Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ways to help a child prepare for a move

Moira is not handling our rather sudden move very well, and I have been looking around the internet to find ways to help her be ready. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be much out there for kids her age. She needs more then just distraction and entertainment, but can't really understand what is going on, despite our careful explanations. I'm sure it doesn't help that she has a hard time letting go of anything right now, scraps of paper, toothpicks, clothes she's grown out of, and watching us pack up boxes of things to take to the Thrift Store is making her extra nervous. So here is the small list of things I've found that have helped out a little.
Moira and the box
  • Talk about moving. We explained that everything is going into boxes, and at the new house, it will all come out of the boxes. Everything she needs and loves will come with us.
  • We read the book Stars For Sarah by Ann Turner, where Sarah and her mother talk about all the things she will miss that will and won't come with them to the new house. This would be a good activity to do with a slightly older child, who might find comfort that a favorite toy will come, and that while the tree outside the window won't, there will be a new tree. So far any discussion of anything that isn't coming along, like our toilet, leads to tears for Moira, but she did love the book.
  • Our dolls moved from the dollhouse to a new house in the living room. Moira being the mommy doll and telling the Moira doll all about the new house.
  • We plan to let Moira decorate a packing box and fill it with all her most special things. That box will be immediately obvious in her new room, and the first thing we unpack.
  • Other books we've liked are Goodbye House by Frank Asch, Mitchell is Moving by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, and Maggie Doesn't Want to Move by Elizabeth Lee O'Donnell. All of these books are out of print because we got them from a kit at our library. There is a Bearnstain Bears book on this subject which I've read before that is decent, but I have a long time hatred of that series, so I didn't check it out.
  • I tried to find a video of a time lapse move to show her what the process would like, to no avail. We did watch this Busy World of Richard Scarry episode where one of the characters moves to a new home in the town.
  • Have a lot of busy bag activities, books, or other small self contained activities for the times when you are signing papers, doing inspections, and other boring lengthy activities. Basically, pack like you would for a long car trip.
  • The biggest thing we are trying to do is keep our days normal, and also lower our expectations for how much self control she has right now. Most days during the week, she is her normal cheerful self, but some times are harder then others.
All of the discussion seems to be helping her feel a little more settled about this move, although that might be wishful thinking on my part. It is certainly giving her better ammunition to try and convince us that we should stay where we are. Wish us luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Blog Blitz

You might remember the post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer's most popular or favorite posts from the year. This time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on Do It Yourself projects, How To's, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to.

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here and I hope that this serves as an excellent resource that you can pass on to your friends! Mine is in no way actually helpful to anyone, because I'm like that. But it is funny.

Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaJorje of Momma shares her Family Cloth Tutorial in pictures. She includes step by step photos with some tips for making very neat family cloth. You can find Momma Jorje on Facebook, too!

Lani at Boobie Time Blog shares "How to Help a New Breastfeeding Mom." This post provides some tips on helping a new mom while she is learning to Breastfeed. You can also find Boobie Time Blog on Facebook and Twitter.

Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares "How I Make Cloth Wipes." This post details how Amanda made all of her cloth wipes. You can also find Let's Take the Metro on Facebook.

Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares "Lessons in a Picture Book." A Lesson plan for pancakes and how to make your own butter! You can also find True Confessions of a Real Mommy on Facebook and Twitter.

Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares "Tips for Road Tripping with a Toddler." A long car trip with a young child can be a great way to make some wonderful memories if you are prepared to meet the challenges. You can also find Monkey Butt Junction on Facebook and Twitter. 

Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares "Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread." This recipe tutorial shows you how to make a sweet whole wheat bread with beautiful cinnamon swirls in each slice. You can also find Farmer's Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares "How To Consume Coconut Oil Plus Coconut Oil Candy Recipes." This post provides some tips on how to get your daily dose of coconut oil down the hatch. It also provides some very tasty recipes for coconut oil candy! You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Alicia at Lactation Narration gives some ideas for how to accomplish Partial Weaning for moms who would like to cut down on nursing without completely weaning. You can also find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares "A Learning-Rich Environment." This post provides a number of suggestions for creating a learning-rich environment and incorporating learning into everyday life, with a particular focus on the preschool age. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +.

BecomingCrunchyKelly at Becoming Crunchy shares "Kale Chips = Awesome!" This post shares a super easy recipe for making a super easy (and surprisingly tasty) snack from one of the most healthful greens around. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

My post, "How to Move to California." A silly how-to she wrote while she and her then fiance were driving to their new home. You can also find Shannon on Pinterest, Flickr, and Google +.

Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen shares a recipe for "Homemade Fruit Leather." It's easier than you ever thought and the perfect snack for you and your family. You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares "How I Cloth Diaper (Part 1)." This post details the way Julia has cloth diapered her daughter along with the products she uses. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Joella at Fine and Fair shares "Our First Sensory Bins." In this post, she shares how she made a "Scoop, Measure, and Pour" themed sensory bin, as well as an "In the Garden" themed bin. She also shares some tips for making your own sensory bins! Fine and Fair can be found on Facebook and Twitter. 

Visit Code Name: MamaFor all of you breastfeeding mamas, Dionna at Code Name: Mama has the ultimate DIY experience with the main ingredient being your breastmilk! 58 Medical, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk includes a cradle cap remedy, an anti-itch salve, weaning jewelry, lotion, and more. You can also find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings offers several ideas for "Keeping a Toddler Happily Busy on a Long Flight." The list includes handmade felt activities, among many other things. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Shannon at The Artful Mama shares "Preparing Toddlers for Birth." This post features MamAmor dolls and shows some alternative ways to talk to toddlers about pregnancy and birth. You can also find The Artful Mama on Facebook and Twitter.

Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her "Family Binder DIY." This post shows how to put together a family binder, to help organize cleaning, meal planning, shopping and budgeting all in one convenient location!

I Thought I Knew Mama: A window into the adventures of stay at home mamahood, natural parenting, & green and healthy livingCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares "5 Green Living, Spring Cleaning Tips." This post provides easy ways to keep the toxins out of your home and to freshen up your home for spring. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares "Daily Bread: My Favorite Whole Grain Bread Machine Recipe." This recipe is easy, highly adaptable, and a great starting point for creating your own daily (or almost daily!) homemade bread. You can also find Intrepid Murmurings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares "10 Tips for Toddler Carseat Woes." Check out these ideas of dealing with toddler carseat issues without resorting to punishments. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares "DIY Mom's Night In." A somewhat humorous solution, this post provides exhausted Mamas the recipe for the perfect way to recharge!

Stacy at Sweet Sky shares “Ways to Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Days.” This post provides tips and tricks to bring yourself back to the present moment, so you can be the parent you want to be. You can also find Stacy on Facebook.

AnktangleAmy at Anktangle shows us how to make your own popsicle stick puzzles, a fun and simple "busy bag" activity for toddlers and preschool aged children. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shares "How to sew a mei tai baby carrier." The mei tai is Lauren and Sam's favorite carrier for baby Alrik: as comfortable and simple as it is beautiful. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Visit African Babies Don't CryChristine at African Babies Don't Cry shares "How to Make Rainbow Coloured Rice (Without Alcohol) for a Toddler Sensory Bin." This post provides a step by step tutorial for making vibrantly coloured rainbow rice for sensory play, includes a printable PDF. You can also find African Babies Don't Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares "How To Send A Hug In An Envelope." This post is a creative way to send more than just the standard card to love ones. It literally is a hug in an envelope! You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ways Moira learned this week

I'm not sure if I'm going to make this a regular thing, but it seems like this last week was full of learning and growing, so I wanted to record it.

Life skills: While I was cooking one night, Moira asked to do chores. She swiffered the floor, washed dishes, cleaned windows in two ways, and tidied up her toys. We also worked together to make a color matching game for a busy bag swap. She cut apart over 140 paint chips, without wanting to take a break. And then she decided to cut apart some of the scraps, just for fun. She also helped me glue things together, but that wasn't as interesting for her.

Reading: Moira can now reliably identify all numbers and letters, even in unfamiliar instances, as well as the sounds some letters make. She has "Hop on Pop" memorized well enough that she was reciting it to me and Davis while drawing the pictures and words in her notebook. We finished "Pippi Longstocking Goes on Board."

Interpersonal skills: Twice this week, Moira has asked a clerk at a store to help her find something, the first time with no success, but she was still willing to try the second time. She was also broadened on her own her statement that she doesn't like boys who hit to "I don't like boys or girls who hit." Moira has also realized that you can return presents you don't like, thanks to a broken toy at Christmas. Sadly, this has lead to Moira asking to take lots of things back, if she's bored with it, or it's not pink. I introduced the "Giving Game" where we take turns wrapping up random things and giving them to each other. The recipient must say "Thank you!" and one thing about the present regardless of what it is. Moira was perfectly gracious during this game, and has requested to play it a few more times.

A rainbow!
Art: Moira and Walker found my painter's pallet, and she wanted to use it. Usually, when she paints, I let her pick the colors, but I wanted to see what she would do with a curated selection of colors. First selection was all the colors of the rainbow. She started out painting rectangles of each color, and then tried mixing them together, and was happy to discover that she could make brown and "black." The second selection was two shades each of purple and blue, plus back and white. She mostly experimented with brush strokes, even seeing what she could do with her fingers, and then she painted a rainbow.

Emotional control: We had a playdate with a younger friend who was having a hard time sharing and Moira was able to get over her sadness at having something snatched away multiple times and redirect to playing with something else. She was also willing to continue to try and engage her friend.

Car conversations: Moira has been very concerned with the upcoming move, especially as we start sorting through things to get ready. We have been assuring her that everything of hers will come with us, but it hasn't really helped her to hear that, and we have been talking about it a lot. Today, I explained that when we move, everything will be in boxes, and we will get to play "what's in the brown box" many, many times. "What's in the box?" Is her favorite part of library story time, so this was very exciting. I also tried to explain how you blow a bubble with gum. She couldn't manage it, but I think I explained it well.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu plan monday

Breakfast: Same as last week and the week before.

Sunday: Pizza made by friends
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Cashew chicken, and rice
Wednesday: German apple pancakes, bacon, and fruit.
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Black bean soup, and biscuits (per Moira's insistence that she only likes soup with black beans in it. She hasn't actually had any soup like that recently, so we'll see.)
Saturday: Baked chicken, crispy potato roast, and veggies

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sibling love

Moira & Davis
Moira and Davis were sick, and now I'm catching it, so we've had a lot of time at home fooling around. Moira is really enjoying playing with Davis. After this photo, he changed into a blue play silk, and they pretended to be princesses.
Did I mention that he really likes her?
Hey there
And that he can roll on his side now? But only when he's naked. Silly cloth diapers, holding him back. The first time he did this, Moira was very concerned and immediately pushed him back onto his back. Such is the life of a second child.
In a fit of really bad parenting I suggested that Moira could watch Davis while I took a bath. I realized how silly that was right away, and we took pictures instead.

All in all being home with the two of them all day long isn't as bad as expected. Except on Mondays, I've had a really hard time coping on Mondays.


I've been getting braver, and I actually submitted a guest post to another blog. If you want to read the first post I wrote about the whole princess thing, and why I have a problem with it, go visit Anktangle. If not, please go about your regular business.

I'm feeling under the weather today, but there may be photos tomorrow of Davis' attempts to roll over.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When a grandparent has a disability

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

When Moira was very little and just walking on her own, every time we saw a stranger in a wheelchair, or using a cane or a walker, she would run right up to them with an excited look on her face. Usually this was surprising to them, and occasionally startling. I have a feeling that most people with limited mobility are used to small children being scared of them.
But this is my Mom. She uses a cane, walker, and a wheelchair, depending on the length of the excursion. She has MS, and Moira adores her, so she adored everyone who was like her. I managed to find a graceful way through the transaction of extracting my excited toddler from their path, usually with a "Yes honey, they have a walker (wheelchair, cane) just like your Nain does! Let's say hello."
As Moira has gotten older, she's gotten more reserved, and less likely to run full tilt at strangers. She's also gotten more aware that there is something different about Nain. We have talked a lot about why she uses a cane, and why she walks differently. We have talked about what the cuts in sidewalks are for, why there are special parking spots, why we let some people use the elevator before we do if it's a small one, or crowded.
All of this has leaked into her play, as she tries to understand the difference between her and Nain. The first time she picked up a stick in the woods, it immediately became a cane. She even does a pretty convincing mimic of Nain's shuffling gait. She still doesn't think it's weird, but I can see the questions forming in her mind, especially as we meet more of her friends Grandparents. "Why is she different?"
We haven't made it to the whys yet. Why was she diagnosed when I was 16? Why is there a higher rate of MS in the Pacific Northwest then anywhere in the world? What causes MS? Most of these questions we don't know the answers to, and we may never know. I know there will be harder questions though. Like, "When will she get better?", where the answer is "Never." I hope I can meet her questions with the same forthrightness I have the things we've talked about so far. I expect the questions to start coming faster, especially now that we are buying a house to share with my parents.
I found a stick!

Books to read with your kids that treat disability like it's part of every day life. (Note to Dad, we only have the first of these.)
The Great Big Book of Families
Just Because

Does your child have a grandparent with a disability? How have you handled these conversations?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mandatory Davis update

Mad grabbing skillz
He's really got the hang of grabbing now. Yesterday, he even managed to grab Pearl's zipper, and then with the other hand, her necklace. When he had them both at the same time, he was super pleased with himself.

In that vein, he likes to grab hair, which Moira never really got into, so poor Walker has no defenses against it.

Davis has had a sniffly nose for the last week, and we discovered that he actually likes having his nose suctioned. Strange child.

He decided last week that he is now ready to not be swaddled, which lead to a few days of frequently interrupted sleep because I had tried unswaddling him last Monday and it was the worst idea ever, so when it was the best idea ever on Wednesday, I didn't catch on right away.

He has made no further progress on trying to flip himself over, which is fine by me. He only really tries when he's naked, so it's easy to thwart him.

He likes to fall asleep in the carrier on my front, but if he's awake he hates being in there. He seems to like being in the carrier on my back when he's awake, but he hates it when he's tired. I forsee much flipping around of things when we are out and about.

I still haven't gotten a picture of the full tilt smile where his mouth is wide open, but this one is pretty good.

Menu plan monday

Breakfast all week: Eggs and peanut banana oat squares. I really love those things, even though I did the recipe wrong this time. I'm making a double batch this week.

Sunday: Chicken stir fry and rice for potluck sewing day
Monday: Chili
Tuesday: Chicken and lemon basil pasta
Wednesday: Leftovers and (probably cherry, but we will let Moira decide) pie for Pi day
Thursday: Fiesta corn and potato chowder
Friday: Leftovers or take out
Saturday: Corned beef, dill potatoes, and cabbage for St Patricks day

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tea party

Tea party
This is what you do when it's a sick day and the collection of leftovers in the fridge isn't very exciting for the little one's lunch. The best part was when Moira said she loved the tea party, but "It's not something we can do every day. Just sometimes." So I don't have to look forward to her asking for one every time we eat.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Big emotional revelations, and other milestones in Moiraland

Moira can read the words "No" and "Yes" without any help from an adult. Walker would want me to talk about the fact that he has helped her get to the point where she is almost reading "Hop On Pop," but this was her reading a board book she checked out of the library that mostly consisted of those two words. We have read this book before, but it was more then a year ago.

I was telling her about the playdate we were hosting, and who was coming over for it. When she heard one of the guests was L2, she visibly shuddered and tried to hide behind me. "I don't like boys! They shove me!"
I am a little frustrated that we are back in this "I don't like boys" place, which coincided with her return from Disneyland. I have been pointing out that this is categorically untrue. She likes Mikko and L1 and Jahleel. But the week before Jahleel had shoved her (after a lot of provocation) and L2 has shoved her a few times. Instead of focusing on the "good" boys we talked about that.
"Do you remember why Jaheel shoved you?" Moira shook her head. "Were you screaming at him and snatching toys?" "Yes! He didn't like that." "No, I think it makes him feel scared when you scream at him. And how do you feel when people snatch things from you?" " I don't like it. Is that why they shove me?" I could practically hear the *ding* in her brain.
Doing the laundry
Jahleel came over later that day, and they played quite happily together. There was a moment when I could see things were about to go off the rails, and I reminded her it is a good idea to find something you can play with your friends. So they did laundry, Moira hanging, and Jahleel handing her the pins. When we had the play date a few days later, everyone managed to play well together, with screaming and pushing only happening after 3 hours when Jennifer was trying to get the kids ready to leave.

Her sense of curiosity seems to have had a sudden growth spurt (along with her compassion), I've been trying to answer more of her why's with "I wonder," and it's only been in the last week that that illicits anything other then a silly response. She actually seems to be thinking about the answers we give her. Along with that is more playful verbosity, like when she was singing every sentence while we typed her guest post. Or how she is giving us all nicknames (Momooshk, Dadooshk, and Babeooshk, Davetar, or Daiwoo), as well as speaking in other languages (she never identifies the language, and they all sound the same to me). She also frequently has some very important school work she has to finish right now! Usually while playing with friends.

Most impressively she is handling the transition of Walker being back at work swimmingly. Turns out she was being so needy for attention partly because there was more attention to be had. I'm sure the fact that she's actually slept through the night a few times lately help too.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Guest post by Moira: Aurora bread

There was a tiny amount of strawberry chocolate bread left over from the potluck on Sunday, and Moira got to try it. Immediately afterwards she wanted to make "Aurora bread." The first batch was entirely Moira directed. I suggested we use a recipe for the second one. Here is her process:

Making Aurora bread
First, take salt, vinegar, and maple syrup. Stir and cook in the oven for 4 minutes. Then add water, pepper, and relish. Stir. Add more water. Stir. Bake for 7 more minutes. Why isn't is in a loaf shape? Mommy says it needs flour to become a loaf. Add flour, stir, bake for 10 minutes.
First batch
Then let it sit, but it wasn't Aurora bread, because it isn't in a big big loaf. (Doesn't that look delicious? It smelled horrible so we didn't try it. I quizzed her more at this point, and it turned out that she wanted to make the chocolate strawberry bread, surprise! But we are supposed to call it Aurora bread.)

Second batch time!
Put chocolate chips, baking soda, oil, eggs, flour, salt, and strawberries in a mixer and it stirred up really fast, like this fast "Zoooom!" Put the batter into another bowl, now is it ready? Put it in the oven, and when it beeps we have to put it in the oven, okay? Also, the end.

The actual recipe is here. We made it with GF flour this time. And now, I'm going to let her type. She has also been insisting that it won't be sweet because we didn't include relish.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu plan monday: Walker's back to work, wah!

In doing this meal planning, we have discovered that Moira does not seem to like sweet sauces on meats. It's too bad for her, since Walker and I love them. It will be interesting to see if her tastes change or not.
Breakfasts: Eggs and peanut butter oat squares

Sunday: Chocolate strawberry loaf for potluck lunch, leftovers for dinner
Monday: Dirty brown rice and shrimp with salad
Tuesday: Pesto pasta with salad
Wednesday: Takeout
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Green pepper chicken and rice
Saturday: Chicken tortilla soup

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What we've been doing

We are trying to enjoy the last week of Walker's paternity leave, without me freaking out too much about the prospect of being alone with both kids. Also, my laptop was infected with malware and I'm using a hodgepodge of other computer like devices, so I haven't been sitting where I can easily type as much. Here's what we've been up to in the last couple of weeks.


Moira reads to Davis

Celebrating Nain's birthday.

Two headed turtle
Visiting the Reptile Zoo. Moira was not such a fan, but Walker and I liked it.

Nice mustache
Being silly. The fancy dresses have gotten a big workout lately too.

4am is party time!
Discovering the joys of being awake at 4am.

Feeding the lemurs
Feeding the Red Ruffed Lemurs at the zoo.

Davis' second carousel ride
Taking Davis on the carousel for the first time ever.

Sleeping baby
Learning how to sleep while out and about. This was taken while Moira and Walker were enjoying the preschool show at the planetarium with friends.

We are also signing a lot of papers. This (barring random acts of bank) is the new house we will be moving in to with my parents.