Monday, December 29, 2014

Kids Craft: DIY Latch Board

I've been seeing latch board tutorials all over pinterest lately, so I decided to give it a try. I just headed up to Menard's and picked out a few door latches, hooks, a handle and some washers. I also picked up a small can of yellow paint and a round board.  For everything it was about $30.

First I painted both sides of the board. I also saw on pinterest to use push pins to hold it off the table when painting so it doesn't stick. Worked great! 

Once it was all dry I laid out my parts to figure out where I wanted them so they wouldn't touch each other and worked best. Then I waited for Mike to get home so he could assemble it. I probably could of done this part myself, but I wanted him to help out too.

 He played with it for a few minutes and that was about it. Marley played with it too, but in the end Mason picked up his cars and went on his way. Maybe he'll play with it more when he's a little bit older.

*This post was written by Melanie. She's a mom to two and a full time blogger at Growing to Four *

Friday, December 26, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Argument Against Perv Blaming and Breastfeeding

We see the images of Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and other stars making the rounds on social media. Usually there's a lot of comments about how slutty they dress and how distasteful and disgusting they are for showing so much of their bodies in suggestive fashion to their audience. Invariably there will be the contingency of people who say that females should not be slut shamed because of how they choose to dress especially if they are of the age where they can make those decisions for themselves. I personally wouldn't want my daughters or females in my family to dress that way, but just because some women choose to dress a certain way does not automatically make them sluts nor does it make all females sluts by association. So there is a great deal of validity to the argument against the slut shaming of females.
There's another shaming or rather blaming going on with regards to breastfeeding. It seems like anytime the subject of breastfeeding comes up especially in the presence of others there's always a contingency of people who try to shame mothers into hiding using what I am going to call the perv blaming of males. We always hear about how mothers should cover up or nurse their babies elsewhere because pervs will get off on it or some perv might follow a mother home and sexually assault her or men will leave their wives or significant others for the mothers they see nursing their babies simply because they caught a glimpse of a woman's breast. People seem to have this idea that males will turn into uncontrollable horny beasts whenever they see a breast. When all else fails it's time to blame the shaming of mothers on every make being a pervert. Just like slut shaming is offensive to females, perv blaming when it comes to breastfeeding is offensive to men.

There are 3 reasons why as a male I personally find perv blaming extremely offensive.
The first reason why perv blaming is offensive is that males see women in provocative or revealing outfits on a regular basis and we manage to control ourselves. We can go to the mall, or park, or anywhere women are likely to be and there is likely to be at least one female with a low cut top or outfit that shows off a significant portion of her body. Somehow we manage to keep our libidos in check. We can go to the beach during the summer and see more breasts than we could possibly see from average breastfeeding mother. Guys manage to control themselves there as well. It is also interesting to note that nobody including those who use perv blaming to shame breastfeeding mothers seem to be too worried about playing the perv blaming card when it comes to the skimpy beachwear of the females who frequent the beach. Why not the same concern? Why label all men perverts only when it comes to trying to stipulate how a mother should feed her baby? There are no logical answers to those questions which means that people are only picking and choosing when to perv blame to suit their purposes which is to shame mothers into hiding when they go to feed their babies.
The second reason that perv blaming is offensive is because it is unfair to the many males who are respectful. How many times have we heard stories from mothers who say they have received more support and encouragement from men than they have from their fellow women? Very seldom do you hear stories where guys have exhibited creepy behavior or treated a breastfeeding mother horribly. Most decent guys will condemn that type of behavior. Most guys grew up with mothers like mine who did take the time to teach them a healthy respect for women. It isn't fair to respectful guys to take the few exceptions to the rule of respect and decency and hold them up as reasons why mothers should hide when feeding their babies. Using the guys who do exhibit less than stellar behavior towards breastfeeding mothers paints a negative picture of all males in the minds of new mothers who are breastfeeding and mothers to be who are planning to breastfeed. It can discourage them from feeding their babies around males and make their breastfeeding journeys more difficult because they have been led to believe that all makes are dirty minded perverts whose sole missions in life are to cop looks at the breasts of unsuspecting mothers. Why not take the majority of guys who do show respect and decency and use them as a examples to encourage mothers to nurse their babies wherever they are with comfort and ease? After all there are more of those guys out there than the guys people consider perverts.
The third and final reason why the perv blaming of males when it comes to breastfeeding is offensive is because not all males are pervs, and perverse and creepy behavior is not limited to breasts. While it is true that some men can be perverts and many men are attractive to the female body which includes breasts not all men take their attraction too far to where it becomes a problem sexually or a problem for women in general. It is also true that some men have breasts fetishes. But it is also true that some men have fetishes that involve just about every other part of the female anatomy. Some men have foot fetishes, some have hair fetishes, or hand fetishes etc..., but we don't tell women to cover up those areas of their bodies to prevent men with fetishes from fetishizing them. What's the difference? We've over sexualized breasts for one, but if a guy really has a sexual fetish involving other parts of the female body then wouldn't the exposure of those parts place women in just as much danger as people think they are when they breastfeed their babies? In most cases women will say if a guy has a fetish with another visible part of their bodies that's his problem and it won't stop them from wearing what they want and going where they please. So the argument that limits male perv shaming to breastfeeding is inconsistent, hypocritical, and illogical.
Guys are people too and sometimes it seems that people forget that we can be decent upstanding human beings too. It is not fair to shame the majority of breastfeeding mothers by blaming or accusing all males of being perverts when in fact perverts are the exceptions rather than the rule among males. If mothers choose to cover or breastfeed out of the presence of males because it makes them uncomfortable that's perfectly fine. What isn't fine is to expect all mothers to do so because people think they know how all men think and their perception of how we think is always negative. Most of us are decent when given the chance to be. Just like it would be unfair to label all females sluts and whores just because a few females may choose to dress or act in a highly provocative way, it isn't fair to take the less than ideal behavior of some males and use their behavior to define all males. Let the slut shaming and the perv blaming cease!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kids Craft: Bottle Cap Stampers

I'm always looking for ways to keep Marley occupied during the day. She could sit and watch tv or play her DS all day if we let her. I saw this idea on pinterest and thought she would enjoy it since she loves to paint and draw. My aunt actually had the bottle caps, but they're just off milk and gatorade. Then I picked up the foam stickers at Wal-Mart for $1. 

At the time I wasn't really thinking, but I can't use all the letters because once you stick them on the caps and stamp with them, they are backwards- oops! I did the letters I could and just let Marley play with the rest of the letters.  All you do is stick the letters on the caps and either paint or stamp with stamp pad. Super easy. You could also do animals or shapes. 

* This post was written by Melanie. She's a mom to two and a full time blogger at Growing to Four * 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Car Seat Safety Awareness: How to Choose the Right Car Seat

Choosing a car seat is a very important decision you have to make. When they’re born and when they grow out of a particular seat. But choosing the right one at the right time is very tricky. If you’re having trouble, I suggest you take a closer look at a few things. This just might make your decision even easier.

Keep your vehicle in mind
When you’re out shopping, it’s important to keep in mind what vehicle you have. Different seats work for different kinds of cars, so don’t forget that! If you have a small car, you don’t want to get a bulky seat or it may not fit. You don’t want to choose a seat that works best with the LATCH system if you don’t have that in your car.
Just make sure the dimensions fit along with your car nicely so there’s nobody needing to ride in the car with their knees in their chest!

Know what kind of seat you need
Different children need different sized seats throughout their little car seat lifetime. While we all know what each one is, we may not know when they change or how long they stay in the current seat.
Rear facing: As discussed previously, keeping a child in a rear facing seat is very important. You don’t want to turn them around too soon. They should always meat one of the three requirements before turning it around: age, height, and weight. Check the car seat for more specific instructions. Also keep in mind how big you think the child will be. If they’ll be small, get one with a lower start weight. But if they’ll be bigger, get one that has a higher end weight. Be sure that when you switch seats, your child is ready. If not, they could be killed on impact during an accident.
Forward facing: There are many out there that switch it once a child is 12 months and 20 pounds, but it’s very outdated so be sure you follow the correct instructions. Don’t turn them around too early or there will be serious consequences. They stay in forward facing car seats until they outgrow it. If the middle of his ears is above the top of the seat or shoulders are above the top harness level, they’re ready to move on.
Booster: A child will move to the booster and stay in it for quite some time. They’re ready to graduate to an adult seat belt once they've outgrown the booster. If they weigh over 40 pounds, they’re probably ready. This is around age 8, but could happen sooner or later depending on the child.

Check the comfort level
Before choosing a seat, test it out. Check how the handle feels and how heavy it is. You’ll be using this seat a lot and spending a great deal of time lugging it around. You want something light and comfortable for you. But you also want something that is comfy for the child, so don’t choose any fabrics that they won’t be able to breathe through.
Make sure it’s comfy for you both!

See if it works with your stroller
There’s lots of travel systems out there that work quite well together but not everyone will purchase a system. Sometimes it’s necessary to purchase them separately.
But if you already have the stroller, make sure your seat works well with it. It should be secure and your child should be at a reclined angle when locked onto the stroller. This will create good air flow for the child.

Research the history
This is very important to do! Not everyone will purchase it brand new so be sure you check this out. Make sure the seat was never in an accident, isn’t outdated or recalled, and is completely 100% safe.
Find out exactly how safe the seat is. Make sure to do your research before you decide to buy a particular seat. Be smart.

Make sure it’s easy to use
Sometimes, we’re in a hurry so it being difficult to use is going to be a huge problem. Mothers are busy and need something simple. So check it out and make sure installation is simple, it’s easy to lock into the base, the buckles, harnesses and snaps are all very easy to manage. But also make sure it’s not too simple to where your child can also manage using it.

Don’t get something that will cause a damper or you’ll end up spending more money on another seat. None of us want to do that.

What other tips do you have for choosing a car seat?

*This post was written by Amber Kristine. She is a mother of a 2 year old. She blogs at covering topics about raising your kids, running your home, taking care of yourself, loving others, and helping others around you. She hopes to help others and inspire them.*

Car Seat Safety Awareness: What you need to know about car accidents and car seats

Let me be honest here, it really sincerely worries me how many parents don’t take the safety of their child in a car seriously. It almost seems like everyone thinks it’s a big joke!

Now, let’s say you were recently in a car accident. Do you know what to do afterwards to make sure your baby remains safe in the car? Well, lucky we’re about to cover it. Hopefully by the end of this, you’ll have a more clear idea.

Replace the Car Seat

Once your car seat has been in a serious accident, it needs to be replaced. You’ve seen what force does to the frame of your car and it can do the same to the car seat. Even if it looks fine, it may not be safe. For all you know, the plastic has been weakened by the impact and won’t be able to protect your baby in future instances. That’s a risk you should not be willing to take! You need to replace that bad boy immediately.

Car Insurance Companies Will Help

If you provide the receipt to your car insurance provider, they may reimburse you for the seat. Many may try to say that they have trouble remembering if they’re supposed to replace them or not, but they are! If at all possible, locate the manual and show them the snippet that says they need to replace them. They must replace them! Must! They don’t even have to be the same model. Replacing the car seat is very important so don’t overlook a single thing!

Recycle Your Seat

When you are getting rid of the seat that was in the crash, you need to be careful how you go about this. Some places, you can just leave it on the curb and it can be picked up, others it’s not as simple. Many Farmer’s Markets have a program where they will take the fabric from the seat and reuse it for many purposes.

There’s also programs that will take them for training purposes only for important car seat courses. If none of these are an option, you need to be extra careful as to how you recycle your seat.

First, take off every piece of foam or fabric and throw it away separate from the carseat itself. Then, you need to take a sharpie and write (in big bold letters) “SEAT NOT SAFE. DO NOT USE!!”. You don’t want someone to find it and attempt to use it under any circumstance.

What have you done after a car accident?

*This post was written by our blogger Amber Kristine. She's a mother of a 2 year old and is also blogs at*

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kids Craft: Toilet Paper Roll Birdfeeder

My daughter and I did a quick little craft project today after she brought home some bird food from school. 

First, you need some used toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, bird food, something to spread peanut butter with, and something to lay the bird food out on.

I spread the peanut butter on the t.p. rolls first. I did it pretty thick for a few reasons, one- because I wanted the bird food to stick good, and two- I knew I wouldn't be using this jar of p.b. again so I figured I wouldn't waste it.

Next, I passed the roll off to my daughter and she rolled it all over in the bird food. Making sure to smoosh it down good so the food sticks. 

That's it! Then we just bundled up and went outside and slid them over tree branches. We put them where we could see them from inside so we could watch them if a bird does come.

It took us about 10 minutes from start to finish and was free since I already had p.b. and t.p. rolls.

*This post is by Melanie. She's a stay at home mom to two and full time blogger at Growing to Four. If you like this post, be sure to check out her blog for lots more*

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Modesty Dilemma

   When I hear people say that they are all for breastfeeding but there's nothing wrong with a little modesty I'm reminded of the times I would visit the aquatic center pools at the physical education building in college. They were open to the families of students, faculty, and staff on the weekends. Being that it was in a university setting you would get an eclectic group of people out there. I remember there were several Muslim families that would visit quite regularly and the women would get into the pool wearing swimming attire that covered everything except their faces, hands, and feet. That was their definition and exhibition of modesty. There was a rule that no thong bikinis were allowed, but the spectrum of swimming attire out there included everything from what the Muslim ladies were wearing to the bikinis that other ladies were wearing that got about as close to being thongs as they could get without actually being thongs. Just about every style of swimwear between those extremes was represented. That's typically what you see when it comes to breastfeeding. You have mothers who feed their babies covered up and out of the way and you have those who just pull out a breast wherever they are and take care of business. You have mothers whose nursing styles fall somewhere between those two extremes. I don't mean extremes in a bad way I only use that word to show how opposite those styles are from each other.
   If you were to make the same statement about modesty with regards to swimwear as you would about breastfeeding my question would be the same for both, whose standard of modesty are we abiding by? Everyone at the pool was wearing what in their minds was modest for them and what they felt comfortable wearing just like every breastfeeding mother feeds her baby according to her standard of modesty and what's comfortable for her. That's why it's confusing when people make such a statement. Modesty is such a subjective term as we've heard hundreds of times before. If you gathered a hundred people together from all backgrounds and all walks of life and asked them what modesty looks like to them with regards to breastfeeding you could potential get a hundred different variations of modesty. How do you pick one that everyone can agree on or that will actually work for everyone? Which version is the right version? It is virtually impossible. The only workable solution is to allow people the freedom to choose what version works for them.
   Modesty is tricky when it comes to breastfeeding because even if a mother wanted to cover or be discreet about what she was doing her baby might not allow it. For people that have been exposed to breastfeeding all their lives like myself it can be as disturbing and uncomfortable to see a baby struggling and fighting under a cover as people claim it is for them if they should happen to see a nipple during a nursing session. When we demand a certain standard of modesty for every mother we can make feeding their babies exponentially more difficult then it has to be. I witnessed a mother trying to walk and nurse her baby and keep him covered while her husband looked at tools in the home improvement department in the store where I work. After struggling and becoming noticeably frustrated as she tried to keep her baby covered she threw in the towel and ended the nursing session altogether. She wasn't happy and judging by her baby's cries of discomfort he wasn't very happy either.
   So when people say they are all for breastfeeding but there's nothing wrong with a little modesty, they may actually be correct provided they could actually come up with one single standard of modesty that works for everyone. Since it is virtually impossible to find a version or standard that works for everyone then perhaps there is something wrong with saying there's nothing wrong with a little modesty: it's potentially different for everyone.
~Tom Miller

Monday, December 8, 2014

Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments

The other day I came across this salt dough ornament on Pinterest. I decided to do it with the kids this past weekend.

--All you need is 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and water.
--Mix the flour and salt and then slowly pour in water until it forms a dough. 
--Flatten it out on a cookie sheet so it's large enough for your child's hand to fit.
--Press their hand into the dough and slowly lift it out. I used a straw to make a hole at the top so we can hang it.
--After you do that, bake it at 150 degrees for 1 hour (my oven only goes down to 170 degrees so I used that).
--Remove from oven and let cool completely.
--You can then leave it how it is and hang it from the tree with a pretty ribbon, or you can paint it. I painted them so the handprints would show a little better.  On the back I also painted 2014 so we'll always remember when we made then.

These are something you could do every year or you could even do footprints.  I'm sure grandparents would love them too.

*This post was written by Melanie. She's a stay at home mom to two and also a full time blogger at Growing to Four. *

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Car Seat Safety Awarwness: 5 Common Car Seat Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

When it comes to car seat safety, I feel as though many parents don’t take it as seriously as they should be. They just assume that having their child in a car seat guarantees they’ll be fine. Unfortunately, no. You need to make sure everything is done exactly right or you could end up losing your child if you were to get in a bad accident.

That’s something no parent wants to imagine, but it happens. So please, stay with me here. I have a list of common mistakes that none of us should be making. I hope that by providing them for you today, you can keep that sweet baby in your arms longer than many parents have been able to.

Neglecting to remove a child’s winter jacket

Seriously, this is one of the biggest one that exists. It is so very important that you take your child’s jacket off before buckling them in. I know it’s cold and inconvenient, but it isn’t worth risking that baby’s life. You can always purchase a very thick blanket to leave in the car and drape it over them once they’re buckled in. But please, don’t leave that jacket on when you buckle them in.

By having a jacket on while buckled into the seat, it creates space between the child and the straps. This is a huge safety hazard since it will case the child to lunge forward if you were to get into an accident. I think we all know that is not good, especially when you also factor in the speed you’ll be going when this happens.

We all want our children to come out of an accident with as little injury as possible. So please, do them a favor and take that coat off before you strap them in. Please.

Turning the child around too soon

This one is also very common. I’m unfortunately very guilty of doing it with my own child. The child grows, his legs get long, and so you turn the seat around. Stop right there! While it may look like it’s time, it may not be. Check the height and weight requirements, if they exceed them both, go right ahead and turn it around! But if they only meet one requirement and they’re under the age of two, it’s a no go.

A child needs to meet two of the three requirements: height, weight, and age.

The reason for this being that it takes at least 2 years for a child’s vertebrae to properly develop. But if they haven’t met the height and weight requirements, they may still need some time. If you turn them around and get into a car accident that can cause whiplash, it will kill the child on impact if they are facing forward.

So please, don’t turn them around too early!


Placing the car seat on top of a shopping cart

Okay, another one I was once guilty of. But it’s one I quickly stopped doing. While the bottom may lock onto the top of the shopping cart, it is not safe by any means. I mean, what if you turn around to grab something off a shelf and someone knocks your cart over? That is an impact that is not good for any child.

The car seat also makes the cart top heavy and so it’s much easier to knock over. When the child goes through this, they can suffer skull injuries or even worse. So keep them safe and put them in the cart itself, not on top.

Neglecting to get them checked by a professional

Before you even use the seat when the child is born, you should have it checked by someone who knows what they’re doing. Many hospitals and fire stations offer free checks during different days throughout the month. Check your local area and see when you can have yours checked.

Even if you’ve had children before or know how to install one, it’s best to have them checked by a professional. You may have done one small thing wrong and that one small thing could cost their little precious life.

Using a expired, recalled, or post-accident seat

This is never a good idea. Not ever. If it’s expired or re-called, it’s definitely not up to safety standard. If you keep using the same seat after you are in an accident, that’s absolutely dangerous. Using a seat in any of these conditions is incredibly dangerous. There’s a reason for expiration dates, recalls, and just using a car seat after an accident isn’t good at all!

Be smart and be safe! Get your child a quality seat.

Are you making these common mistakes?
What other ones do you think are being made?


About Amber Kristine

Amber Kristine is a mother of a 2 year old. She blogs at covering topics about raising your kids, running your home, taking care of yourself, loving others, and helping others around you. She hopes to help others and inspire them.



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Children and Breastfeeding: 4 Common Myths For Why Children Shouldn't be Exposed to Breastfeeding

One of the most popular arguments against NIP is that children should not have to witness the act of breastfeeding. If you have followed any breastfeeding related page you will see the same arguments repeated over and over again. You will usually statements that sound like this "children will be traumatized by breastfeeding" or "I don't want to have to explain to my child what that woman is doing" or "I don't want my child to see some strange woman's breast while she is feeding her baby" or one of my favorites "maybe some parents want to wait to teach their children are older to teach them about sex". While these arguments may sound valid on the surface they are actually factually illogical. Having grown up one of the older kids in a large family where my mother breastfed all of us I can say for certain that all of these arguments for why children shouldn't be exposed to breastfeeding are illogical, invalid, and actually better arguments for why children need to be exposed to breastfeeding and the earlier the better.
Using my experience as the child of a mother who breastfed I will attempt to dispel what I have chosen as the four most common myths or arguments as to why children should not be exposed to breastfeeding.
Myth #1
Children will be traumatized by seeing a mother breastfeeding her baby.
This is one of the most popular arguments people use to discourage mothers from breastfeeding in the presence of children. It is also one of the most illogical arguments people can use to discourage mothers from breastfeeding in the presence of children. In order for a child to be traumatized by something they would have to have been taught that something about it was terribly wrong. Since children are still learning about the world and are still relatively innocent about most things it is highly doubtful that something as harmless as breastfeeding would traumatize them. I was in the room the night one of my siblings was born at home and because I didn't know very much about birth at that stage I had no reason to see it as anything other than a natural part of life. Had I been taught that it was supposed to be traumatic I may have had a different reaction. Since I hadn't been taught anything negative or scary about it it didn't faze me. Breastfeeding is no different. If it is introduced to a child as a normal part of life at a young age that's how they will view it and anytime they see it it will be as innocent to them as observing a puppy or a kitten drinking milk from their mothers. By contrast, if they are taught that it is dirty or wrong by the influential adult figures in their lives then they might be bothered by it, but it won't be the breastfeeding itself that is causing them to be traumatized, it will be how they are taught to view it.
Myth #2
Children don't need to see some woman's breast while she is nursing her baby.
Children are actually the perfect people to see a woman's breast while she is nursing her baby. Since children haven't been indoctrinated into society's sexual view of breasts, being exposed to them performing their primary function will allow them to see breasts for what they were designed to do before they learn anything else about them. Growing up with a breastfeeding mother meant that my siblings and myself were often in the presence of other breastfeeding mothers. My mother never demanded or insisted that those mothers hide what they were doing from us just as she didn't hide her breastfeeding from us when she did it. As a result it wasn't uncomfortable being in the presence of mothers breastfeeding even when they didn't do it discreetly throughout our childhood and even into adolescence.
Adults can be stuck in their ways about the way they view things and it's hard to change their opinions. Children on the other hand have the opportunity to start fresh and get it right so they need to be exposed to breastfeeding as often as possible. Maybe the over sexualized view of breasts can go away for future generations and it won't be so hard for mothers in the future to nurse their babies in public.
Myth #3
Breastfeeding is nudity and children shouldn't be exposed to nudity.
Because of the over sexualization of breasts in our society we typically think of them being exposed for any reason at all as inappropriate nudity. There are two things to consider when it comes to breastfeeding and nudity. First, non sexual nudity, which includes the act of exposing a breast to feed a baby, is not always inappropriate nudity. Nudity in and of itself is not always a bad thing. In the right context and situation it may actually be both healthy and necessary. Breasts were meant to feed babies so it would follow that it should be okay to expose a breast for that purpose. As mentioned above, we saw my mother and her friends nurse babies openly and at no time did we see it as inappropriate. Since we were permitted to see breasts while mothers were nursing their babies I never looked at breasts in the traditional way people view nudity. I never questioned whether it was wrong or not to see what we saw because it was a normal part of our everyday life. Had my mother and the other breastfeeding mothers I knew growing up hid what they were doing I would probably have the same mindset about breastfeeding that many in society do today.
Secondly, children don't view nudity the same way that we as adults do. If children are raised in homes where nudity is normal that's how they will view it until someone tells them something different. There are cultures where nudity is the norm and nobody ever thinks to see it as inappropriate because because that's what they do from the time they are born. It's as normal to them as wearing clothes is to us. Shame is a concept that is learned and taught by adults who typically link all nudity to sex. Since most children have very little sexual knowledge they don't see the body as sexual. Even primary sex organs at a young age don't mean the same thing to children as they do to adults. Unless someone teaches children that breasts are sexual and should be covered at all times they won't grow up viewing them that way.
Myth #4
Teaching children about breastfeeding means having to have the big talk with them about the birds and the bees.
I was about 9 years old when my parents called us into the dining room on a cold dreary day where we were stuck inside the house. They sat us down at the dining room table and began to nervously tell us the basics about the birds and the bees. They discussed the functions of the penis and the vagina in the process of reproduction. At no point during the discussion did I hear any reference made to breasts in relation to sex. I didn't learn that breasts could be sexual until I started going through puberty. It seems that many people think teaching a child about breastfeeding requires teaching them about sex. If you have to teach a child about sex to teach them about the primary function of breasts then you are pointing them in the wrong direction that most of society is currently traveling with the over sexualization of breasts. Teaching a child about breastfeeding requires the simplest of explanations. If you tell them a baby is eating the same as you would explaining a kitten or a puppy nursing that explanation will usually suffice. They may be curious about the actual process of how the baby is getting the milk, but even that doesn't require a complicated explanation. Teaching a child about breastfeeding can be as easy as we want it to be. If you are complicating it you are probably introducing too much unnecessary information that will only confuse them and begin the process of perpetuating the sexual stigma of breasts.
Children of all people need to be exposed to breastfeeding. Girls who see breastfeeding as they are growing up will become mothers who choose to breastfeed. Boys who see breastfeeding growing up will become supportive husbands and fathers to the breastfeeding women in their lives. Most importantly children will grow up understanding that breasts have a primary function that has nothing to do with sex. They will understand that breasts were designed primarily to feed babies and it won't be weird for future generations to see them performing that function at home or in public. It may be too late to change the minds of some adults and get them to accept and support breastfeeding and NIP, but if we can expose children to it as early and as often as possible we may be able to make things a little easier for breastfeeding mothers in the future.
~Tom Miller

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vendor Feature: Timeless Talisman

Who is giving away one handmade piece sells Bracelts, earrings, necklaces and Chakra wands.

Be sure to to enter for this and more great prizes here!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vendor Feature: Red River Rags

who is giving away one Ring Sling of choice from our "Ready to Sell" Album and one nursing pillow of choice sells oversized nursing pillows, ring slings, cloth diapers, diaper cakes, and custom onesies.

Be sure to to enter for this and more great prizes here!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vendor Feature: Nursing Bra Express

who is giving away the winner's choice of Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads OR Baby Nip Nipple Hat sells nursing bras, nursing clothing, nursing tops, nursing tanks, and breastfeeding accessories.

Be sure to to enter for this and more great prizes here!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vendor Feature: Bessie's Best Lactation Cookies

who is giving away one dozen lactation cookies sells oatmeal based cookies with flax seed and brewers yeast as the active ingredients.

Be sure to to enter for this and more great prizes here!

Labor Day Giveaway

How would you like to win a gift set worth more than $250 from the awesome sponsors shown above? Our Labor Day Giveaway will be open until September 5th at midnight. 

Here is what's up for grabs. Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter!

Bessie's Best Lactation Cookies - One dozen cookies

Nursing Bra Express - Winner's choice of Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads OR Baby Nip Nipple Hat

Nursing In Public Is Here To Stay - Gift cards to Shutterfly,,,, and one Philips AVENT Natural Bottle

Timeless Talismans - One handmade piece

Red River Rags - One Ring Sling of choice from our "Ready to Sell" Album and one nursing pillow of choice

Special thanks to our promoters:

Mom of 3 babies, 3 and under.
Occupational Therapist, Blogger,
Organic Gardener, DIY-er, Cloth Diapering,
Babywearing, Photographer, love cooking!

We are an Uncensored page, so be forewarned now.
We have adult night every Saturday!
Feel free to vent, ask questions, or brag!
NO BASHING! Have fun!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zutano Clothes Review

"For more than twenty years, Zutano has been committed to celebrating the diversity of all children, creating exceptional, innovative, and versatile products. Zutano incorporates brilliant colors and animated prints in its versatile line of young fashions to bring your child's personality to life.

Their boys and girls clothing for preemies, newborns, infants, and toddlers is crafted from only the softest cottons, creating a line known for its superior quality in a rainbow of colors and prints that parents and kids adore. The result is an amazingly simple collection that gives mom and dad options with prints, patterns, and textures in both brights and neutrals that are easy to mix and match to create outfits with anything in baby's closet. 

Zutano offers a complete range of unique baby clothes and apparel for preemies, newborns, and toddlers—from playful tops and bottoms, to eye-catching dresses, practical newborn baby onesies, signature Cozie Fleece, jackets, and hoodies. All are crafted with only the finest natural fiber fabrics and softest cottons deserving of your baby to ensure high quality, easy care, and long life.

From our children to yours, we hope our collection will instill a feeling of playfulness, love, and creativity into the heart and mind of you and your little one."

We were lucky enough to get some of their awesome clothes to review! Here's what Sabrina thought.

I absolutely love [their] clothes! I love that they are 100% cotton. I love that they are durable through wash and play. I love the patterns and designs. The booties were my absolute favorite. With the way they are made there is little to no chance of the baby kicking them off. I would definitely buy their products in the future.

If you'd like to purchase some of their awesome clothes and accessories, head over to Zutano  now!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Adam's Long Journey Earth Side

I finally did it. I recreated the timeline of my birth story, collecting information from several different places. Reminiscing the birth of Adam was so very important to me now, that I am pregnant with our second (and last) child.

My birth story begins with a long TTC journey. Eighteen months of trying. Eighteen months of hopes, disappointments, tears, and heartaches. Eighteen months of countless doctor appointments, tests, fertility drugs and treatments, ovulation test strips and negative pregnancy tests. After that eighteen months we finally decided to go ahead and try IUI. I felt incapable of conceiving on my own. I was broken. I needed doctors to artificially inseminate me, like a cow. Or so I thought. During my rest month before my IUI, I didn’t give TTC much thought. Just continued with my prenatal vitamins and excitedly looked forward to the next cycle. It promised magic. It never began.
On January 26, 2012 the impossible happened. A miracle... I was not expecting it. Like every month before, I decided I would pee on the stick, just so I could jump start my next cycle. I was anxious to begin the IUI treatment. It was an unfailing method that worked every single time. Whenever I took a pregnancy test, it would come back negative and within a couple of hours my period would start. So as I was watching to test, and the second line started to form very faintly, I began breathing faster and faster, while staring at the test with utter disbelief. Something was wrong with it. Was it broken? There has never been two lines before. My rapid breathing quickly turned into hyperventilating, tears of joy running down my face. Could it be? Was I imagining it? And as quickly as the excitement set in, so did the fear. Would everything be okay? What were my risks of miscarriage? An e-mail to my doctor was sent right away. “I think I just got a positive home pregnancy test. I can hardly believe it and I'm kind of in shock! I'm going to go to the lab first thing in the morning to get a test done there. Can I get a blood test too? If really positive, how can we ensure it will stick? It would be the worst thing if I had gotten pregnant and then later miscarried. I am so excited!”. My due date was estimated to be October first, 2012.
My pregnancy was not the most difficult one. I struggled with severe vomiting in the first trimester and half of the second. I lost twenty pounds before I started gaining any weight back. I was at risk of premature labor.
On the evening of September 12, my Braxton Hicks contractions became significantly uncomfortable. I struggled to fall asleep. When I woke up in the morning, they were still there, but only about seven minutes apart. I went to work. Contractions continued throughout the day, but didn’t bother me. Only when I slowed down throughout my busy day did I really notice them. Two days later the contractions became stronger, more noticeable. I called Labor and Delivery, they had me come in for evaluation. It was September 14, 2012. I was contracting Regularly, every two to three minutes, dilated to a whole one centimeter. After a few hours of observation, the doctors decided that I need to labor at home and predicted I’d be having this baby by the end of that weekend. I was allowed to go home and sleep in my own bed. The doctors wouldn’t stop the labor at that point, since I was considered full term.
September 16, 2012. Sunday. Officially diagnosed with prolonged latent labor. Steady contractions happening every two to three minutes with very little to none cervical changes. Oh what joy.
September 20, 2012. Thursday. I begin experiencing more and more discomfort. Still no changes to the cervix. Still contracting on regular basis.
September 21, 2012. Friday. I signed off from my work computer for the last time in sixteen weeks. Doctors didn’t want me going in to work anymore. I could deliver any day now. Still contracting steadily every two to three minutes.
September 27, 2012. Thursday. Doctor appointment brings me to tears. While I continue to have the contractions, cervix has only dilated half a centimeter more. I feel like I am never going to see the delivery day, while I continue being thankful for extra utero time for my little man.
September 30, 2012. Sunday. I venture out on a hike with friends. This baby is sure going to come out now, right? Nope...
October 1, 2012. Monday. It’s officially my due date. At this point I am ready to do anything to get this labor going, the contractions are not letting up.
October 2, 2012. Tuesday. Bitter sweet doctor appointment. My little man is engaged in the birth canal, steady heartbeat, passed NST with flying colors. No progress with cervix, membrane sweep done, induction scheduled for October 15. I pray I don’t go that long, I am ready for those contractions to finally become more productive...

October 6, 2012. Feeling like I couldn't possibly get any bigger.

October 13, 2012. Saturday. Visiting a haunted corn maze. I was hoping that maybe I could manage to scare that baby out of me. No such luck. I am exhausted at this point. Sleep has been continually disrupted by the constant contractions, yet I am so used to them now, they don’t even hurt anymore. They just feel uncomfortable. I am so so so so ready to get a move on.
October 15, 2012. Monday.
The day is finally here. I cannot wait to finally meet my little man. I am anxious to start the induction process. I am in disbelief that I still need to be induced after nearly five weeks of steady contractions. We leave home ten after midnight and head for the hospital.
12:30 am
checked into the hospital, getting to tour my very own private birthing room. One last bump picture taken. My husband and I are left to hang out on our own while the doctor gets around to seeing us

The very last bump picture.

1:45 am
My cervix is checked and I find that I am dilated to a whole three centimeters. I ask if we still need to induce, or if I could wait, since there is some progress at last. Doctor still suggests Pitocin, because my contractions, though still regular, continue to be a bit unproductive (it took almost five weeks to get me to progress two centimeters after all). The Pitocin drip begins.
At some point now I doze off for a short while. Not much more for me to do, is there? I go in and out of sleep.
5:20 am
I feel very awake. The contractions increase in intensity, but still bearable. No cervical progress. Doctor ups the Pitocin. The next few hours is a blur of contractions, cat naps, hallway walks.
10:30 am
Four centimeters dilated. Continuing walking up and down the hallway. I feel pain. Pain I’ve never felt before. But I can still walk. Something feels weird between my legs and as I am walking the hallways, holding on to my husband for support while pushing the IV stand with another hand, I stop, look down. There is a snail trail of gross, bloody cervical mucous hanging down to about my knees. Must be the longest mucous plug the world has ever seen. I briefly consider having the nurse measure it, could be a Guinness record. Instead I ask if I could labor in water for a bit. Pitocin is starting to really cause some serious pain.
11:25 am
I get into the birthing pool. Contractions have picked up in intensity, and I feel like all the birthing classes I took are not even remotely close to truly describing the pain of labor. I am feeling angry. Why does it have to hurt so much and why is my husband not doubled over in pain. I want to kick him in the balls, just so I am not the only person suffering. Misery loves company. What a true cliché. I realize, however, that having him in pain isn’t going to be any help to me. Men can’t handle pain... The water feels good. My contractions last 90 seconds, and begin in 120 second intervals. I cry silently as I breathe through them. Time is going by incredibly slow.
12:55 pm
I can’t stand the water any longer. I feel sticky from it. I want to drown myself. The pain is more than I can handle. I wish I was a screamer. I sure could use a good yell right now. I get out of the water and get checked. Still four centimeters. Anger and defeat run through me again. I want to walk back to my room.
In my room I try the birthing ball, the matt, the rope. The pain in my back is insane. I cry with every contraction. I can no longer breathe through them. 30 seconds between contractions is not enough time for me to catch a breath. I thought I had a high pain tolerance. I beg the midwife to check my cervix again as I hope it’s time to push. She won’t budge. I curse silently. I beg for drugs. Best ones they have. Something that will knock me out for days. General anesthesia would be perfect. Medically induced coma? Yes, please! Husband dares to remind me I told him that he was not to allow me to get epidural no matter what I said. How dare he bring something like this up? Clearly I was in no state to make such decision then. I want my drugs. And I want them now.
The anesthesiologist finally hooks me up to the epidural drip. The instant it is in I begin to regret it. I wanted as natural labor as possible, and here I am. The relief from pain is the most amazing thing, however, and my regrets quickly dissolve. The midwife checks my cervix. I am seven centimeter dilated. No longer it hurt so bad. My vagina almost doubled in size in less than 90 minutes. I have no desire to think no more. I drift off to sleep.
I wake up, feeling in much better spirits. I can still feel my contractions, but the intensity is comparable to the ones of my prolonged latent labor phase. I don’t bother pushing the epidural button again. Midwife comes in to check my progress. I made it to nine centimeters and at 5:22pm the doctor breaks my waters. I drift off to sleep again.
I wake up again. I am uncomfortable. A little bit after 8pm the nurse came in to ask how I was feeling. I was lost for words trying to explain the very uncomfortable and slightly painful (despite the epidural) pressure "down there". She looked under the cover to check on how I was doing and there was the head! The time to push was announced and I got cold feet right then. Broke down in tears, saying I wasn't ready. It didn't matter, though, because at that point my little man was finally ready and with just three pushes he came out, on October 15th, 2012. 8:21pm. We named him Adam Grady.

Welcome to the world, little man.

Now, I asked my mom many times about the feelings a woman experiences when she sees and hears her child for the first time. She was never able to explain. Neither am I. The feeling is not comparable to anything else. One thing is certain though. That very moment I understood exactly what my mom couldn't explain. He was the only "thing" in the whole entire world that mattered that moment. He aspirated some of the amniotic fluid on his way out and was quickly whisked away from me to have his airways cleared. I couldn't get my eyes off of him the entire time (during which, apparently, I delivered my placenta, got cleaned up and stitched up). I kept praying to God that Adam would be okay and start breathing normally and not have to be taken away from me. My prayers have been answered and he finally coughed and started breathing right. I realized I was crying. My 8 pounds 9 ounces of love. 21 inches of his perfect little body. He was placed on my chest again. I have never felt love this strong. I counted all his finger and toes. He seemed to be looking deep into my eyes. His tiny warm body against mine. His little heart beating against my chest. At that moment I understood why I have been brought into this world. It was for him. I was his just like he was mine. I caressed his teeny arms while he suckled, and I felt complete. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could make me happier, and the memories of that day will never fade. My little miracle boy is here.

The moments I realized what love at first sight really means.

I really would like to acknowledge the amazing support I received from Michael during the whole process. Holding my hand through walks of the hallways, rubbing my back through the most intense contractions, cutting the umbilical cord, and not being ashamed of shedding a tear  (or two) when our son was born. Thank you, Michael, for being my rock.

If you'd like to learn more about the Mars family, hop on over to Anna's blog.