Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer water safety

With summer here and the heat it brings we all like to think of ways to cool off and enjoy being outside.  With kids that usually means some sort of water activity.  According to the CDC Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2007 30% of all unintentional injury-related deaths of that age group were from drowning.  In that same year there were 3,443 deaths from non boat related drownings.  That’s an average of 10 deaths per day.  Non-fatal drowingings are also a problem and can lead to brain damage and long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities and the loss of basic functioning (ex, vegetative state).

So now that you’re scared and don’t want your kids near the water let’s talk about ways you can still enjoy the water while staying safe.  Keep in mind, most of the risk factors are from kids being unsupervised near water.  Many parents think that a small level of water couldn’t harm their child.  But it’s possible to drown in 2” of water.  

"Watch children around water" Safety Campaign Mural
Photo Credit: Al_HikesAZ
So the number one way to keep your children safe around water?  Supervision. It’s that simple.  Watch your kids, be aware of what they can and can’t do and be within arms reach.  An early walker can easily slip and fall under or face first and not be able to get themselves back up.  It’s possible for any aged person, including an adult, to slip and hit their head.  So for added protection use the buddy system.  Have other people with you who are also swimming or sitting near by.  If at all possible swim where there are lifeguards. The CDC reports that children aged 1-4 who participated in formal swimming lessons had an 88% reduction in drowning incidents.  Whether that is due to the parents being more aware of swimming safety or the child’s ability is not clear.  In general, anyone who takes swimming lessons is less likely to drown.   But swimming lessons are not a substitute for supervision.  When watching a child, do not be distracted by other things like reading a book, talking on the phone, surfing the internet, or any other activity.  The child is your priority!

Residential pools are where most drownings occur.  The best way to protect your child in those situations is to be sure there is an adequate fence around the pool.  The pool should be completely enclosed on all four sides. For added protection you can get alarms on the gate and the pool.  The gate alarm would go off whenever it was opened and then you have the extra protection of an alarm on the pool so that if something gets into it (from a child or pet who shouldn’t to an intruder trying to take an unauthorized dip).  If you are visiting a home with a pool and they don’t have a gate, then it’s best to keep your child with you at all times.  A turned back for one minute is enough time for a child to slip away and wander off.  Also, do not keep the pool and deck around it covered in toys.  Toys are too tempting of a lure for kids to figure out a way past the fence and the alarm to get to.  They should be put away and out of sight when an adult is not there to supervise.

If you’re on a boat be sure that everyone has a life jacket, including yourself.  The U.S. Coast Guard reported that in 2009 that of the 736 people who died 9 out of 10 were not wearing life jackets.  And before you wonder, yes they do make life jackets for babies.  My research has shown you can find one for babies as small as 15 lbs.  DO NOT use air-filled or foam toys in replacement of life jackets. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  “Water wings”, inner-tubes or “noodles” are not designed to keep swimmers safe.  Water wings only keep the arms lightly buoyant, not the entire body like a life jacket.  It’s so easy to slip out of an inner-tube or off a “noodle”, but a life jacket is attached to your body.  Which brings me to the next point-   don’t just have the life jackets on the boat “in case of emergency”.  In an emergency you don’t have time to get them on yourself or your children.  Do not leave dry land without the jackets on.  It’s like a seat belt, it only works when in use.

So with some simple and easy prevention you can safely enjoy the summer fun of playing in water!
Kids Swimming
Photo credit: Clintus McGintus
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

California Pizza Kitchen tour

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Enjoying a Subsequent Pregnancy After the Loss of a Baby

June is the month that my first little girl passed from this life, so it always brings me bittersweet memories. There is a lot of love to go around and it may be hard to remember after a child dies that there could be love in a memory as well as love for a new child.

After coming to the realization that your little one is gone, getting out your anger, reaching for support and creating tangible memories, you'll realize that death is a part of life and that you did indeed conceive a wonderful little miracle, but he or she could not stay for whatever the reason. Coming to peace with your loss is also coming to peace with yourself. It's okay to say it... I had a child-My child died-My child passed away-I still have my child in my heart-And that makes me happy. ... and it’s okay to get ready, prepared, and excited for another baby on the way.

Loving a new child does not mean forgetting or abandoning the baby you lost- it means you are moving to a place where it is okay to smile and laugh again, with the utmost respect and love. Your strength to go on is not being disloyal to your child, it is being appreciative of the gifts he or she gave you. 

With the coming of a new child, you may have a roller coaster ride of emotions. You may feel anger, fear, anxiousness, immense joy, or denial. Acknowledging, discussing and accepting these feelings are the best way to overcome the grief and prepare for your new child. Pretending that you never lost a child and that this is your first pregnancy is a natural defense to protect yourself from sadness and give you a brief moment of joy while living in a memory, but in the long run, hiding and pretending will give way to reality.

Addressing the facts and coming to this resolution allows blame and depression to fade away. You can still feel sad- you will always feel sad, but you can accept that your child is no longer with you. You can accept that his or her life, as short as it was, had a meaning and made a mark on your life. You can accept that you have another baby on the way and begin to enjoy the developing life of your new child with joy, excitement and anticipation. Remember you are always a mom and loving both babies won’t dilute the intensity. Love multiplies, it never divides.
Monday, June 27, 2011

Promote Your Business ~ TMN National Auction

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do you like to plan events?

Do you like to plan events?  Are you good at talking with businesses and want to help form some great contacts?  Join us as we plan our events!  We're looking for volunteers to help plan our birthday bash.  If you're interested please PM our Events Manager Colleen (cocopitz)
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mommy's Little Helpers

If your little one(s) have reached toddlerhood, you may have noticed them mimicking everything you do in a delightful mini-me way. My toddler, Noah, marches around importantly with whatever’s handy clamped to his ear, talking a mile a minute in very authoritative tones. His “phone” might be a shoe, stuffed animal, or snack bowl, but his mannerisms are the spitting image of his Daddy.

Noah’s twin sister, Grace, will tuck every scrap of cloth she can get her hands on under her chin, carefully smooth it, and run off with satisfaction as her backwards cape tangles around her legs. I suddenly realized she was “folding laundry” the way mommy does! A light bulb went on and I decided to capitalize on this stage of Simon Says by getting my kids used to doing chores!

After doing a little reading I found it’s optimal to get your children in the habit of pitching in early while it’s still fun. I’ve compiled a few great ways to involve your kids with tasks. I won’t pretend it’s not a little more work at first, but if it keeps the little guys entertained so I can tackle the never ending home operations, I’m all for it!

1) Next time you have a basket of laundry to fold, demonstrate how to sort it into groups of colors or kinds. Make a pile of your toddler’s clothes and one of daddy’s, and ask for help by handing you each item out of the basket or adding to the piles themselves.

Isabel cleans TV with bottle brush.
Photo Credit: glenmcbethlaw
2) When you dust, give your child a clean rag and have them follow along at their level, the baseboards or windowsills, for instance. For even more fun, cover their hand in a dusting sock!

3) When drying and putting away dishes, give your little shadow a hand towel and a stack of plastic dishes or containers to nest or place in a low drawer cleared for that purpose. If they’re a little older, you can even get a stool and have them place unbreakables on the counter.

Day 46: Old Enough for Chores
Photo Credit: ThreelfByBike
... a reason to have kids...
Photo Credit: Ben McLeod
4) When you vacuum, ask for help finding where the vacuum lives and locating the outlet. Stress that the plug is for mommy to insert, but do allow them to push along a popper or other push toy in their own section of carpet. Have your child clear toys first. Ask for help finding the vacuum’s home when it’s time to replace it.

5) Involve your child in meal prep. Have them put bibs and toddler dishes on the chair nearest where they sit or on the floor by their highchair. Have a designated area for toys and lovies to be placed during meals. This participation has the added bonus of encouraging cooperation when it’s time to eat!

6) Get your child to kick start the bedtime process by instituting a toy roundup, having them retrieve their PJ’s and overnight diapers from a special area, or having them select their bedtime book and replace it when story time is finished.

Try your best to refrain from “do-overs” while they’re watching. It might mean some things have to be left for nap time or after bed to be completed properly, but in the long run they will become capable and retain their sense of achievement. The more you can encourage your children to share in your day-to-day routine, the more they will enjoy each stage of the day. Having them help also instills great values, independence, and a healthy outlook on being productive. Enjoy this phase in your children, for it’s all too fleeting!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Share Your Viewpoints with The Mommies Network!

For the remainder of June, The Mommies Network is partnering with eight savings websites to bring steals and deals to you while providing funding for your chapter!  With everything from baby products to fine dining, there's sure to be something for you.  All you have to do is sign up for amazing offers and The Mommies Network will receive between $0.75 to $1.00 per registration!

We want your opinions! Through ViewPoints, you have the opportunities to share your product experiences regarding tablets, ereaders, headphones, care seats, baby bottles, baby carriers, strollers, mattresses, grills, lawn mowers, kitchen and home appliances, cookware, vitamins, cold medicine, electric toothbrushes, eye cream, self tanner, sunscreen, and hair coloring!  Share at least 700 characters in your own words and The Mommies Network will receive $0.50 for each review up to 10 reviews per person!

Now, here are the deals . . .

Swagbucks is a loyalty program where you can earn free stuff including 1,000's of products for doing the things you do every day.

Save on Premium Hair Care, Deep Discounts on Skin Care, Huge Savings on Cosmetics!

Cheap is good, but FREE is better!
FreeFlys is the largest directory of free samples and coupons.   Try brand name products for free and enjoy coupons to save on your groceries and more.

Clothes don't grow.  Kids do.
thredUP, where moms swap kids clothes, toys and books online.  Thousands of moms are already trading boxes of stuff their kids no longer use for clothes, toys and books they actually need. Join their community for free!

OpenSky is a social shopping platform that helps you discover and buy great products that fulfill your interests in Food, Style & Beauty, Healthy Living, and Home &  Design.

Just click the logos above to help and to start saving today!
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't be a wall flower!

As the winter months wore on we noticed our daughter's barking cough had come back while she was sleeping. We took her to the Pediatrician and were told it might be something viral but nothing bacterial, so just symptoms of a cold. To give her Tylenol if needed and use her humidifier. We agreed it was winter, cold season and that was all it was. We made sure the humidfier was running in her room for a bit before naps and bedtime and thought nothing more past that. February came and she came down with strep. We placed her on the medication and noticed the cough was a bit better but still there. We then decided to see how things went as the warmer months came along. Of course here in Maryland we don't have much of a spring anymore. When we did get a nice day, no rain, with a nice breeze we opened up her bedroom windows to let everything air out. We made sure there was minimal dust in her room. The cough still lingered on.

048 / 365
Photo credit: anjanettew
At this point we decided to consult with a allergist. At that appointment we were informed to go see an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT). So here we are in June and finally getting the results we have been longing for. We have learned that the coughing might be a result of enlarged adenoids and that her ears are full of "uninfected" (for the moment) fluid. We had her hearing tested and yes, that has been compromised. Will she need speech therapy? Too early to tell! At this point we just need to pull the results of her neck soft tissue x-ray (to get a better look at her adenoids) and what the audiologist obtained from her visit with our daughter and decide the next step. Of course, what will that next step be? Again, a bit too early to tell.
hooking him up
Photo Credit: MMMMichelle

I shared all my stresses about all the findings with a good friend from college, who happens to be an audiologist. What was her response? "Thank you for not being a wall flower!" I asked what she meant by that and she said that far too often parents take the advice from their Pediatricians and go with it. She said I didn't do that.  That I knew, as my daughter's mother, that there was something more there.  I decided to come off the wall and be persistent and find the results. She said that Pediatricians are great at what they do, and to not get her wrong, but that sometimes parents do know best. She admitted that specialists can be wrong, but that they have fine tuned their science and therefore might have more to bring to the table. That the table needs to be full of all the findings. What the Pediatrician sees, what the specialist sees, and what the tests have proven.

So, my advice! Go with your gut! If you know something is wrong, don't be a wall flower (as my friend would say). Come off that wall, swallow your fears and find out what is wrong with your child. If I dared to stay on the wall my poor daughter would suffer the disadvantage. She might need speech therapy in the future to correct how she has been hearing things.  Should she have to hear for the rest of her life like she is underwater? NO. She deserves the world! By coming off the wall and facing my fear of what might be to make her better, I'm giving her that world!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday Bash!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fairy dolls and houses

As we enter June we welcome summer on the shortest night and longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.  This year it is on June 21st. This has always been an exciting time for me as a child, as school lets out and summer camp, lawn sprinklers, pool parties and beach trips begin. We celebrate the seasons in our household, and for summer that means leaving treats for the fairies, playing in nature, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and celebrating the sun.
We also love to do nature arts and crafts. One of the crafts I did as a child was making fairy houses and dolls from pine cones.

leaves, pine cones, bark, acorns, twigs, flowers and other items found outside

Start with a pine cone or twig. Take another small twig and cross the first one to make arms. Twist your string in an X pattern to hold on the “arms.” 

Next find a flower to put on the “head.” Attach with glue or tape. Use a leaf to make a dress or other clothes for your doll. You can use grass to make hair, seeds to make eyes, etc. The possibilities are endless!

For the fairy houses, which you can also use for your pinecone dolls, it helps to start with a large piece of bark. Lean two pieces together like a teepee, or make a box with 3 or 4 sides. Glue on sticks for windows and make shades with petals or leaves. Larger leaves make a great roof! Have fun designing and decorating with your child, and remember to leave a little treat inside for the fairies!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do you Like us?

Have you been enjoying our blog posts?  You may want to try Liking us on Facebook too.  Did you know we're also on Twitter?  But it's even better than that!  We have an entire forum where we plan events and talk about everything under the sun. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy Dearest

As a mom, my thoughts and gratitude often travel over to my own mother now that my understanding of her mommy career has deepened. It’s not as easy to recall how my father influenced my life, regardless of how much I love him. But now is the month for celebrating our dads and our children’s fathers or male role models, and it’s an easy task since I’m married to the most awesome dad on the planet.
While my husband is a very mature and responsible person, he is also a kid at heart and the best playmate a child could hope for. I absolutely love his falsetto reading and the little songs he makes up on the spot that involve feeding, changing, and cuddling our twins. He’s so exuberantly proud of every little triumph our kids make, and my dinner prep is often interrupted by his urgent shouts for me to witness our little geniuses at work. Watching my husband with our kids is one of the greater joys in my life, and brings back some fond memories of my own childhood with my Pa.

My father came into my life when I was barely a year old, and he adored me instantly, of course. He’s always been most comfortable with children when they can still fit on his chest, and I used to love resting on him and hearing the sound of his heart beating under my ear. He taught me how to earn nickels by walking carefully over the knots on his back. I don’t think I relieved the sore muscles, but Pa always made me feel indispensible.   

I remember how disappointed I was to find I could trick him when I skipped brushing my teeth and he still performed the “blinded by the dazzling white” routine. I suddenly realized my Pa wasn’t all-knowing, and that brought on the insecurity of wondering if he’d always be able to protect me. He did his best to prepare me for the opposite sex, and was adamant that a guy who didn’t come around to open the car door wasn’t worth my time. Pa took me out for a big girl birthday dinner and did his best to exemplify all that I should demand of future suitors, which amused me but also sent my gears clicking a few years later. Turns out, he was right about a lot!

My biological father didn’t occupy my life or thoughts for a very long time, and when I attempted a relationship as an adult it was a painful disaster. However, through him I gained the opportunity to find the awesome freedom and healing forgiveness can bring, and before he died he met his grandchildren with open arms and the love he’d finally found a way to access through a love far greater than his own.

The three dads in my life have reminded me that while it’s a profound privilege and responsibility to parent a child, we also have to acknowledge the strong likelihood that we are raising the next generation of parents. While that increases the burden, it’s hopefully also a joy that we can have a hand in growing a new crop of wonderful fathers (and mothers)!

To all the men who have taken such a role upon themselves and are committed to investing a lifetime nurturing and equipping our children, happy Father’s Day! 

provided courtesy of Royce Bair,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Potluck meal ideas

Do you have a potluck recipe that you love to make?  Are you wanting to try out a new recipe but don't have an excuse?  We'd love to provide you with the opportunity to make it.

Join us Saturday the 25th from 11 am to 2 pm at our Group Wide potluck picnic!  We will have games and an indoor facility in case of rain.  Be sure to RSVP and let us know what delightful dish you'll be bringing. And don't worry, you don't need to try to bring enough for everyone, just enough for twice the number of people you're bringing.  This is an event for the whole family! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fathers I have known

With Father's day coming up I have been thinking of the fathers that have had an impact on my life in some way.  There are too many for me to really go into all of them so here are the ones that are foremost in my mind right now.

First off of course is my own dad.  The main thing that I remember about my dad is how much he loves to play and be silly.  He has always been good with kids and even to this day I enjoy being silly and crazy with him.  While I do remember him being more of an authoritarian and we often clashed (or as my family would say "often frequently") I also loved the quiet times where we'd sit by the camp fire talking about nature.  To this day I look up to him and seek his advice.  I may not always agree with what he has to say, but I still value it.

Next up is my brother.  Growing up I often (again, "often frequently") tormented him.  But I also felt protected by him and in many ways looked up to him.  He has always been very empathetic and cares about others deeply.  He is now a father of two.  The times we've been able to visit I love watching how he parents.  I love hearing the stories he has to tell and his strategies for dealing with different situations.  He too has inherited the fun, crazy and silly side of our dad. I have seen him comfort his sons with so much tenderness it would melt any heart.  Even during his stressed out times he has found ways to keep his cool and meet his kids needs.

Another person I think of is someone who recently died.  Don was more of a grandfather to me.  He was always very kind, calm and yet fun loving.  Don was a peaceful presence who welcomed and embraced everyone.   I remember many times I'd be sitting in his home and would just sit by his feet, just to be close to him.  I wasn't around him a lot during the years I could most have benefited from his wisdom, but he did teach me that sometimes a quiet smile and a peaceful presence is enough.

No list of fathers would be complete without my husband.  Adam has been an amazing teacher to our daughters.  He readily and easily will explain things to our eldest and will help her understand even the most difficult concepts.  He's tender with them both and his eyes light up when they give him so much as a smile.  I will always remember one particular moment with our eldest.  She was a new baby, we had brought her home less than a week before.  She was laying on the couch and he had a small duck that rattled.  I listened as he lightly tapped it to her nose and said "the duck is eating your nose! The duck is eating your nose!"  Then he paused as she looked at him and he said "that's silly!  Ducks don't eat noses.  No... they eat TOES!" and proceeded to have the duck "eat" her toes.  It was at that moment that I really felt he was going to be a great dad.

There are so many more dads out there that have inspired me and helped me learn through the years.  I cannot do service to even half of them.  So, to the dads that have been part of the village that raised me and to the dads that are part of the village I'm now raising my children in I thank you. 

So take a moment this Father's Day and remember those fathers in your life that have given you something, even as simple as a smile or a peaceful moment. 
Thursday, June 16, 2011

Babies & Toddlers need friends too!

After a brief hiatus for the month of June our Babies & Toddlers group will be in full swing once again starting July 9th!!  Be sure to RSVP on our calendarEven babies need friends and playmates.  And wouldn't it feel good to get to know moms with kids in a similar age group?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is sleep training right for you?

Do you have a perpetual fog around you as you go through each day? Do you forget what you were about to do/say/ask right after it pops into your head? Is your one consistent thought really a prayer that you will get more than two hours of sleep at any one time? I was right where you are now for the first 9 months of my twin’s lives. I had tried everything, researched for hours, bought books...reflux and teething were initial issues, but even after these abated the sleep challenges continued.

I ended up sleeping on a bed in the nursery with my son (my daughter had few sleep issues). He would not stay asleep for more than 45 minutes at a time and wanted to be nursed back to sleep--I would try to sneak him into the crib and he would immediately wake and be very upset with me.

I found out I had trained him to only fall asleep by my nursing/holding him, and the slightest try for freedom would reset him to his neediest self all through the night. While I fully support co-sleeping, it seemed this arrangement made both of us wake far more often then was healthy for either of us.

I was at my wits end when I tried Suzy Giordano's book, "The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.' The best part is there's very little crying involved. I learned really helpful tips, such as most babies want to sleep earlier than we schedule them, even if they act charged up until bedtime.

Basically, Giordano’s method is in three steps:

# 1: Feed four times a day, every four hours. Make sure they get 24 oz or more a day, or a full nursing session (keeps them from wanting to snack all night). If they get fussy early, distract with a walk or new activity. Try to stay within 15 minutes of schedule. Do solids at the same time if feeding.

# 2: Do your bathing/pre-bed routine at the same time in the same order every night, feeding last--then place baby in crib awake (full, warm, dry), leave AND CLOSE THE DOOR--no sneaking! If she cries, wait 3 or so minutes, come back in, comfort. Don't pick up, but rub belly, sshhh, etc. Leave as soon as she calms, and repeat until she falls asleep. The first night can take four hours or more, but each night gets easier. By three nights, my son went from wailing to no crying when I left the room. It was a relief to be able to go in to him and not let him get hysterical.

# 3: When the first steps work, start to place baby in crib awake during naps after a shortened pre-nap routine using the same method.

The first week was a nightmare of no naps ( I almost gave up) because I had gotten them into feeding before naps, but I adjusted naps to within 2 hours of feeding, and they got fully used to it by 10 days (AM nap for 1 hour, 2 hour PM nap).

Both babies now regularly sleep from 7:30-6:30! While still nursing, I did one feeding if their little night cries escalated--they usually didn't eat enough during the day on those nights.

Good luck and happy sleeping! 


Giordano, Suzy. The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to
Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Three Pepper Pasta Salad

My family has been looking forward to summer all winter long so that we can bring out this recipe again.  I like to turn the recipe into more of a light lunchtime meal for my family by adding a cheddar as a second type of cheese, chunks of pepperoni, and salami.  I   recommend mixing up the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper first and then adding it to the rest of the ingredients.  I've also made it as a quick and simple easy side by using store bought (my family prefers Good Seasons) Italian dressing instead of mixing up the vinegar and oil.  We are looking forward to the summer farmers markets opening up so that we can go and get some fresh veggies to make our favorite summer side dish!


  • 1 (16 ounce) package tri-color pasta
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 orange bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, drained
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the olive oil, white wine vinegar, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta, dressing mixture, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, tomato, and olives. Top with mozzarella cheese to serve.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Motherlss Mother

Our NorthMetroDC (Mommies Network) fundraising campaign, May is for Mothers,  had me thinking about my mom. She passed away when she was only 36, a month shy of my 11th birthday. She had cancer of the liver and pancreas. She was given 6 months to live, but only made it through three, so her death was pretty sudden to us.

When I was a junior in high school, I wrote a paper for psychology class based on the book, "On Death and Dying" by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It discusses the 5 stages a person goes through when they are dying. I witnessed them first-hand, and wrote my paper based on my observations and feelings at the time. My teacher was so moved that he gave me extra credit on the paper. Ironically, I was quite surprised because I had actually rushed through writing the paper at the last minute and didn't expect more than a C+ (my average for the class...I wasn't a very studious student).  It was then I realized how much my mother's death had affected me.

When I graduated from high school I felt her absence. When I got married in 1998, I chose to wear her wedding dress (fit me perfectly; no alterations and only the lace needed a little mending) and we were married on what would've been my parents' 29th wedding anniversary. Coincidentally, I met my husband exactly 3 years earlier, to the day. That day, I felt her presence as we said our vows.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, the roller coaster of emotions started and they didn't stop until my daughter was around three years old. I wanted so desperately to share this intimate part of my life with the only woman I felt would completely understand and care enough to listen. I wanted to know what pregnancy was like for her. I wanted to know what thoughts were going through her head. I wanted to share minute details of my every day. When my daughter cried for 12 hours straight, then slept 12-14 hours straight, I wanted her there with me. When she got her first teeth or took her first steps, I wanted my mom to celebrate it with me. I had questions. I had tears. I had doubts; I had fears. But I had no mother to comfort me and assure me that I was doing fine.

What I did have was my old baby book. How much did I weigh when I was born? 6#, 2 1/2 ounces. How old was I when I got my first tooth? 6 mos. How old was I when I took my first steps? They were on my first birthday. Did I cry a lot? YES--very colicky. What were my first words? daddy/doggy. My mother kept meticulous records, complete with lots of pictures and, to my great comfort, short letters to me as I grew. I must've read them hundreds of times. They never cease to cheer me up and put a smile on my face.  

This is why I've kept meticulous records of and for my daughter. I wrote in a journal from before she was even conceived until she was about 2 months old. I want her to be able to read my thoughts, hopes, dreams. everything I was thinking and feeling while she was growing inside me. I make digital scrapbooks chronicling her every special moment, and even the mundane.  I've written her letters (as has her daddy) that come from the heart.  As a teenager, she may roll her eyes at me and my over-the-top record-keeping, but I'm hoping she'll come to appreciate having all this information when it comes time for her to have a child. Even if I'm around, my memory might not be so good.

To all the Motherless Mothers out there, I highly recommend the book, "Motherless Mothers" (and the prequel, "Motherless Daughters") by Hope Edelman. It was a source of comfort and strength for me and I hope it can be for you, too.

This picture is me with my mom, the last Christmas before she got sick, circa 1982. She had these matching dresses made for us, but hated hers because she thought she looked big in it. I thought she was beautiful.

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