Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reboot With The New Year!

The kick off of 2012 is a perfect time to really take some personal inventory and ask yourself what are some changes I want to make. A New Year’s Resolution is no novel idea but the actual resolutions can be as novel as just about anything. Seriously, take a couple minutes to be silent and ask yourself what are some things that I’ve always wanted to do and haven’t gotten around to it.

Here’s a round tuit for ya so now you have no excuses! J
So many of us are tired, sick, and self-indulgent (especially during the holidays). We over-eat, over-drink, and over-do just about everything while enjoying special time with family and friends. Sure we all like to have a good time and relax our standards that we set for ourselves throughout most of the year but what has it done to our health? What has been the impact on our minds? My guess is that we are fatter, sicker, less energized, perhaps disorganized, maybe lack self-esteem and are downright drained from all the eating, drinking, and being merry. It’s actually common to slip into the blues after the holidays. This time of year it’s typically overcast with not much Vitamin D available to be soaked up and we have put on those holiday pounds that make us feel miserable. It certainly is encouraging to know that the New Year marks turning over a new leaf for many people! You can be one of those people. We have all the power within our grasp to make a change for ourselves.
If you are like me and want to quickly and healthfully get rid of the excess poundage from all that food and drink over the holidays, here is a great way to kick off your New Year with a bang!

Juice fasting!
I’m not talking about orange, grape, or apple juice from the store. Heck, I’m not even talking about that yummy green juice that they now sell at the store. I’m talking about juice that is packed with LIVE enzymes, nutrients, and minerals, the kind that is made from fresh, organic produce right in your own home. This kind of juice is the healthiest and best tasting. I could not afford to purchase a juicer at the time being so I simply put out a request on Facebook to borrow someone’s juicer. I was happily surprised when an old class-mate of mine was generous enough to offer me hers. What a gal! Now I am pretty much set for my 14 day juice fast that will start on New Year’s Day.
Some worry that this type of “diet” is dangerous because of the lack of food but let me inform you that it is the opposite of dangerous. In fact, my eating habits over much of my life have been dangerous. This juice fast will not only give me the nutrients and minerals that my body has so long cried out for but it will detox my system, help me to lose un-wanted fat, and give me lift off for my desired path of healthful living and having robust energy! I am so excited I can hardly wait. Yes, I still have one more party to go to before the New Year is here and I plan on eating all the crap I am surrounded by until my stomach hurts and I’ve put on another pound. But then I’ll say adios junk food, see ya next year!
I encourage all of you to go for whatever it is that your heart has been yearning for. Whether that be fitness and health, playing an instrument, devoting more time to family, dating more, finding a new job, whitening your teeth, cleaning out the attic, volunteering, or simply enjoying life more abundantly.  We all have room for growth and the potential to reach the heights we so desperately want to reach. It just takes that first step and then commitment. Go for your goal and reach for the sky! You can do it! May 2012 be the best year of your life yet!

Inspired by this documentary, "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" You gotta see this!

Enjoy Health,

In the words of a mother

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monthly Poem - December: Christmas Spirit

Oh family, what a cherished institution
It gives me great joy to which there is no substitution

Especially this time of year with meetings of cheer
Dinners prepared and the celebration of Jesus so near

The spirit of generosity and love abound
The hope of these things to be practiced year round

Figgy pudding and eggnog so fresh
A reminder that God came down in the flesh

Shopping, traffic, and madness at times
But it’s all worth it when you hear those Christmas bells chime

So gather with me and bow your head
We take this time to give thanks for our bread

We are grateful for all the news of good tidings
Waiting patiently for Rudolf to hitch up and start riding

For these are the things that signify Christmas
Give God all the glory for the abundance he gives us


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monthly Poem - November: Humility Cloak

Worried worried man, don’t put out the fire
Keep your decrying waves far from their desire

Don’t spit in their face with raving insult
Wait one moment and let tolerance exult

Allow the passionate to dream their dreams
Forget sounding the alarm mimicking their screams

In this day there are many things that haze
Pray for the lost, that they find their way

For they know the truth that awaits
Some choose not to heed but that is their place

Let them stay lost in their ignorant bliss
It’s not always necessary to shake your fists

Rest with patience. Be loving and kind
Humility always and relax your mind

To those who are broken, remember this rhyme
Hope serves the benevolent, every single time

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Year of Life, Cheyann Sue Higgins, 1st Edition, 2011

When I was preggo, a good friend of mine showed me these books she would make on for her daughter. They are sort of like a scrap book but you make it online and all you have to do is add pictures and captions. It's really helpful if you're not that creative but you want to create something because it will pretty much make the book for you if you select the tool that places the photos on the pages. It will arrange them for you. All you really have to do is upload pictures. Or if you are more of the creative type you can make it as custom as your little heart desires.

Each year my friend would include pictures and stories and things in the books. As her daughter grows she can relive all the memories and have wonderful keepsakes for the rest of her life. It's like a baby book on crack! You can make one every year and have a whole line of books just for your kiddo(s). It's really neat. Anyway, I decided to add a letter at the end of Cheyann's 1st year book and I wanted to share the love I have for her with you. This is the letter at the end of the '1st Edition' book  that I wrote to my daughter:

My daughter. My darling. You have captured and taken hostage of every facet of my heart. There is no greater love than the love a mother has for her child. It is like a raging fire that no amount of water in any ocean of the world could quench. Watching you grow and thrive over this past year has truly been my greatest joy. You will forever be my life’s chief accomplishment. You are as sweet of natured as any baby I have ever known. You are full of laughter and happiness. You always have a smile on your face, even upon waking in the morning. I can already tell you are going to have a strong mind and will of your own. That’s good. Those assets will take you wherever you want to go throughout your journey of life. You are blessed with many good qualities.
My dearest daughter, you hung the moon in my eyes. You are truly a testament of God’s glory.  I will for all of my days be your greatest advocate, biggest supporter, a gentle guide, a confidant and companion, a fierce defender and protector, and of course, a nurturing and loving mother. My love and prayers will always cover you. May God bless us all with many more years to share with an extraordinary, little lady such as you! 
                                                       Love Mommy

You can flip through the book below (not completely finished). It's pretty long, but Cheyann will really appreciate all of these moments captures and displayed in such a beautiful way when she is older!

Click the Full Screen link just above and to the right of the book for the best viewing.

Shutterfly photo books offer a wide range of artful designs and embellishments to choose from.

Check out if you are interested in making one of these really cool books!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vulnerability: A Dreaded Beauty


1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.

3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.

The very definition of vulnerable is enough to make just about anyone cringe. It suggests being open to real pain whether it be bodily, emotionally, or mentally. It’s enough to make someone build walls reminiscent of the walls of Jericho around their heart.

We are taught from a young age to protect our emotional state from mockery, our mental state from false doctrine or teachings, and our body’s from injury and/or pain. This very intrinsic notion we have to protect ourselves at all costs is quite useful. However, when it comes to the human relationship it can be quite a hindrance. It can squelch the very fire of human authenticity and interaction. I have experienced this, first hand, for many years.

As a child I was often labeled weird, fanciful, or overly romanticized in thought. I have distinct memories of someone that I looked up to as a young child making me feel as though I was an oddball and therefore not likable. I grew up essentially feeling as though something was wrong with me or that I was simply missing the mark of being a likable person. I became too concerned about people not liking me. Truth be told, I still struggle with that to this day. 

Being vulnerable can be done in many different ways. I find it hardest to be vulnerable in situations dealing with close friends or family when conflict arises. I am of the persuasion that in any relationship that you are even minimally invested, conflict will arise at one point or another. When conflict arises, my first reaction is to throw a fit in private and pledge to never talk to the person that hurt me ever again. This is a foolish attempt to punish someone for something they most likely aren’t even aware of and if they are aware of it they probably aren’t too concerned with how I feel. 

I have learned to push through my feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness and simply attempt to communicate with the other person how I am truly feeling. My goal is always to reach some sort of mutual understanding. Sometimes it doesn’t come out right. Most times the other person will then take that moment of my vulnerability to their advantage and punish me in some form or another. That is how they are dealing with their anger, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness or particular emotion. They are, most likely, similarly afraid to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability allows you to accept and love ALL of yourself, including your faults, fears, and insecurities. For instance, I love that I am highly sensitive and perhaps overly invested in making sure openness and communication is in all of my close relationships. Is it a source of rejection for me? Sure, often actually. Does it open me up for attack? Yes. Do people see me as bothersome for discussing my feelings? You bet. The beautiful thing is I am just starting to learn that I don’t need to trouble myself with another person's thoughts or opinions of me. That is a part of who I am and as long as I’m not hurting anyone all is good.

So go on, put yourself out there! Live life according to your own terms! Don’t dread allowing yourself to become vulnerable; you will in turn be beautiful!

Live Vulnerable,

In the words of a mother

Here are some wonderful quotes:

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
- Joseph Addison

To love at all is to be vulnerable.
 - C. S. Lewis

We all need somebody to talk to. It would be good if we talked, not just pitter-patter, but real talk. We shouldn't be so afraid, because most people really like this contact; that you show you are vulnerable makes them free to be vulnerable.
- Liv Ullmann

I think sexy is vulnerability, and there's no way you can act vulnerable. It just has to be there. -Michael Zaslow

I understand now that the vulnerability I've always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can't experience life without feeling life. What I've learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, it's a strength. -Elisabeth Shue

In the beginning, people think vulnerability will make you weak, but it does the opposite. It shows you're strong enough to care. -Victoria Pratt

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amber Teething Necklace: Does It Really Work?

There's a new hype about the Amber Artisan Teething necklaces that are sold as an alternative to baby Tylenol and the like. Of course, you are wondering do they work. First, let me give a little background about the necklace.

The amber (tree resin) comes from the coast of Lithuania, collected on the shores of the Baltic Sea. They are then crafted into beads by local artisans. The amber beads have in them a medicinal property called succinic acid which is said to have anti-inflammatory and a natural pain relieving capacity. It is worn as a necklace or a bracelet. As the skin warms the amber beads succinic acid is released and then absorbed into the skin. It's not meant to be chewed on. It is an ancient practice to use amber for the treatment of aches and pains. So does it work? I'll just say I am convinced they work as an anti-inflammatory if nothing else. I actually think they work for a calming effect much like a warm cup of tea before bed as well. However, I'm not convinced that they work for the intensity of teething molars.

I purchased one of these fairly inexpensive amber necklaces from Lithuania when Chey first started to teeth. She doesn't mind wearing it at all. One day, Chey fell over and bumped her head rather hard on the side of our coffee table. She hit so hard that it left a line of blood just under the surface of her skin. I freaked out because of how hard she hit but as I went to pick her up she didn’t seem that upset. I sat there with her for a minute or so and saw the blood thingy appear but I noticed that remarkably she didn’t have any swelling at all! None! Zero! Zip! I said to my husband, “Man, you think she would have a big knot on her head.” He replied, “Maybe it’s the amber teething necklace?” To me there is no other explanation. 

There were times when I would forget to put her necklace back on her after her nighttime bath. She would wake up in the middle of the night in pain. I would put her necklace on, lay her back down, and she would go to sleep rather easily. Now before you think I’m putting my baby at risk for strangulation, these necklaces are special made with the purpose of breaking if there were enough force put on it. It is also designed in a way that the beads will not scatter to eliminate choking hazards. 

I am not convinced that they can tackle the worst of teething like the molars. Now whiskey rubbed on the gums…that’ll do the trick! I’ve only resorted to whiskey once in desperation as Chey was screaming in agony for a stretch of 45 minutes in holy molar pain! Those kiddos sure are tough as nails!

Well then, quick recap:

Does the amber help with inflammation? I vote yes

Does the amber help with pain relief? Mild pain…I vote yes. Extreme pain…I vote not so much.

Does the amber help to calm and soothe? I vote yes

Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely

What is the price? Relatively cheap. I paid $26.90 for a 12"-13" necklace. (Fits babies) That includes shipping too!

If I’m totally off my rocker on this one, so be it, but at least they make an adorable international accessory!

Here's to easy teething, in the words of a mother.

For more information visit this site

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monthly Poem - October

Yes I make out with my food to savor the taste

Yes I dance with the water in my shower when it warms my cold bones
And Yes I feel the same way about my lover
His taste is sweet and his warmth covers me

Yes I talk to myself out loud when I need to figure something out
Yes I laugh at the oddest things
And Yes I feel the same way about my siblings
They let me think out loud to figure it out and we laugh at the strangest things

Yes I happily put my pants on both legs at the same time for efficiency
Yes I blissfully speed to make better time
And Yes I feel the same way about my daughter
Her needs must be met with joyful effectiveness and in idyllic haste

Yes I sing in tune with the birds to cheer me up
Yes I skip over the cracks in the sidewalks
And Yes I feel the same way about my best friend
She sings with me when I need cheered up and she overlooks my faults and cracks

Yes I lay in my bed when I need to cry
Yes I take some Tylenol when I have a headache
And Yes I feel the same way about my mother
She lets me lay on her to cry and she soothes my aches with her love

Yes I turn off all the lights when I leave the room
Yes I open the windows when nice weather comes
And yes I feel the same way about my life
When my lights are turned out I will be done and nice weather will still arrive

~Enjoy poetry in the words of a mother

Monday, October 3, 2011

Holiday Stress and The Art of Giving

I know it's only October, but the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye and I am reminding myself now that I will NOT be buying ANY Christmas gifts this year for anyone! I don't even want to teach my daughter that Christmas means getting tons of presents more so than being with family! Maybe a couple gifts for her but this obsession with materialism in our society has GOT TO GO! Call me boring, but I'm not going to live with the stress that people all to often get under during the holidays.

However, giving is not to be scoffed at. I think that we should be in a constant mental state that allows us to be geared up to give at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t always have to be a material item like toys for your nephew or a new watch for your mom. You can give gifts that are far more meaningful and last a lifetime in the hearts and minds of another that come straight from your own heart. It can be the readiness to give your ear to listen, your shoulder for a tear, or your mind for a helpful idea. It can be the eagerness to give a kiss to your spouse, some playtime with your child, or even a phone-call to chat with a lonely friend. You can give encouraging words to a downtrodden co-worker or a struggling teenager. Give a hand to the old widow in the grocery store or talk to the old man who seems in need of a good conversation. Tell the gal that gave you free advice on a business phone call that she’s a smart cookie and has been very helpful. Bake some cupcakes or a dish and take it to a family member or friend to warm their heart in their time of need. Visit your family more often and make them a priority. Let your best friend know that you value everything they have to say and that you enjoy and appreciate their companionship. Pull your spouse in close and tell them that no matter how hard things get or how bleak things seem that you are committed to see the marriage steadfast and enduring. Give a blanket to a cold, homeless person even if they are a drug addict. Be soft and patient with the lady behind the counter at the deli even if she’s rude. She might have lost someone close to her recently. Find some things in your house that are nice and you aren’t using; give them to someone. Help your family and friends when they are moving into a new house. Give your time to your children, not just when they need it but when they want it. Give your honest advice when someone truly wants it and is in need of wisdom.
Apparently I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Don't mistake me for saying that buying a material gift is never a good, thoughtful, or even the best option. But giving doesn’t have to be turned into who can buy the most expensive item or how can we outdo what we did last year. Even gift giving on the holidays can be as simple as any of the suggestions above. We don’t need to get ourselves into a frantic and spend tons of money or go into debt just to be able to get some relatively meaningless gift for a friend or family member. Sure it’s so much fun to go shopping and find deals and wrap things in pretty paper and bows. But let us be sure it is not in place of some of the simpler things of life? Do we really need a better toaster or a new scarf? Do our kids really need 10 new, shiny toys that eventually fade and end up cluttering up their toy box, sitting next to the rest of the toys they no longer notice? Does the exchange of $50 gift cards really make a difference in the kinship of family? I always find it hilarious how I’ll get someone a $50 gift card to a restaurant and they’ll get me a $50 gift card to a department store. Why don’t we just spend some time together, go out to eat, go shopping afterwards and keep our own money? Oh well. This year I vow to not make any purchases for Christmas and if you buy me something I will still be very appreciative. I will accept it graciously and with a warm spirit, but please don’t feel any less loved when you don’t receive a “wrapped” gift in return. I love you and value having you, my dear friends and family as an intricate part of my life! I am excited and am very much looking forward to the holidays this year! It’s my favorite season for a reason. Because each year it breaks my heart wide open again for the magical cheer and gift giving on a deeper level!
Happy early holidays in the words of a mother!

Oh and I'm planning on doing lots of baking this season so get ready friends, family, and neighbors for pies and cookies! I want to try some new experimenting this baking more from complete scratch!

I am totally making this drink for the holidays this year! See link below for recipe.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Civil Rights and Our Part In Current Times.

I saw a movie last night called “The Help”. This picture was incredibly moving and immensely inspirational. I feel it is a must see for people in this day who easily forget that the road to civil liberties for blacks was paved, not long ago, by the hard work of compassionate and committed people in the violent era of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I have to stop there for a minute to expound upon that, the 1950’s and 1960’s. My mother was born in the year 1960. She was a baby during some of the most heated times such as the 1960 lunch-counter sit-ins at the Wollworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina and the ‘Freedom Rides’ of 1961. She had just turned 3 years old when a month later the leader of the Jackson, Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, Medgar Evers, was shot and killed at his home. That same year four little girls were killed in the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama church. Also in late August 1963 was the year the infamous Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in the nation’s capital.

Our generation is not so far removed from this historic time that the effects of such ungodly treatment of blacks is not still lingering in the hearts and minds of young black men and women. Think about it this way. I am 27 years old. My mother is now 51. My grandmother who recently died at the age of 71 was a young adult with a baby during that time. So if my family would have simply been born black I would have a grandmother who dealt with racial terrorism, was denied the right to vote, not allowed to drink from certain water fountains, unable to sit in certain areas of public transportation vehicles, unable to have her children attend certain schools, unable to obtain decent, let alone equal paying jobs, unable to purchase a home where she chose, etc. The list of inequity is far outreaching and I have not so much as touched upon the treatment these black men, women, and children faced in their everyday lives in the seemingly simplest forms of denied respect from their white neighbors. My grandmother would have been ignored, scoffed at, treated as a slave, spit at, yelled at, and generally treated as less than. All the while having a tiny baby to take care of and rear in the way of her black perspective. Then along come my older sister, me, and my younger brother. All black children of a black mother who was raised by her black mother who knew only 300 hundred years of slavery of her race and lived in a time where blacks were treated sometimes worse than dogs. Do we as white people really, REALLY think that black men, women, and children today are not still affected by this oh so recent past? Are we so arrogant to think that if the tables were turned and it had been white people that lived this past that we would all of sudden now be able to turn off that switch and say oh well? We’ll just move on and forget about it. Slavery and the inability to vote didn’t happen to me, only my mother but she doesn’t matter. What she went through shouldn’t affect me. HOGWASH!!! These people are still out there in our workforce struggling to get an interview, let alone an equal paying job! They have just come out of FORCED poverty. I wonder if in some areas we should still consider it forced poverty. Are they supposed to just stand up and say, I am equal and competent, ready for a college degree and an equal paying job? How it that some think that would be so easy? It is not!

I like to think of it this way. It takes an extremely intelligent, bright, motivated individual to think outside of what they have been taught. The vast majority of people fall into the same patterns of lifestyle that they were raised in i.e. job, education level, political views, religious views, eating habits, other habits, etc. I’m not saying that you should give up, change, or denounce your upbringing. What I’m saying is that we need to have understanding and empathy towards others and simply realize that everybody is brought up with a certain, unique perspective and that is what they have to work with as of now.

Let us all understand that the affirmative action program, reparations such as college tuition grants, medical care and the like for blacks are simple ways of our country saying, we realize what you have done FOR us, what we have done TO you, and the lingering effects of a history so turbulent and filled with hardship. This is the least we could do to help give you a leg up. We believe in you!

"The Help" was such a wonderful movie as it compelled me to challenge some of my current fundamental beliefs that I hold today. Will I look back one day and say, "Wow...I can't believe I had that world-view?!"

Be encouraged my black brothers and sisters by and in the words of a mother.

Brings tears to my eyes every time...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Babyproofing Your House, Non-Toxic Style!

It's about that time. Your baby is crawling, maybe walking and getting into everything! AHHH!!! That's what every mother is screaming on pretty much a daily basis. It is past the time to baby proof the house!

Where and what are some of the places and things your child gets into? My little daffodil is always getting under the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, she stands up putting her hands on the the toilet seat (yuck) and did I mention she loves to play with the cords on the blinds! Those are a few things she takes special interest in.

My first purchase ever for baby proofing the house were outlet stuffers and these little cord winder upper thingamajigs for the blinds. They are really cool, but for real...just tuck the cord up in between a couple slats of the blinds. After that I thought to myself...I don't really need to spend a lot of money on baby proofing the house because I have a better idea! For instance, lock your baby in a padded room with nothing to choke on or hit their head on! Kidding kidding. What? Really? You took me seriously for a minute?

No, for real. My kitchen and bathroom cabinets were the two places that were my biggest fear of her getting into. Why? You guessed it! Because of all those nasty chemicals for household cleaning. So, you want to know what I did? I replaced ALL of my household cleaning supplies with Non-Toxic products! Wooohoooo! 

 - I have baking soda and vinegar for my bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. 
     Sprinkle baking soda then spray with vinegar. Allow to bubble and scour or wipe away.

- I have olive oil and vinegar for dusting and furniture polishing. 
      Mix equal parts for polish. Add extra vinegar for routine dusting. Put in old, clean spray bottle.

- I have essential lemon oil just to make my home smell on the fresh side rather than the baby poop side!
     Add this to furniture polish.

- I have vinegar mixed with warm water and lemon juice to mop my floors. 
     Fill sink with hot water, add 1/2 C vinegar and squeeze a whole lemon into water. Leave lemon in water.

Let's see...that's about it! I don't have to bother buying a different product for each area to clean. A few common, cheap household items do the job and do it right.

I also have to say that I never have to hold my breath while cleaning. Using bleach or CLR, etc. always smelled so potent and I would dread cleaning the bathroom for that simple reason. I love that I never have to worry about my baby crawling in the bathroom while I'm cleaning, fearful that she'll breathe in irritating chemicals.

Using these cleaning products is a total win-win all the way around. They are cheap, easy, smell better, does NOT irritate skin, eyes, or lungs, and safe for baby and mama. Oh and don't forget, better for the environment. Yay! As the McDonalds people say...I'm lovin' it!

Happy Cleaning,

In the words of a mother!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Be Bold! Make a Change!

The following is a daily devotional written by Joyce Meyer. She nails it as far as how the actions of a mother, whether it be fear based or based in an attitude of boldness can be strongly conveyed to the lives of our children. What we do sends shockwaves into the atmosphere of our children’s hearts and minds.

Stepping into the Unknown
by Joyce Meyer - posted August 21, 2011

And I said to you, You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God gives us. Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has said to you. Fear not, neither be dismayed.
—Deuteronomy 1:20-21
Parents, teachers, and other role models can teach children how to fear or they can teach them to be bold. A mother who is fearful herself will transmit that fear to her children. She will be overly cautious about many things, and a silent fear sinks into the heart of her children. We should not teach our children to live recklessly, but we should teach them to be bold, take action, and to never be so afraid of making mistakes that they won't try things. I believe we should teach our children and those under our authority to take chances in life. If we never take a chance, we will never make progress. Progress always requires stepping into the unknown. Experience gives us confidence, but we never get experience unless we step out and try things we have not tried before.
I encourage you to teach others by word and example how to be bold and courageous. Tell people to try things, reminding them that making a mistake is not the worst thing that can happen.
Lord, help me both in word and deed to show others to be bold and courageous. I will gladly follow You into the unknown. Amen.

It’s time to stand up and make BOLD decisions in your own life so that you might be happier and so that your children can learn from your courageous character! Step out into the unknown! Step out in faith! Step out and do that thing you have always wanted to do but have been too afraid of failure. Tell yourself that you are full of courage! Now go out…be audacious…live a life worth living!

Speak volumes with your actions…in the words of a mother.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Personal Constitution

Currently I am reading an exceedingly helpful book entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” As I am reading I am learning about paradigms or you might call them world views. Questions have arisen in me as I read. What are my paradigms that I use to navigate through life? What are some of my world views? What are my core values? Why are they my values? What do I want to change in myself? What do I want to enhance about myself (other than my boobies)? What do I want out of life? How do I achieve those desires while staying consistent and true to my values?
Upon further reading the author listed a couple of “personal constitutions” as examples for his readers. You could also call it a personal philosophy or creed. I thought…hmmmmm??? I wonder what my personal constitution would look like if I wrote it out. I decided I wanted to see on paper (computer screen) what my core values and personal constitution would be. Here is mine. What is yours?

In no particular order:
My Personal Constitution
Seek and merit divine help
Never compromise with honesty and loyalty in all relationships
My wants will be subject to my needs and my means.
Question and consider use of products and materials as a necessity and do NOT waste
Be mindful about what I eat and feed my family
Be mindful of what I put on or in my body as well as Chey’s
My home will be organized, clean, and comfortable
Listen twice as much as I speak
Defend those who are absent
Hear both sides before judging
Remember the people involved
Be open-minded to differences of thought, opinion, and ways of doing things
Accept others exactly where they are at
Forgive always
Keep a mind-set towards unity
Be humble in speech, behavior, and attitude
Be conscience of appointments, time, dates, and commitments
Be a person who is willing to give your word and then keep it
Walk in an attitude of gratitude
Walk in love in ALL situations
Be thoughtful of others desires, wants, and needs
Be involved in community and charities
Be decisive and strive towards set goals
Of course over the period of time, values and ideas of what you focus on may change. You may add to or take away certain things. However, most of the things you list will be true for you yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It’s how you go about operating in these values that makes you and I unique to everyone else. What are a couple of your personal mottos listed on your constitution?
Cheers to self-awareness and reflection in the words of a mother.

Monday, July 25, 2011


So, I have been doing a bit of research because I have been suffering pretty intensely from anemia as of late. I know, I know...a simple fix right? Just take the supplement or eat more iron rich foods! Actually, my hubby is going to the store tonight to get me a supplement to get some iron in me quick! Then I'll need to start being more responsible with the way I eat because this dizziness, heart-racing, shortness of breath, ZERO energy, and overall crappy feeling is getting OLD! I've been anemic pretty much since my early teenage years when I began to have a monthly menstrual cycle. During my research I had a thought that turned into a theory.

It’s no secret that women tend to want to eat everything in sight during that time of the month! We have cravings to eat just about everything. And it dawned on me...are we eating all kinds of things because our bodies are HUNGRY FOR IRON?! We shovel bite after bite of ice cream, chocolate, pizza, and more junk but our hunger never seems to subside. Could it be our bodies are searching and searching for that food that will give it the extra iron it needs? I think maybe!

Here is a list of iron rich foods:
·         Red meat
·         Egg yolks
·         Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards, beet leaves)
·         Beet root
·         Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
·         Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
·         Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
·         Turkey or chicken giblets
·         Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
·         Liver
·         Artichokes

Be sure to get plenty of Vitamin C so your body can more easily absorb the iron! Also, for you nursing mommies, your baby depends on most of their iron intake from your breastmilk so don't neglect this important mineral!

Health and happiness in the words of a mother!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comfort in Cloth!

Okay. So many people are curious about cloth diapers and why I use them, how satisfied I am with them, what they look like, and so on. I didn't do a lot of research about the nasty chemicals in diapers and yada yada before investing in cloth diapers. I just thought to myself, waste waste waste! Diaper after diaper I was throwing away in the trash can that would eventually end up in a land fill somewhere taking anywhere from 150-300 years to decompose according to whichever source you read. Either way, that's a heck of a long time for that many diapers to be rotting on our earth for no good reason other than convenience. 

So I bought 4 cloth diapers, diaper inserts (the thingies you stick inside the pocket of the cloth diaper to soak up the pee), cloth wipes, and a wet bag (bag to keep wet diapers and smells in) to try 'em out! I was so excited when I received my new, adorable cloth diapers.

The new and improved cloth diapers are a far cry from what my mom used! They are so cool. They come in all kinds of different colors, designs, fasteners, etc. So far I really like the cloth diapers! I bought the brand bumGenius. I purchased 3 different styles in this brand to see what I liked best. The cloth diaper world is full of lingo and sometimes it's hard to follow along so I will try to explain simply.

One style I bought was an all-in-one. This means the diaper has the pad that soaks up the pee sewn directly into the diaper. All cloth diapers have a pocket that you can stick inserts (pads) inside of to soak up more moisture. Even the all-in-one diaper has the pocket where you can stick and extra insert in there if you choose. However, my experience with the all-in-one style is not ideal. It takes twice as long to dry than a non all-in-one diaper and mine got mildew in it. As of now I am still trying to get the mildew out. This is not easy since I banned bleach from my home! I recently set it outside in the sun to dry, which heat and sunlight are supposed to kill mildew. It doesn't smell anymore, but I haven't used it since and when my gal pees, that's when you can really smell the mildew. We shall see. 

Hook and Loop, Pocket
Another style I bought is what's called the hook and loop style. This style is my favorite! It's Velcro just like a disposable and it seems to fit my daughter better than the others. It is pocket style, meaning you simply put the insert inside the pocket and remove when you wash.

Snaps, Pocket
The last type of diaper I bought was the pocket style as well but with snaps. This one is cool because you can snap it however tight you need and you don't have to worry about latching the Velcro when you go to wash the diapers. However, I just don't care for the fit of this diaper. I will be purchasing more Velcro, pocket style, cloth diapers with inserts very soon!

What are the more specific pros and cons you might ask? As with anything there are trade-offs. For me though, the pros far out way the cons. 

As I mentioned before, no more unnecessary waste! Secondly, no more nasty chemicals near my precious daughter's flower petals (privates). Thirdly, never have to buy diapers again and when we are done with them we can actually sell or give them to someone else, disinfected of course. Forth, they are more comfortable for my daughter.

There are some minimal cons to consider. For instance, they leak a bit easier than disposables, but just keep a change of clothes handy wherever you go or change the diapers more often to avoid leaks. No big deal. Also, there is the washing of course. Sure, it's easy to just toss the poopy diaper in the trash and never think about it again, but guess who will have to think about it again someday? That's right your child or their children when the landfills start becoming a bigger problem. Convenience should rarely be considered an option over responsible, earth-conscience living.

So what do they look like? Here are a couple pictures of my tulip in her Velcro, pocket style, pink, cloth diaper! She’s a doll and loves the comfort of her cloth diapers!

For more information and pictures of cloth diapers visit
 This is where I purchased my diapers, wipes, wet bags, and inserts. They actually have more than just diapers on this site. It is a great place to find alternative baby care items. Plus...FREE SHIPPING!

Cloth diapers seem like an expensive purchase at first but if you calculate all the money you'll spend on disposable diapers and wipes over the years you can't beat it. Plus, you can't measure in dollars and cents the comfort and safety your child will have while wearing these beautiful, cotton, cloth diapers!

Contact me for more information and tales of cotton and comfort in the words of a mother!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Time to go to Sleepy Town: How To Gently Get Your Baby There

Adequate sleep in essential for everyone! Perhaps it is most important for a developing, little person. There is a certain sleep criteria that is recommended for healthy brain development as your sweet pea grows. Keep in mind your child is unique and may need more or less sleep than the chart below states. The most important thing to remember is you know your baby better than anyone else.

1 week 16.5 hrs
1 month 15.5 hrs
3 months 15 hrs
6 months 14.25 hrs
12 months 13.75 hrs
2 years 13 hrs
4 years 11-12 hrs
5 years 11 hrs
10 years 9.75 hrs
Adolescent 7.5 hrs (school night)
Adolescent 8.75 hrs (weekend)

The subject of having a baby is synonymous with sleep deprivation. So what is a parent to do? For the first few months it is common for the mother to breastfeed or give their baby a bottle every 2 to 3 hours. But what happens when someone tells you that after 3 months your baby should have all of their nutritional needs met during the day and be sleeping completely through the night? What is the definition of sleeping through the night? What if your baby is 6 months old and still wakes up during the night? Whose way of dealing with a waking baby is the right way?

To answer the last question, usually YOUR way is the right way! As a new parent, we are experiencing everything that comes with parenthood for the first time. So we take the advice that others have to give us very seriously, trying to implement what we have been taught in the way we care for our child. Sometimes the advice is spot on and sometimes it is as useless as a wet match.

For instance, I was told by several people in my circle of family and friends that when my baby was 7 or 8 months old and going to bed at 10 or 11 o’clock at night and still waking up for a feeding in the middle of the night that it was way past due to let her “cry it out”. This method is very common and used by many parents to get their children sleeping through the night. My problem with this method is that in my gut I felt that for me and my child this was NOT the answer.

I’m not knocking those that use the cry it out method, but what I am saying is that there are other, more gentle ways to teach your child how to develop healthy sleeping habits without leaving them to feel abandoned. I strongly believe that the relationship that I had/have with my daughter did in no way warrant me leaving her in her crib to cry for an hour and a half until she was so exhausted she simply gave up, realizing that mommy isn’t here, and isn’t coming for me. In essence that is exactly what the cry it out method teaches.

I was afforded much flexibility with my daughter’s sleep schedule (or lack thereof) because I am a stay at home mom. For the first 7 months I basically had NO schedule! It was nice to have the ability to be flexible, but never feeling like I could make plans for my day or counting on a restful night took its toll on me and I’m afraid to say my baby as well. So I took it upon myself to create a schedule that would make life easier!

I first had to make up my mind on what sleeping schedule would best suit my lifestyle as well as taking into account what is the best for my child. You will have to figure that out and then forge ahead working towards that goal. I will just talk about what I decided and implemented and you can feel free to tweak it to you and your child’s needs.

Set a goal:
My ideal sleeping schedule was 12 hours and night with a bedtime at 8:00 P.M. and a 2 hour nap during the day. This gave Chey adequate sleep and gave me a much needed break in the evening and once during the day!

Night time feedings:
I decided that I would not wean my child off of night feedings until SHE was ready. I did not care what a family member, friend, expert, or doctor had to say on this subject. If my child wanted fed, whether it be for nutrition or simply comfort, I was willing to wake up and feed her. If you are a working mom you may want to wean night-time feedings sooner than your child stops asking to be fed at night, and there are steps you can take to do this tenderly. See the bottom of article for suggestions on this subject.

Set up a night-time routine:
This is something you will carry out every single night with consistency. Be sure to begin the routine every night at the same time or as close to the same time as possible. Unless there are plans that keep you from doing this routine, it should be followed precisely to get the best results. Your routine will cue your child that bed time is right around the corner and then they pretty much ask you to put them to bed!

Implement your goals:
At 7:00 P.M. I start Cheyann’s night-time routine which is dinner, bath, snuggle time with mommy and/or daddy, then bed. You could add story-time to this routine if you choose. At first your child will act pretty much the same as before, but there is another series of steps to do after they are put down to go to sleep which are just as important as the night-time routine. Below is a list of steps that you can take if she doesn’t fall asleep right away and begins to cry in her crib. They should be helpful in getting your baby used to having a regular bed time.

First, rule out any possibility that your child is sick or in pain being the reason for not sleeping. Also, be sure to rule out hunger or a dirty diaper as the cause for not sleeping. Sometimes a last minute poopy can escape our attention and wreak havoc on our attempts to put the kiddos to bed! If it is simply that your child does not know how to sleep without YOUR help continue on with the following steps.

Step 1:
Make sure the environment in conducive to sleeping, i.e. dark, calm, and quiet.

Step 2:
Lay baby in crib at desired bedtime while they are still awake but sleepy. If baby cries and wants you to pick her up be sure you DO NOT pick her up. Instead lay her back down, pat/rub her back, then simply walk calmly and quietly out of the room.

Step 3:
If crying persists, wait 3 minutes and then go back into her room and gently lay her down in her crib again. Pat/rub back or tummy but DO NOT pick her up and do not stay in the room longer than 1 or 2 minutes. Leave room again even if your baby is crying or standing up in crib.

Step 4:
Now wait 5 minutes to go into room to comfort child if crying persists. Gently lay baby back down and rub back but again DO NOT stay in the room longer than 1 or 2 minutes.

Step 5:
Repeat the process but waiting longer and longer intervals between the times you go back in the room to comfort until the child falls asleep for the night. Your intervals should be something like 3 minutes, then 5, 7, 10, 15, etc.

A few nights of doing the night-time routine you set up and following the suggested intervals of leaving the room and returning to comfort should work like a charm and soon your child will be ready for bed at the same time every night! You have to be flexible too in the sense that if your child is teething or has a headache you may want to be more consolatory for your little one. However, more often than not your baby just needs more sleep and consistency is key!

One more common problem parents create for themselves and their children is waiting to long before putting their kids to bed. I am a strong believer that children should be on a schedule that makes sense with yours. However, don’t choose a bedtime for your kids that is so late that they are overly tired which now makes it that much harder to be put down at bedtime. Watch for signs of sleepiness. Is your baby rubbing their eyes or have a red ring around their eyes? Do they yawn or act fussy and more needy than usual? Any of these signals indicate that you’ve already waited a bit too long, so act fast!

Night time feeding weaning suggestions:
If you are hard pressed to wean your child off of night time feedings there are a few steps you can take to do this. First, make sure your child is receiving nutritious meals during the day that are sure to meet their daily nutritional needs. A good tip is to feed your baby a dinner high in protein since protein is known to make you full for longer periods of time. Then, take a good look at how you are putting your child to sleep. Are you letting them fall asleep while nursing, bottle feeding, or rocking? This will, for most, unnecessarily interfere with you and your baby getting a full night of sleep. Think about it, you nurse your baby to sleep, put them in their crib asleep only to wake up a few hours later in a dark place without the warmth of their mommy or daddy. So they cry out for you to come repeat the nursing/feeding/rocking process all over again. It is important for a child to develop their OWN sleep soother such as playing with a soft blanket or animal, twirling their hair, or singing a song softly to themselves. Each baby will develop a soother unique to them! By following the steps above you will most likely promote your baby to sleep sounder and for longer periods of time.

Good luck and hopefully you and your precious gem can get into a routine that is easier and healthier for everyone involved! Would love to hear what has worked for you! Love the sleep talk in the words of a mother!

Good night
Sleep tight
Don’t let the bed bugs bite

And if they do
Beat ‘em with a shoe
Until they’re black and blue