Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Happy Mother" Day

No, that's not a typo.  We just celebrated Mother's Day.  And, thanks to my wonderful husband, I was able to enjoy it on a girls-only trip to the West Coast with some of my best friends from college.  While lounging by the pool and resting at the spa, I had a lot of time to reflect and came to a shocking (to me) conclusion.  I needed to make some BIG changes in my parenting style.
I always thought of myself as a good mommy.  Not perfect but no slacker!  However, time and again over the course of the trip and upon my return, that little, quiet, gentle voice in my head kept pointing out areas in need of improvement.
* It's not their fault that you stayed awake too late last night.  Don't take it out on them in the morning.
* Did you just tell him to watch his tone?  What kind of tone did you model with him?
* Yes, he should be a respectful little boy but are you respectful to him?
* Was that a hint of sarcasm?  How do you think that makes him feel?
* She's a baby. Babies cry.  Maybe it's your lack of patience.
Last night, the little voice came through in living color as I watched the May 13th episode of The Oprah Show on my DVR.  She was highlighting a Memorable Moment from Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's past visit in which she asked: When your child walks in the room, does your face light up?
Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison (image courtesy of The Oprah Show)

"When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up," she told Oprah in 2000. "You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what's in your heart..." (The Oprah Show website, May 13, 2011)
During the May 13th show, Mrs. Morrison went on to describe an example of a time when her young son showed her a picture he drew and promptly ripped it up when she gave him one of those "smiles".  I could relate to her.  You know the smile she's talking about.  The dismissive one.  There are many times during the course of a day when my son wants to show me something while I am doing a chore I deem as more "important" like washing dishes or putting away clothes.  I throw him one of "those" smiles and say "Ummmm, hummmm" while barely looking his way.
I knew this message was for me when she said that children don't just listen to what we say; they listen for our tone, our facial expressions, our mannerisms, and any other context clue.  I was reminded of the many times I say something to RJ and he says, "Why did you say it like that?" or "Why are you looking at me like that?" It wasn't WHAT I was saying that he heard but HOW I was saying it.
A guest put the nail in my coffin when she said that she found herself becoming an "angry mom" in the way she related to her children.  No, I'm not saying I'm an angry mom.  But, I silently wondered if my attitude towards RJ at times warranted that title.  I ruminated over this through the night and by this morning, I resolved that I was going to be a Happy Mother, no matter the circumstances.
So, I'm declaring today, and everyday "Happy Mother" Day!
*I will smile more
* I will pray more
* I will play more
* I will go to bed earlier
* I will ditch the sarcasm
* I will relax my rules
* I will deal with challenges without letting them overtake my emotions
(Any suggestions on gaining more patience are welcome and encouraged!)
And, true to Toni Morrison's original question, no matter how many times a day my children (and my husband for that matter) walk (or crawl) into a room, I will make sure my face lights up!
I will work hard to make everyday a "Happy Mother" Day!  I hope you will join me!

DeLise is a mother of two young children who believes that chasing around her toddler and carrying her infant constitute exercise! An admitted cloth diaper addict, she enjoys non-existent quiet time and watching anything on TV that is not “G” rated. 

Submitted by DeLise (ShepherdHearts) from NorthMetroDCMommies.com
{Originally published on Our Life Memories (tm) blog on May 19, 2011}
Monday, May 30, 2011

May is for Mothers

Have you enjoyed the articles on our blog this month?  Have you found a commonality with some of the stories our members have shared?

Belonging. Worth. Friendship. Support.

These are the words echoed by fellow mommies when asked what our chapter and The Mommies Network means to them and we hope that you have felt the same embrace on our forums and through our events.

"My chapter has given me friendships that I have always longed for. The ones where you can genuinely count on someone to be there for you in the good and the bad."

Have you had a similar experience? Did you find your best friend on our forums? Do you rush to post when something exciting happens to you or your child? Do you turn to "the mommies" first because they've been there and done that and they always provide you with friendly advice and a shoulder to lean on?  If so, please join us this May for May is for Mothers as we celebrate motherhood and the role that your chapter and The Mommies Network plays in making our walk through motherhood easier and more meaningful. Your contribution helps ensure that we can continue to provide support, free of charge, to moms in our community and allows us to grow so that one day moms everywhere will have a chapter where they can find friends, support, and encouragement.

While our forums are free, it costs our chapter approximately $10 per year per member to operate. Can you spare $10 this month? Perhaps $20 to sponsor another mother who needs support and encouragement?  Donating is safe and secure!  Even if you're only able to give one dollar, that is still one dollar that will help us support moms.

As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our members to enable us to continue providing our services free of charge. If you are able, please, help support our chapter this May! Please, click HERE donate now to support our chapter and May is for Mothers. It's safe and secure, just like our forums.

Thank you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The world to one

Having your first baby can be so daunting. You don't fully know how a new baby will affect your life until you're living through it. Not to mention the crazy hormones! Having no local family or support system to help you get through the sleepless nights, what-ifs, how-tos, highs and lows can set a new mom up for depression and loneliness. That's why I'm so thankful I have NorthMetroDCMommies; these ladies have been my anchor, my rock, my sanity check!

My new baby daughter didn't sleep well. She cried nonstop for 12 straight hours. And it didn't end after the "typical" 4th trimester. We had trouble with nursing for the first 8 months, with latching, oversupply, mastitis, plugged ducts, and her severe reflux. I was extremely overtired and extremely overwhelmed with my new responsibilities.

One day, when she was about 6 months old, I was sitting with her in the back seat of our car in a parking lot after buying groceries. It was raining out and I had just nursed her to sleep. She's not a child that transitions well, so I stayed there with her asleep on my lap, crying. I was so tired and so sad. I was lonely and frustrated. I opened up a bottle of Honest Tea I had just bought. They print quotes on the bottom of each lid, and this time it read, "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." (by Brandi Snyder). To say that made my day would be an understatement! I looked down at my sleeping baby and felt a warmth and overflowing love! I was her world, her whole world, at that age. I felt so blessed and fortunate. It was a very difficult time in my life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

She's now a sweet, sensitive, and active four year old. She sleeps through the night, likes to cuddle with mommy (and our kitty!), and fills my days with awe and wonder! 

Author at home with daughter and kitty

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time's running out!

We need your help!  Did you know that it costs over $500 a year to keep NorthMetroDCMommies running?  We provide a free service and free events to our members.  We ask just this one time a year for a donation to help keep us going.  Even $1 can make a difference.  Not a mom or in our area?  You can still help!  Think of your own mom (everyone has one!), sister, wife, etc.  I bet that if you asked them if they felt they needed support as a mom you'd get a resounding "YES!".  You have a way to help ALL moms out and help them get the support, friendship and advice they need.  All you have to do is click on that lovely banner at the top.  See it?  The one that says "May is for Mothers"?  Yup- just give it a click and donate!  But time's running out, the fundraiser ends May 31st.  Don't procrastinate- it takes mere seconds to do and it's safe and secure!

Your mother thanks you!
Friday, May 27, 2011

Mothering with Depression

I came to motherhood with a load of emotional and mental baggage.  When I was 18 I was diagnosed with severe chronic depression.  That meant that I was having more than one depressive episode within a four month time lasting more than one week.  It was determined that my depression started to manifest itself when I was in 5th grade.  I want you to stop and think about that for a moment.  From 5th to 12th grade I was experiencing hell on a frequent basis and no one knew what was going on.  I was self-destructive, I was irrationally emotional, I lashed out, I would go from being happy and content one minute to crashing and crying my eyes out the next.  People around me attributed it all to hormones.  It was later determined, after my first week’s stay in a hospital, that I also had Bi-polar type 2 and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The Bi-Polar type 2 meant that I got all the lows but none of the highs.  The PTSD wasn’t from just one instance but years worth of events surrounding my mother’s alcoholism and the abandonment I felt.  I also suffered some other events that I do not want to go into at this time, but needless to say- they left many scars that I am still healing from.  After my mother’s sudden and needless to say traumatic death I also developed Anxiety Disorder.  Again, stop for a moment.  At that point I was 21 years into my life and have already been diagnosed with FOUR emotional disorders.  I was on 13 pills for four medications a DAY.  Just to be able to function.

Let’s fast forward.  I have now gotten off my medications thanks to the amazing support of my husband, family and friends.  I have learned a world of coping mechanisms to help me through rough patches.  That’s not to say I didn’t still have episodes or times where I felt the world was about to crash down on me.  But I had learned how to get through them a bit better.  Now- add a baby.  Did you just cringe?  Are you worried about how that affected my emotional stability?  Good- you should.  Because, as you can guess, shortly after my first child was born I was diagnosed, on top of my other issues, with Post Partum Depression (PPD).  Keeping score?  We’re now up to five diagnoses. Oh, and a new baby.  And no real support network. And a husband who was finishing his PhD and looking for jobs in areas we had no connections in.  And all those coping skills I had learned?  It’s hard to do needlepoint when you’re taking care of a newborn.  Or to go for a bike ride, or work on a play with a local community theater, or spend a few hours uninterrupted working on puzzles or writing.  So if all that was going on how did I manage?  Partly by remembering one thing- I did not want my daughter to grow up with a broken mother the way I did.  I SWORE my children would not have to worry about if they did or said the wrong thing would it set off mom.  Not that I’m saying I thought my mom’s issues were my fault-but I learned to tip-toe around her to avoid setting her off.  So with a strong determination, a great husband, and a good therapist I worked through my emotions, my fears.  I found a group of moms with kids a similar age as mine and we got together once a week.  I found time and ways to hand my daughter to someone for an hour or two.  I learned new coping skills.

Now that first child is 3 ½ years old and I have a second daughter now 10 months old.  I went through the same issues again, my PPD came back and it raised the cadre of issues from my past to the forefront again.  The new coping skills I had learned again were ineffective when tending to two children.  This time though it was easier to manage.  I had found a larger network and support of friends.  I knew what to expect from my own emotions.  Without the support and help of the many moms I knew I would probably shown my eldest what I feared the most, that mommy is broken.  I still have my bad days, I still go through times where I fear my own mind.  But I know I have people to turn to.  And I KNOW I can get through this, because I have before.  And that’s what matters most.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Natural Living/Attachment Parenting interview series

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May is for Mothers

Belonging. Worth. Friendship. Support.

These are the words echoed by fellow mommies when asked what our chapter and The Mommies Network means to them and we hope that you have felt the same embrace on our forums and through our events.

"My chapter has given me friendships that I have always longed for. The ones where you can genuinely count on someone to be there for you in the good and the bad."

Have you had a similar experience? Did you find your best friend on our forums? Do you rush to post when something exciting happens to you or your child? Do you turn to "the mommies" first because they've been there and done that and they always provide you with friendly advice and a shoulder to lean on? If so, please join us this May for May is for Mothers as we celebrate motherhood and the role that your chapter and The Mommies Network plays in making our walk through motherhood easier and more meaningful. Your contribution helps ensure that we can continue to provide support, free of charge, to moms in our community and allows us to grow so that one day moms everywhere will have a chapter where they can find friends, support, and encouragement.

While our forums are free, it costs our chapter approximately $10 per year per member to operate. Can you spare $10 this month? Perhaps $20 to sponsor another mother who needs support and encouragement?  Donating is safe and secure!  Even if you're only able to give one dollar, that is still one dollar that will help us support moms.

As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our members to enable us to continue providing our services free of charge. If you are able, please, help support our chapter this May! Please, click HERE donate now to support our chapter and May is for Mothers.

Thank you!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Free support for all

Have you been enjoying all the advice and tips on our blog?  We have even more on our forums!

As part of The Mommies Network, NorthMetroDCMommies is a free community for moms in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, Maryland. We realize that all moms need local support -- and who can't use another friend? NorthMetroDCMommies offers a simple way to connect with local moms for friendship, support and fun. Members meet on our private discussion forums to share information on everything from where to get the best haircut to tips on transitioning to a "big kid" bed. Each month, we also offer many face-to-face events for our members, their children and their families. Register today to access our discussion forums, events calendar and more! It's free and we'll keep your info secure and private.

The Mommies Network is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping moms find support and friendship in their local community. We were founded April, 2005 and have over 100 communities in 32 states, and over 25,000 active members.
We were all in different places but we all share one need. A group of people who UNDERSTANDS us. Who understands that we can love our children and still miss being a grown-up some days. Who can give us a hug when we have a bad day. Who can be on the other end of the phone when the baby is crying and we don't know what else to do. Who gets us. Who we can get. We need each other.
Monday, May 23, 2011

When "Routine" Goes Away

It's amazing how quickly even an "Autism Mom" gets sucked into routine. I've mentioned in other posts, both here and in my "guest blogger" spots how we "live by the routine". From April 18 until this morning, our routine has been "on hold" for Spring Break.

We are so used to waking up at the same time Monday-Friday. We are used to getting dressed, having breakfast and getting ready for the school bus. But, during spring break, things are different. We have still been waking up at the same time, but there are no buses. So there's no rush in dressing or getting out the door. After breakfast, we're going downstairs to play, or running an errand or two. We're fighting over the computer whenever we're home. We're watching movies. We're having "Pajama Days". Even our diet is different since Passover began on Monday night (well, it's different for ME -- the kids are such picky eaters that we didn't enforce the Passover rules for them).

We've seen in the past that routine defines us. And not just a little bit, but a LOT. When we do one thing, it's always predictably followed by something else. It's how we get through our days. But, during "spring break", our routines are ALSO on holiday. So, what happens next?

We passed the time. We made trips to the grocery store. We went to a playground. We had a couple of playdates. We actually scheduled a playdate (specifically) for Simon. That one was interesting. We went to a new playground (for us at least). We arrived a little early and the kids were having fun playing on the slides and in the mulch. Daniel found/made some friends to play with and he was set. Rachel and Simon just did their own thing.

When Simon's friend from school arrived, his friend tried to play with him. But Simon wasn't interested. He kept running off. When I asked him if he wanted to play with (insert child's name), he said, "No". I wasn't sure if this was really an accurate answer, so I asked him some other questions.

"Do you want to play with Rachel?"
"Do you want to play with Daniel?"
"Do you want to play with (insert child's name)?"

Ugh -- that's not the result I was hoping for, but it was clearly what HE meant. He ended up spending the remainder of the playdate still playing, but avoiding his friend and classmate. I really hope that his mother wasn't taking it personally. And I hope it was an isolated incident. I really do think that we need to repeat this experience, but am concerned that if Simon really doesn't want to play with this child, it will be a bad experience.

Perhaps it was because he hadn't seen this boy for over a week. Or perhaps he just wanted to spend the time playing with his brother and sister, something he'd been doing for that full week. Or perhaps, he just wanted to do an activity that this other boy wasn't interested in. Or, even possibly Simon was just tired (he nearly fell asleep on the drive home and would have fallen asleep if it took us just a couple more minutes to complete the drive). Who knows.

It's interesting in a strange way, watching how Simon interacts with the world around him, especially when I watch him next to his big brother. Daniel sought out other children on the playground to play with. It didn't matter what they were playing, as long as they would allow him to participate. Simon, however, wanted nothing to do with anyone (except Rachel). This is autism. But I have to wonder how much of his isolationism is truly autism and how much is a personal preference of who he likes and dislikes.

This is one of those moments where it would be nice to have that little window into his head to have that peek inside.
{originally posted on My Family's Experience With Autism on 4/26/11}
Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family zoo day!

Well, we tried to do this last month, but got rained out.

Join us this month for a family trip to the National Zoo!  Please check the forums for more details.
Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Lips are Lovin' Me!

When I made my first "homemade product" over a year ago. I was such a consumer. It wasn't quality if I didn't buy it right? I was just looking to be frugal. Wrong! Instead of frugal, I am making high quality products for pennies compared to store bought

Recently the make-my-own bug has bitten me. Renee over at FIMBY has been motivating me for several months now...and so after loving my laundry soap, then deodorant (will never buy Secret again), followed by my homemade soap which is curing right now awaiting my Mother's Day. I have yet again made something I will never go back to buying! My lips are in L.O.V.E.

I must give Renee the credit for the recipe. I am still learning, but the more I make my own, the more I am branching out to create my own.

I think the hardest part of making my own products is actually gathering the supplies. In this case most of my ingredients came from my local organic health store. Once I have them on hand, it takes no time at all to be reaping the benefits of my own goods.
A few of you have asked where I got my supplies, so I noted it for you. I am sure you could get it online too.


  • 1/2 oz. (approx. 3 tsp.) grated or roughly chopped beeswax (local organic Co-operative)
  • 1 oz. (approx. 6 tsp.) coconut oil (local organic Co-operative)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lanolin (Left over from Breast feeding my babes)
  • 3/4 tsp. vitamin E (I had capsules in my cabinet and poked holes in them to add up)
  • 2 tsp. hard honey (local organic Co-operative)
  • 3/4 tsp. peppermint essential oil (local organic Co-operative)

Assemble what you need:
This actually takes the longest, the making is a breeze!

Grate the beeswax and melt with the coconut oil, Lanolin, and Vitamin E. It was the consistency of vegetable oil when melted completely.

Second add the Peppermint extract and Raw honey (some know it as hard honey). If you are buying it new for this purpose I would scrape the top and use for something else. Particles don't break down well.

Mixing the peppermint extract and Peppermint was tricky to incorporate. You have to be really fast. I started with a wooden dowel but quickly moved to a rubber spatula which worked so much better for me.

I did have to reheat some to pour it in. I do not prefer the tubes, as much as the round containers. It goes on so smooth and the peppermint is yummy and tingly.

The best part of making my own, is there is always plenty to share with others. I love being able to pass some on to family and friends to enjoy as well.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you like the recipe. If I can do this you you definitely can do this!

And if you want to try this with some help- check the forum!  We have a MNI planned to make some together!
{originally published on The Whimsical Housewife on 4/28/11
Friday, May 20, 2011

Moms with daughters

In a world where we have rising obesity issues and yet everywhere we go we see images of thin nearly flawless women it can be a challenge to know how to raise girls.  The smart girls are often portrayed as being the losers and friendless, never getting the guy.  When the beautiful, but not so smart girls get all the friends and seem to be having the most fun.  So how do we raise our daughters to be self-assured, intelligent and not feel they're "losing out" somehow?  Join us in an on-line chat to help navigate these tricky waters.  Check the forum for more information!
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Honoring My Mother

Since May honors mothers, my mom has been in the forefront of my thoughts recently. Of course, it might also be the fact that she’s visiting us right now from good old California!

Until we moved out here from the west coast, Mom had been part of my twin’s lives on a weekly basis, and it’s been really tough having to adjust to jumpy web chat sessions and phone calls laced with static and dropped words. I just…really missed her. I was so relieved to find that my kids jumped right back into cuddle mode in Mom’s arms as if they’d never left. Even though she was prepared for it, I know how much it would have hurt Mom to face tiny people who wanted her to maintain a safe distance. Seeing Noah and Grace snuggle in and read board books with Mom brought me back to my own childhood, especially when I caught them showing off their new toddler skills and running at top speed with the latest empty Amazon box jammed down over their eyes. 

I remember Mom as a scent, a voice, a blurred and comforting figure out of the corner of my own toddler-aged eyes. She became my most treasured friend and confidant as I grew older, my teacher in all that was important in life and everything else as well. Oh, and she had the best, most amazing stories that made me want to stay up way past my bedtime begging for “just one more!”

I also remember her as the obstacle to my teenage happiness with a boy, an annoying fly in my ointment, an oddly dressed embarrassment as I tried to find acceptance with my peers. Mom shape-shifted over the years from someone I trusted implicitly to the one person I revealed nothing to in fear that she’d penetrate the façade I’d built around myself.

As I reached adulthood, a new side emerged in my mom. A fragility was there I’d never noticed, and she became someone I had to protect at all costs from the stresses of the world and the traitorous nature of her own body. A rare blood disorder gained a firm foothold after her stroke, and heaped on other illnesses: Fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue. After I’d moved home to help her during a time when I thought I was losing her I noticed again what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom was unsinkable. Her faith remained steadfast no matter how the storm raged above and around, and I became confidant that she would emerge yet stronger on the other side of her journey.

Mom has done just this, and now, seeing my little ones swarming her as she entrances them with stories and lets them go wild with crayons, I can see myself in them and in her in some sort of bizarre time-lapse evolution of motherhood. So much of Mom took root in me, and I hope that by tending my children’s hearts, my love will bloom in them and help them achieve every good gift in store for them.

Happy Mother’s Life!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Romp n' Roll

Recently NorthMetroDCMommies had a fundraiser open gym at Romp n' Roll in Germantown.  It was a huge success and everyone had a lot of fun! Here's some more information from our partners at Romp n' Roll!

THE PLACE for Fun Kids Classes, Summer Camps, and Birthday Parties

Romp n' Roll of Germantown offers a huge variety of age-specific gym, art, music, and combination
classes for babies, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Our Summer Camps are like big kids
camps on training wheels where each day kids participate in Gym activities, Art Projects and Music
Time. Ages 2-6 years. Potty training not required. At Romp n’ Roll kids get to stretch their minds by
exercising their bodies and imagination. Fun is the name of the game at our place. Our small class
sizes and experienced teachers help your child get the most out of each session.

At Romp n’ Roll fun, private and personalized Birthday Parties for children are our specialty. They
make the mess. We clean it up. You get the hugs. Happy Birthday indeed. Our Birthday Parties
include Moon Bounce, Rock Wall, Trapeze, Monkey Bars, Bubble Machine, Disco Ball, Super Energetic
Staff to lead kids through age appropriate fun activities and helping you serve whatever snacks and
cake you bring in, and much more. No wonder we are THE PARTY PLACE in the town.
Monday, May 16, 2011

Join us Thursday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I think I've grown

For some reason, today I've been rethinking what I've gone through over the last 2 years. From the moment that the developmental pediatrician told us that both Rachel and Simon were on the spectrum to me pushing for the votes for this blog to be recognized, what have I learned about myself? I was thinking about how much everything has both changed, and stayed the same. But I also started thinking about my own journey towards acceptance of my children's diagnosis. And realizing how much further I still have to go.

I found myself thinking of a conversation I had a year and a half ago with someone from Infants and Toddlers (Early Intervention). I remember calling her needing to talk (not sure about what anymore). We tried to coordinate a time, but that proved difficult not because of our schedules per se, but because of me and my family (H1N1 hit this house pretty hard, including Daniel developing a mild pneumonia). But we eventually did get together to talk. Again, I don't remember the original topic of the conversation, but I do remember moments. I remember after talking for a while, she asked me if I blamed myself for what happened to my children. I remember telling her "No, I know that I didn't do anything to cause them to be autistic." And I did know that. But I also remember thinking how could it NOT be my fault. I have 3 children, 2 of whom have autism. I love them (and always have) as much as their older brother. But did I ignore their needs in favor of their brother or my own exhaustion? What choices had I made that could have led to this outcome?

The other thing I remember from this conversation was something that I was immediately ashamed of, and still am embarrassed to admit it. Anyone who is faced with a situation that they are unhappy about seems to have this comment running through their head, but most of us are smart enough to not say it. I can't say that. I said it. I still can't believe it. "I didn't ask for this!". Whoever would ASK to have a child with a disability that could prevent them from living an independent life? Who would ASK for a parenting career full of additional worries about their children? Who would ASK for the challenge of raising one or more children on the spectrum? None of us ask for this. But we have it. It has happened. And the best we can do is live with it. I don't remember what she said when those horrible words left my mouth. I was either too mortified (with myself) to listen to the answer or have just blocked it out, again due to the fact that I was so mortified to have asked the question in the first place.

This conversation happened approximately 7 months after learning that Rachel and Simon were on the spectrum, and about 2 months after learning their official diagnosis. Since then, we've seen progress and regressions (in both of them). We've watched them develop language. We've seen them learn to begin playing with others. We've watched them take on the challenges that are presented to them, and have learned to introduce new ideas and experiences.

And I've embraced the idea of being an"Autism Mom". I'm not fully there. I still fight it. I still strive for them to fit in with their typical peers and force them to have experiences with them. I still want to see them succeed in school and in life without their differences defining them. But when I think of where I was on the day of that conversation and the day I asked that ridiculous question and where I am today, I have to admit, I'm pleased with the progress that I have made.

-Ilene (DRS_Are_Best)
Children with Special Needs Moderator
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lots of books to give away!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Twin blog review

Ever wondered what it’s like having twins? Have a pair? Or are two of your children so close in age they may as well be twins? Check out “Twinsights,” an entertaining and informative blog site that covers the world of twins, and get a double dose of great parental tips and stories. This site houses a great collection of blogs from parents of multiples!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review of a time waster site

We all need ways to unwind and relax.  Here’s one of my favorite on-line ways to do that. Games for the Brain is one of my favorite game sites to go to. It has games you can play that are fun and help your brain.  Sometimes I play them just to do something and don’t really pay that much attention.  Others I really focus and concentrate.  When I’m up late rocking my baby this is usually my first go-to. I love that it gives me scores and is simple to do.  There are few rules to learn and they are easy to figure out.  I can always justify it by saying I'm working to strengthen my brain!

What are some of your favorite time wasting sites?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gaithersburg Book Festival

Monday, May 9, 2011

Adventures in soap making

*reposted with permission from The Whimsical Housewife Elizabeth

HomeMaker Monday ~ Adventures in Saponification!

Making my own Soap

I finally built up to courage to try making my own soap. I have been following a great blog lately. Renee at
FIMBY has been inspiring me for a few months to step out and embrace my home-making creativity (among other areas of my life) and make some homemade soap.

Knowing that working with Lye is something one must be cautious about. I waited for a quiet moment in my house to assemble my supplies. A was at a friends house and L was playing happily in a playpen in the next room.

After reading up on the process, I now know I was nervous for nothing. It was actually an easy process.

I set the computer up on the opposite kitchen counter and played Renee's video tutorial in the background to help me focus and remember what each step was. I didn't want to ruin the first batch.

Measuring out the lye... 

...and stirring it carefully was what I felt I needed to be most careful about.

While waiting for the Lye solution to cool, I melted vegetable shortening. I didn't use any other oils in this batch I was just going for simple the first time around.

After pouring the lye into melted oils. Both liquids at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit blended to trace.

I chose my two favorite smells for this first batch. I later learned they can be irritating to some sensitive skins but since I plan to use it for Laundry and Dish soap. I think it will work out just fine.

Pouring the soap into a plastic lined shoe box to set for 24 hours before cutting.

The following day, the bars are cut and put on a rack to cure for about one month

I am going to have a hard time waiting the month that is takes to cure the bars. I love walking past the shelf they are curing on and smelling the Sweet Orange and Cinnamon wafting in the room. I won't lie it felt good to be creative and produce something for my family to use. My next soap making adventure I hope will produce some sweet smelling baby soap that is sensitive for my little boy's skin.        
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Babies & Toddlers group

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prevent & treat insect bites

With spring here and everyone getting outside more it's time to start thinking about protecting and treating insect bites.

Familyfun.com has compiled these five tips and tricks.  I thought I'd share them with you too.

**Small disclaimer, I don't agree with the deet but I felt this would be helpful for our members.**

What are your tips and tricks for preventing and treating bites?

From Traci (izzysmom7)
Upper County Area Group Moderator
Friday, May 6, 2011

Great way to walk!

Not sure what to do tomorrow?  Really wanting to meet people and get some mild exercise?  Join us as we walk in the Kentlands Day Parade!  We want you to come walk with us!  Don't just sit on the side and watch the parade go by, come BE IN it!  Think of how much fun it would be to have a friend say "Hey, we saw you walking in the parade!  That was so fun to see!".
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Park Review: Cabin John Regional Park

Cabin John Regional Park
There are many areas of Cabin John Park.  I'm going to focus on the playground and the train.

One of the best things about this park is the train you can ride.  It costs $1.75 per person, kids 2 and younger ride free with a paying adult.  You can also get a coupon book for $15.75 that is 10 tickets for the price of 9.  The ride takes about 10 minutes and goes through some lovely wooded areas.

Another wonderful thing about Cabin John are the shaded playgrounds.  On very hot or sunny days it's nice to have a shaded place you can go play. There are even many shaded picnic tables and indoor bathrooms!  We all know how much we need those bathrooms!

Our Spring Fling Photo Fundraiser will be held here.  So you know that it has to have great scenery! 

Cabin John is close to Montgomery Mall where I find my favorite Bubble Tea store: Tea Neck Court. Don’t let the name fool you, this place has the best bubble.

There are a few downsides to this park.  It is not enclosed & has a sprawling play area with many different sections: so it can be hard to chase more than 1 child.  For some the sprawling is ok, but if you have a runner, escape artist or your kids like to play "you go your way, I'll go my way and we'll see who Mom chases first!" it can be a bit tricky to manage.  To handle that, go with other mom friends (like the ones you find at NMDC) who will help you chase and track your child(ren).

From Colleen (cocopitz)
Events Manager
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Parade! We're on Parade!

Join us as we walk at the Kentland's Day Parade!   We'll pass out some goodies as we go and have a lot of fun together. The walk is less than half a mile!

RSVP on the forums or on our Facebook page!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Do you have the gift of hospitality?

The lintel low enough to keep out pomp and pride; The threshold high enough to turn deceit aside; The doorband strong enough from robbers to defend; This door will open at a touch to welcome every friend.  - Henry Jackson van Dyke

Consider being part of our dynamic Hospitality Committee! We’re ready to add to our great crew. If you’re a recent arrival to our site or have just had a birthday come up, it’s likely you’ve already been on the receiving end of some fun things we do to celebrate and welcome our members.
In addition to greetings, we also interview moms for our “Spotlight On” feature, post daily questions, “Stork” expecting mommies, host new member events, and much more!

Contact management to learn more.

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