Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sleep Positioner WARNING

You may have heard the news but sleep positioners have issued a warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Let's just say, my heart skipped a beat thinking about the many months that Sarah slept comfortably with her sleep positioner and how much I relied on it.

I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on their backs. However, my little wiggly monkey rolled over so much and her startle reflex required that she be swaddled like a burrito and sandwiched in a positioner to keep her calm. And, she also had reflux. Therefore, laying on her back was uncomfortable and difficult. You can constantly try to turn your baby over onto their back but inevitably those that refuse will roll on to their sides or stomachs. Since Sarah was still so young and not able to push up on her arms the positioner gave me comfort and solace in knowing that she was safe. Scary to think that she might not have been.

We used the sleep positioner for approximately 5 months with Sarah bundled up like a burrito and placed on her side. Seriously, she loved this position and slept for hours at a time.

I will say that there wasn't a night that I didn't wake several times to check on her in the cradle beside my bed worrying that she'd roll over or suffocate. Those were a rough few months. Once Sarah got used to the startle reflex and could wiggle her way out of the swaddle that's when the positioner went away and into her crib to roam freely began. That's also when my sleepless nights got more intense because Sarah woke more. We got through it.

Should I have another child I am not sure what I will do. But, in the meantime, I urge you to remove your sleep positioners immediately and talk with your doctor about ways that could be helpful for your baby to sleep comfortably and safely.

For more information about this recall visit the following link at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10358.html

Here's to our little one's sleeping safely.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mommy's Monday Moments of Reflection in Haiku

Here are today's Monday Morning Moments of Reflection from the weekend past.

Opportunity
To join a great company
Move to South Jersey

Current job over
A new career lies ahead
Exciting journey

Thrilled to make a move
To greener Jersey pastures
To start a new life

Lots of time with friends
Jumping, playing and laughing
Savoring the sun

Clean up and clear out
Donations to help others
All for a good cause

Playgrounds and parties
Swings, slides, monkey bars and more
Fun time all around

Art projects galore
For Daddy, friends, family
Much joy creating

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Helping Kids Eat Healthy

I am a very lucky mom. Not only do I have a great kid but she also eats, and eats well.

Many times mommy friends confide in me about their kids, upset and frustrated because their little ones don’t eat much or eat well. I feel bad when they tell me this because Sarah does eat well and healthy too. She likes vegetables and fruits and eats them often.

While Sarah is only two and a half, this is the right time in her life to establish an interest for healthy foods and good eating habits to help ready her for when she goes to school and as she grows.

Eating healthy can also impact a child’s learning, as it provides quality nourishment to their growing and developing brains.

I could see Sarah really wanting to have her own garden. It can become a fun activity for us to do together over time. In fact, she did just recently ask if we could have a pink flower garden. So, maybe a fruit and veggie garden is not too far away for us.

For families that live in urban areas without backyards, just like we do, consider creating small gardens with flower pots or planters and not be discouraged from this fun healthy learning and engaging experience should open ground not be available for planting.

It just so happens that a grant program from Welch’s®, Scholastic Parent & Child magazine and the National Gardening Association was announced this month to help get healthy eating on track for youngsters.

According to a press release by these organizations, schools with kindergarten through eighth grade around the country have the opportunity to apply for funds to foot the bill for a student-run garden including seeds, tools, and educational materials. As part of this announcement they are encouraging families to take the “Healthy Eating Pledge.”

Sounds like a pretty neat idea.

We can all take a pledge to eat healthy. I certainly know that I can.

This could become an opportunity to help our kids eat healthy. And, if your child is anything like mine (Miss Independent) the idea of having a personalized garden to eat from could be very appealing.

The purpose and value of this program provides thousands of children “the opportunity to learn the importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet and gain a heightened awareness of what they eat and where it comes from by planting and growing fruit and vegetable gardens at school.”

I also think, especially for us moms with preschoolers to consider the concept of an at home garden an option to consider and implement to improve and establish healthy eating habits early on.

For more about this program visit Welch's website. There are also fun games on the site as well to check out to help get us started or how to continue on the path to healthy eating habits.

I thought you might be interested to know the impact that this program had in its first year, 2009. One hundred schools were awarded gardening packages as a result of this effort and well over 12,500 kids including parents, educators and members of the community got involved in developing school-based gardens.

“Students want fresh food from the garden, and they ask for it!” comments Holly Orians from the West MI Academy of Environmental Science, Michigan, a Welch’s Harvest Grants winning school. “The food service only has to say ‘This is from the garden’ and the kids are lined up to get the veggies! We’ve seen improved science scores across the board and also students’ reactions to the outdoors.”

“Of the schools that participated in last year’s program, an amazing 17% reported an improvement in test scores which they attributed to the presence of a gardening curriculum,” comments Mike Metallo, President of National Gardening and KidsGardening.Org.

Overall, this program is not just classroom-based. It helps provide necessary tools for families to establish healthy eating habits into their every day lives.

The release states that “participating families have the opportunity to win a garden a day through September and October, as well as a grand prize to experience farming first-hand on a Welch’s family farm, where the Concord and Niagara grapes that are used to make Welch’s delicious juices and other grape-based products are grown.”

So, let’s all take a stand and make a PLEDGE to healthier eating with our kids by going to the Welch’s Facebook Fan page.

I have already signed up and look forward to getting started.

Good luck. Enjoy! And, here's to happy and healthy eating with our kids.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Mommy Must: Clear Shower Curtain

Just after Sarah was born I was advised, and can't remember by who, to purchase a clear shower curtain.


As most moms know, especially within the first month after baby is born, showering for us falls at to low rung on the ladder of tasks that need to be completed. For me, I was either just too tired dragging my face, constantly being spit up on after nursing or Sarah just refused to sleep long enough during the day hours for me to hop in for a cleaning.


Some of you reading this are nodding along in agreement while others likely may be say "ewwwwwwwwww, gross." If anything, I managed to get in a shower every other day and showered at night when exhaustion didn't fully knock me out by the time I was ready.


Therefore, to help with my shower challenge the clear vinyl shower curtain became my opportunity for necessary renewal and replenishment, and clean. I was able to put Sarah in the bathroom or just outside the doorway in a bouncy seat, exersaucer or behind a gate with toys, books, etc. The fact that she could see me while I ran my head under the water and could talk to her with her seeing me made showering much easier.


Even now, when I am with Sarah in the morning and Daniel is sleeping, while Sarah is playing in the living room across from the bathroom, I still use my clear shower curtain to keep an eye on her while I am showering.

Just know, you don't have to replace your existing shower curtain. Add the clear curtain next to it. On days when she's asleep or being watched by Daniel or someone else I can still draw my favorite opaque curtain for a calm and reassuring, longer shower.


Moving on, as Sarah has gotten older and loves to splash, and splash hard, in the bathtub I have recently been placing the shower curtain in front of her and me during bath time so that I can see her while she's having a ball but also trying to avoid getting soaked. Some days I don't mind it but on others where I am already dressed for the gym, need to run an errand or just don't want to get wet the clear shower curtain has worked wonders.


The best part about the clear shower curtain, besides it being easy to clean, is that it's an easy, affordable solution.

I highly recommend the clear shower curtain as a mom's salvation to more regular showering early on in their little one's lives.

Now lather up!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pre-school and College Financing

It's amazing how much effort and energy is put behind helping to ready parents to save for their children's college education well over 18 years away.

The good news is that Daniel and I are all signed up and contributing regularly and with additional support from Sarah's awesome grandparents too.

However, the thing that's frustrating is that there is little to no preparation from financial institutions, amongst others to mentally and physically prepare parents for the exorbitant costs for preschool care (e.g., nanny, daycare, preschool). Maybe there is and I just don't know about it. Maybe because we have been in a recession and my family has seen the impact of the economic downturn that I feel this way.


It's hard enough getting through the first few months after a first child is born but then to realize that you need to fork over easily as much as $10,000 - $18,000 if not more per year for their care (depending on where you live of course). And, if both parents need to work before a child is eligible for public school kindergarten, the process of saving while paying this extensive cost can be daunting.

I am starting to see that maybe I was just naive and didn't see this cost for what it was when I was pregnant and preparing for Sarah's arrival. I can't say we didn't save, because we did. And, fortunately, we make a good enough living to not have to worry about this. But still, I feel somewhat blindsided but this exponential expense. I definitely did not NOT think about. That's why Daniel and I decided that daycare versus a nanny was the best option for us and Sarah.

And, it's mind blowing that living near a major metropolis the cost to send a child to daycare or to pay for a nanny is close to if not more than the cost of a full college education. And, we don't have 18 years to save for this. We likely have paid for a state or city college education already and Sarah is not yet age 3.

How do parents do it? How do you do it?

It's certainly easy to say either move to a lesser expensive city with a lower cost of living or seek a higher paying job closer to home with similar rewards and benefits.


The good news for me, and my family, is that I have recently decided to do both. With a new job secured with a great company in a new city I have set a new path for my family one that we are excited, nervous, happy, scared, thrilled and overwhelmed by. I recently accepted a new position in another major city with a lower cost of living compared to what we are used to and with daycare fortunately a fair bit less than what we have been paying. Even better is that we will be closer to family.

Overall, I find it rather amusing and interesting that more emphasis is made on saving finances on children's college education versus preschool preparation, with the latter coming first. I recommend and plead that more preparation be offered to parents in the future.

If you are not able to make a major move to city with lower cost of living, get a new, higher paying job or have money fall out of the sky into your lap, look into programs (e.g., Abbott Districts), which provide the opportunity for children ages 3 - 5 to attend schools with quality programming for little to no fee.

So, with this new life change ahead of me including a new job secured, new location and new home to find I am stressed and excited all at the same time. Thrilled to create a new home and environment for Sarah and also to find affordable options to provide her a quality of life that won't feel like saving money is impossible.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday: Moments of Reflection

This past weekend was a whirlwind. My brother thankfully is home from the hospital after his accident this week (being hit by a car while on his bicycle). His memory is wonky and needs some therapy to help him get back on track.

Thanks to everyone for all the kind words, well wishes and support. And, with the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur it was a somber weekend. Thankfully, watching my niece and daughter spending time together helped to bring me back.

So, here is today's Haiku from the weekend past.

Pit in my stomach
Anxiously awaiting news
On my brother's health

Please wear your helmet
When riding bikes and scooters
They can save your life

We prayed for renew
Yom Kippur holiday time
Remember lives lost

Tough time at temple
Missing loved ones gone some time
Prayers for brother too

Time for Mom's birthday
Grammie blew out the candles
Sarah sang the song

Great time with the girls
Toddlers can be so much fun
Laughing and playing

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Helmets: Necessity Not Accessory

Yesterday my brother was riding his bicycle and got hit by a car, which landed him in the hospital.

The good news, if you can see the silver lining of this, is that the most major injuries he suffered was a major concussion, several stitches on his face and head, many scrapes and bruises and aching body parts. The best of it is that he is alive, awake and talking.

For hours and hours yesterday, of repeating answers to the exact same questions he kept asking, his short-term memory is shoddy. He can't remember some major milestones, current events or even how old he is. This result is completely normal of a head injury when a concussion is involved but still scary nonetheless.

However, had my brother not been wearing his helmet, and properly, this outcome could have been much, much worse.

Therefore, today is my mission to say to you, now and LOUD is that children AND adults anytime they are on a bicycle, tricycle or scooter should wear a helmet.

I have seen many, many, too many times a child or adult on a bicycle not wearing a helmet. For children, even if it seem that a fall to the ground may be less since they are closer to the ground the injuries that could result still could be great. It is our responsibility as parents to protect them.

As adults, whether you are riding a high-end racing bicycle or casual road cruiser, PLEASE WEAR A HELMET. And, helmets NEED to be worn properly. Many the helmets are not secured with the strap or are loose fitting, or not situated properly on top of the rider's head.

Below are several links to various sites that can help provide you the best approach to wearing a proper fitting helmet, and how to choose one. If you have any questions or want some advice as well visit your local bike shops as they are more than happy to help you so you and your loved ones can be safe.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/easystepsweb/index.htm
http://www.bhsi.org/fit.htm
http://www.bellracing.com/public/media/products/Bell_ProperFit_Helmets.pdf

Ride safely!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Moments of Reflection

Here is today's moments of reflection in Haiku from the weekend past.

I would also like to take this time to wish you, to those who celebrate the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah, L'Shanah Tovah. Wishing you a peaceful new start to the year ahead.

Starting a new year
A Happy Rosh Hashanah
Much time to reflect

Temple with Sarah
Enjoyed the children's service
Wishing for renew

Time with family
Reflecting, reminiscing
And lots of eating

This holiday brings
Much going on in my mind
Planning for future

Laugh and sing and play
Taking time to think what's next
With my family

Time to celebrate
My birthday, another year
Health, happiness wish

A night out with friends
And my awesome hubby too
A fun time by all

Starting Fall a new
Thinking much on what comes next
One step at a time

Thankful, blessed and loved
By dear friends and family
I'm so fortunate

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monthly Mommy Confessional: Shopping for Sarah

Here is my mommy confessional this month.

It is so easy for me to want to shop for Sarah. There are just so many adorable, sweet, cute and fun things to get that I just want her to have. I come across so many things along the way, some of which she needs, and most of which she does not and say, "Oh, this is cute," "That's adorable," "Sarah would love that," "I really could use another one of these," (So, not.), the list goes on.

How many times have you uttered these words, or words similar to these (and you know who you are) convincing yourself, talking yourself into making some of these purchases?

Trying to manage money without over spending on Sarah can be tough when there are so many things out there I want to get for her either clothes-wise or toys, books, etc.

I don't typically spend a lot on an article of clothing. In fact, I pride myself on trying to find good bargains especially because little ones are growing out of clothes so rapidly and because clothes get spilled on, dirty from aggressive playground time, etc. I think once I can say I spent a bit over $25 on Sarah's dress for her baby naming. And, that dress still lives in her closet, a keepsake I in intend to have for a very long time.

Where negotiation somewhat stops is with regards to kids shoes. Money does get spent here. You really can't joke around on this. While I don't believe that Sarah needs shoes that cost $50 there are other good options (e.g., Stride Rite, Sketchers) that have some great bargains and quality soles for kids for reasonable prices.

I don't consider myself cheap. Instead, I am frugal and reasonable. For example, I don't $50 dolls or $100 dresses. I just don’t see this as necessary for a constantly growing child who will get so few uses.

There are indeed ways to save money and get great deals at the same time on quality items. I admit that there are times I like to splurge and have been fortunate to get these fun finds at bargain retailers, yard sales, swap meets, EBay and Craig's list.

I am not saying don't buy things for the kids but it's just so easy to get out of control. It’s important to manage because it can get out of hand.

Thankfully, I had an epiphany recently and have been able to reel myself in much more so now than before. This really pertains mostly to clothes shopping.

Often cleaning out Sarah's closest not just based on season but because it many times busts at the seams, I realized that I often put her in many of the same articles of clothing over and over again and don't need as much as I often get. And, to be honest, Sarah currently has many options in her wardrobe to choose from. I have even gotten better at figuring out which clothes are best for her body type and which have great and longer lasting use.

For example, leggings are the greatest invention. Sarah still wears dresses from last year where the arm holes still fit well and with leggings it doesn't matter how long or short the dresses are.

Now, there are many parents who don't have to really think about money and how much they spend or about where to put it all as far as space goes. But, for a good lot of us, it’s likely important for us to remain focused and in control.

So, I have decided this month to try (as I see this as an addiction) to cut back on purchases for Sarah. We have been so fortunate to receive second hand clothes, toys, books and more from my niece and purchase quality goods from consignment, yard sale shopping excursions and discount retailers.

Therefore, every month, I go through Sarah's clothes, toys and more to see what I can take out to donate, swap with another mom, and share with my new niece and with other friends with babies on the way.

For example, just yesterday, Sarah and I went to an annual yard sale. I am proud to say that I got some of the fun stuff for Sarah and necessities too (e.g., magic wand, books, sleeping bag, stuffed animals, winter coat) and spent maybe $15 dollars. Yep. I did not spend a lot at all and go some great items.

I was so excited. I was also VERY, VERY, VERY good about not sifting through everything and many times walking away from stuff that just was not necessary. We did have fun getting things that I know are part of Sarah's development and interests now without going overboard. It was so rewarding.

Right now, I have been very fortunate with Sarah being very amenable to the clothes currently in her closest to pick from for her to wear and the toys and books she has to entertain her.

It's so hard to be reeled in when I see clothes, accessories, toys and books featuring Sarah's favorite characters and do my best to find good deals or gain restraint where necessary and walk away. There are so many other great ways I want to spend money on Sarah (e.g., zoos, children's museums) and have been doing that with her so much more often. It's seems like a win win for all.

Wish me luck trying to keep this going.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Morning Moment of Reflection from Weekend Past

Much time in the sun
Making most of Summer left
Swings, slides, time with friends

Visit to the zoo
Feeding, petting animals
And pony ride too

Short tempered mommy
And impatient two-year-old
A rough day for both

Summer fun with friends
Running, jumping and skipping
Drawing much with chalk

Rekindled friendship
A lot of time in between
Together again

Playground and lunchtime
Sarah meeting Adrienne
Great time all around

September baby
Another year fast, gone by
Celebrating time

Daniel and Sarah
Helped me start another year
Awesome day for all

Surrounded by love
Birthday kisses and wishes
Thankful, happy, blessed

Delicious cupcakes
Wishing for health, happiness
Blowing out candles

Hours at playground
Much time with family, friends
Enjoying cool breeze

New diet starts now
It's time to get back on track
Here's to health, long life

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Just about every weekday morning Sarah and I together walk to her school.

And, on each day there is often something she says or does that gives me pause from life's hustle and bustle and time to momentarily giggle or be amazed.

Sometimes, Sarah excitedly points out the garbage trucks. Other mornings it's discussing the color of the cars that we pass. Some days, and I smile as I write this on my phone on the subway to work, as she also enjoys spotting the delivery trucks doing their morning drop offs. My favorite, and today was no exception, was the Tuscan milk truck. Every time, and it often catches me off guard mostly because I am still tired, Sarah says, "Look Mommy, it's the cow jumping over the moon."

Yes. On this milk truck, just like the nursery rhyme and picture on the wall in the children's classic book Goodnight Moon, a cow is jumping over the moon.

Today, was a day that she pointed this out and I felt the need and want to write about it. The innocence of children constantly amazes me. And, what they retain and communicate is many times interesting and funny.

There are many times in life we just walk as fast as we can not really focusing on our surroundings trying to get from point A to point B. Sometimes this is different when we are on vacation, which is not that often throughout the year. While I still often times rush from one place to another I do try to savor my time with Sarah focusing on life moving around us and moving along with it. Often times I share with her what I see, and she does the same.

For me it's easier said than done to say I will slow down and breathe it all in. (That's why I decided to start taking yoga). Thankfully, when I am with Sarah it's a constant reminder that even the little and insignificant things around us have purpose and value, and therefore, I try to slow down and take them in with her.

Looking back at photos last night of Sarah during her first couple of years I can't believe that she's not a baby anymore. She will always be my baby but seeing how much she has grown and developed and how much she smiles and laughs through life I thank G-d for her. And, with a lump in my throat and tears easily ready to fall (but they don't as I restrain) I write this with a smile on my face, for the life Daniel and I have created together and the significance Sarah has brought to it is special and sacred.

Children have an incredible innocence and power. To feel love for a child is a love like no other. And, to share in the joys of Sarah and our life together, the three of us and Sammy (the cat), I count my blessings and say thank you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Serenaded with the ABCs

This morning when Sarah woke like clock work at 6:00am I dragged my oh so tired body to her room, settled into the futon couch and covered myself with a blanket.

A few short moments later Sarah began singing to me the ABC song.

At first, it was cute and then I rolled over to hopefully catch some more zzzz's. You know what's coming next.

Then, Sarah said, "Mommy, wake up. Wakkkkkeeeeee uppppppp."

By the second time she sang the ABCs I started to giggle with my eyes closed. It was just too cute to not react.

When the third time came I realized that there was no turning back to sleep. I had no choice. I not only needed to wake up but needed to nuzzle Sarah with kisses and hugs because this was just so stinkin' adorable.

As tired as I was this morning desperately seeking more sleep I couldn't resist her tickles, giggles and singing. Again, it's amazing the abundance of energy this spitfire child of mine has.

What else is a mommy to do? Yawn, stretch and wake up to the sweet sound of an adorable little voice and happy child and pray caffeine as soon as possible.

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...