Youtube has alot of great channels for kids, albeit you must be aware of the commercials. Thankfully, not all channels use Youtube commercials. I allow my son to watch with or without the commercials because I can count on him to hit the "Skip Ad" button (I'm not saying all children will do this, but I observed that he does). He finds that fun, making this work well for us. But I really don't allow him to watch unless I'm in earshot so that I know what he is being presented with. You, as the parent will have to decide what works best for you and your child, but this has been working well for us so far. As I was saying, there are some channels that kindly don't include any commercials at all, and for that I am grateful!

In these present blogs, I want to share with you shows that my little one and I have loved for awhile now! In my sharing them, they may or may not include commercials.  None-the-less, I wanted to present the show itself to you, because you may be really glad that I did!

One of our absolute favorites is "Eddy and the Bear". Eddy is a little 5-year-old boy with a great imagination, enjoying school, playing at home, watching his favorite (or "favourite" --- laugh out loud) program on TV, or --- the most unrealistic part, but totally cute --- playing with his friend "Bear" who lives in the woods. Bear and Eddy always have cute dialog as they are trying to work out life's concerns through the eyes of a 5-year-old. The "logic" is often adorable! While my son is enjoying the colorful cartoon with their English accents and fun adventures, my husband and I are chuckling over the little clever comments in the dialog. It's been a real part of my son's first years, and I have no regrets.

We originally had "Eddy and the Bear" on DVD in the early days of our enjoying this cartoon, but since then, I have found it on Youtube. Here is an "Eddy and the Bear" cartoon that I found for you. From there, I'm sure you will be able to find more (I usually just Google "Eddy and the Bear playlist"). I know you will enjoy it if you have small children!

It's possible that even the title of this article makes a mom feel tired. I know that as a woman who never had kids (but babysat everyone else's kids), I really wanted to be a mom but dreaded some things. Was waking at night one of them? Maybe.

Now that I'm a Mom, I can tell you that it does zap you of energy, but you find it worth it somehow. Does that mean that you always like being woken up randomly when you are in a deep sleep? No, but it's a privilege in the end. I mean, if you are like me, I didn't GET to become a mother until later in life, and since the first child, I have not had the privilege of conceiving a second. Many women are wishing to have even their first. All that to say, I don't look at the gift of a child as a small thing, whatever our age, and the "inconveniences" are so worth it. My son still wakes me up occasionally (and he is no longer a baby or even a toddler). I find myself having to get the "cobwebs" out of my head, and decide how to best handle his concern that made him wake up. Sometimes I have to firmly say "go back to sleep" (after I made sure he got what he needed...water or potty or whatever the concern). I've begun to also see a pattern in him that if he wakes up a second time in the night, I might as well stay up the whole night and do something just-in-case he wakes a third or forth time, because sometimes he just has a hard time getting back to sleep. For me, I have found that I'd rather be up and productive instead of re-awakened every time I have finally drifted back to sleep.

And that's just how it is. We moms find a rhythm in what we do. We learned our child or children, we learn more about ourselves too, and we adapt. We make it all work together however it has to. Perhaps for me, it will simply mean I will get some work done in the night, and take a nap sometime in the coming afternoon. It's gonna all work out, and there's no need to worry. That might not be how YOU do it (cope with surprise night wakings), but you will find the rhythm, the thing, the "that's how we roll" that works for you and your family.

I guess what I'm trying to get at here, is that motherhood can seem daunting to THINK about, but once you start, it flows... You will do fine. Love floods your heart, even if other factors cause you to think that it won't or to fear whatever fears you are fearing. Don't fear. You will do great!

Motherhood is fun, tiring, wonderful, frightening and did I mention fun? You have the fun privilege of exposing your children to educational videos that teach phonics, and the fun of putting good toys and books in their hands. You have the fun privilege of reading to them and helping them learn. And the wonderful thing is that you can simply go to the library or look up good Youtube videos for FREE!

Teaching your children may seem like a daunting task, but please do not be alarmed: your children are not learning difficult things at first. It starts with colors and shapes, saying "Dada" and "Mama", and all that fun stuff WAY before you get to phonics. You will be singing the ABC's together, reading books to them, teaching them to count, and everything will come together as you keep exposing them to meaningful, helpful things.

One of the items that I found extremely helpful for my son, was (and is) "The Letter Factory" by Leap Frog (I actually found it for free on Vimeo!). Not only did my son start to learn phonics by watching this entertaining 30 or so minute video, but he ENJOYS watching it, and I get to get some housecleaning or something else done! :)

Furthermore, I have started a nice little channel for kids called "Read to Me". I cover topics such as the alphabet and I simply read books that toddlers and preschoolers may enjoy. There will be much more coming to this channel in the future, and every Monday, you should be able to see a new video there. I hope you and your children will really enjoy it (here is a sample video). Enjoy!
Today, I want to encourage all the moms that are working on a business at home. There may be a variety of businesses and a variety of reasons, summing up all the working-a-business-from-home moms, and your stories and reasons would interest me. For me, I desire to be home with my young child while the time with him at home is short (ask your mom how long your childhood seemed to her -- time always seems to fly once you are looking back). It's important to me and my husband that we get home businesses off the ground, and since he still works a regular job, it's more-or-less on me to put in the footwork, so to speak.

Because of this, I have learned and am still learning and practicing the art of working AND keeping my child entertained in a healthy way, educated in his baby needs and now preschool needs, fed and cared for, as well as making sure that throughout the day he knows he just plain LOVED.

The absolute most practical help with this is the use of a planner and a timer. While I don't officially have a planner yet, I do know the value of writing and checking a to-do list, even including to-dos such as "read 3 books to little man" and "take a 20 minute walk with together", etc. etc. As far as the timer goes, it's all important to space out your tasks so that you are doing a certain amount of work (40 minutes? 1 hour?) on this task, then something with your kid or kids, then another task (use the timer again), then another kid activity, etc. Also, while you are doing your tasks, it's good to set your children up with their own "tasks" as well: for example, "It's time to play in your room and read books" or "It's time to sit at the table and play with play dough" or "It's nap time". This way of doing things is good for you and them. It will help them to develop well doing different activities, as well as have your interaction as you plan to do some things with them too (including lunch! Yeah, be careful not to forgot lunch in the middle of all this busy day!). It will also help them to have structure, and of course, it will give YOUR day structure as well....ahhhh. And THAT also means productivity!

So that is my little "mommy-working-from-home hints and advice" for today! I hope it helps as you venture on whatever business or businesses you have going right now. I'm cheering for you!

"So he's gurgling his milk again, and it's all over the front of his clean sweater that I just put on him today! And he KNOWS that he's not aloud to play with it that way!"

Does that sound like your thoughts at times? Or some variation of this? Be encouraged. It's perfectly normal.

Well, these are moments that can cause us as parents to get boiling mad and "loose it", but it's so not worth it. Stop, Mom. Take a breath. Love is patient.

It's sometime easier than other times to remember this. I think it gets harder to remember to be patient when I have too much on my plate, or when I am challenged by something new to my child (like potty training). I know I'm not alone though. That's why we Mom's are out here encouraging each other with blogs and videos and books to help each other to be the best we can be. Happy Mothering! Do your best. Smile. You are blessed with this little one. Try to be patient with him or her as they learn and grow and change.

So why am I so interested in telling others about things to know before giving birth? Because it's a very special time in life along with a lot of unknowns and fears. Most importantly, I don't think Moms are well informed with all the helpful facts, as far as options go for their birth plans.  I want Moms everywhere to be able to face their labor day with peace and confidence. Will it be tough? Yes. But it's best faced with good information.

This blog will be short and sweet as I share a few pointers:

  • Walk around.  Before and during labor, it's good to walk around if you can.  Practice strengthening your legs by holding a gentle squat as an exercise practice so that you are fit for labor. (Ask your midwife or doctor if this is okay first, as the rules would be different depending on the pregnancy...also ask him/her about what are safe exercises for you to do at this time).

  • It's good to sip and have light snacks. When you are in labor, you don't want to be barfing, by eating a ridiculously big meal during labor, but you do want to maintain energy with juice, ice water, peanut butter crackers or peanut butter toast, etc. I speak as one who found that important while having a non-epidural labor. In other words, the rules might be different if you are going to have an epidural, but I found snacking on the correct snacks as needed was important for my very LONG and almost natural labor. I needed the energy and strength. (P.S. You may have to be assertive about this at the hospital, as the nurses have a tendency to say "ice chips only". I do not agree with this, personally. Listen to your body, especially if you are going natural.)

  • How can I go ALMOST natural? Do you know that pitocin isn't the only form of inducing, and that epidural isn't the only drug to help with the pain? You can use other drugs that can help you to go as natural as possible and still get some relief. Ask your midwife! :)

  • Doctors and midwives on the birthing team, working together, is the best!  Some say "doctors"; some say "midwives", but I say "both"! If you found a birthing team that includes both doctors and midwives who purposefully work together on the birthing floor or the birthing center, you really have a beautiful system, as they each apparently are able to appreciate the other person's role and not be in competition or animosity. For example, when I was in labor, there was a point that the midwife decided to ask a doctor on her team to come in and see me. She needed her advice. The doctor told her to give me blood pressure medicine before it was time to push since I apparently had high blood pressure in that moment. Otherwise, they feared that I could have had a stroke. Did I appreciate BOTH midwife and doctor? You bet I did! :)

In conclusion, I must put in the disclaimer that I am NOT a doctor or midwife, but I have had a child and am sharing from my experience. These are only my opinions. You make labor decisions as you deem best. Hope these thoughts shared are helpful to somebody out there!

It's with pleasure that I announce to you that labor is exactly that: labor; it is not necessarily a nightmare! I'm not talking about when something goes wrong or you have a complicated delivery, of course, but I'm simply referring to the fact to facing the event in general should not be a matter of fearing, but learning about what is taking place and how to face it. It's not the anesthesiologist that you first need, but the right knowledge for laboring.

One of the best ways to look at the coming event, is that your body will be working to push out a baby. It just happens whether you are ready or not. And when it does, the muscles at work are not your enemies, but your friends: you have to learn ahead of time how to work together!

Here is the best advice that I can give concerning this "working together": When you feel contractions come, think to yourself how this is good because it's simply the muscles working to get the baby out. Don't fight against it. You may feel yourself tensing up. So, here is your job to do while you are waiting to the muscle contraction to be done with it's job:

Relax your shoulders and jaw.
Focus on doing that.

You may also find it helpful to look at an object in the room as a distraction, or have someone talk you through it (your husband, mother, nurse, doula, for example). You will do fine. One contraction at a time. Will it hurt? Of course it will, but I truly believe it's not to be feared, especially if you are focusing on your "work" -- you know, relaxing your tensing muscles.

Have juice and water handy at all times, and light healthy energy-encouraging snacks in case you want to nibble (i.e. peanut butter crackers or peanut butter toast). Here is the tricky part with that: your hospital team may say that you can't eat now (just ice chips). They say that to guard against vomiting (and perhaps it's helpful if you are getting epidoral but I'm not sure). However, I know for myself that I wasn't planning on an epidoral and it was far more important for me to have energy and strength to carry out the work at present and the work ahead (pushing!). I had to just do what I believed was best, of course. I'm SO GLAD I did!

That's what I want to leave you with for now. The next blog will be a continuation of this helpful series as you approach the birthday!

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Approaching the day you are going to give birth need not be intimidating. There are good books that you can read, and great ways to be prepared. It's not that it's a "walk in the park" or anything like that, but it is that you can proceed somewhat prepared. Sure, things can definitely go differently than a textbook birth, but it's much better to understand what's ahead and what you need for it.

My mom had 12 children, I am the oldest. She also had 3 miscarriages. Several children were born at home and several in the hospital. As a result, I learned a lot about pregnancy, birth, and babies. Maybe that's one reason why I love the topic. I used to sit among my mother's friends and listen to them compare stories and talk together. I was with my mom for at least 8 births. I learned a lot and I'm grateful that she included me.

One thing I learned from her was the helpful importance of having two hot water bottles during labor (particularly during contractions). She would have Dad hold the hot water bottle on her lower back. When I became pregnant, she instructed me that I would want to do the same: My husband could hold one at my lower back and I could hold the other kind of under my belly and pull upward or towards me (you'll know what to do when you are in the contraction, because you will know what is helping).

But here's the thing: hospitals don't seem to carry hot water bottles! It's the craziest phenomenon to me, because it's one of the basic items that every household should have in their bathroom right along with the band-aids and towels and every must-have for a home. It's such a basic way to bring ease to sore muscles or ease to an aching ear! It's a no brain-er that it's a comforting help if you are feeling cold or achy! Why, oh why, would a hospital not have something like that? But the fact is that so many of them just don't. So... bring your own! Bring two of them, and use them ahead of time to be sure they are "broken in" and that you like them, etc.

And here is what's more amazing: After I had my son, my husband overheard the nurses or assistants talking to each other while taking birth notes. One looked at the hot water bottle and said, "What is that?"

"It's a hot water bottle," my husband said.

"What is it for? What does it do?" the nurse asked.

"I think it helps..." said the other.

"Oh. I better right that down," was the final comment.

Wow. Well, I sure hope they remember that conversation so that they can help more moms with their new-found knowledge. They are smart and kind ladies, but I cannot believe that that is not already a normal, helpful practice in the hospital, and that they are actually in this profession without knowing that that can help!!!

Admittedly, there was a point in which the bottles did little to help, and the greatest help was my husband's thumbs rubbed rigorously into a certain pain-ridden place on my lower back during really tough contractions! On the other hand, some ladies would prefer not to be touched at all while laboring, but you will figure it out when you get there.

I have lots more birth tips to share! I love this topic! Looking forward to sharing more tips with you...

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My husband has light brown skin and mine is white. I knew we would have beautiful babies if God blessed us to have any. Thankfully, we do have a son so far, and he is very cute! It's fun to see the observations our son makes. He gains his view of life from everything he observes. When he watches sports or something active, he shouts towards the TV, "Go, go, go!", just like Daddy does; when he greets people, he exclaims a pleasant, "Hi!" in a tone that I think sounds like mine. And when he plays, he imitates the life he observes: He loves to demonstrate the theme of Daddy, Mommy, and baby. One day, I realized that the two stuffed animals that he has come to adore (much like "Linus" of the "Peanuts" likes his blanket), were representing our family to him.

He has a sheep that is holding a lamb (they are attached to each other). It's white. He calls this "Lamb" and he also expresses to me that it's "Mommy" and "Baby". The other toy that he loves is a snugly light brown teddy bear which he calls "Teddy Bear" as well as expressing that it is "Daddy". One time, he expressed that he was "Daddy" (again, wanting to be like Daddy).

Your children really look up to you. They are sponges, learning from everything you put in front of them -- good or bad! Don't let it scare you, but they want to be just like you during their early years. If you are painting, they want to try it. If you are eating, they may want a taste of whatever it is. If you are a hunter, guess who wants to wear camouflage too? If you use bad words...you'll realize it by tomorrow!

This needs to be an inspiration to us! What kind of temperament are we going to display to our children? What kind of food and health habits?
What kind of morals? What theology? What world view?

Thoughts like this should cause us to desire to be more considerate of the things that we believe and understand, because as parents, we are no longer concerned for only ourselves. The little ones in our home are looking up to us for understanding and guidance, from the smallest to the biggest things. Our little ones trust us.

My greatest advice in preparing for that kind of responsibility, is to read the Holy Bible. In there, you can find life's answers -- for yourself and for your children. In there, you can discover God's love. And in experiencing parenthood, while reading the Bible and praying to understand, you may find yourself more amazed than ever when you realize that God gave up His only begotten Son as a sacrifice to gain adopted children (that may be you!).

Got children? It's a noble work worth handling with care. They are looking up to you.

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It was after the fact of having my own baby that I had the privilege of talking to another mom about how she was preparing financially for the arrival of her baby daughter. Knowing what it's like to have a baby, I felt she was very wise, and privileged to be able to do what she did. I thought I'd share some of her wisdom with my readers.

This mother is a working mom. When she was pregnant, she continued to work (which was okay for her pregnancy -- admittedly, some moms need bed rest to have a healthy pregnancy, but each story is different). They had been trying for awhile to have a baby, so I don't know if this is how they were able to save so much, but she and her husband managed to set aside at least the equivalent of 12 weeks or so pay (her income amount) so that she could take a maternity leave without feeling stressed by the finances. This was important for them because her employer was able to give her the time off (I believe it's the law that a pregnant woman cannot lose her job over needing a maternity leave), but I don't think there was maternity pay involved in this line of work. So, as I said, she and her husband created their own cushion and "paid' themselves (by saving ahead of time).

Meanwhile, throughout her pregnancy, they replaced some of their eating out activities with spending the money on baby diapers. That may sound boring, but when new parents are looking forward to their new arrival for the first time, diaper buying together is a pretty sweet date! They are simply sharing the joy of what is coming in their lives together. Those will always be sweet memories. (If you decide to do this too, I highly recommend saving the receipts and stocking up more on size 2 and size 3 --- oftentimes babies grow out of newborn and size 1 in a hurry).

Not everyone will be able to prepare the way they did, but it's nice to know the different things people do, to help us figure out a good path of our own. I hope that this was helpful and inspiring to someone. Enjoy the preparations!

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