Friday, July 29, 2011

The National Forum has Arrived! Register TODAY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three Amazing Words

dana and scarlett, b&w
Photo Credit: McBeth
"I Love You". 8 letters with 2 spaces. It really sounds simple. But to a parent of a child with autism, it's elusive. So many of us never hear these words, even if our children are verbal. At least not with feeling and a true comprehension of the meaning behind them. We know our children love us. We see it in their eyes. We see it in their behavior. But knowing it is not the same as hearing it.

I heard these words from Simon for the first time almost 2 years ago, after a VERY bad morning. He snuggled up to me before falling asleep for his nap and said that to me. I remember coming downstairs and crying from both joy and the incredible stress of that morning. As amazing as I felt when Daniel said those words to me for the first time when he was about 18 months old, when Simon had said those words, it felt like such a HUGE victory. He doesn't say it often, but it does come out occasionally.

But Rachel, we were still waiting. She is extremely verbal. Perhaps it just isn't going to happen. I love her, and I know she loves me, and that's enough. Of my 3 children, she is probably the most effective at non-verbally expressing that connection that we share. She clearly loves her Mom (and Dad too).

Yesterday afternoon, Simon is playing on the computer. Daniel is playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii. Rachel comes walking over to me. She climbs on my lap and gives me a hug. This is quite typical for her. She had a long day -- school in the morning, camp in the afternoon and then the stress that always happens coming home with 3 young children. She nuzzled in and said it. "I Love You."

Wait a minute. Did I hear that correctly? No. Her mouth was nuzzled into my neck so hard I had misunderstood. Then she stopped hugging me and looked me right in the eye. "I love you." Hug again. Then she climbed down and went to watch the game Simon was playing on the computer.

That was an amazing moment. I had said several times before that I just wanted to hear her say those words to me, with feeling. And on July 6, 2011, that wish was realized. August 14, 2009 and July 6, 2011 are two ABSOLUTELY amazing days for me and my twins.

Bedtime story in Hydra's pink background - Picture 433
Photo Credit: Demitris Papazimouris

Submitted by Ilene (DRS_Are_Best) from
{Originally published on My Family's Experience with Autism on July 7, 2011}
Monday, July 25, 2011

We Want to Spray Our New Members!

Are you new here? Come and get your feet wet with fun mommies and their kids at the Germantown Splash Park! The park offers a safe and relaxing place to let your children cool off and play with their new pals. We’re celebrating new members and old friendships --immerse yourself in the mom culture of our wonderful group on July 29th! See the calendar for details.
Dancing in the rain
Photo Credit: Frederic Mancosu
Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Member chat!

Come on in to the chatroom for some cozy conversation with other new members and some of our leaders. If you've just joined or have been around for a while but haven't had the chance to participate much yet, this is for you! This will be a great time for Q&A and a chance to get your feet wet in making some new friends in real-time!

We'll be gathering in the chat lounge on July 27th from 8-9 PM. Simply click on the chatroom button at the top of the forum page. "See you there!"
Friday, July 22, 2011

Spotlight on a photographer

In May we had a wonderful Spring Fling Photo Fundraiser!  Here's a spotlight on one of the photographers that participated in it.  You can see more samples of the pictures he took on our Facebook page.

Jeremy Rusnock is a Washington, DC Metro Area photographer who specializes in family and corporate portraiture as well as event photography.

“Of all the qualities a portrait photographer possesses, my love of people is probably the most important. The light, my camera, and photographic knowledge are
all crucial. But a strong connection with my subject turns a good photo into a great photo!” I wrote that statement many years ago but it remains true today. It
was especially true a few months ago as I photographed with the NorthMetroDCMommies Network for their Photo Fundraiser. I met a LOT of great families that weekend and we made some AMAZING images. I especially love it when a baby looks directly through the lens and the old cliché rings true: the eyes are the window to the soul!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's in a Word?

"That's retarded." "You're such a retard." "Don't be a 'tard." Those kinds of comments come out of our mouths all too often. I'm ashamed to admit that I've made comments like this myself when I was younger. We hear them in movies and on TV. We have no intention of hurting anyone with these words. In fact, they've become widely accepted in our culture as a way to jokingly insult one another. But the problem is, those words can cause a lot of damage. Besides being hurtful, they can also reinforce stereotypes and make life more difficult for people with intellectual disabilities.
Edmonton Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk 2007
Photo Credit: Christy Dean

I never fully understood the hurt caused by the word "retard" until a dear friend's baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. It was such a shock to everyone at first, since no prenatal testing had been performed, but it quickly became apparent to everyone what a wonderful blessing this child was. She has thrived and defied all expectations of the "experts." She is treated just like any other child, with love and respect for the person that she is. But one day, she could face the cold, hard realities of the world. My friend and I had a conversation one day about the word "retard" and how someone had used it in a conversation with her recently. She told me how hurt and angry it had made her feel. The most painful mental images were those of her daughter being teased and called names later in her life. She just wants to protect her daughter from that kind of ridicule and shame.
two young girls laughing behind another girls back
Photo Credit: studiostoer

Words have the power to uplift and inspire, but they also have the ability to cause so much pain and hurt. So please, before you refer to someone or something as a “retard” or “retarded”, stop and think about how an intellectually disabled person would feel if they were listening in on your conversation. Consider making a personal pledge today to eliminate these words from your vocabulary, unless you're educating someone about how hurtful they can be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reducing the Risk of PPD and Other Postpartum Emotional Issues

Planning, hoping wishing and dreaming and now the big event finally happened… I just had a baby! So why am I not thrilled? Sadness after pregnancy may come as a surprise to many people who expect to be glowing with joy and bursting with pride, but it doesn’t always feel that way. For one thing, you've got a flood of hormones running through your body. You're also physically exhausted, maybe in pain from birth, and now you have a new responsibility that is wonderful, yes, but still a lot of work!
Mother and Newborn Baby Boy
Photo Credit: Jon Ovington
But don’t worry; it is normal to be a little overwhelmed, scared, sad, or confused.
According to The National Institutes of Mental Health, studies show that the childbearing years are when a woman is most likely to experience depression in her lifetime. Approximately 15% of all women will experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child. 
So What can you do?
  • Continue to take your prentatal vitamins! Some symptoms are caused by imbalances that can be helped by vitamins.
  • Eat Healthy- A healthy diet can also help to balance your body's chemistry. It is also vital to take in enough calories when nursing so your baby gets enough nutrition and you don't suffer physically. Talk to your doctor about setting up a diet plan. TOO HARD? Try these simple guidelines: eat a good balance of all the important nutrients! Include dairy, bananas, soy based, folates (leafy greens), and turkey (good source of tryptophan to help your body's production of serotonin). Also citrus foods for vitamin C!
  • Support groups can be very helpful. Often talking to other moms who are experiencing similar feelings can not only show you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE but also give you some SUGGESTIONS on what worked for them- different ideas on how to get PAST your sadness .
  • Be sure to have some Daddy time! Allow daddy to spend time with the baby so you can take a nap, take a hot bath, go to a cafe , or go for a walk. Don't feel like this is taking away from your bonding time. Being with baby is important, but so is feeling happy about yourself. It is also good for dad and baby to bond. Even if it's just 10 minutes in hot shower or sipping tea while you read a magazine. You are a mommy, but you are also still YOU and will always be you. A woman, a person, an individual.
Teen Depression, The Illusion of the Beauty Queen
Photo credit: Tollie Schmidt
Remember that sadness after the birth of a baby is normal but it also affects everyone in your household, from your spouse, to your baby, and even other children if you have any. It is important for you to be proactive in dealing with this sadness.

Every day you need to:
And DO SOMETHING FUN! (Even if you don't want to!)
Go write that down on a notepad now and stick it somewhere where you can see it every day. 

These activities will not only reduce the period of sadness, they will help to prevent a more serious form of depression from occurring.
Parenting may not be all sunshine and rainbows, but enjoying the miracle of your baby, taking care of yourself, and realizing that you’re not alone will help you immensely throughout the journey.
Happy Mom
Photo Credit: Tara Hunt

 -Written by Jill PhD, MSpsy, MPA, CHt
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mom's Night Out this month!

Come join us on Thursday the 21st for a great Mom's Night Out (MNO).  This one will find us in Damascus at a paint your own pottery store.  Be sure to check the calendar for details!
Pottery Painting Cafe
Photo Credit: John Ager
Friday, July 15, 2011

Chocolate Covered Goodness...

I thought these would be fun for the girls to help me make, and well, they are fruit so they are kind of healthy, and chocolate makes everyone happy. I would like to apologize now for the shortening in this recipe, if it will make you squirm read no further, there isn't a lot in there but there is some. Sorry, but I am in the middle of operation eat what you have, and well that was in the pantry. I think you can use butter but I am unsure it will set up like the shortening does. OK let's refocus now on what's important, chocolate, oh and the fruit.

2 firm but ripe bananas
Semi sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon of Crisco- I had butter flavored, so I used it. I don't think leaving it out would be an issue at all
toppings- sprinkles, flakes of coconut, coarsely ground nuts, cookie crumbs, whatever you want. I had crushed heath bar ready to go but as the girls and I dipped we decided that we liked just plain chocolate.
Popsicle sticks or skewers or even lollipop sticks

Peel your bananas, and cut them in half. Not lengthwise though, insert a skewer or Popsicle stick.
Put them in the freezer for a good hour or two.

Wash and dry your berries. I bet blueberries would be divine...

I had a few squares of bakers chocolate, so I used that and used some chocolate chips. Place your chocolate into a bowl that can sit on top of a pot of water, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
Or use your double boiler if it's not too big.

Add your shortening if you are using it. (A Tablespoon of Nutella would be divine to add, but my oldest is allergic to hazelnuts.) Turn the heat onto LOW, trust me on this LOW and slow is the best way to go.

Stir everything up, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, do not let it get too heated it will "freeze" up on you, I don't know what it's called but it gets all hard and pasty.

See? Smooth, take it off the pot of water.
I'd like to swim in that.

Take your banana's out of the freezer.
Dip them in the chocolate, and turn to coat.

Place them in a topping if you are using one and then on a parchment lined plate or baking sheet. Depending on how many you are making. Put them back in the freezer, until the chocolate has set, then you can wrap them up individually and keep them in the freezer.

Dip your berries.

Place them on parchment also and put them in the refrigerator to set.

OK now that that's all done with give your kids some cocktail forks and fruit and let them eat the rest of the chocolate and fruit and toppings. It's good warm. Messy, but who cares.

Post submitted by Katherine from NorthMetroDCMommies
{Originally posted on Please Give Peas a Chance on April 10, 2008}
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Potluck Picnic photos!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scales, Fangs & Tails!

Would you like to do something free but out of the ordinary that your whole family will enjoy? Come see the amazing Reptiles Alive Show on July 14th in Silver Spring! If you feel creepy-crawly around cold blooded critters, this is an opportunity to learn about the hidden virtues and lovely aspects of animals that are often misunderstood. Skilled wildlife educators reveal a new side to creatures you may never have seen up close before. Your kids will be talking about this event for ages, and it’s sure to be exciting for the grown-ups as well!

Check out the calendar for details. 
Photo Credit: ergates
snake handler
Photo Credit: Steven Leggett
Saturday, July 9, 2011

We Need YOUR Words!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mommy & Me Tea

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Calling all mompreneurs!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July fun facts!

It's the 4th of July!  We at NorthMetroDCMommies hope you are having a wonderful and safe holiday.  Here are some fun facts on our Independence Day:

  • The 4th of July is the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed.  However the 2nd of July is the day that the 13 colonies voted to become independent. The measure was first proposed in June.
  • The estimated number of hot dogs that will be eaten today?  Over 150 Million!
  • Most of the flags and patriotic items to celebrate today are made in China.
  • Independence Day was not declared a legal holiday until 1941.
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
  • Not all of the signatures happened at the same place and time.  John Hancock was the only one to actually sign it on July 4th.  50 of them signed on August 2nd.  The last to sign happened January 1777.
  • Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.
  • Sparklers burn at over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.  

We hope you have a safe and fun 4th of July!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby

Let me start off by saying that I totally messed this recipe up. For one I should have gotten the base recipe for a dutch baby out instead of winging it from memory- I remembered the recipe but when it came time to execute there was too much going on to remember every little thing, two I should have just paid more attention. So for your sake read the directions and ignore the pictures. I will say that in spite of me messing up this recipe the girls and I LOVED it and we will be having it again. So good. Diva requested that I put it in her lunch for school tomorrow.

4 tablespoons butter
one apple
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 eggs
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* NOTE- you CAN fry up the apples, put them in a baking dish that has melted butter and then pour the batter over the top of that and bake it, but I didn't want to wash a pan and a baking dish. So you know. Whatever you want.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and pull out your blender.
In a small bowl mix your sugar, all your spices except the salt.

Peel your apple. , if you want. I do because it's easier for Piglet to chew.

Slice it thin.

In an oven safe skillet melt your butter.

When it is melted arrange your apples in the pan. You will soon see that I wasted my time doing this, but anyway just do it.

Sprinkle a little bit of your sugar mixture on the apples. I left the stove on and the apples were still cooking on medium low at this point.

Put the rest of the sugar mixture into the blender.


Add your flour.

Add your milk and vanilla...
NOW as you can see I did NOT add my eggs, please do so now. It is important, especially if you want your apples to be pretty.

Blend it up.

Pour it over you apples...
(note I realized I forgot the eggs, so I put them in and stirred it up)

Yeah, it's not pretty, the apples are now all mixed up in there... but it worked.

Once your pour your complete batter on top of the apples put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. I did 16 minutes. It was cooked through and still a little custard like in the center. If you don't like that cook it longer.

Now it isn't AS poofy as a plain dutch baby, however it DID poof up and then settle once out of the oven. Like I said it was so yummy with a little syrup.

Post submitted by Katherine from NorthMetroDCMommies
{Originally posted on Please Give Peas a Chance on April 10, 2008}

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