01 November 2013

NJ VBAC mommas take note

Just passing this along:
Please share with your community: Coming in November: Holistic Moms Network presents "Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC) Roundtable Discussion"--Come share your experiences or have your questions answered by experienced moms who have vbac'd in this area. Nicole Cely Bartfield, leader of the Essex International Cesearean Awareness Network will be there to share resources and tips for how to maximize your chances for a successful vbac in NJ. (Free)
Details: We meet every 3rd Monday/month @ 10 am at Tempo Music Studio, 145 Vreeland Ave Nutley, NJ 07110

18 October 2013

Circle Game

While dropping of my oldest this morning at the high school, I saw the kids with school spirit (aka, those not related to me) dressed and decorated with face paint for today's homecoming pep rally as kickoff to homecoming weekend (and I silently patted myself on the back for remembering to send in money/permission slip for kid's homecoming dance ticket). There was an adorable cheerleader in uniform sporting a retro side pony...I used to love wearing my uniform to school. Those uniforms were sort of ugly, since school colors were maroon and light blue (Go USN Tigers!), and I'm certain that those are not good colors for any complexion. But the bonus was that my school had this break between terms called Winterim and you could take fun classes/class trips or journal during your own travel. We always went someplace tropical so I was tan...good memories. Makes me feel wistful but happy.  And that Joni Mitchell song always makes me cry...it has rehearsal dinner photo montage all over it - the groovier "Sunrise, Sunset".

03 September 2013

so it's that time of year again...being prepared for big storms

Whether you are expecting a baby or not, take a little time now to think about storm preparations.  Do you have enough water for your family (including pets) for a few days?  Some non-perishable food? Flashlights and batteries? Baby & pet items? I have a pretty *extensive emergency kit and I'm always adding to it and fine tuning.  I've just replaced my hand-crank/solar/battery-powered weather radio (with light and now a charging port - it can actually charge my iPhone!) and am pretty psyched about it (which is perhaps a bit sad!)

*Ready for my I-Know-This-Makes-Me-Seem-Crazy kit list?  

I gathered this stuff over time - I know it's a lot and maybe more than necessary.  But it makes me feel better.  And I've been able to keep us going without power for a few days and be of help to friends and neighbors when they were harder hit.  Most items are easy-to-find at a large camping or hardware stores, and many of them -- bug repellent, baby wipes etc. --  may already be around your home.

In a grab n' go open tool kit:

Headlamps for each family member, 2 of which have lantern attachments

A (floating) big lantern/light

A Mag light flashlight

An emergency whistle that floats (actually have a couple on lanyards...good for hiking with kids)

Lots of glow sticks + glow necklaces, to hopefully make it festive + to use for pets, if need be

Batteries + extra cell phone battery

Lighter (to be able to use gas stove, BBQ or camp stove if power out)

Duct + electrical tape

Rope, bungees

First aid kit, with medicines for anyone in the family who needs them

Swiss army knife with compass etc/Leatherman tool

Camera (in case have to take pics of damage for insurance purposes etc), cash, copies of ID in dry pouch

Sharpie marker

Fully charged walkie talkies, set to same channel

A big zip lock bag (to throw documents, portable drive with photos, important papers etc or leave a dry note if need be)

Contractor trash bag

Space blanket

Pocket-sized rain poncho

Potable water treatment pills

A small, collapsible water container

Antibacterial gel


Then I have a big Rubbermaid container with a bigger companion kit:

Sealed bin that can be temporary toilet, which holds:


3gal collapsible water container

MRE-type food bars

A couple of mess kits/cutlery in case no paper products

More water and non-perishable food

Pry bar, folding shovel and a couple of other tools

Tarps, plastic sheeting, more tape, heavy "slap" stapler to help hang a tarp

Fire extinguisher

Gas can

Bug repel. wipes + mosquito "dunks" for standing water

More batteries

More cash

More potable water treatment pills

First aid book

Printed instructions on what to do in various emergencies

Tampons, (diapers if you need 'em), other personal supplies as needed


Ziplocks, trash bags

Deck of cards, a couple Hot Wheels, a story collection

Pet food

Phone charger

corded land line
I try to keep the gas tank full when big storms are predicted.

After the hurricane, we bought some big gas cans for future reference and some plywood and wood screws to be able to do window repair if needed.

In the event of emergency, we have a family plan to grab shoes and change of clothes, sleeping bags for each family member, if needed - I had them gathered for past hurricanes.
I have recommended water and food supply (including instant coffee!), paper plates etc., corded phone, Solar/crank radio with spot light, charcoal for grill

It's valuable, free and easy to choose a non-local person to be clearing-house contact, as well as selecting meeting place for the family. Also,  have a copy of the key to your safe bank deposit box on hand.

I'm reviewing supplies and using what's due to expire and replacing what was pilfered by my family over the year.  I'm also using stuff from the freezer to make room for some jugs of water, which can be popped in the fridge to keep it cold longer in case of power outage (I then put a wooded spoon through handles to remind family not to open unless really necessary.  These frozen jugs are great for coolers too - the chunks stay frozen way longer than cubes.

Crazy, right?  But I thought I'd share anyway.  Apparently I was a Boy Scout in another life. ;-)

full hands

This morning I read a wonderful piece on Huffington Post talking about how we are all supermoms, regardless of how many children we have or the challenges we face, but also that none of us is since "supermom" is a myth.  The point was that we are all generally working at capacity, since capacity is relative.  We all have full hands most days.

Then I went to the supermarket and saw a mom with a very pregnant belly and many children...four or five?  I thought, "man - she's busy - she must be going nuts"...but I was humbled by her mothering.  She was patient and seemed unfazed as her children (very politely) whirled around her.  She didn't micromanage (as I might have) and simply shopped while they all took turns weighing the produce and giggling.  She let them choose some items and sweetly said no to others.  She was about a zillion times calmer than I would have been, I'm sure of it.  My initial reaction to her and her large family said more about me than about her, that's for sure.  Her hands are full and so are mine and so are moms with one child...we all do what we can.  Next time I'm shopping with my kids, I'm going to try and remember this family and see if I can't channel a little of her zen-momma mojo.  And acknowledge that if I don't quite manage, I will at least do the best I can...which is all I ask of myself.

07 August 2013

pitfalls of modern life

One of my kids must have played around with my phone and set Pinterest notifications to push with sound...thanks for the 3am wake-up text tone when someone liked one of my pins or something equally unimportant...never text a doula in the night unless you are in labor...total wake-up hormones kicked in! Has this ever happened to you?

17 June 2013

Happy (belated) Father's Day

This great list from gab.giggle.com:

Happy Father's Day to my dad and to my husband, who really was my partner in getting breastfeeding off to a great start...
Dads - you may not have the milk but you can sure help make breastfeeding successful! 

 Posted by bestforbabes, June 11, 2013
 Listen Up, Dads! 10 Ways You Can Support Your Breastfeeding Partner - See more at: http://gab.giggle.com/2013/06/nursing-know-how/listen-up-dads-10-ways-you-can-support-your-breastfeeding-partner/#sthash.YnPqJaGb.dpuf
1. Remember to tell your partner how proud you are of them for breastfeeding, especially when it isn’t easy, and that she’s a good mother regardless of how she chooses to feed your baby.
2. Keep the phone number of a good lactation specialist on speed dial, just in case. (Need one? Check out Baby2breast.com.)
3. Offer to take baby out for a walk in the sling or carrier so Mom can take a much-needed nap.
4. Know what Booby Traps® are; and do your best to protect your partner against them at the doctor’s office, hospital, or elsewhere.
5. Bring Mom a glass of water or a snack when she’s nursing. (Trust us, it will earn you major brownie points.)
6. Fetch the nursing pillow when need-be and don’t be afraid to check and see for yourself if baby has a good latch. (Not sure what one looks like? Get yourself a good breastfeeding DVD, stat.)
7. Breastfeeding away from home isn’t always easy. Be prepared: If duty calls, you may have to act as a “human shield” against any rude looks or comments your partner may get for breastfeeding in public.
8. Lay baby on your bare chest for some skin-to-skin bonding time. It’s been proven to boost baby’s (and dads!) oxytocin — a.k.a. “the love hormone”— which reduces stress on baby, Dad, and Mom.
9. Offer to go on dishes and laundry duty as much as possible. (We know — it may not be your favorite thing to do, but hey, Mom’s a little occupied at the moment.)
10. Pull a David Alan Basche (of The Starter Wife fame) and tell any of your skeptical buddies that breastfeeding is awesome and that they should get on board for their partner’s sake.

Know a dad or dad-to-be who could use this advice? Share this with them!

12 May 2013

To all the mommas

Happy Mother's Day to all the women in my life...
Moms who inspire me with the way they parent their kids and sometimes mine.  Moms who mother me when I need it.  
Mothers-to-be and the mothers who are their midwives and doulas and teachers and caregivers.
Women who may not even have kids but have mad mothering skills and get things done.
Women who I will never know all around the world who mother fiercely in spite of hardship I can't even imagine.
Women who want to welcome children into their lives and are doing all they can to make it happen.
And my own mom, never forgotten.

16 April 2013

bridge over troubled water

Are you feeling overwhelmed and like you wish you could do something to make the world sane? Me too. And so I'm thinking that tonight I will make a nice dinner and light candles and maybe we will treat it like Thanksgiving and say something nice or hopeful - count our blessings and send good thoughts out to all who need them. And then I will call for an extra early bedtime so our poor brains can rest and recuperate. It's all I can think to do.