Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I *Heart* Spring

It's true. I love spring!

The smell of sunscreen and sweat in a little boys hair.

Little Man running around in shorts and a t-shirt (that he picked out himself, and no, they did not match) and his rain boots. On a sunny day. YOU try telling him he can't wear his rain boots when its not raining.

Bubble soap running down my arm and getting splashed all over me when Little Man decides it's HIS turn to try to blow bubbles.

Little Miracle getting some sun and loving being outside.

Eating ice cream.

Hanging out with a bunch of folks from my church in the evening. Men playing horseshoes while the ladies talk and the kids play.

Yup... that was all today... it's SPRING!!!

Pictures to come...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Hate Dogs

It's official. I hate dogs.

We had the scariest event with Little Man yesterday. It had to be the closest he has ever come to being severely hurt. I am blogging about this more to get the thoughts in my head out, because I am still upset about this. Let me start by saying that everyone is OK, so don't freak out!

It was a beautiful day again yesterday so we decided to go on a walk with Daddy. Little Miracle was asleep in his wrap snuggled up next to me. Little Man was walking ahead of us, as usual, but only by about 5 steps. He was kicking rocks, picking up pine cones and just all around being a kid. We were towards the front of our neighborhood which is the turn around point of our walk.

All of a sudden we both hear a dog barking. Not like a "hey, who are you, come play with me" bark, but a "you are in my space, and you need to GO!" bark. Stephen and I look up towards Little Man and that's when we see the dog running out of the house, charging at him. I don't know dogs, so I don't know what kind of dog it was, but it was as tall as Little Man. Running full speed towards him.

My heart skipped a beat. My brain started panicking. This dog is about to eat my child. I did all I knew to do. I screamed at the top of my lungs, as loud as possible, at the dog. Stephen started running towards it. It all happened so fast, but the dog stopped.

Stopped charging.

Stopped barking.

Stopped INCHES from Little Mans face.

The owner of the dog came out from the front door to see what was happening. Little Man started screaming. Little Miracle woke up and started crying. The dog took off for his owner as Stephen scooped up Little Man in his arms and started consoling him. The owner of the dog told us his dog is very protective and he apologized profusely for scaring Little Man.

Once I realized that Little Man was OK I got upset.

I was shaking and about to cry. I was so thankful that Little Man was OK. I can not stop thinking about the "what ifs". That dog would have torn him to pieces. He was face to face with Little Man. The brunt of the attack would have been on my precious child's face and possible his neck. This dog could have killed my child! Stephen had already pulled out his knife in preparation to get the dog off of Little Man. I had started running towards the dog to try to ward off the attack. We were both doing all we knew to do.

We quickly headed home to shake it off. When we put Little Man to bed he did not seem phased by it but I had a hard time sleeping. I got to thinking that this was the first time I saw that I would do anything for my child. I always knew I would, but I actually SAW it yesterday. I was prepared to jump on the dog, or jump in front of Little Man if I had the chance. Let the dog bite me instead of my child. I saw it in Stephen too. He was just as prepared as I was to take care of Little Man and to stop the dog.

Thank God we did not have to do anything.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Feed Burner

So I finally set up Feed Burner. Pretty cool! I now have the option for you to get new posts in your email! How cool is that? Check it out. Its over there on the right. If you don't want to do that, be sure to click "follow" and follow me via Google Connect. I see lots of people coming and reading, but not many following! This lets me know how many readers I actually have!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Touch A Truck

Saturday was the first day of spring, and it was BEAUTIFUL here! My boys and I headed out to an event that was going on near the train depot. It was Touch A Truck. They had TONS of trucks that the kids could climb all over! Little Man had a BLAST! He climbed on an ambulance, a mail truck, a jeep, an army car, a police car, a firetruck, a school bus, a limo, a plumbers truck. He saw a bulldozer and a garbage truck too. He was not too sure about climbing on the garbage truck, because every time he would go to climb on it, someone would beep the horn, and it scared him.










Out of all of these cool things to climb on and play in, guess what his favorite was?




Yup... the train that came by 4 times in the two hours we were there!!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Car Seat Basics- Guest Poster!

The following post was written by my sister. She is a mother of 3 girls, a full time firefighter, paramedic and CPST. Please take the time to read the following post and make sure you are using your car seats correctly!


Car seats. When used correctly, they save lives. I wanted to take a minute and go over some common errors that can have tragic results in a collision. PLEASE- take a few minutes to read through this and pass it along!

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Angela Waagen. I am a full time firefighter and paramedic. I am a CPST (child passenger safety technician). I am a mommy to three daughters. I have seen firsthand the difference a correctly used child safety seat can make in a wreck. The problem is that fewer than 5% of them are used correctly. I want to personally encourage every parent to have their install inspected by a CPST. (Make sure they are certified. Don't be afraid to ask for their card or numbers. Many parents assume that any policeman or fireman should know how to install car seats, but in order to get certified there is a 32 hour class. Do not let anyone who says "yeah, I have a couple kids, let me help you out" anywhere near your car seat! Your child's life depends on it!)

"What's the "safest" seat for my child?"
There is no "safest" seat. Unfortunately car seats either pass or fail a stringent test (FMVSS213). If they pass, they go on store shelves. The best seat is the one that fits your vehicle, fits your child, and is installed and used correctly on EVERY ride.


Infants ride rear facing. Parents can use either a carrier type seat that may or may not snap into a base (check your manual- some seats require use of the base, others do not) or a convertible seat. Most convertible seats are too big for newborns, since for rear facing, the shoulder straps MUST be AT or BELOW the shoulders.

Carrier type seats can have weight limits ranging from 20-35lbs. A car seat is outgrown when baby either reaches the weight limit, or when there is less than 1" of hard shell over the baby's head. (Measure perpendicular to the car seat shell, NOT parallel to the ground)


"What about those cute little strap covers/soft fuzzy insert/pillow things?"
Do not add anything to the car seat that did not come with it. Such aftermarket items are NOT approved (FMVSS213) and can drastically alter the way the harness holds your child in during a collision.


"How about the coat? It's cold outside!"
Thick coats are not to be used in the car seat. To tell if your coat is too thick, strap the child in with it on. Then, remove the coat and secure the child again. If you now have slack in the harness, the coat is too thick. A fleece blanket works well over the harness, or you can put a hood less coat on backwards over baby after they are strapped in. (If you can't buckle the straps, it's too thick!)


"How do I tell if the harness is too loose?"
Most parents fail to tighten the harness enough. The harness will give and stretch in a crash, so it needs to be snug. If you can pinch the harness near the child's shoulders lengthwise, it is too loose.


"What about that little plastic clip? What does it do?"
That is the chest clip. (It belongs at armpit level no matter the age of the child. Please take care to keep it off the belly- it's not a belly clip!) This is considered to be a pre-crash positioner, and it's job is to make sure the shoulder straps stay on the shoulders before a crash, so the harness can do it's job.

"My baby is outgrowing his carrier- what now?"
Well, you need to find a convertible seat, and keep baby rear facing. The absolute bare minimum to legally turn a child forward facing is 12 months AND 20 pounds. However, legal and safe are two very different things. Which brings us to....

"When can I turn them forward facing? Their legs are bent. Their feet are touching the seat. They want to see, etc."
Consider this- the job of the car seat is to protect the child, right? In a collision, the harness holds the body in. In a forward facing seat, the head is thrust forward violently. The head of a toddler usually makes up 25% of their total body weight (that would be like a 200 pound adult having a 50 pound head!) It is 500% safer to keep them rear facing AS LONG AS POSSIBLE! This provides the ultimate protection for the head, neck, and spinal cord. The bones of the neck can stretch up to 2" before they break. The spinal cord itself only needs 1/4" stretch to cause permanent damage, paralysis, or death. Keeping a child rear facing distributes the forces of a collision evenly down the child's back, and simply pushes them deeper into their seat, instead of flinging the head forward. Take a look at this 3 minute video, paying close attention to the difference it makes in actual crash testing:

"What if I get rear-ended? Isn't that the same as a forward facing seat hitting something on the front?"
No. If you get rear ended, chances are that you were stopped or even moving forward at the time of the wreck. For it to have the same physics you would have to hit something in reverse. How often do you drive in reverse at highway, or even city speeds?

"But is it really that dangerous to turn them around? My baby is big and I think he's ready to face forward"
Yes. It really is that dangerous

"But what about my pediatrician? My doctor said he could turn around now" Unfortunately there is just too much continuing education to keep up with all the newest info, and doctors are superb at sore throats, runny noses, appendicitis, and the likes. Doctors are not the ones in the streets showing up on the firetrucks and ambulances, and picking these kids up. Fortunately, the AAP does work with other agencies, and since 2002 the AAP has had this stance on extended rear facing:

"Children should face the rear of the vehicle until they are at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 lb to decrease the risk of cervical spine injury in the event of a crash. Infants who weigh 20 lb before 1 year of age should ride rear facing in a convertible seat or infant seat approved for higher weights until at least 1 year of age.3,4 If a car safety seat accommodates children rear facing to higher weights, for optimal protection, the child should remain rear facing until reaching the maximum weight for the car safety seat, as long as the top of the head is below the top of the seat back."

Most pediatricians are simply not aware of the newer recommendations, and revert back to the old 12 months/20 pound recommendation.

"Won't they be unhappy riding backwards that long? What about their legs?"
Legs can be fixed. Necks can't. Here is my youngest- 3 years old and safely rear facing (at 32 pounds. Her seat has a rear-facing limit of 45 pounds, so she has a while to go yet.)


Older toddlers-

Those who have outgrown their rear-facing seats, can go into a forward facing seat, but they must still use the 5 point harness until they are ready for a booster. For forward facing, the same guidelines apply about harness tightness and the position of the chest clip, but for forward facing, the harness straps need to be AT or ABOVE the shoulders. Years ago forward facing seats had a harness weight limit of a standard 40 pounds. Seats how have higher weight limits, and higher harness heights, to accommodate keeping a child in a harness longer. Many seats now harness to 65 or even 80 pounds, and will fit a child until they are mature enough (read- mature enough, not "big" enough) to ride in a booster seat.

"Won't an older child feel ridiculous in a "baby" seat?"
Not necessarily. As a mom, there are some issues that are simply not up for debate. Safety is one at my household. Trauma kills more children every year than any other cause of death, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of that trauma to our children. You cannot predict an accident, but you can take steps to keep your children as protected as possible in every ride.

When using a forward facing seat, secure the top tether whenever possible. Vehicle came standard with top tether anchors sometime around 1999/2000. This is an anchor point either on the back dash, on the back of the vehicle seat, on the floor behind the seat, or even the roof of some SUV's that has an image of a boat anchor and child seat on it. Sometimes parents confuse a cargo anchor point with a tether anchor. Only a tether anchor with the anchor image is intended for use with child seats- please consult the vehicle owner's manual. Some vehicles- especially pick up trucks- want you to route the top tether strap under a headrest then to an anchor point NOT directly behind that child safety seat's position in the vehicle. Using the top tether reduces head excursion- the amount the head moves forward in a crash. Even a properly secured car seat will move forward violently in a crash, and too much head excursion will allow your child's head to strike the front seat


"How do I install my seat in my vehicle?" First- consult both the manual of your vehicle, and the manual of your car seat. Read both extensively!!! You can use either seat belt or LATCH to install your child's seat, but NEVER BOTH. Use whichever is easier for you to get a good, solid install in your vehicle. Depending on the car seat and the contours of your vehicle seat, one may work better than the other (at ease of installation). Neither is "safer" than the other. Using both together is NOT approved to do. This puts too much stress on the seat and can cause it to fail.

When installed, your seat should not move more than one inch at the belt path. Make sure to lock the seat belt into place if using seat belt installs, and DO NOT "borrow" latch anchors to "make" a center latch position if the vehicle does not specifically state that there are center latch anchors. The latch anchors are two small bars (that you clip the seat to). Each of those two small bars are attached to one long bar inside the vehicle seat. If you steal the middle most anchor from each outside latch, it's similar to going to the gym, and trying to lift 20 pounds by picking up one end each of two, ten pound dumbbells. It distributes the weight unevenly and will not perform correctly in a crash.

Keep in mind that there are weight limits to latch- some vehicles specify 40 pounds, others 48, some refer back to the child seat manufacturer. Check the manuals for guidance.

Another thing to consider is that car seats DO expire. They are made of plastic, and are subjected to extreme temperatures. When I hear parents say "oh that's just a marketing ploy" I ask them to visualize a plastic lawn chair left on the porch for a few seasons, then visualize an adult jumping onto it. During a crash that plastic seat will be subjected to hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of pressure. Most seats have a 6 year lifespan- again check your manual.

Older children-

"Is my child ready for a booster seat? The box says it fits kids 30 pounds and over"
A child may be heavy enough according to the box, but manufacturers are required to put weight limits on their seats. There is a huge difference both physically and physiologically between a 30 pound 18 month old, and a tall but skinny 30 pound five year old. In order for a booster to do it's job, the child MUST be able to stay in position for the entire ride. They must be mature enough not to reach over for a dropped toy, turn around for a sudden noise, or fall asleep and slump over. Most children are not mature enough for a booster until 5 or 6 years of age.

"My child is too big for a booster. They can ride in just the seat belt now".
Probably not. The adult seat belt does not fit most children until 10 or 12 years of age. Children need to pass the 5 step test in order to ride in just the adult belt-

1.- Does the shoulder belt cross the collar bone, not the neck?
2.- Does the lap portion ride low, over the hip bones and thighs, not over the belly?
3.- When scooted all the way back in the vehicle seat, do my child's knees bend at the edge of the vehicle seat?
4.- Are my child's feet flat on the floor?
5.- Can my child stay like this for the entire ride?

If any of the answers are no, then your child still needs a booster seat. A booster raises the child's pelvis up and allows the belt to fit them properly. This ensure that in a wreck, the strongest skeletal parts absorb more of the impact than the vital internal organs that would otherwise be damaged by the seat belt. Please take the time to read through this for a better understanding of older kids and boosters:

Finally- after a crash, destroy your seat- it has done it's job!!!!

Thank you for taking the time to ensure your child is protected! It can make all the difference between saying "wow I am so glad we took the time to....." or "if only we had stopped and...." after an accident! For more car seat info:

For help with your seat, feel free to contact me at or go here to find a CPST in your area:


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nursing Story with Little Man

I was asked by a friend of mine to type out my nursing story with Little Man. We had many struggles in the early weeks and she is a lactation counselor and thinks my story can help encourage others. I am going to share it with you also, in case anyone needs encouragement!


When I found out I was expecting in February of 2007 I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I started to collect books and information on nursing. My sister had just had her third child and she passed all her books onto me. She also gave me a “show and tell” on the basics of nursing. It looked easy!

Over the course of my pregnancy I read the books and thought “this will be so easy”. I took the hospital breastfeeding class in September. “It’s natural, and if it hurts, you are doing it wrong”. The lactation consultant made it sound like we were going to have no problems at all. “Piece of cake”, I thought.

My son was born on October 10th. Even though I knew it was best to put the baby to your breast immediately, I was so worn out from the long labor and delivery that it was about an hour after he was born when I first got to try to nurse him. I tried for a few minutes, but every time my son latched on, he fell asleep. The hospital nurses were pushing to bathe him because he was getting a temperature, so they took him away.

Once we were moved from the labor and delivery room, into the recovery room, they brought my son back to me. My midwife came to check on us, and saw me trying to nurse. She looked at my nipples, and said “they are erectile tissue, rub them and they will stick out”. Little did I know, that was not true in my case. My nipples were not sticking out! The midwife left abruptly after giving me that one piece of advice. I was left alone with my son. I kept trying to nurse him, and he just kept sleeping.

The next morning the hospital lactation consultant came by to see me. She worked with my son and I trying to get him to nurse. He would latch on, and then promptly fall asleep. She tried all of her tricks to wake him up. Rubbing his head, cheeks, tickling his toes, getting him naked, but he just wanted to sleep. She said he was probably just tired from birth and to let him sleep it off, that he would nurse when he got hungry.

I tried all day to get him to nurse. He would always latch on with a perfect latch, but would fall asleep as soon as he latched. I finally decided at about 3 am that this was not working and pushed the “nurse call” button on the hospital bed. The nurse that came in was a God send! She watched me try to nurse my son. She saw that he was latching on, but falling off, or falling asleep shortly after latching. She left the room saying she would be back in a minute.

A few minutes later she came walking into my room with a bag of stuff! She brought me a hand pump to try to pump a little, nipple shells to wear to pull my nipples out when he was not nursing, a syringe to try to feed him from, lanolin and some sugar water to try to get him to suck once he was latched on. She worked with me for hours! We kept trying. He would latch, and we used the syringe to give him a few drops of sugar water to try to get him to suck. This worked, and for a minute or two he would nurse! Then he would drift off to sleep. I thought we had it down!

We were released from the hospital three days after my son was born. He had jaundice but the pediatrician said that it is common, and to not really worry about it. He would test his levels again the next morning, and just to feed him when he is hungry. Well, the next day his levels were thru the roof, and the pediatrician then told us to feed our son every 2 hours. I told him we were having problems nursing, and he said to pump or use formula. I did not want to use formula, so I went to the store and bought a breast pump. His jaundice levels were so high that his pediatrician wanted to put him in the hospital but he ordered the biliblanket for home care instead. My son had to stay on the biliblanket 23 out of 24 hours a day.

I stopped trying to get the nursing to work, and focused on just feeding my son. For four days I pumped every meal for my son. We had nurses coming to our house every morning to test his jaundice levels, and by the fourth day they were finally low enough that we no longer needed the biliblanket.

After the jaundice was under control, I started trying to nurse him again. He was still so very sleepy that he would fall asleep every time I put him on my breast. I kept trying with the sugar water drops and even started to put a few drops of milk into his mouth with the syringe to see if he would suck. It was not working! I was getting so frustrated and upset that he did not want to nurse. I felt alone, and felt like a failure that I could not even feed my child in the way I wanted to! I went to the store and bought a can of formula. When I got home, I made him a bottle and cried when I was feeding it to him. I knew this was not what I wanted to do, but I did not know what to do to fix our nursing relationship.

I talked to my husband, and he reminded me about the lactation consultants that the hospital had. He suggested that I call them, so I called them when my son was about two weeks old. I was determined to make nursing work, and I was tired of pumping! We met at her office. She took one look at my nipples and saw the problem. I had severely inverted nipples. I remembered hearing something about that at the breastfeeding class I took before my son was born, but I was too embarrassed then to ask about it. She gave me some nipple shields and he latched on and actually started to nurse! She did a weight check before and after he ate, and he had ate an ounce in 40 minutes of nursing. I was so happy that he actually nursed!! When I got home, I threw out that can of formula!

During the next week I mainly only pumped. I would try a few times a day to get my son to nurse with the shields. When either he or I got frustrated I would just give him a bottle of pumped milk.

A week later we went back to the lactation consultant for a follow up. She did another weight check, and he was the same weight that he was 8 days prior. He gained no weight in 8 days! She told me to try nursing him every 2 hours, and to pump when I was done nursing him. I was overwhelmed and overtired. I wanted so badly to be able to nurse my baby, but did not expect all the problems.

During all of this, I was having pain. Pain when pumping and when nursing. The pumping pain we figured out was because I have large nipples, so I ordered larger flanges for the pump. That helped with the pain. Looking back, I think a lot of the pain was my nipples being pulled out.

When my son was 5 weeks old, we went back to the lactation consultant for another weight check. I was excited because we had been trying to nurse at every feeding, but also still bottle feeding the pumped milk. I knew he had gained weight. I was crushed when she told me he had only gained one ounce in 6 days.

We took my son to the pediatrician for his lack of weight gain. He had also started spitting up massive amounts of milk after every feeding. Just before he was 6 weeks old he had an upper GI test done. He was diagnosed with moderately-severe reflux. He had gained 3 ounces in the course of the last week, which was good for him. We started him on medicine for the reflux and also tried to keep him upright after every feeding to reduce the reflux.

At this point, I decided I would quit nursing at 6 weeks if my son was still not nursing from me. I needed something for my sanity, a breaking point. When my son was 6 weeks old I told my husband that I was going to quit nursing tomorrow, and tomorrow would come, and I would tell him the same thing that day. I just could not bring myself to give up! I knew we could make this work! I was just taking it a day at a time, nursing day to day.

I saw the lactation consultant again around 7 weeks. She was asking how I was feeling emotion wise. She knew before she asked that I was not good. I was SO determined to breastfeed, and was having all these problems. I felt like a failure that I could not just latch my son on, and have him thrive with nursing from the breast only. I hated having to pump after every feeding! This was leading to postpartum depression. She sent me to my doctor, who talked to me. She told me what I was feeling was totally normal, but that I needed something to help get my emotions back on track. I agreed, and she wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant.

After that I decided to throw out the shields and make this work! My left nipple was finally no longer inverted and he would nurse on that side. Things slowly started getting better. My son was getting the hang of nursing, and I was feeling better.

At 10 weeks old, I was still pumping, but only for the night time feedings. We did some traveling for Christmas at this time. While out of town, I decided to give up the pumping, and get him to only nurse. Once back in town, I stepped away from the pump and my son did so well. I think the pump was my crutch. I wanted to make sure he was eating enough, and that is why I still wanted to pump, because I could see how much he was eating.

At 11 weeks, we were finally pump free, pain free and nursing full time! I felt on top of the world. I loved the feeling that I was providing everything that my son needed and we were bonding so well. We had everything under control! He was gaining weight and thriving and I was feeling better!

He was exclusively breastfed until we started solids at 6 months, and nursed until he was 14 months. Thru all the struggles, I am very proud to say that I stuck it out. I had it in my mind that there was no other option than breastfeeding. I am very stubborn in nature, and this worked to my favor when going thru this. I also had an amazing support system in the lactation consultant. She was always there for me when I needed her. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don't be like me and be embarrassed to ask about things. I know now that there are things you can do to pull out inverted nipples before the baby is born. The lactation consultant that I saw was free thru the hospital but I would have paid any amount to get my son to nurse! Make sure your partner is supportive of you nursing. At any point, if my husband would have said to give up, I would have. He was always by my side supporting me.

I got pregnant shortly after my son weaned and was so excited to have another nursling coming. I knew that the problems I had with my first were not going to happen with my second, since I no longer had the inverted nipples. My second son was born quickly at home, and latched right on shortly after birth. We did have a few bumps in the first few weeks, but he is now 3 months old and an awesome nurser.