The “magic stick” is a must-have for every mommy’s medicine cabinet

When Ava had recently turned 3 years old, she was playing at a friend’s house when she slipped and fell forehead first smack dab into the corner of a wooden decorative box. The goose egg on her head began to form as immediately as the tears began to stream down her face and my friend immediately went to get the “magic stick.” She rubbed it on Ava’s head as I comforted her, and it greatly reduced the amount of swelling and bruising, helped with pain and was also a great distraction.

The “magic stick” is technically known as Hyland’s Bumps ‘n Bruises Ointment with arnica, “the most widely recognized homeopathic medicine for bruising and swelling right on the spot.” It comes in a tube and is easily applied to bumps on the noggin or pretty much anywhere else on the body.

We bought our own “magic stick” not long after that incident and have used it several times since, including last night when Julian took a header into the coffee table. Unfortunately he didn’t just smack his forehead, but his teeth too and we’re visiting a pediatric dentist tomorrow to make sure everything is OK.

In addition to reducing swelling, bruising and pain, it also acts as a good distraction to the injured child. It’s also a lot easier and quicker to use than applying ice to an owie. (Have you ever tried to get an upset toddler or preschooler to hold ice on a bump? It doesn’t happen.) And the fact that we call it a “magic stick” makes it even more appealing to the kiddos.

I highly recommend the Bumps ‘n Bruises stick for every parent’s medical arsenal. You can buy Hyland’s homeopathic products at most health food stores like Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage and they may also be available at Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, but I’d call ahead first.

A tip to keep the ointment stick from getting too mushy (which can happen especially if it’s warm out) is to keep it in the refrigerator. That’s where ours is, at least until the next bump comes along.

Also, if you missed my post about children’s sunscreen safety, I hope you will check it out. It’s something all parents should be aware of.

Thank you, my mommy community

When Ava was born nearly four years ago, I could count the number of mommy friends I had on one hand, er, maybe on two fingers. That didn’t bode well for a very good support network as I entered into the uncharted waters of motherhood. I’m happy (and relieved) to say that number has grown exponentially over the years (or I’m sure I would’ve lost my mind) thanks largely to blogging and, more recently, Twitter. I’ve met mommies (at least virtually) all over the globe and have made real connections with many. Through blog posts, comments, emails and tweets, I’ve been fortunate enough to become part of a community of women who truly care about each other. While we may not all share the same parenting philosophies, religions or political views, we have one thing in common – we are all mothers who love our children.

mothers_day.jpgHappy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing women who have been a part of my life (even if only on the Internet) for the past several years. You’ve each touched my life in one way or another and I am grateful for all of you …

– My mommy friends IRL (in real life) including those who have started blogs of their own: Heather, Julie, Melissa, and Sonja.

– My mommy friends who live in the same state as me (CO) who I’ve yet to meet: Katja, Lucretia, Amber, Hatchet (oh wait, I’ve met her!), Kristen, Sarah, Amy, Dawn (wait, I know her too!), Laura, and the Mile High Mamas.

– My mommy friends elsewhere in the US: Steph, Arianne, Ashlee, Leigh, Cara, Deanna, Scylla, Justine, Darla, Alli, Megan, Summer, Sommer, Phyllis, Amy, MB, Melody, Ninotchka, Emily and Jenny, Liesl, Tracey, Jennifer, Annie, Denise, Tanya, Nona, Christina, Nell, Carrie, Christine, Dawn, Deb, Rixa, Sarah, Military Mama, Donna, Christine, LaTara, Ana, Cristina and Izzy, Leslie, Halloweenlover, Jennifer, Erin, Stephania, Kristen, Alana, Tiffany, Dawn, Elizabeth, Michelle, Mama Luxe, Christina, Laura, Michelle, Cristina, Beth, Tara, Michelle, Beckie, Jen, Erika, Farrah, Jenni, Lotus, Stacy, VDog, Jennifer, Amy, all the Blissfully Domestic mamas, Jennifer, Shannan, Janice and Susan, the mamas at API Speaks, the Pinks and Blues girls, Jennifer, the BlogHers, Melody, Mimi, Vered, Maggie, Susan, Jennifer, Barb, Karla, Stacie, and Erika.

– As well as those mamas in other countries – Half Pint Pixie, Isil, Penny, Chelle, Alice, and Sinead.

– And the numerous other mommies who I invariably (and regrettably) left out. And of course, my own mother too.

Thank you to all of you for being my community, my sounding board, my support network and my friends, and traveling with me on my journey through motherhood. :) I’m so glad I haven’t had to do it alone.

I wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day full of lots of love, kisses, hugs, relaxation and chocolate. I hope you can each take a moment out of your day today to reflect on your personal journey through motherhood and to give yourself a pat on the back (and maybe another piece of chocolate too). You deserve it. :)

If you haven’t yet seen the Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter, check it out sometime. And if you aren’t on Twitter yet, what are you waiting for?! Come to the dark side join us. :)

Happy Mother’s Day!


Today I celebrate my 33rd birthday. Thirty-three years of laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, learning, growing, evolving, loving, living.

For some reason, this number – 33 – has been hard for me. Perhaps because I’m nearly one-third of a century (gah) old now. Perhaps because the days, weeks, months and years seem to be going by faster and faster than ever before. Perhaps because I’ve been taking a mental inventory of my life and haven’t been particularly happy with some of my discoveries. Perhaps a combination of these things.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful life, a charmed life. But I’ve recently had to be honest with myself about how much I can realistically commit to doing and still feel good about the kind of parent I am. I want to do it all. All of us moms do. We want to juggle all of the balls and keep them all up in the air, and, if we drop one (because invariably we will), we don’t want anyone to see it.

I’ve been getting more and more comments lately from people saying they don’t know how I keep it all together or how I do so much. I tend to answer the same way, telling them that it’s hard and I’m still working on finding that perfect balance, but the truth is when someone seems to be doing it all and have all of their sh*t together, you can rest assured that they are falling behind in at least one area (probably more) of their life. I know it was happening to me.

And so I’ve chosen to cut back on some commitments (though it was very hard to) and not take on new ones (even though they were appealing) in an effort to focus more time on the things that really matter – my children and my husband.

Jody and I had a parent-teacher conference with Ava’s Waldorf preschool teacher last night and she raved about what a delight Ava is. Ava is “fiery” (no surprise to us to hear that word), but a real joy. I love hearing about how well she is doing in school and how much her teacher appreciates her. It’s sometimes easier for me to focus on the bad and overlook the good and this was a good reminder for me that she really is an amazing kid.

Julian strung together his first two-word phrase last night. “Hol’ me.” (Hold me.) He said it first to Jody, but later to me as well. He’s been talking more and more the past couple of weeks, but this in particular was oh. so. very. sweet.

I don’t have any special plans for today, and that’s OK with me. I intend on spending some good quality time with the kids and enlisting Ava’s help in baking my cake. I think we’ll go with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting made from scratch. Mmmm. Perhaps we’ll play outside for a bit. Perhaps we’ll read some books. Perhaps I’ll focus on just how amazing these first 33 years of my life have been, how blessed I am, and make a wish for more of the same in my next 33.

Mother’s Day + Economic Stimulus + Comment Love = 3 Occasions to Donate to Save Women’s Lives

Cross-posted on BlogHer

After reading Denise‘s BlogHer post last week that the gift of maternal health is the perfect Mother’s Day gift, I thought “this really is perfect!” I blogged it and suggested that not only is it a great cause, but it is also a great consumerism/stuff-free gift, something that I feel, in our consumerism-driven society, is so important, but so often forgotten.

I had plans (and still have plans) to donate in my mom’s honor for Mother’s Day. I knew it wouldn’t be a surprise to her since she faithfully reads my blog, but what I wasn’t expecting was that she would beat me to the punch and make a donation in my honor first! My mom chose to honor me for Mother’s Day with a gift to Help Afghan Women Deliver Healthy Babies Safely, a cause that I would’ve chosen myself. My mom said that she thought I would “appreciate that much more than flowers or anything else” and, aside from perhaps a massage (*wink*), she is right. I am happy my mom chose to donate as a gift to me and I hope she will be happy when she receives that email saying I’ve donated as a Mother’s Day gift to her as well.

Speaking of honoring women on Mother’s Day, Jen Lemen suggests honoring a woman you admire by making a donation in her name and then telling her about the ways she’s inspired you. She wrote a wonderful “primer to help you make a perfect match between that woman who inspires you and an organization that’s changing the world.”

Aside from Mother’s Day being the perfect opportunity to donate to Global Giving, Britt Bravo recently asked, “Will You Donate Your Economic Stimulus Check?” Britt said, “FinancialAidPodcast suggests paying down your debt, putting it in a savings account, or donating to a charitable organization.” BlogHer Community Manager Denise left a comment suggesting people use their economic stimulus checks to make a donation to Global Giving. Another wonderful idea.

Smtwngrl at Writing: My Life recently came up with a very creative way to raise money for Global Giving. She originally vowed to donate $0.10 for each comment she received between May 5 and May 9 to one of the Blogher-supported organizations (for a maximum donation of $100). However, after realizing that her original goal may have been a little too lofty, she upped the ante, “In addition to my $25 Mother’s Day donation in my mother’s name, for every unique commenter each day this week (May 5th through May 9th) I’ll donate $1 (up to $100) toward the maternal health cause that receives the most votes.” What are you waiting for? Head on over there and get the comment love a flowing. You still have three days to get those comments in and spread the word.

In addition to the original five worthy maternal health causes (see below), Lisa Stone announced earlier today that BlogHers Act and Global Giving have added the Myanmar relief effort to provide emergency relief to thousands and thousands of people devastated by Cyclone Nargis. The storm has killed over 22,000 people, thousands more are presumed dead, and the million who’s lives have been spared are without shelter and with only a few days food supply. Lisa encouraged everyone to donate and blog this.

She also announced that BlogHer and Global Giving will be matching your donation. “Whichever of the now six projects recommended via the BlogHers Act fundraising widget receives the most donations between now and the end of the week will get a $1,000 donation from BlogHer, which Global Giving has agreed to match. The other five worthy projects will also get a donation of $200 each from BlogHer.”

Karoli at Odd Time Signatures answered Lisa’s call to action and donated to Global Giving again, this time to the Myanmar people, blogged it and encourages others to “please dig deep” and “consider rounding up your loose change around the house, under the couch, hidden in old handbags, wallets and drawers.”

I think it’s important to note that no amount is too small. Every little bit adds up and can help the people, including mothers and children, in Myanmar, as well as other maternal health projects around the world. We’re at $3415 donated so far. How much more can we raise between now and Mother’s Day? How will you help?

More about each of the BlogHers Act/Global Giving projects:

Provide Emergency Relief – Myanmar Cyclone Victims: Donate as little as $10 to support urgent disaster relief efforts by helping provide food, clean water, and supplies for those affected by the cyclone, which has killed thousands and caused extensive flooding and damage.

Maternal Health Projects:

* Mother and Child Clinic in Nepal: $10 – 2 days’ operating costs for the Clinic OR a year’s worth of care for 5 women and children

* Help Afghan Women Deliver Healthy Babies Safely: $25 – 20 women will have improved quality of life through reproductive healthcare and education

* Ensure Healthcare for 40,000+ Displaced Darfurians: $25 – Trains 2 Traditional Birthing Attendants (includes 3 training sessions and training materials)

* Empower Women to End HIV/AIDS Stigma, South Africa: $50 – 2 women living with HIV/AIDS can receive counseling

* Noon Meal Improves Girls’ Learning in Burkina Faso: $15 – Provides a noon meal for 50 students for one day.

Take Action Now:

1) Grab a button or donation widget to place on your blog.

2) Share this information with your readers by blogging about maternal health, the Myanmar relief effort, or the individual project you’re supporting.

3) If you blog it, leave your link at the bottom of this post, so others can read your thoughts on these issues. (And so we can feature you on and in our newsletters.)

4) Donate to save women’s lives, today.

Moo, Baa, La La La (Best Shot Monday 5/5/08)

On Saturday we packed up the kids, met up with my sister and her beau, and took a trip to our local farm.

We saw…

little piggies,


and cows.

And then we learned to moo like them.

Ava brushed a horse and went for a ride on a pony. Both kiddos fed the goats. Ava took a turn on the tire swing and played in the tree fort, while Julian took a turn on the horse swing.

We also saw chickens, llamas, rabbits, a turtle, ducks, a donkey,

a beautiful view,

and this pretty calf (my BSM).

It was a very fun afternoon. :)

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

red BSM button