Friday, October 8, 2010

A Matter of Survival

This week has been dubbed International Babywearing Week. In light of the recent recalls of unsafe bag slings and the resulting CPSC warning about slings it is imperative that we not only celebrate babywearing, but call attention to the myriad benefits to SAFE use of baby carriers.

I was first introduced to slings when my oldest child was a colicky infant, my husband traveled for work a lot, and I was in law school. I only wish I had discovered slings sooner! Wearing my daughter was one of the only ways we could soothe her. I would have been much happier the first couple months of her life had I been aware of babywearing.

Babywearing has had a tremendous impact on the way we parent (yes, I said "we" because my husband is a total convert and has worn all three of our kiddos). We are more connected to our kids, were less stressed because we could respond quickly to their needs while...gasp...accomplishing other things like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, and felt less overwhelmed once the second and third kiddo came along because we could keep the littlest one close while still tending to older siblings. I am more confident getting out and about because the baby is content in the carrier. We can also venture to places that are not particularly stroller friendly like the pumpkin patch or small stores. We have been able to attend events we may not otherwise have attended when we had an infant (ex. Christmas party) since I exclusively breastfeed for a while. People are less likely to touch my infant without permission since she is attached to my chest.

The frustrating thing about recalls of many carriers is that the carriers themselves were often not defective, nor were they poorly designed (aside from the Infantino bag-style slings). The sometimes tragic events were the result of user error. The vast majority of carriers on the market are absolutely safe when used as instructed.

Recently baby carrier manufacturers, retailers, and advocates have joined together to form the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. The BCIA is working with the American Society for Testing Materials to create a voluntary standard for sling-style carriers. Creating a standard for these carriers will hopefully discourage the CPSC from painting all carriers/manufacturers with a broad brush, thus maligning perfectly safe carriers in the event that one particular carrier is found to be unsafe and/or in violation of this standard.

This standard will not only protect consumers from unsafe products like the Infantino SlingRider, but will protect manufacturers (big and small) from ill advised recalls or poorly researched warnings. As the BCIA website points out, "without quality standards written in a way to be achievable to small home businesses, (the baby carrier) industry stands in grave regulatory danger." For more information visit BCIA online and on Facebook.

To read more about babywearing and how it has impacted people's parenting visit Steph's call to action at Adventures in Babywearing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The baby(wearing) frame of mind...

As my due date quickly approaches (and I progress further beyond the point at which my first two were born...ugh), I am in nesting mode. With the help of my mother during her visit a few weeks ago and the understanding of my husband, I have been washing, folding, stacking, organizing, stockpiling, cleaning, arranging, installing and planning.

It began months ago with bigger purchases (an extra dresser to house the baby's clothes and provide a changing table in our bedroom, a glider for our baby nook, an awesome swing at a consignment sale, etc.), but years ago with the basics we used for our first two kiddos. Within a couple months of Katherine's birth I began a collection that continues to grow to this day. Anyone who knows me well knows about my obsession with baby carriers. It began with a couple of homemade ring slings made in desperation to (hopefully) calm an extremely colicky newborn. Katherine and I took to babywearing like ducks to water and even got daddy on board and involved Grandma and Uncle Lucas when they were visiting! What followed over the next five years was truly a lifestyle change. It began with the addition of the Baby Bjorn (which we used, but later sold at a garage sale when we moved on to better options), a pouch-style Hotsling, an Ergo Carrier (which my husband still loves), mei tai's from several people on Etsy, ring slings from two wonderful women with home-based businesses and an online presence ( and, and the Beco Butterfly.

For our newest little one I have my eye on the Boba Baby Carrier. I have heard great things about these carriers! I love the soft structured carrier style and the buckles make putting them on a breeze. I love that the Boba comes in an organic style made in the USA. One thing that sets Boba apart from the other soft structured carriers seems to be the option to use foot straps to add leg support for your little one, encouraging a healthier hip and pelvis position (the main reason we moved away from the Bjorn). An added bonus: the absolutely adorable Organic Boba in the Tweet pattern they have right now! That has to be one of the most adorable patterns out there.

Right now you can win a Boba Baby Carrier by entering several online contests. One of my favorite momma review blogs, Momma In Flip Flops 2 is blessing readers with one of these awesome carriers. A cool blog I just stumbled upon, Familylicious Reviews & Giveaways is also giving away a Boba to one lucky winner. Selfishly, I hope I win one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I feel like the last couple of weeks have been spent in complete limbo. I am now 38 weeks pregnant. I have passed the point at which Katherine was born (37 weeks 2 days), but not yet reached the point at which Jack was born (38 weeks 4 days). I feel huge although I know it could be worse. I am tired, uncomfortable, grumpy, and emotional. I am accomplishing less and less around the house as a result of how I feel and relying more and more on James to pick up the slack. All of this makes me feel guilty and selfish. I can't imagine feeling this way and having to get the family ready and go to a full-time job outside the home every day. I can't imagine doing this without the support of my husband (I get even more emotional thinking of the women whose husbands are overseas serving our military while they are at home doing this somewhat alone). I can't even remotely imagine how women work on farms or in other jobs involving intense physical labor.

I feel like I should be able to do it all, but all I want to do is take a nap or a shower or hide from the world and do nothing. I wish I had more patience and stamina to get on the floor and play or do activities with the kids. I wish I had the brain power and physical ability to keep on top of household things like cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I wish I had the emotional reserve to support my husband completely in his interests and activities. I wish I had the focus to be the kind of friend I want to be. Right now I just don't. I can only pray that God and the people who are important to me find it in themselves to extend grace in the face of my inadequacies and love be in spite of the burdens I place upon them.

To my children: I am sorry for my short fuse, less hands-on playtime, and so much tv time (although I don't think you guys would complain about that). To my wonderful husband: thank you for adjusting your expectations of me and picking up the slack where you can. To my family and friends: thank you for not judging my less than clean house, my poor communication, or my MIA status. Most of all, God - thank you for loving me no matter what and making the ultimate sacrifice for us all so that we are forgiven.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Review of City Micro Single - Kiwi

Originally submitted at

Baby Jogger City Micro Single - Kiwi


- Quick-Fold Technology
- Accessory Mounting Bracket
- 6" Front and 8" Rear Lightweight, Quick-Release Wheels with Sealed Ball Bearings
- Swivel Front Wheel Locks in Place ...

LOVE this stroller for a toddler

By Mama Kat from Kansas City on 8/24/2010


5out of 5

Pros: Easy To Maneuver, Smooth Ride, Easily Stowed, Easy to Set Up

Best Uses: Toddlers

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

I bought this stroller to have something to use when I just have my toddler with me. It is light-weight, folds SO easily, very compact, steers like a dream (literally one finger), and my son is comfortable in it. With #3 on the way any day now it will be nice to have something to have the toddler in while I wear the infant in a sling or carrier - I have no worries about folding or unfolding while wearing the baby.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Down Time...sort of

Today getting the kids and myself up early and out the door to get Katherine to "school" was just too much. We are not morning waking a toddler and preschooler, getting them dressed, fed, and into the car while sporting a beach ball-sized belly full of baby (not to mention getting myself presentable enough to walk her into the childcare facility for my husband's company) is a frustrating and exhausting experience. Normally I just wake up enough to get Katherine up and ready to leave with James for work. When he is out of town I get us all ready, drive the 20-25 minutes, and get her into her class. James has been on a business trip for three days. An hour and a half in the morning and an hour and a half in the evening devoted to drop off/pick up means a lot of time in the car. Three days in a row can get tiring so, today we decided to stay home for some down time.

It was awesome to wake up gradually as first one kiddo, then the other, joined me in bed for some snuggling and a bit more sleep. Opening my eyes from a pleasant dose to see the sweet faces of my smiling children was the best way to wake up. We all woke up naturally so there was much less grumpiness involved and we were able to get moving gradually.

Of course, kids at home with no real agenda (and a mama with no energy to set one, let alone follow through) can mean extra squabbles (he hit me, I was playing with that first, I need some space, etc.) it can also mean great imaginative play. We are getting into baby mode around here, pulling out the old clothes, linen, and gear in preparation for the new one's arrival. While it is nice to have things out before the baby comes, keeping the older two out of the baby swing, etc. is a challenge. But seeing them invent new uses for the baby items can be inspiring. The imagination they have is amazing!

I have been trying for days to keep Jack out of the baby swing, but had to laugh when I noticed Katherine and Jack using it to play dentist. (Katherine LOVES going to the dentist, strange kid) She had Jack sit in the swing, open his mouth and submit to an exam. The clever thing was her use of the swing's attachments. There is an arm that comes out over the front/top of the swing and a mirror on the end of the arm so that the baby (theoretically) will enjoy looking at themselves. Katherine positioned the mirror above Jack angling it such that the sunlight coming inside was reflected in the mirror and onto Jack's face mimicking the light on the big arm they use in the dentist's office to look into your mouth!

So, as hectic as it gets around here with both kids at home, the blissful moments when the kids are working or playing together makes the less enchanting moments worthwhile. We are blessed with spirited, imaginative kids that inspire us, humble us, charm us, and yes...frustrate us. I wouldn't trade them for the world! I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with these crazy kiddos and look forward to watching them grow and helping mold them into the wonderful adults they will become.

Speaking of growing - these are a photos from Katherine's first "race." James ran a 5k a few weeks ago that had a kids fun-run at the end. Katherine was really excited to run her first race and even trained a little with daddy ahead of time (i.e. jogged a few blocks on the way to the pool). She had a blast! Jack was going to participate in his age group, but got a little ahead of himself. He was so excited that he took off running before they started, ran right past the finish toward one of the KU mascots, only to get close and decide he was scared of the mascot and refuse to actually participate when his group went because the mascot was running too!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Silly Kids

There is nothing better than the spontaneous laughter of children! No reason required.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something you never WANT to think about

This link is to an excellent post on introducing fire safety to toddlers and preschoolers. 

House fires are never something you want to think of, but I imagine this subject to be one of the most important you address with your kids.

We have been dangerously lax in this area of education. I plan to remedy that as soon as possible. Plus, the kids would totally get a kick out of touring a fire station!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer rain...storm!

Unexpected thunderstorms - awesome. Dashing around the house to close windows and clean up water - not so awesome.

We have had a string of days in the 80's, but we have been able to stick it out without turning on the air conditioner. We keep all the windows and doors open 24/7. Thanks to the forethought of the people we bought the house from our glass storm doors have screen inserts to replace the glass during warm weather.

The cooling effect of this storm is a blessing!  The kids and I are watching the rain and lightning while sitting on the stairs across from the front door, enjoying the cool breeze through the screen.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer diversions

It is amazing what kids find to occupy their time. Katherine picked up the broom of her own accord and insisted on sweeping!

Jack, of course, would rather dig the sand from between the pager stones.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bittersweet Celebration

Today we celebrate mothers. We call or see our moms, grandmothers, mothers in law and mother figures. It is a good day. It can be a celebration tinged with pain as well.

Today I revel in the hugs and kisses of my beautiful children, eagerly anticipate the addition of another, and mourn for what will never be this side of heaven.

To all of the women who have mothered me (Mom, Grama, Mom Kanary, Mara, Faye, Pat, Debbie): thank you for your love and counsel. To the women who have accompanied me on this journey from the beginning (Jen, Lisa, Ashlei, Ellen, Trish): I am blessed to have you in my life. To all those in my life with mother's hearts: I honor you for what you give to others.

So, celebrate the mothers in your life today and every day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

School Pictures

Wow, school pictures sure have improved since I was in school! I did not expect to purchase more than the obligatory class picture for scrapbooking purposes, but these are actually pretty good.

I can't believe how grown up Katherine looks. I swear I am going to turn around and she is going to be posing for senior portraits!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Apparently Katherine has been adding her personal touch to our landscaping. The pink plastic barrettes are a nice touch.

The weather has been amazing so we are spending more time outside. The completed fence has been a blessing. The kids can be outside more with a little less supervision.

The playset has also been a good investment for our family - one we use quite a bit! We put an inexpensive yard sale kitchen into the clubhouse and the kids love serving food and drink on the picnic table (which also gives mommy somewhere to sit in relative shade).

Monday, April 12, 2010


This morning, as I look out at the beautiful, sunny day the Lord has given us, I am reflecting on the mode my life has been in lately (ok, more than just lately...). I have set aside any attempt at thriving for the bare necessity of surviving. This sounds melodramatic, especially considering I lead an extremely blessed life. But, this has been the posture of my heart - one bent on survival. I think my time captured in survival mode has made the gradual resurfacing of spring seem so much more dramatic.

Several times this weekend I was struck by how great life is, how beautiful the world is, and thus how awesome God is. On Saturday morning we met with our accountant to sign our tax documents - fun stuff. Fortunately, despite owing state taxes in three states (gotta love moving), we came out above water.

With those figures in mind we stopped by Target to "look" at bikes and a bike trailer. ***aside: I don't recommend visiting Target, or any place that calls to you, after calculating your tax refund*** Of course, "looking" turned into buying and we left over an hour later with two shiny new bikes, a bike trailer for hauling the kids, helmets, etc. In our defense, we have been contemplating a similar purchase since we moved so close to some amazing bike trails almost a year ago. In essence, it was an impulse buy in timing only.

On our way home we stopped to get sandwiches from Jimmy John's - they have such quick service and awesome food! Katherine decided we needed to have a picnic outside so we got home, took our lunch out in the backyard, and ate at the picnic table under the playset. After we ate, the kids played together, slid, swung, helped James fill the bird feeder, just had a great time in the sun (with hats of course). Sitting there with James, watching the kids play and feeling the breeze, I was struck by how blessed we are. We are alive, we are together, we live in a free country thanks to the sacrifices of others, we own a beautiful home, James has a good job, we have health insurance, we are healthy, we know God and He made the ultimate sacrifice for us by sending Jesus to be our savior. How could we ask for anything else? How can I consider myself as just surviving when I have been blessed with so much?

Our first weekend with the bikes was amazing. I got the trailer put together, water bottle holders attached, helmets unpackaged, and the trailer hitched while James helped a neighbor put together the trampoline they bought their kids for Christmas (it has been a really long, cold winter in KS so they are just getting to put it up now). Fast forward another hour or so (during which I helped a tiny bit with the finishing touches on the trampoline, enjoyed a nice glass of sweet tea courtesy of our neighbor, hung out with said neighbors while the kids jumped, and put together water bottles and snacks for our inaugural ride.

After a quick trip around our cul-de-sac to reassure myself that I could, in fact, still ride a bike, we were off. Coasting down one of the streets in our neighborhood, with the wind cooling me off, I was once again struck by what a beautiful day we were having. Our family was outside, doing an activity together, and just enjoying being together! We rode to the trail entrance closes to our house, made our way a short distance down the trail and decided to stop off at a local bar & grill (Talk of the Town) to eat an early dinner on their patio. Aside from the smokers coming onto the patio for a nicotine fix, thus clouding our air, we had a truly enjoyable meal together. The kids were well-behaved, ate a good dinner, and we accomplished it without any screaming (by the kids or the parents)!

The ride back was nice because I was more confident on the bike, but more difficult because we were going against the wind and somewhat uphill. I hate to admit it, but I actually had to get off and walk my bike up one hill. All the while James rode on, pulling two kids in a trailer. Bless him, he stopped a couple of times to let me catch up and when a guy spreading mulch in the greenspace behind our neighborhood asked him how he ended up pulling all the weight (i.e. our two kids in the trailer), James pointed out that I am pregnant (which is suddenly all too evident, sigh...) as justification. I rallied, getting back on the bike for the last couple of blocks to our house.

We followed up that amazing Saturday with a fantastic message at Heartland (our pastor is truly amazing), a busy afternoon of cooking and cleaning, and a great dinner with friends. James even got to play hockey in there somewhere! (His team won their first round play-off game, round two is next Sunday) We all went to bed, happy and tired last night.

So, here is to hoping that my heart emerges from survival mode as beautifully as spring has come upon us. Jack and I are off to run some errands and enjoy the sunny day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I should be sleeping...

...but instead I am eating sunflower seed cookies (yummy) and playing on my new phone.

I have been such an insomniac during this pregnancy so far, it is driving me crazy. I have to pee three or more times a night,  I wake up starving in the middle of the night, I get really thirsty (which does nothing to help with the potty trips), and my mind just will not slow down.

Unfortunately I NEED lots of sleep normally and even more while my body is working hard to grow a human being. All of this adds up to a tired and grumpy mommy/wife.

I would like to say this situation has given me an opportunity for introspection and self evaluation. However I have just developed an increasing addiction to audiobooks and apparently for my phone.

Ah well, this too shall pass and once the baby comes I will be praying for a few quiet moments to myself...and more sleep of course.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Little Whispers

I wonder what it is about the act of telling a secret that is so appealing? Is it the closeness created both physically through the act of leaning into someone and whispering and emotionally through sharing something not many people know?

This act appeals to even the youngest among us. Jack's new thing is to lean in close to me, put his mouth by my ear, and whisper nonsense. It is the cutest, creating some special moments just for us. He doesn't really say anything, but wanting that closeness makes it so special to me, my heart melts every time he does it.

I secretly hope that he always confides in me, even if it is just in whispered exchanges. My sweet little man, what a blessing!