a room to play in I'm sure we'll have moved anyways. So this seems a much better arrangement for our family right now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun with books

I've found a line of books that is absolutely wonderful for reading with my little one. What better way to enhance attachment with your children than sitting and reading together. In fact, these are some of my favorite moments with Boo. He loves sitting on mommy's lap while I read to him. Anyways, he focus of this book company is on providing quality storytelling with quality art. I can tell you firsthand that the books are amazing. I'm working on building up my own collection. They also carry some wonderful music CDs called Putamayo Kids. I use them on a daily basis in my daycare and Boo LOVES them. The music CDs feature music from different cultures that appeal to children and they're nice because it's great music and not that jarring, abrasive sound sometimes found in children's music CDs. I've got some of their board books and love them. A paperback that I bought is "Magic Train Ride" - LOVE it, LOVE it, LOVE it. Boo, my little one, asked for it "agaim" and "agaim" and "agaim". I'm actually considering basing the theme of his second birthday party on it as there's lots of room with the book to work in crafts, activities, etc...

Anyways, I'll stop gushing now. They've got free shipping this weekend. There's a banner on the right you can click on if you'd like to browse and get free shipping this weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chores - What Do You Think?

I was talking with a friend on the phone the other day and asked her out of curiosity how she handles chores, allowance, that sort of thing around her house. I really thought her approach was great so I thought I would share. And to the person that I spoke with, feel free to comment if I screw up some detail of this.

Basically, the approach is that a child has some sort of household chore that contributes to the family in a significant way. This could be dusting, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc...But something that contributes to the house as a whole. This is not a paid chore. This is expected as a contributing member of the family. In addition, if a child is interested in making some money, there are some extra things that a child could do around the house in order to earn money.

I LOVE this approach and am going to try it when Boo is old enough. Although, I do try to incorporate him now as he's able. Here's what I love. I love that the child is contributing to the family. To me, this seems as though it would incorporate a strong sense of family, community, helping one another, etc...It seems like it would help to instill the value of family and relying on family. I like that it's NOT paid. I think the danger in rewarding every little thing a child does is that it can lead to a sense of entitlement and/or a manipulative mindset. I do because I want this, that, or the other. Or I don't do because someone else will do it for me. Instead, I think children need to learn to give of themselves to their family because it's the right thing to do and experience that internal reward that comes from contributing and being a part of something larger than yourself. It seems that overusing extrinsic rewards robs children of the opportunity to learn the value of intrinsic rewards.

I have seen this first hand when I worked in a residential facility that used a behavioral point program. Every behavior had a consequence, good or bad. And children did learn to "behave well", especially the older ones who had been at this facility for awhile. But only when someone was looking who could award the appropriate points. In short, they learned to manipulate to get what they wanted. They did not internalize many values that I would want my child to internalize. It was quite sad actually. That's an extreme example as most parents do not have their children on a point card or some other such overly structured method. However, I have to wonder even about sticker charts and the like. Now I'm not saying that those things never have a place. Like many things, perhaps used in moderation.

There is some research out there and some books that are on my "I'd like to read" list that delve into this subject. Here's a link to one of the books that I'd like to read. I know there's another one, but I can't remember the name.

Punished by Rewards

And back to the original post of chores and my friend's approach. I do like that there are some extra things that a child can do to make money. I strongly feel that children need some way to make money from an early age so that they can learn money management skills early under the safe guidance of their parents.

Anyways, thoughts anyone? And, to the friend who uses this approach, if I've left anything important out or you'd like to expound on your approach, feel free!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Conference

Well, the conference was pretty great. It was long and exhausting, but in a good way. It was a bit of a challenge being at sessions with a toddler, but lots of other moms had young children with them also. I think Boo enjoyed seeing and playing with the other children. I found myself juggling attending to Boo and listening to the speakers, but I think I came away with some great information. An unintended result is that I came away with increased confidence in my ability to mother my child in a manner that is appropriate and loving.

Some of my favorite sessions were Nursing Fashionably in Public, Babywearing why and how, and The Science Behind Attachment Parenting.

I won a sling too! That was pretty exciting. I entered a raffle and won a sling. Boo seems to like it. It allows him to be on the side of me - where I'd be carrying him with my arms if I was carting him around somewhere. The babycarrier that I brought with us to the conference was my Ergo carrier. I LOVE this carrier - it's so comfortable for my back and it's my carrier of choice when I know he's going to be in there awhile. He really enjoys being on my back too. I have my homemade wrap that I never use. I figured out why at my Babywearing session. I need to cut the width of my fabric in half. It's just way too wide, which makes it incredibly cumbersome to use.

Anyways, it was a good time. It was so great to see so many other mothers wearing their children around and nursing their toddlers. Sometimes I feel a bit like the "lone ranger" because of my parenting choices. But that's a result of the culture I live in. I would fit right in other places in the world. So it was nice to feel like I "fit" for an entire weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Off To My La Leche League Conference Today

As I posted previously, I'm going to a local LLL conference. I'm commuting with the local LLL leader. I'm super-excited. It will be like "mommy school", "lactation school" and some other things all rolled into one. I'm really looking forward to expanding my knowledge in the field of breastfeeding and attachment parenting. One of the sessions I signed up for is Attachment Parenting focused and it's taught by Dr. Bob Sears - Dr. William Sears' son. I'm super excited for that one. I think this will be a nice weekend to spend with Boo and to focus on my continuing education. It's something positive that I can throw my thoughts and energy into while feeling the loss of my pregnancy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quality of Midwifery Care

Many of you know that for my pregnancy with Elfie I went to a midwife instead of an OB. I had an OB for my pregnancy with Boo. I have to say that even though things ended badly (I miscarried), I loved the midwife that I was working with. The quality of care that I received was amazing. Early on, when I was having some issues, I called her late at night and we talked about what was going on with my body and what could possibly be happening. She explained some options to me as far as how to proceed and I went from there. What I really loved is that she explained my options to me and left the decision with me. Sometimes medical professionals have a way of telling clients what to do, rather than empowering clients to make their own decisions. Granted, there are some emergency situations where their wouldn't be time for something like that and that's when it's important to have a provider that you trust. But most medical decisions are not immediate crisis situations, even if some medical professionals try to make us feel that way!

After I miscarried my midwife gave me a big hug and gave me her condolences. She was very supportive and encouraged me to call her if I need anything. A few days later she called to see how I was doing. Her voice shook as she explained her sorrow over what had happened and how she wishes she could've done something, but knows that she couldn't have. To me that's what makes her a truly great provider - she cares. I like to think many in the medical profession care, and perhaps they do and aren't great at showing it.

Anyways, while the whole experience of having a miscarriage sucked, I have to say that the care I received was truly amazing. It was holistic, natural, and nurturing.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Poem for Elfie

Peek-a-boo Angel Baby

Peek-a-boo baby
Oh where did you go?
Peek-a-boo baby
I long to hold you so

Tiny one, did you fly
To Heaven?
Mommy can't hold you there
But God can

Peek-a-boo baby
I'll find you someday
On a cloud, on a star
Beyond the Milky Way

Dear precious one
Until that time
Bask in God's love
Which is truly divine

Replaced Blog

I replaced Sexyby30 with Sexy-duck. Given recent events, I'm restarting my weight loss journey and I don't have as much time before 30 now, so I want to be realistic. And now I can stick with my duck theme. So feel free to check out the new blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

La Leche League Conference!!!

Woohoo...I'm officially signed up for the La Leche League conference this month. YAY! Three days of breastfeeding/parenting/La Leche League education! Dr. Jack Newman is going to be there for the first day. I'm super excited to hear him in person. I watched some videos on his website to help me through some breastfeeding issues I had when Boo was younger. This will be a great weekend. I'm going to be commuting with the local LLL leader, so I'm excited to get to know her better also.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Playful Parenting

I've been working on the book Playful Parenting for some time. It's a really good book, but I can only read a bit at a time because there is so much to absorb. Normally I read stuff at breakneck speed, but I'm restraining myself with this book because I really want to soak it all in.

It's a very good resource and I think it would be helpful to a parent of any age child. I imagine this will be a book that I will reread a few times as Boo ages. And I will probably pick up on something new every time I read it. There's just that much good information in it.

Here's a link to the author's website. There's a picture of the book and a description of it there:

Playful Parenting

Friday, March 6, 2009

Struggling to be gentle and positive

I don't know why but I'm really struggling with being gentle and positive today. I just want the kiddos to behave like angels and make my day easy for me...LOL! Honestly, they're doing nothing fuse is short today. I think I'm just feeling stressed over some financial things coming up this month. We have a lot going on all in the same month and I'm struggling to wrap my mind around where we're going to come up with all of the money that we need. :(

I think that's where being a parent can really stretch a person. Gentle, considerate, respectful when I'm feeling problem. Gentle, considerate, respectful when I'm stressed and feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. MUCH harder. Deep breaths help!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The new banner on the right side of the screen

I found this company that is doing amazing things when it comes to children's literature. It's called Barefoot Books. If you click on the banner your browser will go there. Anywhoo, their focus is on quality storytelling combined with quality art. They have books for a wide variety of ages. I read an article about a woman who works for their company in my latest issue of Mothering magazine. After looking up the company and looking through their materials, I thought that this is something I'm comfortable promoting. I look forward to stocking up on their books, which really are beautiful. Also, they have some great music. The interesting thing is that I've fallen in love with this musical CD series called "Putamayo Kids" that has a multicultural music focus. I have several of them - African Playground, World Playground, Animal Playground, Dreamland something or other. Anyways, Barefoot Books also sells these! They even sell some plush animals, puppets, floor puzzles, etc..They also have a Books for Africa program that sends children's books to children in Africa.

Right now I just plan to build up my library and get to know their books and music. Should you decide to place an order, I'd love it if you'd go through my link as I'll get credit for it! I'd love to hear back on what people think of the books.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Return to Wool and a Possible Return to Nighttime Cloth Diapering

Well, you may or may not remember that we gave up nighttime diapering awhile back due to Boo waking up smelling like ammonia every morning. Ugh - gross! I tried stripping the dipes countless times to no avail.

However, today I was reading some information from Green Mountain Diapers that I got after ordering some prefolds from them for new baby. And I think I've now got some good ideas for tweaking the wash routine. So I'm going to give nighttime diapering a try over the weekend and see what happens. I can't really try it through the week as I don't have time to bathe Boo in the morning before daycare if he smells of ammonia.

Also, I had previously decided to give up wool because it's so high maintenance. However, I was looking on the bottle of my wool wash and saw that there were instructions for a washing machine. I have only ever handwashed my wool as that's pretty much what I've read/ been told. And I thought, what the hell...why not? So, I threw in some things that needed to be washed with wool wash. I put them on low in the dryer until they were damp and then I laid them out to dry. So much easier and they smelled great - no shrinkage either. I never felt like I got my wool very clean with handwashing and it took days to dry.

So, now that I've decided I like wool again I've found a pattern for shorties. I'm going to make Boo some for spring/summer. For those unaware, shorties are knit shorts. Basically you can put knit wool over a fitted or a prefold diaper and it acts as a diaper cover. Wool is known for being extremely absorbent. It can be reused several times before needing to be washed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So NOT earth-friendly

So about a year and a half ago I bought a bunch of cloth bags for grocery shopping and such. I am the WORST about actually using them. Here's what goes through my head EVERY time I'm in the checkout line at the grocery store:
"Damn...forgot my bags again." EVERY time!!! Granted, they've gotten a lot of use around the home. Mostly to hold junk that needs to be sorted through - papers and such. Ugh - I need to find a way to round them all up and remember to use them. On a positive note I've found a great use for paper sacks that come from the grocery store. Paper for art projects! I used them for daycare the other day for the kids to paint on. I actually had a little paper bag with a handle that I cut in two. They each got half a bag and got to paint on it. The great thing? Built in handle for hanging and drying and for them to carry their artwork! So I probably will get paper bags from time to time even after I find a way to remember my cloth bags. This way the bags are getting more than one use and I'm not going out and buying brand new paper for painting and such for daycare.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Albert Einstein on modern education

"Modern education is competitive, nationalistic and separative. It has trained the child to regard material values as of major importance, to believe that his nation is also of major importance and superior to other nations and peoples. The general level of world information is high but usually biased, influenced by national prejudices, serving to make us citizens of our nation but not of the world."

- Albert Einstein

Wow. I was just talking about this to someone the other day and then I came across this quote. I really believe that the educational system in America suffers because it is so infused with ethnocentric ideas. I think we could learn a lot from other countries and their way of doing things if we could be more humble as a nation.

I also agree that material values are held in high regard. Granted, I don't think this is just education. I think this is our culture at large. Materialism is rampant in American culture. It's hard to not get caught up in it. As much as I try to be less materialistic, I find myself wanting, wanting, wanting all the time. Well, I'll keep trying anyways...that's the best I can do!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I now have more blogs than one person should have!

Okay...I've finally taken the plunge and split this blog. I now have way more blogs than I know what to do with. Honestly, I doubt I'll be posting more often. This blog will probably see less action as posts will be put in their appropriate blogs! Okay - so here's the list:

Daycare-duck -
For daycare-related posts

Rambling-duck -
For my ramblings. Spiritual, philosophical, goofy, etc...

This blog - Swimming-duck -
This will remain my attachment parenting, cloth diapering, natural living, positive discipline sort of thing.

WHY DUCKS? I have no flipping idea. Honestly, I originally chose the duck because my goal was to keep things positive. You know how a duck looks serene even though it's paddling like hell underneath? Welllll...I've done okay. Not real great recently, but overall okay with that. To me it makes me think of being persistent and determined even when the going gets tough. So...I decided to stick with the theme.

And there's another one that I shall not name. It's a private blog for Boo. E-mail me or message me on facebook if you want the link and permission to access. I have to have your e-mail addy in order to grant you access.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Tramp

Did the title catch your attention? :)

Honestly I've been feeling kind of funny lately because my wedding band doesn't fit on the appropriate finger right now and my engagement ring has been broken for awhile. We have the ring and the diamond - they're just not joined together anymore as they should be! We've been wanting to get it fixed, but honestly it seems that there's always things that are financially a much higher priority. Jewelry is just not high on my list. So it's been put off for years. And I'm okay with that. My commitment was made internally and I don't need a shiny rock on my finger to remind me. However, with being preggo and carting a toddler around I sometimes wonder what people think. Also, I'm still mistaken for under 21 on a somewhat regular basis. So, put that altogether and what does it look like? Unwed teenage! No offense to anyone who is or has been. I'm just not one, so I think it's funny that I probably come across as one! Add the fact that I have a "tramp stamp" and well, there you go. In my defense I had no idea that tattoos on a female's lower back were called "tramp stamps" when I got mine! I certainly am not now nor have I ever been what I would consider to be a "tramp." And no, I'm not saying that all unwed teenage mothers are tramps...I just thought it was a fun title for today's post!

So what's on my "tramp stamp?" Actually, it's the Celtic trinity symbol. Yes, I have a "tramp stamp" that symbolizes my relationship with God. How's that for a big contradiction? I like it - it's a reminder to me that I belong to God. My one complaint is that since it's on my lower back I pretty much never get to see it. I'd like to get a tattoo someday that I can actually look at without the use of a mirror!

So, this post really has to do with nothing. Just me rambling. I think at some point I am going to split this blog. I'll keep this one as it was originally intended, start one for daycare type posts, a private one for Boo, and one for my religious/philosophical/life ramblings. I'm not sure when I'll get around to this. It sounds like a lot, but I probably won't post anymore than I do now. The posts will just go to different blogs, so this one probably won't see action pretty much every day like it does now. Anyways, I'll quit rambling. Need to go do dishes. OH JOY!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Water Fun!

Here's some stuff that we did this morning. I have a white storage container that I filled with water. I poured a bit of dish soap in and gave each child a whisk. I also added some blue food coloring for kicks and giggles. The boys got to whisk and create bubbles in the water. I also got out some water toys - fish, rubber ducks, etc...They had a great time whisking and playing with the toys!

While they were waiting for lunch I got out a container of soapy water and some clean sponges. I let them have fun scrubbing the lunch table and the table legs. This was great. They had fun and some crusted on food was cleaned up. They were happy while I finished making lunch and they were proud of their hard work!

I plan to do a lot more of these kinds of activities with them. I'm planning to start putting a container with dish soap in the kitchen for them to bus their own dishes when they're done with lunch. I think they'll really enjoy this and hey, it'll save me a step. I won't have to pre-rinse before loading the dishwasher.

I'm considering starting another blog. Yes, another one. I've been writing about daycare activities and happenings so much that I feel it should have its own blog. The point of this blog has been getting lost in all of my ramblings about daycare I think. So we'll see if I can bare to set up one more stinkin' blog to keep up with!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Soothing to the Soul

Ahhhh - I got out for some knitting tonight. There's a local group called Craft Exchange. I've only gone once and I've been meaning to go back. It consists of some really nice women who like to craft. Mostly it seems to be made up of women who knit and crochet. There's at least one quilter in the group and I thought I heard someone mention scrapbooking. It was truly peaceful to sit and knit without someone pulling on my leg going "mommeeeee." I actually felt like I made decent progress! I feel very soothed after getting out of the house BY MYSELF!!!

I've decided to be Montessori-inspired!

A lot of you know that I was an infant teacher at a Montessori school for awhile when T and I lived in the suburbs. I have to say that I've been interested in Montessori ideas ever since. There's some good bloggers/resources online for Montessori at home. I've been looking into some of those activities - the lentil bean activity was one. I'm planning on incorporating this into my daycare. I can't claim to be a Montessori program per se, but I feel that Montessori-inspired would be an appropriate phrase.

One of the hard things is that Montessori materials are extremely expensive. However, with a little bit of online research and craftiness, there are plenty of Montessori materials that can be made at home. So in my overabundance of spare time *huge eye roll here* I'll be making some Montessori materials and working to get this into our days more and more. I don't think we'll jump in full speed. I just plan to gradually incorporate more and more of this until it's a regular every day thing for us!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Putting Things In Perspective and Some Other Rambling

Okay, now that I finally have my long awaited home daycare license, I feel as though my mood and irritation with the midwest has calmed a bit. Granted, we both really do want to leave the midwest and will likely high tail it out of here the first chance we get. But for so long I feel as though we've been stagnant in reaching goals we've set for ourselves. T going to nursing school has seemed like a "pipe dream" for us...unattainable. Daycare licensing is one of the steps, actually the biggest step, that needed to happen in order for T to go to school. The rest of it is coming along. T is doing awesome in his EMT class. I'm so proud of him! Granted, EMT work will be a HUGE paycut for him. Hence the need for the daycare licensing. But it will be great experience in the medical field. And the more experience the better. Especially since nursing school entrance can be a bit competitive. So hopefully having the EMT license will give him a way to bring in income while he earns the CNA. CNA will be a slight step up in pay from the EMT. But more money is always better, however slight. So he has a rough road ahead of him of juggling schoolwork with work in the medical field. I so wish that I could be his "sugar mama" and support him through school. But I chose the wrong field of work for that and we live in the wrong area for that! So it will be an uphill battle, but doing nothing would be far worse than struggling through this! And he will have free tuition for at least part of his degree - so even though it has to be in Illinois, we can't really complain there (as much as I like to sometimes).

I will add that I think sometimes people get the wrong impression when we say we want to leave the midwest. It's not a matter of leaving people or friends or family, but of experiencing life outside of this little part of the world that is all that we know. I think there is a lot to be said for broadening one's experiences, experiencing other ways of life, other cities, etc...I think it is a huge opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. So what we will do now is what we've been trying to do for awhile. We will try to reconnect with and enjoy family and friends that we live close to while they are close and appreciate the time that we have. And when we leave those relationships that are worth having will still be there. I strongly believe that distance cannot tear down a strong relationship. I've seen proof of this time and again in my relationships with people. Some stand the test of time and some don't. I used to take it personally when relationships went by the wayside, but I realize that's part of life and part of the weeding out process. Some friends are gold and some were there just to have fun for awhile...just the way it is!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm LICENSED for home daycare!!!

FINALLY...I'm LICENSED for home daycare. Took long enough. I feel like this huge weight has been lifted off of me. Now that I'm licensed I can get referrals from the local Childcare Resource and Referral agency. Come on referrals. Mama needs a new pair of shoes. Well, actually, a car...but whatever!

T did soooo much to help me get ready for the visit today. I'm really lucky to have him. Poor guy - I don't think he knows if he's going or coming these days thanks to my preggo mood swings! I'm lucky he puts up with me and is willing to tackle my "honey do" lists!

Anxiously Awaiting

Well, here I sit anxiously awaiting the arrival of the DCFS licensing rep. She's supposed to be here in about an hour. So hopefully everything's done. In a little bit I'll run down and finish cleaning up the after-lunch kitchen mess. I'm pretty antsy - I've been waiting for this moment for soooooooo long. So hopefully everything will be as it should and I can get my daycare license. It'll be so nice to finally be on the local Childcare Resource and Referral Agency list so that I can get referrals. We definitely need for this place to fill up so that we can make the income we need to make. And then just when we start to feel financially more comfortable, it'll be time for T to quit his job and go to school for nursing! But that's life in all of its marvelous stress and change. I feel as though I'm constantly being stretched to handle more, adapt to more, etc...As uncomfortable as that can be sometimes I know that it's in the process of being stretched that character is built. So I console myself with that thought and thank God that I'm not stagnant!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We were hoping T's veterans grant would transfer over to other states. NOPE - it's only good in Illinois. I want out of this freaking state!!!! But it would be stupid to pay for tuition when we can get it free. I am sooooo sick of winter and cold and the midwest. AAARRRRGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I realize I'm being really bitchy here, but I did say in my last post that I'm really irritable right now.

I don't know. Maybe there's still another way. If he can get on at a good hospital in a nice, warm climate area, don't they usually cover tuition for their employees???? Could he do it that way so we're not stuck here because of the Illinois Veteran's Grant??? Ugh....**big sigh**

I seriously can't take too many more winters.

Could I cry some more - good grief!

These preggo hormones are really kicking into overdrive. In the past couple of weeks I've cried while watching The Lion King, Cars, 13 Going on 30, Beauty and the Beast, and I'm sure there's other ones. My patience level, which I like to think is usually pretty good, has gone the way of the dodo. I'm doing okay with Boo, not great, just okay. And poor T, well, he's getting the brunt of my irritability right now. And he's been so nice lately and really picking up the slack around here as I'm just not getting many things done lately. So he's stuck with a sobbing, irritable, and unproductive wife right now. I'm suprised he doesn't just take his sleeping bag and go sleep at work! :)

Seriously though, I'm glad for all of this because these symptoms indicate that the pregnancy is progressing and Elfie is growing. So I'm happy to have them. Just kind of hoping that this trimester speeds by so I can get to that "feel good" part of pregnancy - second trimester!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why I Think Elfie might be a girl

This is just a fun little post to predict the baby gender - so that I can be proven wrong! Of course I thought Boo was going to be a girl, so my "maternal feelings" don't mean much in this regard! But anyways, here's why I think Elfie is a girl:

This pregnancy is like night and day from my last one. Last time I was sooo nauseated. This time, no nausea. Last time my skin looked wonderful - the best it had in awhile. This time I'm breaking out.

Okay, that's all I've got to go on! What are we hoping for??? A healthy baby...either way. I have reasons for wanting both. I was tempted to think that a boy would be nice because we could reuse a lot of the clothes. Well, I've realized that they'll probably all be off-season! I do think it'd be great for Boo to have a brother close in age. I think there's something special about the bond between brothers. I also think it'd be sweet to see him with a little sister. There's also a special relationship between a girl and her big brother! We have more girl names picked out than boy names. If I could have twin girls it would solve our naming issues that we're having for girls. If I had more than one boy right now, NO idea what would be a second boy name that we like. We have tons of trouble coming up with boy names. Girl names seem to be easier for us!

Our "Room" of Requirements

Okay - first of all, I'm such a huge nerd for naming this post what I did. And if you don't get the movie reference then you have not seen Harry Potter enough!

Anyways, T and I have been talking more and more about some things that we want when we do move out of this town. And we've come up with a bunch of requirements. So the right "room" for us will meet a lot of these. Some of these are more wants and some of these are definite must haves. But here's what we've got so far:

* A Children's museum w/ fun programs and classes

* An ice rink w/ classes for kids

* Dry heat climate w/ LOTS of sunny days - I'd actually be okay with something a bit wetter, such as Oregon area, but hubby is set on a non-rainy climate. He thinks too much rain will be dreary and depressing. So that rules out the NW part of the country. Neither want of us want to be in a humid climate, so that rules out much of the South and particularly the SE part of the country. That leaves us with West and SW. Not very many states left!

* Affordable housing, able to rent something decent for under $1000/ least 2 bedroom also. That takes out several major cities that might be nice and pretty much cuts out all of Southern California!

* Hiking, national parks, camping, etc...close by - pretty much any part of the West and SW is going to have this!

* A city that's charming with character of it's own and not just a created product of strip malls that all run together. This makes sense in my head. Don't know if it will make sense to anyone that reads it!

* Laid back, relaxed pace of life. We both want to be away from "Type A" personality living!

* Focus on outdoors

* Great homeschooling laws - i.e. not bogged down with tons of monitoring and regulations

* A state where licensed professional midwives are allowed to practice. This is important because I'm considering this career path once we're done having children and they're a bit older.

* A Borders and/or Barnes 'n' Noble - Okay, I admit. This is commercial and will likely be found in a strip mall area, but living without a huge bookstore close by is like living without water for me. I've spent soooo much money on shipping fees for books since we've lived in our current small town. Granted, if a local shop has it or can get it I'll order from them first. But it's good to have the big bookstore if that's not the case.

* A museum that has a lot of scientific kind of exhibits. I think this will be a great resource for homeschooling.

* A planetarium. Who doesn't love looking at stars?

* A zoo nearby.

* Good dining selection - you know, for all of those times we can't afford to eat out and do it!

* Great coffeeshops

* Great tattoo shops - this isn't as crucial as I'm hoping to get any future tattoos done once my BFF is trained and ready to start tattooing...but still, it's nice to have options.

* Local Le Leche League chapter - LOVE La Leche League!

* Local Attachment Parenting group - I'd love to find a place where I can be part of a group of like-minded moms

* Local homeschooling groups

* Lots of things to do with children

* A good job market - as good as it can get for this economic climate

* Outdoor markets - I just think they're fun!

* Ethnic diversity - Puuulllllease!!! Diversity just makes life so much more interesting!

* Good theatre

* Growing population and economy - as opposed to dying!

* Nearby skiing

* Trader Joe's and/or other natural foods stores

* Yoga places

Well, who knows if we'll find a place with all of that. But we'd like to find much of it. We have a few places we're mulling over already.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Do We Really Have To Wait - A Whiny Post!

Okay - you've been warned. This is going to be a whiny post. Awhile back T and I made the decision that even though we're not wanting to stay in the town that we're in, we'll stay put long enough to get him through nursing school. And then we'll move. That way he has a degree and career to take with him. Lately though I've been getting antsy. I've been perusing such internet sites as Sperling's Best Places (see link):


I've also been browsing newspapers for places we're looking at, job ads, apartment ads, etc...I'm so ready to get a move on. And part of me is wondering if maybe we should go before T starts school. My reason being that once he's licensed as a nurse he's going to have to switch over his license to whatever state we move to. That seems like a pain to me! Not to mention, the educational opportunity here is not abounding. Perhaps we would find better options for nursing school elsewhere that would make it more feasible for him to go.

Honestly, anywhere we go the cost of living is going to be higher. However, we have found our current location the most financially difficult place we've lived. Many would think that it would be the opposite. We currently live in a small town. We used to reside in the suburbs of a major city. The major city area was much more affordable for us as we were able to get decent pay. Our housing hasn't changed since we moved. Granted, we now rent a house which we would not have been able to afford in the suburbs, but we are paying about the same as what we paid in the suburbs once utilities are added in. And honestly I'm okay with apartment living for now. No yard mowing - YAY.!!!!! I HATE mowing and so does T! I would miss the gardening a lot and I would hate for Boo to have nowhere for his sand box. But perhaps if we look hard enough we can find an affordable townhome so that we can have a bit of yard.

And home daycare is a business that I can take with me. Granted, I would have to go through licensing crap again, but oh well. And if we're in more of an urban area I can charge more for each child.

So where would we like to move? Well, ideally out west somewhere. Somewhere close to good hiking, camping, skiing, art galleries, museums, children's museums, good food, authentic Mexican food (yummo), and DRY HEAT!!!! So we'll see...but I must admit that I'm getting extremely antsy and I don't want to wait anymore. WAAAHHHH - see there's the whine!