Time Is A Relative Thing

By: Amy Dienta

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Time is this relative thing. For example, do I have time this morning to cook my kids eggs or put on accessories and earrings and give the kids food in the car on the way? Do I have time to actually get to work without baby puke, snot, or smudges on my shoulder? Will my child have a tantrum because I gave him the green cup which throws the entire schedule out of whack?

But there’s this aspect of time that’s missing from many families and marriages. There’s this time that’s missing due to parents working and running around, with children playing multiple sports and in multiple activities.

There’s no longer church on Sunday and Sunday dinner, and families don’t always get time to eat dinner together due to the maze of things going on after school and both parents working. We recently added a baby to the 2 boy show and are now a 3 boy household.

As a parent I find myself pulled 50 different ways every second of the day. My full time job is demanding. My kids play sports: baseball, football, soccer, and now golf. My middle son has autism and all it’s related therapies. I haven’t slept in in forever because of speech, ABA and Saturday early AM OT.

What are some ways we can sneak in family time? How can we make sure we get this precious time as they are only young once. Do we limit the activities? Stop getting so much therapy?

If you have advice that has worked for you and your family, I’d love to hear it!


Inevitable Diaper Blowouts?

By: Jillian

absorbent-3509508_1920What’s up with the weight ranges on diapers? I’m always guessing which size best fits my kiddo. I don’t always know his current weight. It seems like the real measurement should be more exact. Regardless of weight, I move up a size when I see lines on my kiddos legs from where the diaper was pressing down on his skin. (I not so creatively call this the “skin test.”)

Still, I’ve had a  particularly hard time choosing between sizes 3 and 4. Size 3 failed the skin test and led to overnight leaks. Size 4 looked too loose AND allowed multiple blowouts. So my choices are leaks or blowouts. Or, find a new brand of diaper! To be fair, whenever I contact customer service about diaper troubles they are helpful and receptive to feedback. I’m just hoping to not have to contact customer service!

Do any of you have a  favorite diaper brand? I’m a member of a couple loyalty clubs but I haven’t cashed in on any rewards so I’m not exclusive. 

I did like the Target Up & Up brand, until my kiddo seemed to outgrow the size 2s (via blowouts). We moved on to 3s during the day and 4s overnight. I have to say that with the Target brand 3s we have not had a blowout. We came close a couple of times, but the diaper contained the contents without getting on his clothes! I had to check his clothes twice because there was poop on the edges of the diaper and it was unbelievable that it wasn’t a blowout. 

Anyone else looking forward to potty training?


Kid Art and Craft “Hacks”

By: Jenna 

 

Making art and craft projects with your little one is such a fun experience…but it can be very messy, or complicated. I love letting my child explore materials for a sensory activity while also getting a one-of-a-kind piece of art to cherish. I also know there are a bunch of parents cringing at the thought of taking out all those art supplies, finding a place to set up, and probably putting down a tarp in preparation for a mess. Now there is no real solution to ending the craft mess, but here are a few “hacks” to possibly help relieve some mess and stress of art projects with your little one.rawpixel-477806-unsplash

1.  Dish Soap in Tempera Paint.  Paint is a messy experience; whether by brush or my finger (lets face it, it becomes a full body experience).  Even after you bathe your mini-Picasso, there is still leftover color that seems to stain the skin. Before you paint, place a few drops of dish soap in your paint pots. It is not 100% guaranteed to “stain” those fingers, but it makes it easier to wipe away mess.  

2.  Paint in a Bag.  If you really hate paint, or your infant cannot stand the feeling of paint try placing a piece of paper with a few drops of paint into a plastic bag you can zip close. They can “smoosh” the paint with no mess. The mess does come later when you take the paper out to dry, but it is minimal.

3.  Glue and Paint Mix.  This is not a less mess “hack” but an efficient one. Mix some glue with the paint/paints of your choice before starting your project; this is definitely a paint brush worthy mixture. Not only can your child paint, but they can layer collage pieces at the same time. No need to wait for the paint to dry before gluing.

4.  Glue and Glitter Mix.  Speaking of glue mixtures, mix in glitter. Kids love glitter, but it gets everywhere. By mixing it with glue before they start, you eliminate the pile of loose glitter that is impossible to vacuum up.

5.  Contact Paper Collage.  Got a little one that is not ready for glue…grab contact paper! Turn the paper sticky side up and have your baby play with colored paper for a fun minimal mess time. When they are done seal the work of art with a second piece of contact paper.  You could even use tissue paper and make “sun catchers.”

6.  Glue Dots.  These pre made dots are sticky on both sides; they are small and strong. You can turn anything into a “sticker.” This eliminates the use of glue and is a great alternative to the little ones that are overwhelmed by large spaces of sticky textures.

These are just some ways to tone down the mess of art time.

Happy Crafting!!!


Fire Safety for Kids

By: Sue Anganes

 

Dear Teddy,

I realize that you won’t read this until after you get home from camp, but just know that I rescued you today at 5:11 am when our fire alarm went off. I ran to your room first and stood stunned when you were not there. It took me a minute to realize you were at camp. At least I thought of you this time, unlike the last time when I rescued my pillow and went out the front door….

Love,26165998_10156065712298872_1889857548370883959_n

Mom

 

 

Thankfully, every time our smoke alarms have gone off they have been false alarms. Once, in the past, I left my purse (which I specifically keep by my bed in case of a fire) and all the kids, and carried my pillow downstairs and out the front door. My daughter Tessa rescued her younger brothers Ted and Ray. My other sons, Andrew and Charlie, slept through the whole thing. It’s so easy to be confused when you are woken up by a deafening alarm. It was somewhat comical that I carried my pillow with me out the front door, but I was obviously disoriented. If it had been a real fire, we would have been in trouble.

 

We all need to teach our children what to do in the event of a fire. Here are the recommendations from the American Red Cross regarding fire safety for kids:

Prevent Your Child from Starting Fires

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed each year as the result of children playing with fire.

Keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secured location out of your child’s reach. Only use lighters with child-resistant features.

Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your child knocking over a candle.

 

Help Your Child Survive a Fire

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button. Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.

Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and where to meet up outside.

Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

Emphasize “get out, stay out.” Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire—even if other family members, pets or prized possessions are inside.

Use quick-release devices on barred windows and doors. Security bars without release devices can trap you in a deadly fire. If you have security bars on your windows, be sure one window in each sleeping room has a release device.

Consider getting escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them, and store them near the windows.

Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

For more information go to http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/fire-safety-for-kids


Summer Gratitude

By: Cassie Van Der Hyde

 

This has been one busy summer. All the things I was daydreaming about back in the chilly days of April: sitting on the deck while the kids play in the sunshine, day trips to the beach, getting together with friends most days of the week, taking a little time off of work. Well, most of those things haven’t happened in the way I had hoped. Instead, we have had some sick days; some days I’m very overtired in the mornings after getting home from work and not up to driving around; a day surgery; some days that are too hot to play outside in our pool-less yard; and a lot of stuff going on for my baby sister’s wedding happening next month.sol-1381860_1920

It’s always tempting to me to over-romanticize the next thing in life. The weekend, the next season, the days when my kids are a little older, whatever! I have to constantly and consistently remind myself of the important work that goes into the everyday stuff of life, especially with smaller kids in the mix these days. Some of those days just seem endless and the tasks repeat over and over. Does it ever seem like the laundry is just…never…finished?! Maybe it feels like that because it isn’t!

One of the things that most helps me in this current spot in life is just to practice thankfulness. Write out my blessings, speak them aloud, talk through them with my kids and husband and friends. Thankfulness for a job that can really take it out of me, because some moms can’t find a job that fits into their lives well. Thankfulness for piles of laundry to fold to clothe us. Thankfulness for a dirty home that is lived and loved in. Thankfulness for overtired, cranky kids after a busy day of doing fun things. Thankfulness for money to pay for big, ugly, unexpected car repairs. Just thankfulness for all of it.

When I was growing up, I never knew the times my parents had very, very little money. I didn’t think of our tiny home as smaller than most. I heard my parents speak thankfulness for the food, home, things, and jobs we had; and it made a huge impact on me! The attitude lived and spoken by my family made it possible not only for us to make do with much less than some—yet still much more than others—but also for me to realize in adulthood that it’s not things, money, jobs, or even perfect health that make a happy home. Sometimes a happy home and a full, fulfilling day is mostly all about making things work with the resources I have and practicing speaking out thankfulness so that my own attitude changes for the better.


The Wonderful World of Solids

By: Jillian

 

Ever wonder what you are supposed to be doing and where to start when you’re told to begin “introducing solids”?

It sounds easy: give food to your baby. But which solids should I start with? Are pouches better than purées? What about starting with finger foods? How big should those pieces of food be for my baby to pick them up but not choke? Does brand matter? How come Gerber has different food items for sitters and crawlers? When should I use a sippy cup of milk rather than a bottle?  The list goes on and on.tanaphong-toochinda-267381-unsplash

Now that I have tackled these questions, I’ve got some answers to share. I went the purée route. At first, I tried baby oatmeal with breast milk, and that went well. Then I made my own applesauce and puréed sweet potato. Then I tried mashed avocado. I realized I needed to introduce more tastes than that so I started buying puréed fruits with the plan to replicate the ones my kiddo liked. It turns out there weren’t any purées my kid liked—especially the meat! So, for a time, I was serving avocado and sweet potato. I briefly tried banana but that seemed to give my kiddo GI issues. So, dairy was next on the list—yogurt, egg, tiny pieces of string cheese. Then little pieces of everything I ate at every meal. Hot dogs were tricky—I cut the skin off and made sure the pieces were really small. For a time I cut up macaroni as well, but found that it was safe to eat whole. Feeding my child what I ate was helpful for me to eat better since I was motivated to give my kiddo a balanced meal!

I also started experimenting with sippy cups and offering water or breast milk at each meal because I knew that eventually that’s how meals would work. At dinner time, I made a mix of formula and breast milk with the hope that my kiddo would sleep longer at night (that hasn’t seemed to matter). Finding a sippy cup that was able to stand up against my teething child was hard. I really liked NUK for no leaks but I had to keep replacing the nipples because my kid chewed holes in them within days. Fortunately, I found bite proof sippy cups with handles and the problem was solved! I also introduced a sippy cup with a straw to get my kiddo used to sucking. This led way to puréeing my own food and putting the food in pouches for my kiddo to suck the food out of in addition to finger foods.

I would say we have been successful with introducing varied textures and flavors despite feeling uncertain about how to navigate the wonderful world of solids. Bon appetit! 

Leave us comments below on tips and tricks you used to introduce solids!


Let Freedom Ring

By: Cyndy Muchine

 

Freedom!parade

When we speak of Independence Day, most of us think celebrate! This is a very important historic day that is relived each and every year in America and around the world. Freedom comes with a price, but when you achieve independence of any kind, it’s worth celebrating, right? July 4th signifies independence from the British in 1776 and should be enjoyed. It’s a day off, come on! You cannot beat that!flagtruck

Most of us come out decked in red, white, and blue. These three colors are bold! Various displays of flags are held in many major cities to include a night of fireworks. This is my favorite part of the day beside the parade and gun salutes which can be unbearable to the ear, but a good reminder. Thereafter, families gather to enjoy a scrumptious barbecue or picnic.

We are constantly talking about values. Unbeknownst to many, July 4th honors the values our country is founded under. We are all a work in progress, but we must always learn and know that all of us are equal. 

Who isn’t into vintage cars and fancy tractors? I grew up partially on a farm, so this right here summed up my July 4th. The smiles of each child receiving candy and attention; you can’t beat that.tractor2

This is how a nation sets aside their cultural differences and comes together for such a patriotic moment!

 


To Go or Not To Go…Terrifying Mommy Dilemma

By: Jenna Mahoney-Pierce

 

Having a new baby, be it first, second, or fifteenth (wow!) changes the dynamic in your family. Being a first time mom, I was told by friends and family that things are going to change. During the pregnancy, I chalked it up to people trying to tell me all of their “good” advice, which I kicked to the curb quickly as it was unsolicited. It was the solicited advice that I kept in my back pocket. My friend told me pregnancy secrets and even her tales of first time mommy-hood, and they were anything but sugar coated.

Whether or not you use this little piece of advice or kick it to the curb like I did, let me just put it out there un-sugar coated:

No one will do as good a job as you at caring for your child, and you will be upset over the little things when you put them in the hands of a sitter or relative…BUT LEAVE THE BABY WITH SOMEONE, at least once, within the first year.  

Young working mom waves goodbye to baby in sitter's arms at the door. Older woman could also be grandma.I never thought I would leave my baby the first year…but I did three times. Two of the times you could say it was my pick of sitter, the other…well… And, yes, you can definitely tell which ones I picked.  

The first time was when she was 2 months old and my husband wanted me to go to a couples game night at a friends house. I was breastfeeding so I knew I couldn’t stay too long. Being at night, I asked my co-worker to stay up since the baby wakes frequently and I know she would be at the ready to grab her. Things went great!  It was only three hours and my boobs were killing me but I made it.  

The second time, my husband had to drop off our only car to get the brakes fixed. When the car was ready, my husband had a brilliant idea to let his parents watch baby while we borrow one of their cars to drive to the shop so we could get our car. She was about 3 months old, we would be gone for a little over an hour and in that time she needed a bottle that I pumped just that morning. I told my in-laws that she needs to eat the bottle. Did they feed it to her? We got home and I had to pour 5 ounce of liquid gold down the drain. Anyone who pumps knows what I felt that day.  

Third time my mother actually flew from FL up to MA to watch baby, 5 months old, while we went to a wedding. We decided since it was from my husbands side that his parents should attend wedding. I wasn’t going to go since babies were not allowed, but then my mom came. I begged my husband to go back home, I wasn’t ready to stay away overnight. But I made it through, pumped in the car while my husband drove home, but I made it!

Now, you may read this and think to yourself, “geez, she’s biased”…go ahead have your opinion. But as mothers, we just want one thing when we hand over our baby, TO BE LISTENED TO. I personally don’t care if they have raised x amount of kids, or always did it this way…If I tell you to do something for my child while I am gone…GET IT DONE. I am not asking for the impossible to be done, because I do it every day; it’s clearly possible. As much as I could not stand being ignored when it came to my child’s well being, when I was away (and as much as I didn’t want it to happen ever again) I faced the reality that my relationship with my husband needed to have time away. One of my husband’s Father’s Day requests was to go out to see a movie just us two. His parents watched her, now 15 moths old, and all I asked was that she ate her snack at a specific time. Flash forward three hours when we got back home after a great time at the movies. Low and behold she didn’t eat. Its hot, she didn’t have food, she didn’t have her cup, and timing stunk because I had to whip up dinner as soon as I stepped in the house because my baby was hangry. All I could think about while making dinner was “How on earth could they do this to their granddaughter for a second time in her life. Seriously, how hard is it to listen to directions and feed someone” Once she had food in her belly and was cuddling on the couch with me it hit me hard, “No one will do as good a job as you at caring for your child, and you will be upset over the little things when you put them in the hands of a sitter or relative” But you get back, you fix, and at the end of the day baby is in one piece when you get back; and the time away is much needed for yourself and for other relationships.

It is hard to go…but go…and know that you will fix anything that was done while you were gone. As for me, I will be planning out times for my daughter free outings a bit better, and–well–I am still not ready to leave her overnight…its a mom thing!