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May 21, 2012 / tlsomm

Special Moments

Had some enjoyable moments I had to share:  the weather has been warm and sunny lately so that means we get outdoors!  In the past week, I got to watch my daughter chase butterflies around the yard, throw rocks in the stream, gaze in wonder at her first lightning bugs, and just soak up the sunshine.

Such a wonderful time.

May 18, 2012 / tlsomm

The Hard Work is Starting to Pay Off

If you are friends with any moms on Facebook, it’s likely you’ve come across many comments and debates over a recent Time Magazine feature story.  It directly asks the reader if they are “Mom Enough” and follows with thoughts on the attachment parenting style.

I haven’t read the article, but early on in my mom career I identified strongly with the attachment parenting style.  As described by Attachment Parenting International (API), “The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.”

I listen to my daughter and do my best to attend her needs, whether morning, noon, or night.  She certainly tested my reserves of patience when it came to sleeping.  As a tired infant, she was rocked and bounced at times up to an hour before sleep commenced, and then might only nap for an hour.  Day after day, week after week, I grew weary of it all, but persisted.  Advice abounds to allow the child to “teach herself” to fall asleep by leaving them in a crib.  My daughter was never one to lie patiently and stare at the ceiling until her eyelids closed into sweet slumber.  Oh no.  Putting my child to bed was WORK.

As she grew older, she fell asleep with only nursing and that lasted well into her first year.  What worked in our house was to scrap the crib altogether and lay a twin mattress on the floor.  The two of us would snuggle while I nursed her.  After she fell asleep, I’d creep away silently.  The whole process took roughly 30 minutes and was very Mama focused.  Obviously I’m the only one that can nurse her, so it was my responsibility to put her to bed.  Dad would sub in on occasion, but she certainly preferred me.

By about 20 months, I was done with nursing and so I needed a new technique.  We purchased a nice glider/rocking chair which got the job done, but still could take 30 minutes before she fell asleep.

She has been increasingly progressing at getting herself to sleep.  My triumph moment has come.  All the work in helping her relax, calm herself down, and fall asleep has paid off.  Now, at 27 months, she really doesn’t need me.  I can lay her in her bed, put the blanket on her, give her a kiss and walk away.  She snuggles up and is out within minutes.  One time, I pretended to nap on the couch and she said, “no mama!” and marched off to her room (implying that is NOT where we nap!).  10 minutes later I checked and she was snuggled up asleep.

Yes, it may seem like a long journey and a lot of work for something as easy as falling asleep, but I feel a heavy investment early on will yield huge rewards for a confident, loving, empathetic young girl.

On another note, I’d like to give a nod to a fellow blogger over at Sleeping Should Be Easy, who details the lessons learned while being a Mom.  I immediately identified with the title and found many wonderful posts.

May 12, 2012 / tlsomm

We’re All Prunes

If its been a little quiet here, it’s because we’re still away from home.  We spent all morning in the pool trying to burn off extra energy to get in an early nap.  Nora absolutely loves the water.  After all, she was born at home in water!  At 27 months, she’s happily kicking and flapping her arms (while supported) and willingly blows bubbles in the water.  She’ll repeatedly climb up the walls and jump back into our arms.  When that proved tiring enough, she enjoys a good soak in the hot tub.  Okay, so this blog isn’t about how wonderful my child is, but I do like to brag once in a while.

Mission accomplished.  She’s in bed for an early nap while I sit here and type.  Pretty soon I’ll have to wake her and get ready for tonight’s big event – a wedding – where she’ll debut as a flower girl.




May 7, 2012 / tlsomm

Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again… (Actually, I Can Wait!)

Road Trip

In just a few days, we’re going to take our very first long car trip with our toddler.  If we drove straight with no stops, it would take us 8 hours so with a toddler I’m guessing… what, 15?  Will it be horrible?  My daughter has never been fond of long car rides.  When she was an infant, it was not uncommon to see me pulled over on the side of the road trying to console her on even a 30 minute drive.  She was never the type to sit happily in a bouncer or swing whether I was in sight or not.  I’m overdue to write a thank you note to the makers of the Moby wrap, as I wore it every day for months with her in it.  But that’s another story.

We’ve already taken cross-country plane trips and they went well since the only required sitting is take-off and landing.  I do have some travel experience, but car travel is much scarier!

When she was 18 months old we endured a 3.5 hour road trip with 2 hours worth of crying, 1 hour of napping, and 45 minutes of content awake time.  You see now why I worry?

I’m going to share tidbits of information I’ve found to keep a toddler entertained and satisfied on long trips:

  1. Food.  Lots of different snacks.  Non-messy ones preferably.  No yogurt!  Crackers, peas, tofu, string cheese, fruit, and a few emergency M&Ms.
  2. Books.  We’re at the age where Nora craves books.  I’ll likely bring 15 different books along.
  3. Toys.  I read that you should have 1 new toy for every hour of travel and this proved a good formula when we took a cross-country plane trip.  I shop in Target’s dollar section and pick up anything from stickers, multi-colored craft puff balls, slinkys,
  4. Drive during nap times.  Nora is down to 1 afternoon nap, so our plan is to eat and early lunch and hit the road.  An hour or two of awake time followed by 2-3 hour nap time.  Stop for dinner, stretch, run, play, and back in to finish the trip.  Stop as needed.
  5. Advice abounds to have a DVD player along.  I’m not one for tv or cartoons, but they do have their place.  We’ll probably cue up some Curious George episodes as our last resort for peace.

Remember, new new new!  Bring along items or foods that your child has never seen before (or at least something you moved out of rotation long enough ago that it’s new again).

I realize there will be some tears shed and I accept that.  Hopefully now that she is a bit older and more engaged with the world around her, we can hold her interest long enough to get us to our destination in one piece.

Did I miss anything?  What can you suggest for a successful road trip with young children?

May 2, 2012 / tlsomm

Save Money and the Earth with DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Just like everyone these days I’m always looking for ways to save money.  If doing so also means being kinder to the environment, I’m all for it.

So when I came across a recipe for a home-made dishwasher detergent, I was all for it.  Cheap, environmentally friendly ingredients is a winner in my book.  Below is the recipe, which I found from diyNatural:

Dishwasher soap recipe

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

A cost breakdown shows you spend only $0.05 per wash cycle on ingredients!  They also suggest filling your rinse agent compartment with white vinegar.  Now that makes cents.  Cha-ching!

We’ve enjoyed using this recipe for a little over a month, and even my skeptical husband says it’s a go.  Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!

May 1, 2012 / tlsomm

Got Smelly?

I’ve always loved gardening, but I’m more of a vegetable/herb grower than flowers.  Flowers generally serve no practical purpose other than to look pretty, typically blooming only for a few weeks then just foliage.  Vegetables and herbs, on the other hand, are bountiful all season long.  I can head out to the garden not knowing what to make for dinner and head back to the kitchen armed with an idea and the means to make a lovely meal.

I also have a love affair with fragrant plants, which is why herbs are so present in my garden.  Last year I turned a boring flower bed into the herb equivalent of grand central station.  I bought many varieties, some for cooking, some medicinal, some for tea, and the results filled me with joy.  If I needed a quick pick-me-up I took a stroll to the herb bed and started smelling leaves.  Spicy Thai basil, soothing lavender, fresh lemon balm, bitter arugula… a feast for your nose.

Its full-blown spring here and some of the perennial herbs are shooting up and leafing out, so during my inspection earlier this week I broke off a stem of lemon balm and gave it a good whiff.  I shared it with Nora hoping to instill a love of smells in her as well, and it seems to have worked.  This afternoon she broke off her own leaf and offered it to me.  Or perhaps she’s just imitating me!

Now I just have to keep her from ripping out the plant entirely.  Got any tips to share?

April 29, 2012 / tlsomm

Craft: Photo Place Cards

Photo place cards on the chairs!

“Necessity is the Mother of invention.”       -unknown

We’ve hit some struggles with independence with Nora, being she’s 2 and wants to express herself, have her own possessions, and make her own decisions.  One ongoing struggle has been at the kitchen table and who sits in which chair.  We all tend to claim the same chairs for every meal, but lately she’s been claiming so many chairs for herself that there aren’t enough for the rest of us (and there’s only myself and my husband!).

I decided to place photos of each individual on a chair as a visual reference for Nora to know who sits where.  A photo place card, in a way.

Here’s how to do it:   I found high quality photos of each of us, cropped them down to our faces and printed them out 3.5″ x 5″ on regular paper.  Then, using clear packaging tape as a generic laminate , apply two strips to both sides with the seam down the middle.  Rub out any bubbles and trim the photos down.  To adhere the photos to their proper places, I used blue painters tape to avoid ruining the finish on the chairs.  I included Nora in this part and asked her, “Where is Mama’s chair?”, etc. and placed each photo on a chair.   She thought it was great fun.

Supplies for photo place cards

Supplies for photo place cards

Tape laminating the photo place card.

Tape laminating the photo place card.

Trimming the photo place card.

Trimming the photo place card.

Painters tape to the backs

Painters tape to the backs

Photo place cards on the chairs!

Photo place cards on the chairs!

Will it work?  I’ll give it a run through over the next few days and let you know!