sharing

Shopping for the Holidays with blogger extraordinaire, Pragmatic Mom

Last year, Pragmatic Mom and I shared a wildly popular (said modestly, eyes downcast) series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. This year we are a little more on top of things and are starting earlier.  We covered those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. How can you be your best centered self (not self-centered self) if you are distracted and driving around searching for gifts? We’ve got you covered. This was such fun and worked so well last year that we are formatting it the same way this year. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. We even have a giveaway thrown in the mix this year, too, from Botanical Paperworks – Check out their Green Gifts Guide and enter to win Eco Coil Calendar and Pop Garden Pocket Notebooks at Pragmatic Mom on December 4th and Poppy Notebook Pad and Mittens Card Set here on December 5th!

So here is a preview: The 12 Days of Shopping

Thursday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts

Friday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft

Saturday, December 3: Personalized Gifts

Sunday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Monday, December 5:  Tutors/Teacherscapability mom scrounges sales racks for tea towels from Sur la table and anthropologie

Tuesday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Wednesday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Thursday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Friday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List)

Saturday, December 10:  Pets

Sunday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Monday, December 12:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

 

A Mom’s Guide to Everything…really

That was my tagline when I started this blog because my intent was to provide a Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Foods, Outing, Playdate…yes, Everything. Well, I quickly realized that I was out of my depth. First of all, I started writing this when my youngest was 10 and by then my knowledge and advice was almost as dated as my mom’s (sorry, Mom). Two of my younger sisters were reading The Baby Whisperer and I had not even heLianne's Quick Guide hosted by Capability : Mom blogard of it (What happened to Sears and Leach?) and I was dumbstruck by how out of the loop I was. Plus, I really decided that I didn’t feel like writing about the how-to – Could I  even remember what an outing with a newborn was like?  So I changed direction and for a while wrote about anything that crossed my super hyper monkey brain. Then I settled down and started to focus (after a blog intervention by Pragmatic Mom at our favorite coffee/tea shop L’Aroma Cafe where I wrote her many wonderful suggestions on a napkin – I still have it somewhere).

I am glad to say, someone more capable than I has developed a guide for the new mom – or the not so new mom – it would make a great gift for grandparents, too! Lianne is a mother of four and currently living in a small village outside of Amsterdam (she’s originally from Canada). I only wish I had her Quick Guide when I had little ones! It is a reassuring read of the most basic questions and you can stash it in a handbag quite easily. I love it for the lovely, calm tone, the sensible answers, and thoroughness. All in all, a guide I wish I had written!

Here is an excerpt from her Quick Guide:

Babies 0-6 months

This booklet is full of questions & answers that cover almost all of the daily encounters that you and your baby will experience in your first 6 months. It is based on my experience and that of other mothers and should help you feel like you are not alone in this new and exciting but sometimes overwhelming world of motherhood.

Here are a couple of Questions & Answers that can be found in the booklet. I will change them periodically.

Newborn:

1- I have a baby!!!! What do I do with the baby during the first couple of weeks?

During the first weeks, the baby will be adapting to its new environment and will be sleeping most of the day and night. If she’s not sleeping she’ll be drinking and if she’s not drinking or sleeping then she’ll be looking around, usually quietly before falling asleep again.You’ll be changing her diaper regularly, bathing her and putting her clothes on (which can be time consuming while you get used to her little parts).You will also need a lot of rest – so take advantage of her sleeping time to sleep yourself.Your baby will slowly have more “awake” time and will start to engage with you and be more interested in looking around and exploring with her eyes.
>Link to 39, 42, 66, 70, 120

72. My baby is 6 months old and still not sleeping through the night…

By the time your baby is starting to eat solids there is really no reason other than habit that they should be feeding during the night. This can be a hard habit to break however. If you are sure that your baby has eaten enough during the day at this stage then you may want to experiment with letting your baby cry and fall back to sleep without a feeding… Try this for 3-4 nights in a row. They say 3 is the magic number in breaking a habit with small babies…

126. I find myself talking in a high-pitched singsong voice to my baby. Why do I do that automatically?

This phenomenon actually has a name called “motherese”. This helps babies learn to discern sounds and understand how our language is built. It also helps keep their attention while we talk since babies seem to respond better to higher pitched sounds. It’s an automatic thing that people do around babies. Don’t worry; it’s not permanent and totally natural!

51. Tips for sore nipples?

You can use 100% Lanolin cream or try soaking in a bowl filled with salty warm water or buy hydrogel pads (you can buy at a drugstore). You can also express a little milk onto your nipples (contains a lot of antibodies) and let them dry before putting your feeding bra back on. Try exposing your nipples to air as much as possible. If you are dreading the next feeding because of the pain, see your doctor and he/she can prescribe a healing nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman creates a good one that you can buy.

Lianne also has a lovely blog and she is full of energy and great ideas. Her tagline is Personal balance is my challenge. 

She is also so nice that she is offering a Lianne’s Quick Guide (Babies to 6 months) to a reader of Capability : Mom.  Thank you, Lianne!!

For a chance to win Lianne’s Quick Guide – Babies 0 to 6 months, please leave a comment below.

For additional chances to win, follow Lianne on Twitter, and like her on Facebook and leave a comment for each action below.
Winner will be determined by the super fancy plug-in called And The Winner Is…  and listed here. Lianne’s Quick Guide will be mailed to you. Lianne is offering this first booklet in her series of booklets, next up is lianne's quick guide to first aidLianne’s Quick Guide to First Aid and to Digital Photography (pre-mom life in digital photography and new media).lianne's quick guide to digital photography

Rocky Road – a summer read worth reading – Take the ice cream personality quiz at the end

I do like to read young adult fiction, I can say it because I am pre-reading for my children but that is only a partial truth – I like the quality of the writing, the story lines and the fact that I can read it in the time I could read a Harlequin romance…not that I read those now – but I did in college – by the armful, and the occasional Danielle Steele novel, too. I did say I would read anything…and I have – if you are judging me now, so be it. I also read “grown-up” books and am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog now. Back to YA…

The last young adult fiction book that  I read was Rocky Road by Rose Kent  – Pragmatic Mom let me borrow an advance copy back in June but I am just getting around to writing about it now – it was already published in hard-cover by the time I got the  pre-published bound copy but it was still kind of cool – I walked around with it casually…on purpose. No one asked about the advanced copy but I had fun.

Anyway,  the story involves a more than usually dysfunctional family (Note to YA writers – you know how Disney  kills off a parent for the sake of the story line? YA writers sometimes rely too heavily on family dysfunction for their conflict), having said that and loving YA the way I do, I really liked this book.  The family was dysfunctional in an interesting way with a lot going on. Tess, a seventh grade Texas transplant, whose bipolar mother (father is not involved in this family) moves them to Schenectady, NY in the dead of winter to open an ice cream shop. Tess’s younger brother, Jordan, is deaf and struggles to make himself understood by their mother who can’t seem to manage sign language. The mom is charming and high-functioning and Tess is an artsy-crafty girl who struggles to fit in.  The story is believable and you really care about the characters – and there are plenty of well-drawn characters here,  A strong sense of community and friendship and good values like hard work and responsibility also run throughout the story. If that sounds like a drag, it isn’t. I liked the characters, the writing and that the author dealt with tough topics – bipolar disorder, financial troubles and even caring for a younger sibling (when you may not really want to) are all interwoven in a way that make these topics accessible to younger readers but also engaging to – ahem – older readers, like myself.

All in all, a good read that makes me want to find other books by this author. I found this one: Kimchi and Calamari about an adopted boy who is researching his roots.

About Rose Kent  –  a native Long Islander who spent her summers in the great state of Maine. She is a former naval officer who also worked for a major food corporation. Rose’s first middle-grade novel, Kimchi & Calamari (HarperCollins Publishers) was inspired by her adopted children from Korea. Kimchi & Calamari has been nominated for the NY Charlotte Award, the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Award, and the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award.

Ice Cream Personality quiz that Pragmatic Mom found and I blatantly copied. Thanks, Pragmatic Mom!

A Mom’s Night Out with a Purpose

A Step Up - Boston Globe photo
Suzanne Kreiter – photo Boston Globe

It is a hideously rainy night and I am slogging through serious puddles in a vain attempt not to look like a drowned rat when I reach my destination.  I am only mildly successful.  The house is lit up and I can hear the voices and laughter of the women (yes, this is a women only event) before I even open the door.  Is this some great party – on a week night, in the suburbs? – no, it is the brainchild of five amazing women who decided that they could do something more.  More than care for their families (which they all continue to do), volunteer in the community (still doing that, as well), more than work at home or out of the home (again, yes)? Yes, they went even further and saw a need for local charities to be given a bit more attention or, as they called it A Step Up.

I walk in and am warmly greeted and I write a check for $35 for the featured charity (tonight More Than Words) and place it into a large glass bowl.  The energy is wonderful and although I only know two people there, I am welcomed and made to feel comfortable. We mingle and chat over wine and lovely food and it seems like another Mom’s Night Out.  Then our attention is directed by the hostess to the reason we are here and we gather on couches and chairs and turn to the speaker.  She is engaging and well-spoken and sincere and clearly outlines the program and why she started it.  Her name is Jodi Rosenbaum and she if the founder and executive director of More Than Words*.  More Than Words is a physical bookstore on Moody Street in Waltham and it is also a social services connected program that helps some of the most marginalized youth through support and job training.  Jodi’s commitment and dedication are evident and we are all attentive but when we really sit up and become fully engaged is when the two teen speakers – graduates of the program – tell us their stories.  Their stories are a far cry from the comfortable suburban lives we are living and the opportunities that we are able to provide for our children. In turns, I feel guilty and blessed.

The amount of work that has gone into this evening is incredible. These women have, as a group, carefully researched the charity being showcased that evening and prepared for a party of 100 plus people, and made it look effortless. All five members of A Step Up invite their friends who are encouraged to invite their friends. It is a truly collaborative effort.

Here is a great article about the women behind A Step Up that ran in Sunday’s Boston Globe –

‘Giving circles’ boost donations, catch on in communities west of Boston – The Boston Globe and here are  A Step Up Events listings.

*MTW is led by Founder and Executive Director Jodi Rosenbaum.  She has over 13 years of experience in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and education fields and was a Teach For America  Corps member.  Jodi has an Ed.M. in risk and prevention from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education

**Check this out – I wrote about the non-profit Web of Benefit, when I had just started this bog, here (way back in February) which was introduced by… A Step Up

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