Capturing and Embracing Happiness

Capturing and Embracing Happiness

I have always been a strong believer of embracing the positive of every situation; it has always been a defense mechanism of mine. Even in the darkest, most unbearable and [seemingly and sometimes] irresolvable of situations, there are happy and positive moments around you waiting to be captured and embraced. Getting stuck in a vortex of negative energy and pessimistic thinking can happen rapidly, especially if negative situations continuously arise; and when this happens, it is so important to search and find the happiness waiting to be embraced around you–as little as it may be. Every day that we wake up is a fresh start; an opportunity to approach the day with a positive mindset; an opportunity to create and discover new options to change undesirable circumstances; an opportunity show respect, love, kindness, appreciation and admiration for those around us as well as ourselves; an opportunity to seek forgiveness and forgive; an opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s experiences with the goals of making a happier life and a happier you. I am sharing some beauty that I captured today and some happy moments that I had with my family  =D What beauty and happy moments did you embrace and capture today? If you would like to share the happy moments that you have embraced today on instagram, use the hashtag #embracehappymoments

Fashion as seen in this post:

Paul: Jacket: Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar One , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Two , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Three // Sneakers: Stride Rite Shoes // Pants: Hand-Me-Down

Sandra: Blouse: Express // Leggings: Forever 21 // Sneakers: Adidas

 Thank you for reading =) I will keep a lookout for your hashtag #embracehappymoments on instagram =D I hope you have a happy day!

Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 14 Months Old

Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 14 Months Old

Good morning and happy Friday! Month 13 was a super fun month =D 

Paul

  • practices blowing
  • says the sound of the letter P
  • Says the sound “ts” 
  • Says the word jump and then tries to jump
  • points to his and others eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, hair, and head
  • imitates putting objects on top of head and nose
  • is able to find a hidden object that was moved
  • Starting building with blocks (he practices balancing them)
  • Rolls cars
  • Bounces balls
  •  copies actions such as sweeping, using Q tips, pouring cat food into cat bowl, cleaning litter box, and flushing the toilet
  • calls all food num num, all cats boo boo, calls mamas milk nom mom
  • Sniffs food and objects to smell them. 
  • Say “mmmm” and “yum”
  • points to the body part that hurts when he falls or bangs it
  • tries to put socks on his feet
  • tries to put socks and sneakers on mamas feet
  • drinks from a sippy cup
  • eats with a spoon out of a bowl
  • wipes his hands and mouth with wet ones when asked
  • wipes his tray to help clean. 
  • Rubs his head on his cats (like they do to him)
  • Pretends to eat, drink, cough and laugh
  • Hides behind doors and wants us to find him
  • Plays peek a boo
  • Copies whispering
  • Copies yelling
  • Crawls under tables
  • Combs hair
  • Kisses cats
  • Understands the commands “stand” “sit” and “lay down” 
  • Pretends to be tired by laying down
  • Climbs up the stairs
  • Makes a raspberry sound when we say someone farted 
  • Loves loves loves sensory activities 
  • Adores his cats 
  • Says “nooooo” jokingly
  • When he play with water, he will walk really slowly with water in a cup to dump it in another bowl 
  • Copies and imitates sounds and actions that mama and dada do
  • Tries to say “dump” while he dumps water or toys outs of buckets 
  • Uses the words jump and dump consistentently and appropriately 
  • Runs 
  • Requests to go in his crib when he is tired and lays down
  • Tries to imitate humming

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy day =D

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Good morning and happy Saturday =D

When I found out that I was almost 3 months pregnant with my son in July 2015, I drastically changed my lifestyle after researching the impacts that environmental toxins could have on a developing fetus. Then, as his arrival was rapidly approaching, my research transitioned from learning about how toxins impact a developing fetus to how toxins impact a baby. I extended my research to products such as cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, bassinet mattresses, diapers, wood toys, plastic toys, teethers, baby food, formula, cookware, etc. It was astonishing to learn that every item that I researched had commonly used brands that contained added toxins; too much to cover in one blog post. The purpose of this post is to share research on the toxins found in wooden baby products and how these toxins could impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development.

Wood is used to make many baby products; most often it is used to make cribs, teethers, and toys. The type of wood and how it is treated will determine whether the products are toxic. I recommend calling companies to ask the following questions to inquire about specific items:

1. Are your [cribs/teethers/toys] made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?

  • It is important that [cribs/teethers/toys] are made of certified sustainable wood or hardwood. If you see that the wood is pressed or engineered (i.e. fiberboard or plywood), it most likely contains formaldehyde as a bonding agent.

2. Do you sell wood that is unfinished; or are they finished and if so, with what? Does the finishing contain VOC’s, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane?

  • Ideally, [cribs, teethers/toys] should be purchased unfinished.
  • Most finishes contain Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOC’s).
  • Some finishes contain lead. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children who have exposure to lead could develop the following complications:
    • ataxia, coma, convulsions, death, hyper irritability, stupor, neurological effects, decrement in IQ performance, ADHD, and hearing impairment.
    • The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also states that lead could impact the developing fetus because it crosses the placenta and as a result could negatively impact the fetus’ viability, fetal development, and early childhood development.
    • In addition, lead could also cause renal, hematological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage.
  • Some finishes also contain phthalates.
    • According to Tox Town, phthalates may cause cancer. The may also be endocrine disrupters and could cause harm to the human reproductive system.
  • Some finishes also contain polyurethane.

3. What do you use to bind the parts of the [crib/teethers/toys] ? Does the bind contain formaldehyde?

4. Does any part of the [crib/teethers/toys] contain formaldehyde, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane? 

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in wooden baby products and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find wooden baby products that work best for your family.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day =D

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 13 Months Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 13 Months Old

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! =D Month 12 was such an amazing month; we have been blessed with such a happy, healthy, curious, funny and outgoing little boy =D I am so grateful <3  I just love love love love Paul’s personality. He is SO happy all the time, and he has such an incredible sense of humor. My favorite thing that he does is he LOVES to give kisses. One of our games is for him to give me a kiss, and then I chase him around saying “I want a kiss” and then I disappear, and when he comes to fine me I pop out and he falls down because he is laughing so hard =D

Pauls Humor

He thinks it is hilarious when:

  • We sniff his body or other peoples bodies and say “Pee You!” (or some variation of that).
  • When we so “yucky!”(or some variation of that) when he sticks his fingers in our mouth.
  • When he eats something inedible and we say “eww gross!” (or some variation of that).
  • When he tickles mamas feet and play’s the game I’m gonna get you and chases me around the apartment trying to tickle me.
  • When we tickle him.
  • When we play peek a boo (he initiates the game and will hide until we say “where’s Paul” and he will pop out and smile and laugh). He will hide behind window curtains or doors and pop out and laugh when we say “where’s Paul.
  • When he feeds us food and we say “yum” (or some variation of that).
  • When we chase each other around the apartment.
  • When he points to our eyes and accidentally pokes us and we make a funny face and say “ouch”(or some variation of that).
  • When we make funny impressions while reading stories.
  • Some new social games include: him running to mama and saying “dada” and laughing and then running to dada and saying “mama” and laughing. He thinks it is hilarious when we copy sounds and actions that he does. He also thinks its funny when he yells “mama” and mama yells “paul” in response.
  • Paul has been brushing his hair and other peoples hair as well; and when I say “brush mama’s hair” he goes to brush my hair and then tries to eat it and cracks up when I say “ew!’
  • He is such a little goofball. He even cracks himself up sometimes when he accidentally does something silly. I love being Paul’s mama =D

 Here is a list of some of the milestones Paul has reached this month and some special moments that I jotted down:

  • Paul is able to transition into standing position from any position and walk and run around.
  • He is so adventurous and climbs on anything to get to his objective.
  • Paul understands everything we are saying and consistently follows demands.
  • He copies actions; if i put a block on my head he will put a block on his head.
  • He has been very interested in the parts of the face, and he is able to point to his and anyone elses nose when asked the appropriate demand. We are working on pointing to all of the parts of his face and mama and dada’s face when labeled.
  • Paul found a toy that he used to play with, walked over to the coffee table, stuck it on, and played with it, What a great memory!
  • Paul understands when we say “wait” and waits for us! and even whines and babbles at us using very adorable hand motions (mama is Italian so I wonder where he learned that from).
  • He loves eating with a spoon, He practices scooping food onto the spoon and biting the food off the spoon at least once a day.
  • Paul pretends to eat by pretending to pick something up, looking, at us, saying “yum” or “nom nom” and laughing.
  • He is able to sit and sort shape blocks.
  • He has developed an interest for cars.
  • He throws a ball to mama and mama rolls it back to him.
  • He makes really cute faces when things blow in his face.
  • He tries to walk up steps.
  • Paul whimpers like a little puppy dog when he wants his mama.
  • He brushes his hair.
  • He cracks up and imitates mama brushing her teeth.
  • he tries to drink from adult cups.
  • If I place three objects in front of him and put something under one of the objects and ask “where is the ____?” he will pick up to appropriate object to get the item.
  • Paul LOVES his cats. They make him SO happy and provide so much entertainment for him. He calls all 3 cats Boo Boo because one of our cats name is Boo Boo. He even calls the cats in books Boo Boo.
  • He calls all food “Nana;”his favorite food happens to be bananas.
  • He LOVES taking a bath and everything about water and playing in water and with water. He will also play with the cat water.
  • His favorite place in the apartment is the bathroom. He does a bathroom dance that is similar to his Nana dance.
  • He is really interested in ceiling fans ;more specifically, turning the switch on and off and watching the ceiling fan turn on and off, He is very interested in the cause and effect of things.
  • He claps and waves appropriately.
  • He loves loves loves giving mama and dada kisses. EVERY morning, Paul wakes Matt up by giving him kisses. IT IS LITERALLY THE CUTEST THING EVER.
  • He tries to type on the computer keyboard!
  • He likes to pretend he is talking on the phone.
  • He says “no.”
  • He plays with the cats by picking up long strings or fabric and waves it in their face. It is sooooo cute!

 Paul’s First Sickness and a Head Lump

A week after Paul’s birthday he started running a fever. On the first day (Wednesday), he ran a 102.7 temperature so we brought him to the doctor where he came back negative for the flu and strep throat. They told us to rotate infant motrin and infant tylenol until the fevers were completely gone. He continued to run high fevers (up to 103.8) so we brought him back to the doctors on Friday where he again tested negative for strep. This time, they needed a urine sample to rule out a urinary tract infection so we had to bring pee bags home with us. The test came out negative. They told us that if he was still running a fever on Monday that they needed to run blood work. On Saturday, Matt noticed a lump on the back of his head near his ear; which it turned out was the same lump I discovered three weeks earlier but disregarded because it was very small. When I felt it this time, it had grown noticeably larger. Matt and I returned to the doctor with Paul on Monday who had been fever free for 20 hours but developed a rash in the morning. The lump turned out to be a swollen lymph node due to his body fighting off the virus, and the rash was roseola. During this entire week, Paul nursed constantly and slept with us so he could nurse unrestricted. Doing this helped him remain hydrated and it helped him sleep. =D

Owen snuggled with Paul every night that he was sick <3

Sleep

Nighttime

I am so happy with Paul’s sleep; the Individualized Nighttime Sleep Training Program is really working for us. He is becoming so much more independent. I am officially no longer nursing him to sleep at night time; and it has been like this every night for the last 14 days. After he is done nursing, he independently unlatches and I place him in his crib, cover him with the blanket that I have created the nursing association with and either sing to him or provide some sensory input to help him fall asleep; it depends on his needs. He will usually sleep somewhere between four to seven hours before he wakes up and nurses (he actually drinks) and when he is full he unlatches, I place him back in his crib and he falls to sleep on his own. The second time he wakes up I usually bring him in our bed and sometimes I pacify him and sometimes I do not; again it depends on his needs. He currently falls asleep in his crib by 7:30 pm and is up for the day sometime between 6:00 am and 7:00 am.

Naps

Paul is transitioning from taking two naps to taking one nap. If he takes one nap, he will usually sleep from 12:30 to 3:00 and if he takes 2 naps he will usually sleep from 9:30 to 10:30 and then again from 1:30 to 3:00. I typically nurse him to sleep for naps; and most of the time I nap with him!

Paul’s First Park Experience

We took Paul to the park to run around for the first time this month, and he absolutely loved it. He had his first encounter with the cutest, most friendliest bulldog. The dog strutted over to Paul, knocked him over, and started licking him all over the face; and Paul screamed like I have never heard. The owners were really nice and left with their dog. Paul forgot about the incident as soon as a six year old girl came to play at the park. He followed her around at a distance and every time she looked at him he would smile! It was so adorable.

Here are some pictures:

 Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is One Year Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is One Year Old

Good evening loves and happy February 8th. I am in awe that one whole year has passed. At 3:37AM one year and one day ago, my precious baby boy, Paul Raffaele, made his journey into the world. As I write this, I am feeling so incredibly thankful. Thankful for Matt and Paul for making me a mother. Thankful that I am married to my best friend. Thankful that my breast tumors have not returned and I am alive and well to experience motherhood to the fullest. Thankful that Paul is healthy. Thankful that Matt is healthy. Thankful that my mother is healthy. Thankful for being able to live life, overcome adversities, and focus on the positive and wonderful experiences. Becoming a mother has made me experience emotions in a different way and I am just thankful for so much. Negativity and unfortunate events could overpower the happy and positive moments and experiences that are worth embracing. To me, it has always been a lifestyle choice to focus on the people and things that make me happy and to focus on the positive of every situation (even when the positive is hard to grasp) while appropriately handling the negative and unfortunate situations accordingly and assimilating to change the best way possible as well as considering how to make the situation better (if possible). Every day, people wake up with a choice to perceive their world positively or negatively; the choice to embrace the positive moments in any situation; the choice to change their circumstances if they are unhappy; and the choice to eliminate their negative surrounding or their involvement in negative situations. Every day is a new day to start fresh using past experiences to create a happier life. Ever since becoming pregnant, marrying my best friend, and experiencing motherhood, this lifestyle is the only way; and I have not overlooked one happy moment. I am happy. I am thankful.

If you like, I would love for you to comment and tell me about some happy moments that took place in your life today =D

Here are some of the milestones that Paul has reached this month:

Language/Communication:

  • Paulie is able to kiss someone on the cheek, point, knock, clap, wave, and take a bite when asked the appropriate command.
  • Paulie points and babbles to request express his wants and needs.
  • He responds to requests and commands.
  • He tries really hard to say all the words that we say; and even tries to copy the tone of our voice.
  • Paulie imitates blowing raspberries and opening and closing mouth.
  • He says the following words very clearly: mama, dada, gahma, nana, and boo boo.
  • He demonstrates that he understands the name of every room; and he is able to locate all of his toys when asked to find something specific.
  • When he gets hurt, he points to what are hurts on his body, looks at you, and if asked “are you okay?” he whimpers and comes over for snuggles; and if stated, “your okay!” he turns and continues playing (unless he is really hurt).

Cognitive:

  • He likes to turn the light switch on and off.
  • He is interested in anything that turns on and off and how things work.
  • When asked to point at specific illustrations while reading familiar books, Paulie points to the appropriate picture.
  • He recognizes the shape of a circle and fits it through his shape shorter.
  • He picks up shapes and tries to fit them through each hole until he finds the correct one.
  • He likes to play with stacks, but does not yet put them in size order.
  • He understands how to turn some toys on and off.
  • Paulie independently flips through books and points at pictures.
  • He is very curious; especially about places forbidden to him.
  • When he wants to read a book, he shows me it, hands me it, and sits on my lap.
  • He identifies and points to objects when they are named.
  • He insists on eating food independently with a spoon.
  • He knows where his milk come from, and points at and pulls down my shirt when he is thirsty.
  • He picks out a book that he wants to read; and if I ask him to hand me a specific book, he will find it and give it to me. The books he is able to locate are Brown Bear, Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Llama Llama Red Pajama, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,  Five Christmas Penguins, and Mr. Brown Can Moo.
  • He understands what it means to be gentle; especially with the cats.
  • When we say, “it’s time for breakfast/ lunch/dinner” he walks to the kitchen. When I say “say goodnight to daddy” he will crawl around the apartment looking for him to give him a kiss. When I say “pick a book and come to the bedroom” he picks a book and comes to the bedroom. It is so incredible!!

Social/Emotional:

  • Paulie ALWAYS complains when I leave the room.
  • He does not like strangers.
  • He like to tickle me, especially my feet! He cracks up whenever he tickles me.
  • He laughs when I laugh =)
  • He loves to pet his cats. He calls all 3 cats Boo Boo.
  • He likes to get our approval.
  • He loves to give kisses!

Gross Motor:

  • Paul took his first real steps on February 1st, and he is now walking everywhere!
  • He climbs on and off the bed, couch, chairs, and furniture.

Personality

  • Paul is a happy and social little bean. His favorite things to do is play social games with mama and papa; eat food and try new food; explore and manipulate his toys; play drums (his favorite past time); crawl around and walk around to explore; play with the cats and pet them (he has learned how to be gentle); look at the window; and likes to be told how things function. It is also so awesome how Paul has Matt and I’s sense of humor. =D

Here are pictures representing each month of his first year =D

Thank you for reading and coming on this journey with me! I am so excited to see what this year brings! =D  I hope you have a happy Wednesday! <3333

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 11 Months Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 11 Months Old

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! =D Paulie is 11 months and 3 days old <3 Month 10 was a big month for Paul. He is completely aware of everything; he wants to learn about and explore objects and locations; he babbles constantly; he loves to eat and try new foods; and his personality has blossomed. He is such a happy, active, social, and outgoing little boy. He also grew another tooth! Here are some of the cognitive, language/communication, gross motor, and social/emotional milestones he has reached:

Cognitive:

  • He has acquired depth perception and now stops at the threshold of the bed or couch to avoid falling off.
  • He is completely aware of his routine and locations in the apartment. When I tell him to go somewhere or to go get something, he goes right for what I asked him to do or get.
  • He is very very curious. He always points at things he does not know and looks at me to explain what it is. After I explain what it is and what it does, he babbles.
  • Paulie is clapping and waving =) He waves hello and goodbye independently.
  • Paulie copies our actions, such as sticking out our tongue or clapping.
  • Paulie has learned that to climb off the bed or the couch, he needs to turn his body and climb off backwards. This was incredible to watch him learn and master.
  • He is aware of the TV and likes to watch animated children’s songs on youtube; especially this five little monkeys video.
  • He understands that he needs to crawl under furniture to get objects; and then proceeds to crawl under.
  • He turns the pages and points to pictures and words while reading books.
  • He enjoys playing with the shape sorter and stackers. He pulls the shape sorter out of his toy bin along with some blocks and knows how to fit the circle through the circle hole. With the stackers, he knows how to put the pipe through the hole.
  • He identifies people and animals that he knows.
  • He really wants to feed himself. He has been practicing using a spoon the scoop food out of his bowl and feeding himself.

Gross Motor:

  • We have a climber!! He climbs onto the bed using the box spring as a step stool to help him up; and he climbs onto the couch (which is much taller) by hopping until he gets up.
  • He can stand up without support from sitting position to kneeling position to standing position.
  • He is definitely getting ready to walk.

Language/Communication:

  • Paulie has full blown conversations with us now. He babbles constantly!
  • He responds and initiates conversation. He is practicing many more sounds and blends.
  • He is able to tell us what he wants, needs, or feels using facial expressions, vocalizations and body movements.
  • He says the word grandma very clearly. He says “Guhma.”

Social/Emotional

  • Paulie loves playing social games more than anything else. He still loves playing “Where’s mama?” Peek-A-Boo” and “I’m going to get you.” In addition to these games, he LOVES patty cake.
  • He really loves to pretend he is talking on the phone.
  • Paulie loves to feed mommy and daddy at dinner time; and sometimes he even sikes us out and laughs about it.
  • He loves to mimic and be mimicked.
  • Paulie loves mimicking raspberries.

Sleep

  • Paulie is becoming so much more independent while sleeping. I have been using my Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Guidelines to create a program to help Paulie become more independent with sleep. For the past few weeks, I worked on creating a new sleep association with a very comfortable blanket so that he would no longer need to pacify on me for comfort to stay asleep throughout the night. Every time I breastfed Paul for comfort–specifically to sleep– I always snuggle with him under that blanket. Now, he is able to stay asleep in his crib when he is covered with that blanket for both his naps and during the night. He now wakes up approximately every 3 hours during the night rather than every hour to an hour and a half. I am so impressed and proud of him for the progress he is making.
  • During the night, I am able to get him back to sleep by patting him on his back in his crib if he is not hungry or thirsty.
  • We are co-sleeping much less frequently than we were perviously. If we co-sleep, Paulie nurses throughout the entire night since that is his most preferred way to sleep. Now that he seeks comfort in that blanket, he no longer needs to nurse to stay asleep (although he does prefer it) so I try to place him back in his crib throughout the night.

Paulie’s Interests

  • He loves to play the drums. He plays on Matt’s snare drum and carries around a drumstick all day. I love when he crawls around with it. He holds the drumstick just like Matt taught him.
  • He is very interested in instruments in general. He will point to all the instruments in our apartment; and plays with the acoustic guitar, ukulele, and piano.
  • He loves to play with problem solving toys–I will be writing a very detailed blog about the toys that Paulie plays with.
  • He loves to explore.
  • He loves to play with mama, dada, grandma, and his three kitties Boo Boo, Baby Jesus, and Owen.
  • He loves to listen and watch children’s songs.

Month 10 was so fantastic. I love watching him reach new milestones and I am so excited to see him reach new milestones throughout month 11. Here are some pictures:

 

Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a happy Tuesday! =D

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! For me, pregnancy was the most wonderful experience of my life. I loved watching my body change; I loved feeling Paul grow; and I loved giving birth. During pregnancy, a woman’s body drastically changes in a very short period of time, and some of these changes continue to impact a woman postpartum. Five postpartum changes that every woman should know about are:

Pelvic Muscles: It is important that women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are postpartum understand the importance of strengthening their pelvic floor muscles. The weight from carrying a baby for 9 months places a lot of stress on a these muscles, causing them to become weak. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles causes women to be at risk for experiencing incontinence while pregnant and postpartum; which is a sign of a much more serious problem called a vaginal prolapse. The only way to prevent incontinence and a vaginal prolapse is to exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is never too late to start pelvic floor exercises. The most commonly known exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles are kegals; but there are many more exercises that a woman can do prior to pregnancy, while pregnant, and postpartum to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles. I used this stretching guide while pregnant, and continue to use it postpartum. I highly recommend it.

Diastasis Recti (split abs): Women who are interested in exercising postpartum should be aware of diastasis recti. Some women, including myself, experience a split in their abs while pregnant. To reconnect them, women need to do very gentle core workouts. Post delivery, I asked the nurse to check my abs and she confirmed that my abs were split three fingers wide. She then taught me how to measure my abs and explained that prior to engaging in ab toning exercises, my abs could not be any wider than one finger width apart. Women are not allowed to engage in any toning exercises until six weeks postpartum; so when I reached six weeks, I saw a physical therapist who taught me the exercises that I needed to do to strengthen my abs. I highly recommend going to see a physical therapist six weeks postpartum prior to exercising; but if you do not, these are some great exercises that you could use to strengthen them.

Vagina: Any change to your vagina will depend on the trauma it endures during delivery. Trauma includes first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree tears or episiotomies; as well as tools used for assisted birth. Women who experience no tears or episiotomies; first degree tears or episiotomies; and who give birth without assistive birthing tools will most likely notice very little change about their vagina both aesthetically and sensationally.

Muscle Loss: Muscle loss is inevitable during pregnancy due to many factors. The experience of pregnancy is beautiful, but it is physically difficult. There are approved pregnancy workout programs that women can do; but even these workouts may be too strenuous for many women. If you are unable to workout during pregnancy, do not worry, any muscle loss during pregnancy can be rebuilt postpartum.

Breasts: If you produce milk, your breasts will change drastically; and they will change whether or not you choose to breastfeed. I exclusively breastfeed (meaning that all sucking needs, both for nutrition and comfort, are met at my breasts); and exclusive breastfeeding has not only impacted the physical appearance of my breasts, but my weight loss and fertility as well.

  1. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: I dropped my pregnancy weight at an accelerated rate; and I am now back to my pre pregnancy weight. It is recommended that women consume an additional 500 calories a day if they are breastfeeding; but this recommendation proved insufficient for me. Women burn approximately 20 calories per one ounce of milk. That means my son, who loves to drink milk, is causing me to burn about 700 calories in a 24 hour period.
  2. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Fertility: Women who exclusively breastfeed may experience natural child spacing. For this to be effective, women need to be breastfeeding approximately every 3 hours to maintain the hormone prolactin; which is the hormone responsible for milk production. Natural child spacing is 98 percent effective for the first six months postpartum. At 10 months postpartum, my period has not yet returned.

These are five postpartum changes that every woman should be aware of. Understanding and expecting these changes could help women to prepare to address these changes postpartum.

Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a very happy Tuesday! =D

Teaching Paul the Foundational Skills Required for Literacy Achievement: Part One

Teaching Paul the Foundational Skills Required for Literacy Achievement: Part One

Good afternoon and happy Wednesday! When Paul turned 8 months old, he finally reached an age where he loved to read books. As an early childhood educator and a post-graduate student studying literacy, I want to ensure that I provide Paul with an early childhood education that will ensure that he obtains literacy achievement. These are the elements that I am currently teaching to foster his literacy achievement.

  1. Teaching Concepts About Print.
    • Every time I read to Paul, I:
      • show him how to hold the book properly.
      • I tell him that we are looking at the front cover of the book.
      • I point to the title and read it to him while ensuring that he is following along with my finger as I point to each word. This teaches him that I am reading words; and it teaches him that we read print from left to right.
      • I tell him who the author is, and what the author does. Then I show him the words on the front cover as well as throughout the book.
      • I tell him who the illustrator is and what an illustrator does; and then I point to the pictures on the front cover and throughout the book. I explain that the pictures always depict an illustration that matches the text.
      • As we read the book, I point to all the words as I read them and talk about the illustrations on the page.
      • I always ask Paul to turn the page, and when we reach the back cover; we talk about it and I explain that we have reached the end of the book.
  2. Teaching Letter and Sound Knowledge.
    • I am currently teaching Paul about the alphabet by helping him to identify letters; their shapes; and their sounds. We are currently working on the letter P.
  3. Teaching Vocabulary.
    • When Matt and I speak to Paul, we speak to him in full sentences and use simple and complex language. The more language he is exposed to, the more language he will acquire. The more he hears language being spoken to him and, later, the more he practices language; the better his understanding of semantics, syntax, and phonology will become.
  4. Teaching that there is a purpose for learning to read and write.
    • Paul sees Matt and I reading and writing. We always explain why we are reading; why we are writing; and why it is important to read and write.

There are many elements of literacy that need to be understood before acquiring literacy achievement. By showing Paul that we value language, reading and writing; that there is a purpose for learning how to read and write; and by teaching him the above skills from an early age; we are ensuring the he is learning the foundational skills required for literacy achievement.

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Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a happy Wednesday! =D

Decorating For Christmas

Decorating For Christmas

Good afternoon and happy Sunday! Matt and I both love Christmas; it is a holiday that we both look forward to every year and it is a season that we want to make special for our little boy. Yesterday, we unpacked our Christmas decorations, put Paul in his Baby Bjorn carrier, put on some Christmas records, and decorated our tree. Here are some pictures:

Fashion as seen in this post:

Paul: Coverall: Burts Bees Baby

Sandra: Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness Shirt Circa 2016: Amazon // Jeans: Urban Outfitters (BBG) Circa 2013 // Baby Bjorn Carrier: Babies R Us

Records of the day:

Elvis Presley: Elvis Christmas Album

Do you have any holiday traditions? I would love to hear them =D Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you have a happy Sunday =D

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 10 Months Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 10 Months Old

Good evening and happy Tuesday! =) Paul Raffaele Noojin is 10 months old; and wow, he is so much fun to be with. He has made every second of every day happy; and every moment worth living. I love love love this boy and his awesome sense of humor. His favorite things to do right now are look out the window, point to everything, go on walks, play, and try new foods (especially foods that mommy and daddy are eating).

Cognitive. This little monkey is now pointing at everything that he wants to touch or see. He also looks at things that we point at. This entire month, he would point at us, but it was not until 11/30/16 that he began pointing at everything and looking at objects that we were pointing at. If we ask him, “where is the window?” he will turn to look for and then point at the window; if we say, “where is the kitty cat?” he will look for and point at the cat. He is able to identify things that we always talk about and it is so apparent how much language he understands.

Paulie imitates everything Matt and I do. If we give him a spoon and bowl, he will eat. If we spin a wheel fast, he will spin it fast. If we spin it slow, he will spin it slow. If we spin it with our whole hand, he will spin it with his whole hand. If we spin it with our pointer finger, he will spin it with his pointer finger. If we say “bah!'” he will say “bah!” If we blow a rasperry, he will blow a rasberry. It is amazing.

Emerging skills: clapping, waving, and sticking tongue out.

Language/Communication. Matt and I use an extensive vocabulary with him and he is able to connect words and phrases with their meaning. He loves to look out the window, he loves to look at trees, and he loves to go on walks; and whenever any phrases containing these words are mentioned to him, he looks and points at the window. He is able to identify people that he knows. He knows what it means when we say any of the following phrases: “it is time for breakfast/lunch/dinner” or “it is time to eat” or “do you want to eat food?” or “do you want to drink milk?” He loves to eat and drink and he always responds to us when we say these phrases to him. He knows what cat means and he is able to identify our three cats. He understands “no” and even whines when we say it. It is amazing how quickly he is gaining an understanding of the english language.

Paul is able to mimic our tones when we speak. Sometimes it sounds like he is repeating what we say. He definitely loves to have conversations with us.

When he is interested in something or is learning about something, he loves to say “oh” =D

Paulie loves to read. Whenever I ask him to pick out a book before bedtime, he picks the same three from his bookshelf: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? 

When he points to objects, we always tell him what the object is and the function of it.

We are teaching Paul American Sign Language and Italian.

Gross Motor/Fine Motor. This monkey is so close to walking. He always lets go of support while standing and is able to balance himself for at least 1 minute before falling. He also climbs everything. He has very good hand and eye coordination. He has also mastered picking up food and objects with the pincer grip.

Here are some pictures:

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Month 9 was an amazing month. I am so excited for Month 10 especially because he wants to learn about and manipulate everything; he wants to talk; and he loves social interactions. He is just so much fun =D Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a happy Tuesday!