Archive for April, 2012

Creative Pregnancy Announcements!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Announcing a pregnancy can be a really exciting time for a couple. Often couples want to share their exciting baby news in a fun and special way. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing regarding unique ways to publicly announce your pregnancy.

Bun in the Oven – This is how I told my hubby we were pregnant with baby #3. I put the positive pregnancy test inside a hot dog bun and placed it in the oven. I asked him to check the oven for me and when he did he found a “bun in the oven” with the pregnancy test inside.

Photo Announcement – There are many adorable photo announcements floating around on Facebook. Pictures of positive pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, or growing bellies are common ways to say “baby on the way”. You might remember Jessica Simpson’s Halloween announcement where she dressed like a mummy with the caption “It’s true! I’m going to be a mummy!” while holding her adorable little baby bump. Another fun photo idea might be to depict a symptom associated with pregnancy such as unusual cravings. For example posting a picture of pickles and ice cream with a caption such as “here’s what I’m eating for breakfast for the next nine months” may be a clever way to tell others your are preggers.  Or a spin-off of the “bun in the oven” is to post a picture of actual buns in the oven to your facebook page and see if people get the message.

Gift Announcements – Any type of gift that indicates a new baby is on the way can be a fun surprise for others to open. For example when pregnant with my first son I gave my father a birthday gift that included a onesie that said “World’s Best Grandpa” on it. Since none of my other siblings had children at the time, he had never been called Grandpa before and immediately knew the significance of the gift. With my second pregnancy I gave my parents a frame that held two photos. On one side I put a photo of my first son and on the other side I put a note that said “insert picture of baby #2 coming Dec. 2010”.

Big Brother/Big Sister Shirts – A fun way to involve an older child in a pregnancy announcement is to have them wear a “Big Brother/Sister” shirt to a family gathering. There are several cute ones available from Cafepress.

Family Gatherings – Family gatherings can be an opportune time to share to a large group of family members all at once that you are expecting. It can be done in the traditional way such as a toast before dinner or in a fun way such as playing a game. Maybe a game of charades where you where you act out being pregnant or a game pictionary where you draw a picture of pregnant woman. Or wheel of fortune with the phrase “we’re pregnant”.

There are many different, clever fun ways to share pregnancy news with others. I would love to hear ideas from readers. How did you publicly announce your pregnancy to friends and family?


Sunday Funday Giveaway: A Little Something For Mama to Be

Sunday, April 29th, 2012


I LOVE the Earth Mama Mama Angel Baby products. They are extremely gentle on delicate skin as well as effective; a perfect combination for a skin care products! No need to worry about any toxins or harsh chemicals with any of the Earth Mama Mama Angel Baby products because they are made with all natural and organic ingredients. They are certified by Oregon Tilth to be free of the following:

  • No petrochemicals, petroleum or petroleum byproducts
  •  No 1,4-Dioxane, formaldehyde, or phthalates
  •  No sodium lauryl sulfate, cocomidopropyl betaine or other synthetic foaming agents or surfactants
  • No artificial preservatives, parabens, phenoxyethanol, Quaternium-15 etc.
  • No artificial emulsifiers
  • No animal products, all Earth Mama Angel Baby products are 100% vegan

I also love that they have products specifically designed for the needs of mothers both during pregnancy and post-partum. Their “Little Something For Mama to Be” is a great way to pamper yourself during pregnancy or to gift to a pregnant friend. It includes the following five awesome pregnancy products packaged in an adorable handbag:

  • Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash – A castile soap with an exhilarating burst of Ginger-Lime
  • Happy Mama Spray – An aromatherapy spray made with pure essential oils and flower essences to comfort emotions and reduce nausea
  • Earth Mama Body Butter – a moisturizing cream to soothe itchy, stretching skin and encourage your skin’s natural elasticity
  • Natural Stretch Oil – A mixture of plant-based oils infused with healing herbs to help deter stretch marks and relieve the itchy skin
  • Organic Morning Wellness Tea – A tea made of Ginger Root, Spearmint, Peppermint, Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Orange Peel to help soothe a queasy tummy

Enter this week’s giveaway to win “A Little Something For Mama to Be” by Earth Mama Angel Baby!

Silent Saturday: Co-Sleeping Brothers

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Some of the “joys” of co-sleeping that I don’t miss…

Can that really be comfortable?

Or how about this one?

Apparently it’s true that “Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet”.  ~Vietnamese Proverb

-Sarah 🙂

8 Tips to Prepare for a Drug-Free Birth

Friday, April 27th, 2012

A growing number of pregnant women desire to have a drug-free, intervention-free birth. While there is ample information available regarding the benefits to both mother and baby of having a drug-free birth, information on how to optimally prepare for an unmedicated birth seems less accessible or tangible. Subsequently many pregnant woman are unsure how to prepare for the birth they desire and are left to “hope things work out”. Or they fall under the “trust birth” spell, that proclaims simply trusting the process of birth and your body are the magical answer to the mysteries of birth. While trust is an important part of the equation, there are additional ways a woman can actively prepare herself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the birth she desires.

1. Develop a Positive Support System – Immerse yourself in the natural birth community to the greatest extent possible. Talk with women who have given birth without drugs to hear their stories and experiences. These women can offer an abundance of wisdom regarding birth beyond what any textbook can provide you. Surround yourself with caring, compassionate individuals who support the birth you desire. Avoid circles/conversations that convey messages of doubt, negativity, anxiety, or trauma around birthing without the use of drugs. Fill your heart and mind with empowering birth stories that make you feel excited about your upcoming birth.

2. Select a Supportive Care Provider – The maternal health care partners that support you during pregnancy and birth have a big impact on your experience! Therefore I encourage you to be highly selective in the care provider you choose. Take time to interview several different care providers to find one you are comfortable with and will provide the type of care you desire (and deserve!). Also don’t be afraid to switch providers at any time during your pregnancy if you start to have doubts about your care provider. I have even heard remarkable stories of women switching care providers during labor because they did not like how they were being treated by their care provider. If you are unsure how to find a care provider start by asking for referrals from friends who have had positive birth experiences. Although keep in mind that each woman’s needs during pregnancy and birth are highly unique so what was a good fit for a close friend may not necessarily be a good fit for you.

3. Take Good Care of Yourself During Pregnancy – Eating well, exercising gently, staying well hydrated, getting proper rest, and minimizing stress during pregnancy all have a direct impact on childbirth. Something as simple as getting ample fluids can help prevent some potentially serious medical conditions during pregnancy. Know that pregnancy is a special time in your life that requires extra special care; remember YOU are the sole source of nurture/nutrition for a new life. Make caring for yourself a high priority because in doing so you are also caring for your baby.

4. Watch Videos of Drug Free Births – Sadly in our modern society most of exposure to birth is from TV shows or movies that don’t depict birth in an authentic way. Yet we cling to these depictions because we are hungry for information about birth. Even reality TV shows don’t accurately portray birth as they are carefully edited to ensure an element of drama and suspense. Instead hop on youtube and search for natural birth videos to see what birth really looks and sounds like.

5. Take a Childbirth Education Class – Attending a childbirth education class can be an invaluable tool to preparing for childbirth. In addition to better understanding the mechanics of labor, you will also learn various pain coping techniques. Research the various approaches available (ie- The Bradley Method, Hypnobabies, Birthing From Within, Lamaze, etc) and pick one that best suits you.

6. Practice Relaxation Techniques throughout your Pregnancy – There are many different effective relaxation techniques women can use to cope during labor, however you need to learn and practice them in advance. Make the time to practice frequently during the course of your pregnancy, particularly when you experience any discomforts associated with pregnancy.

7. Hire a Doula – A doula is a non-medical labor, birth, and postpartum support person. A doula is educated and trained to provide a laboring mother physical and emotional support. There is a strong evidence base of positive birth outcomes when a doula is used. Check out DONA International for more information about doulas.

8. Avoid Artificial Induction – Statistics demonstrate that artificial inductions leads to higher rates of intervention including use of pain medication and cesarean. To the greatest extent possible allow labor to start spontaneously. If for some reason you do need to be induced consider starting with the least invasive methods.

What tips do you have for a pregnant woman who desires an unmedicated birth? 


Using Positive Language with Kids

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

“No throwing toys!”

“Don’t climb on there!”

“Stop touching that!”

Does it ever feel like your day is spent using a stream of negatives with your child? Phrases that begin with No.Don’t.Stop seem to roll off the tongue all too easy when parenting young children. Children are driven by a highly impulsive curiosity. They want to touch everything…especially the things they see their parents touching/using all the time. Additionally children have an innate desire to climb, jump, spin, run, etc. In other words, they need to move all.the.time! Combine the need to touch everything with the need to move their bodies constantly, it’s no wonder we get caught up in a cycle of no.don’t.stop with our children. I know I often find myself engaging in these types of exchanges with my children daily or *gulp* even hourly. However it simply does not feel good to be harping on the kids all day about the things they cannot do; actually it feels pretty crummy. Therefore I try to replace the no.don’t.stop with more positive language. For example:

  • Instead of saying “No hitting” saying “Use gentle hands
  • Instead of saying “Don’t climb on the counter” saying “Please keep your feet on the floor
  • Instead of saying “Stop running off” saying “Stay close to me
  • Instead of “Don’t ride your scooter through the house spreading the pile of packing peanuts I just swept up all over the place” saying “Please take your scooter outside

While this seemingly appears to be only a minor or subtle shift in how we talk to our children, it has a huge impact! I like that it focuses on what a child CAN do verses what they cannot do. I feel better/calmer when I speak to my children this way and they seem more responsive to me. Young children are still learning to process language so a direction of what to do (versus what not to do) is easier for them to follow. Furthermore our words are extraordinarily powerful in affecting our mood and the mood of those around us. Using positive language inspires a happy, brighter mood for everyone. Additionally it models to children a respectful way of communicating with others as well as aids in identifying solutions. Using positive language is a solution-focused approach as opposed to the problem-focused approach of no.don’t.stop.

At first it may be a conscious effort to avoid constantly saying no.don’t.stop with our children. Typically our very first reaction when a child does something dangerous, annoying, or inappropriate is to say no to them. However the more we practice, the more habitual it becomes to use positive language.

Sp perhaps today when an opportunity arises to replace no.don’t.stop with positive language, you will give it a try? Some situations can be quite challenging to figure out how to re-frame in the positive (ie- don’t pee on your little brother). However accept the challenge and know that pausing before reacting, will often result in a message conveyed with more clarity, peace, and harmony.