You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Don’t let comparisons steal your joy and contentment!


Comparisons steal your joy and contentment as a Mom!

I caught myself doing it again this morning….thinking “Why can’t I be more like “so and so” who always has time to…..”  As I said this to myself, I could feel the negativity creep into my morning, the joy being sucked out of my morning cup of coffee.  The fact is…when we compare ourselves to someone else, or wish we could trade places, all we are doing is stealing the joy we have in OUR life.  If we “switched” into someone else’s “perfect life” we would also have their “imperfect” challenges which may be very different from ours!  Comparison only leads to anxiety and discontentment.  We must choose to be intentional and purposeful in our life so that we can make the most of where we are instead of wishing we were at some other stage in life or in a different situation.

Comparisons tend to creep into many aspects of our lives…she is more fit, she cooks more than I do, her TV screen doesn’t have fingerprints, her child is rolling over already, her son is speaking in full sentences, her husband pitches in more and the list goes on…..All these comparisons bring unnecessary stress and discontentment into our lives.  Wondering why your friend’s 11 month old is toddling about and your 13 month old is still holding on to the coffee table steals your moment of joy when your child may grin and say his first word.  Here are a few reasons to stay away from comparisons:

  • A child who is developing at a “normal” rate (remember there is a wide range of normal) is perfect!  A child who is developing a bit quicker is not more likely to be successful than your child!
  • What works for one Mom may not work for you and your child, no matter how wonderful it seems.
  • Working outside the home, working inside the home, childcare, breastfeeding, formula feeding, organic food…all these are personal decisions.  If you are happy and your child is developing well and is happy, ignore the chatter or arguments.  You don’t know their whole story and they don’t know yours.
  • No one is as perfect as they seem on Pinterest!

If we keep telling ourselves that we are exactly where we are supposed to be…our children will grow up knowing that the life you have at this moment is full of challenge at times, but also so full of joy if we choose to see it. What a better lesson than one of discontent!   The simple joy of my quiet morning cup of coffee is much better than wondering if I should be doing or accomplishing something else.  Once again, I have vowed this morning not to let comparisons steal my joy and contentment today.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


National ASK Day was Yesterday…Commit to ASKING every day. Protect our Kids.

National ASK Day

Yesterday, June 21, was National Ask Day (Asking Saves Kids).  It was a day to remind parents the importance of asking parents of playmates of your child if there are guns in their home.  A difficult question to ask, I know, but parenting is not always easy.

The facts are that 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, and many are not stored safely.    The American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that in fact 1 out of every 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers are due to gunshot wounds.  As parents we MUST take control….we MUST ask the hard questions of our children’s friends, our neighbors, and our own family members.  I am sure that I will ruffle a few feathers regarding these comments….but if you choose to have a gun in your home…you MUST be responsible for the following safety guidelines:

  1.  Never allow your child access to a gun without your supervision.  No matter how much instruction your child has received regarding gun safety, kids are not mature enough (that includes teens) to handle guns without adult supervision.
  2. Never keep a loaded gun in your home or car.  The ammunition and gun should be stored separately and locked.  Your children should not have access to the keys.
  3. All guns should have trigger locks.
  4. When handling a gun for sport, everyone should learn how to operate it before loading it.  The gun should NEVER be pointed at anyone, even if it is unloaded.  The safety should be in place until you are ready to shoot it.  Before setting the gun down, it should always be unloaded.
  5. Children should be taught that there may be guns in homes where they visit or play.Tell your children if they see a gun to stay away, and to tell you.
  6. Ask the hard question….if your children are playing at a home, ask if they have guns and if they do, are they locked up.  If there are guns, and they are not stored safely, the play date moves to your home.
  7. Make sure that your children know that TV, movies, and video games are not real.  Children need to be told over and over that in real life, guns kill and hurt people badly.  In my opinion, children should be protected from violent video games and movies…it is difficult to understand the difference between reality and what they see in these games and movies.  Children become “numb” to the violence.

The tragic truth is that in a moment, a beautiful child could be a lost forever with an accidental shooting…but we can prevent many of these tragic accidents.  As parents we often have to ask the hard questions….do uncomfortable things.  I have asked about alcohol at parties, made sure there were parents chaperoning at homes, talked about strategies to prevent my children from getting in cars with kids or parents who had been drinking….now if I had young children, I would add the difficult question of “Do you have guns in your home….and if so are they locked up?”

Share your strategies for asking this question…..let’s support other parents asking this question…Just ASK, our kids are worth it.

What are your thoughts?

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



Celebrate Dad…he is very important!

brad at the beach

  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads who make such a difference in their kids’ lives!!

Celebrate Dad this weekend…and celebrate BIG!  Dads have such an important role in families, and often we don’t recognize the importance.  Research tells us that both sons and daughters are better adjusted, more successful in school, build better relationships, and are more productive adults when Dad is involved in their lives throughout their childhood.  Male role models are essential to both girls and boys and as a society we need to encourage and support good fathering.

I don’t have to read any study to know this truth, I see this truth in my own life and in the lives of the young families I work with.  My own Dad has given me many gifts, but the greatest is the example of what a loving, strong, sensitive, supportive man and father looks like.  Because of his example, I married a loving, strong, sensitive, supportive man who is a wonderful father to our children.  Children, both boys and girls, NEED Dads to set this example of  real manhood in their lives.  Boys need to learn what it means to be a good, strong, loving man; and girls must learn how it feels to be loved and respected by a good, strong, loving man. The choices our children will make in their future partners are influenced by what they see in their own families.  Dads are different from Moms, not better, but different.   A Dad’s parenting complements a Mom’s and children thrive with both styles of parenting.

So, stop for a moment and thank all the Dads in your life; make sure they know how important they are in your life and your child’s life.   Go make that newspaper crown, fix his favorite meal, let him put his feet up and let Dad be “King for the day”….he deserves at LEAST that!  Happy Father’s Day to all those strong men who embrace fatherhood with love! 

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Cars and Planes….Entertaining Your Kids for Happy Travels!

family vacation

So, you have your vacation booked, you are packed, and now you are thinking about how you will entertain your child in the car or on the plane! 

Long trips are even longer when you have children who are fussy and bored!  We traveled to the beach each year by car, and took the occasional flight when our children were young.  I had quite a few tricks up my sleeve to keep everyone content (at least mostly content) on the way.  Early on we learned that the trip to and from our destination had to become part of the “vacation”.  In other words, we had to have that vacation mentality and enjoy that part of the trip too!  You can have fun driving with a carload of kids I promise!

Traveling by car allows you to see some great areas that you may not experience if in a hurry.  During our yearly trip to the beach we found small towns, festivals, touristy attractions, and great parks for picnics.  We soon learned that getting out of the car and enjoying the trip made it much more fun for everyone.  Lunch is much better in a park where everyone can run and play than sitting quietly in a restaurant!  Leaving early in the morning and stopping early in the late afternoon allowed the kids to play, swim, and become familiar with the hotel we were sleeping in that night.  We learned the hard way that pulling into a hotel after a long day of driving at bedtime only resulted in crying children and frustrated parents.  An early stop always resulted in kids settling in for the night easier and an earlier start the next morning.

Entertaining kids on a flight or in the car sometimes takes some creativity.  A mixture of new toys and old favorites usually works.  Some toys were “special” vacation toys that were only used on long trips.  We didn’t have the DVD players so common now, but our kids were very excited about the special travel toys we kept just for our long trips.  You might think about using your DVD player for that purpose.

Here are a few ideas that may work for you.  I found packing the toys in a bag and getting them out one at a time as needed worked well.  Sometimes even wrapping the new ones made it so much fun to unwrap and see the new surprise toy!  A trip to the dollar store or the Target Dollar Aisle is a great place to pick up some of those new items.

  1. Travel sized magnetic games.
  2. Travel sized Magna Doodle or Aqua Doodle.
  3. Sticker Books
  4. Activity Books
  5. Crayons and markers (remember to bring the crayons out of the car if it is warm weather…trust me they can melt and make a mess!)
  6. Reusable stickers or “clings” that can be put on car or plane windows.
  7. Wikki Stix or pipe cleaners
  8. Painter’s tape (makes great “roads” on tray tables, fun to tear and stick, easy to remove, great for childproofing in hotel rooms!)
  9. Finger puppets
  10. New books and favorite books
  11. Favorite music
  12. Movies
  13. Bubbles (fun to blow in the car!)
  14. Small cars, favorite dolls, stuffed animals
  15. Cookie sheet with magnets

Treat bags became a vacation tradition with our kids.  We always packed a few snacks, some healthy and some special treats.  To this day, I pack a “treat bag” even for my husband and me when we head out on a road trip!  Slow down, stop, let your child out to run and then provide a quiet activity once back in the car seat or on the plane.  Take a deep breath and enjoy having your family contained in one spot…something that, believe it or not, you will look forward to when your children are a bit older and busier.  Talk, sing, snack, and maybe even nap on the way (not the driver of course!!) :)…Family vacations are simply time together, time together doing something different….so be sure that your vacation begins when you leave your house.  The trip to and from your vacation CAN be fun too! What do you bring to make your travels more fun?  Share your ideas!!!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Packing tips for traveling with kids…having what you need but keeping it simple.

Vacation season is here! With kids, gone are the days when you can throw a few things in a suitcase and go!  There is a bit more to pack with kids…it seems like you will need everything!  Making a packing list will help.  I often would start a packing list several weeks in advance and as I thought of things we would need, I would add it to the list.  Packing can feel overwhelming when you are planning for kids.  Just remember, you can usually always wash at your destination if necessary and unless you are going to the outback, there are stores!  Don’t try to think of every scenario and try to pack for it!  Once you have a list that works for you, save it on your computer for the future!  Try and keep it simple!

Packing Tips:

  • Plan for one outfit a day per person.  Think about mixing and matching and bringing a couple extra tops.
  • Think layers…be sure you always have something warm…weather is temperamental and restaurants are cool.
  • Plan for at least 3 pairs of PJs per child.  You will always have accidents and need at least one extra pair until you can wash.
  • Pack total outfits in large freezer type zip lock bags.  Top, bottom, undershirt, and socks all together.  This makes it easy to find each outfit and helps keep things organized.  You can grab a zip lock bag and throw it in your diaper bag when you are on the run and know you have everything you need for a quick change.
  • Extra shoes.
  • Sun hat, sun screen, sunglasses.
  • Plan a diaper an hour for transit and about 5 to 6 diapers a day.  Remember, there are Walmart Stores and Target Stores everywhere…don’t bring things that are easier bought at your destination.  Think about having Amazon or Target ship your diapers to your destination when taking a long trip.  www.jetsetbabies.com or www.babytravelite.com are another great way to ship baby gear ahead!
  • Bring several receiving type blankets and a larger blanket for your baby to lie on and stretch.
  • Diaper rash ointment, acetaminophen, thermometer, small containers of shampoo and lotion.  You never want to be out looking for an open pharmacy at night!
  • Keep a list with emergency numbers in your bag.  Include your doctor’s phone number and local pharmacy number.
  • Pack a night-light.   It is nice to have a little light in a strange room!
  • Baby Monitor.
  • Child proofing kit.  This would include twist ties to tie up cords, duct tape to tape over outlets, and antibacterial wipes to wipe down TV remotes and phones.  Blue painters tape is a great way to tape things up, cover outlets etc. and kids LOVE to play with it too.  Easy to remove from anything also!
  • Straw cups, pacifiers, bottles, and enough baby food for transit and to get you started at your destination.
  • If traveling by car and you will be spending a night on the road, pack a separate bag for the hotel.  Only pack what you will need for the one night on your way to your destination.  This is much easier than carrying all of the luggage in for a one night stay!

Pack a small backpack with essentials that are within easy reach in the car or plane:

  • A change of clothing for you and your child.
  • Extra zip lock bags.  (Never can have too many!)
  • A diaper an hour and wipes.  (Never can have too many wipes!  They are NOT for just diaper changes!)
  • Pack an extra “portable” bag with a single diaper, diaper cream, and small package of wipes.  You can take this small bag into the restroom without bringing the whole diaper bag or backpack.
  • Fold up potty seat for a toddler. Post it notes to cover the electronic eye on self flushing toilets…keeps the toilet from flushing and scaring your toddler!
  • Extra “lovey”…always have an extra!
  • Two straw cups (one to be dirty one to be clean), snack cup, wipeable bib, portable snacks, small fork and spoon, any other necessary restaurant item.
  • If you are formula feeding, bring powdered formula.  Make up a couple of bottles with the powdered formula so only water needs to be added.
  • Baby food for use that day.
  • Zip lock with thermometer, travel sized acetaminophen, ibuprofen, band aids, Benadryl, nasal saline drops, and any other medications your child or you are taking.
  • A mix of new and old toys…plan for an activity per hour at least.  A sample “fun bag” will be posted later.

So, pack smart and start early.  Make a list and check it twice, but remember, the only real essentials are items that cannot be bought at your destination…so relax, if you forget something, thank goodness for Target and Walmart….I know you can find either at your destination!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Protecting your child from bug bites

Protection from ticks and mosquitoes is important for your child!

Today is beautiful, and I hope most of you have your children outside at some point!  Children both love and NEED to be outdoors.  Outside activity is an important part of a healthy child’s life, and it helps children get good and tired too!  I know one of the biggest reasons I encouraged outdoor play was that it provided me with a good long nap from my children in the afternoon.  A method to my parenting madness!

With spring and summer upon us, the pesky bugs will soon be too!   Not only are these insects just plain annoying, they can carry dangerous diseases to your children.  Most children have mild reactions to bug bites, but some children (are they just sweeter?) really seem to attract those insects and those bites result in large red welts that make them miserable.  West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the recent outbreak of Zika Virus are diseases that could result from insect bites too.  So, if we want our children outside and we don’t have a protective “bee suit” in the house…what are we to do?

The use of insect repellents are recommended by the American Academy of  Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control.  Although most of us hate to put chemicals on our children, DEET used correctly is one of the best protectors for your child.  The amount of DEET in insect repellents varies from less than 10% to more than 30%.  Studies show us that the higher concentrations of DEET protect for longer periods of time, but not more effectively. So a repellant with 10% DEET will protect for about 2 hours, 24% about 5 hours, and at over 30% there is very little increase in protection.  The AAP recommends using a concentration of DEET between 10 and 30 percent.  Most of our children will not be outside in an area with biting insects more than 2 hours at a time…so 10% DEET should be enough the majority of the time.

How to use insect repellent safely:

  • Always read the label.
  • Do not use DEET on children under 2 months of age.
  • Do not use a concentration of DEET greater than 30%, usually 10% will be adequate.
  • Only apply the repellent to the outside of your child’s clothing and on exposed skin.
  • Use a small amount just to cover the area, thicker layers are not more effective.
  • Do not spray repellents on your child’s face.  Put the repellent on your hands and rub on your child’s face being careful around eyes, and mouth.
  • Do not put repellent on your child’s hands.  Do not apply to open areas like cuts.
  • Spray repellents in open areas, do not breathe them in.
  • Wash your child with soap and water to remove the repellent when he comes inside.  Wash your child’s clothes before he wears them again.
  • Do not use sunscreen/insect repellent combinations.  You will need to reapply the sunscreen and the repellent should not be reapplied.
  • Cover your child’s exposed skin with long pants and sleeves if you know he will be in an area with a lot of biting insects. This will decrease the skin area that will need repellent.
  • Try to avoid dusk, the “buggiest” time of day!
  • Remember DEET is NOT effective on stinging insects like bees and wasps.

Repellents that do NOT work

  • Wristbands with chemical repellents
  • Dryer sheets pinned to your children (A big trend a few years ago!  I once saw an entire preschool class of children on a playground all equipped with dryer sheets!)
  • Garlic (would keep other people away! )
  • Ultrasonic devices that give off sound waves
  • Bug zappers (may actually increase insects in the area)

Other repellents:

  • Permethrin is a chemical repellent.  It is effective and should be applied to clothing only, or items like tents, not on skin.  Use in concentrations of between 5 and 10 percent.  This repellent will kill ticks on contact.  Great for spraying on tents and sleeping bags.
  • Picaridin is as effective as DEET and some studies show it may be less likely to cause skin irritation in children.  It has been used in Europe for many years, more recently here in the U. S.
  • 2% soy bean oil and lemon eucalyptus has been shown recently to be as effective as 10% DEET.  Lemon Eucalyptus Oil is not approved for use in children under the age of 3.
  • Cedar, and Citronella essential oils are less effective and give very short term protection.

So the bottom line is, insect repellents are a better alternative that the potential complications from a disease carrying insect. Be smart and use repellents safely.  Protect your child with clothing and by avoiding the time of day/night and areas where insect bites would be more common.  Check your child for ticks daily and remove any tick with a tweezers and clean with soap and water.  Lastly, put this at the bottom of your worry list….outdoor fun is essential for children!  Protect them with common sense and enjoy the outdoors…don’t let the bugs scare you off!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Did you know this about car seats?

This picture would not earn me “Mother of the Year” awards now!  There are so many mistakes with this car seat I can’t name them all.  My only excuse is that this was 25 years ago!  Don’t beat yourself up if you have made mistakes with your child’s car seat…just make the changes now!  Information is empowering!

The car seat, one of the best protection devices developed for children.   It makes me cringe to think  of the days when children would ride next to their parents standing on the seat, or in Mom’s arms.  I also cringe when I think about some of the mistakes I made when my kids were little…I certainly did not have them restrained correctly when I look at current recommendations.  The incidence of death and serious injury of children in accidents when properly restrained has decreased dramatically.  The key is properly restrained.  In order to do ALL the right things when you use your car seat, a parent often needs an engineering technology degree.  Have you seen those instructions?!  There are several common mistakes that many parents unknowingly make when putting their precious child in their car seat.

1.  The chest clip should be positioned at the nipple line, or directly even with your child’s arm pits.

  • This keeps the harness straps positioned correctly and places the clip over your child’s chest protecting their soft little tummy and organs from the clip in an accident.

2.  The harness straps should be snug.

  • When your child is buckled in, with your thumb and forefinger try to pinch up the harness strap.  If you can pinch any excess, the harness is too loose.  A harness that is too loose could result in your child traveling up the back of the car seat during a crash and being ejected.

3.  The car seat must be installed tight.

  • When installed, you should not be able to move the car seat more than an inch side to side or front to back.   If the seat can move more than that amount, during the force of a crash it will loosen even more and your child could be violently tossed and whip lashed in the seat.

4.  Car seats expire!

  • Just like milk, car seats have an expiration date!  Because there are safety developments over the years, an older car seat may not follow the latest safety recommendations.  The plastic on the car seats will also tend to break down with the continued heating and cooling.  Materials just wear out!  Straps become looser, and the plastic may develop microscopic cracks that you can’t see.  Many car seats have an expiration date stamped on the bottom of the seat.  If there is no expiration date, your car seat expires 6 years after the manufacture date.  That is the MANUFACTURE date, not the PURCHASE date.  So, if you buy a car seat at an overstock store like a Big Lots (which is perfectly fine) those seats may have sat on a shelf for a longer period of time.  Be sure to find the manufacture date stamped on the car seat.

5.  Dirty harness straps are safer than washed ones!

  • Kids are messy, and often the harness straps have everything from food, to spit up to something worse on them.  They are NOT meant to be washed.  The straps can be stretched and the material broken down from detergent and water.  The fire-retardant also will be removed when you scrub with detergent.  If you must wash the straps, the best way is spot cleaning with a damp cloth.  If you have already scrubbed those harness straps clean, contact the manufacturer and explain what you have done.  Some will send you a new set.
  • You can wash the car seat pad if it is removable and your manual states that this is OK.  Sunlight can do wonders for odors…set that seat out and let it bake in the sunshine!

6.  The correct harness strap position depends if your child is backward facing or forward facing.

  • When your child is facing backward, the harness straps should be coming out at or below your child’s shoulders.  Put your child in the car seat, be sure their little bottoms are down in the seat well, put the chest clip in the correct position and take a look.  If the harness straps are entering the seat above your child’s shoulders, you need to change the positioning of the harness straps.  This positioning of the harness straps prevents your child from traveling up the back of the seat to far in a crash.  The more movement a child has in a crash, the greater the force on his or her little body.
  • When your child is forward facing, the harness straps should be coming out at or above your child’s shoulders.  Once again, when your child is correctly positioned in the seat, if the straps are coming out below your child’s shoulders they need to be adjusted.  This positioning of the harness straps protects a forward facing child’s head and neck during a crash keeping it from being thrown forward.

7.  Car seats need to be replaced after a crash.

  • Car seats protection is for one crash only.  If you have been involved in a crash, even if the car seat looks fine, the entire seat should be replaced even the base.  If the crash was a “fender bender” you can look at your car seat manual and see the recommendation.  Many still suggest replacement.  Most insurance companies will cover the cost of replacing the car seat.  Once again, it is difficult to see any microscopic damage to the plastic or the stress on the harness straps that can occur with a crash, minor or major.

8.  Do not buy or borrow a used car seat.

  • In a previous post, I wrote about the dangers of buying certain baby equipment used (Be Frugal and Safe) Take a look and see which equipment is not safe to buy used.  Car seats that are used have no history coming with them, you have no idea if they have been in a crash, how they were cared for (were those harness straps scrubbed?) or even if all the parts are present.  Save money in other ways….not on a car seat.
  • If your car seat has expired or is damaged, cut the straps before disposing.  This ensures that no one will use the damaged or expired seat.

9.  Do not put your child in a heavy winter coat in a car seat.

  • There are so many cute snow suits and jackets for kids, just don’t put your child in that cute coat strapped into the car seat!  In the even of a crash, the puffy, heavy coat will be compressed by the harness straps due to the force of the crash.  As that jacket compresses, the straps become loose, and your child could be ejected from the car.  So how do you keep your child warm?  Warm the car up first, throw a blanket over the child after the child is strapped in the seat, or for an older child put their winter coat on backwards after the child is strapped in.

10.  No “add ons” to the car seat.

  • No additional items strapped to or put on a car seat that did not come with the seat.  Toys that hang from the seat, additional padding etc. may change the way your child is positioned in the seat, or come flying off and become a projectile during an accident.  Things like mirrors attached to the back seat, or roller blinds to block the sun are also dangerous projectiles during a crash.

11.  Make a choice—LATCH system or seat belt…not both!

  • Every car seat manufacturer states that the LATCH system in a car OR the seat belt should be used when installing the car seat….not both.  It does not make the car seat installation safer to use both.  One or the other please!
  • LATCH has a weight limit, 65 lbs between the car seat and your child. Once the seat and your child weigh over 65 lbs together, you must install with the seat belt!

12.  Rear facing until your child out grows the weight limit of your convertible car seat for rear facing.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics is saying rear facing until AT LEAST 2!   The weight limit for rear-facing is 35-40 pounds for most convertible seats, with a few seats going as high as 45 pounds. The height limit is the same for any rear-facing seat – the child’s head must be at least 1 inch below the top of the car seat.   A child that is facing backwards is 5 times more safe in a crash.  Children are flexible and can cross their legs easily and comfortably when facing backwards.  The worry about leg injury is unfounded.   Recent studies show us that forward facing children have more leg injuries that rear facing!

13.  The handle on the infant carrier seat does not have to be down.

  • This is the recommendation that surprised me the most.  Depending on the manufacturer, the handle can be positioned in several different ways.  You must check your car seat manual.  Most will allow you to place the handle up.  This actually allows the car seat to fit in cars easier as they take up less room.  Check out that manual.
  • Don’t add anything to your car seat that did not come with it.  The car seat’s safety testing is not valid if you add items like toys to the handle, extra padding, strap padding, or anything else.  Stick with what came with the car seat only!

14.  Most kids are close to 5 feet tall before they can safely sit in the car without a booster.

  • This was the most shocking information I found.  Most of our older children are riding with a seat belt that is positioned unsafely.  Here are 5 questions to ask to see if your child can use a seat belt only without a booster:
  • Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
  • Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
  • Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip? (For squirmy kids, try switching the seat belt into the locking mode.)    The car seat lady    (love this site….written by experts in the field!)   
  • There are so many ins and outs of buying and installing a car seat.  My suggestion is you have a professional install it the first time and show you how.  If you have your seat in now, make an appointment to have someone check it.  They will make sure your child is as safe as possible.  Call your local Fire or Police Departments, usually they have a certified car seat specialist there.  Most local hospitals will too.  Ride safe!
Be sure to take a look at these sites!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Before I was a Mom…

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful Moms.  Before you were a Mom, no one could explain the unconditional love your heart could hold for your child.  As a Mom, you also gain so much love and respect for your own Mom.  You can never truly understand your Mom until you are one.  So, thanks to my beautiful Mother for her faith, wisdom, advice, and never ending love.  Enjoy your day Moms!

Before I was a Mom 

Author unknown

Before I was a Mom –
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom 
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never been puked on, pooped on, spit on, chewed on, or peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put him down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom –
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


This wasn’t how it was supposed to be….

I feel like we need to talk about this topic at least every 6 months….and what a better time than right before Mother’s Day! So, I am posting this again so we all will be reminded that taking care of ourselves is a must in order to be good Moms.  Sometimes we don’t feel wonderful and full of bliss after our baby is born.  Those first few weeks and months are difficult!  The lack of sleep alone can play havoc with a new Mom’s emotions. New Moms…take care of yourselves, and if you don’t feel like yourself or others tell you that you are not like yourself, ask for the help you need.

You have waited 9 long months for this.  You survived the back aches, the weight gain, the heart burn, and the cravings. You went to prenatal classes, read books, watched the “Baby Channel” on cable for hours and the nursery is perfect.  Everyone is thrilled…everyone is happy…everyone but you.  You feel alone, guilty, not yourself.  You try to “pull yourself out of this funk”; but you just can’t shake the feelings.  Why?

Today I want to talk  about just those often unspoken feelings of postpartum depression.  Nearly 80 percent of new moms have the “baby blues”.  Hormone changes after birth can cause many to have some mood swings, tears, feelings of being overwhelmed in the first couple of weeks after delivery.  Overall, a mom who has the “blues” still describes herself as generally happy.  Postpartum depression is different.

At least 20 percent of moms experience some degree of postpartum depression.  That is 1 out of every 8 moms!  There are probably more but because of guilt, many moms never seek help. I am sure someone you know has experienced this.   It is the most common pregnancy complication!  Postpartum depression or perinatal mood disorder can occur anytime during pregnancy and the first full year after your baby is born.

Some Signs and Symptoms:

  • frequent crying
  • sleep and appetite changes
  • feelings of loneliness, helplessness
  • mood swings
  • repetitive, sometimes scary thoughts
  • anger, frustration, irritability
  • difficulty bonding with baby
  • anxiety, panic, excessive worry
  • feelings of being trapped
  • lack of interest in life, fatigue, exhaustion
  • feeling speeded up or wired
  • fear of being alone with the baby

If you are feeling some of these signs and symptoms…or if people close to you are telling you that you are just not yourself.  Please talk with your doctor.  Seek the help you need to feel better.  The good news is that you will get better, treatment works, you will be yourself again.

All new moms can do a few things to help themselves feel better.

  • Sleep.  Sleep deprivation can result in depression, and we all know that a newborn doesn’t sleep as much as we thought!  We are not used to waking every 2 hours at night!  Try to nap when the baby does.  Ask someone to stay with the baby while you sleep.  Listen to your body and rest.
  • Eat healthy and remember to eat!  A new mom can’t survive on a handful of cookies, and believe me often that is all you have time to eat!  Keep healthy food in your house and accept those meals that are being offered!
  • Exercise.  Just a walk 3 to 4 times a week increases those “feel good” hormones.  It is good for you and good for your baby to get out in the fresh air, even in the winter.
  • Natural light, find the sun!  Sunlight is a mood booster.  Stand in front of a window whenever the sun is shining and get light on your eyes.
  • Get out of the house.  Even a trip to the grocery store is a trip out!  Wow, the definition of going out really changes after kids!
  • Ask for help.  Being a new mom is lots of work.  You do not have to be super mom!  You can’t do it alone.  Remember, being a mom is not like what you see on TV!
  • Find other new moms.  Look for support groups, MOPS groups, church groups, wherever there are other moms…being around other moms is essential.  We all need to stick together!

Remember…ask for help.

You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with treatment you will get better and be yourself again….I promise.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Helpful websites:








“Tools of the Trade” for literacy

book worm

Here is a list for “tools of the Trade” for literacy!  What items do you have in your home to promote the love of reading?

I admit it, I am a list maker.  I love to make a list and cross off things I accomplish.  There are days that I write something on my list that I have already completed…just so I can cross it off!  So because I love lists, I put together a simple list of tools for literacy.  These are items that every home with children should have to encourage a love of reading and writing.  So, get your pens out and start crossing off the items you have….or make a list of things you need to foster your child’s growth in literacy.

1.  Books in several places of your home that are accessible to your children.

2. More than one rhyme book.

3.  Several picture books.

4.  A book of nursery rhymes.

5.  Chalkboard or white board.

5.  Unlined paper.

6.  Crayons, markers, pencils, and sidewalk chalk.

7.  Magnetic letters.

8.  Alphabet books.

9.  Children’s Bookmarks.

10.  Classic chapter books to read to your child.

11.  Reading area in your home.

12.  Supplies for your child to make their own book.

13.  Children’s poetry books.

14.  Sorting toys.

15.  Puppets for your child to act out a story.

16.  Books about colors.

17.  Books about animals.

18.  Books about how things work.

19.  Books about nature and the earth.

20.  Silly books.

21.  Stationary for your child to write a letter.

22.  Books about the seasons.

23.  Music with rhythm.

24.  Letter games.

25.  Children’s magazines.

26.  A library card for your child.

27.  Books about feelings.

28.  Books about childhood events like new siblings, potty training, going to school etc.

29.  Alphabet blocks.

30.  Shaving cream to draw letters in.

31.  Finger paints.

32.  Play dough and letter cookie cutters.

33.  Letter matching games.

34.  Pop up and flap books.

35.  Touch and feel books.

What else???  Post your suggestions of “tools of the trade” for literacy!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Helpful Websites:




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