Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You are Pregnant!!

Ok ladies, this post has absolutely nothing to do with child development, but I just couldn't resist.
A little bit ago I wrote a post on my blog about when I found out I was pregnant. I think it's such an exciting time in our lives. Anyway, do you guys wanna share some stories about how you found out about your pregnancy/pregnancies? I just love those stories!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

"A Positive Way to Discipline"

There's this website I absolutely love and I always go there when I have a question, anything- They have all kinds of helpful articles. Many of you probably already know the "What to Expect" website.
I keep getting newsletters on my email and I love receiving the ones from this website and also from Baby Center (which is my very favorite). Today I got one that is called "A Positive Way to Discipline". The article is great, it's exactly what I believe in and try to do with my toddlers at home.

Here is a little bit from the article...

Turn negatives into positives. Your little darling has emptied the contents of your drawers onto the floor. Now what? Rather than scold, enlist her help in figuring out a way to remedy the situation ("How can we fix this? How about you help me put this stuff back?"). Praise her when she complies and don't forget to give her a firm, anger-free reminder that "Mommy's things need to stay in Mommy's desk.

Check in. Even if you're busy (especially when you're busy) take time to reach over for a hug, a tickle, or to comment on the progress of her block tower. That way, you'll head off her impulse to get your attention by doing something devilish.

Diffuse the situation. If your toddler is showing signs of defiance ("No! I won't take a bath!"), turn the situation around by using distraction ("Let's go find some fun bath toys!"), humor ("What if we put Mr. Teddy in the bath?"), or reverse psychology ("Don't you dare get into that tub!"). It doesn't take much to amuse a toddler. And diffusing a situation with creative approaches like these allows your child to give in without feeling like she lost a battle. Then you can thank her for her cooperation ("I love how you play in the water!").

If you would like to read the entire thing, click here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Suggestions from the readers

I'm sure that all of us know that we need to keep our bodies healthy and that part of that is getting enough exercise. The hard part is finding the time and energy to do it. For me, just taking care of my 3 kids and trying to stay on top of the dishes and laundry takes most of my time. Then of coarse once the kids are in bed I'm too exhausted to want to exercise! So I am wondering if any of you have found an answer to this notorious mommy exercise issue.

How do you find time and/or energy to exercise?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Questions for mommies 2

So this is the continuation of the questions you've submitted a couple weeks ago. I'm posting 2-3 questions every week so if your question isn't on this post, it will probably be on the upcoming posts.

- How do you discipline your toddler?

- What kind of food does your toddler eat?

- How do you deal with picky eaters?


What are your thoughts on these?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why Breastfeed?

As a breastfeeding advocate and currently working part-time as a lactation consultant, I may be able to answer this question.

My name is Barbara, I am 24 years old and I am a Health Science graduate from Brigham Young University-Idaho. My emphasis is Public Health and I had the opportunity to do my internship and then keep working for the WIC (women, infant and children) Program at The Eastern Idaho Public Health office. I’ve worked with a variety of clients and many different problems related to breastfeeding. It really is one of my passions. I feel like I was able to help first time mothers, who just like myself, had no idea what was going on when the nurse put that little bundle of joy in my arms. You are expected to feed, love and take care of it to the best of your ability.

I have to add that my biggest accomplishment and joy in this life is my family. I am absolutely crazy for them and I would not change anything. I am a proud stay-at-home mom and I want to be one. :)

I'm going to summarize one of the classes I teach weekly at the WIC office. I feel like this will be a good introduction to the topic of breastfeeding. As we keep the topic going I would appreciate any questions that you might have and if I’m not sure about something, I’ll make sure I’ll ask my experienced co-workers that have worked in this area for way longer than I have. If there’s any way I can help anyone on this issue, I would be more than glad to do so.

So, first of all, a little bit of a background from my experience with breastfeeding. I breastfed my oldest daughter until she was 15 months, until basically I was sick of it and when I found out I was pregnant again. I now have a 5 month old who is as much of a joy as her sister and she is also being nursed full-time. I loved and still love nursing my kids because it provides such a bond with them. I was going to school full-time when I had my first child and I was away from her for quite a while during the day. Being able to nurse when I got home gave me the feeling I was able to bond with her somehow.

So let’s start the question of why to do it first. When you compare formula to breasmilk they both have some commonalities: fat, protein, carbohydrates, DHA, ARA (fatty acids helpful for your baby’s brain development), vitamins, minerals and water.

Breastmilk has a few extras:

1- More than 15 antibacterial factors: This is pretty amazing because it is a protection from all the bacteria your body is exposed to. So your body will build the immunity and it will be transferred to your baby through your milk. This also happens the other way around: your baby will be exposed to harmful bacteria or viruses and will pass them to you by close contact, your body in return will produce antibodies and pass them back to your baby through breastmilk. Pretty cool huh????

2- Hormones: these will help your baby relax and better respond to stress (as will you). It will make him sleep better and also aid in the development of your baby’s immune system.

3- Enzymes: these will compensate for the immaturity of pancreas of your newborn and aid in digestion

4- Growth factors: helps your baby’s organs to mature, brain development and protects their gastrointestinal tract (gut)

5- Anti parasitic, anti viral and anti allergenic factors: breastfed babies have fewer allergies, asthma, ear infections, stomach aches and are less likely to be obese. Pretty much they are healthier and get sick less often.

If all of that wasn't enough, there are also some other benefits that are helpful to moms all around the world:

6- Mom jumps back to pre-pregnancy weight faster

7- Uterus goes back to normal size also a lot faster because as you breastfeed a hormone is released and your uterus contracts. (this can hurt in some people as it did with me, but after child birth, Ibuprofen will do wonders for this kind of pain)

8- Moms recover faster from child birth

9- If the child is jaundice, the colostrum- an antibody-rich, yellow-ish liquid produced as soon as your baby is born- has a laxative property, which will help your baby “poop” more thus getting rid of the jaundice faster (when the newborn defecates they get rid of the excess bilirubin which is accumulated in their body from their immature pancreas)

10- Your breasts do not become saggy from breastfeeding, and if they do, it is because of hormones produced during pregnancy and not because of breastfeeding (I bet a lot of you didn’t know that but have heard stories about breastfeeding makes your breasts sag!!!!! Another plus for breastfeeding: YAY!!!!!)

11- The price of formula is outrageous. They can go from simple formulas to sensitive ones depending on how your baby responds to them. It can range from $25-45 dollars a can. Where on average a baby goes through a can a week. If you do the math that’s about $1700 dollars a year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that women breastfeed their babies exclusively until they are 6 months old, with an addition of solids from that point on. Breastfeeding is still encouraged until they are one. (After that it’s up to you whether of not you like breastfeeding enough to keep it going, but the absolute health benefits they NEED go until they are one.

Also, I want to add that your child will still benefit from the immunity provided through breastfeeding even after they are 1 too, so if you choose to keep going, NEVER feel bad and know that they are extra protected.

Now I do have a DISCLAIMER. This post is not intended to offend or to make anyone who was not able to breastfeed feel bad. If there’s one thing that I learned from working with women at WIC is that we are all different and our bodies respond to situations in life different ways. I have seen people that try their absolute hardest to breastfeed their baby, do everything we tell them and more and do not succeed. Did they fail?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I have also seen people that after feeding their baby still pump 6 ounces of milk from each breast (did I mention after the feeding??? Yeap!! it’s a ridiculous amount of milk, it’s what we call an oversupply) and stop breastfeeding because it’s just too much for them. Did they fail? Well….NO!! One day of breastfeeding is better than none right??

Formula is still the next best option if breastfeeding does now work for you. Do not feed your baby cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk or any of that when they are newborns up until they are one. Also don’t dilute formula if you are running out of it, it can cause serious problems to your baby by giving them a mineral imbalance. ALWAYS follow the instructions of the formula manufacturer. ALWAYS!

Also don’t feel bad if for some reason you have had to supplement your baby with formula because you didn’t have enough milk. If you are following your lactation consultant’s advices and it’s still not working, the most important thing is that your baby grows and develops how he/she is supposed to. First and foremost they need nourishment, after that we can work on whatever else you are facing. The general rule is the more you empty your breast the more milk you will produce. Again: the general rule. In rare cases it does not go that way (REPEAT: rare cases).

I have a lot of stories I would love to share, but first I want to hear your questions or anything in specific that came to your mind during this post. Please keep them coming. I will base my next post on your questions.

Cheers to all the mommies out there that try so hard and give their very best to their little ones. The world needs more people like YOU!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Living on a tight budget

I think one of the most difficult things to deal with as a family is the financial ups and downs. The economical situation has changed so much in these last few years and we cannot predict what's going to happen or what will our bank account be like in a couple months. Last year was probably the hardest one for many of us...the recession hit us all very hard. Some f our husbands got laid off at work, or maybe we were lucky enough that they only had hour reduction. At the time that the recession hit its peak, while many of my friends were losing their jobs, I found myself so blessed for my husband having TWO jobs. It was a real blessing and we are so grateful for that, and he had to work really hard to continue keeping both jobs.
Even with two jobs, there were really hard times. We lived a couple of months with only a little over $1,000. How did we do it? I really don't know, to be honest with you. Probably divine help, but also our hard work on our monthly expenditure planning.

Budgeting is the key when you live on a tight income. Living on a budget is sure not easy, but it will bring you peace of mind and you'll feel more secure IF you stick to it!!!
So here's a couple of things you should keep in mind when rethinking your economical situation:

  • CREATE A BUDGET: keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income expenses and determine what you need to reduce...especially nonessential things. On your budget you have to include FIRST all the obligations you have such as tithing and offerings (for those that contribute to whatever church you are a member of), housing, transportation, insurance, food, utilities, and so on. Everybody has their own budget and limitations. Some think that $2,000 is way to little for a family of 3 (mom, dad and one kid), some think that $3,000 is too little for just the two of you.
Just to give you an idea, I here present you my budget:

Total monthly income : $2,900
Rent: $975
Cable/Internet: $85
Electricity: $65
Car Insurance: $130 (for 2 cars)
Car loan: $210 (only 1 car..the other we bought with cash)
Groceries: $250 (anything we buy at Smiths, Sam's Club, or any other grocery store is counted as grocery.)
Gas: $240 (both cars. My husband works 35 miles from home, 5 days a week, which makes 70 miles/day for him. I work only 5 miles from home, 3 days a week.)
Fast-food: $60 (we like to have a budget for fast food or any eat-out we have so we'll keep track of how much we are spending on it. Since we love to cook, we don't spend much eating out, we do all at home. But days off are usually when we spend the whole day out and we use that money for these days or any eventuality with friends. Regular days, we eat at home)
Personal: $70 for me, $70 for Brandon, $70 for Rachel. (some months I end up spending MY personal money buying things for my daughter - as all moms do :) - but I still keep it within our budget).

PS1: after paying our tithing and offerings, we still have some to put on savings!
PS2: next month we'll have an addition on our budget: health insurance ($120)

Whatever you do, however you do, just make a REAL thing for you and you family, and that works for you. Make sure you are not overdoing/overbuying and being rational about it.

  • SAVINGS: sometimes they can be impossible, but try to put aside what you can. Gradually build a reserve and use it for emergency only.
  • SHOPPING: change your shopping habits and look for good values, cheap shops rather than the ones that offer brand name. AVOID sales unless you need something in particular. Even 20% off sales + 30% off coupon can cost you a lot at the end of the day.
  • CREDIT CARD: keep ONE credit card (if you have any. I never had one!) for emergencies and destroy the rest.
  • MAKE A GROCERY LIST: before going to the grocery store, list everything you need to buy. Better yet, keep a notebook on your kitchen counter so you can write down something you need whenever you notice you need it or it is almost gone. At the store, stick to the list and don't buy any unnecessary thing. Grocery lists saves you time AND money!!!
  • MAKE A MEAL CALENDAR: when you plan what you are going to cook during the week/month you know what to buy and won't be clueless when dinner time is coming up. Check out Weekly Menu Planning for more details on it.
  • GET GREEN: pack lunch to work/school on regular food containers (Tupperware) instead of using ziptop bags. Bring you own thermos/bottle with water/juice, instead of buying bottled water or boxed juice.
  • CAR: avoid using your car unless you have to. Maybe now would be a good time to become car free.
  • INDULGENCE BUDGET: Set a personal money that you and each person can use for personal indulgences: dinning out, movies, shopping or whatever you want. And once it's gone, it's gone. In my house, this money is "rollover". If you don't spend it all the current month, you have left over for next month and so on. My husband uses his personal money to increase his arsenal of knives (he's a chef). But his knives usually cost over $100, so that means he'll have to wait 2 months to get what he wants..
And last but not least:
  • AVOID DEBT: Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security. Avoid debt, with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education or other vital needs. If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible.

I am not a financial expert, don't get me wrong, I do have my splurges here and there. But I learned very young how to handle my money and what I could do with it. Value your money. You work the whole week/month to get it and it is very important that you use it wisely. Be smart, Be realistic. Live Happy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Hard Lesson Learned

All of you know how easy it is to be too tired to think clearly, remember things, or take care of yourself. For me that was a big problem when my second baby was about 4 months old. He was born just 16 months after my first baby and needed a lot of my attention. I was constantly holding him and trying to keep my oldest out of trouble. I hardly slept, neither kids slept through the night, and I hardly ate. who has time to eat with a newborn, right? I hardly did anything but care for the two babies, and of coarse a husband as well who didn't get home until 10 or 11pm.

Well in the midst of all this chaos I started having my periods again. These weren't your normal run of the mill periods either. These were extremely heavy periods that usually required the use of a tampon and pad together (hope this doesn't get too graphic). One day after another sleepless night I went to put in a tampon like any other day. Later that day I forgot about the previous one and put another one in. After a few days I started thinking I had the flu. I felt dizzy, body aches, nauseous, headaches, chills, and couldn't think straight. Apart from feeling so miserable, I did my best to be a good mommy to my two babies until finally I physically could do no more. I laid on the sofa helpless and confused waiting for my husband to get home. At this point I honestly felt like I was dying. The whole time I thought to myself, "if I die, what will happen to my kids". Finally, my husband came home and forced me to schedule an appointment with the doctor.

The next day I saw the doctor. It wasn't long before the doctor found the extra tampon I had forgotten about days earlier. He told me I had Toxic Shock! My organs were literally shutting down. I really WAS dying! He put me on very strong antibiotics and sent me home hesitantly but did anyways because my husband was graduating that week and we were moving to another state right after. Just when I thought everything was going back to normal something else happened to me. While holding my son I experienced a minor seizure. A seizure is not a very fun thing to experience especially when you're holding a baby. The whole time I was conscious, but could not control the shaking! I was so scared of dropping my child. Fortunately I didn't drop my baby. After the antibiotics and a blessing my condition quickly improved.

After that experience I have had a new outlook on life. I don't know how to put it into words, but perhaps it was the reality of loosing my life that showed how much it meant to me. Being a mother is so much more important than it was before. I can't help but think to myself everyday what my kid's life would be like without me and how grateful I am that I survived. There is one lesson that I personally needed to learn from this experience, and that was the importance of taking better care of myself. If I don't take good care of myself, then I can't take care of others. Eating healthier along with sufficient rest is essential to motherhood. Before, I wanted to do everything myself. I wanted to be the one cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and changing the diapers. Even though I needed it badly, I was unwilling to accept or, heaven forbid, ask for help. I wanted to be a super mom! I have come to realize that I can't do that anymore.

Lets face it, we all want to be super moms because we love our kids so much! Being a mom should be an Olympic sport because it takes strength, endurance, and more endurance! Those Olympic athletes MUST be healthy to perform their best; MOMS MUST BE AS WELL!!! I know it's harder than it sounds when you have little ones, but we must find the time to take care of ourselves. Even in the Bible we find examples of the Savior taking time out for himsel. About a week ago I read an article on postpartum depression (from the Liahona-an LDS magazine) it said the following:

"It is vital that new mothers care for themselves by resting as much as possible, eating a nutritious diet, and taking “time out” with mothers’ groups or children’s play groups. In addition, because motherhood is physically and emotionally demanding, mothers should set realistic goals that allow for flexibility, remembering that “to every thing there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)."

I strongly agree with this statement! What I'd like all of you to do is to make a simple/realistic goal to improve your health in a specific way. This goal could be anything from going to playgroups, social workshops, or even a nice walk through the neighborhood. Feel free to share your ideas and experiences. I will start - I am making a goal to eat less sugar and drink more water.

Get Crafty

I would also like to share a cool website I just found of crafts for toddlers and preschoolers. What I didn't like about it was that there's a lot of things that the parent/caregiver has to make, so it's not really crafts that your children will make but more like crafts you will do for them to play with. Did that make sense? Hope so.
Anyway, I still thought there were some good ideas (and there are a few things children can make).
Sometimes I feel like Jasmine is too young for those sorts of things (she's two and a half) so that's why I researched specifically for toddlers.

Do any of you have any websites of crafts for children you would like to share? Do any of you have a fun craft idea for toddlers? Please share!

Here's the website I told you about:


Monday, March 15, 2010

preschool website

I can't afford to send my kids to preschool so I do my own at home preschool with them a few days a week. I am always looking for fun ways to help teach my kids. I just found this fun website that I like and thought I would share it with any of you who have preschool age kids. The link is http://www.starfall.com/

It gets better

When Trevor and I got married we agreed to try to have a baby around our one year anniversary, but that first year went by super fast and we didn't feel "ready." Around our second year anniversary, Trevor wakes up one morning and says "ok, lets have a baby!" and I was overjoyed. But there was a problem... I had been told by a few different doctors that I was infertile because of endometriosis. We went to our doctor who had instructed us to stop birth control for a few months now to see how my fertility would go, suggested ovulation kits and etc, but still told me to come back in six months to try some feritlity treatments - which made me feel ZERO confidence that I would get pregnant. I guess I was meant to prove science wrong, though, because on our first month trying, we got pregnant! And I was freaking out! I wasn't feeling "ready" yet because in my head this wasn't supposed to happen, especially this fast. I mean, I had come to terms with adopting and everything! But there I was, with little seed in my belly.

My pregnancy was great. I worked full-time till a week before I was due. No sickness, no crazy cravins, no fatigue, gym and zumba, just a little heartburn close to the end, and a sprained ankle! Sometimes I felt this was a dream and I would wake up and not be pregnant because of how good I felt. Olivia's due date came and went and one week later I was induced, pushed for almost 6 hours, little stinker went UP and I underwent a c-section to get her out safely. She was born on March 21st at 7:47pm, 6lbs10oz and 20in. But it was when she first came into my post-delivery room that I noticed something was off.

I didn't want to hold Olivia. I looked at her in that little plastic box, so pretty, so peaceful, but I didn't want her close to me. My mom and the nurses would bring her close to me on the bed and tried to cuddle but it felt weird. In my head I was thinking, "if I don't touch her, I don't get attached, and if I don't get attached, she's not really mine." I think I was fearing all the responsability that comes with motherhood. Everytime I looked at Olivia I asked myself "What in the world was I thinking? I can't do this! I can't raise a daughter of God! There is no way! What the heck did I get myself into?" We went home and I seriously cried almost the entire day for about 3 weeks. I cried while I took a shower, I cried while I tried to eat, I ran to my room crying when people came visit, I cried when I looked at her, I cried when I watched tv, I cried... all...the... time! My poor mom was so worried, and thank heavens she was here cuz I was in no shape to cook or clean or take care of a baby. Trevor would call our dr desperately asking for a solution to my crying, to which he was told "it's hormones, it's normal, it'll go away in a couple of weeks." But it didn't go away. I think the fact that I couldn't breastfeed made it even worse.

My milk barely came. I mean, I had drops at a time. At the hospital poor Olivia was hungry for two days because the nurses wouldn't give me formula and I didn't have much to feed her myself. They brought a hospital pump and after pumping for 10 minutes still nothing came out. Nada! On our last night the nurses finally gave me some formula and told me to feed her 10ml at a time. TEN MILLILITERS! That's not enough, but I didn't know it then. My poor baby was still hungry, and I felt guilty.

My doctor told me it could be because of all the stress my body went through with the c-section and all the meds. He said while most moms get their milk by the third day, I might get mine by the fifth day. So when the fifth day came and went and still no milk, I started to freak out. I REALLY wanted to breastfeed! That was the plan!! I started taking brewer's yeast, mother's milk plus, my mother was making sure I ate 6 healthy meals a day, lots of fluids, I was stimulating, pumping to try to stimulate even more, I was putting Olivia on the breast at every feeding, I saw three lactation specialists and did everything they told me to... but what am I gonna do when my child starts crying because there is nothing there? Am I going to let her starve? I chose not to. Finally that week, her fourth week in this world, I started to accept that breastfeeding was not going to happen. My doctor asked me to relax and enjoy Olivia, he said breastfeeding is not supposed to be stressful or depressing for me or the baby and if it doesn't happen... move on. I cried almost every time I had to feed her a bottle and not my milk. I think this was my first experience as a mom that showed me that things don't always go as we planned, as we wanted, as we thought would be best. For some reason it wasn't meant to be that I breastfed my baby, my first baby, and maybe my only baby. It makes me sad, it makes me feel like a bad mother, it makes me wonder what else in the future I won't be able to do for my daughter...

Olivia turns one in a week. Things have been getting better but it's still a struggle for me to just feel happy, to have joy for life, to want to go out and DO things. I love her to death, I absolutely LOVE her and I tell her everyday that she saves my life. To someone who hasn't suffered depression, it is very hard to understand it. It's a fight, a daily counscious effort to want to live. It's counting your blessings and wanting really bad for them to make the black cloud over your head disappear. Over this past year I have tried four antidepressants, welbutrin, prozac, zyprexa and prestiq. if you don't know about antidepressants, they usually take four to six weeks to "start working." I haven't felt that one of these have "started working" for me, so right now I am not on any of them, but thinking about trying them again. I am thinking on trying another antidepressant again because once you find the right one, it WILL help. It will help you sleep better, it will help you not feel so anxious, it will help you not have crying spells on your way to work, it will help you have energy to get out of the couch, it will help your stomach and bowels work better, it will help you FUNCTION. Depression is not new to me, I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was in my late teens and since then have tried different types of treatment, so over the years I have learned some things about this illness. I know that counseling is key and I see a therapist a few times a month, which helps. Post Partum Depression, though, has been way stronger than any other phase I have EVER experienced. My depression worsens when I am under stressfull situations and I think we all agree that having a baby does add some stress to our lives.

Some days are harder than others. There are still days that I get home from work and lay on the couch and pray that Olivia won't get hurt playing by herself on the floor. Sometimes I fall asleep and wake up to her playing with my face, kissing my cheeks or laying her head on my stomach. There are days and days that go by without me showering, or brushing my teeth, or eating anything healthy or wanting to go out. I go to work and come back home and that's about 90% of my energy for that day. Sometimes I don't even talk to Olivia much... I don't know what to say, I have exhausted the word sorry and I just really think she would be better off with another mommy. There are days that I just cry all day, wanting desperatly for this "thing" to leave my mind, my body and my soul. Why me? Why ME? It will get better, right?

So this is my experience. The only thing that I really want to stress is that depression is a clinical illness that needs to be treated. Our society overall is so uneducated in regards to "mental illnesses". You have no idea how many times I was told things like "if you say your prayers you'll feel better" or "your problem is the lack of the Spirit in your life" and etc. Those comments are hurtfull but above all, they are ignorant. Actually Sundays are some of my worst days because when I do go to Church I feel even worse about myself, about not being able right now to feel the joy that I know I should be feeling in life. Being active in the Gospel and doing what we know is right does not keep us from being ill, unfortunately, and just like a diabetic needs insullin, someone who suffers from depression might need some medication too. So if you feel less happy than what you used to feel, if you sometimes see no joy in life, if you feel overwhelmed and desperate or if you just want to go back to being your "old self", talk to your doctor, be honest to yourself and to him/her. They are there to help us and we need to feel better, we DESERVE to be HAPPY! I can sincerely say I do not feel 100% happy all the time, but I am trying, a day at a time, faith and hope till the end. Good luck to us all :)

With love, Kika*


What are some of the things us moms can do to feel better at times of sadness, fatigue and distress? Please share your ideas! - Aline

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Here is a nice treat I would like to offer everyone who participates in this blog in any way:

Next week, from the 18-21, will be the GIVE AND GET at GAP (for those of you who don't know, I work at BABY GAP in Park City) and we employees get to give out 30% off coupons to our friends and family to go shopping at GAP, OLD NAVY, BANANA REPUBLIC, and PIPERLIME. You can use this coupon as many time as you want during these days and at any of these stores, so it's a pretty good deal. The reason they're doing this is so they can donate a % of the money to a non-profit organization and I chose the TEACH FOR AMERICA. So if you need an excuse to go shopping, HERE IT IS!

I know I don't know all of you, but I would like to give each of you a coupon, since I know how nice it is these days whenever we can get a discount! What I'm trying to do is, if you live in Utah I would like to send you one through the mail, and if you don't, then I can e-mail you one. I get 25 paper coupons and 25 e-mails to send out, so that's why. And if you don't even live in the US, this coupon let's you shop ONCE online, so it's also a good deal that way!

If you're interested, please give me your e-mail or your home address, and if you don't want to do it in the comments, just e-mail me at audreyholjeson@yahoo.com

I need to mail them soon so you can get them on time, so HURRY!!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The importance of reading to little ones

While I was trying to find an important document to take to the kids' doctor's appointment today, I noticed Eric was really quiet somewhere in the house. Jasmine was at my parents' house and she and my mom were going to meet us before we went.
I was so busy trying to find this document, that I didn't bother to go see where Eric was, even though I was a little worried he might be getting into trouble. Minutes passed, and I finally decided to go see the reason for such silence. I checked in the kitchen and he wasn't there. Looked in the computer room and nothing. Then I went to check in Jasmine's room and to my surprise, he was right there sitting in Jasmine's reading corner looking at books. I just kept observing by the door without him noticing me. He was turning the pages slowly and was very concentrated. I just smiled.

(This is Jasmine's reading corner).

I love the fact that my children are so hooked on books, like it's something magical to them. Every night when Jasmine lays down on her bed she says, "Mamãe, conta historinha!" which in English means, "Mommy, tell a story!" Her new favorite is "the owl story" as she calls it, but it's really called "Vidinha Boa" which means "Good Little Life".

I know that most of you have children from the ages 0-5, right? So what kind of books do you read to your children? You read to your children, right? Right????

Well, sometimes us new mothers can be quite clueless about some things and that's okay; babies don't come with an user's manual.
I can say I was totally clueless to this subject before I took a children's literature class and read an amazing book called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. And today I would like to share with you a little bit about the importance of reading to your children from when they're first born.

So let's start with this question: Which book is better for infants?
Since infants don't really concentrate and understand what you're reading, I would say WHATEVER you're reading. Even if it's one of the Twilight series' books or a magazine. Read it while you're nursing, whatever! But do read aloud. The child will get accustomed to your "reading voice" and if you do it while nursing, cuddling, rocking, or feeding your baby, they will associate it with a relaxing-happy moment. You can also read them books with rhymes and colorful books because they will stimulate hearing and sight. A book I really like (and Jasmine used to ak me to read it to her over and over again) is The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. I read it so much I ended up memorizing it. Rhyming books are also a wonderful tool to help children with their reading skills later on.

Here's another question for you mommies: What is normal behavior by the infant or toddler during the readings?
(This also varies from child to child, but most children act this way. If you're new at this reading aloud ordeal, this might help you). This is all directly from the book:
  • At four months of age, since he has limited mobility, a child has little or no choice but to listen and observe, thus making a passive and noncombative audience for the parent, who is probably thinking, "This is easy!"
  • By six months, however, the child is more interested in grabbing the book to suck on it than listening (which he's also doing). Bypass the problem by giving him a teething toy or other distraction.
  • At eight months, he may prefer turning pages to steady listening. Allow him ample opportunity to explore this activity, but don't give up on the book entirely.
  • At twelve months, the child's involvement grows to turning pages for you, pointing to objects you name on the page, even making noises for animals on cue.
  • By fifteen months and the onset of walking, his restlessness blossoms fully, and your reading times must be chosen so as not to frustrate his immediate interests.
I used to love sitting on a rocking chair with Jasmine when she was about 2-5 months old and just reading away. Book after book. She was such a good baby and most of the time she would just sit there, listening to my voice and looking at the pictures.

There are many, many (or should I say countless??) benefits from reading aloud to your children (and we'll talk more about this next week). If you haven't already, start now! Start early! If you are pregnant, start a children's book library right away! You don't need to buy tons of expensive books. Start with one that you love and go from there. And there's alwayays the library too, so there are no excuses. You can even find some at the thrift store in good condition.
My mother-in-law gave me this website (click here) a few days ago and told me that a friend of hers buys books from them. There are some great deals, you should check it out!

So to give you guys a head start...Here are a few rhyming books that I LOVE:

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by bill Martin, Jr.

  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood

  • The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

  • There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss

There are so many more I could put on here and I will if you guys want me to. But first I want to know what are some of your favorite books for babies and small children. Do share!

Project Organization - Weekly Menu Planning

What's for dinner?
It's the question of the hour. Too many of us look for answers in the supermarket at 5 p.m. Hurried, harassed by hungry children, we rack our brains for an answer to the dinner-hour question.
Three meals a day. Seven dinners a week. From supermarket to pantry, refrigerator to table, sink to cupboard, the kitchen routine can get old, old, old.
No wonder we hide our heads like ostriches from the plain and simple fact: into each day, one dinner must fall.

What's the answer? A menu plan!

Menu planning doesn't have be complicated. A small investment of time can result in great rewards:
  • A menu plan saves money. Reducing trips to the supermarket, a menu plan reduces impulse spending.
  • A menu plan saves time. No dash to the neighbors for a missing ingredient, no frantic searches through the freezer for something, anything to thaw for dinner nor those last minute rushes to the store to get that one missing ingredient.
  • A menu plan improves nutrition. Without the daily dash to the supermarket, there's time to prepare side dishes and salads to complement the main dish.
So dare to do try it. Menu planning is great way to start organizing you home.

Here are some tips that have helped my in my quest for no drama, no hassle and happy dinner making:

Start Simple

Seven dinners a week, simple meals. Sure it would be nice to index all our recipes, entering the data in a relational database and crunching menus till the year 2015, but resist the urge. Think - next week.
Where to start? The food flyers from your local newspaper. Try to make your menu plan and shopping list the day the food ads appear. Add to that your favorite cook book and/or recipe blogs and you're off to a great start!

The Basics

So, this is what I do, ads in hand, calendar on one side, grocery list on the other, and recipe blog/sites opened up in front of me; I sit down on Sunday night for 30-45 minutes and start browsing. I look at recipes I've made in the past weeks, I look at what I've bookmarked as recipes I want to try and I look at what's on sale on the ads. Putting those together, I get 7 meals (sometimes more that I get to carry over for the next week). Then I spend a few more minutes putting together the grocery list for that week, and ta-da! I'm done!
Be flexible

A good idea is to set certain days for certain things. For example, here in the Baer home:

Monday-Wednesday :Varies
Thursday: Left overs
Friday: Pizza Night (homemade of some sort or ordered)
Saturday: Grillin' Day
Sunday: Pasta/Lasagna

But sometimes, on Thursday, I don't feel like left overs, I want something fresh, or maybe pizza. It's ok to switch things up! Be flexible, plan 7 meals, set each one with a day but if you want to or feel like, go ahead and switch Thursday and Saturday up, or Monday and Friday. It's supposed to give you guidance and accountability, but it's not set in stone.

Make It A Habit

Simple or not, a menu plan won't help you if you don't make one. Weekly menu planning is a good candidate for the Habit Patrol. Get into the habit of planning before you shop, and you'll get hooked.

Recycle Menu Plans

After you've made menu plans for a few weeks, the beauty of the activity shines through: recycle them! Your family won't mind, and you'll save even more time and energy. You can repeat the whole week and even use the same shopping list if you've saved it, or you can just look back and pick the meals you'd like to repeat.

Adapted from The Organized Home - Menu Planning

I love cooking, but always stressed tremendously over "the question." I tried, many moons ago, a monthly menu. It worked for a while, except that I didn't really make it a habit nor did I really ever do it right.
But lately in my quest for organization and sanity, I realized I needed a weekly menu plan and I needed to be serious about it.

And this what I have been doing: every Sunday I sit down and plan, one week at a time, sometimes I can even get a few days of the next week. No more daily runs to the store, no more impulse spending, no more hair-tearing-drama over what to make for dinner!

I've made a point to keep meals simple. Sure I'll whip out the fancy utensils here and there, but on most days, it's simple, quick, 30-40 min meals max.

So, I dare you. I dare you to organize you meals. It may not work for you for some reason or another, and if that's the case, it's ok!

But, if you struggle with coming up with what to make for dinner; if you hate the many trips to the grocery store for just one or two items, repeatedly; or if you just want to give it a try. Do it - I dare you!

And if you already have some sort of menu planning dealy-o going on, do share!

What works for you?
What doesn't work?
Where do you go for ideas?

To inspire you, here are a few recipe blogs and sites that I really enjoy and always use when looking for recipes.

- Our Best Bites
- Good Life Eats
- Let's Cook (that's Paty's blog, she's got some good ideas!)
- Chef Britta
- This week for dinner
- Anna Cooks (that's me!)
- Simply Recipes
- For the Love of Cooking

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another use for baby powder

Okay all you moms out there, I know that I am not the only one who finds it difficult to shower everyday and gets the greasy hair blues. Well I found a trick that I thought I'd share.....and it's not wearing a hat!

Step 1 - get a small amount of baby powder in between fingertips (you may have to experiment to get the right amount for your hair, if you get too much your hair may stay white)

Step 2 - With fingertips rub the baby powder at roots of hair. This can be done all over roots or in specific places where grease has built up.

Step 3- Blow dry hair (yes you blow dry your dry hair) and run a circle brush under top sections like you are styling it. You can tease the hair too if you like to do that.

Step 4 - admire the added volume and less grease

In the summer I actually do this to my hair everyday, even if I had showered, just to help my hair have more volume and look better by the end of the day.

Let me know if any of you try this and if it works for you :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I got this recipe from a book titled 365 Days of Baby Love. It's a pretty neat book with lots of activities for babies and toddlers. There are many recipes out there for playdough, this is just one of the many variations. It is smooth and pliable and can be stored in a plastic container or ziplock bag for several weeks (it doesn't have to be refrigerated).


2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon food coloring
2 cups water

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dough leaves sides of pan. Continue to stir dough ball around in the pan for a minute, then remove it from pan and knead for several minutes. Once cool, you are ready to play! My girls love to play rolling it and using cookie cutter shapes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Questions for mommies

A few of you have asked me if we were going to have a day for questions, and I thought that was a great idea!

Since we have had many questions (and you can still keep sending them through facebook or directly to my email) I'm going to post about 2-3 at a time so it won't get so confusing. So if your question isn't on here yet, don't worry, it will be. This is just in order of whoever sent it to me first.

So here they are:

- When and how should I transition my baby from a crib to a toddler bed?

- When did you start potty training your kid? I have a 19 month-old girl and I really want to start potty training her...So I won't have to change diapers anymore.

Now all you have to do is answer whatever you would like! Please share your own experiences if you've already gone through any (or all) of this. If you haven't you're more than welcome to leave tips and suggestions.

Now let's learn from one another, shall we?

A Tough Time

Did you know that 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and 80% of those occur within the first trimester. Three and a half years ago I didn’t know that.

My husband and I had been married for about 8 months or so and had just found out we were expecting. Our plan was actually to wait a about a year after marriage before trying to start a family, but for many of you that live in a university town where everyone seems to be pregnant…that’s a little hard. It seemed like half the population of that town was pregnant. Then, there’s always people asking “when are you gonna have a baby?” Anyway, I guess we kinda got baby hungry and we decided that we would stop birth control, we really weren’t trying to get pregnant, we figured whenever it would happen, it would be fine with us. About three months after we stop birth control, we found out I was pregnant. I seriously couldn’t believe it, I thought it would take longer. I bought a pregnancy test, but I was so sure that the test was going to be negative. When I took the test, there was no mistake, the pregnancy test flashed a quick “PREGNANT.” After the shock and nervousness went away, we both got really excited and started to call our parents to tell them the good news.

About two weeks later (six weeks pregnant), while at church, I began spotting, we left church early and I was lightly bleeding. I had zero pain so I wasn’t really sure if it was really a miscarriage or not. I asked my husband for a blessing and he did. In the blessing, he blessed me to accept what was happening and blessed me with comfort. I couldn’t believe it! I was a somewhat upset with him, because I wanted a blessing that would say that everything would be fine and the baby as well. Instead, I knew right at that moment that the pregnancy wasn’t going to continue. We continued with our day normally, had friends over for dinner, but couldn’t help to feel sad once our friends left and we were both back to facing what was going on. The next day, I had a doctors appointment, but they still couldn’t tell if I had miscarried or not. They confirmed it by the end of the week.

I felt so alone, like this was only happening to me. The Dr. told me how common miscarriages were, specially early on in pregnancy, but it was hard to believe him, when I hadn’t heard of anyone in my family or friends/acquaintances who had suffered a miscarriage. I felt abnormal. We called our families to tell them the news, a couple of friends found out as well. At home I would sometimes just start crying, and my sweet husband was always there to comfort me whenever I needed. I wasn’t really planning for this baby, but at the moment I found out I was pregnant, I wanted him/her so bad! I remember a comment someone said two days after the miscarriage, “well, I think the best thing for you to do is wait at least seven months before you start thinking about getting pregnant again.” I didn’t like the comment, I didn’t tell her that…I just sorta ignored it. I figured it was easy for her to say because she had a ton of kids already. In my head, I was going to try and get pregnant as soon as I could.

Early January I found out I was pregnant again. It was a very exciting time, but a time full of worries again. I think miscarriages are traumatizing, it was a constant worry in my head. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would check to see if I was bleeding. As much as I tried not to think about it, I couldn’t, I really couldn’t get away from the thought/fear. I passed the six week mark…felt a little better, but not enough for the fear of miscarriage to disappear. It just felt like I had passed my first check point. I couldn’t wait for my first Dr.’s appointment (scheduled at 8 weeks), it seemed like an eternity.

The time finally came for our appointment…I think I was a nerve wreck (I didn’t show it too much, but inside I was). The Dr. did an ultrasound and quickly said that it wasn’t a good pregnancy. He didn’t see a heartbeat and the sac was not nicely round I guess. He quickly suggested a D & C or to take some pills to end the pregnancy. My husband and I on the other hand felt the need to wait. I continued going every two days to get my blood levels drawn, and they were doubling like a normal pregnancy. We decided to wait a couple more weeks before a decision was made. We didn’t want to terminate the pregnancy unless we were 100% sure that it wasn’t a viable pregnancy. After two weeks we went for a scheduled ultrasound and it was confirmed that the pregnancy wasn’t viable. I was given a prescription to terminate the pregnancy, because I was already around 11 weeks pregnant and hadn’t miscarried on my own, they feared that I would get an infection. I picked up the pills and on our way home, I read all the possible side effects, it was quite a scary list. If I remember correctly one of them was the possibility of not getting pregnant again. I chicken-out and decided not to use the pills. I told my husband, that I would give it another week before I took the pills, and hopefully I would miscarry on my own.

As we drove into our apartment complex, a friend met us there, we had found out the same week we were both pregnant, her due date was a week after mine. She had picked up a bouquet of flowers for me and brought it over cause she knew of my appointment. I told her of my plans of waiting on the pills and she invited me to a church activity so that it would help distract me. I thought it would be a good idea so I went…I was sorry I did. The majority of the time I like church activities, but this one happened to be focused on motherhood. The speakers were talking about how we shouldn’t be selfish and postpone motherhood in order to pursue other interest, to be good mothers, anyway, just a whole array of topics that I thought were great, but not something I wanted to hear at the moment. I felt really sad/angry, here I was, with a full desire of being a mother, but yet for the second time, the opportunity was taken away from me. I was fighting the tears throughout the meeting.

I think Heavenly Father gave me the strength and comfort I needed, now instead of being super sad about the miscarriage, my focus and hope was that I would miscarry naturally so I wouldn’t have to use the darn pills I had. The following Friday, at around 10 pm, I began to feel light cramps, I figured it was time, and I was glad I wasn’t going to have the pills after all. The cramps got worse as the minutes passed, I had contractions. The pain kept getting more and more unbearable and I kept going from my bedroom to the bathroom. The pain was so bad, I felt I was going to pass out. I felt nauseous and had the chills. My husband was scared, he didn’t know what to do, he was helping me as much possible trying to comfort me, but I was in so much pain, I was making him nervous. A little over two hours later, he was determined to take me to the emergency room. I told him to give me a blessing instead and then we would go from there. He remembered the pain pills that they had prescribed for when I would take the pills to end the pregnancy. I told him to give me half of one pill (I hate pills, specially if they are big ones). He brought me half a pill, some water, and then immediately gave me a blessing. It was a very quick blessing, only a minute or two long, but by the time he said Amen, the pain was completely gone. I felt perfectly fine, not even light cramps, nothing.

After the second miscarriage I was really worried about the possibility of being a mom. Would it ever happen for me? I really understood what the Dr. was telling me, that our bodies are smart, and if something is wrong with a pregnancy, our own body takes care of it. I finally decided that Heavenly Father did want me to become a mom, be it by having a biological child or through adoption, but I WAS going to be a mom. About three months after our second miscarriage, I was pregnant again (definitely getting pregnant wasn‘t an issue). Once again, the worries started, luckily I was able to get an early appointment because I couldn't stand not knowing. We went to our appointment and immediately we saw a little heart beating! It was the most amazing feeling in the world. There was life!!! Yay!! I seriously thought nothing could top the happiness I felt at the moment except, for the second little heart we saw beating. Amazingly enough, we were pregnant with twins!!!! Nine months later, we welcomed our beautiful daughters to our family. Motherhood is amazing and I feel blessed and privileged to be a mother.

Although these two experiences in my life brought me so much pain, I came to the understanding that those first pregnancies weren't meant to be. Luckily I received a lot of support from my husband, family and friends as I overcame that tough time in my life. I think my experience also brought hope to people I knew that miscarried. Here was someone they knew that had gone through something they were going through and now she had healthy daughters.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Children's Books

I absolutely LOVE children's books. I started my collection long before I even thought about having kids. There's just something magical about them. I also love art, and some of these books' illustrations blow me away.

I would like to start this topic by asking each of you:

what was your favorite children's book growing up? What was so special about that one book that made it your favorite?

Well, here's my all-time favorite children's book:

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood.
The story talks about a kig who doesn't want to get out of the bathtub and everybody in the castle tries to get him out but ends up in the bathtub as well.

I bought it when I was bout seven-years-old and what really caught my attention were the illustrations. But it made it even better when I read it for the first time and realized that the story was good too! I just remember thinking how I had never seen anything like it before.

So there you go, I really recomend this one! And make sure to check out all of Audrey Wood and Don Wood's books, they're all great!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Organization is Key.

As mothers, I'm sure we have all come to this conclusion.

At one point or another, one way or another we have realized that we need some sort of organization in order to avoid chaos.

As a teenager, I used to be organized. Extremely organized. And by extremely, I do mean, extremely. I have insomnia, and back then I used it to my advantage and when I couldn't sleep, I organized my room.

Everything was organized, from the tinniest paper clip to the thickest wool sweater, everything was color coordinated, separeted by size, use, style, form, shape etc. Everything had it's place, everything was always in place.

But of course, that was back when I only had to worry about my room. I didn't have do my laundry or stocked up the toiled paper. It all just magically appeared.

Being organized brings harmony to a home. You don't have to be a neat freak about it, you don't have to color coordinate all your shirts or alphabetize your pantry. All you need to do is find your level of organization and find out what you need.

- Maybe you're the kind that is never behind on laundry, but toys all around, every where, all the time.
- Maybe you're the kind that has an impeccable pantry, but piles and piles of paper,bills, letters etc. on the kitchen table.
- Maybe you're the kind that always knows what to make for dinner, but whatever you do, don't open the hallway closet...

If it works for you. Then it's ok!

The keys is knowing that some sort of organization is important, and finding what it is that you need.

I like organization and like to have a place for everything and a time. After all, organization is not just about object placement, but also about schedules and routines, right?!

Now, I'm not the most organized person. In fact, if you were to see my house right now you would think I am the most DISorganized person in the world. Which right now, I really am. My house is mad chaos, everything is out of place, and because we're moving in less then a month, nothing really has a place.

There is an endless array of topics within this topic for which I'm WAY excited to talk about. After all, I am an Organizational Behaviorist (according to my diploma anyway...).

Most of what I know, I have learned from other moms. Some old, some new, some stay at home and others I only know through their published books.

But either way, let's start off by getting organized shall we?

What's your biggest organization pet-peeve?
What can you deal with and what can you not?
What do you wish you were better at?

My biggest pet-peeve is homeless things. Everything needs a place, a container, a drawer, something to be with his friends and not clutter other places. It's so much easier to find things when they have a home and are at their home!

I can deal with toys all around, it doesn't really bother me, but I hate being behind on the laundry (even though I usually am).

I wish I were better with keeping up with filing letters, bills and such, and not just letting them hang around for weeks in my kitchen counter...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Topics - Continued...

So not many people volunteered to write about our different topics, just Anna, Kika, and Paty (she didn't leave a coment but I've been talking to her) but you can still choose a topic and just write about it on the day it's on.

Anyway, these are the days we're going to be posting about each topic:

Monday: Things we go through
Tuesday: Child development
Wednesday: Crafts for children
Thursday: Health & Safety/Beauty & Nutrition for mom (breastfeeding will be under health)
Friday: Organization/Home & Fashion
Saturday: Children's literature

So we're going to start tomorrow with organization. I'm excited to see what Anna's been writing! I also LOVE organizing and wish I had more time to do so.

Okay seriously girls, we have like 16 contributors so let's pick a topic!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do You Still Love Me At 2 am?

My husband sent me this today on my email. He wrote it himself. We've been having hard nights with our children lately, especially Eric. It is funny because one of the times I got up last night I thought of exactly this. So here it goes:

"Do you still love me at 2 am?"

I think my son wonders this – seriously!

Recently he has been waking up in the middle of the night and SCREAMING! I can’t quite figure out why he is doing it – is it teeth? Is it his stuffy nose? Is it gas? Is he scared of the dark? Or is it just to see if I really love him unconditionally?

Well, I had a lot of time to think about it last night, and although there were times when I questioned my feelings for him (not really), I came to the following conclusion: I am going to cherish EVERY SINGLE moment I get to hold him and cuddle him, even if that means I need to drag myself out of bed multiple times in the middle of the night to do it.

Sooner than I can imagine, I know this magical, special time will be over, and he will be all grown up. Let’s be honest, when he is 13 years-old and he sleeping even more than he should, do you think I am going to remember how hard it was to get out of bed when he was a baby? I think not. All I will remember will be his quick, little heartbeat and his shallow little snore as he peacefully, and happily fell asleep.

There are those who say: “Don’t pick him up because it will become a habit.” I mean, heaven forbid he become addicted to the security of my loving arms and gentle kisses, right?

Give me a break!

I know we are all concerned with our health, and sleep is the one thing we all wish we had more of, but I think we all need a little paradigm shift on this one. What do we value more, a few extra minutes of unconsciousness, or the sweet, unconditional love and trust of our dear children? We won't remember if we got 8 hours or 4 hours of sleep during the night of March 2-3, 2010, but the subtle message we send to our child of, “Don’t be scared, don’t cry – I’m here and I love you,” will have a lasting effect on his/her heart and will forge a relationship of love and trust that will live forever – literally.

So... I am going to get up. I am going to pick him up. I am going to hold him and love him, and I am going to LOVE DOING IT while I still can!


Here are some topic ideas I've had from what I read on your comments and from talking to some of our contributors.

- Crafts for children
- Breastfeeding
- Beauty & nutrition for mom
- Health & Safety
- Home & Fashion (fashion includes tips on what stores are on sale, what's cute & comfy for mom, etc).
- Organization tips
- Things we go through (this includes things like weight gain, pregnancy,miscarriage, post-partum depression, working after having a baby, daily struggles, etc)
- Things to do for cheap or for free (in your area)
- Children's literature
- Child Development (this includes things like sleeping through the night, potty training and everything child-related)

I would like each of you (contributors) to think about 1 or more topics you would like to be in charge of. There can definitely be more than one person in charge of a certain topic, especially because I don't want any of you to feel overwhelmed with this. After we have it all sorted out we will pick certain days of the week to talk about each topic; some will even be like every 2 weeks or so.

If any of you are interested in writing on this blog but don't have access to it, please give me your email and I'll add you as a contributor.

Also, if you don't speak/write english very well you can still do this. Just write it in Portuguese, save it as a draft and I'll translate it and post in English and in Portuguese, which is even better.

Another thing: don't be shy and just GO for it. If you don't contribute, than there is no reason for us to keep going with this blog. I'm not an expert and this isn't a blog only about my life and my kids. It's about all of us mommies out there and our different experiences. We are here to learn with one another.

Oh, and if you have any more ideas on topics for this blog, please let me know!

Thank you girls SO much, you are the BEST! We're going to have SO much fun with this thing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"You WILL Need This"

This is a post to all the new mommies or mommies-to-be out there...


What do I absolutely need?
What can I do without?
What is a non-essencial, but nice thing to have for a new baby?

If you are expecting a baby, you have probably thought about some of these questions. If you are expecting for the second or third time, you are probably wondering what you will do differently this time around. Am I right?

I really haven't had a lot of time to think about this and so I want to start a little "dialog" here.

One of the contributors of this blog, Camila Amorim, is expecting her first baby and she asked me if we could write about this topic.

So here we go:

Just the other day I found this website called simple mom and she wrote an article called "The things you don't need (but they say you do) for a new baby." And here's her list:

1. More than one stroller
2. Shopping cart cover
3. Baby wipe warmers
4. Full-size highchair
5. Diaper pail
6. Baby detergent
7. Changing table
8. Glider
9. Baby lotion

(If you are interested in reading her reasons, click here to see the original post).

Well, I am almost embarrassed to admit, I bought every-single-one of the things on her "You Don't Need" list - except the glider anyway (My mother-in-law still had the rocking chair she used with her last baby, and that's what I used).

Here is what I think:

I bought a travel system (stroller/car seat combo) with my first child, but I sold it when I moved back to Brazil. I brought a "double stroller" to Brazil instead, so I could haul around my two kids at the samem time (I was expecting my second when we moved here, and my daughter was only 15-months-old when Eric was born so we really needed it). After they graduated from the "double stroller" (we rarely use it anymore, it's too heavy and I never go out by myself anyway), we bought two Maclaren Quest strollers which are the BEST strollers EVER! I absolutely love them and I am so glad we purchased them even though they were a little pricey (around $250 each). They are light-weight and fold so easily. They are so easy to manuever and they just glide so smoothly. I don't regret buying the "double stroller" first though, it really helped us a LOT. Sometimes I wish I had a double Maclaren stroller for when I go out by myself, but like I said, that rarely ever happens.

(This is the exact one Jasmine has, and Eric has a brown-and-blue one).

When it comes to strollers, I believe every situation is different - it really depends I guess. All I can say is, take some time to really consider what will work best for your situation.

I think for my next child I am going to get something like this:

Maclaren's Easy Traveler. Can you tell I just love this brand? A woman at my church has this stroller, and it looks like it's so light, and it has this huge, oversized basket underneath it. The only problem is, I'm not sure it comes with a cup holder, which is the ONE thing I really miss from having a "travel system". It says on the description it comes with one, but I can't see it in this picture.

I already have a Graco carseat I could use with this stroller, and best of all, it's only $88!!

For 1st time mothers, if I would have known how bulky those travel systems can get, I would definitely just purchase a carseat and this (and then later on, a light-weight stroller).

I bought a shopping cart cover and I thought it was nice because my kids like putting their mouths on the handle - GROSS! I'm no germophobic but I do think it's gross. And plus, you can hang toys and stuff on it to keep your child entertained. Another thing I really liked, there's a little pocket where you can put your car keys in as soon as you lock the door (which was GREAT for me since I hate trying to find my keys in my purse everytime I leave a store).

Truth is, it's not all that necessary, but it's nice to have.

I also bought a baby wipe warmer and I don't think it is necessary if you live anywhere outside of Idaho. It was nice to have when Jasmine was a newborn and she would cry everytime I wiped her bottom with the cold wipes. I wasted too much time trying to warm them up in my own hands like Simple Mom suggests, and I don't think it really helped. I used it during the winter months and when she was really little. I didn't use it with Eric and my husband hated it because he said it made the wipes dry out.

I have had 3 full-sized highchairs in the past 2 years and I think I'm just plain stupid. I will get rid of them and will never buy them ever again! They take up SO much space, the child gets isolated from the rest of the family during family dinners, and I always trip over it and hurt myself! Once I even broke my big toe nail in half!

Booster seats work great. We have one at my parent's house and I love it, I wish I had 2 of them at my own house. I even think all the messes they make when they eat would be easier to clean if they both ate at the table because the food wouldn't fall on the floor so much.

This fisher price booster seat (the same one my parents have) only costs $19.99!! You attach it to a chair and it works like a high chair when they are little, and when they get older, you can remove the tray and it works as a booster seat at the table.

I bought the Diaper Genie II and I liked it when the my kids were newborn babies and their poop didn't stink so much, but now I have to keep it outside because I can't stand the smell. So it is nice to have for a while, but if you don't mind going outside and using a regular trash can just for the diapers, I don't think you really NEED this.

Baby Trend Diaper Champ Delux ($34.99)

I don't use baby detergent anymore, but when my kids were born, and up until they were about 6 months to 12-months-old, I used it just because a baby's skin is so delicate and I just think regualar detergent can be too agressive on their skin. Baby detergent has less ingredients that would more likely irritate a baby's skin. You can also use coconut detergent, although I'm not sure if they have that in the USA.

Simple Mom's reasoning behind not getting a changing table was because she believes a dresser with a changing pad on top works just fine, and it's better because it's 2 in 1. I totally agree with her if you already have a dresser, but if you don't, you can buy a dresser that has a changing table on top. I believe having a changing table is a necessity, otherwise you'll kill your back trying to change you children on the bed, couch or floor (pleeeease don't ever change your baby on the floor without a pad or something... I think it's gross)!

We bought this one from Wal-mart for Jasmine, and we still have it, but both the drawers are broken (the front of the drawers came unglued and came off), and it's not very well made. It broke when she was only like, 3 months old, too. I should've returned it, I know.

I didn't have a rocking chair when Jasmine was born, my mother-in-law gave us hers after a while, but I didn't really need it because I didn't nurse her. I would bottle-feed her on the couch or on my bed (which I also did in the middle of the night with Eric when I nursed him), so I guess you'll only really use this during the day, and that is IF you have company or something. I don't know, I guess it's nice to have because it's comfortable for the mom, but I don't really think it's necessary, especially if you're on a tight budget.

Her reasoning behind not purchasing baby lotion was because she doesn't believe babies need lotion when they're little because they already have the softest skin ever. Well, I disagree. Even at the hospital they gave me this special lotion to put on Eric's skin because it was peeling so much. I think you should be careful with which ones you use during the first few months (I would use a very nutral one, probably even unscented), but I always useed lotion after I gave the kids baths. Jasmine also has very dry skin - especially during the winter - and her skin gets so dry it cracks sometimes. I think this woman probably lives in a more humid area, so it all depends on the situation I guess.

Boy, I wrote so much! It's almost one o'clock in the morning here in Brazil and I'm tired! And I tend to make lots of grammar mistakes when I'm tired so please forgive me.

Okay mommies, what are your thoughts?