Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little Clothes

Surely, I am not the only mother who has done this...

My son is 12-weeks-old today. I officially packed away his 3-6m clothing, and even moved him into medium sized diapers. It's bitersweet.

I realized in all of this, that I didn't have enough 6-9m clothing (one grocery bag full, to be exact!). So I went down in our basement, and pulled out LoveBug's 6-9m clothing bins in the hopes that I'd find something boyish looking in all of the little girl clothes. And then the tears came.

There is something about clothing for me...I often think about how much I've forgotten of LoveBug's infancy, but all of the sudden, when I pick up these itty-bitty clothing, things come back. I remember how she sat up for the first time while wearing that pink hoodie that says "LOVE" on it. And I remember how it felt when I held her in that purple and white checkered sleeper. Oh, how I long to slow down these precious days.

I was going to try to sell some of her baby clothes to help fund my business venture. But I don't know if I'm ready to yet. Maybe I can sell a few things. Maybe not. You see, there is so much that I don't remember about LoveBug being little. Thankfully, all of her "big" milestones happened in the evening when I was home with her. But for all of those little smiles, giggles, kisses, and naps, I was gone.

So many people told me it would get easier. That I wouldn't cry every day I came to work after the first week. That I would even be glad to leave my baby with someone else for the "break." That I eventually wouldn't care if my child didn't get my breast milk, so I would stop pumping. That I eventually wouldn't care if she got a rash from a disposable diaper because they're easier than using cloth.

But it didn't get easier, and I didn't stop caring. For every 5 or 6 days a week that I had to leave her, my heart broke. It still breaks when I think about how much I missed. I know that I didn't have an option, and that I really did do the best thing for my family. I know that her Daddy was with her, or her Grandma and Aunts if he was working. But it wasn't me.

I don't dwell on the fact that I missed so much of her first 18 months. I don't even think about it that often, really. But the fact remains that it wasn't me, and no matter how hard I try to grasp certain memories, I can't. I hate that.

Thank you, Jesus, for little clothes. They are like a band-aid for this mama's heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm Nervous


The title says it all: I'm nervous. The problem, you're wondering? My family bought a house last year. It's in a nice little suburb of a small, well known town. The kind of place where you've got a big sem-private backyard and all of the neighborhood kids walk around on the streets unattended but pretty well-behaved until dark every day. Deer and other wildlife are so rampant in our yard that one sometimes has to drive around them in the road because their nonchalant walk is slower than your car.

One threat has bothered me since we moved in: my neighbor's pool. While there are laws here regulating the safety of pools (including lockable gates and pool alarms), somehow, they've managed to slip under the radar. Instead of having any safety device at all, they have a 4' blow up pool that's quite accessible by anyone since you could climb in using the raised bed rails next to the pool, or, by golly, you could just climb up the ladder that's always left in it. Not even a pool cover. So I'm nervous. I'm nervous about the neighbor kids who swim unattended in this pool (one of which is a boy about 10-years-old and has no arms...so hopefully he will always come with a big sibling who can help him). I'm nervous about my almost-two-year-old daughter who loves to swim, loves to test boundaries, and is very clever when it comes to opening doors and such.

I keep telling myself that somehow, we won't be that family that accidents happen to. Easy for me to believe when I rescue those families for a living. Right! Actually, my experience and knowledge makes it harder for me. I care a whole lot.

Now there's a whole new problem revealed on the block. And it just so happens to reside at the home of my next-door-neighbors on the other side of us! What, you ask? A pit bull dog that just killed the neighbor's dog across the road the other day. Apparently, there was no growl or warning. Just an instant kill. 9-1-1 was called during the horrific ordeal, but the officer said he couldn't even write a report because it was on the property of the pit bull owner and it was the other dog (a poodle) that approached the pit bull (not maliciously, mind you). I knew that this dog was a problem, just by the way the neighbor handles him and little things she's said to us nonchalantly about keeping our daughter (who loves, loves, loves dogs) away from him.

My mama-bear instinct wants to march next door and demand to know why on earth they insist on keeping such a wretched dog whom they didn't even raise themselves. What if it had been a child who approached the dog? Does the neighbor realize that if he wants to take off on her, she won't be able to hold that leash? He's a big dog!

*sigh*

So I'm nervous, but I don't really know what to do. It wouldn't be good to make enemies with the neighbors about these issues, but I don't know how to tactfully say "hey, could you invest in a fence for your pool?" or "hey, could you shoot  put your dog down or sent him to a remote island, please?". It'd be great if we could fence in our yard, but that's out of our price range for now. I grew up playing outside, and I want my kids to have that opportunity as well. But with a little person, a killer dog, an unattended pool...I'm nervous she's going to get outside on her own and it'll be too late by the time I get there!

Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two BIG Secrets

I have two big secrets, and seriously, I am bursting at the seams. So instead of holding it inside me any longer, I'm going to tell ALL of you whom decide to read this blog post...

Secret #1: I received the AWESOME, all natural, best-2nd-birthday-present-EVER, "Complete Kitchen Center" from Guidecraft in the mail yesterday! This is a $370 + shipping item that I received in exchange for an upcoming review.


Okay, why am I so happy about this that I could throw up while I giggle? Because my daughter LOVES to play pretend and this is going to be her birthday present (turning two on October 31!). But it gets even better for you, because I'm going to be giving one of these away in November! WOWOWOW!


Secret #2:  I am starting my own business. Really. I can't tell you everything, but it involves organic fabrics, a hybrid diaper system, clothing for little ones, and lots of beautiful love. HOWEVER. I need two things to help get me started (well, three, including a large sum of money from any investors who may be interested!): a Snap Press, and a website designer.

Here's how you can help get me a snap press as well as win KAMsnaps.com gift certificates and your choice of over $3000 worth of other prizes:

Win a $20 @KAMsnaps.com gift certificate towards snaps, pliers, or a press, plus your choice among over $3000 worth in prizes including Ooga Booga fabric and designer jewelry/handbags. Go to
http://bit.ly/bwXrGR to enter.

It's very fast and easy to enter, but I really need you to put me down as your "referrer" when you enter, because if you win, then I win, too! Please write: Rachel E., lifemoresimply at yahoo.com for the referrer's information.

The second way you can help me get my business going is by helping me with my website. I just purchased my own domain name and will be moving this whole blog over to www.LifeMoreSimply.com as soon as I get the time to figure out how to do so. I want to overhaul everything, though, and get a "shop" set up on the same domain for my business. If you do website designing, send me an email at lifemoresimply@yahoo.com with "website design" in the title! Since I need to pinch every penny possible, I am hoping to find a brilliant person who will do the job in exchange for some PR from me that would include permanent links for them in my shop and my blog, as well as a blog post where I rave about how wonderful you are. The first person whom I like that contacts me can have the job. Unless April from http://www.aprilshowersblogdesign.com/ reads this and wants the job. Then she gets it because, well, she rocks.

Wow, I sure do feel better having gotten my secrets out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three Things To Know About

Build-A-Sandwich and end childhood hunger in America!

This virtual version of the beloved school lunch ritual of swapping sandwiches will benefit Share Our Strength®, the leading non-profit organization ending childhood hunger in America.
Building and swapping virtual sandwhiches is back! When people visit Hellmann's® Page on Facebook®, they'll have the opportunity to create a sandwich on the application and, for every sandwich built, Hellmann's® will make a donation to Share Our Strength®.  What's more, when they share a sandwich with a friend, an additional donation will be made as part of Hellmann's® $75,000 commitment to support Share Our Strength®.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/hellmanns to build your sandwich! (it's fun, I promise.)


Learn About Ragu's new pasta sauce and get great recipes!

To help make sure your kids get the veggies they need (and the meals they love) Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce now has 2 servings of veggies in every half cup! Available soon in major retailers nationwide, the healthy, great tasting Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional pasta sauce that is already a kitchen staple has a new, naturally thicker recipe.
Healthy, delicious and now with a naturally thicker taste the whole family will love, Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is a perfect component to pulling together quick and tasty meals during this busy time. And Ragú® wants you to be among the first to try out their great new recipe! To be one of the first to taste Ragú® with 2 servings of veggies in every half-cup visit them on www.facebook.com/ragusauce to find great recipes.
 
 
Win an Electrolux Perfect Steam Washer/Dryer AND Help Beat Ovarian Cancer in the process!
 
As Moms, we pull a lot of things together, from weekday meals to our little ones' back-to-school wardrobes. However, usually what suffers is our own wardrobe, as we pull wrinkled garments over our heads to make it out the door on time! Luckily, Electrolux and brand ambassador Kelly Ripa are partnering with some fashion-savvy bloggers to host a special fashion show to help raise awareness and funds to support ovarian cancer research. Unfortunately, I am not one of those bloggers (must be I need to work on my fashion sense...maybe spit-up and baby pee on my jeans and t-shirt, or EMS work uniforms aren't considered "hot" enough by the world's standards?). Unfortunately, I am also not Kelly Ripa who apparently gets to have all of the awesome Electrolux and Fridgidaire products that hit the market...BUT, both you and I have a chance to WIN our own Perfect Steam washer and dryer!!!!

Since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, this fashion-focused event couldn't have come at a better time! This fun and innovative fashion show will demonstrate how Perfect Steam™, and a little fashion ingenuity, can take any garments from "Rumpled to Runway".

Please, even if you already have a Perfect Steam duo, visit www.kelly-confidential.com anyway. Not only is the game fun, but for every time it's played, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund! Help cancer die!



 
Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Ragú® prize package, a Perfect Steam washer and dryer, and a Hellmann's prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place, but I am really hoping I win all three things. :-)

FREE week of music lessons from School of Rock!

I just got word from the One to One Network that the School of Rock organization is giving away free music lessons! I think this is an awesome opportunity, being a music teacher myself. I grew up playing piano, drums, bass, and acoustic guitar...and this school looks awesome! If you live near any of their locations, please take advantage of this special offer. Music lessons truly is a gift that keeps on giving!

FREE WEEK TO ROCK available NOW thru OCT 31


School of Rock is the national leader in music education and has been teaching kids how to amaze audiences for more than ten years. They offer lessons in guitar, bass, vocals, drums and keyboards for kids ages 7 – 18. No experience necessary just eagerness to learn - School of Rock knows the best way to learn is by doing!

Here are all the details on the promotion:

* Includes one private trial lesson (30-45 min) and one Rock 101 group class (90 min).
* To redeem call 866-371-0557, use code SORBLOG

OR

* Complete the online form and input the SORBLOG code in the Questions/Comments field and the school will contact you directly.

* Free week must be completed by Oct. 31, 2010
* Offer available at participating locations and is subject to scheduling and availability.
* Must mention code SORBLOG when contacting the school to receive the free week.

Check out School of Rock on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great SAHM vs. WOHM Debate


I wrote the article below for DiaperSwappers.com where I also blog at. While I'm not really supposed to double post, I wanted to get some input on your thoughts about this article before I post it over at Diaper Swappers. The reason is that I want to make sure I articulated myself well enough to not offend everyone and that I'm not creating more problems than I'm solving. Please leave me your thoughts as a comment below--should I post this article over at Diaper Swappers, or not?

I began my mothering career by being at home full time for the first six weeks of my daughter's life. Six weeks and five days after her birth, I returned to my full time weekday and part time Saturday job with breast pump and tissues in tow. I continued this journey for the next 17 months until I was pregnant with my second child and taken off of work at 32 weeks gestation due to pregnancy complications. My daughter was 18-months-old at that time and I felt as though I had missed all of her infancy. We spent the next 8 weeks cuddling and playing to make up for the time spent apart, finally with me as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).

After my son was born, I began working part time when he was five-weeks-old. With two babies in tow, I am ever so thankful that my husband was able to finally find a job after a two year search. While I still have to work to make ends meet, I am now a work-out-of-home-mom (WOHM) two days a week, a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) one day a week, and a SAHM for the other four days. Having experienced all of these different mothering styles has allowed me some insight into the challenges and rewards of each one, and I can now say that I think the enjoyment and difficulty level of each one just depends on the mother and the circumstances surrounding why she is one of these three things.

When I was a WOHM, I would often receive snide comments from sometimes well meaning and sometimes not so well meaning individuals. They were from all three types of mothers—not just from SAHM's which many people assumed. The interesting thing, though, is that as a SAHM and now part time WOHM, I'm still receiving comments—they're just of a different sort! It seems as though the dreaded “mommy wars” hound mothers for their titles of WOHM/SAHM/WAHM. It's too bad, because being a mother is hard enough without being judged and criticized for your work status.

Here's a secret that a lot of moms seem to forget: we don't all like the status we're currently in. I despised being a full time WOHM and I still hold true to that even after being a full time SAHM (contrary to the ever popular “so do you still want to be home?” question I'm asked after experiencing the life of a SAHM...like I'm supposed to start dreading it after two weeks or something)! However, I know women who hate being SAHM's and prefer to work away from the home. And guess what: it's okay to be different.

Remember that the mothers in your situation and those in a different situation may not be there because they want to be. Be careful what you say, because your innocent comment may strike the dagger into the heart of the mom who would do anything to be in your shoes. Having now seen both sides of the story, I can attest to wanting to pull my hair out from being home with two babies for three days straight and not even having had time to pee. But I can also attest to crying all day at work because someone else is watching my daughter roll over for the first time. Motherhood isn't about which role is more difficult, and if we're honest, the martyrdom of having the “toughest” work status (whichever we determine that to be on any given day) doesn't actually make us a better mother than the one who we think has it “easier.”

A woman's work status doesn't determine her intelligence level, talent, or capabilities. It shouldn't determine her character, either, so let's stop warring over the great WOHM vs. SAHM debate. Instead, next time we're about to say something or be offended by something someone else said, let's remember that we're all different. Sometimes, a mama just needs to vent. It isn't a jab at someone else for the SAHM to say that she's ready to ship her kids to Taiwan or for the WOHM to say that she would be fine if the only people she ever spoke to again were her kids. Sometimes, a mama just needs encouragement, and sometimes, a mama just needs to know that it's okay to dislike, or even to like, her status.

So the next time you're about to be offended by something someone said, or when you're about to say something in regards to working in the home, at home, or away from home, stop and remember. Remember that what makes us mothers isn't our work statuses. It is the fact that we love our children, want what's best for them, and are going to do whatever we have to do to make that happen. Love, not work, is what makes the world go 'round.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patriot's Day, September 11th

Happy Patriot's Day!
9-11


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Always Kiss Them Goodbye

Always kiss them goodbye.

The call comes out over the radio and your adrenaline starts to rush. A boat accident. One of the men can't be found, and the other is badly injured. You jump in the back of the rig and start setting equipment up while your partner drives (too fast) to the scene.

Always say "I love you."

One of the men is flown to a large trauma center. My phone rings and my sister is crying. Suddenly, the man we are searching for becomes more than a patient. He is now a name. A face. And my heart breaks for my sister's friend. I tell her that no, they haven't found him yet.

Always make the most of every day.

It's been two days. I come on duty and ask if he's been found. I am told that the hooks found him on the bottom of the lake last night. I think back to when I was 18-years-old and saw the hooks for the first time. Bigger than my head, I had jokingly asked if they were to catch humans. I was unjokingly told that yes, they are designed to hook a person under the knees. And then I was told that whomever is the one holding the other end of the hooking line should never look at the body. Ever. It's too hard to move on if you see his face.

Always make the most of every night.

I think of his wife and their 7-year-old son. I wonder if his dirty laundry is still laying on the floor at home. I wonder if she kept that last text message he sent. I wonder if he stopped to whisper I love you before he left that morning, or if she took the time to kiss him goodbye. And I rememeber that all of my patients are someone's husband, sister, mother. I remember that, God forbid, it could be my husband, sister, mother.

So always, always, always, stop and say "I love you." And always kiss them goodbye.

Monday, September 6, 2010

RiNGLEY Natural Teething Toys Review & Giveaway!


RiNGLEY teething toys are awesome for three reasons: 1) made of all natural products-- untreated wood and organic cotton; 2) combines two textures to meet baby's biting needs: terrycloth friction and the smoothness of the hard wood; 3) can be used wet or dry. I was sent one of these to review and it quickly became a staple diaper bag item. While we do use a baltic amber necklace on my daughter to alleviate teething pain, she still has the need to chew on things while teething and has absolutely loved the RiNGLEY. Since receiving it, we have thrown away all other teething toys and now refer to our RiNGLEY as "The Bite Toy." It is a fabulous product and one that I think should honestly be in every parent's tool bag. Why I never thought to invent my own, I don't know.

Their website says it best:

RiNGLEY is the original Canadian natural teether that combines two efficient teething tools: untreated Maple wood and 100% organic cotton terrycloth.

RiNGLEY provides two very different textures that enable children to satisfy their teething needs. Made free from dye and without harmful chemicals.
RiNGLEY provides babies and toddlers with two safe and efficient textures that enable children to satisfy their teething needs.
RiNGLEY's design allows your child to easily grip the ring and cloth. It can be used wet or dry and easily reaches around a child's gums and teeth.
RiNGLEY was designed with a child's development in mind. Since infants learn through tactile stimulus, touching and putting things in their mouths, the need for a product made without harmful chemicals and dyes is important. RiNGLEY is an organic and natural toy for babies to chew and teethe on.
RiNGLEY comes in four styles: knotted, straight, junior and ball. Handmade in Toronto, Canada.

The four styles range in price from $16.00-$20.00 and all can be unattached from the wooden ring (velcro type enclosure) to ensure washing abilities. We received the "junior" style to review (see photo at the top of this post) and have found that it's the perfect size for little hands and mouths, and a fun shape for even playing with (my daughter really enjoyed playing with the knots). We've been using it for months now with no signs of wear. If the knots come undone, you simply re-knot the end. I LOVE this teething toy and am so glad I found out about RiNGLEY! You won't regret buying this for your own child or as a gift for another child. It's the perfect way to provide a natural product to help your child cut his or her teeth!

Buy It! Visit www.ringleynaturalteethingtoys.com. I also found that you can get the straight style for a penny cheaper on Amazon. :-)

Win It! Check out RiNGLEY's selection on their website and let me know which style you'd prefer. Be sure to include an email address and separate comment for each entry! Contest will end Monday, 8/20/10, at 3pm EST.

Extra Entries:
  • Follow me in any way; one entry per following method (Google Friend Connect, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Subscribe to me via email
  • Blog about this contest with a link and photo (3 entries)
  • Grab my button (3 entries)
  • Email some friends about this contest or my blog and CC "lifemoresimply @ yahoo.com"
  • Tweet about this contest with a link (max 2x/day, at least 2 hours apart). Include @lifemoresimply.
  • Spread the word on a natural parenting forum or elsewhere and include the link here