Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review - Nurture Shock

March Book

Nurture Shock
by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
239 pages

I've been hearing about this book since it came out in 2009, and I've wanted to read it since then. I did start it a while ago, but then Livy came along, and the book had to go back to the library. This time I bought my own copy!

Chapter 1: The Inverse Power of Praise
Oh. My. Goodness. I knew I was going to like this book, but already, I love it. This concept about praise isn't new: we've been hearing it all 4-1/2 years we've been parents. That praise doesn't really instill or reinforce self-esteem. It makes kids think that if they have to put some effort into a problem, they must not be smart. So, instead of praising results or being (you're so smart, that was good), we should praise effort, specifically and sincerely.
  • You must've worked really hard.
  • I like how you keep trying.
  • You concentrated without asking to take a break.
  • You listened carefully.
  • You tried really hard.
Another take-away is that kids need to know their brain is a muscle that can be developed through hard work. And kids need a plan to handle failure--that means parents have to address failure and help the children develop a plan to overcome.

My favorite quote: "Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable they can control."

Chapter 2: The Lost Hour
This chapter is about sleeping. It seemed more scientific than I like (but the kids were chasing each other around the coffee table with scissors). I really like Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's book Sleepless in America for information on sleep. 

Chapter 3: Why White Parents Don't Talk about Race
This is a challenging chapter. Here in Prior Lake, we don't seem to have much diversity. And the diversity we have is a Russian population. Well, we do have the Shakopee Mdewakanton Souix community. Anyway, it's a white community. The only "people of color" we know is a girl that was adopted from China and two kids whose mother is Mexican.

This chapter posits that parents need to be talking about race with young kids while they are still developmentally open to it. There's something that even by 3rd grade kids are less likely to accept race differences than 1st graders.

I'm all for race equality and having friends of different races and cultures. But in our super white community, I have no idea how to do it. It does make me think about fostering Ancestral Pride (Swedish, Norwegian, German) and exposing them to other cultures. Is a different culture the same as a different race? Can we use the two inter-changeably?

Our kids might not understand race at all. When I asked them about skin color, our 4-1/2 yr old told me she has brown skin, I have pink skin, and grandma has black skin. And then proceeded to talk about green & red skin, purple skin, and orange skin--like the Lorax. Our 3 yr old just hollered out from the other room that he has "nothing skin" and started singing the Color Song from his preschool book. 

Chapter 4: Why Kids Lie
We may treasure honesty, but the research is clear. Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars. ~Chapter 4 Intro
I love this chapter already.
People simply cannot tell when kids are lying. They believe girls are telling the truth more than boys, when in fact boys do not like more often. They believe younger kids are more prone to lying, whereas the opposite is true. And they believe introverts are less trustworthy, when introverts actually lie less often. ~Pg 75
Similarly, the parent's first defense against his child's tendency to lie is "Well, I can tell when they're lying." That's been proven to be a myth. ~Pg 75 
This is a hot-button issue for me because so many parents I know complain of their kids lying and are trying to dream up serious consequences for it. This chapter says that kids lie to avoid punishment, and  kids want to make their parents happy. So instead of punishing kids for lying, we need to say something like, "I won't be upset with you, and if you tell the truth, I'll be happy."

There's super interesting information about tattling, which we deal with here.
For every one time a child seeks a parent for help, there were 14 other instances when he was wronged and did not run to the parent for aid. ~Pg 88
We want our kids to talk to each other first (Please stop hitting me. Can I have my truck back? Will you get off my leg? I don't want to color right now.), but maybe they are already doing a lot of that. According to this book they probably are.
A child considering reporting a problem to an adult not only faces peer condemnation as a traitor and the schoolyard equivalent of the death penalty--ostracism--but he also recalls every time he's heard teachers and parents say "Work it out on your own." ~Pg 89
 The lesson here is "No matter how small, lies no longer go unnoticed."
Does how we deal with a child's lies really matter, down the road in life? The irony of lying is that it's both normal and abnormal behavior at the same time. It's to be expected, and yet it can't be disregarded. ~Pg 90
 And also, don't entrap your kids with questions you already know the answer to, to test their honesty. They'll lie to get out of punishment, and you'll be angry.

Chapter 5: The Search for Intelligent Life in Kindergarten
In our school district, the gifted program starts at 3rd grade. Now, I have more research why, but it seemed to make sense before that. Some younger kids just aren't ready for that kind of test. But that doesn't mean they aren't "gifted." I also like how at the end of the chapter, it challenges our need to label our kids this way.

I'm glad our thoughts that testing and labeling kids so young have been affirmed, at least by this research. I know you can find research to back up whatever you believe. 

Chapter 6: The Sibling Effect
Uh-oh. I might not like this chapter. The first statement that stood out to me is what if "children learn poor social skills from these interactions (with siblings), just as often as they learn good ones."

It was not at all what I expected from that first assertion. In a quick summary, children need to be taught to enjoy their siblings. Conflict Prevention instead of Conflict Resolution. Fighting may be normal, but as long as your kids are engaged with one another, they are building relationship.

I feel good because our two Big Kids do play well together and are engaged most of the time. Maybe all the time. They even seek each other out when we're at play groups and other play areas. We are working on recognizing that they've hurt each other's feelings and mending that.

One thing that was interesting is the example about children's books depicting sibling rivalry. I already have "put away" some library books or turned off some movie/cartoon when siblings or friends were being mean to each other. I'm sure the endpoint is that we need to be nice, but they were teaching my kids how to be mean first. 

Chapter 7: The Science of Teen Rebellion
This chapter seems to go hand in hand with Chapter 4: Why Kids Lie. They want to make their parents happy. Or don't want to make them mad. I think we have to prepare ourselves to let our kids fight about the rules. Our oldest does some negotiating now. Most of the time, she makes a valid point and the rule changes in that instance. I want to carry that over to their teen years when the rules aren't just about drinking red juice on the carpet.
Ironically, the type of parents who are actually the most consistent in enforcing rules are the same parents who are most warm and have the most conversations with their kids. They've set a few rules over a certain key spheres of influence, and they've explained why the rules are there. They expect the child to obey them. Over life's other spheres, they supported this child's autonomy, allowing freedom to make decisions. The kids of these parents lied the least. Rather than hiding twelve areas from their parents, they might be hiding as few as five. ~Pg 141
 In the families where there was less deception, there was a much higher ratio of arguing/complaining. Arguing was good--arguing was honesty. The parents didn't necessarily realize this. The arguing stressed them out. ~Pg 148
Certain types of fighting, despite the acrimony, are ultimately a sign of respect--not of disrespect. ~Pg 149
The variable that seemed to matter most was how the arguments were resolved. ~Pg 150
 Parents who negotiate ultimately appear to be more informed. Parents with unbending, strict guidelines make it a tactical issue for kids to find a way around them. ~Pg 150
 The narrow definition of pushover parents are those who give in to their kids because they can't stand to see their child cry, or whine. They placate their children just to shut them up. They want to be their kid's friend, and they're uncomfortable being seen as the bad guy. That's not the same as a parent who makes sure her child feels heard, and if the child has made a good argument for why a rule needs to be changed, lets that influence her decision. ~Pg 150-151
Chapter 8: Can Self-Control be Taught?
I have to say: this chapter was only mildly interesting. It just talked about Tools of the Mind preschool and kindergarten programs and how great they are. Yes, self-control can be taught. 

Chapter 9: Plays Well with Others
There are three types of aggression:
  • physical: pushing, hitting, biting
  • relational: "You can't play with me," ignoring a friend, lying about a friend
  • verbal: "shut up," "you're stupid"
The more educational media the children watched, the more relationally aggressive they were. ... Relational aggression is modeled at a fairly high rate. ~Pg 180
This is exactly why we don't watch a cartoon called "Little Bill." The few times the kids saw it, I was shocked at how mean the kids were to each other. This chapter says that physical aggression isn't impacted by media as much as we think, but relational and verbal aggression are.
Arthur is more dangerous for children than Power Rangers. ... There is a stunning amount of relational and verbal aggression in kids' television. ~Pg 181
Knowing what shows our kids watch the most (Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Super Why, Wild Kratts, Martha Speaks, and Arthur), I haven't seen any aggression or an amount of aggression I'd be concerned about. What is more surprising to me is that preschoolers are watching 11 hours of media a week. That's 90 minutes a day. I should pay more attention to how much our kids watch per day. Some days, they don't watch any, but on days they do, they really like to watch. :)
The typical married couple has about eight disputes each day. Spouses express anger to each other two or three times as often as they show a moment of affection to each other. And while parents might aspire to shield their kids from their arguing, the truth is children are witness to it 45% of the time. Children's emotional well-being and security are more affected by the relationship between the parents than by the direct relationship between the parent and child. ~Pg 184
This chapter says that children will be aggressive if they witness a fight between their parents, but will be much less aggressive (96% of the time) if they see the resolution.
Most kids were just as happy at the conclusion as they were when witnessing a friendly interaction between parents. ... Being exposed to constructive marital conflict can actually be good for children. ~Pg 185
Aggressiveness is most often used as a means of asserting dominance to gain control or protect status. ~Pg 191 
So, why don't kids shun aggressive peers?
  1. Aggressive behavior is interpreted as a willingness to defy grown-ups, which makes the aggressive child seem independent and older. The child who always conforms to adults' expectations and follows their rules runs the risk of being seen as a wimp.
  2. Aggressive kids can remain socially powerful because, just as the less-aggressive kids aren't angels, aggressive kids aren't all devils. 
 Kids see that, when used correctly, kindness and cruelty are equally effective tools of power. ~Pg 193
 On Page 194, it seems like the authors are talking about how detrimental to social development it is to segregate children by age--all the time. Which I think is interesting, because the home school community "bashes" constant age segregation.

Chapter 10: Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn't
The first thing this chapter discusses is baby DVDs like Baby Einstein. We have a 20-pack of Baby Einstein DVDs I got on eBay before Ivy was even born. I was preparing to stimulate her and help her be smarter. She thwarted me in that one. She wouldn't watch any tv at all until she was about 2. Had no interest in it. And when she was about 8 months old, we started doing the Baby Signs with her, saying the word "More" while showing her the sign. Instead of signing, she just started talking.
Video programming can't interact with the baby, responding to the sounds she makes. Why this is important requires careful explanation. ~Pg 204
 Instead of needing to talk constantly to your baby in order for her to learn language, "the central role of the parent is to notice what's coming from the baby and respond accordingly."
In fact, one of the mechanisms helping a baby to talk isn't a parent's speech at all--it's not what a child hears from a parent, but what a parent accomplishes with a well-timed loving caress. ~Pg 207
It sounds like responding quickly and appropriately to a baby is a key factor in early language development. I wonder if early language development is necessary. Who cares if your kid talks at 9 months or 18 months? Does it matter?

Baby talking to babies seems important because it helps them differentiate sounds. And then, respond when your baby is making noise. The next part of the chapter talks about labeling things for toddlers (your chair, mommy's car, daddy's bike, etc) as the child is naturally looking or pointing at the object. 

So, it does seem like kids who are responded to when they babble and are talking early do have an advantage over other kids--in their cognitive development and communication skills.

This chapter has challenged me to respond to Livy more.

I really loved this book. Each chapter was informative about child development and issues we all come across every day. I think every parent (or everyone who is around kids) should read this book. It's that good. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

The best slippers ever

My mom found these slippers at her local Hallmark store and got some for my sisters for Christmas. And a pair for herself. And not me.

They are seriously the warmest slippers I've ever had on my feeties. I love them. Aside from warm, they're cozy, soft, cuddle hugs. Like walking on poofy foot-size pillows.

I'm never taking them off.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What Moms Want

I read this post on The Gypsy Mama the other day and thought I'd add my own items.

Here are her items. I underlined the ones that look especially good to me and added mine to the bottom of the list.

  1. To go to the bathroom without an audience
  2. A hot meal
  3. Not to have to cut up any food but their own
  4. Make up that hasn’t been repurposed as face paint
  5. A bed without wet spots in it
  6. Laundry washed and folded by someone else
  7. A weekend worth of sleep
  8. To get through more than three words without being interrupted
  9. Self-cleaning mini vans
  10. A world where sweat pants are more fashionable than skinny jeans
  11. Non-fattening chocolate
  12. Bottomless ice cream tubs
  13. Dogs that don’t shed
  14. Hamsters that can take out their own trash
  15. The tidying super powers of Mary Poppins
  16. Doctor’s offices that are always on time
  17. Drive through everything!
  18. A mute button for temper tantrums
  19. A world without Barney
  20. Pacifier locators
  21. Self cleaning dishes
  22. A lifetime supply of paper plates
  23. Candy flavored vegetables
  24. Hall monitors for our house
  25. Guarantees that skinned knees are the worst our kids will have to worry about
  26. Someone to pat our back and sing us lullabies too
  27. On call massage therapy
  28. Non-stain spaghetti sauce
  29. Grass without the holes, dinosaur digs or rock collection
  30. World household peace
  31. Everyone to recognize how awesome our kids are
  32. Room service
  33. Music that makes moms and kids happy
  34. diaperreal genie!
  35. Legos that melt in the mouth {thus preventing choking}
  36. Daily naps
  37. Time out that is more than just hiding in the laundry room
  38. A theme song
  39. Beth Moore on speed dial
  40. Other moms to laugh, cry, and do life along side.
Here are the things I want: 
  1. A driver/chauffeur 
  2. Toys that don't lose pieces, especially under the couch
  3. An endless supply of art supplies
  4. A housekeeper--I'd really like to spend all my time playing with the kids instead of doing housework
  5. Local friends who stay home with their kids
  6. Manicures & pedicures on a regular basis
  7. To be confident in my Mother Skillz
  8. To stop yelling so much

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I had Ivy & Jamey with me in the shower this morning. We went to CostCo after dinner last night and got home after bedtime. So no baths last night.

We're heading to two birthday parties today. One up in Maple Grove from 11-2 and another in Brooklyn Park from 4-8. Needless to say, it's a busy morning of showering, getting everyone dressed, breakfast, pack the diaper bag, remember the gifts, put some makeup on, have some food waiting for Jeremy when he gets back from his brick, oh yeah, do my hair.

We have to leave in about 45 minutes. I was just up drying my hair with the intent of running it through the flat iron. The back feels all thick and gooey. Good Grief! In the midst of washing Ivy & Jamey, I didn't rinse all the conditioner out of my hair. But now I'm dressed and have makeup on and need to wake up Livy to nurse before we leave. I do not have time to get back in the shower.

Maybe it won't be so bad. I'll bring a ponytail holder, just in case.

Biting while Nursing

Livy has two little "razor blade" bottom teeth. Bless her heart. She's been biting off and on for about a month. It hurts so much! I've tried all the normal suggestions, and she still bites and then looks up at me and smiles this huge grin.

I've started just putting her down when she bites. The nursing session is over when she bites. If she continues, I really don't know how interested I'll be in extended nursing (I consider anything more than a year "extended" but until 2 seems normal).

I sometimes think she's teething. Sometimes, she isn't interested. Sometimes, she's distracted.

I feel like one thing I've learned through having three kids is to stop annoying things as soon as possible. I really want to stop this biting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nursing after Exercise

About an hour after the Get Lucky 7k, I nursed Livy. Then about an hour after that, she vomited all over my shoulder. She puked twice again in the next half hour, thicker green goop. The rest of the day, she was happy, with no signs of sickness. So, my guess is that I had a build up of lactic acid in my breastmilk.

I don't know if that's possible, so I asked a Le Leche League leader, the Run Like a Mother group, the Runner's World forum, and the Twin Cities API group.

Here's the info I got:
  • Kellymom says that if you're exercising at max, you can get a build up of lactic acid, but it doesn't usually bother the baby. 
  • The responses I got from the Runner's World Forum all said it was probably a bug. 
  • The Twin Cities API list said it was probably viral. 
  • The Run Like a Mother group had never heard of anything like that and referred me to the Kellymom link. 
So, maybe it was a bug. My LLL leader said to trust my gut and maybe it was the milk. Either way, she was only sick for about an hour.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Uninterrupted 30 minutes

There is this video making the rounds about Kony and the atrocities of the LRA. It's almost 30 minutes long. And the guilt-trip associated with it is that "everyone has 30 minutes to watch this video."

I've been keeping track the last few days, and I haven't had an uninterrupted 30 minutes at all in the four days I've been paying attention.

I, literally, do not have 30 minutes to watch this video.

And the half hour I had to talk to the US Census Bureau this afternoon caused total havoc with the kids.

So there, Guilt Trippers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Making Dirt

Our friends invited us over to make Dirt on Friday. It was such a nice day, we put our buckets of Dirt together outside. 

Listening to the instructions

Micaella, Livy, and Analise

Jamey & Ivy are ready for chocolate

Adding Oreos

Jamey is a great sharer :) 

Sugar Coma

Hey, can I have some?

Analise is just watching

More pudding and cookies!

Finally! Time to eat!

Mom, I think Daddy is calling. 

Happy Kids!

We loved this dessert so much, we made it again to take to a friend's house on Saturday night. 

Book Review - Last Child in the Woods

February Book

Last Child in the Woods
by Richard Louv
316 pages

I got this book as a Christmas gift and was very excited to read about the importance of getting kids outside. I anticipated an encouraging "let's get outside" message with day hike ideas, craft ideas, games, how-to tips on building forts, and fun ways to get your kids outside.

It was not like that. It reads like a very long research paper. Whew, I had a very hard time getting through this book. I just did not find it interesting at all.

Until the Field Guide in the back. There is a "100 Actions We Can Take" list, and this is what I was looking for. Some of the easy things we're going to include in our lives include

  1. Get a truckload of dirt delivered to your house and let the kids play in it.
  2. Build a bird bath, bird houses, bird feeders, or bat houses.
  3. Make a leaf collection book.
  4. Tadpoles.
  5. Nature walks/hikes. We have a great park close by (Murphy Hanrehan). I'd like to make regular trips out there this spring, summer, and autumn.
  6. Plant a tree.
  7. Plant a butterfly garden.
  8. Join 4-H. (I don't think they're old enough yet, but I plan on doing this when they're old enough.)
  9. Canoeing, sailing, swimming, kayaking (in the local lakes & rivers).
  10. Go to the MN Landscape Arboretum
  11. Visit the Richardson Nature Center

Book Review - The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide

The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired
By Ryan Robert

I got this book for my Kindle via the Amazon store. It's $2.99 for the Kindle version, and it doesn't look like there's a print version.

This is a good book. I just read a different guide to running book, so I didn't know if I needed another one right now. However, I'm glad I read it.
First a note about the Kindle: reading on it is so easy. I love it! I love having so many books to choose from right at my fingertips. And it's so easy to read while I'm on the treadmill. In days gone by, I had to either hold a book in both hands and turn pages all while trying not to fall off the treadmill. Yesterday, I walked for 70 minutes (at 3 mph) and read half of this book. It was so easy to hold the Kindle in one hand and use my thumb to "turn" pages. 
This book was so easy to read. I breezed through it and felt very motivated and encouraged when I was done. It's truly a book for beginners who need the confidence boost to get out there and get running.

I think my only complaint is that Chapters 1 and 3 cover so much information and are so long. I wish they had been broken up into smaller pieces. It was sometimes hard to follow, because I didn't remember what section of the chapter I was in.

I enjoy and plan to utilize his Visualizations at the end of Chapters 1, 2, and 3. This type of focused energy really helps me perform well.

Introduction: Why Run?
This introduction is super motivating. Everyone knows that running is a good cardio workout: that you will lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and have a healthier heart. The mental benefits are less concrete, but may be even more important: lowering stress and increasing confidence.

Chapter 1: Getting Ready to Run
This chapter is very long, almost half the book (to 53% on the Kindle). There is a lot of information here. I mean, a lot. And it's good stuff. The tips on arm positions was especially useful to me.

Chapter 2: Raising the Bar and Staying Motivated to Run
In this chapter, the main focus is adding hill workouts and intervals to your running routine to better your performance. The tips to stay motivated are all great ideas.

Chapter 3: Nutrition, Hydration, Running in Adverse Conditions, and Common Injuries
Again, this chapter is super long and feels like it should be a few different chapters. I always enjoy hearing different perspectives on nutrition and hydration during practice and races. And the tips on running in extreme heat, cold, and rain were right on. I tend to get shin splints, so it was good for me to read about icing and doing some cross training.

Chapter 4: Running Inspired
After starting the book off with a great positive message, giving load and loads of tips and expertise, this chapter gets back to motivation and encouragement. You can do it! And it'll be great!

Chapter 5: Training Schedules
These training schedules look good. I've already committed to a different training plan for my half-marathon in May, but one of these plans look like a great way to maintain fitness. I think it's better for me to be on a plan than to just go out and run. I need someone to tell me what to do.

Book Review - The Complete Book of Running for Women

January Book

The Complete Book of Running for Women
By Claire Kowalchik
413 pages

This book has so much information in it. I don't think I can give a full summary of the book, except that it has everything you need to know about starting to run. I whole-heartedly recommend this book for any woman starting to run. I did breeze through the chapters on menopause, pregnancy, running over 50. But the chapter on running with family was super helpful--even just reading about other moms who really have to work to fit running into their day. And about getting your kids involved in the sport. It's an easy read, and despite being 413 pages, it only took me a couple weeks to get through it.

Some of the things I found particularly interesting were the Parts titled Why Run, Becoming a Runner, and Getting into Gear.

Why Run?
Because it's good for your body and your mind. It helps relieve stress, facilitates interruption-free thinking, and helps you lose weight and maintain good health. It's easy to start, and you don't need any special gear. You can do it anywhere in any weather, with or without friends. It doesn't matter if you're fast or slow--you can run, and you'll feel good.

Becoming a Runner
If you think you're a runner, and you feel like a runner, then you're a runner. Again, it doesn't matter if you're doing 10-minute miles or 6-minute miles. If you run consistently, you're a runner. Kowalchik writes about changing your self image from "fatty, out of shape mom" to "getting in shape, runner in training." And it works! It changed how I view myself on the treadmill and in races. I'm not thin and fast (yet), but I'm working on it, and a positive mindset is huge in meeting that goal.

Getting into Gear
Shoes, shirts, shorts, running skirts, socks, hydration belts, hats, sunglasses, tights, GPS watch. For a sport that you can do it whatever clothes you have laying around, there are tons of options for running-specific gear. And the more serious a runner you become, the more you enjoy the special gear.
      I have these running shorts that I've tried out a couple times, and I love them. They don't ride up between my legs at all. They don't chafe. They are slinky and smooth. And I feel like a real runner when I wear them. Same with my new lock laces. My shoes never come untied anymore, and I think I look like a pro. Next on my list is a hydration belt, watch, and a running skirt.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nursing Bras

Why? Tell me why! It's so hard to find nursing bras that fit well, aren't ugly, and are functional and supportive. Oh, and don't cost a fortune. I refuse to pay $70 for a bra. While I'm sure I'd love a $70 bra, I'd rather have four $15 bras. Because who wants to wear the same bra every day? Especially if you're getting milk all over it all the time. Gross.

I found a Gillian & O'Malley bra I like at Target, but bless their stupid hearts, they rarely carry my size. And it's not like I'm looking for a huge mondo thing.

Because I hate shopping with the kids in tow, I ordered some of these great inexpensive bras at I'll rant about that another day. I do not like the new Target site. And once I find a piece of clothing I like, I really want to buy 2 or 7 of them so I am "stocked up."

I have to go downstairs now. The kids are watching Charlotte's Web, and Jamey is freaking out--all I can hear is "Ivy!! What is happening? Tell me! What is going on??"

Lose Your Mummy Tummy

I picked up Lose Your Mummy Tummy by Julie Tupler to help with my self-diagnosed Diastasis. I'm still reading it, but so far, it seems like a go-to exercise is sucking in my gut. The author talks about imagining your abs as an elevator (from front to back) and getting your elevator to level six--which sounds like maybe your belly button is pressed against your back. These elevator exercises are supposed to strengthen the transverse abs, which will hold together the obliques and recti.

There are a couple short workouts in the book, but so far, I haven't read them. And I'm not sure how to fit more workouts into my day. So I'm doing Kegels (which there is debate about the efficacy of) and sucking my gut in.

I've set the book next to my "Nursing Station" so I can pick it up when I sit with Livy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pray for Rowan

I do not know this family, but it's heartbreaking to think of it. They are in my prayers!

Rowan, is a 1 yr old who had a cough and fever over the weekend. He went into cardiac arrest and is now in a coma.

Say a prayer for him and his family!

Friday, March 9, 2012

House Rules

I recently heard some moms talking about their House Rules. One mom claimed they only had three rules: No singing at the table, be respectful, and something else. That "Be Respectful" encompasses about 57 things I can think of that I say to the kids all the time.

But hearing this conversation got me thinking about our rules. I wonder if we have too many rules or if we're too strict. My mom said that parents are strict about things that are important to them. And that no one ever thinks they're being too strict.  She said I'm strict about cleaning.

I do not like clutter at all, and I really think the kids should pick up their toys and clothes. I value a clean house, so I'm making sure the kids do a part of that. Now, when they're grown up and living somewhere else, I don't think I'll care if they keep a clean house or not. But as long as they're living here, they will put their clothes in the laundry and books on the shelf.

I also think we're "strict" (Jeremy says "consistent") about listening. When we tell the kids to do something, they have to do it. If they're having a hard time doing whatever we've asked, like "Put your clothes in the laundry," we actually hold their hand and walk them through it. Or they get short instructions: pick up your shirt; walk up the stairs; go into my room; put the shirt in the laundry; come back downstairs." We sometimes make a game out of it. But however it happens, they've listened.

I don't want to be a "No" Home. I want a Yes Environment for our kids, but it seems like they want to do things we don't want all the time. I mean, seriously, what is so fun about screaming and running in the house?

So, I try to balance our rules with levity in other areas. I feel like (within our rules) they have free reign of the house.

  • Want to read, color, paint, play playdough, make pancakes, go outside, take a long bath alone, make a fort, or collect pine cones? Go for it! 
  • Want to take the couch cushions off and pretend it's a mountain? Yeah. 
  • Use all the dining room chairs as a train? Absolutely. 
  • Let's go to the park, beach, play area, bounce house, pool. Sure.
  • Want to wear a dress? Or go naked? That's fine. 

Hopefully, they'll have good memories of growing up. Not just too many rules and no fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Busy Day

Whew! We had a busy day.

  • Last night, Livy was a challenge, so today I decided to start the 2-3-4 schedule with her. She's almost 7 months, so she can do it. 
  • I hadn't really cleaned the main floor in a few weeks, so I spent a good chunk of the morning cleaning crud off the stovetop and mopping.
  • I spent almost an hour on the bike trainer. Ouchie tush. 
  • I finally washed a load of "baby poop" clothes from the weekend. 
  • I framed some awesome collage posters for Jeremy--using racing pictures from 2010 and 2011. Two posters.
  • Framed & hung some pictures of the kids. 
  • Tried to introduce the kids to the Von Trapps. They weren't interested. 
  • Played playdough.
  • Read 7 new stories from the Five in a Row level one book. 
  • Watched the kids outside for almost an hour. They got stuck in the mud pit that used to be the garden. 
Now it's time to make dinner. And tell the kids we're not going to play our part in this Hide & Seek game. :) 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Diastasis Recti

I think I have Diastasis Recti. I haven't been to the midwife for the official diagnosis yet, but when I try to do a sit-up or ab crunch, I can feel a split above my belly button. My fingers sink in a bit.

I asked the fabulous Twin Cities API group for help, and here's what I got.

  • Loose Your Mummy Tummy is an excellent book. It will tell you just how to identify separated abs and how to fix them (special e-z modified 'sit-up')
  • Here's a YouTube video discussing diastis and how to identify if you have it (I recommend that you skip to 3:20 into the video)
  • Tupler Technique 
  • Separated abs are easy to fix, but beware, it's also easy to prevent them from knitting back together. This can happen when inappropriate ab exercises are done. Correcting diastis is important and so underrated. Separated abs cause back pain and problems, and cause a 'weak pelvic floor', meaning a woman thinks her pelvic floor is weak, or she feels some prolapsing, when actually the pelvic floor is doing ok--but it's being recruited to hold up the ENTIRE body which it was not intended to do. So check out the book, google for videos, quit doing that ab crunch nonsense at yoga class for a while, and your abs will come together after doing some quick dorky exercises that are easy.
Because I dislike watching videos on the internet, I read the Tupler Technique info and have ordered Loose Your Mummy Tummy.