Friday, July 29, 2011

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Massage During Labor

The use of massage during labor is nothing new. Many tribal cultures throughout the world have traditionally incorporated massage into the birthing process. Nurturing touch during labor has been shown to enhance the laboring woman's mood and ability to cope with labor. In 1997 the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami conducted a study and on the effects of massage during labor. Researchers found that women who received massage during labor experienced decreased levels of anxiety and pain. They needed less medication and their labors were shorter than those of the control group, who received only obstetrical care.


The onset of labor in preparation for birth is an intricate series of hormonal signals and interactions. It is believed that the baby is responsible for initiating labor with the mother's hormones taking over to ensure that labor continues to progress. Two important labor hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulate uterine muscles to contract. Anxiety in the laboring woman overstimulates the production of both of these hormones, resulting in slow, ineffectual and painful labor. A relaxed woman's hormone levels are more balanced allowing the uterus to be more effective in responding to the body's hormonal signals. In addition to traditional therapeutic massage techniques, Acupressure and reflexology can also be used to help balance hormone levels and stimulate the uterus. The result is contractions that are strong, rhythmic and effective. Body positioning is also important in encouraging the progression of labor. Standing, squatting and sitting are positions that maximize the use of gravity for the laboring woman, and help open up the pelvis in preparation for birth. However, with the use of epidural anesthesia, the laboring woman loses the ability to utilize these various birthing positions.

If a woman desires to birth naturally, without the use of pain medication, how does she endure the pain that accompanies labor? Massage serves as a distraction to labor and contraction pain. It is believed that flooding the brain with pleasurable sensations will help to override pain signals from the uterus. Massage can be very effective between and during contractions. Acupressure points can be utilized during contractions to decrease the level of pain. The time between contractions can be used to massage tired, clenched and cramping muscles. Managing pain during labor decreases the need for epidural anesthesia and therefore the need for later medical intervention.

Epidural anesthesia administered during the early stages of labor doubles the likelihood of a cesarean section. Because massage during labor has been shown to decrease the need for epidural anesthesia, it may also aid in preventing an unnecessary cesarean section birth. Epidurals also decrease the pushing sensation during delivery and therefore the use of forceps and vacuum extraction becomes more likely.

If a cesarean birth is deemed medically necessary prior to the onset of labor, massage can also be beneficial in preparing for the event. The days and weeks prior to surgery may be filled with stress, anxiety and fear of not knowing what to expect. Massage can play a very important role in helping moms cope with these emotions and help in gaining a sense of empowerment.

Massage for the laboring mother can be performed by a massage therapist or by the woman's partner. Partners can consult with their massage therapist prior to the onset of labor and then use the learned techniques from the moment labor begins up to the time of delivery. It is important to remember that a laboring woman's response to touch is unpredictable and may change at any time throughout labor. Open and honest communication with the therapist or partner is essential during the entire laboring process.


References:
Osborne-Sheets, Carole., Pre-and Perinatal Massage Therapy, Body Therapy Associates, San Diego, CA, 1998.

Stillerman, Elaine, LMT, Mother Massage, Dell, New York, NY, 1992.

Field, T., Ph.D.; et al., "Labor Pain is Reduced by Massage Therapy" Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 20, Dec 1997


Originally posted on CharloteMommies.com
Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Monday

Photo by: jspatchwork
Cheddar'd Summer Squash

Ingredients:
4 small yellow squash and/or
zucchini trimmed & cut in 1/2
lengthwise.
1/4 cup chopped green onion
nonstick cooking spray
1/8 tsp salt
ground pepper
2oz shredded sharp cheddar
cheese

Cooking Instructions:
1.preheat oven to 400. Arrange squash cut side up in 3 quart baking dish.
2.lightly coat squash with cooking spray. Sprinkle green onion,salt & pepper evenly.
3.top with cheese
4.Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until squash is just tender and cheese is bubbly.


Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "christy."
Friday, July 22, 2011

Reuniting with an Overseas Daughter

As last summer approached, I remember reading posts on UnionCountyMommies (UCM) about upcoming travel plans, family vacations, free movie viewings, and securing memberships to the local water park. But one fellow mommy’s plans really stood out because they were so different from the rest. She was raising money to cover the expenses of a hosting a child from Belarus for six weeks.

And this year, around the same time, I saw similar posts go up again…she was planning, fundraising, and even longing to bring back that same little girl. It was clear her family had had an amazing experience, one that was worth far more than the time, effort, and money they had put into it. I was so moved by her desire to help in this way, and I wanted to get more information about the program. I wanted to learn more about children and let others know how they too, can get involved.

So I was thrilled when UCM member, Heather Efird, graciously agreed to take time out of her busy life and answer all of my questions! The program goes by the name ABRO, which Heather explained stands for American Belarussian Relief Organization. It is a national, non-profit organization whose focus is to improve the quality of life, and the health, of children living in and around areas of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl disaster in April of 1986.

The first group to come over, in 1989, consisted of thirteen children. Today, more than 300 children, ages seven to seventeen, come over each summer. Their time in the United States helps lower the levels of radiation in their bodies, boost their immune systems, and provides an opportunity to receive medical and dental care that they truly need.

The cost just to bring their host child, Alina, back this year was about $2000 she says, money that is to be raised completely by the host family. The Efirds have been able to raise the necessary fees through fundraisers with Yankee Candle, Tupperware, selling poinsettias at Christmas, and car wash tickets through Autobell, as well as soliciting donations.

The host family is also responsible for the costs of day to day living, including clothing, food, and medical appointments, just as if the child was part of the family. And it’s clear that’s exactly what Alina has become to the Efirds. In fact, Heather often refers to Alina as her daughter.

Heather says last summer Alina went to lots of baseball games that her son, Blake, was playing in. They also took her to the mountains, a local animal park called Lazy 5 Ranch, and to the beach in Oak Island, NC. Alina also attended a weekly bible study that was taught in Russian. I asked her to tell me about a favorite memory, but she couldn’t pick just one! “She comes from a low income family and lost her father two years ago. Every day was like Christmas to her while she was with us last summer.” Heather said.

Host families are still needed in order to bring more children here each summer. Heather says, “This is a life changing experience for all that are involved but it's not easy. These children speak little to no English so communication is a big hurdle. No matter how difficult the situation is...the LOVE in that child's eyes makes it all worth it.” The Efirds have been able to call Alina a few times since she left last summer, but say the best way to keep in touch is through a translator and an email address provided by ABRO.

Since this is their second year hosting through the program, I asked Heather what it was exactly that made her family want to sign up again. Thoughtfully, she said, “When we first got involved with the program I kept thinking about how much we would change this child's life forever. The thing that she will never realize is how much she has changed OUR family. I never knew how this would affect my life forever.”

As Alina’s travel date gets closer and closer, I can’t help but imagine what a wonderful reunion it will be for all of them!!

For more information on how to help with donations or to become a host family, please visit http://www.abro.org/

Originally posted by Heather from UnionCountyMommies.com on The Mommies Network National Blog, 5/26/11
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview with a La Leche League Leader

I met Donna Gilbert at my very first La Leche League meeting in Raleigh, NC in 2007. Since then, she has always been warm and welcoming, and able to answer any questions I have. Despite having two previous failed nursing relationships, Donna and the LLL allowed me to nurse my third child for two years, and my youngest, who was MUCH like my first (refused to nurse) for a year. Thanks to the success she enabled in my own breastfeeding experiences, I decided to interview her in hopes that other nursing mothers can benefit from her knowledge.

When did you decide that you wanted to help other women successfully breastfeed?
I thought about [it] when I realized how little support there is. It was a natural thing for me to want to help. Both my parents are ministers, so I grew up in a home where helping people was akin to breathing. It’s what I do. I guess you could say it’s in my genes.

How long did you breastfeed your own child?
Do you really want me to answer this question? Perhaps it would scare people. lol Well, I think she nursed much like an infant for about 4.5 years. I know it wasn't really like an infant, but at times it felt like it was that intense and that often. Between 4.5 and 5 it decreased to nothing. She basically weaned during that time.

Who was the most positive influence in your life, pertaining to helping other moms?
Helping mothers in particular? I can still remember how wonderful it felt when a La Leche League Leader told me how smart I was. I was about 5 months pregnant and completely unsure of myself. I was a very reluctant mother and it was those few comments she made that gave me a little bit of hope. I’m sure I’m not the only mother out there who felt that way and I would like to do that for other moms.

What are some websites or other resources that you point moms to when they need their questions answered?
I absolutely love Dr. Jack Newman’s website and videos. A picture is worth a thousand words. DrJackNewman.com

How often and how long should baby nurse?
Babies are just like other people when it comes to eating. Some people eat quickly and some people eat slowly. Some people like a few big meals and some like to nibble all day. Your baby may have just gotten the milk flowing and you think it’s time to change sides because you are looking at the clock. So the real answer to this question of how long should my baby nurse is this: Let your baby suck until they are satisfied. If they seem fussy, try compressing your breast to see if you can help the flow a little and once baby is done on that breast, either because they aren’t getting any more milk or aren’t getting it quickly enough, or because they’ve fallen asleep, then you switch sides. Your baby will let you know when they want to eat and when they want to stop eating. In the early days, if baby is awake, offer your breast. They only have so much energy and all of that energy should be geared to survival – in this case, breastfeeding. As they get older, they will spend more and more time discovering the world around them.

A newborn’s tummy is very small, especially in the early days, so it takes very little to fill them – only about 1 teaspoon on days one and two. By day three, baby’s tummy can hold almost an ounce and by day ten, baby’s tummy can hold about 2 ounces. This is why a baby nurses so often, especially at first.

How do I know my baby is getting enough to eat?
First and foremost check is to see that your baby has a good latch and is swallowing. You should see or hear your baby swallowing. Their ears will wiggle slightly while they are nursing and their lips will be turned out. Your breasts should feel softer after you feed your baby.

If your baby is gaining weight steadily after the first week of age, is passing enough clear or pale urine (about 6 wet diapers per day after the first two days), and is having about 3 bowel movements a day, is having short sleeping periods and wakeful, alert periods, your baby is likely getting plenty of milk.

It’s important to note that it is common for babies to lose some weight right after birth (up to 10% of their birth weight), so you needn’t be concerned. Keep nursing them and they should have regained that weight by day ten. Most babies gain from 2/3 to 1 ounce per day during the first 3 months.


What does a breastfeeding mother need to succeed?
Support.

When is the best time for breastfeeding to start?
Within the first hour after birth.

What is the best breastfeeding position?
Whatever position is the most comfortable for you and your baby. I will often get mothers to do a few swallows with their head in a different position to demonstrate how difficult it is to swallow if you are not looking straight ahead. Go ahead. Try swallowing with your head turned one way or the other, or with your head tilted up or down. Difficult, right? Remember that when you are positioning your baby to nurse. Another interesting thing I noticed is if I hang my head face down and open my mouth, my jaw falls forward and my tongue naturally falls down to the floor of my mouth. That is the position you want your baby’s jaw and tongue to be in when they nurse. If I tried to do that sitting up or lying on my side, it’s much harder. Many moms find nursing in the early days is much easier if baby is lying face down. Find a place where you can recline far enough back so that gravity will hold your baby on your chest. Put baby between the breasts. The baby will wiggle themselves toward the breast and all mom has to do is help them out a little by sliding their bottom to one side and the baby virtually latches themselves. It’s called laid-back nursing and you can check it out here: biologicalnurturing.com

What can Dad do?
Offer support. That’s the most important thing he can do. You need someone beside you at 3 am who will remind you that this is a learning curve, not to give up too soon, and most importantly, give you a hearty and reassuring “you can do it”!

Dad can also spend special skin-to-skin time with baby while mom takes a bath or a shower, burp and change baby, and basically anything and everything else!

What can I do before my baby is born?
Get good prenatal care. This can help you avoid early delivery which makes breastfeeding harder. Get as much breastfeeding information as you can. Take a class or two and attend a support group for nursing moms. Take a class from a lactation consultant. Then you can establish a relationship before the baby comes and you may not be so hesitant to ask for help when you need it. Talk to your doctor and/or lactation consultant about any breast surgery or chest injury you may have had. Make sure your doctor knows you intend to breastfeed your newborn and would like to do that within the first hour of life.

Can I breastfeed even if I am sick?
I suppose we should define ‘sick’, but generally, yes. If you are sick, your breast milk will have antibodies that will help protect your baby from getting the same sickness. There are very few exceptions. For example, radiation therapies require a temporary break from breastfeeding.

Can I take medicines if I am breastfeeding?
Yes, with a few exceptions, cancer chemotherapy agents being one of them. Check with a lactation consultant, La Leche League Leader or with “Medications and Mothers’ Milk”, a book by Thomas Hale found in bookstores and libraries. You can also go online to http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT

Some medications have a drying effect on breast milk, such as some over the counter cold medications and allergy medications, so you will want to use those sparingly if possible.

Do I have to restrict my sex life while breastfeeding?
No. If vaginal dryness is an issue, try more foreplay and water-based lubricants. You can feed your baby or express some milk beforehand so your breasts will be more comfortable. If your breasts leak, put pressure on the nipple and have a towel handy to catch the milk.

Do I still need birth control if I am breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding can delay the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. This is called lactation amenorrhea method, or LAM. Like other forms of birth control, it is not 100% effective. LAM is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy during the first 6 months only if the infant is exclusively breastfed, the interval between feedings is less than 6 hours and the mother has not resumed menstruation. The use of pacifiers and infant formula are associated with an earlier return to menstruation.

Barrier methods, like condoms, do not contain synthetic hormones and therefore do not interfere with milk production.

Estrogen can decrease milk production. Progestin can decrease milk production if introduced before a mother’s milk supply is established. Most manufacturers recommend waiting at least 6 weeks. A trial period of taking the oral medication is preferable to having more potent procedures like injections so you can stop taking them if you notice a decrease in your milk supply.

Do you have anything else to say to new or expecting moms, or moms that want to try to nurse again, after not having such a great experience with previous children?
Yes! Give it a try! Every pregnancy, every baby and every breastfeeding experience is different. Gather as much information as possible and do your best to find a support group. Believe it or not, support is the number one predictor of success. If you can get past the learning curve of 6 to 8 weeks and establish your milk supply it is well worth it for the ease that follows.


Donna has a Diploma in Dental Hygiene (1986) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and she is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (2009). She has had personal experience breastfeeding and she has coached births. She has been a La Leche League Leader since 2004 and is a retired leader with Attachment Parenting International.

Originally posted by Becka from SaratogaCountyMommies on The Mommies Network National Blog, 3/25/11
Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Monday

Photo by: SingChan
Pani PoPo ~ Samoan Coconut Bread

Ingredients:
* 1 (12 ounce) package frozen dinner rolls, thawed
* 1 (10 ounce) can coconut milk
* 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk(optional)
* 3/4 cup white sugar, or to taste


Cooking Instructions:
1. Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Coat your hands with cooking spray or shortening, and roll the dough balls in your hands so that they have a light coating. Place in the prepared dish. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled, up to 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and sugar. Pour this mixture over the top of the rolls as evenly as you can.
3. Bake for 15-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before separating and serving.


Serving Suggestions:
This is great for desert or as an appetizer.


Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Katie"
Friday, July 15, 2011

DIY Chair Upholstery...with a Toddler!

I love "do it yourself" projects. I think I get it from my father who taught me how to fix cars and fish for food as a child. To this day, it's hard for me to buy fresh fish from a supermarket when I know I can put a hook and worm in the water and get it myself. So, when our dining room chairs needed reupholstering, I figured, "It can't be that hard," plus I had my trusty helper: RJ!

First, RJ, myself and my mother visited a local fabric store and selected a print we loved made of outdoor material. The fabric we chose is waterproof and allows for easy clean up when soiled. Perfect for a home with a 3.5 year old toddler and infant just learning to eat solids!

First step: Remove the padded seats from the chair base. Four screws and they were off!


Next: Remove the old seat covers. They were simply stapled on so it was easy to separate the fabric. Pull and tug! Watch the staples RJ!


Once the old fabric was removed we measured the new material and cut it to fit. Children's rounded tip scissors didn't seem to work on the fabric. Go figure!



One last check for size...



and we started stapling.


Staple guns, with their loud sounds, are like child magnets. "Can I do that?" was a consistent phrase during this step of the process. I knew that if I let him help, it would take double the time because we would have to be extra careful to ensure his safety. My first instinct was to say, "No." Then I stopped myself and asked,"What's the rush?" Plus, who wouldn't want to play with such a fun gadget. So, I showed him how it worked, held it in place and let him push down the lever! No problems! Plus, as is the case with 3yo boys, by the time we completed the first chair, he was off to something else, returning every now and then to get his staple gun fix!

BEFORE:




AFTER:



Lastly, we rescrewed the newly upholstered cushions back into the chair bases.



and, "Taaaa Daaaaaaaa" Brand new chairs!





So, when there's a project around your house that probably won't end in destruction, try to do it yourself and, if you have children, include them in the process. In addition to getting the job done, you can teach about units of measurement, count to 100, and even engage in imaginary play with the extra fabric, "You can't see me!"



Doing projects like this with my parents is a part of the moments I remember as a child. So, when the opportunity presents itself, consider taking the time to create these types of life memories with your loved ones.






Post submitted by DeLise (ShepherdHearts) from NorthMetroDCMommies.com
Origionally Posted on Our Life Memories Blog on April 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 Tips to Prevent the "Summer Slide"

As summer vacation begins for the traditional calendar schools, kids are excited about the long days of playing with friends, going to camps and taking family vacations. Summer vacation is time for having fun and relaxing after a long school year. But as parents, we need to remember to keep our kids' brains active to prevent the so-called "summer slide," that loss of lessons learned, the slip backwards in reading and other academic areas that occurs for many children during the long summer break.

Here are 10 Tips to Prevent the Summer Slide:

1. Read every day. Most teachers require kids to read for 10 to 30 minutes every day during the school year. Don't let your kids get out of this reading habit during the summer. Encourage them to continue to read every day. And for those who have required summer reading lists, make sure they find time to read books they WANT to read as well, so reading doesn't become a dreaded chore. Keep them reading and keep them happy!

2. Sign up for a reading challenge. Book stores, libraries and various online resources, including Scholastic.com, host reading challenges during the summer where kids are encouraged to track their reading ~ either the minutes read or the actual books read ~ throughout the summer. Some even provide rewards such as free books to participants, which can give kids the extra motivation they need to read.

3. Read aloud to your kids ~ or at least let them see you reading. Spend time reading aloud to your kids. This can expose them to more complex stories that they aren't yet able to read themselves. It introduces new vocabulary and different types of literature. If your kids aren't interested in listening to you read aloud, make time to sit together and read silently to yourselves so they can see the enjoyment you get from reading.

4. Start a journal or diary. To keep their writing skills going throughout the summer, encourage your kids to write in a journal or diary about their summer activities. If you go to the zoo, suggest they write about it. If your child is more creative, have them make up their own stories, or work with them to create a scrapbook in which they write and choose pictures to include. Find ways to make writing fun.

5. Play games as a family. Board games, card games and yard games all offer kids an opportunity to think, build strategies, and even hone their math or reading skills. Scrabble helps with spelling. Monopoly helps with math. Uno helps with developing strategies, as well as color and number recognition for younger kids. Games offer a great way for the family to come together while discreetly learning too.

6. Take a trip to a museum. Visiting museums is a great activity for the whole family. Many museums are now set up with hands-on activities for kids, and engaging programs that you can attend. Kids can learn about art, animals, science, history and many other topics, depending on which museums you choose. Give your kids the power to choose one that interests them.

7. Track the weather. How many sunny days will you have this summer? How many rainy days? When will humidity be the highest? Make some predictions and then track the weather to see if you're right. Kids can build their observation skills, and learn about weather, graphing, patterns and predictions by tracking the weather throughout the summer.

8. Explore nature. Science lessons don't have to stop just because school is out. Kids can discover all sorts of things about animals, plants and the earth in your own backyard. Get outside and flip a rock to discover what's living underneath. Observe the types of birds that live in your yard. Plant a garden or some flowers and have the kids take care of them. There are many science lessons to learn outside.

9. Stay healthy. Keep the physical education and health lessons going this summer. Get your kids outside every day to ride bikes, go swimming, play sports or just take a walk. Keep them moving and staying active. And spend time this summer learning about healthy foods. Visit the local farmers' market, and try some new fresh vegetables and fruits that are native to your area. Talk to your kids about healthy eating.

10. Plan a vacation. Most families take some sort of summer vacation, whether it's for one night or an entire month. Get the kids involved in planning this year. Show them your vacation budget, and talk about the cost of gas or airline tickets. Have them map the route you'll take, and calculate time and distance. Involve them in planning your itinerary. Let them pack their own things based on the number of days and nights you'll be away. There are many lessons to learn in planning a vacation.

All of these activities keep your kids' brains going, engaging them in thinking, calculating, reading, interpreting and learning. By keeping their bodies and minds strong throughout the summer, they will be better prepared when the new school year begins.

Originally posted by Julie on TriangleMommies.blogspot.com, 6/23/11
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Need YOUR Words!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Monday

For Our Furry Friends of the Canine Variety ~ Fido Healthy Treats

Ingredients:
Biscuit dough
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water

glaze
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 275°
2. In a large bowl: combine the flour, oatmeal, wheat germ, peanut butter, vegetable oil, honey, baking powder and water.
3. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4. Roll the dough out to a ½-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and place on baking sheets.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and milk. Brush the glaze on the biscuits.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pans, and bake for an additional 20 - 30 minutes, until biscuits are golden and firm.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Michelle"
Friday, July 8, 2011

Tooth Fairy Tantrums

"The tooth fairy teaches children that they can sell body parts for money."  David Richerby

There are 3 reasons why I blog:

1. To share or vent things that go on in my life, usually as a mom, but not necessarily confined to that one aspect of who I am

2. To write down memories of those little things that no matter how much I wish to think I will always remember them, I know I wont 3 years down the road, so that I can look back reading these and say "Oh yeah!!! I remember that!!!!"

3. So that many years down the road from now, when my sons are adults and married, and they come to me and tell me they and their wife are expecting their first child, I can gleefully go to Office Max, have all of these blogs printed out, and create a book to give to them at the Baby shower, cackling with glee the entire time. I figure this will be considered good parenting (and great revenge) as I will be letting them know for real what they have gotten themselves into. Muahahaha!

Today's blog is for the latter reason.

Xavier lost another tooth yesterday. It had been loose for awhile, and it finally fell out while at school. He came home grinning madly, showing off the big gaping hole where his tooth used to be, and chattered excitedly about how the tooth fairy was going to come tonight and hand over money for this tiny little baby tooth.

He went to bed, chatting himself to sleep about what he would spend his mighty dollar bill he was going to get from the tooth fairy that night. J casually reminded me after Xavier fell asleep and I nodded that I would remember.

I totally forgot.

Now in my defense, I am flipping exhausted, both physically and mentally! I am dealing with a 6 month old who has decided to start budding his own teeth (not tooth, teeth, I can see 2 tiny baby bottom teeth almost erupting simultaneously) and is waking up every 60-90 minutes at night and just plain ticked off during the day. I am also dealing with a 3 yr old with whom I am locked in a power struggle with over edibles. So yes I was a bad Mom, but I was a Tired Mom. I screwed up. I'm not perfect. But there were reasons behind my lack of memory.

I realized I screwed up at 6 am after nursing Soren for the third time that night when Xavier came out of his room weeping. I asked him what was wrong and he told me his tooth was still there and there was no money. I froze thinking "oh no oh no oh no oh no!!! How the heck can I fix this?!?!?" Then oddly enough I had an idea. Aha! School already called in a 2 hour delay due to inclement weather. You know, cause it was 45 degrees outside and raining. A little bit. Kind of. Well not really by then. But Still!!! So I gathered Xavier in my arms and told him that it was still dark out and there was still time. And that maybe because of the bad weather (by the way honey you have 2 hours off of school! Isn't that great?) that the tooth fairy got blown off course. And maybe, if she didn't make it tonight, she will definitely be here the next night. Because obviously there has to be a good reason!!

I got him calmed down and I thought he seemed ok. I sent him to bed and told him to try and sleep because the tooth fairy would NOT come if he was awake. And then after listening to make sure he did what I asked, I booked it down the stairs and frantically searched for money, a pen, and paper.

I sat down and wrote (in flowing cursive so he couldn't recognize my handwriting) a letter from the tooth fairy explaining she got stuck in snow and by the time she got to our house he was up so she left the money downstairs and would come by the next night to grab the tooth. I then folded the letter into a cool little package that held the money and placed it by on the kitchen counter by the coffee machine. Congratulating myself for a job well done I lumbered back to bed in pure exhaustion, looking forward to just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep as it was now technically Js watch.

At 7 am J bursts into our bedroom with a look of pure panicked frustration on his face and asks me to please help him deal with Xavier because he can not right now or he will do something he may regret. This, coming from my sweet natured, MOST patient, never ruffled, loving husband. If he is like this I know it's going to be a really bad morning. So I throw on my bathrobe and head out to see what is going on.

Apparently, Xavier did not calm down. Instead he started obsessing over the fact the tooth fairy had yet to make an appearance (as far as he knew) and worked himself into a tizzy. Fine. However, he worked himself up so much and got so angry he lashed out. The bad part is he decided to lash out at his innocent younger brother, Ashe, who had been sleeping peacefully in the bottom bunk of their bunk beds...

By pouring a bottle of cold water on him while he slept.

To steal a quote from a friend:

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Seriously???? As I enter the chaos, J had calmed Ashe down for the most part and dried him up but he was still sniffing and trying not to cry. J went over to him to try and make him feel better. Xavier was already in time out and he sat there snarling and growling. I walked over to him and asked him what his deal was, and was it true this was all about the tooth fairy. He growled at me that she never came.

"Oh really?"

"I stayed awake the whole time and she never showed up!"

"Duh kid! I told you point blank she wont show up if you're awake. That was the whole point for you to go back to bed! And before you start your shenanigans again did you notice this note over here on the counter?"

"No!"

"I thought not." I walked over, opened it up, showed him the money, and read him the note. Then, I pocketed the money, told him he lost it for his behavior, and that he would now have to earn it back.

To any neighbors who heard the howl of rage that issued forth from that consequence, my apologies that it happened so early in the morning. I cut him off his howling and told him further more, the way he acted to Ashe, who was completely innocent in all this, was beyond unacceptable, and that he would also spend the entire day thinking of some way to really make it up to his little brother. And if he didn't figure out something appropriate I would.

He flipped out, and I wasn't in the mood to put up with it, so I sent him to his room to calm down. Which took about 45 minutes and a lot of screaming of "I'M CALMED DOWN MOM! MOM!!!!!! LISTEN TO ME!!!! I AM CALM!!! ARRRRRGH!" until he quieted down, actually calmed down, and did some major apologizing to the whole family.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm of the mind to kill off the tooth fairy if this is what is going to happen if she's "late."  And I can promise you she will be late again, at some point, for some kid. We parents who take on the role of a mythological creature are not the Perfect Legend. We're human.

Stupid Tooth Fairy >:P

Originally posted 1/8/10 by Brittany (Rhaven) on TriangleMommies.blogspot.com
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Massage During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of physical and emotional transformation. Besides the obvious physical changes, the myriad emotions a pregnant woman experiences can often leave her feeling confused, overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. With so much attention focused on the arrival of the baby, moms-to-be often overlook the importance of nurturing their physical and emotional needs. Massage therapy is a safe, effective way to nurture mom and baby through a very special time.


Massage can be effective in relieving many of the common physical complaints experienced during pregnancy. Morning sickness, joint and muscle pain, headaches, constipation, heartburn, leg cramps and fluid retention are some of the classic complaints that can be alleviated through massage.

It is estimated that nearly 80% of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. It is extremely common during the first trimester of pregnancy and can range from a very mild moment of queasiness to recurrent vomiting. Acupressure can be safely and effectively used to alleviate the feeling of nausea. This technique can be learned and then used anytime nausea occurs.

Other common complaints during pregnancy are joint pain and muscle soreness. This is largely due to the added and redistributed weight. With the added weight concentrated in the abdominal area, a woman̢۪s center of gravity shifts, and it results in postural changes that impact the hip and low back area. It is also common for pregnant moms to experience joint pain in other areas, especially in the knees and feet. Massage helps to alleviate these aches and pains by gently stretching and releasing tight muscles. It also enhances circulation and the delivery of oxygen and blood to the affected areas.

Constipation, gas and heartburn are also inconveniences that pregnant moms often contend with. The relaxation effect of massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which translates into increased digestion and intestinal movement.

Massage can also help alleviate leg cramps, headaches and excess swelling. The movement of blood, lymph and metabolic wastes is stimulated by massage and is put back into circulation where it can be eliminated by the body.

Stress plays a significant role in how a pregnancy progresses as well as the birth itself. If a mother perceives a situation as being stressful, her body reacts by releasing stress hormones, which cross the placenta. A 1999 study done at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington indicated that the fetal heart rates of stressed mothers remained higher longer, suggesting a heightened reaction to stress. Continued exposure to stressful situations during pregnancy has been shown to negatively impact birth weight and may lead to pre-eclampsia and pre-term labor. Studies also show that when pregnant women receive massage, the urinary output of stress hormone levels decrease. Massage has an overall calming effect on mother and baby.

Overall emotional health of pregnant mothers is extremely important. Some mothers may experience anxiety during pregnancy. Maternal anxiety and depression during this time has been shown to have negative postnatal impacts. These feelings in new mothers are often associated with feeding problems, and mothers perceive their babies as being fussy and more demanding. According to a study done by the Touch Research Institute, women who received massage while pregnant reported reduced anxiety, improved mood and better sleep patterns.

Traditional oriental therapies such as Shiatsu and Acupressure can also be very effective in use throughout pregnancy, childbirth and during the postpartum period as well. These therapies are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and influence the energy meridians (pathways) in the body. It is believed that when the body's energy (chi) is blocked or imbalanced in some way, pain and disease results. A massage practitioner who employs Shiatsu or Acupressure techniques helps to restore energetic balance in the body, thereby alleviating physical as well as emotional discomforts. The practitioner should have advanced training in these modalities for use during pregnancy.

Massage therapy can be an integral component of pregnancy and childbirth. Research has shown us that pregnant moms who receive massage have fewer physical complaints, suffer from less pain during labor, give birth to calmer babies, and experience less postpartum depression. Massage can be a safe and effective method of treatment for the many emotional and physical issues surrounding pregnancy. It will undoubtedly contribute to mom experiencing a happier and healthier pregnancy. It is also a priceless gift for the baby to come!


References:

Elaine Stillerman, L.M.T., Touch for Happier, Healthier Pregnancies, Massage Magazine, September/October 2000.

Field, T., Ph.D.; et al., Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage Therapy, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 20, March 1999

{Originally posted on CharlotteMommies}



 
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Upcoming Events for July

We have some great events planned for the month of July.  We don't want you to miss out on any of the fun so here is a quick glimpse of what is going on:

7/6 ~ Chatty Wednesday
7/8 ~ Craft Night
7/9 ~ Ice Cream Party
7/12 ~ Park Playdate
7/14 ~ Evening Mall Playdate
7/16 ~ Ugly Coffee
7/18 ~ Coffee Night
7/20 ~ Chatty Wednesday
7/23 ~ Scrapbooking
7/26 ~ Mall Playdate
7/29 ~ Mom's Night Out

Best of all it's ALWAYS FREE to join our group!  Stop missing all of the fun and join now!!
Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Fought for You

Last night my family and I had the opportunity to attend the annual concert, Faith, Family & Freedom, here in Charlotte that’s hosted by two local radio stations. We have lived in this area for almost six years but this was the first time we have been able to go. And it was absolutely amazing! The seats at the race track, where it was held, were packed with a sea of 17,000 people.

After four hours of awesome music (and about ten terrifying minutes of a motocross stunt demonstration), two huge screens on either side of the stage switched from playing live feed of the event, to a video that featured an elderly veteran listening to news on the radio, about three teenagers who had defaced a war memorial. The crowd in the stadium was completely silenced as we watched this man turn to his young grandsons, and tell them he wanted to teach them something. He proceeds to take them to see a movie that starts with a video clip, of the news of the attack at Pearl Harbor. For the first several minutes, the boys sit in their chairs wearing ear buds, their eyes completely fixated on their handheld, electronic devices, clearly uninterested in the film that was being shown.

As I watched the pain and frustration on their grandfather’s face, my eyes filled with tears. The scene was so believable, that I immediately felt such an intense responsibility to teach my girls about our military, and help them understand that these men and women who sacrifice so much are not just random names from a newspaper, or a history book.

They are the very reason we have the freedoms we enjoy every day!

Eventually, one of the grandsons looks up and his attention is captured. He nudges his brother, who also begins to pay attention. One by one, the veterans in the audience turn and look straight into their loved ones eyes and say, “I fought for you…and I would do it again.”

They fought for me. They sacrificed for you. They died for us and our freedom. Do you realize how incredible that is? Do your children?

Toward the end of the video, uniformed soldiers walk into the theater and salute. All of the children turn in awe. At the same time, four brave men in their own uniforms walked onto the stage that was directly in front of us and did the same. Instantly the 17,000 people in attendance were on their feet, clapping and cheering. Chills spread through my entire body! It was an absolutely amazing moment and I felt so grateful that my four and six year old daughters were there to witness it too. After the applause died down, the first firework was shot into the sky set to the song, “I’m Proud to Be an American!” The energy of the crowd was almost palpable. We were all feeling it.

By the time the last few fireworks in the grand finale were fired off, we were all on our feet again, with our hands over our hearts, singing along to the national anthem. “Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

We are so fortunate. And we have so much to be thankful for. This Independence Day, please thank a soldier. And tell your children why you are doing so.

To see the video referenced above, please http://www.sermonspice.com/product/32960/i-fought-for-you


Post submitted by Heather B. from The Mommies Network
Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Magic of Fireworks

The magic of fireworks--The splendor that turns the neighborhood into a fabulous display of lights, colors and sounds--The excitement and thrill seen on the children’s faces, not to mention the grown children. But all the excitement can turn into a nightmare if used improperly. Don’t let the exciting celebration of our country’s freedom turn into a devastating trauma. It’s easy to have a memorable celebration and stay safe by following
a few simple suggestions.

The Mommies Network and the National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) urge you to put safety first when celebrating this Fourth of July. Because of stringent federal safety standards enacted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, legal fireworks are safer then ever and, in fact, the incidence of firework related injuries have dramatically decreased in the last 10 years.

Legal fireworks conform to the standards given by The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Illegal ones often don’t. Only use legal fireworks. Be sure you can recognize legal fireworks from the illegal ones. The CPSC requires that legal fireworks show the name of the item, the name of the manufacturer or distributor and easy-to-read cautionary labeling and instructions for proper use.  It is suggested you contact the local police or fire department to make sure your fireworks are legal in your area. State laws can be found here. Click on your state for all the details!

Illegal devices include M80s, M100s and silver salutes and have been federally banned since 1966 because of the large amounts of illegal explosives they contain. These fireworks can usually be differentiated from legal fireworks in that they are usually unlabeled, will not bear a caution statement and will not list the manufacturer's name. They can be very dangerous and turn your backyard celebration into a backyard disaster. It is recommended to contact your local police if you know if any illegal firework distributors or anybody using illegal fireworks.

The following safety tips are given by the CPSC as general recommendations if you choose to use legal fireworks. You can get more information off their website at www.cpsc.gov.
  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
  • Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.
  •  Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
  •  Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  •  Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  •  Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Observe local laws.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  •  Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
PARENTS SHOULD SUPERVISE THE ORDERING AND USE OF MAILORDER "MAKE YOUR
OWN" FIREWORK KITS.

You can get more information firework safety by clicking on this link. http://www.fireworksafety.com. The Mommies Network implores you to have a happy, safe, magical Fourth of July. We look forward to hearing all about your celebrations as we celebrate our wonderful country’s independence.

{This article has been adapted from a post originally published on CharlotteMommies.com, a Mommies Network Community.}
Friday, July 1, 2011

French Muffins


French Muffins were always the first request on a Saturday morning when I was young. Especially if we had friends sleeping over. We would beg and plea for our Mom to make these. She really only made these muffins for sleep overs and special occasions. When she did make them, I can remember waking up to the smell of cinnamon filling the house.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 1/3 cup shortening


1/2 cup sugar and One Egg


Mix shortening, sugar, and egg.


1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cup Milk


Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Alternating with milk.


Fill muffins cups 2/3 full. ( note to self: next time use muffin liners or remember to spray )
My mom always used muffin liners and would tell us that whoever found the muffin with two 
liners was the lucky one for the day!


Bake 20-25 minutes. Twenty Minutes was how long it took in my oven.


While the muffins are baking, mix 1/2 cup confectioner sugar and 1 tsp. of cinnamon in a bowl. 
Also melt 1/2 cup margarine in a bowl. 


Immediately after baking roll muffins in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

SERVE HOT!

You won't have any left over after your family and friends get their hands on these muffins.

Post submitted by Kathy (absolutelykathy) from CentralPiedmontMommies.
{Originally submitted to CentralPiedmontMommies Blog on 5/9/2011}

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