Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Out for a Stroll

Submitted by Rachael

If you have a photo that you would like to submit for Wordless Wednesday,

A Peek at Preschool: 20 Things You Can Do at Home

From circle time to centers, preschool is a complicated, wonderful, difficult, and memorable experience. This is the final piece in Mumbling Mommy’s series about preschool. Previous posts discussed the benefits and drawbacks of preschool, how to know if your child is ready for preschool, how to select a preschool, and how to handle behavior problems.

Preschools are popular places to send our little ones, but children don’t need to attend preschool in order to be successful in school later. Whether you don’t have room in your budget for preschool or just want a little more time with your child before she goes off to school full time, there are plenty of things you can do together on your own.

1.      Read together. This is a biggie. Keep books everywhere: a stack in your child’s bedroom, a basketful in the family room, and couple in the car.
2.      Make crafts. Buy a kit or look online for ideas. My daughter and I enjoy dltkkids.com and crayola.com. Sometimes we just do a Google search for free printable coloring pages.
Make recycled chunky crayons!
3.      Create your own sensory box. Fill a large, shallow plastic storage box with uncooked rice, beans, pasta, or bird seed. Add some scoops, cups, spoons, and tiny toys, and let your child play. Any spills can be swept up afterward, or set the box on a large blanket for easier cleanup.
4.      Buy a preschool skills workbook. These are only a couple of dollars in the book area at any big box store or drugstore. My daughter loves doing mazes, dot-to-dots, tracing letters, counting objects in pictures, matching, and identifying patterns, and she feels like a big girl when she does “school work.”
5.      Play educational games online. Starfall.com and pbskids.org are favorites in our house.
6.      Turn your back yard into a wildlife observation area. Allow your child to help you hang and fill birdfeeders. Set out a hummingbird feeder (filled with one part dissolved white sugar to four parts boiled water; no red food dye needed). Put out bird houses and a bird bath. Grow flowers that attract butterflies. Plant berry-producing bushes to feed birds.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Marriage After Kids Grow Up: Is It A Myth?

By Katie

The intention of two people when they get married is to stay together forever. No one ever says "'Til death do us part... or I feel like moving on." No one says it, but with over half of all marriages ending in divorce, 'til death do us part seems more like a line from a fairy tale than an actual reality.

Photo via mnfamilylawblog.com
Those who choose to get married often do it with the idea that children will follow at some point. Not every married couple has the intention of reproducing, but the vast majority "settle down" in order to raise a family. Marriage is the first step in the family-rearing process.

So what happens after one of the core purposes of a marriage, raising children, ends? When the kids are grown and leave the home, what is left? As a parent of very young children, my brain has not even made it to the elementary school phase of my marriage, let alone the college one. I have every reason to believe that my husband and I will survive as a couple after our kids head out into their own lives but there are still a lot of years, experiences and challenges to face before we reach that point.

Which is why an article I read on the Huffington Post really floored me. It terrified me, I must admit. Written by blogger Vicki Larson, a mother of adult children and divorcee, the piece presents the idea that it is perfectly "ok" for a married couple to split up once the child rearing process is complete. Not only is it acceptable, it is becoming more commonplace. According to the article, the divorce rate among baby boomers has risen 50 percent in the past 20 years.

Vicki says: "We're living longer than generations did before us, and "till death do us part" could mean 60, 70 years together instead of 20 or 30 years. For those who have found the one person to live with contently through the first and second halves of marriage, great. But there's nothing wrong in acknowledging that for some of us -- perhaps even the majority of us -- a marriage that works happily through the parenting years is all we desire, and that dissolving a marriage after that isn't a failure or a result of not understanding what "hard work" and "commitment" is, accusations many of us who divorce face."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Feeding Frenzy Friday: Important Tips to Keep in Mind When Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby

By Heather C.

Like many moms, as I sat quietly holding my pregnant belly so many nights I envisioned my baby, perfect and sound in my arms breastfeeding: the slight suckling sound, the calm face, the bright eyes looking right up at me. I had this experience with my first daughter. I breastfed her for 15 months and didn't question a day of it.

As my 2nd and 3rd daughters were born, the evening was frantic. I was just short of 32 weeks along. I was on a magnesium drip for nearly 3 hours and contractions were just becoming more and more intense. As the nurses did a quick scan to check the girls’ positions, they found my Sophia footling breech, her feet straight down, her knees bent slightly and her umbilical cord, wrapped right under her left knee.
My placenta was low, not a previa but in a bad position to try to get both girls out safely. As the resident checked my cervix one last time, I was nearly 6 cm dilated. We couldn't wait any longer. Labor wasn't going to stop and if I attempted to birth the girls, it could turn deadly. The doctors moved quickly around me, got me to the OR, administered a spinal and epidural and quickly got both of my babies out. They were born within 30 minutes of being told I would need a C-section.

They were premature. 31 weeks, 6 days. Barely breathing.

Thursday Three: Tips To Stay Sane Traveling With Kids

By Katie

Summer is the most popular time of year for family vacations. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 657 million long distance summer trips are made each summer. The trips average 284 miles one way. Many of those are made by families who take advantage of kids being out of school during the summer months.

Emilia and I at the airport in 2008
Next week I'm flying with a four-year-old and a six-week-old to Indiana for my brother's wedding. The older of the two is an excellent traveler. She has been since she was, well, six weeks old and I flew to Indiana during my maternity leave. I am anxious about the new baby because she cries if you sit still for longer than 30 seconds. The celebration waiting for us on the other end is worth whatever might happen in the air, however.

Traveling can be stressful, especially with little ones. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for parents to help enjoy the vacation process as much as possible.
  1. Routine will be interrupted. Parents should just accept this fact. Try not to stress out if the kids do not get a nap at the exact same time or eat more junk food than normal. Do your best to adapt and maintain some semblance of your life back home, but fretting over the duplication of your exact schedule will only frustrate you. Go with the flow as much as possible.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Cooking: Shrimp Quesadillas

By Rachael

Who doesn’t love shrimp? Or cheese? Put them together and you’ve got these delicious quesadillas. My husband said they tasted like they were from a restaurant!

(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)  

·         Flour Tortillas
·         12 whole large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
·         8 ounces taco sauce
·         1 whole onion
·         1 whole red bell pepper
·         1 whole green bell pepper
·         2 cups shredded cheese
·         2 Tbsp. olive oil
·         2 Tbsp. butter

Pour taco sauce over shrimp. Set aside.

Chop vegetables into large pieces. Heat skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Cook vegetables over high heat until they start to get brown/black. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Return skillet to high heat, then dump in the shrimp with the sauce. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until shrimp is opaque. Add a little water if the sauce gets dry. Remove from skillet and chop into bite-size pieces.

In a separate skillet, heat butter. Place a tortilla in the skillet, then layer on ingredients: cheese, vegetables, and shrimp. Top with a little more cheese and a second tortilla. Cook on both sides, adding butter before flipping to the other side so the tortilla isn’t overly dry.

Remove from skillet and slice into wedges. Serve with rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

You can contact Rachael by e-mailing her at Rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

Bringing Home Baby: The Kids Who Didn't Care

By Katie

Like most parents-to-be, my husband and I had a lot of anxieties before our daughter Erinn was born last month.
The three amigos

Will she be healthy?

Are we up to the challenge of a newborn in the house? 

Where are we going to put all her stuff?

Having three other kids already in the house, one of our biggest anxieties was the way the new baby would affect her older siblings. We anticipated some jealousy, acting out and some regression on the two-year-old's potty training. We braced ourselves for it and made peace with the fact that it was all a part of the "bringing home baby" process.

Then something strange happened.


The three kids came to meet their baby sister at the hospital and within five minutes, they were asking for my Kindle because they wanted to play Angry Birds.

"But don't you want to hold your baby sister again?"

Blank stares.

"This is your sister. You know, the one that you've been asking about for nearly ten months?"

Their little faces seemed to be asking: Is this a trick question?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Readers, Bloggers Weigh In On Great Dads In Their Lives

Father's Day weekend is upon us and dads everywhere will get some much-deserved recognition.

As moms, we depend on the dads in our lives to encourage us, support us and yes -- jump in and change poopy diapers when its needed. We asked our readers to tell us about a great dad in their lives. Our bloggers also weighed in. Here are the responses:

Stefany's "superhero" husband and son
"My special Dad is my husband. My own father was an example of what not to do. I love that my husband is very hands on and loves to come home and immediately spend his evening with his son. He gives me alone time when I need it, and even stops doing his fun stuff to tend to him. I look forward to watching him teach my son stuff as the years go on." -- Sheri V.

Feeding Frenzy Friday: How to Get Breastfeeding Support

By Rachael

Photo from Creative Commons
Breastfeeding is good. This fact is never disputed. Among other benefits, it provides infants with the best possible nutrition, great immunity, and lowers their risk for obesity later in life. It’s why 75% of new moms set out with intentions to breastfeed, according to the CDC. 

But for many moms, something happens. By the time an infant is 6 months old, fewer than half of moms are still breastfeeding. The CDC’s recent study indicates new moms need better support to establish and continue breastfeeding. That support – from spouses, family, doctors, and friends – along with determination on the mother’s part, are probably the two most vital factors in predicting breastfeeding success.

Feeding Frenzy Friday: Breastfeeding Twins

By Heather C.

Photo from Creative Commons Search
Breastfeeding Twins. It sounds pretty scary, doesn't it? Daunting? Exciting? A fun challenge?

Yes, it is pretty much all of those.

Breastfeeding twins is a lot like breastfeeding one baby, except there are two. So for every 20 minutes you spend nursing one, you spend another 20 minutes nursing the other. If they go 2 hours between feedings like the average breastfed newborn, your schedule looks like this:

8 a.m. Diaper change, clothes change, etc. (Baby A)

8:15 a.m. Nurse (Baby A)

8:35 a.m. Diaper change, clothes change, etc (Baby B)

8:50 a.m. Nurse (Baby B)

9:10 a.m. Pump

9:20 a.m. Maybe time for your breakfast? A quick shower? “Sleep when baby sleeps”? Just don’t get too comfortable because before you know it, it’s…

Father's Day Advice: Mamas -- Don't Boss Your Baby Daddies!

By Heather Novak

Father's Day.  Oh you Menfolk. 

And you tired Mamas.

I am so blessed!  My husband NEVER hands my daughters off to me with a weak excuse that I do it better. 

Well maybe if a trip to the milky bar is the only visible solution.  He surely doesn't do that.  But he does bust out a bottle if my bust isn't available.

 He does everything I do, play, dress, diaper, feed etc.  Because we both know we are equally unskilled parents.  Neither one of us has done this before.  Neither one of us is getting any parenting awards.  We are real people just keeping the kids alive, loved and sometimes happy! 

John is so active and involved and I have so much respect for him because of it.  Happy Father's Day John Novak!  You are an excellent Father:  Thank you for all the choices and efforts that make this so. You are a REAL MAN!

A real man knows how to father. 

But the mamas HAVE to get out of the way for this to happen!  

 He won't do it your way and that does not make it the wrong way, so keep your mouth closed.

He won't do anything your way because he is not you.  And NEWSFLASH:  Your way is not the best way.  It just isn't.  You think it is because....it is YOUR way.   Your way is simply 'a' way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Little Mermaid

Submitted by Rachael

If you have a photo that you would like to submit for Wordless Wednesday,

And The Winners Are...

Maura B. and Katie M.

They have both won a complete three-book series of "What To Expect" that includes the information on pregnancy, the first year and the second year.

Didn't win? There are still four days to enter our Father's Day contest for a $50 Home Dept gift card. Check out the details here.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tell Us About Dad For A Home Depot Gift Card

You can win a $50 gift card to Home Depot gift card just in time for Father's Day, courtesy of Mumbling Mommy and Padilla Home Inspection and Handyman Services.

Tell us about a great dad in your life, whether he is your own, your spouse, an uncle, a grandfather or just a good friend. If he is a great dad, we want to hear about it.

To enter, leave a comment on this post or email us at mumblingmommy@mumblingmommy.com.

You get an extra entry for sending along a picture as well.

What To Expect Book Giveaway Extended

We have extended our What To Expect book giveaway contest through the end of the day on Monday, June 11th.

Leave a comment on this post to be entered, or head over to our Facebook page to leave one there. You can also Tweet this link to your followers for another entry!

You can find all of the information about the book giveaway here.

Good luck! Two winners will be announced Monday evening.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Three: Things My Husband Does Better

By Katie

It's no secret that dads today take on more responsibilities at home than they ever have before. From changing diapers to driving the car pool, no task is below the hands-on dads of today.

Parenting.com published the findings of a survey it conducted with Edelman Public Relations that listed "8 Things You Don't Know About Modern Dads." The report asked 600 dads about their participation in the lives of their kids and the findings make me proud to be co-parenting a family in 2012.

Among the findings was this little tidbit: "Dads ...say they pitch in half or more of the time is high for bath time (68 percent), getting kids ready for school (70 percent), shuttling to activities (77 percent), and helping with homework (80 percent)."

The survey got me thinking about my own husband, a father of four, who has a lot on his plate in addition to being a daddy. I realized that not only does he take care of at least half of the "at home" responsibilities, he does some exclusively and (gulp) better than I do.

So with that in mind, here are three household things that I'm not ashamed to say that my husband does better than me.

1. Laundry. Before becoming a mom, I was an every-two-weeks laundry kind of gal. I had enough clothes to last that long and was not above wearing old sweatpants for a few days if I did not have time to get to the laundromat, walk down the hallway of my dorm or even open my hallway closet to throw in a load. I do not particularly enjoy laundry and as a result, I do not take the time to do the proper sorting and stain-sticking.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Advice For Parents Of Twins: How to Get Free Stuff

By Heather C.

Photo from Creative Commons
Babies are expensive. Even if you breastfeed, even if you cloth diaper, even if you make everything you can from home, they are still expensive. Now imagine two of them!

Faced with this myself, I spent many hours researching ways to save money. I've signed up for every coupon service, every discount offer, and every points and rewards program. I contacted numerous companies to see if they offer a discount or sample offer for families with a multiple birth and wouldn't you believe it? There are a ton of great money-saving opportunities out there!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot Topic Tuesday: PG-Rated Breastfeeding

We’re talking about breastfeeding in public today at Mumbling Mommy. In addition to Rachael’s piece below, check out Heather C.’s advice for moms who want to try nursing in public. Be sure to head over to the comments section and let us know what you think. Should nursing moms throw a blanket over it in public? 

Some of the places I take my young daughters might be considered a bit PG. I’m talking about venerable establishments like the library, zoo, and church. You know ... places where breastfeeding mothers hang out.

Nursing at home, with a cloud of witnesses
I nursed in public occasionally after my oldest daughter was born, always throwing a light blanket over my shoulder for modesty’s sake. The hospital gave me a little manual pump that’s useful for expressing a couple of ounces of milk to mix with rice cereal, but it’s not terribly efficient at pumping an entire feeding’s worth of milk. As a stay-at-home mom, investing $200-plus in a sophisticated electric pump didn’t seem practical or frugal. Because babies don’t really care about the playground and zoo circuit, and because morning and afternoon naps take up a good chunk of the day, we spent many quiet, content days at home where bared breasts are simply a fact of life.

My oldest daughter was nearly 4 when my second daughter was born, and no way was I staying cooped up in the house every day with an active preschooler. We go out. On play dates, to parks, to the mall. And I nurse everywhere, because I’m still too cheap and lazy to buy a pump and bottle-feed. I’ve nursed in fast food and sit-down restaurants, in the middle of the children’s area at the library, at picnic tables and park benches all over town, at the St. Louis Zoo, in the Star Trek exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center, the butterfly house, a water park, my oldest daughter’s preschool classroom, my back yard, other people’s homes, and even at a table in the middle of a church luncheon (perhaps my most daring public nursing session yet).

Hot Topic Tuesday: To Nurse or Not to Nurse ... in Public

I can distinctly remember the first time I nursed in public. My husband, younger brother, and I took my oldest daughter to a local park to enjoy the fresh summer air. We had a simple picnic. She was barely over two weeks old. We were anxious about taking her out in public but were getting stir crazy in the house. I had a simple nursing cover and my little one had finally gotten the hang of her suckling, so we went for it. It was a breezy day so my cover kept flying around and I was sitting on the ground with no arm or back support. But she was hungry and that is what it took to feed her. 

Nursing my oldest daughter
As she grew older, we did our best to plan our outings around her feedings so I didn’t have to worry about nursing in public. It felt weird to me. But as she became better at nursing, I realized going out with her was easier as well. I often found myself nursing her with one hand and eating with the other at a restaurant, finding a park bench at the zoo or museum, even nursing in the car on several occasions (parked, of course!).  I never attempted walking around shopping or something while nursing, although I’m sure we would have been successful at it. She nursed until she was 15 months old and has been nursed pretty much anywhere and everywhere. BUT, with that said, she was always discreetly under a cover. Yes, there were plenty of slips, but I simply did not feel comfortable exposed. 

It is completely different with the twins. I won’t go into any details of the problems in this post, but let’s just say nursing in public just isn’t really an option. It makes it really hard to enjoy time away from home. In most cases, if we are gone longer than an hour or two, we bring formula and give them a bottle. It works for them but still leaves me uncomfortable and engorged.

Teaching Restorative Justice to My Grandchildren

By Sally

I had the joy of being with my daughter’s family this last week.  They are an “entwined  family”….2 children from Dad, 1 from mom, and now the new addition …who is all of theirs.  Erinn is the only one in the family genetically related to everyone else. The little “missing link.”

The kids are happy and creative.   I enjoy watching them invent activities and scenerios during their play.  Eventually, though a “meltdown" occurs.

Someone gets frustrated. There may be tears, a teddy bear may be thrown in frustration, and then the dreaded “timeout” (1 minute per year of age).

At one point during a game of Angry Birds (my first experience with the board game version) a meltdown occurred due to one of the “pigs” not having a hat.  As one child grabbed the hat off the other child’s pig, a punch was thrown. 

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