Friday, January 16, 2015

It's about that time again!

***I wrote this post but didn't publish it right away and over Christmas break got a little distracted by a BABY, coming 2 WEEKS EARLY!  This is unheard of for Wickoren children so we were a little taken by surprise.  More on that to come, but since I had this nice blog post all typed up, I'm going to publish it anyhow because it may still be of use to some of you.***

Something about Christmas and babies just makes me want to blog, so here I am again, two years since my last blog post, and making preparations for celebrating the birth of Christ and the birth of our newest addition, Jasper.  We are planning for a bit of a crowd at Jasper's birth - Dad, Grandma, Auntie Sarah, Big Brother Mitch, and Big Sister Violet - so today I'm looking at birth videos to help prep the two members of our group who have never attended a birth before.  There are tons out there, but as I sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly, I thought I would post the best of the best here in case anyone else is also trying to prepare children or bachelorette sisters for the blessed event and could use some good resources.

This is the first video the kids and I watched.  It's not exactly especially informational, but it's a great gentle introduction to waterbirth - nothing graphic, no screaming or moaning really, no blood.  I used this one to show Ivy (who is the ripe old age of 4 these days) how a baby comes out.  You get to see the baby come out, but through the water and at a very modest angle.  Ivy was pretty impressed and so we watched the pushing stage several times (fast forward to 3:30 if you want to get to the "good stuff").

This video is a decent quick overview of what is happening on the inside during the different stages of labor - a little "behind the scenes" summary.  This one isn't embeddable, but you can see it on YouTube by clicking here.

Here's a nice example of some labor moaning, good for explaining some of the kinds of noises that mom might make in labor...

I think it's helpful for kids, if you want to show more graphic videos, to start with animal videos first, so it's a little less shocking.  It also gives a good you a good opportunity to talk about the amniotic sac.

What I like about this video is that it shows some graphic bits, and there is some screaming, but both of those parts happen underwater so it is a bit blurry and the sounds is muted by the water, so it's a little less intense.  Again, another chance to talk about labor sounds.  And as soon as baby is out, mom is laughing and clearly just so ecstatic to have baby there so you can see that while it was painful for her, as soon as the work is done she is feeling quite good again.

Aaaaand... this one's just for fun, not for kids  ;-)

Do you have any favorite videos or websites to prepare first time birth attendees for the event?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas By The Dozen

Merry Christmas everyone!  How was your Christmas?  Magical?  Delightful?  A veritable winter wonderland?  Good.  I'm happy for you.  Really, I am.

My Christmas wasn't horribly bad, but it just felt like a very "off" year.  Not my favorite.  To start the holiday season off right, on November 20th Ivy and I were hit by a semi truck.  We both came out of it pretty good considering, but the recovery and aftermath did put a damper on my Black Friday shopping.  For the first time in eight years I stayed home on Black Friday.  That left me with a whole lotta shopping to get done in December.  And with the accident came a bunch of doctor's appointments and new car shopping and new carseat shopping and insurance shenanigans to be done in December.  The shopping and everything did get done in time (barely) but I didn't get much decorating done.  I got no baking done.  Things just weren't feeling as Christmasy as they should.

The weekend before Christmas I marked out on the calendar to be a CHRISTMAS PREP EXTRAVAGANZA!  We were hosting Christmas for the inlaws this year so at the very least I needed to clean house and I was also hoping to finish up that decorating too.  Saturday morning Violet and I got to cleaning until I bent over to turn on the tub faucet (to fill a mop bucket) and my back went out.  Just went down south for the holidays to visit family I guess.  I crawled to bed and stayed there all weekend unable to walk.  Needless to say, things yet again didn't get done as I had planned.

Christmas went fine, gifts were opened and meals were eaten and there was cheer and whatnot.  But I'm still sitting here feeling kind of unsatisfied.

Lucky for me though, I remembered - THERE ARE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!  I still have time to salvage the season and have some fun.  So my goal is to do twelve days of gluten-free and dairy-free treats.  I don't know if that will make everything better, but at least we can all drown our sorrows in marshmallow and chocolate.

Grandma Beccie provided the treats for Christmas, which were delightful, and I'll hunt down her recipes for you all.  My contribution for Christmas was a quick batch of gluten, dairy, peanut free Muddy Buddies (using this recipe).  I was so-so about these because I am a huge peanut fan and the almond butter just seemed subpar to me, but no one else had my reservations and the whole bowl was promptly devoured.

So yesterday when I decided to do this, I was trying to think of an easy treat to make that I had the ingredients for on hand.  In scanning my cupboards, my eyes rested on a Tupperware container of Cascadian Farms Honey Nut O's.  This cereal did NOT go over well with my brood.  I thought it looked good, but they won't eat it.  I tried it, it's not terrible, but I agree with them, it's not great.  It was an expensive box of cereal though so I didn't want it to go to waste.  So I rounded up a recipe for Almond Honey Cereal Bars from the Cascadian Farms blog and figured I give it a go.  Maybe the cereal would be more enticing slathered in honey and sugar? 

Turns out, it is.

They are all gone already except for the four I put in a bag marked "DO NOT EAT (FOR SATURDAY)".  We are doing a family gift exchange on Saturday so I thought I should keep a variety of treats from this week's projects to share with everyone.

And for today, another easy project with all the ingredients already on hand.  Grandma Marcia had bought the makings for chocolate dipped pretzels (ingredients: chocolate, pretzels) so I whipped those up today.  Glutino pretzels dipped in melted Enjoy Life dairy free chocolate chips.  Easy peasy.  Also extremely delicious.  This is a great one because it is basically indistinguishable from its dairy and gluten full version.  Yum.

Tune in tomorrow for the fourth day of treats.  It should be exciting because at this point I again have no idea what I'll be making ;-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

That's It?

Last year the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was exhilirating.  It felt challenging and exciting and like a real accomplishment.  As I finish this year's flats challenge, I'm left feeling a little, "meh".  Last year flats were a whole new world for me, but this year, they're old hat.  I've been stuffing my pockets and covers with these little darlings for a year now so it's no big whoop.  I had everything I needed already on hand so I didn't even have to prepare for this year's challenge at all. I just woke up Monday morning, slapped a flat on Ivy, and went on with my day.  At bedtime I stuck the dirties in a bucket of water and soap, went up and did the bedtime routine with the kids, then came back down and scrubbed and rinsed for about ten minutes.  Not very challenging.  I didn't even set up a clothesline - lazy old me just hung them on the porch chairs and railing overnight and they were still there and plenty dry by morning.

I'm not saying handwashing is easy.  Spending an hour washing and hanging a big old bucket of flats that I had been neglecting for three days as I was trying to get the car packed for our weekend away was no picnic.  But it wasn't a big deal either, just a bit time consuming.

And the pinnacle of my nonchalance about flats - when at the last second my mom said she would watch Ivy while we took the big kids on vacation, I said "Thank you thank you thank you!" and headed out the door.  I didn't leave her any instructions or alternate diapers or anything.  Ooops!  But never fear, she was around last year for the Walmart Flats Challenge so not only did she rock the flats, but she also knew that when she was running out of flats Sunday night, she could put the baby to bed with a receiving blanket in her cover.  The highlight of the challenge I think.

But, while the whole thing does seem a little anticlimatic, I think this is a good thing.  Because really, flats shouldn't be a big deal.  People used to use them all the time without any fanfare or patting themselves on the back.  And I think that's what we need to get back to.  While I do love me some fluffy mail, and I could talk for hours about cloth diapers with anyone who asked, I think that the future for cloth diapers is banality.  I mean, these are diapers.  They catch poop.  Do you chat with your mom friends for hours about disposable diapers?  How about baby socks or onesies?  Nope, because it's no big deal.  It's ordinary.  You might recommend your favorite brand, but there just isn't that much to say about them, because how to use them and wash them and dispose of them is common knowledge.  You don't have to wonder where to buy them, you know because you've seen them at Target a thousand times already.  And that's the place that we want cloth diapers to be.  We want them to get to the point for mothers around the world where we no longer need advocacy groups.  Where  moms no longer feel the need to congregate in online groups to discuss in minute detail washing routines and fabrics and fit because they can chat about those things with the mothers around them in real life if they're having trouble.   I can't wait until we reach the day when new moms learn everything they need to know about cloth from their own mothers or from the childbirth prep class at the hospital, along with the other basic baby care knowledge.

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