Saturday, June 26, 2010

Meet Muffin

With bold blue eyes and a beautifully gummy smile, three teeth peeking out from behind her lower lip, our little Muffin is a show stopper. She attracts attention, ooooh's and ahhhh's, literally everywhere she goes. She gravitates toward people. Her heart is kind and she loves to make people smile. Her beautifully sweet high-pitched squeal makes my heart dance with joy. Sometimes, when she falls asleep nursing, her tiny hand resting on my breast, I look at her and my heart swells up with love and it feels like it might explode.

She is the joy of my life. And I can't believe she's ONE!!!!

I will be sending these out with thank yous for everyone that came to her 1st birthday party. Yes, she was eating her cake with a spoon. (Notice the muffin we used as a topper? Clever, huh?!?) While it would have been fun for her to smash into the cake with her hands, she had her own idea about how she was going to do it.

Corporal Punishment

Over dinner last night some friends and I had a short discussion on corporal punishment. It was a short conversation because this is a sensitive subject, especially because I love my friends and we don't share the same opinions on this topic.

Here's the scoop on the subject: As a parent, I see something very wrong with hitting a child in order to express your disagreement with something they have done or said. I am hitting you because you hit Johnny and you shouldn't do that. I am hitting you because you are whining/ throwing a fit (you fill in the blank) and this is not a good time or place. Hitting a child simply does not teach them long term discipline, respect or empathy for others. See this article on Gentle Discipline for some alternative ideas to teach discipline that avoid corporal punishment.

Read this article on Undermining General Beliefs about Corporal Punishment. This was linked from the API (Attachment Parenting International) Blog and it reflects my thoughts exactly.

And to address the whole spare the rod spoil the child nonsense that is often used as an excuse to hit your children... shepherds didn't use the rod to beat their sheep - and children are certainly more valuable than sheep. I am by no means an expert on the bible but what I do know is that Jesus preached gentleness, love, and understanding.

With all this being said, I have realized over the past year of parenting our little Muffin that sometimes the rules/ ideas that we think will be best just don't end up working for us. I truly cannot think of a scenario where I would feel like Yes, this is a good reason to hit my child. Hitting her will really teach her a lesson.

In parenting, I've learned never say never. I guess that means I can say with 99.9% certainty that I will never use corporal punishment.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Multi tasking: the art of mediocrity

As a mom and a business owner, I have been forced to organize my life; I need to get the most out of my time, as it is in short supply. For me this means often going back to evaluate (and reevaluate when necessary) my priorities to make sure that my life is properly aligned. The goal of this, of course, is to minimize time spent on work (business or household) and maximize the amount of time I spend with family and doing other recreational things I enjoy.

This brings me to the topic of multitasking. Our society is full of it; talk on the phone while sending an email, check Facebook on your iPhone while sitting at a stoplight, etc., etc. etc. With a constant to-do list a mile long, sometimes it makes sense to multitask. For example, I might plan my household cleaning so that I start the washer and dishwasher first, clean the rest of the house, and by the time I’m done I can switch the clothes to the dryer and unload the dishwasher. This is a great example of planning for maximum efficiency. Simple enough, right?

What I avoid doing is checking my email over dinner, writing a to-do list while I am supposed to be having “Kate time,” or texting while having a face-to-face conversation with my husband. While I may have emails to check or blog posts to write, being true to my values means that I am not doing those things while I am sitting at the dinner table. Why? Because there are some things that deserve my undivided attention. I hold “being present in the moment” high on my priority list and my family, friends and clients deserve to have all of me.

Our fast paced, success driven society puts great value on tasks accomplished. I admit it, I love writing out lists and scratching them off when they are complete. But in the end, I will not reflect back on my life and say, “I had a wonderful life because I got so much done!” I am more likely to reflect back on the special moments I spend with my children, the intimate moments I share with my husband and fun times spent with friends. For me, the importance lies in seeking a balance between the two: accomplishing daily tasks and making time for the real joys of life.

Who wants to do a mediocre job at everything when you can do a phenomenal job with only the things you really care about?

Look for more soon on the topic of outsourcing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Throo the Zoo 5k

I finished my first race today. I was not happy with my time, which was right around 34 minutes. I wanted to finish in under 30 minutes. What the hell happened? Well, first off, I spit out my old gum and then forgot to get a new piece before the race started and my mouth was dry through the race. Annoying, yes, but that didn't really affect my time. There was no clear start and finish line. That was a real barrier to me keeping accurate time. You would think that the organizers of the race might think of that. I later saw a photo of the "start" line- a poster board that said start. There were around 2000 people registered- a poster board is not sufficient labeling, guys! I never saw a finish line, I just thought I should stop running when I saw others had stopped and were standing in line for bagels and coffee. Weird. Physically speaking, my right knee had been bothering me all week. I didn't have any problem with it today, thank goodness! I did have a side stitch for a small amount of time but it subsided fairly quickly.

Thinking back, I have been able to consistently improve my time while running the same route over and over. I really think knowing what to expect played some part in it. In the route I run near the house, I know what time I should be running at certain points during the run to stay on target. I didn't know the course today and didn't have any idea how far I'd run. (I saw a mile marker at mile 1, but not after that.)Also, I was afraid that I might start off too quickly then be too tired at the end to finish strong. When the race started, and for the first half mile or so, I fought through crowds of people who were walking. Evidently they didn't get the memo that they were supposed to stick toward the back.

Overall, this experience has encourage me to train more. Since I have only been running for 3 weeks, I am pretty darn proud that I was even able to run 3.1 miles! This is the furthest that I have ever run in my life!!

After the run, we enjoyed some Cracker Barrel with the in-laws and then headed back to the zoo. Pretty nice Saturday. And for all of my hard work, I am enjoying a beer as I type this! As a side note, we found out that Aunt Becca is the same height as an average gorilla.

Here are a few photos from the day. Enjoy!

This was my competition... think I will ever have a chance of keeping up with him? He finished in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy 3 Year Anniversary, Luke!

I may not always tell you how wonderful you are and thank you for everything you do for our family. So I decided to tell you, and the world.

• Thank you for always cleaning up the dishes after dinner.

• Thank you for learning the “Hot Dog” dance because Kate likes it.

• Thank you for going to the gym and keeping your hot bod!

• Thank you for not missing one single OB appointment during my pregnancy.

• Thank you for understanding that lack of sleep can do crazy things to me.

• Thank you for filling my car up with gas, especially when it’s cold outside!

• Thank you for choosing family time over football with the guys on Sundays (I know what a big deal this is to you!)

• Thank you for encouraging me to take a risk and start my business. I now have a career that I love and I never would have had the courage to start it, if it weren’t for you.

• Thank you for working really hard to provide for our family so I can spend most of my time with Kate.

• Thank you for keeping up with our checkbook and paying bills on time.

• Thank you for understanding that keeping Kate’s nighttime routine consistent is more important than meeting friends for dinner.

• Thank you for forgiving me when I don’t communicate well.

• Thank you for giving me backrubs practically every night.

• Thank you for reading Dr. Bradley’s “Husband Coached Childbirth” cover to cover and going to 12 weeks of Bradley Method Classes to learn how to help me through Kate’s delivery.

• Thank you for learning the words to the “Oompa Loompa Song” because Kate likes it.

• Thank you for always getting me really thoughtful gifts.

• Thank you for telling me I’m beautiful even when I have on no makeup and my hair looks terrible.

• Thank you for showing me kindness everyday, even if I don’t really deserve it.

• Thank you for folding and putting away the laundry when I wash and dry it (teamwork, baby!)

• Thank you for doing Kate’s nighttime routine- bath, bottle, books and singing- every single night.

• Thank you for your constant companionship.

• Thank you for folding the towels the exact way I like them folded.

• Thank you for making muffins and pancakes for me on Sunday mornings.

• Thank you for supporting my efforts to exclusively breastfeed Kate by helping me get her positioned correctly and checking her latch- you helped us get off to a great start!

• Thank you for taking care of all the “manly” chores that I would hate to do (mowing the yard, taking out the trash.)

• Thank you for doing all of my sister’s handy-man work until she got a good boyfriend to help her with that stuff.

• Thank you for being the most wonderful husband and father I could have ever imagined. You really are my knight in shining armor!

• Thank you for being my best friend.

• Thank you for being you.

I love you more than you could ever know.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sleep? What's that?!

I have been reading "The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night" by Elizabeth Pantley. First, let me say that our little Muffin is a fairly good sleeper, aside from days when she is having lots of pain with teething. She still wakes on average of 3 times per night though, for short nursing sessions. Based on the average sleep needs of other babies her age, I have found (after logging her sleep patterns) at she is about 2 hours deficient per day. Along with increasing her calorie intake during daylight hours, this is the routine I have come up with for her with the advice from the book:

Sleep Routines
to be followed as closely as humanly possibly!


1. Turn on water sounds in bedroom
2. Read 2 books
3. Nurse or bottle feed
4. Rock or bounce in moby while Scout plays music (5 minutes)
5. Rub back/ pat butt
6. Sleep
7. (repeat steps 4 & 5 if she doesn’t sleep)


1. 6:30- bath
2. Turn on water sounds in bedroom
3. Massage with baby lotion
4. Put on pajamas, diaper with lots of ointment
5. Read 3-4 books
6. Lights out
7. Sings a few songs
8. Nurse or bottle feed
9. Rub back/ pat butt
10. Sleep
11. (repeat steps 7 & 9 if she doesn’t sleep)

Daddy followed the night time routine perfectly and she is fast asleep as I am typing this. I hope that this, along with my attempts to gently diminish her suck-to-sleep association , she will reduce her night waking to 1-2 times per night within the next month or so.

*I also walked around with a stuffed Kanga down my shirt all day long to make sure it got my scent on it. We are leaving that in her crib while she sleeps.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Escape the Valentine’s Day Blues

This is a re-post from life coach Stacey Vicari's blog. Check out her services at She has amazing insight and I really enjoy working with her.

Escape the Valentine’s Day Blues

by Stacey Vicari

Whether we’re part of a couple or not, many of us find February 14 a challenge.

After all, if there is a special someone in the picture, it can be a struggle to find the right gift for him or her.

And if you don’t currently have a romantic partner, it’s easy to feel sad or left out.

Whatever your situation this year, here are a couple of ideas that may help…

Choosing a romantic gift for someone special

The best gift to give someone is the gift they want to receive. But how do you know what that is?

Here’s a tip: Focus on what he or she complains about not getting enough of ….And then give that.

Maybe it’s an evening of unbridled passion — or maybe it’s freshly vacuumed floors. Maybe you often hear “We never talk anymore” or “I’d just like to relax and have a quiet evening for once.”

Remember that the best gifts don’t always come from a store.

If your significant other’s idea of romantic evening is a couple of hours of chatting, with no agenda — and that makes you cringe — maybe Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to give her what she wants.

If your partner’s idea of a great Valentine’s Day is a hot sexual encounter — and all you can think about is the stack of laundry downstairs – maybe this is a great chance to let go of the need for household perfection and get a different kind of exercise.

The things people complain about can give us tremendous insight – if only we can stop being defensive and start listening.

No romance in sight?

Sure, we often think of February as the month of romantic love. But the reality is that all of us go through times when we have no romantic partner.

And let’s face it: not all partners are always romantic.

So if we’re always looking outside ourselves for romantic love, we’re missing out.

Why not take February to fall in love with your SELF?

How? First, ask yourself how you define romantic love. What do you find romantic? Make a list. Then think of how you – yourself – can bring more of that into your life.

For example, many of us think having someone bring us flowers is a romantic gesture. Why wait for someone else to give you flowers?

If having fresh flowers in your home nurtures you and makes you feel more romantic, give yourself flowers.

We can bring romantic moments into our life every day by defining what they are. Light candles, take a long walk in the park, bask in the moment.

Falling in love with your SELF means living a life that includes the things you love. It means taking time for yourself, even if that requires you to reframe your life and expectations, or to re-evaluate your schedule in terms of your commitments with and to others.

The bottom line

This Valentine’s Day, take time to create some romance in your life — whether you’re in a relationship with someone else, or not.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Shape of a Mother

These are all images of my baby bump. I loved being pregnant and Luke and I look forward to welcoming another pregnancy perhaps sometime this year, if that is what is meant to be.

Pregnancy takes over your body as it is happening and leaves its marks after it is gone. You can either embrace your new body or hate it. I have chosen to embrace mine because I have so much respect for it. How could I not love it? It works perfectly. It formed the most perfect little person. It is amazing, and beautiful in its own way.

I have mentioned the website, The Shape of a Mother, on my blog before. It is a powerful site for mama's to see photos, post photos and talk about the transformations your body makes through pregnancy and beyond. I love this site. If you have never been, I would advise you to take a look.

I recently came across this piece of very powerful writing posted on The Shape of a Mother. I have copied and pasted the text below.

Flesh and Bone

Since the beginning, it has been this way. We are entwined. And not separate at all, but I will send you these thoughts as if we were, my body. Separate. Not bonded, spirit and flesh.

If we, as I may or may not believe, choose our physical parents on this earth then perchance we also choose our physical bodies. To teach and learn. Lessons of abstract learnt through the physicality of flesh.

If this is so, or if I shall speculate for now that this is so, then I choose you, my body, to teach me these things.

The perfect parts of you, to teach me the power of the feminine beauty and the less than perfect to keep my feet where they belong on the earth, to weld me to practicality too. The shapeliness of form to enjoy the miracle of uninhibited sexual pleasure and display, and the flawed to remind me of still being spirit too.

How I have abused this body… Run razor blades over it. Ingested pills and powders. Drowned my stomach with good wines and with less honourable spirits. Let others touch and caress and view this body. For my pleasure. For theirs. On memorable occasion for monetary gain. Or simply because I was there and they were there, and we could.

Yet on my flipped (double- sided) side, how I have experienced pleasure in this body. Alone. With one, with two, more. In public, in private, in night and in day. Danced and loved and stroked and cherished. Worshipped and degraded in equal measure, oft at the same time, reveling in the contrast.

This skin which has known all these pleasures and sins, now it tells a new story. I watch it swell and stretch. I look at these scars of mine, the self inflicted and the careless - these stories woven up and down my body for anybody to see, my tattooed canvas, my life’s voice and phases captured and silenced, crushed up and painted upon the surfaces – and anticipate the new stories being written upon it minute by minute. The biological scars of loosening and stretching tissue and sagging muscle and a life born through it.

I trace my fingers over my swollen belly, my heavy breasts – pale as milk with their roadmap of blue veins. Over hips gently pivoting outwards and settling in for their coming labour. Back curving and hollowing to counteract this new weight. To support. Thighs suddenly chunky and womanly, no longer the hint of boyishness of before.

I am beautiful. With my stories plain to see, to anybody who cares to look, written upon my face and body.

Pregnant Body

I am in love with my pregnant body. It is fascinating to watch yourself change and evolve so gradually. How I will feel afterwards once BabyFire sheds the cocoon I don’t know, but I cannot bring myself to be even a tiny bit stressed about that just yet.

I am savouring each one of these days on my path up to the final day. Savouring the movements and the jiggling and the extra weight, even the little aches and restless nights.

It is so very fleeting, this state. The very nature of it is temporary and it highlights the fleetingness and transience of life. Week by week, day by day, it is an evolution and a reminder that nothing stays the same forever.

Shedding the Cocoon

now I watch the process reverse. reverse and morph into the next phase of nurturing Fire.

the full generous stomach deflating day by day, uterus contracting with a tangible ache until I can no longer feel that little hard ball under my belly button. my skin slowly pulling back to the faint memory of the shape it once was. skin remembers its original form, but it’s a sketchy memory and I can already see that in some places it has forgotten completely and has had to become something new.

as the belly retreats day by day, my breasts seem to compensate by rushing out, the skin stretching and swelling until I can’t believe it can stretch any more. thin purple lines start radiating from each nipple, fast becoming silvery sunbursts. the heft of flesh that little bit lower than before, that little bit closer to the earth than before, and this seems true of all of me. a little bit closer to the earth than before.

cheekbones, hip bones and shoulder bones push their way up and out and through as the extra padding falls away and I look almost familiar to myself again. almost, but not quite.

I mourn a little for what was, the tautness of my old refection. yet, at the same time realise that the new vehicle is better suited to the journey. I have had to let go of a fair amount of mental vanities while travelling down this road, it seems only fitting that some of the physical went along with them.

Ahhhh..... Teething

Our sweet little muffin is now teething and it is really breaking my heart. She went from hardly ever being fussy to being fussy pretty much all the time (not that I blame her!) We have given her frozen washcloths to chew on, teething rings, frozen bananas, all-natural dissolvable teething tablets and as a last resort, Infant Tylenol. The Tylenol seems to be the only thing that really helps. Of course Luke and I don't want to continually give her medicine.

So, what have you done with your babies during teething time? What worked and what didn't?