Best Shot Monday – 1/28/08 – Sleep tight

Looking to step outside of the box a little bit this weekend, I took this picture of our reflection in the mirror. It didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped (let me tell you it’s damn hard holding a 25 lb. baby in one arm while holding a heavy SLR, arm outstretched in the other), but I am still rather fond of it. :)

Julian sleeping on mommy - self portrait - 1/27/08

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

The cute and silly things they say/do

Jan. 25, 2008

I was sitting on the couch with Julian in my lap the other evening as he nursed. His shirt was pulled up a little bit so that his belly was exposed. He lightly touched his tummy with one finger and then giggled. Totally amused, he did it again and again, giggling away as he nursed. :) It was so cute and his laughter so infectious, I was soon laughing right along with him.

And here I thought it was impossible to tickle yourself. Guess not.

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Jan. 24, 2008

Ava was trying to make ducks out of Legos, like daddy makes. I was in the middle of making dinner and told her I’d help her in a minute, but she figured (figgered) it on her own and was so excited.

Ava: I figgered out how Dada did it! I just figgered and figgered and figgered until I got it right!

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Jan. 2, 2008

Julian was laying across my lap having just finished nursing and hung his head upside-down off my leg to look at Ava, who came over to give him some sisterly “love.”

Me: Ava, don’t pull on his [Julian’s] head please.

Ava: You mean don’t pull OFF his head.

Uh, yeah. That too.

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December, 2007

A conversation between Ava and me while I was putting her to bed. I was trying to commend her for her generosity.

Me: “Honey, Santa knew that you were so generous to give away your old doll house to someone who didn’t have one so he brought you the new wooden one.”

Ava: “Santa didn’t know I gave away my farm too. Silly Santa.”

(She got a replacement doll house, but not a replacement farm. That kid, she doesn’t miss anything.)

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Lastly – totally unrelated, but something you don’t want to miss – tomorrow is another round of the Bloggy Giveaways carnival. Last time I gave away a Mommy Blogger t-shirt. This time I’m giving away an HP 6.2 MP Digital Camera! Be sure to check back tomorrow for details and to enter to win. :)
Also just want to mention that this is a GREAT way to gain some exposure for your blog. And you can give just about anything away (see the official site for rules), so nearly anyone with a blog can participate. Hope you’ll join in! :)

Green Tip #10 – Trade in and recycle your old electronics with Costco

This week’s Green Tip was submitted by Melissa at Nature Deva

Costco (one of Melissa’s favorite stores) offers a Trade-In and Recycle Program*, conducted by third party Greensight, for electronic equipment like MP3 players, computers, digital cameras, monitors, printers, fax machines and more. You go to the Trade-In and Recycle Program, select what you’d like to trade in, answer some questions regarding the details and condition of the equipment and are offered a trade-in value, which will be sent to you in the form of a Costco gift card. Even items such as monitors, printers and fax machines that have no trade in value, are still accepted to be recycled for FREE.

This is a fabulous way to keep electronics out of the landfills AND get some cash back, or at the very least, recycle them free of charge.

*The Costco Trade-In and Recycle Program is available only to members of Costco who elect to trade in or recycle any qualifying consumer electronic product currently offered by the program.

Thanks, Melissa!

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. :)

It’s not every day you’re quoted in an ABCNews article

Preschoolers Behaving Badly: Expulsions Rise

No, no, no. Please don’t get the wrong idea. Ava did NOT get expelled from preschool or any such thing, but I did get the opportunity to contribute my thoughts regarding a Yale University study that showed bad behavior and preschool expulsions are on the rise. Check out the top of page 3. Go ahead. I’ll wait. ;)

While I wish the journalist would’ve used more of what I said regarding gentle discipline, I felt that I came across sounding OK. (Hopefully it doesn’t make Ava sound like a bully either because she is certainly nowhere near that. She is a 3-year-old and she does react physically and emotionally at times, as I suspect most 3-year-olds do.) I would’ve loved to talk more about the type of preschool (Waldorf-inspired) Ava attends (which is a small in-home play-based school), but that wasn’t really germane to the article. Or was it?

One of the things I love about Waldorf preschool (and the Waldorf philosophy in general) is that it encourages imagination and creativity through free play and natural toys. Things like learning letters, numbers and how to read are not a part of Waldorf preschool. In fact, they don’t believe in teaching kids to read and write until they are *gasp* 7 years old. Honestly, when I learned that, my initial thought was that it seemed kind of late. However the more I thought about it and the more I learned about Waldorf the more it made sense to me.

Kids are only kids once. Why do we have to rush them into academia? Why can’t we let them be kids? Being a child should be about exploring his/her world and learning through play and imitation. They have the rest of their lives to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. That being said, I also acknowledge that different types of schooling and education work for different kids and Waldorf is not for everyone, but it seems to fit well with Ava so far. I feel fortunate in that we each have a choice regarding what works best for our children.

While I don’t know if we will continue with Waldorf education past preschool, I do know that holding off on formally teaching reading until age 7 doesn’t seem that odd to me anymore. I don’t want to deny Ava (or Julian) the experience of being a child where they can play, explore, and imagine to their heart’s content. In the meantime it’s not like Ava isn’t learning letters, counting, numbers, etc. at home. I mean, it’s a part of life and she’s definitely exposed to it, but I am happy that for her preschool is a place where she can play and explore her creativity and imagination. It works for us. :)

Your vote can make a difference

Mothers Milk Bank of New EnglandI know I posted about this before, but now they are in the finals and your votes really matter because the contest is neck and neck! Please bear with me and read below. :)

A blogging friend of mine, Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, is trying to get a new Mothers Milk Bank started in New England, where no such facility currently exists. To help raise money for this worthy organization, she entered a contest on Ideablob where a monthly winner gets $10,000 for their cause.

The Milk Bank needs money for 1) processing and storage equipment, 2) a “Milk Money” fund to help families whose insurance won’t cover processing fees, and 3) marketing materials to get the word out about the new bank.

The MMB of NE made it into the finals (yay!) but it is falling behind and needs all the votes it can get to win. This is where you come in! Would you please consider taking a minute to click over and vote? You do need to register to vote, but it only takes about 30 seconds.

Vote for the Mothers Milk Bank of New England

Please, please pass this on to any breastfeeding supporters you know. Voting ends on Jan. 31.

Thank you so much for your help!

Insurance update – the home birth saga continues

A while back I posted that I was trying to get our insurance company to acknowledge a claim for Julian’s home birth. I made phone call after phone call asking them if they had all of the information they needed to process the claim and each time, they would come back with one more thing that was still needed. I’d send them that “one thing” and then there’d be something else. It was always something.

I received an “explanation of benefits” in the mail from them a few months ago that said the claim had been closed because they hadn’t received everything they’d requested from me (BS!), and that they’d consider reopening it if the information was sent in. I threw up my hands in frustration and pretty much resigned myself to the thought that we would never get anything from them.

Then my midwife told me that she had contracted with a billing company and they could take over my case for me. So I sent them the information they required about two months ago and hadn’t heard a word from them until a couple weeks ago. Jody got a call saying that they needed the “explanation of benefits” that the insurance company sent to me and that they were “very optimistic” that we’d get some money from them.

I dug up that form and Jody faxed it in so now we wait and see. It would be awesome if they end up paying for part (or all!) of my midwife’s fees. Considering we paid $2200 for prenatal care, the birth and postnatal care, it would be a serious bargain for the insurance company. If I had had a hospital birth, which would have involved a c-section since Julian ended up being breech, it would have been tens of thousands of dollars and that’s just for the birth and not including the prenatal/postnatal care.

I’m not holding my breath, but I sure would love to see some of that money back in our pocket. :)