Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ella's Kitchen: Better Baby Food (Giveaway)

Sydney has decided in the last month that she is very interested in food.  What a bittersweet milestone.  We are still nursing as her major food source and I will be childled weaning, but I knew that all the signs were there and so we've been offering her mashed-up food from our plates, which is great when we are eating better than we did this last month.  In November, I accepted the challenge to write a novel, or 50,000 words toward one, in a month (  Suffice it to say, I'm at 47, 270 words as of today and our meals have been...interesting, so I was very excited when Ella's Kitchen sent me a nice big box of organic baby food for us to try - talk about great timing!

I was drawn to Ella's Kitchen because it's organic and not packaged in glass jars which often contain BPA coating.  Ella's Kitchen food is as fresh and fun as their packaging.  And yes, I tried it myself!  Good stuff.  Their baby food relies on interesting fruit and veggie combinations for a dynamic flavors like spinach, apples, and rutabaga or fruit smoothies like Syd's favorite, the Red One (strawberries, apples, raspberries, and bananas).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Connected Christmas Spotlight: FernElla

Great Keepsake/Local find: FernElla

FernElla offers distinctive, handmade paper gifts, decorations, and games on Etsy.  The shop offers party banners as well as small games and keepsakes that are perfect for stockings and holiday parties.  I'm even bookmarking it for a cute banner for a baby shower I'm hosting this spring!  Best of all, FernElla is hanmade and local to the Kansas City area!

I'm in love with their charming Christmas paper banners that have just the perfect touch of handmade holiday spirit.  I might need one for my mantle instead of a fake, prickly garland this year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

10 Activities to Get in the Spirit without Going Broke

Please note: I use the term Christmas in this piece because that is what my family celebrates.  I believe most of these suggestions can be used for any holiday and I hope you can apply them to your personal beliefs this holiday season.  

It's Black Friday, otherwise known as the day when many Americans engage in shopping hysteria that rivals the fanaticism of a Beatles concert.  Because $2 DVDs and 70% off popular toys is just too good to pass up for most people.  The result?  People shoveling down the turkey and heading out into the dark morning hours of November 26th to wait in line for their chance at a great deal.  There is a woman who starting camping out at a Best Buy on Monday this year.   Personally, I prefer a more outdoorsy setting for my short vacations.  As usual, I headed out for the $1.29.yard flannel sale at the fabric store around noon. I was in and out and back home by 1:30 pm.  It's the only store I allow myself to hit on Black Friday and I justify it because that fabric will be used to make homemade Christmas presents.  Take that rampant consumerism!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giveaway winners! Ergo, Julian & Co, and LadyCup /Pleat

The winner of the Happier Period package was Heather!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Ways Partners Can Support Breastfeeding Moms

1) Help her prepare:

Chances are, if your partner wants to breastfeed she’s going to mention it at some point before the baby is born. There is actually a great deal of preparation, both mental and physical that goes into a successful breastfeeding relationship. You can help your partner, and show your support for her decision to breastfeed by educating yourself about it, listening to and helping her set goals and letting her know that you understand how important it is to her to breastfeed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 Alternatives to Crying it Out

My sister soothing Sydney
I see it all the time on facebook pages and  message boards - moms lamenting the torture of listening to their babies cry it out.  Nine times out of ten the mom is hating it.  Sadly, I occasionally see a mom happy to say the CIO worked and baby is "finally asleep."  What tends to happen is that most moms I know hate CIO, but eventually it seems to work.  Baby seems to cry less and less when he is left in his crib.  And to an extent the trick has worked.  Baby has slowly learned his crying won't work to draw his mom back in the room.  He's been conditioned to understand his crying won't elicit the attention he needs or wants.  He has learned helplessness.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Snuggles: Short & Sweet

Hi! I hope you all had a nice week and are enjoying your weekend!

This week was fairly quiet at our house, but I did have two cakes that have kept me busy the past few days.

We're taking the kids to a local park tomorrow that has a few animal exhibits and a petting zoo. Marley brought home the class 'pet' from preschool this week (a stuffed dog named 'Aspen'), and we're supposed to write a journal entry and can include photos of what 'Aspen' did over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whatcha Wanna Know? Wednesdays: "Why I get all 'crazy' about breastfeeding" (aka-- The Facebook 'Nurse In' rant)

Remember those family vacation pics you posted this Summer? The ones of your daughter(s) & wife in swimsuits? The candid shots of you and your girlfriends catching some rays in your bikinis on the OBX before a night of dancing? How much skin was shown in those albums?

Are you friends with anyone who's 21-22 years old? Are you, yourself, in this age range? How many albums of drunken nights have you seen posted to your wall? How many pics of you and your friends getting smashed have you posted? How many of those albums showed various states of undress, drunken displays of affection, or the aftermath of too much alcohol?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Connected Christmas Spotlight: Stacy Bayless

Best handmade children's accessories: Stacy Bayless

I adore handmade children's clothing, so when the Handmade Toy Alliance put out the call to feature a handmade Christmas, I jumped at the chance.  There is something beyond the unmatched quality when it comes to handmade accessories.  I suppose a sense of personality is infused in each piece, and that's exactly what you get with Stacy Bayless.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Unwanted Birth (Guest post)

At Connected Mom it's no secret we are pro-homebirth, but above all else we recognize that birth is a personal experience and that providers have a responsibility to listen to women.  A wise person recently told me that if you are uncomfortable birthing in the hospital, it is irresponsible to birth there, but likewise she pointed out if you are uncomfortable birthing at hime, it is also irresponsible.  As women we have a responsibility to trust our instincts regarding birth, and when care providers prevent us from from following our instincts unnecessarily it can have long-term psychological consequences, including birth disappointment and postpartum anxiety disorders.  One of our readers in the Netherlands shared how her planned hospital birth turned into an unwanted homebirth and her best advice for all women regarding their birth desires.

To give some background I'm from Finland where home-births are very rare. My husband is Dutch and I have lived in the Netherlands since 2002. I had my first baby 2008 at the hospital but assisted only by the midwife. My second child was born at home against my will.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Snuggle: Sickness & a Safari?

What a week it's been at our house!

Last Saturday Killian began running a fever and it eventually progressed to 106*F. We spent much of last Saturday and Sunday --and Monday, too, actually-- snuggling. Snuggling on the couch, in the bathtub as I tried to cool him down, in the pediatric emergency room as I consented to x-rays, blood work, and a cath to obtain a urinalysis.

That last one tore me up inside. The doctor assured me he wouldn't be retracted, and when I said 'ok, because I don't want to chance creating any adhesions" , she replied that "it" was "adheared"... I think we were talking in circles a bit, but the point was understood.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Charlie Banana

I was lucky enough to test out a Charlie Banana 2 in 1 diaper. They sent me a beautiful hot pink diaper, with both disposable and washable inserts. First thing I noticed about this diaper was that the pocket opening is located in the front. I love this! I have diapers similar to this style, but the opening is located in the back. I think this is fairly common. I appreciate the front opening mainly because I have boys. I find I can cater to their wet zone more easily with stuffing from the front.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Put your money where your mouth is

Photo credit: Danielle Moler (Flickr)
My family and I do not buy Nestle products.  This means we no longer lay a finger on Butterfinger and our kids are opting out of membership in the Gerber generation.  It's not always easy with such a huge product list to boycott, but we feel that it is a decision we must make.  Our boycott of Nestle stems primarily from being part of the lactivist community, but this is a cause that should be promoted by breastfeeding and formula feeding families, and well, everyone else with a conscience. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Connected Christmas Spotlight: Julian & Co. (Giveaway)

Best Keepsake for a Nursing Mom: Julian & Co.

Every mother deserves something to commemorate and celebrate her nursing relationship with her child.  When I began my look for a nursing necklace that was practical, beautiful, and well-made, I was delighted to find Julian & Co, a jewelry store specializing in engraved silver keepsakes for mom and baby.

Julian & Co. started when owner Tania and her husband could not find a keepsake ID bracelet to fit their miracle preemie Julian.  Tania designed her own and people took notice and the rest is history.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time Management for Professional Moms (Guest Post)

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver (flickr)
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you know that it’s not just a way to spend your time every day. It’s a full-time job, and that requires a strategy for managing the small number of hours you have to accomplish a large number of tasks. What’s more, you aren’t just obligated to get your work done satisfactorily – you also nurture your family, taking time out of your busy day to talk and listen. Time management doesn’t mean scheduling every minute of your day in painful detail, although some people are more comfortable with that approach. The majority of moms just want to get through the day with the accomplishments of running all the errands, keeping the house clean and organized, and being there for the family. You can do that and, best of all, squirrel away some time for yourself by following these time management tips for busy moms.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

'Where has the week gone' Wednesday

This week has been a blast... starting with Halloween on Sunday, no school for Chloe Monday or Tuesday... and suddenly it's Wednesday!

I've been working on cleaning out our playroom (donating, storing, and tossing toys), the girls' room (so many clothes!!!) and the bathroom closet (too much makeup!).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It Doesn't Work That Way

Fear. It is everywhere. It is on TV where you see commercials for safety and how to protect your family from others. From the flu shot being commercialized to car accidents to show how well car insurance works, we see how every day we could die from something.

Then you add in the fear surrounding birth, which is an entirely different animal.

When people hear about my job working with a homebirth midwife, they love to tell me why they couldn't have a homebirth. Most times it deals with "emergencies" which aren't emergencies, or how homebirth is dangerous, but most of them end with "but my baby/I would have died if we hadn't been in the hospital!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Humanizing Healthcare: Maternal Care and Choice

It is strange to me that when discussing the issue of health care reform, I'm often met with morbid statistics regarding cancer outcomes in European countries and told I have to pay to have the best health care system in the world. I'm not getting into the subject of cost today, because that is an entirely different Pandora's box. Today I want to focus on the strange compulsion to view this debate as a worst case scenario twisted into a best case scenario situation. It seems those that oppose universal public health care think a strong argument against socializing medicine is to cite how it will affect our ability to receive care for life threatening forms of cancer and other diseases. This is something to ponder. I could get into an argument about access to care and cost and preventative medicine, but many others have done so more eloquently than I. Instead I thought I would approach this from a less cynical and morbid viewpoint.