& Paper Crafts
to Know Me!
Our parenting philosophy has been mostly guided by what is called Attachment
Parenting. This is an age old and worldwide way of raising children that
emphasizes close bonding with infants from day one. It encourages unmedicated
birth, prolonged skin to skin contact with baby, prolonged breastfeeding,
and careful and constant attention to baby's cues by parents. We have
chosen to avoid circumcision, vaccinations, and many of the gadgets that
substitute for mothering. I think my list of links will do a better job
than I would of explaining some of the ideas I've found helpful during
my pregnancy and parenting. I've wanted to be a mom for a long time, and
while I certainly have my unpleasant moments, it's really more than I
ever dreamed - I'm having the time of my life.
- I was very fortunate to have 3 relatively
problem free pregnancies, easy and fast labors, and three beautiful healthy
baby boys. I know not everyone has it so easy. I am very grateful for
my luck, the wonderful friends and family who have supported me and these
organizations that have all helped me through. I believe that pregnancy
and birth are a normal healthy events in a woman's life, but they require
attention to taking the best possible care of yourself. Although I love
my boys and all their boyishness, I have a deep desire to mother a daughter,
and Trip and I think adoption would be a wonderful way to add to our family,
and welcome the daughter of our dreams. After a great deal of thought and study, we decided that foster-adoption was the path for us to pursue. We are now licensed foster parents, and have started on a new phase of parenting with many joys and challenges. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact your county department of social services and ask about their foster parent program.
- Mothering Magazine - one of
the biggest influences on me from the start when I was just pregnant
with Elliot. It has informed me and supported my decisions and I'm sure
it's made me a better mom.
Birth Plan - fill-in the blanks and make some choices. Never assume
that preparing the birth plan guarantees anyone will follow it. Every
birth is different, surprise is part of each one. And far better than
a birth plan - is a present, watchful advocate, (your husband, your
doula) who knows your wishes and is prepared to protect you.
- Birth Intuitive - Teresa
Robertson, RN,Certified Nurse Midwife,MSN as a birth intuitive provides
information, support and tools to assist her clients with connecting
to their unborn children during pregnancy, to promote fertility, and
to heal pregnancy losses. I read about her in Christine Northrup's Mother
Daughter Wisdom book - and even though I haven't saved any money to
hire her myself, just writing to her about my struggle and reading her
understanding reply helped me move towards healing my grief.
- Ask Dr. Sears - When I was a new mom, I loved Dr. Sears' books for his calm, reasonable, mother-baby friendly advice. As the parents of 8 children, Dr. Sears and his wife have years of practical experience with babies and children. As a pediatrician and nurse practicing for over 30 years, they have a great deal of professional knowledge to share. Highly recommended!
- The Compleat Mother -
Breastfeeding, childbirth and pregnancy online. Very pro-breastfeeding
- tons of FAQ's about every aspect of pregnancy and conception.
- The Pregnancy Daily: Your day-by-day
guide to pregnancy - This site tells you news about your developing
pregnancy every day.
- Bella Blu Maternity
- The nicest collection of maternity wear I've ever seen - and some
prices are actually reasonable!
- My Vasectomy in Pictures
- maybe you're done with all that... This site is so informative - perhpas
more than you wanted to know...but well done.
As I was expecting my third son, my friend Michele gave me a wonderful
gift. She planned and arranged a blessingway for me where I was attended
my several of my dearest friends as they wished me well on my birthing
journey. A blessingway is a traditional Native American ceremony, celebrated
by the Navaho and several other native people during times of expecting
childbirth or moving to a new home or various life passages. For me, it
was such a beautiful evening. Michele brought a candle for me to light
while I labored and I gave each friend a candle which they lit from mine
while they offered their blessings silently for me. Michele smudged my
house and our guests to purify it and help us enter a ceremonial space.
Each of my friends brought a dish to share, and flowers and a dinner for
the freezer (for after the baby) along with their loving thoughts and
good wishes for a healthy and speedy delivery. (That wish was certainly
granted!) Each friend shared with the group their connections to me while
they brushed my hair, and then I had my feet washed in fragrant water
and dried with cornmeal. I will think back on this day with the same joy
I feel as I remember all of my most precious moments. I was truly blessed
and felt almost as if a bubble of bliss surrounded me up till my birth
and afterwards. I found a nice writing about a Blessingway by Sue Robins
Some other resources are below:
I didn't know where to fit this in, but it seems fitting here... My
friend, Michele, who organized my Blessingway, also wanted to do something
special for another friend of ours who was mourning the death of her
mother, and going through a time of great stress. A lot of people
might say, "Oh, we should do something." but one of the
things I love about Michele is that she followed through and called
several other friends and we all chipped in different gifts for our
friend. One friend is a massage therapist, and offered a discounted
rate for a full body massage, and many of us split the cost. In addition,
various friends bought: a manicure gift certificate, a gift certificate
for Chinese takeout, some brought food, loaned books and videos, donated
some Avon bubble baths and lotions, brought home made fruit smoothies,
one friend watched the kids for the day and our friend's husband picked
them up from there and took them for an overnight. I made her this
brochure, describing our gifts to her, which we called a Spiritual
Retreat. We all signed the back. You can download the pdf by clicking
here retreat brochure and if you
really love it and want the original Microsoft Word Document so you
can alter it, just send me an email.
Inside of Retreat Booklet
Nathan is my water baby, but despite the fact that he was born into a
warm tub, he doesn't seem to like baths yet! My midwives Gee Gee and Linda
offer tubs for rent for those who want to give birth or labor in water.
I wasn't quite sure about how I would feel when it came time to push,
so I wanted the tub upstairs so I wouldn't have to go up the stairs at
the last minute if I changed my mind about being in the water. Laboring
in the warm water helps because the warmth helps to sooth the muscles
and the buoyancy of your body in water helps you relax. It certainly made
my labor more comfortable, and I felt nice and clean afterwards. Most
people's first concern upon hearing about water birth is that the baby
will inhale under water, but I've learned that the drastic change in temperature
is one of the things that causes babies to take in their first breath
of air, so passing into the warm water of the birthing tub is a smaller
transition for them. Our room was very dark and warm - just what I wanted.
I was attended by Trip, Gee Gee, and Stephanie (and Alex). The room was
so dark that Stephanie was quite concerned when Gee Gee handed her "an
instrument" and said, "Here, Stephanie", but she soon realized
it was just a camera! She snapped these wonderful pictures of our birth.
I think they are modest enough for me to share with everyone, so if you
find yourself being offended, you've got impressive eyesight!
Nathan's head coming out!
Gee Gee catches his body
The first look!
- Rules of Attachment Parenting Who wants more rules?
I'd call them suggestions... I forget what site I found them on, forgive
1. Take good care of yourself!
2. Be proactive rather than reactive.
3. Do not allow your child to play one parent against the other.
4. Create an emotionally as well as physically safe environment: Avoid
sarcasm and anger.
5. Use natural consequences to teach life lessons.
6. Use empathy in the face of these consequences.
7. Communicate in a loving manner; set a positive tone.
8. Use thinking rather than fighting words.
9. Save the pizzazz for the positive behavior, use neutrality with
10. Allow your child to express his/her feelings verbally.
11. Minimize use of the television.
12. Only give choices you can live with.
13. Be consistent.
14. Avoid power struggles.
15. Determine whose problem it is and if it is not yours, stay out
16. Only allow freedoms and responsibilities that will result in opportunities
17. Keep a sense of humor.
18. Remember, it is not the parent's job to "fix" the child,
it is your job to create an environment conducive to healing and loving.
Opt-Out - According to the Pentagon Public Affairs office (at 703-428-0711),
JAMRS is the organization formed by the Pentagon to oversee the development
of a database of 30 million 16-25-year-olds, including name, address,
email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers
and areas of study. This database is updated daily and distributed monthly
to the Armed Services for recruitment purposes. I will be updating my site soon with information on opting out of this list from Asheville schools.
- Seattle Draft and Military
Counseling Center - Thorough information about the Conscientious
Objectors as the law applies to them. The purpose of the SDMCC is to
provide accurate, comprehensive, and objective information of Selective
Service and Military law, regulations, and administrative procedure
to anyone in need of this service, and to assist them in applying this
information to their own situation and goals. SDMCC also supports conscientious
objectors and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and
preparations for war.
- Mothering Magazine - Not just
for babies - it still informs me and supports parents well into the
- Wholesome Baby Foods
from Scratch from the Vegetarian Resource Group
- Nurturing Online - Website of Nurturing
Magazine - lots of articles about Attachment Parenting
- The Natural Family Site:
Introduction - lots of articles about Attachment Parenting
- Healthy Child - a parents
guide to reliable, practical information on natural, holistic health
- The Aware Parenting Institute
- more articles on attachment parenting
- Twenty Alternatives
to Punishment by Aletha Solter
- Holistic Moms Network a
resource link for helping parents to find support and information on
natural health, wellness, and informed holistic parenting.
So far, Elliot is thriving in public school, Alex enjoyed his Pre-K last
year and will be entering full day kindergarten. I am not sure what the
future will bring. Alex would love to go, but I'd like to try structuring
some home learning and play time. I still believe that in the long run,
we will be home schooling, and will probably be much more active in this
area when I'm doing it myself. For now, I will leave the link below -
just because Apple is so cool!
Places to Visit
Camden Children's Garden
$5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. There is a modest additional
fee for the Train Ride and the Carousel. Visitors wishing to also visit
the NJ State Aquarium can choose to purchase a combination ticket. The
Garden staff can provide educational lessons in the Garden or via distance
learning. We also provide children's birthday party packages! Children's
gifts and souvenirs can be purchased in our unique Ginkgo's Gift Shop.
(Not the best web site for info. 1-856-365-TREE(8733))
Crafts Studios: Ceramics, Flameworked Glass, Woodcarving and Tinsmithing
are demonstrated and interpreted to visitors by skilled artists.
Batsto Village, Wharton
State Forest (609) 561-0024
This Pine Barrens village is composed of thirty-three historic buildings
and structures including the Batsto Mansion, gristmill, sawmill, general
store, workers' homes and post office. Batsto Village was a former bog
iron and glassmaking industrial center from 1766 to 1867 and currently
reflects the agricultural and commercial enterprises that existed here
during the late 19th century.
Skylands Manor & State Botanical Garden, Ringwood
State Park (973) 962-7031
Skylands Manor, with its English Jacobean architecture common in the English
countryside 400 years ago, was designed by John Russell Pope for Clarence
McKenzie Lewis, a stockbroker and civil engineer. Built in the 1920's,
it is constructed of native stone and half-timbers and has 44 rooms. The
garden is a culmination of two eras of landscape architecture under the
direction of Francis Lynde Stetson, owner of Skylands from 1891 to 1922.
The 157-foot Cape May
Lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park is another popular destination
that features a 190-acre park that is mostly a natural area where visitors
can observe migrating birds and butterflies.
When my kids' birthdays come up I love planning their parties. Usually,
they have some theme they choose - it's now something that gets discussed
way in advance, but I don't commit to anything until about a month before
because kids can be fickle. Once we're committed, I go to two places first:
Search by subject for parties, view party ideas by age group. Some of
these parties seem over the top for me, but I'm sure some people would
say the same of some of my parties. I always check the honorable mention
and best rated ideas, then choose the ideas that work for us.
Family Fun I think this magazine
has some affiliation with disney, I've subscribed to it for a few years,
and really love the kid-friendly crafts and fun ideas in it. Their party
planning section is wonderful. I found several of my ideas here
It's definitely a lot of work, and I never have done it alone - usually
my mom helps a lot and I try to involve the kids as much as possible.
Since I love making things, and generally enjoy doing crafts with kids,
none of these parties has been overly expensive or seemed to be "too
much". Here are some party photos and some of the things we did to
make the parties special.
||For Elliot's 1st birthday party we chose a Carousel theme - Mostly
because I had just received this gorgeous set of Animal Cookie cutters
and started thinking about them decorating a Carousel Cake. We searched
the internet for a picture of a Carousel Lion - Elliot is a Leo. We
have chosen to hold family "Blessings" on the kids' first
birthdays where we formally welcome them to the family, offer prayers
and wishes for healthy and happy lives and generally celebrate their
birth and place in our family. For party favors, I had bought a pack
of wedding bubbles, wrapped each in a round piece of blue tulle, attached
a painted wooden carousel horse and tied it with a blue ribbon.
|For Elliot's 3rd birthday he was heavily into Trains.
My Aunt Bernadette scored a deal on a bunch of Engineer's Hats and
Bandanas, we played Pin the Smoke on the Train (Aunt Stephanie made
a train out of posterboard). All the guests had their pictures taken
in the cardboard train (made by our dear friend Glen). Though it's
hard to see, the Train Cake is carrying cardboard cars filled with
|Alex wanted a ladybug party. He has Ladybug Cupcakes - I love them
for small kids at parties. I made my first Pinata - a Ladybug of course,
nice and easy. I decorated a red plastic tablecloth and our balloons
with black paperpunched circles. And I made several little Ladybugs
with googly eyes out of cardstock to decorate around the house.
||Nathan's 2nd birthday party featured a farm animal theme. I used
those leftover bandanas again for table decorations, decorated his
cupcakes with paisley designs, bought him a little straw hat (he refused
to wear it, although he later played with it.) I cut out some animals
to decorate, put animal stickers on his goody bags, and we played
pin the tail on the Pig. (I made it out of a sheet of craft foam.
|Alex wanted a Pokemon Pizza Party where we invited all of his school
friends. So we scheduled it for after school on his birthday. Alex's
birthday (and mine) fall 9 days before Christmas, and I am always
under more time pressure - so I try to keep his parties simple and
manageble. I had seen Pokemon cakes at the grocery store - but when
I priced them, I decided instead to make my own (box cake and icing)
and decorated with the boys own figurines. We certainly have enough
||Before Elliot's Racecar Party, I collected several cardboard boxes,
cut them into a car shape, painted them all different colors, and
glued headlights and wheels. I made safety cones for the yard, bought
race car helmets, and for our craft when the kids came, we decorated
license plates (yellow foam sheets with foam letters and stickers
for decoration). Then we had a racecar pinata.
Pizza & Pumpkin Juice (orange soda) in the Cauldron
Presto! It's Putty!
- this was great - I handed out the baggies (no mess!), distributed
the ingredients with fanfare, each kid chose their color food coloring
for me to drop in their bag and they mixed by squishing the bag. Because
the putty seems to form at a certain stage of mixing, I tucked some
glitter in my hands and as it began to change, shouted Alakazaam!
threw out the glitter with a flick of my wand and the stuff magically
transformed into Silly Putty!
I picked up a 4 yard cut of great Wizard Cape fabric (using a 50%
off coupon at the Rag Shop) - a sheer dark blue with an irridescent
purple sheen and stars woven in a pattern. I cut it in half widthwise,
and then into 4 equal lengths. A little pleating and stitching to
a piece of ribbon and I had 8 capes. For crafts I bought 2 or 3 dowels,
cut them and stained them brown and the kids decorated Their magic
wands with glitter and glow in the dark stickers.
|Ellio'ts Harry Potter party was probably the most involved, but
he was at just the right age, and so interested in Harry Potter that
it was all a pleasure. I decorated with a gold & silver balloons,
gold & silver cardboard stars, all of our appropriate Halloween
stuff (bats, rats, plastic caudrons) and a string of wired silver
star tinsel garland that I shaped into a spiral and hung from invisible
thread from the ceiling so that it looked like a swirl over the table.
I bought themed glasses, hats, plates, napkins and cake decorations.
I bought the Wilton Harry Potter Chocolate Lollipop kit and made them,
then used the leftover chocolate to make Chocolate Dipped Pretzel
Log Magic wands - dipped in edible glitter and non pariels. We also
had a game where we put gold coins in balloons, and tied them to the
back of kids shoes, then they ran around trying to stomp on other
peoples balloons to collect the most coins. The winners got regal
looking gold iron on badges. Everyone LOVED this party! When I'm planning
parties, I stretch out my purchases from the Rag Shop, I use a coupon
for anything not on sale - you can print out a 50% coupon a day.
Mistress of Ceremonies
|The kids and I had great fun with this party. For the
cupcakes, we picked a few reasonable Pokemon characters to re-create,
I made cupcakes (from the box), bought a tub of white icing, dyed
parts blue, purple, orange, yellow and pink, and used licorice strings,
sliced jelly candies and tic-tacs to make Pokemon. The hat instructions
and some of the ideas for the cupcakes were on Family
Fun. We decorated with the kids Pokemon toys, and primary colored
balloons and streamers. We played Pokemon
Bingo - free online printout - which was great in that you didn't
need actual knowledge of Pokemon to play. For party favors we gave
out stickers, candy & homemade bookmarks.
Strasburg, Pennsylvania Family Vacation Itinerary
For two years, Elliot was intensely into trains. He played with them
all day, we read him stories about them, he watched Thomas videos, and
when we were able to take a weekend vacation, he was in his glory at Strasburg,
PA, where he enjoyed one train event after another, even spent the night
at the Red Caboose Hotel, sleeping in a caboose! I have included the information
for the places we visited below - all within a short distance of each
other. (current as of September 2006).
Strasburg Railroad - this is a working train line,
with beautifully restored train cars and several options for rides.
I have detailed two below - one fancier, one more budget friendly:
DELUXE LOUNGE CAR "HENRY K. LONG"
Choose the elegant lounge car with solid cherry interior and stained
glass accents. (round trip) Adult: $12.00 Child: $7.00
Our standard coaches are beautifully restored in authentic Victorian
style. Enjoy the comfort of pot-belly stove heat during cold days. Adult:
$10.00 Child: $5.00
Museum of Pennsylvania - An amazing museum - full
of trains, with a great children's area.
Monday -- Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM*
Adult (ages 13 – 59) $ 7.00 Youth (6-17) $5.00 Under age 6 FREE
Choo Choo Barn & The Shops Of Traintown - a
huge model railroad setup, in the same building as Isaac's Deli.
10 am to 4:30 pm
Adults $5.50 Kids 3.50 Children (Under 5) FREE
National Toy Train Museum the
name says it all, right next to the Red Caboose Hotel! It's not "hands-on"
so keep that in mind...
Strasburg, PA 17579 10am-5pm
Deli - A huge selection of sandwiches,
including delicious vegetarian options, even grilled sandwiches or Pretzel
Bun sandwiches! Most $5-$7, great for the whole family. In the same
building as the Choo Choo Barn
Red Caboose Inn - over 40 rooms made from fully
restored 25-ton cabooses, including a restaurant in a dining car (diner
food - but nice enough for breakfast)
Resort Inn and Suites (voted Best Hotel in Lancaster)
99.00 one night (two nights is $199.00)
Two Queen Deluxe- No Smoking
We are located at 300 Paradise Lane, in Paradise Township, PA, between
US Route 30 and PA Route 741, in the middle of Lancaster County's beautiful
Pennsylvania Dutch countryside.
Total 318.00 + (lunch before we head back)