Love and prayers for Parker – prize giveaway

Love for Parker

Melody, a very sweet blogging friend of mine and fellow photographer, has organized a fund-raiser for a chronically-ill little boy named Parker.

For a minimum donation of $2, you will be entered into a drawing to win some wonderful prizes including a digital camera, printer and accessories package; custom blog designs; jewelry; books and more.Please take a moment to read about Parker and then give him some love. The fund-raiser will run through July 27. Prize winners will be announced by July 31.

This little boy has already been through a lot, and his family recently received some more not-so-good news. Prayers and positive thoughts are also requested for Parker.

Thank you! πŸ™‚

“The things they say” – breastfeeding carnival

tandem nursing 7/15/07

The topic of the July Carnival of Breastfeeding is “The things they say.” This refers to the funny, strange, uninformed, and otherwise interesting things that people (including our own kids) have said to us about breastfeeding. πŸ™‚

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A few months before Ava was born, my mom – who breast-fed all three of her children – asked me if I was going to start rubbing a towel on my nipples to toughen them up in preparation for breastfeeding. Yikes! I hadn’t thought of doing that! Is that the kind of advice they gave out in the ’70s? I’m glad I was taking a breastfeeding class at the time. The instructor clarified for me that there is no reason to toughen up your nipples. You might be sore while first learning to breastfeed, but if baby is latched on properly, it should not hurt.

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My mother-in-law once told me she heard that breastfeeding women shouldn’t eat chocolate. *GASP* Thank God that’s not true (at least it wasn’t for me)! I think that would be harder on me than rubbing a towel on my nipples!

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I believe I’ve written before about some of the things Ava has said about nursing (in her now 3 years of nursing), but here are some more funnies that come to mind. πŸ™‚

When she was between 2 and 2 1/2 I asked her what my milk tasted like and she replied, “strawberries.”

She recently has differentiated between my two breasts. The right one is “soft” and the left one is “squishy.” I guess it could be worse. πŸ˜‰

The other day I decided to “interview” her a bit to get a 3-year-old’s perspective on nursing.

Me: Do you like mama milk?
Ava: Yeah.
Me: Why?
Ava: Cuz it’s good for me to grow bigger.

Me: Do you like the way it tastes?
Ava: Yes.
Me: What does it taste like?
Ava: Tart (?) and yummy.

Me: How old will you be when you stop having mama milk?
Ava: I don’t know. Three? What?! I’m already 3!

Me: Do you think all kids should have mama milk?
Ava: Yeah.
Me: Why?
Ava: Because it’s good.

‘Nuf said. πŸ˜‰

*After realizing I didn’t have any pictures of myself tandem nursing the kids (since it’s very rare that they both nurse at the same time), I asked Jody to take some. This photo was taken on July 15, 2007.

A reminder…If you missed the announcement of the winners of my World Breastfeeding Week photo contest, please take a look here. I’m still waiting to hear back from the 1st and 3rd place winners to claim their prizes.

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Here are more great (and downright hilarious) stories about “the things they say” below. πŸ™‚

BSM – 7/23/07

I wrote last week that I had been feeling the need to grow something (other than kids, hee hee), so I picked up a “super sweet” cherry tomato plant, along with a couple of basil plants and put them in pots in our backyard. Ava helped me picked our first tomatoes on Sunday. Mmmm, they look tasty!

Cherry tomatoes

Also, I’m having a bit of a photography crisis. I’ve completely filled up my external hard drive with pictures. I need to start deleting all of the duds (and there are many) from the past few years to free up some space, but it’s such a time-consuming project that I am putting it off. Maybe I can just buy a new hard drive. πŸ˜‰

Please take a moment to click over to Picture This to see everyone else’s choices for Best Shot Monday.

And if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the Attachment Parenting International online auction, there’s still time! The close of the auction has been extended until 7 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, July 25! So head on over and bid, bid, bid! All proceeds go to API – a non-profit organization working to protect the parent-child connection.

Ears, noses and throats – oh my!

At nearly 8 months old, my li’l buddy has his first cold. If it weren’t for the snot often smeared across his face and the periodic junky cough, you’d never know he was sick. Julian is still his happy-go-lucky self, which is why Dr. G nearly laughed at me when I took him in to be seen about a possible ear infection yesterday. It’s hard to convince someone your kid is sick when they are so darned smiley, flirty and otherwise happy. πŸ˜‰

The only reason I took him in to the doctor was because the previous day, something came up when we were at the audiologist to have both Ava and Julian’s hearing tested. Ava’s hearing test was her doctor’s recommendation after I shared at her 3-year-check-up that she asks us to repeat ourselves or “Say it louder” a lot, and due to some speech difficulties she has with “s,” “f,” and “th” sounds. Julian’s was because he was never tested at birth due to being born at home and my laziness of taking him in for a hearing test, and, after finding out a friend’s 14-month-old grandbaby, who was never hearing tested at birth, is deaf, I thought it better to be safe than sorry. (An aside, my friend has been working to get more babies who are born at home hearing screened at birth, so, at least in CO, some midwives are now going to have the screening equipment to take with them to their clients homes. She is pursuing this for other states as well.)

Ava did really well with the testing and the “games” that the audiologist played with her to check her hearing. I was very proud of her. There was one tone that she had a slightly harder time hearing, but she was still within the normal range so it isn’t anything to worry about. We will have her re-tested in 3-6 months to make sure it’s staying the same and not getting worse, and in the meantime I will schedule a speech evaluation to talk about her difficulty with those consonants. I have to admit I was a little surprised that her doctor recommended the hearing test and speech therapy for her. I figured the asking us to repeat ourselves was mostly an age-related thing (and it very well may be now that we found out she can hear well). I didn’t expect the recommendation for speech therapy either. I figured it was something she’d grow out of on her own. And she may, but her doctor pointed out that it’s better to work on these things now before kids are off to school so that they can communicate with their peers, etc. That got me thinking. While Jody and I can understand nearly everything she says, other adults and children have a hard time because they don’t know that “s” and “f” routinely sound like “t” when they come out of Ava’s mouth. And that made me sad that she may be having a hard time communicating with other kids at the farm summer camp and in her future preschool program (likely this fall). So rather than think “Oh no, there’s something wrong with my child. She’s not perfect” and feel like I’ve failed her somehow, I decided to go ahead with this and help her correct the problem. I feel much better about it already.

Back to Julian’s story…When the audiologist went to test Julian’s hearing, she was getting a very weak response. Then she remembered that he has a cold (I had mentioned it when we first got there), and she took a look in his ears. She said there was some fluid and they were red, which would explain why he wasn’t hearing much of anything. She said if it were her child (she happened to have a daughter who was 1 day older than Julian and who’d recently had an ear infection of her own), she’d take him in to make sure his ear infection didn’t need treatment, and that we’d reschedule the hearing test for another day after he’s past this cold.

So I got him in to see Dr. G on Friday. She confirmed that he has a bit of an ear infection due to the viral cold that he has, but because he doesn’t have a high fever (or a fever at all actually) and isn’t acting sickly, it’s nothing we need to treat (with antibiotics) at this poin, which is pretty much what I had figured but after the audiologist recommended seeing the doctor, I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. I know there’s a movement away from antibiotics after they were hugely overused decades ago, “which in turn has allowed the bacteria that cause ear infections, sinus infections and pneumonia to become tougher and more resistant to antibiotics.” – Dr. Sears Dr. G also said we wouldn’t want to mess with Julian’s flora with the antibiotics if we didn’t need to. No thrush for us please, thank you very much.

I, too, have some sort of cold myself – my second one in the past several weeks. It was extremely painful for me to swallow last night while I was trying to go to sleep. After lying awake for an hour, I finally decided to take some ibuprofen to help lessen the pain and I got to sleep until Julian woke me up coughing at 6:15 this morning. Blah. I did take a nap with him when he went back down this morning though and that was much needed. I also found my zinc lozenges this afternoon so I’m taking those and am in hot pursuit of the Cold Snap I know we have somewhere around here. I wish I would’ve remembered it a couple of days ago.

If you’ve got any healing vibes/thoughts to spare, please feel free to send them our way. We could use them. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

And the winner is…

Before I announce the first, second and third place winners in the World Breastfeeding Week photo contest, I want to thank everyone who submitted a picture. I received entries from 40 women and I wish I could give a t-shirt to every one! I had the hardest time selecting a winner, because, quite honestly, you are all winners when breastfeeding is involved – both you and your darling children. πŸ™‚ I could have easily selected each and every picture as the winner and had several reasons why that one captured my heart. They were all amazing.

I received pictures of newborns nursing – one baby just minutes old, toddlers nursing, twins nursing and siblings nursing. Some children were nursing inside and some were nursing in the great outdoors. Some were close-ups, showing little ones gazing lovingly into their mothers’ eyes, and others were taking from farther away, showing a strong child-mother connection. There were even three pictures of toddlers nursing their own “babies.” Another photo was of three adult sisters – each nursing her own baby including an adopted little girl from Ethiopia. Some babies were sleeping, some were smiling, one was cuddling with a kitty, one was nursing while mama played the guitar! Each picture was unique and wonderful.

In the end, I decided to go with the pictures that I elicited the strongest emotion in me. Even though they might not be the “best” technically-speaking, I felt something when I saw them and that made the difference for me. πŸ™‚

OK, without further ado…

First place goes to Ashley, for this picture of her daughter. I love the feeling of tranquility and innocence in this photo. Even though this little girl may have just been hard at play, she took a moment to nurse and reconnect with her mama, and soon drifted off to sleep. All is right in her world.

Ashley - 1st place winner

Second place goes to Mary (founder of No Mother Left Behind – a sling donation program), for this picture of her son nursing for the first time less than a minute after he was born in an unassisted home birth. I love that this baby is so alert and even looking up at mama as she whispered to him just moments after his birth. If only all babies could be so lucky to have such a peaceful start to their lives on Earth.

Mary - 2nd place

Third place goes to Nicole for this picture of her daughter nursing at 3 months old. The little clasped hands are what got me. Pure sweetness.

Nicole - 3rd place

To the three of you, congratulations! πŸ™‚ Please email me to let me know which design you prefer (and, Ashley, what size t-shirt) as well as your mailing addresses. πŸ™‚

Just to recap the prizes: The 1st place winner will have the choice of receiving either an Ò€œI make milk. WhatÒ€ℒs your superpower?Ò€ t-shirt or a Ò€œLactivistÒ€ t-shirt. Second and 3rd place winners will receive their choice of a Ò€œLactivistÒ€ bumper sticker, a Ò€œMy honor student was breast-fedÒ€ bumper sticker, or a Ò€œJesus was breast-fedÒ€ bumper sticker.

Here’s a collage of all of the wonderful entries. Click it to view it larger. πŸ™‚ (Some women sent more than one picture which are included in the collage, but did not count towards the contest.)

World Breastfeeding Week photo contest collage

Thank you again to everyone who participated! You ladies are all amazing! πŸ™‚

Oh, and if you have a breastfeeding picture but didn’t get to send it to me in time for the contest, please feel free to email it to me and I will keep building on to the collage, then post it again for World Breastfeeding Week. So keep those pictures coming! Even if you already sent one, but you’d like to submit another for the collage, I will take it! πŸ™‚

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One final note, if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the Attachment Parenting International auction, time is running out! The auction closes at 6 p.m. Central Time on Saturday, July 21. There are still a lot of great deals to be had, including on this recently added black MetroWrap baby carrier in the Skull Bling style, as well as a “That’s my baby’s lunch you’re staring at” ringer t-shirt from The Lactivist! Both items are currently well below retail value. Bid now, bid often, get some cool stuff and help support API. πŸ™‚

Gotta love schwag

One of the many perks of having a blog, I’m recently discovering, is that sometimes people and/or businesses will send you cool stuff (aka schwag) for free. In some cases, they are hoping you will write about their business or product, but other times they are just sharing the love. Either way, I think it’s pretty darn groovy. πŸ™‚

A few months ago, I received an email from a woman with the company Ebeanstalk, saying she saw my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in participating in their “Mother Board,” a nationwide group of over 500 moms that receives, plays with, rates and reviews their toys and products. Free toys for my kids? Sign me up!

I got my first box from them last week which contained four samples of baby/kid sunscreen (unfortunately, not the kind that I like to use on my kids – I prefer California Baby sunscreen because it is chemical-free), a Playtex Hip Hammock baby carrier(!), and a set of plastic molds for making cakes in the sand, etc. I was just saying to Jody that I wanted to try to find a hip carrier and then, low and behold, I got one for free in the mail! Ah, serendipity. It turns out that the hip carry position (at least in the Hip Hammock) isn’t so great for a roly-poly baby of 22 lbs. Maybe it’s the size of my baby or the Hip Hammock itself, but I just didn’t think it was comfortable. Jody tried it out too and said his back was hurting after 5 minutes. Since I can’t foresee us using it again (I think I’m going to try converting my Ergo to the hip carry position to see how I like that) , I might give it away on my blog. I think it would work better for someone with a smaller child. Anyway, even though it didn’t work out, I was still happy to get to try it (for free). The plastic cake molds were fun for Ava in the sandbox, and I think they’d work well at the “beach” if we go back to the reservoir. I’ll likely be “freecycling” the sunscreen. I’m looking forward to my next box from them to see what other goodies I/we get to try. πŸ™‚

Another thing I recently received is a Maya & Miguel DVD from Scholastic and PBS. They, too, contacted me and asked if I’d like a free DVD, so I said sure. I’ve watched a couple of the episodes on the DVD with Ava and think it’s a pretty good show. I like that the brother and sister seem to get along quite well (unlike the PBS show “Arthur” which drives me crazy with DW’s incessant whining), there are good lessons to be learned and there’s some Spanish language and heritage thrown in as well.

I also recently received a babywearing instructional DVD called Tummy 2 Tummy to try out. I haven’t watched it yet, but it sounds quite promising. I will be sure to write more about it after I’ve watched it.

And I’m still in the process of reading Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Discipline Solution” book. I admit that after reading quite a bit of it, I haven’t picked the book back up in about a month. This summer has just been so busy. Anyway, I’m already using a handful of techniques from the book with Ava, but I’m looking forward to reading the section on parental anger since that’s something I think most parents struggle with, but very few talk about. I’ll be writing more once I have a chance to read more. πŸ™‚

Anybody else want to send some cool loot my way? Clothes or shoes for my kids? Clothes or shoes for me? πŸ˜‰ Actually, what I really need is a new purse. hehe. Or a good baby carrier for the hip carry position. πŸ˜‰

Contests everywhere

I’ve recently learned about the wonderful world of blog contests (and held my first one as well). They seem to be everywhere right now!

Most of them just require you to leave a comment, but some require a comment (or signing a list) and a link back to the contest, etc. The one I just entered is such a contest, so here is some linky love for them.

Check out the $50 gift certificate giveaway in the Kangaroodle Contest. Also sending some quick linky love to Kangaroodle – which looks to be a very cool store – and Mama Speaks – a review blog by moms, for moms.

Good luck! πŸ™‚

If only I could give up sleeping…

I would have time for all of the things I want to do. πŸ˜‰ But alas, I need, crave and love my sleep way too much to give it up.

This seems to be a recurring theme around here. I have so many things that I want to do and be involved in and not enough time for everything. You’d think I would learn my lesson and cut back, but no, I just keep finding more things to do. By the way, this post is bound to be all over the place. I have quite a few things to write about so I’m just going to have at it.

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The World Breastfeeding Week photo contest was a huge success. I’m so happy with the number of entries I received (36, I believe at last count) and am scratching my head wondering how in the world I’m going to choose a winner. I know it’s definitely cliche’, but you are all winners! Truly. I think I’m going to choose my 5 favorite pictures, number them, put the #s in a bowl and pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners that way. That’s really the only way I can see doing it. I’ll be sharing a collage of all of the entries when I announce the winners (on Friday).

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Ava is currently at the farm and Julian is sleeping on my chest. I want so badly to go lay him down (my ass is killing me from the position I’m sitting in), but I can’t risk him waking up just yet. About 90% of the time I can lay him down without any problems, but it’s that pesky and unpredictable 10% that I don’t feel equipped to deal with today. So I will stay here, tied to my computer until it’s time to pick Ava up, and Julian will have gotten a decent (albeit sweaty) nap in.

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Julian and I stopped at a plant nursery after dropping Ava off this morning. I’ve been wanting to buy a tomato plant for a while now – at least since my mom suggested I pick one up back in June. So I bought a sweet cherry tomato plant that’s huge and has a ton of green tomatoes on it already. I also picked up a couple of basil plants. I have this tasty pesto recipe that requires a ton of basil and it’s dang expensive at the store. I feel the need to grow something, in hopes that it will help me grow. I feel like I need growth lately. I’m stagnant and I don’t like it. Anyway, I don’t have a place for a garden in my yard, because of my pesky dogs and most of my yard is shaded for the majority of the day. But someday I will explore my green thumb and garden. Because of this, I’m planning on keeping these plants in pots in the small sunny area of the yard and seeing how that goes. Anyone have any tips for me? I know I have some gardeners among my readers.

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If you haven’t yet submitted a picture to the Celebrity Baby Blog Breastfeeding Gallery, head on over there and take part in it. There are already 110 photos! I got a little overzealous and submitted 8 of me and my kids and I have more, but I will hold off for now. πŸ˜‰
Also, the Celebrity Baby Blog is going to be holding a raffle fund-raiser for La Leche League for World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-8. I’m donating some shirts/bumper stickers from Attached At The Hip. I’ll have more info about that a couple weeks, but it looks like it will be really cool and for a great cause! πŸ™‚

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More to write, but no time to do it. Julian is awake and it’s time to go pick up his sister.

BSM – 7/16/07

I skipped out on last week’s Best Shot Monday, but I’m back in it again this week. Of course, it seems like I was too busy (with the API auction, among other things) to crack out my SLR this past week and only took a few snapshots with my P&S. However, I still have something to share from my SLR – a picture that Jody (my husband) took. And I’m even in it (well, a bit of me is)!

As some of you know, I’ve been running a photo contest on my blog to help promote the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7). I’ve received something like 36 entries, which is awesome. πŸ™‚ But it made me realize that, while I have a handful of pictures of me nursing Ava when she was younger and I have a handful of me nursing Julian, I don’t have any of them nursing together at the same time. This is because I really prefer NOT to nurse them together unless absolutely necessary. And when I say absolutely necessary, I mean because Jody is out of town and I’m putting Ava to bed (which is the only time she nurses) and, if Julian isn’t sleeping, I need something to occupy him and keep him safe. So I nurse them both. Obviously when that happens it’s in the dark and there’s nobody around to snap pictures.

Today, however, I decided I want a few pictures of them nursing together – for posterity and all that. So I got the camera out, set the custom white balance, set it to aperture priority mode, gave Jody a few pointers, and let the kids nurse while he snapped away.

A little editing here, a little cropping there, and this is now one of my favorites from the batch.

A&J tandem nursing 7/15/07

This is one picture I know I will be happy to have years from now. πŸ™‚

Be sure to click over to Picture This to see everyone else’s choices for Best Shot Monday.

Last chance for the breastfeeding t-shirt contest

I’ve received 25 beautiful breastfeeding photo entries so far for the WBW photo contest – from newborns to toddlers to twins and siblings tandem nursing, and even a couple of kids nursing their dolls. πŸ™‚ I’d love to receive just a few more. πŸ™‚

The good news is you still have time to submit yours! Sunday, July 15, is the last day I will accept entries for the contest. If you want to win an “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” t-shirt, send me your photo ASAP.

Here are the details about the contest. Winners will be announced by Friday, July 20.

Thank you! πŸ™‚