Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Basket Ideas: Candy-Free (Almost) Edition

By Katie

Starburst Jelly Beans are my absolute favorites
Easter means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For many, it is a major religious holiday marking the resurrection of a Savior. For others, it simply marks the official start of Spring. For kids, it means candy and a visit from Santa's second-cousin, the Easter Bunny.

I love Easter. Always have, since I was a kid. So I like planning some fun activities for my kids. The thing that I loved as a kid but hate as a parent is the unreal amount of candy and junk food that abounds. What's worse is how delicious it all looks. What's the absolute worst is that I steal a few pieces here and there... a few times per day.... until it's all gone. Just when I thought I had recovered from Halloween...

So I try to be creative with the Easter baskets. There has to be at least some candy. Of course. But here are a few other less-sugary alternatives:

Stickers. I absolutely love stickers. They are so much less messy than markers, paint and glue and more fun than crayons. If you plan ahead, you can order stickers online in bulk for a much cheaper price than the tiny two-sheet packages at most stores.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kitty Therapy: Something To Dote On

By Maddie

If you frequent this blog, you may have seen the photo of my son and our cat/kittens this past Wednesday. Our cat, Maggie, had kittens last Tuesday. Some would claim that I am a totally irresponsible pet owner for letting my poor young kitty get knocked up. Um, I totally agree. It was not a shining moment to forget to get my young, female, outdoor kitty fixed. I swear, it won’t happen again.

But now we have kittens! I looooove kittens. Have since I was a little girl. Jack is equally obsessed with them. They are tiny and precious! At this point, we plan to keep one and give the rest away (if anyone in Central Florida needs a kitten, please let me know!).

What I'll Miss About Being Pregnant

By Katie

I have about eight weeks left until my due date with my second biological child. In reality, I probably have about five weeks until my daughter is born based on my history and the fact that I've already been to the hospital once with early contractions. In either case, she will be here before I know it and it seems like just yesterday I was sitting in a train station bathroom in downtown Chicago saying "oh my..." at the positive sign on my pregnancy test (it's a good story).

32 weeks and counting
I've still got some time left though. And already I feel like I am the size of a small tool shed with back pains that rival actual labor on any given day. I apologize constantly to my husband for being "huge" and walk around like someone who needs a double hip replacement. I'm bringing sexy back in big ways.

If you know me, you probably think I'm exaggerating. Sans child in the belly I sort of go non-stop. In fact, during my first pregnancy nearly five years ago I worked two jobs, one that required me to be on my feet for six or seven hours at a time. Maybe I felt huge? Maybe my back hurt? I don't really remember that though. My recollection (which could be completely warped at this point) is that it was an easy, breezy pregnancy where I pushed even harder in my life than I did before I was expecting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Earning My Keep: A Day In The Life Of A Stay-At-Home Mom

By Rachael

I've been a stay-at-home mom for more than four years now, since the birth of my oldest daughter. I exchanged my reporter's notepad for pacifiers and plastic molded toys and have enjoyed my time away from the working world. Last fall, I gave birth to our second daughter, and now I feel like I am really, really earning my keep as a stay-at-home mom. There's no time to eat bon bons around here. (But I do sometimes keep a stash of gummy bears in the pantry for those rare moments of solitude.) I present a typical day in my house:

The players:

Me: Stay-at-home mom

Josh: My husband

Megan: Our 4-year-old daughter

Abby: Our 5-month-old daughter

Hildegard: Our cat. She’s super affectionate toward our immediate family but will pursue and snarl at all outsiders.

5:45 a.m. – I wake up when I hear Josh getting ready for his work as a high school history teacher. Abby has slept through the entire night again. She does this about 70 percent of the time now. I will not discuss this further lest I jinx myself, invoke the jealousy of the rest of the mothering world, or someday have a third child who refuses to sleep at all. I get up to use the bathroom and go back to bed.

6:30 a.m. – Josh kisses me goodbye. Hildegard comes in and snoozes next to me.

6:50 a.m. – Megan creeps into the bedroom. I tell her to go turn on some cartoons and assure her I’ll be up in a few minutes.

Thursday Three: Things Moms Should Do For Themselves

By Heather C.

Moms are often the most selfless people you will ever meet. They give up their careers to stay home with their children. They trade their late nights with the girls for early bedtimes and Yoga pants. They spend their extra money on diapers and formula instead of fancy purses or shoes.

Becoming a mom can change just about anyone but many moms forget that there is still more to them than just “mom.” They can still be a friend, a wife, a daughter, a woman. Moms need to remember to put themselves as a priority. This doesn’t mean they stop thinking of their kids and spouse, it simply means they take a few hours here and there for themselves.

I’ve found I’m able to do this by enjoying these three pastimes. These aren’t things I ever really thought I would enjoy but I quickly became attached to the emotional and mental benefits of doing each one. Therefore I give you, three things all moms need to do for themselves:

Crochet: This could just as easily be knitting, cross-stitching, latch hook, or sewing. I learned how to crochet by watching instructional videos on Youtube. I’m not a crafty person and I don’t really crochet for crafty purposes. I crochet to keep my hands busy. I can do this while relaxing after the kids go to bed. I can do this while bouncing the girls in their bouncers or during nap time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Big Happy Family

Submitted by Maddie

If you have a photo you would like to submit for Wordless Wednesday, please email it to us at

Fierce In The Face Of Giants: A Farewell To Ace

By Sally

Ace: Terrifying and sweet all at once
When my daughter and her husband were still in the acquaintance stage, I was slowly learning bits and pieces about his life, his family, his job.  Of course, when a mom has a daughter AND a granddaughter to look out for, there tends to be a suspicion of all contenders for a spot on the family tree.

What I learned quickly was that he was a writer, he had two small children whom he was sharing custody of with his ex-wife, that he was a good listener, and that my daughter and granddaughter felt safe and loved in his presence. 

I wasn’t seeing any “deal breakers” here. 

Next, it was time to get info on his family.   Short and simple, each and everyone were amazing, generous, intelligent people….who frankly, may have wondered if we belonged on their family tree. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Drive-Thru Diet: Fast Food Done Right

By Katie

Like most moms, I try to feed my family healthy food. I employ the usual tricks -- swapping out whole grain for everything possible, keeping lots of fruits and veggies on hand and preparing meals at home. We live by a rule of moderation. We eat carry-out pizza once a week, eat kettle baked potato chips on occasion and serve up a juice box here and there. And like most families, we eat fast food sometimes.

I find that I am actually more prone to picking up fast food when I am alone. Even a quick trip to the grocery store often has me debating if I should pull into Taco Bell for a quick bite or pick up a small fry from McDonald's to devour before I reach my driveway. The lack of accountability of my children in the back seat certainly makes it much easier to pull up to the drive thru and let my food inhibitions fly.

I also often work from a food establishment when I need a break from my house. This means patronizing the place by ordering food, and sometimes ordering twice. What I have found is that most fast-food and casual dining places DO offer healthy alternatives. It is up to the customer (me) to make the right choices.

Panera's Mediterranean Egg White Sandwich
Here is a short list of healthy, relatively nutritious fast-food options for moms who dabble in an occasional away-from-home meal indulgence.


The Mediterranean Egg White Sandwich, Panera Bread

This sandwich is delish! With 20% of the daily amount of calcium and iron that you need and nutrient-rich veggies like tomatoes and spinach, you can feel good about ordering one. It still has relatively high calories (410) and fat (15g) so don't go overboard and add it to your daily menu. If you order it without cheese, the calorie count drops to 320 and fat drops to 7 grams. Add a calorie-free blackberry sage tea or honey ginseng green tea for that extra "wake up."

Potty Training Timeline: Booty Camp Style

By Heather Novak

Loading up on Boot Camp goodies
My oldest daughter turned three last month and we needed to be OUT of CLOTH DIAPERS. I cannot even guess how much we have spent on disposables and pull ups since we began potty training her at 18 months. She was like 75% trained...all poops in the potty with M&M rewards. I thought she had it down so we changed to a bigger reward for a day of clean pants....and derailed everything.

Oh yeah, and we had a baby too.

So my friend Mark gave us the Booty Camp Training DVD and notes to try. He has a special needs child who after nine years in dipes was successfully trained using this method.

Editor's note: Some of the basics of this style of training include setting aside a day to focus solely on training and keeping the child in underwear the entire day. If there are accidents, the child must participate in cleaning it up and touch his or her wet/dirty underwear to understand what happened. There is a rewards system for attempting to go potty, and of course, for succeeding. The main thing is to put the responsibility of pulling down underwear, sitting and even clean up on the child. Liquids are encouraged to be plentiful the entire experience and many recommend juice boxes (even if they are not usually allowed) because children drink them, and drink them quickly. Salty "junk" foods are also encouraged in order to keep the child interested and thirsty. Back to the post... 

This is how our Booty Camp day shaped up:

February 10th: Purchased an obscene amount of junk food for training weekend. For Portia. Well I did eat a lot. To test it out. Actually I might have eaten the entire package of Keebler Elves' chocolate covered creme wafers. Rotten Elves. 1,200 calories later...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ways To Add More Iron To Your Diet

By Katie

I've been taking Floradix to
improve my iron numbers
A few weeks ago I was told that I had developed anemia in my pregnancy. The doctor told me off-handedly that my "numbers" were similar to those he would expect to see in women from third-world countries.

How could this be?

I had been faithfully taking my prenatal vitamins for months before I even found out that I was pregnant. I eat a balanced, healthy diet and am certainly not starving myself (believe me). My doctor explained that in pregnancy, some women just need that extra boost to keep their iron levels up to par. I've done some reading since then and taken some advice from friends who are educated in the matter and I've compiled a list of ways all women can improve their iron consumption and absorption (also very key!).

-- Lay off the coffee and tea. Okay, you don't have to totally give them up but wait at least two hours after their consumption to take your vitamin or any iron supplements that you have been prescribed. Compounds called tannins commonly found in coffee and tea prevent iron from being absorbed as it should be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

24 Hours In The Life Of A Mom With Three Pre-K Kids

By Katie

Inspired by the other ladies on this blog, I decided to chronicle a day in my life -- if for no other reason than to have it for myself in five years when all four of my little ones are off to school and I'm wondering what to do with my time (ha!). I am both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. I have several freelance clients and on the days that it is just the kids and me, I work when I can but do not schedule any official "office hours." The day you see here is one of those days.

The players:

My little crazies... From left: Ferris, London, Emilia
Me: SAH/working mom who is 7.5 months pregnant with another girl

Brant: My husband

Ferris: My (recently turned) five-year-old stepson

Emilia: My three-almost-four-year-old daughter

London: My two-almost-three-year-old stepdaughter

Ricky: Our fluffy Keeshond dog who weighs about 59 pounds. He pants a lot but is very sweet.

I figured that anything after midnight was fair game. So, naturally, I started with my first "wake up" of the night...


1:35 a.m.: My daughter Emilia comes in my room and says that she wants the Nintendo 3DS. My stepson got this for his birthday and Emilia knows the only time she has a chance to play it is at... well, 1:35 a.m. I plead with her to just go back to bed, but she is determined. I sneak into my stepson's room, grab the gaming system, tuck Emilia back in bed with it between her hands and climb back in bed.

1:52 a.m.: Emilia is back. The 3DS needs the charger. I stumble around the house in the dark and locate it in the dining room. I plug it in. I climb back in bed.

2:17 a.m.: She's back. She wants to "sleep by somebody." I tell her to go back to bed. Please go back to bed. She starts to cry. I get up and start to corral her back to her bedroom. My stepson, who wakes up at the sound of ANYTHING hears us and now he is awake too. I tell him to get back in bed. He starts to whine, loudly. I peek into the room where my stepdaughter is resting and she is oblivious to all the racket. Apparently my husband is too. I manage to get both kids back in bed. Ferris, my stepson, falls asleep immediately. Emilia cries for about three minutes and then it gets quiet. I climb back in bed. My husband is snoring. How does he do that? I decide to get on my Kindle Fire for a few minutes and settle some Words with Friends scores. I bury my husband in an almost-complete game with a 47-point word. I feel a little better and go back to sleep.

A Peek At Infertility: From Infertility To Family

By Heather C.

After suffering two miscarriages and six failed attempts of infertility treatments, we turned our focus on ourselves. We were married, just over a year at this point, and were already talking about divorce. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We redirected our attention to realizing that being a family didn’t have to mean having children, it meant simply having each other. We tried to find new ways to reconnect and we attempted to learn to love ourselves again. This was especially hard on me as I carried a lot of guilt with the infertility being my “fault” and feeling like a failure for not being able to carry a pregnancy.

An early picture of my oldest, Lillian
We joined a local gym and began working out together. We both had hobbies and interests but never attempted to combine them. Working out together was the first thing we did together. We pushed each other to do better. Along with that, Jeremy began doing weight training and I began taking Yoga classes.

With a better self image of ourselves, our moods improved. We didn’t stop there though. We changed our diet. We started eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. We cut out alcohol and soda and stuck with milk and water only (and later added in juice as well). We reduced our calories, sodium and portion sizes. The more changes we made, the happier we noticed we were.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thursday Three: Differences Between Braxton Hicks And Real Contractions

By Katie

Know the difference between real and "practice" contractions
Photo via
I had a little scare last week. At 30 weeks along in my second pregnancy, I was experiencing painful contractions every 15 minutes or so. This went on for a few hours before I woke up my husband and he encouraged me to have my doctor paged. My doctor told me to meet him at the hospital in the labor and delivery wing.

Several hours and two shots of Terbutaline later, the contractions ceased. At no point was I actually in labor, but if my contractions had gone on and not stopped on their own, I may have gone into labor. I was shaken up but felt comfortable going home with the contractions gone.

How I Found Out I Was Having Twins (And Freaked Out)

By Ellen

My twins around the age of one
It goes back to when I was substitute teaching and one of the other teachers asked how far along I was.  I proudly said I was 12 weeks. She looked at me with her jaw dropped and said, "WOW, are you having twins?"  I looked back at her as if she were speaking Portugese.  I quickly replied, "I sure hope not. It's my second and I’ve heard there is more room for your second so you start showing more quickly." 

She sure got me thinking though.  I was a lot sicker this time around and I DID look a lot bigger than when I was 12 weeks with my first.  At my Dr.’s appointment, my husband and I went with the intention of bringing this up.  The Dr. listened for the heart beat and he said that he did hear two heart beats but that when he hears two it often means he is hearing an echo.  He wrote a script to have a 14-week ultrasound. The Dr. proceeded to say the 4 words I dreaded hearing: "It might be twins."  This really freaked me out.

Call Me Cheap... But It Hurts To Pay Full Price

By Tricia

Frugal, deal-seeker... or just plain cheap. I love saving money.
I will be the first one to admit that I’m cheap. I prefer words like "frugal" or "deal finder" but the truth of the matter is that I am a cheapskate and proud of it. I was always under the impression that my cheapness was somewhat of a secret but when I was out to dinner with a couple of friends I realized that I’m not so mysterious. When one complimented my sweater the other one immediately said “Then she’ll tell you it was only $2.” This induced a round of laughter from the table because anyone that knows me knows that's true. I love the deal almost as much as I love the sharing of the deal details with everyone else.

I’m not embarrassed by my frugal ways. In fact, I take great pride in them. A few years ago when my job ended and I became a full time stay-at-home mom I really started to focus on saving money. This is why as a mother of two and a self proclaimed cheapie, I will share my cheap tips with my fellow mommies.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nosebleeds And Nutella: A Day In The Life Of A Working Mom

By Maddie

So as I am sure I have mentioned before, I am a WOHM (work outside the home mom). My husband Les also works full time. We are...busy. To say the least.

My son ate squash... It was a good day!
I also blog for Mumbling Mommy and my own blog, and my husband coaches and plays in an 18+ baseball league. We also have a house and a yard (sometimes I want to give those back...).

I was inspired by Heather C.'s post about a day in her life and decided I'd take notes on a day in mine.

So here it is:

So if we are going for a complete picture, I have to include my first wake up, at 1:45 am.

Here goes.

1:45am I hear my husband and son talking. My husband was up playing video games when Jack called (rather pitifully, apparently). Turns out Jacks nose was absolutely gushing blood. He calls for my help. We get the nosebleed stopped and the kid back to sleep.

2:15am Finally head back to bed.

A Peek At Infertility: Our Angels

By Heather C.

I knew other women had it worse, but I was still depressed.
Photo via
If you remember from my Mommy 101 post, one thing I learned the hard way about dealing with infertility was that simply getting pregnant wasn’t the hardest part. I never realized staying pregnant was involved too. My infertility journey didn’t end simply with getting pregnant; in fact it was still only beginning.

Early ultrasounds do not show you very much. In fact, doctors typically cannot pick up a heartbeat until the 5th or 6th week, sometimes even later. They first look for a gestational sac but just because they see that doesn’t mean your pregnancy is viable. Next they look for a fetal pole but that still doesn’t mean your pregnancy is viable. Finally, they look for that little blip. That’s it, right? They find the heartbeat and nothing else can go wrong, right? Big, fat WRONG.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mommy 101: How To Be A Good Stepmom

By Katie

The Three Amigos
I've been a stepmom for less than a year now. Technically my husband and I got married in March but I didn't move in with him and his children until June. So while I would say that doesn't exactly make me an expert yet, the learning curve has been a steep one and I'm a fast learner anyway.

I have a stepson who just turned five, a stepdaughter who will be three in June and my biological daughter will be four next month. My other biological daughter will arrive in May. There are a lot of little people running the halls of this house (and along the walls of my womb) and I realized early on that the only way to survive it is to just jump right in and ride the wave.

So while I'm not a perfect stepmom, I'm not a wicked one either. Here are few ways that I make the most of my role as stepmom.

My house, my rules. Luckily, communication between the two "houses" is good. My husband and his ex-wife talk about everything from discipline issues to potty training accidents and I'm kept in the loop. This helps give the kids a feeling of consistency and stability from one place to the next. But for those moments when there is no known rule, I just use my own judgment. I put my stepkids in a time-out if it is warranted. I take away toys if behavior is bad and I withhold dessert if a bite of each food at dinner is not at least attempted. I'd like to say that I was smarter than the phrase "but my mommy lets me do that" in those first few months, but yeah... let's just say there was some cookie eating after 8 p.m. and questionable television shows that were watched. I wised up pretty quickly though.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Memoir Monday: A Slight Departure

By Katie

This is normally the place every week where I put a piece of my first-pregnancy-memoir-in-progress. This week I'm going to make a slight departure from that usual schedule and post something else.

Here's what happened: I was asked to submit a first-person piece to a leading parenting magazine. There was no promise of publication but of course I poured my heart and soul into the piece. I rewrote the entire thing following some requests and found photos that could run with it. I told my family and friends that it was going to run in the June/July issue. Then I got an email saying that the last editor who was needed to sign off on its publication decided "to pass" instead.

Three (More) Great Sites / Apps For Parents

By Maddie

After reading Katie's list of parenting sites she frequents, I was inspired to add my own. I love them all but the Babycenter community has been my rock since I was pregnant with my son almost 5 years ago. Time flies, that is for sure!

So here are three must-have parenting places online and in the "app" world.

BabyCenter Community
I joined the July 2008 board when I was just barely 3 months pregnant with my son. I have since explored many other boards. BabyCenter is a huge community with members from all different walks of life. Many boards are very popular, including Cooking for Your Family, several grief and loss groups, and the infamous Bargain Hunters. I have been friends with several of the women from my birth board for going on 5 years now! We have forged friendships outside of the boards as well.

A Day In The Life Of A Mom Of Twins... Plus One

By Heather C.

The highlights of my day
With all the good weather lately, my husband Jeremy and I have been taking our three girls on walks around the neighborhood. We put Natalie and Sophia, our 3-month-old twins, in the big stroller for Jeremy to push and Lillian, our 2 year old in a small umbrella stroller for me to push. We come across plenty of others out for walk themselves. They walk past us and smile sweetly, sometimes saying pleasant "hello"s.

After 4 or 5 crossings, I ask Jeremy, “What do you suppose they are thinking when they see us with three small children?” And his reply is likely the same thing I would think if I saw someone else in this situation, “I’m glad it’s not me!”

Except, it is me, and well, it’s not that bad. The conversation had us laughing and gave me inspiration for this post. So without further explanation, I bring you play-by-play of my day -- a mom of twins.

3:00 a.m. Wake up to the sound of a baby crying. Hmm, I wonder which one it is? Oh well, at least they slept SEVEN hours last night. That’s some form of miracle. Although I didn’t get to bed until a bit after 10:00 p.m, and Lillian woke up from a nightmare just before midnight. (We’re on day 5 now after taking away her paci. Why’d we do that again? Oh, that’s right because three year olds shouldn’t have pacifiers…) I make bottles, pick up said crying baby. It was Natalie... I think? I get her diaper changed, nurse her for 10 minutes or so, then top her off with an ounce and a half of formula by bottle. I do the same for Sophia. 45 minutes later, I’m finally back in bed.

5:30 a.m. My husband’s alarm goes off for work. I hear it and groan. I roll over and attempt to go back to sleep.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seven Tips For Parents With Food Picky Kids

By Elizabeth

No matter how you 'disguise' it, broccoli is still broccoli
Photo via
Children are picky eaters, and I’m not the first or even the 100th parent to struggle with that issue.  Rachael reviewed a book today that is all about how to deal with this particular breed of child, complete with recipes that have kid-friendly names. There's a reason experts write books on the topic. It is real problem in many homes.

With my first son, we wanted to do everything right. He exclusively breast-fed until 6 months, when we gradually introduced him to one solid food at a time. We even started with those tasteless, pasty, high-iron “baby cereals” that no baby in his right mind would enjoy.  We bought a food processor and made him gourmet baby food blends that were healthier and cheaper than jarred food.

Except for the cereal issue, Jonathan was a great eater once he got going on solid food. We had a few months of bliss where we were convinced we had the perfect baby: not only was he a champion sleeper, but he ate anything we offered him, especially vegetables. 

Then he turned 1, his appetite dropped, and we spent the next 3 years playing short order cooks to a child that would only eat select dairy products, fruit, and grains (bread, cereal, popcorn.)

The "No-Cry" Solution For Kids Who Are Food Finicky

By Rachael

Given the fact that she is 4-years-old, my daughter is a pretty good eater. She adores Brussels sprouts and asparagus. She even eats olives (blech!) and is usually willing to sample new fare like Indian or Chinese dishes.

Book available on Amazon
Yet, she still has some of the typical kid hang-ups when it comes to food. She rarely touches a chicken breast or pot roast. She might give meat a passing glance if she’s given copious amounts of Ranch dressing or honey mustard for dipping. She will devour chicken nuggets, though. Macaroni and cheese and other pasta dishes are staples in our house, and you don’t even want to know how often I microwave pizza rolls for my daughter because they are quick, easy, and I know she will eat them. Fellow blogger Elizabeth writes today about the challenges she faces with her sons in regards to being particular about food. It is a worrisome issue for many parents.

Enter Elizabeth Pantley’s latest book, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. We all deal with picky eaters to some extent, and Pantley offers encouragement to parents who are at wit’s end over dinner-table battles. She begins by defining what a picky eater is and assures parents that picky eating is normal. She also explains what is often behind picky eating, like genetics, instinct, and power struggles, and she touches on the dangers of a diet laden with excess sugar (with special mention given to soda), fat, and sodium while touting the benefits of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

Adoption Online: A Look At Two Journeys

By Katie

Even parents without adopted children know that the process is often a long, draining and expensive one. All successful adoptive parents will be the first to tell you that none of the trials matter once they have their child, or children, in their homes. Still, adoption is a complicated and competitive process and is not for the faint of heart.

Which is why many prospective adoptive parents are taking matters into their own hands. With the prevalence of social networking, parents are foregoing traditional adoption means, like agencies, and reaching out to find their families online. While independent adoption is not a new concept, the rise in adoptions procured via social networking is on the rise.

'I never thought ten years ago that I would have three kids today'

James (left) and Sam welcome new
baby sister, McKenna
Meghan and Kenny have adopted three children through independent adoption. The couple tried for several years to conceive without any success. Rather than go through invasive procedures like IVF, Kenny suggested adoption. Meghan was not ready to give up on her dream of pregnancy quite yet though.

"For me it was not about having a biological child. It was just about being able to be pregnant. As a woman, I wanted to try for that," Meghan told me over the phone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thursday Three: Things Preemie Moms Want You To Know

By Heather

My preemies, reunited for the
first time since the womb
Three months ago I joined a club that no one ever wants to be invited to: The Preemie Mom Club. In the beginning, I thought my girls were just like any other baby, just smaller. It wasn’t until the days in the NICU passed by that I realized that wasn’t the case. They weren’t just babies, they were preemies. Each preemie is different but there are three pretty common factors that I’m sure all preemie moms would want everyone to know.

1. They aren’t comparable.

It may seem obvious to say but you can’t compare one baby to another. We constantly try to do this as moms. It’s a horrid habit that we all need to break but comparing two full term babies is a completely different concept. Try comparing a 25-weeker to a 32-weeker to a 35-weeker that were all originally due the same day. Even with the same adjusted age, these three babies will be nothing alike for many, many months, possibly even years. As a preemie mom, we’re trained to know that our children will not develop on track with their peers. Their adjusted age will help guide us, but still these babies are doing their own things on their own schedule. I once heard that one day in the womb equals two days in the NICU. The earlier the baby is born, the longer it will take for the baby to catch up.

Four Great Sites For Parents

By Katie

Being able to show off cute pictures of your kids online to your family, friends and sort-of-friends is one of the best parts about being connected in cyberspace. But showing off isn't the only perk about being a parent and having an online presence. If you know where to go online, you can be a more-informed, happier, better parent.

Here are four of my favorite Web sites for parents:
Pour that second cup and check
out my favorite Web sites for parents
photo via

1. Babble. Labled as being a site for "a new generation of parents," Babble is not your average information-for-parents destination. It's quirky, funny, off-the-wall and helpful -- all at once. Spend some time just looking through the blogs on Babble, and you'll be glad that you did.

2. Blogfrog. I was just introduced to this site last week... and oh... my... gracious. Forget Pinterest. Blogfrog is where the real addiction's at. You have to have a blog to join so it may not be for every parent out there but it is a great way to promote your posts, join lively discussions and meet other blogging friends. Check out Mumbling Mommy's Blogfrog Community here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Motherly Advice: Take Some Quiet Time For You

By Sally

I treasure those first few minutes of the day, when I refuse to get out of bed until my mind and soul have had time to mesh.

My "take a moment" read
Photo via

What I mean is, as soon as my eyes open, my mind begins its frantic listing of everything that must be done today, everyone who must be seen, every task that I left undone yesterday…..and on and on.

My soul yearns for a few gentle moments, to be grateful for my blessings, my husband, my children and my grandchildren, my long-time friends, my challenges for the day being quickly resolved.

So, I “make myself” stay in bed until I’ve had a few moments to pray, to breathe, to read something inspirational.   Currently, I am reading “Sabbath” by Wayne Muller, along with a section from the Bible.

I have been reading Wayne Muller’s books for several years. Not constantly.  But when I know I have the need to re-read and get a “tune up”.  His writing speaks to my soul.  He writes about the person I want to be…the mark I want to leave on this world.  I have changed in many ways since I started considering his approach to life.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weird Wide Web: When Worlds Collide Online

By Katie

A few years ago I got a strange friend request on Facebook. Before I read the accompanying message, I clicked on the man's photo and was redirected to his Wall. He lived on the East Coast, had none of the same interests as me and we had zero mutual friends. I sighed. Just what I needed. A Facebook stalker. For fun, I decided to read his message anyway. It went something like this:

I know you don't know me but I had to send you a friend request anyway. You have the same name as my girlfriend and I think that's pretty cool. 

Strange similarity #107:
We both look hot in sunglasses

I chuckled. Now that was a line if I ever heard one. Another Katie Powalski? Preposterous. I did a Google search and I was the only one who popped up. I was about to write him back and give him a piece of Katie Powalski's mind when I decided to look at his Wall again. Sure enough, under "relationship status" it said that he was in one with Katie Powalski. I clicked on her picture and it was a distant shot, on a boat of some sort. She was hard to see, but she looked about my age and was pretty. Suddenly, my interest was piqued. I accepted Jon's friend request, and shortly after, accepted Katie Powalski's.

Stay-At-Home Vs. Unemployed: Yes, There's A Difference

By Heather

Photo Via Mama's Turn Now
The last time I went to the doctor, I had to update all my personal information because it had been so long since I was there. I left the space next to “Work number” blank. I technically work four hours a week on Saturday mornings. For simplicity sake, I didn’t list a work phone number. Upon reviewing my information, the receptionist inquired, “Ms. C_____, you don’t work?”

Well, I don’t make money!

As stay-at-home moms we are often faced with the term “unemployed.” It seems really unfair. We are not in fact out of work. We work. A lot! We don’t get paid for our work and it’s not the kind of work you can put on your resume but you also won’t find us in the unemployment line. We can’t lose our job. We’re moms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re NOT unemployed.

The other common term I come across is “homemaker.” A representative actually said to me a few weeks ago, “Well, I can’t leave that field blank. I’ll just put ‘homemaker’ because it sounds classier than ‘unemployed.” I just smiled then, but when did stay-at-home-mom and homemaker become synonymous? Our “job” cannot be simplified so easily.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Memoir Monday: A Risky Call

** Memoir Monday is a weekly series that features pieces of Katie's memoir-in-progress that covers her first pregnancy. Click here to see past entries. **

By Katie
I made it to 37 weeks.
That night, my water broke.

On the visit to my OB during my 35th week of pregnancy, he seemed concerned that I would go into labor early. He ordered me to take it easy and get through two more weeks before meeting my little one. I was horrified. I was barely ready to become a mother in five more weeks and now he was telling me that I might have even less time. I needed every second I could get. Doctor Lopez didn't care about that though. And neither did my child, apparently.

That visit to the Doc shook me up a little. I decided to keep the findings on the down low. I didn’t see the point in worrying everyone else. I told my roommate about it. I told my Aunt Melodie who was also my birth coach. She basically told me not to move a muscle for any reason and that she would be praying for Emilia to wait for the due date. I called the restaurant where I worked and said it was time to stop coming in.

“Is everything okay?” the woman who did the schedule asked me.

“Oh yeah. Just feeling huge and like I need to put my feet up.”

“I totally understand. I got the same way with both of my kids! Let me know if you want to come work at all after the baby comes. After you heal, of course.”

Weekly Poll: Does The Internet Make Parenting Easier?

We've come a long way, baby.
Photo via
By Katie

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Internet. It's my virtual map, cook book and lifeline to the outside world on the days when it feels like the walls of my home are closing in. I've found old friends, made new friends and reconsidered friendships as a result of online networking. I know who is due to have a baby any day, who just got a new car and who got too wasted to function last night (ahhh, kids) because the Internet keeps me updated.

I've also misdiagnosed myself with a few serious ailments as a result of my online research and clicked on a few things accidentally that I really wish I hadn't. Still, overall, I feel that my life is more convenient, informed and fun because of that crazy phenomena known as the world-wide web.

As a parent, I feel like my troubles are shared and my happy moments celebrated because of the Internet. I was talking about my lack of "real friends" a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law but followed up by saying that it helps to have an online community of support.

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