Saturday, June 20, 2015

seven quick takes: linky links

This week I'm giving you Seven Quick Links!

First, click here to watch a quick video of an orangutan who's charmed by the sight of a newborn human. Everyone loves babies. Even orangutans.

Next, an interesting article on why most people in indigenous cultures don't have back pain, while in developed cultures it's so prevalent. (Spoiler alert: our core muscle tone kind of sucks.) 

So apparently, in 1917, a school in Oklahoma got new chalkboards. And they just slapped the new ones up over the old chalkboards... without erasing them. And recently, while remodeling the school, the contractors discovered the untouched chalkboard drawings. Fascinating view of the past.

You've probably heard of the "Leave No Trace" policy in parks and nature preserves, which discourages folks from taking rocks and flowers, and going off-trail, and otherwise disturbing the natural environment. It seems like a good idea, right? But it's possible that by disallowing children from truly interacting with nature, we're raising up a generation that doesn't care about nature at all.

Did you see this video about the preschool in the nursing home? You need to watch it. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Okay, this is really cool. This painting was created in such a way as to Mess With Your Mind. Even after you read the article to learn how it was done, the video is still pretty unbelievable.

Finally, how about some Catholic silliness? 25 Popes Who Just Can't Even Right Now.

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum! Oh, and stay tuned for Josie's Ladybug Birthday Party recap. It was super cute, and one of our 3-year-old guests dubbed it "The Best Party Ever!" (And also, a recipe roundup was requested and is forthcoming. Promise.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

answer me this: tiny babies and sleeping in public

The Answer Me This linkup is back for the summer! Go join Kendra's linkup!

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Yes! I'm going to the Edel Gathering next month (my Christmas gift from Jack!)... which is slightly insane, considering that the amount of time I'll be in the air will be approximately equal to the amount of time I'll be in Charleston. But... still, I'm excited! Besides, traveling with an under-3-month-old baby is practically like traveling alone, just with, y'know, diapers and nursing and stuff. But it is NOT like traveling with a toddler. So that alone makes it practically heaven.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

In my parents' home is a largish copy of a famous portrait of Jesus:
image source
When my childhood best friend Stacy and I were in 3rd grade or so, we convinced ourselves that if we stared at this painting long enough, it would move. And then, being 8-year-old girls, we would run shrieking and giggling out of the room and hide in the closet. And then come back two minutes later to do it again.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I'm totally a roller coaster person. And being from Ohio, we went to Cedar Point every summer of my growing-up years, so I've been on a lot of roller coasters. And I can say with confidence that the Magnum is my thing. It may not be the fanciest or flashiest coaster anymore-- though when it was built it was the tallest in the world-- but it's just plain fun. (Click the link for a POV video!)

4. What's on your summer reading list?

I've got three books that I'm in the midst of reading currently:
- Kristin Lavransdatter-- I'm about 1/3 of the way through. LOVE.
- On Food and Cooking-- a nonfiction book on why and how different foods are cooked the way they are... not so much from a historical/cultural standpoint, but more from a literal, chemical standpoint. Like, you can't just replace cream in a recipe with milk to make it lower-calorie, because the protein composition is different and it won't cook the same way. d I'm also intermittently reading On Food and Cooking. Also on my started-but-not-yet-finished list is The Paris Wife.
- The Paris Wife-- a historical novel about Ernest Hemingway's wife, recommended to me by my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Pretty good so far.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Sure. Let me count the ways:
- in college lecture halls (yep) 
- on the train 
- on airplanes 
- at work in the hospital (not just in my call room, but like... at the nurses' station and in the ER) 
I'm sure there are others, but I'm too sleep-deprived to think of them right now.

6. What is your favorite smell?

Newborn baby head. The amazingness of this smell is scientifically proven.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

encouraging preschooler independence

When I was in residency, doing pediatric check-ups in clinic, one of the questions we were prompted to ask parents of five-year-olds as part of the developmental assessment was, "Can your child prepare a bowl of cereal by himself?" Almost every time, the parent would look mildly startled and respond with something like, "I don't know. He's not allowed to do that."

As I sit here now, while four-year-old Faith puts a bib on her toddler sister and pours bowls of cereal for both of them... I think, those parents are crazy!!!

I mean, sure, sometimes she spills a little. But that's why we have the paper towels stored where she can reach them.

Here are some ways we're fostering our preschooler's independence:

- We have a small water dispenser and plastic cups on a low table in the kitchen so she can get herself a drink without help.

- The paper towels (as mentioned above) are on a holder that hooks on the cabinet doors under the sink, so she can reach them without a stool.

- Their toys are in open baskets -- no lids for easier and quicker putting-away-- with labels with pictures. The pictures are key. The pictures mean that my pre-readers know where everything goes. Not only does this lead to less "Mom, where's my _____?" but they can put things away more effectively too. Labels with pictures are by far my favorite kid-organization tip.

- Same thing for our three-section hamper, so Faith can pre-sort her own laundry. She does a reasonably good job.

- Same thing for their shoes. (I, uh, might go a little overboard on labels. But they're SO AWESOME!) And the 4-year-old's hanging-up clothes (mainly skirts and dresses) are on a lower closet rod so she can access them and dress herself without help.

- We have a "clean up chart" that helps Faith straighten up without getting too overwhelmed, so she can accomplish mini goals even before everything is done. One the left half of a laminated* sheet is "To Do" with a sad face, and a bunch of small velcro squares. On the right half is "Done" with a happy face, and more velcro squares. Then we have a bunch of small laminated pictures of their different categories of toys with velcro on the back. So when it's clean up time, we stick the pictures of whatever they need to clean up on the left, and when they're done with one category of items, they get to move that picture over to the right side.

What do you do to encourage your kids to be independent in their daily activities? Any gold mines I've missed?

*Yes, I have a laminator, and it is awesome.

Friday, June 5, 2015

{p/h/f/r} - tropical weirdness & silly babies

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}!


A strange thing about living close to the equator is the way the days are pretty much the same length year-round (not to mention the lack of seasonal variation in weather). It really weirded me out when we first moved here; it felt like summer, it was JULY for goodness' sake-- not that that makes much difference here-- and yet the sun was setting before 7pm. It also rises by around 6am every day... which tends to lead to early-rising toddlers as well. But one benefit of being up with the sun is getting to walk into your back yard and see this:


I mentioned in my last post about the free printable high-contrast images for newborns that I love. I claimed newborns love them too, and here I present Video Proof! Soak in the excited baby limb-flailing and fast breathing! (Oh, and a cameo from Josie.)


These are Faith's favorite socks. She wears them year-round. I've considered taking them out of her drawer and putting them away (on the closet shelf? with the seasonal decor? in the trash?), but I mean... if jack-o-lantern socks made ME that happy, I'd wear them too.


Having three little kids who are reasonably close in age is great. They love each other dearly. Faith and Josie play fantastically together (or, well, as fantastically as one could expect a toddler and preschooler to play). But then there are also times like these:


To the linkup with you!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

five favorites - newborn baby edition

With things how they are, 'round here we've been all about that baby, 'bout that baby. You know how it is. So now that I'm three kids in, I'm getting a pretty good idea of which newborn baby products I love and which I'm kinda just "meh" about. Here are five that I love!

1. Fisher Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper

Love this thing. It's portable and lightweight, doesn't take up much space, and gives me somewhere convenient to set the baby down during the day without worrying about him accidentally rolling off a piece of furniture, or getting stepped on by the dog. Plus it looks comfy. I kind of want a grown-up sized version.

We actually have a simpler version that doesn't vibrate, which is fine with me... I don't love the battery-operated kid-stuffs, myself. AND it was given to us by a friend, so.... free! Even better!

2. Free printable newborn infant visual stimuli

Twenty free high-contrast black-and-white images to print. I laminated some and hung them by the changing table. Jackson loves looking at them... he gets all quiet and alert, and his breathing gets fast and excited, and his eyes make little darting saccades all over them.

3. MoBoleez Breastfeeding Hat

So I know nursing covers are one of those topics that tend to spark Mommy Wars... so let me start by clearing the air: I do NOT think moms should be required to cover up when nursing their babies. But I personally feel more comfortable using a cover when I nurse in public. So I do.

This nursing cover was given to me at my most recent baby shower. I'd never seen one like this (I previously used one of those apron-style ones)... and I. LOVE. IT. It's so much quicker and easier and more unobtrusive. And smaller to carry around in my bag. And reversible and machine-washable. What's not to love?

3. Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper

This is one of those sidecar (a.k.a. attaches to my bed) co-sleepers. Again, we have an older, simpler version of this. But it's great for the first few months of life for breastfed babies. You have somewhere to put them down that's Not The Adult Bed, but you don't actually have to get out of bed to grab them for middle-of-the-night feedings. (I want to have baby to have a separate sleeping space because I'm a pediatrician and, y'know, SIDS risks. Though if there's any breastfeeding mom who claims she's NEVER slept with the baby in her own bed... I don't believe her. Even pediatrician moms.)

5. Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I don't know if this is the exact one I have, because I got mine for 50 cents at a rummage sale. (Score!) But any kind of muslin blanket would do. They're great because not only are they easy to swaddle with (more give than flannel or cotton receiving blankets, but less than jersey or waffle-weave), but they're also multi-purpose. You can use them as sun shades, nursing covers, changing surfaces, etc. Especially nice in hot weather since the muslin is so light and breathable.

Head back over to the linkup at Call Her Happy and read more favorites!

Monday, June 1, 2015

wiws - trinity sunday

It's my first time linking up with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday!

 Maxi dress: Old Navy
Camisole: Target maternity cami from years ago (works great as a nursing cami because it's so stretchy!)
Shrug: some generic thing from the Navy Exchange

Earrings and bracelets: Charming Charlie (cute birthday gift from my in-laws!)

Sandals: Famous Footwear

And how about what THEY wore Sunday?

Matchy-matchy polka-dot jersey dresses: Old Navy
(My girls love to match for church!)

Seersucker romper: hand-me-down from friends, not sure where it was originally from.

Now head back to the linkup to admire more well-dressed bloggers!