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Archive for May, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Celebrate Memorial Day with Baby

  Written By: Melainie

memorial dayThis is a very special day in our great nation because it is a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives protecting our freedom. Since my husband is in the military this is an important holiday for our family. Although we have not personally experienced the devastation of fighting for our country, we have seen the heartache in others whose family members gave their all.

So, take some time this memorial day and be thankful for those who did sacrifice- tell your children a little history lesson and honor our military. Having said all of that, enjoy the freedom that others have worked to maintain, and celebrate with friends and family. Here is how we get the baby involved in the fun also:

Baby’s First Memorial Day

This Memorial Day we will take time to remember fallen soldiers and we will also take time to eat homemade barbecue sandwiches. My husband is smoking pork for pulled pork sandwiches and our extended family members are bringing the side dishes. I plan to bake an apple pie to finish the meal. My baby loves her daddy’s smoked pork and I’m sure she will love the apple pie too.

 

baby's first memorial day

 

After the meal we might head over to the lake and enjoy the sunshine. We are also considering a visit to the nearby Veteran’s Memorial Museum or maybe just spend a moment at the local Civil War Cemetery. One thing that has been decided for Monday- we will definitely have a Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. CST for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives defending our freedom.

Need some other ideas for celebrating the true spirit of Memorial Day as a family?

  • Help your children write a letter of appreciation to our soldiers overseas and send it via AMillionThanks.org
  • Put together and send a Care Package to a soldier overseas via Any Soldier
  • For more ideas how you and your children can help support our troops this Memorial Day check out Kids For Our Troops

Memorial Day Facts

Previously called Decoration Day, this holiday began as a day of remembrance for fallen civil war soldiers and after World War I evolved into a day to remember all soldiers who sacrificed their lives in battle.

At 3 p.m. in your local time zone everyone is asked to take time and observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Flag Etiquette- Did you know there is a unique way to raise the flag for Memorial Day? At sunrise the flag is to be raised to full staff for a moment then lowered to half staff, and at noon it is raised back to full staff. This Wikipedia quote explains it well:

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Did you know that there were lyrics to accompany “Taps” (the military musical piece)? Yep, here are the original lyrics:

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is near.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is near.

2.8 Million- approximate number of American soldiers who have died fighting for this country throughout our history.

Red Poppy- symbolic flower for Memorial Day, made famous by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

P.S. I am taking a day off on Monday, so there will not be a new post. But, pretty please come by anyway and vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs and Top Baby Blogs (buttons in the left column, you can vote once a day every day). Thanks for your support and have a great Memorial Day!

PostHeaderIcon Utilizing Baby’s Naptime

  Written By: Melainie

You may have noticed in the last blog post about my baby’s schedule that she keeps me busy all day, and I rarely have a moment to get any work done around the house. Although I have read in several articles that you should use your baby’s naptime to take a break, it isn’t very restful for me to sit around thinking about all of the work that I can’t get done because I constantly have a baby hanging onto me.

naptime sleeping baby

My Sleeping Baby

This is how I utilize my baby’s naptime to get a few things accomplished, and if I feel stressed out I incorporate one of my “5 Ways to De-Stress with a Baby” into our day together.

Morning Nap Schedule

Since my husband is still sleeping during my baby’s morning naptime (he works 3 pm to 3 am right now), I have this time all to myself. I usually get an hour to hour and a half to get some things done, and at the moment this is my plan of action.

First- As soon as I lay the baby down for her nap, I go take a shower and get ready for my day. A clean mommy is a happy mommy, right?

Second- Currently, I spend 30 minutes working on my continuing education for my medical laboratory recertification- which is in July. Other ways I may spend this time include:

  • Clean the kitchen
  • Pick up clutter
  • Make some money on ChaCha
  • Find freebies on Craigslist
  • Fertilize/Hoe the garden
  • Prepare for my yard sale
  • Wash/Fold a load of laundry

Third- For the remainder of my morning I work on my baby blog site- write a blog post, respond to email and comments, social networking, and all of the other “behind the scenes” stuff that goes into make a blog successful.

Yes, I know this is more than an hour and a half of work, but whatever I am unable to finish before naptime is over I will work on after I lay my baby down for the night.

Afternoon Nap Schedule

This is the only time of day that my husband and I have together, so we use it to catch up. My unorganized husband needs me to help him get ready for work (I don’t mind- it’s nice to feel needed), so I really don’t have time to relax during her afternoon nap either.

First- Once I lay the baby down for her nap, I like to drink a cup of coffee to energize myself as my husband and I update each other on our plans, finances, and whatever else is on our minds.

Second- I lay his clothes out for him and prepare his lunch for work (or else he will take a case full of soda and buy a sack of burgers) as he gets ready.

Third- After I get my husband out of the door, I finally get 30 more minutes of time to myself before baby’s naptime is over for the day. My goal for this time is to accomplish one household chore before she wakes up from her nap, so I made a schedule and assigned housecleaning jobs to each day of the week.

Monday- Clean the bedroom and catch up on laundry

Tuesday- Clean the bathrooms and pick up clutter around the house

Wednesday- Clean the kitchen and back porch

Thursday- Mop the floors (I have all hardwood floors) and clean the front porch

Friday- Dust the furniture and clean the birds’ cage

Saturday- Clean out the refrigerator and pantry

Sunday- Laundry, laundry, laundry

This is pretty much how my days go, and it works okay. I usually don’t get it all done by the end of the day, but at least I get something accomplished. How do/did you spend baby’s naptime? What is your housework routine like? I would love to hear some suggestions.

PostHeaderIcon An Average Day with Baby

  Written By: Melainie

Mom and BabyThis is a shortened, condensed version of my everyday life being a stay-at-home mom to a 9 month old baby. I have a small photographic chronology of my baby’s common routines as we go about our day together- just living life one day at a time with our precious baby girl. So, I hope you enjoy this quick glimpse into my world, and maybe you can find a little inspiration for your own along the way.

Baby’s Daily Routine

My day begins around 06:30 every morning- babies actually make really good alarm clocks. When I get her up for the day I nurse her, change her and dress her. Then we wake up her pet fish and birds, and take a peek outside to say good morning world. After our morning routine, the day usually goes about like this:

While I get my baby’s breakfast ready she loves to watch the Your Baby Can Read video. She likes to play in the kitchen as I clean up from breakfast, then I nurse her again around 08:45- morning naptime is at 09:00.

napping baby

Morning Naptime

She wakes up from her nap around 10:30 and she plays in the kitchen (my baby loves to play with pot lids) while I cook lunch. After lunch I nurse her again and we play together in the nursery with daddy- he works in the evenings. Right now she is learning to walk and is so proud of herself.

baby playing

Playtime

My baby takes her afternoon nap from 01:00 pm until about 03:00 pm- what a life, right? If we did not tend to the garden in the morning then we always do it after her nap. Now that it is snack time I nurse her again and feed her some small finger foods- today it was frosted flakes and teddy grahams with apple juice.

baby snack

Yummy Snack Time

Of course no matter what the weather, we always have to go for a walk around the block in the afternoon. This cannot be skipped or she will be unhappy- my baby REALLY enjoys being outside.

baby stroller

Taking Baby for a Walk

After our walk we get ready for dinner (same routine as the other meals). Before bath time we play together to get out that last burst of energy for the day. Bath time is at 07:15 and begins our evening routine.

bathing baby

Bath Time is Fun!

She has so much fun playing with her toys in the bath tub, but if I am not careful she will try to drink her bath water. Once she is dried off, she brushes her teeth with a little help from mommy and we give her a lotion baby massage. For our nightly routine we put on her pajamas, read a story, say goodnight to the pets, dim the lights, and then I nurse her before putting her to bed- all by 08:00 pm. This has worked well for our family and my baby sleeps soundly throughout the night.

Do you have a good routine with your baby? What has worked for you and how do you manage your time? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment…

PostHeaderIcon 10 Things To Do Before Having a Baby (8)

  Written By: Melainie

pregnantThis post was a little more difficult, because it’s getting harder to come up with new points without repeating myself. I have 2 more posts for my “Things To Do Before Having a Baby” list and it will finally be finished. If you have missed any or would like a review, you can find them all in my Pre-pregnancy/TTC category.

To Do Before Baby:

71. Realize that you cannot be in control of every situation- Sometimes circumstances arise that are outside of your control and you have to just accept it- like if you plan to have a natural childbirth and end up needing an emergency c-section (that didn’t happen to me, but I’ve read a few stories where it did). I am a control freak by natural, but I have learned that you cannot be in control of everything- especially when it comes to a screaming baby.

72. Work the night shift just to see what it’s like- When I first began working third shift it was kind of fun and exciting, something new and different. I was staying up all night and sleeping when most others were awake- I guess I just enjoy trying out new experiences. When I was pregnant the fun ended for me- I hated trying to sleep during the day and trying not to fall asleep all night.

73. Enjoy hour long bubble baths with candles and relaxing music- I can vaguely remember the days of not worrying about the baby crying and waking my husband. I could soak in the tub any time I liked and as long as I wanted to. Now that my baby is sleeping 10 hours through the night, I can ocassionally make time for a bath after I lay her down.

74. Take up scrapbooking as a hobby- If you have never tried it before, I suggest getting an all-in-one starter package. It’s a great way to show off your creative side and put all of your pictures to good use. Plus, when you have a baby you will want to make your own memory book and catalog your baby’s development.

75. Learn all about FMLA and plan accordingly- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a wonderful job security law that gives you the ability to stay home with your newborn baby for up to 12 weeks. Certain states have even better postpartum laws, so find out what is available to you and plan ahead with that information in mind.

76. Take a good, long look at your belly button- It will never look the same again. *Sigh* I miss my belly button, but I have given up on it every returning to “normal” again. It was a slight innie to begin with and now (9 months after giving birth) it still pokes out as much as it did in my third trimester.

77. Break those bad habits- If you smoke, take illegal drugs, or drink alcohol then you would obviously have to quit before getting pregnant. But, there are other “addictions” that you might want to take control of or get rid of altogether before having a baby. My husband and I realized we spent way too much time and money on television, so we canceled our satellite service before the baby was born.

78. Learn to fall asleep quickly- With only a 2 hour break between feedings you have to fall asleep immediately whenever you get the chance- thank goodness that didn’t last for more than a week. After being sleep deprived for a month, I became very adept at falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

79. Get really good at multitasking- Although scientists are now saying it is bad for your brain, you have to do it when you’re a mom. When you are trying to cook, clean, and care for a needy baby and husband you have to be good at multitasking at least ocassionally. Sometimes, I am not so good at it and end up running around getting nothing accomplished other than getting myself stressed out.

80. Spend an entire day reading- Find a good book or break out a favorite that you haven’t read in a while, and take the whole day for yourself curled up in your favorite reading nook. Ahh the peaceful tranquility of getting lost in a good book- I miss that. There are no days off from being a mother- it’s a 24/7 job- so no long days devoted to reading a book from cover to cover.

PostHeaderIcon Top 10 Baby-Proofing Overkill

  Written By: Melainie

baby hazardsWhile I was reading up on various ways to baby-proof a home I ran across several things that I considered to be overkill and just plain silly. Once I had decided how much baby-proofing I thought I should do, I realized this is a great opportunity to write a fun post of the more ridiculous suggestions that I found in the process. Although I believe these points are overkill, it is just my opinion and you have to use your own judgment- “please don’t check your common sense at the door.”

Baby-Proofing Overkill:

#10 Corner Guards- I can understand wanting to pad baby-proof cornerssharp corners in the nursery (if you have any-I don’t) but everywhere else seems silly to me. My baby is learning to walk right now and has been cruising the living room furniture quite well. Occasionally she falls and bumps her head, but it’s not a big deal.

#9 Stove Guard- This sounds like an important safety feature for baby-proofing but I think it baby-proof stovewould just give parents a false sense of security in the kitchen. Instead, I would rather keep the kitchen completely off limits to the baby unless I am in their paying close attention to her. This is especially true for when I am cooking, if the baby is with me I stay by the stove and keep my eye on her at all times.

 

#8 Hot Water Indicators- What’s wrong with just using your elbow to baby bathtest the bath water as many professionals suggest- oh I know, because you don’t spend frivolous money doing it that way. I have never needed a temperature gauge for my baby’s bath time and I have never scalded her yet.

 

#7. Potted Plant Guard- I know that this product just makes life easier baby-proof plantsfor parents, but that’s not what parenting is about. Sometimes you have to go along the more difficult path to achieve the desired outcome. In this case the desired outcome is a well-disciplined child. I want to raise my baby to have respect for other peoples things and my authority. I don’t want to protect everything from her destruction just because she does not know how to obey.

#6. Door Pinch Guard- Once when I was a little girl I baby-proof doorgot my finger caught in a door, and it really hurt. I quickly got over it and I learned not to stick my finger in places it doesn’t belong. I hate to see my baby cry just as much as any other parent, but I know that she has to learn and I can’t completely shelter her from life.

 

#5. Refrigerator Locks- Since the baby can’t kill herself from anything baby-proof fridgein my refrigerator and I only keep her in the kitchen if I am with her, this seems completely unnecessary to me. Actually, I think it is really a device to test the patience of parents because I know I would get annoyed with it really quickly.

#4. Toilet Seat Locks- If the last product was meant baby-proof toiletto test my patience, this one is meant for torture. When you HAVE to go in the middle of the night, do you really want to turn the lights on so you can fumble with a latch while trying not to pee? There is not a whole lot I can accomplish when I am groggy from sleep, and I’m pretty sure this would have me beat.

#3. Baby-Proofing Books- In all of the research I bookshave done on baby-proofing, I found so much more information than I would normally think of on my own that I don’t see why anybody would want to spend money on a book. If you can find the information free, then buying baby-proofing books is a complete waste of money- unless you just enjoy reading them for some strange reason.

#2. Baby-Proofing Professional- Another waste of money in my opinion. Why do Americans baby-proof careerconstantly try to suppress their own common sense and better judgment? If you just consider what all your baby can physically do, then you can figure out what would be dangerous around the house. I know very well how terribly hazardous my house is, and I didn’t have to ask a professional to figure that out.

#1. Baby-Proofing Classes- This is worse than hiring a professional, because with the previous point you at least have the excuse of being too lazy to do it yourself. Common sense and clutter control are my main ways to baby-proof, along with the First Aid and CPR class I took a while back. If you are that adamant about baby-proofing, use that time to declutter your house and search the internet for more information. I sure hope you didn’t shell out cash along with your wasted time for those classes.

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If you enjoyed this post then you will love my most popular post “Top 10 Worst Baby Products,” check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

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