Tag Archives: different

Highlights… better than when we were kids!

In exchange for a blog post, we received multiple issues of Highlights magazine. All opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.

Years ago, I was a Highlights kid. I circled all the differences between pictures, stuck stickers to everything insight, enjoyed reading articles with content designed just for me, and loved doing puzzle after puzzle of different mediums (I’ve always enjoyed word puzzles more than any!)… so naturally, as an adult, I am drawn to the brand again.

When Addie was under a year, I ordered her a subscription to Hello! Highlights magazine for the youngest of babes, from 0-2. They’re awesome- AND impossible to tear. We’ve collected them all to share with Millie!

#aisforadelaide #HighlightsHello #HighlightsMagazine #shop

I was so enamored with how much Addie loves getting her own mail and magazines, that I contacted Highlights to learn more about High Five!, their magazine printed up just for toddlers ages 2-6! I was delighted to get a few free copies so I could share them with Addie… who I knew would love them- I didn’t anticipate how much, however.

On a rainy day, we pulled  out the issues we were sent to try and Addie got right to work.

#Aisforadelaide #shop #highlights ##highlightsmagazine #highfive #highlightshighfive

What strikes you first is the beautiful, full size magazine itself. The covers are all beautiful illustrated and just like mine- with some of the feature articles on the inside. Addie felt pretty cool with her own mag.

#aisforadelaide #shop #highlights #highlightsmagazine #highlightshighfive #jointhefun

She loved reading the short stories, identifying hidden images and actions,  but became engrossed in the Read Aloud in English and Spanish section. The stories are really vivid, and offer lines in Spanish- which Addie repeats often and usually in context (she speaks more Spanish than I do now!), which integrate well into the story. Not only is she using another language, but she’s learning to identify different objects and emotions in Spanish.

#aisforadelaide #spanish #highlights #highlightsmagazine #shop #highlightshighfive

Each magazine is also packed with puzzles (“That’s Silly”, a find it game) and step-by-step images (with captions) showing different activities, like sitting crisscross applesauce, crouch, jump and jog (like a frog!), action rhyming with movement- different each month! And our favorite, a recipe or craft at the end!

#aisforaldeiade #HighlightsHighFive #shop #highlightsmagazine That's Silly

A super cool one we want to make for Daddy is a painted paintbrush! Taking a plain paintbrush with a wooden handle, you turn it into a colorful, polka-dot brush, perfect for spreading sauce over your favorite BBQ! Or in our April issue, where we learned how to make our own play-dough. And in May, we made some delicious Crunchy, Nutty Muffins- perfect because the ingredients were so basic- we already had them on hand, and it was simple for Addie to help me measure and mix! These mags are perfect because they offer SO much in each issue that we can come back to them time and time again and learn something new- plus, Addie loves to try and find things by herself and tell me stories about the pictures each time she revisits!

#aisforadelaide #highlightsmagazine #highfive #learning #toddlers

Addie helping me make Crunchy Nut Muffins- a Highlights High Five recipe!

I am so excited to order Addie her own yearly subscription so the fun can last all year- and every time we pull out the magazines! From rainy day activity, to a magazine to read during quiet times that will surely be needed after Millie’s arrival, High Five! is the perfect addition to our mailbox as a special treat for Miss A!

Also on my radar? Some NEW projects to be released for all ages! Highlights is working on releasing something for us parents, as well as a new magazine series sure to excite… don’t worry- I’ll share more info soon!

What’s your favorite memory of Highlights? Mine is the doctor’s offices that carried them so I could read a magazine in the waiting room, just like my parents!

 

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Filed under Reviews

Keep Pushing

I was unable to find anyone who recorded (or even took a picture!) of the LPA Speakers’ Night, but I wanted to share my piece with you. I plan on recording me speaking it, but wanted to share it with you (written) in the meantime. So, without further stalling, here is my LPA Speakers’ Night Piece entitled: Keep Pushing.

#lpaSD2014 #LPA Speakers Night

As I embark upon the birth of my second child, I find the title of my piece ironic.

Keep pushing.

While that’s not my birthing mantra- that one is just breathe- Keep pushing is my mission in life.

Letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, so why do other people expect me to allow such behaviors from them?

The answer is simple. The answer points a finger. The answer stings. The answer is me.

People treat others as they are allowed to. Sad? Pathetic? Lame? You bet. But it’s the truth. We love to take advantage of life- be lazy where we can be. We often, as humans, forget the implications of our language.

We let people call us homo, fat, crazy, midget, whore. Because as a culture stopping these things is too “politically correct”. We fear that we are being “too sensitive”, we aren’t raising tough kids, or we ourselves do not have thick skin.

“Good luck this time!”
“Good for you- trying again.”
“Sucks you didn’t know before she was born.”
“Is there anything they can do for her when she’s older to make her taller?”

Fellow humans have said these things to me. Why does the world view dwarfism as something to be cured, rather than embraced as a difference?

We don’t want to question what others say. We give up our right to know about ourselves when we don’t ask the hard questions.

“I don’t know.”
“We will learn together.”
“Let’s come back to that.”
“This is my first one.”

Doctors have said these things to me. Why is the education about dwarfism so slim that many medical professionals fear the diagnosis of dwarfism- offering patients little education and less options.

My mantra, Keep pushing. For respect, for knowledge.

Do you see it yet? Do you feel the need to push?

There is change that can be made. There is change that needs to be made. There are generations coming up behind you and me, behind the children being born today and the children following them. There are millions of people yet to be born, and thousands will have a form of dwarfism.

But they will not be dwarfs.

They will be painters and doctors. They will be writers and scientists. They will be political leaders and dreamers and veterinarians. Those born with a form of dwarfism will love and be loved. They will change lives and shape the world for future generations. The way we need to now.

There is a need to define ourselves by what we want as a community and let the masses, not the few, lead the way. Television shows that pigeonhole this community, media misconceptions, movies and comedians are things of the past when we push- and keep pushing- to be defined not as little people, but as people. Height doesn’t make someone smart, or happy, or better than. Average height just makes you average.

Be spectacular regardless. Keep pushing.

When a doctor tells me they do not know, I ask, “how will you find the answer?” When I am given news about a health concern and then that same medical professional attempts to leave the room, I ask for further explanation. I ask what our course of action is. I ask what their medical opinion and experience are. What is the timeline. How do we proceed? I push to know more. I push to make them answer. To make them accountable for their diagnosis. I refuse to let Google do my doctoring. I refuse to leave not knowing.

Too many parents email me with the same story. It goes like this: The doctors told me my baby would be a dwarf. They gave me a packet of papers and told me to make appointments for these things. They told me to be prepared, but not for what.

More often than not, I offer my telephone number. I spend hours each week calming mothers-to-be and new parents. Not giving medical advice, but offering an ear and listening to questions that are left unanswered. Unanswered concerns from a doctor who left their patients with a handout and maybe a few people to call.

This is not OK. This is not how patients should be treated. Dwarfism is not unknown. Specialists exist!

In my hours on the phone I’ve looked up local hospitals with clinics, referred many to our own team in Delaware, and always given out the LPA’s website. Hours spent giving the same basic information that needs to be readily available to all patients with a diagnosis of dwarfism. Support, love and most importantly, knowledge.

Keep pushing.

Keep pushing so that when someone sees a person of short stature they smile, the same smile they offer any other human on the street. Why? Because a person of short stature is any other human.

Keep pushing to make changes, because if there is such an uprising about a professional football team name change, then there should be a change across the nation of high school sports teams named The Midgets. Because other people do not decide what offends you. Because other people don’t control our emotions. Because being sensitive, caring, respectful people is what defines a civilized culture. That is what humanity means. Because even doctors need to learn something new every day. Because bedside manner isn’t dead (and neither is chivalry, if you were wondering).

There isn’t a facet of our culture that doesn’t need advocacy from our community, so be that voice. Never stop pushing because it doesn’t bother you anymore, or because you think one person can’t make a difference. One voice. One community. One change at a time.

Keep pushing because letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, and I won’t being defined by anyone but myself.

 

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Marvelous Monday

So much to say about what’s been going on, but I keep reflecting on our wonderful experience in California.

If you followed my social media pages, you may have noticed #lpaSD2014 making it’s way around with pictures, quotes, and events… all leading to the LPA National Conference in San Diego. It was amazing.

It is also something that we could not have participated in without the help and support of our parents and my aunt and uncle. Both my parents and Dave’s helped us get there (via flyer miles, rewards, food, and accommodations). I am also extremely grateful for my dearest, who works his tail off at work and then each weekend doing repairs to save up for the cost of eating away from home (yes, a BLT in San Diego is $10!). But it is more than the money. It’s the understanding. My mother-in-law was initially going to come with us (she will be attending workshops with us in Boston in 2017!), but decided that it was just too much for her… however, she still supported us going, which means the world to our family. San Diego is an awesome vacation spot, but the conference, the LPA organization and the knowledge and friendships we gain each year are invaluable to us.

#Aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #family #friends #dwarfism

Addie was blessed this year with a gift from a family who lost their child to a rare(r) form of dwarfism with a Lifetime Membership to Little People of America, and we could not be more thankful. Knowing  that Addie will always have access to the best advocacy, community and medical advice, even after Dave and I are not here to guide her, eases my heart. There are so many lesser known facets to the LPA organization that I hope she explores- including scholarships and a deep-rooted community- that having this membership offers her access to all this and so much more- forever! #aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #LPANationalConference #SanDiego

With that, the opportunity to go to as many regional (local) and national events as we can gives us all opportunity to learn, play, educate and be educated. Last year, I was a part of a panel that focused on social media and how we present ourselves as a community, and this year I spoke about why I keep pushing (advocating) for more education and awareness. Dave got to learn about different home adaptations and how he can make our house more comfortable for Addie without making it difficult for us. Even the grandparents got to go to some workshops and learn a bit more about what it’s like to grow up as someone with dwarfism, the things they can help Addie with, and just take part in the community.

#aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #expo #travel #sandiego

All-in-all… this was an amazing experience. Made that much better by our trip a few hours north to see my Aunt Donna and Uncle Ted. While I am forever grateful to the LPA and being able to experience national events, being able to see my Uncle Ted meant more to me than I can express. My Mom did not find her brother until she was in her 20′s. Adopted at birth, she was able to reconnect years later with a lot of research… and I am so glad she did. My Uncle is amazing- traveling to see us a lot in my youth- and coming to stay with us for much longer than he anticipated, when my Dad passed. We often joke in my family that I was a wild child, but that didn’t really happen until my Dad died. My Uncle saw firsthand how out of control I became and how quickly I down-spiraled. But still, he stayed. Day after day he supported my Mom and did everything he could to help with the daily running of the house, and the big things that my Dad had been too sick to do in his last months of life. Going out to see him, hug him, talk to him and see the spark in his eye was more than I could ask for.

#aisforadelaide #lpasd2014 #family #vacation #travel

He’s sick. I hate that. I hate seeing a man who has rocked the world, serving our country, playing a major role in aerospace development, advancing the programs that offer guide and service dogs to those who need, and most of all being an amazing family man- he’s diminishing in body… but never spirit. I was afraid he would be fragile and was instead surprised to see him, stout as ever, never batting an eye when he needed oxygen or apologizing for needing a break. Quite simply, as Ted has always been, he just is. Maybe that’s where I get my no apologies life-view from… I am who I am, be damned if it upsets you or makes you uncomfortable. And my Aunt Donna, his rock, she’s kind of amazing, too. Her love, support and drive are inspiring. A teacher for years, she set Addie up with all the fun stuff while accepting oxygen deliveries, getting towels for Addie and I to swim, her beaming smile never fading.

#aisforadelaide #family #LPAsd2014 #sandiego #losangeles #travel

There are some days that are really hard. For everyone. I have a family who has taught me, and continues to do so, that there are way more rainbows than rain if we look for them. I am thankful that we got to Cali this summer… for the sun, sand, friendships, education, family.

Have you done a big summer vacation this year? What was your favorite part?

Happy Marvelous Monday, Reader! I hope you have a beautiful week!

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Filed under Community, Marvelous Monday

Surgery Day!

So here we are again… Hasbro Children’s Hospital! Addie is headed in for her second set of tubes and an adenoidectomy.  I talked to 4 different doctors yesterday, and though I am pretty much not answering my phone if I see 401-444-#### (which indicates someone from Lifespan Hospital Network calling me), I am thankful that we have such an amazing team, willing to do all the research possible to keep Addie safe and healthy.

As many have read, we’re going through a lot of diagnosing and problem-solving for Addie’s blackout episodes, which included an MRI. Sadly, we did not have full follow through of the order, and Addie will need to undergo another round of imaging so we can get a better idea of what might be happening. For this, we will head up to Boston (in a few weeks)…. for today, we just want to get through the ENT battle.

#aisforadelaide #warriorgirl #HasbroChildrensHospital

After I wrote about needing sedation (Addie is intubated as her airways are constricted), and how incredibly apprehensive that makes me (pregnancy hormones don’t help), many people chimed in. I wish that I could say their words helped, but sometimes they hurt or scared me more. When I lost my father 16 years ago I remember a lot of other people missing “the mark” of things to say- there are a thousand articles about what to say to someone who is grieving, but what about parents and caretakers who are scared? I know that nothing said truly makes anyone feel better, but there are things that have made me feel a bit worse about what’s going on and I wanted to share them with you because many parents have told me they too feel the same way–>

1. Don’t worry.
See, the thing is… I’m WAY past that.
2. It’s not a big surgery.
If my child is in surgery, it’s a big surgery to me. It’s a part of me I’ve entrusted to the Earth in a situation I cannot even try to control.
3. Been there. Done that.
While I am aware we are not reinventing the wheel here, routine surgery for one is not for another. Please, try to not one-up others.
4. I had that, and I was OK. (Or my child did)
I know lots of people with  lots of stories. I know kids that do GREAT under anesthesia. I know kids that have gone into comas from it, too. I know that when Addie wakes up she is a mess, her throat hurts, she’s raspy, she needs to be held and fights needed oxygen. I know that she gets ill, but refuses to drink or eat to help it. I know that she will be OK because we have a handpicked team, but brushing off a parent’s fear doesn’t make them feel better… or at least doesn’t work for me.
5. I know someone who died from that.
No joke. Someone told me they knew someone who had a child who died during a routine surgery- then they IM’d me their prayers. Ummmmmmm… I know things can happen, please don’t share those personal stories with me as I’m scheduling a routine surgery.
6. Try having (insert different procedure here).
This one really gets me. For some society has created a need for constant comparisons. Pissing contests. Who has it harder. I’ll tell you what, I know what hardship is. Maybe it is experience (I am still just a mom to one, and if you think back to those days, you too will remember your feelings were different then than they are now), maybe it’s age, or financial status, or location… or maybe, just maybe, it is how I feel as an individual. And it  is OK for me to feel the way I do. Maybe, someday, I will experience a similar hardship to you- but if you’re that person who feels like your life is harder, it just won’t matter… I’ll never be justified. This is, if you truly think of it, tragic for you.

And now that that’s off the table… I appreciate your kind words, your loving emails, texts, phone calls. So many are pulling for Addie to feel 100%, and for that I could not be more thankful. For those who go through major experimental surgeries, I pray for you everyday and I am thankful for the love and support offered to those families. When any family is going through unusual circumstances, the support system that surrounds them gives them the most strength. Thank you, Reader, for your strength.

lots of love,

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Marvelous Monday

And so… we are back. Many times I spent my Marvelous Mondays writing about what I am thankful for as friends or my surroundings, but today, I want to be thankful for opportunity. We don’t go on date nights, or celebrate with fancy dinners or outings, most of the time the idea of vacation seems intimidating and daunting for the sheer cost factor, but we are never short on opportunity.

Much thanks to our parents, who help us do the big things in life. We’d love to cruise the Bahamas, take a trip to Disney, see the Eiffel Tower… but more than that, we want to learn and support this amazing community around us- the reason I even began this blog… we want to be active members of the LPA as fully as we can be!

Last week, we took full advantage of our membership and joined hundreds of others in San Diego.

#aisforadelaide #marvelousmonday #lpaSD2014

I spent hours in workshops, gatherings, meetings and group events… to learn, to think, to take notes, to listen, to share, to dream, to wonder, to play! Addie participated in her first fashion show! I met SO many wonderful people I’d only ever spoken to online. Dave got to SIT DOWN! I spoke… in front of way more of a crowd than I was expecting, and though it was not recorded (to my knowledge), I will share the piece with you soon. We made friends family.

So, what is there to not be thankful for in life? I’m not thankful that Addie will have to undergo another MRI for more imaging. I’m not thankful that we still don’t know why she’s blacking out. I’m not thankful that there are so many questions and so few answers… in general. But who is counting? What this means is that there is more to see, more to know and more to learn. Advocating for our community, for our family and for Addie herself is never done. So let’s start this week in thanks… and get ready to work hard once again!

Happy Marvelous Monday, Reader!

love,

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Filed under Community, Marvelous Monday

Marvelous Monday

Oh. Em. Geeeee!!!!!

There’s so much to say and so little time to type! I just want to let everyone know- we made it safely to the LPA National Conference- and I survived another public speaking engagement! We miss our sweet Carter Jay, but he’s having fun with his grandparents and ruling the roost.

If you are here at the conference, please let me know! I would love to meet as many new people as possible! Just leave a comment, or email me through the Contact tab! I will be posting way less this week and appreciate your understanding!

Lots of love and a beautiful Monday to you, Reader!

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#TravelTips from the Experts

The countdown is coming to an end… and travel is coming to the front. With a time change, being pregnant, a toddler, and late travel, I decided to ask a few experts for their best travel tips. I got a lot of answers, but some of my favorites are below:

My Facebook Gurus:

  • Take a bag with treats, all wrapped up individually – things like crayons, sticker books, a little teddy etc – as a way to motivate good behavior on long flights. For every hour of good airplane behavior your child closes their eyes to choose a treat and open it. Often, the treat will keep your child busy for the next hour! (April from 21st Century Housewife)
  • Bring lots of activities like coloring books and stickers, especially lift-the-flap books. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people. When we change time zones, sleep routines can get way off so we use Zarbee’s Naturals Sleep to help get back on a schedule. (Nicole Bangerter)
  • Audio storybooks, a DVD player with favorite shows/movies, and your own pillow. (Brandie Valensuela)
    • We are downloading a few movies onto the tablet AND packed big head phones with padding on the ears that we’ve introduced to Addie before hand so we know she likes them.

And friends from Twitter:

#aisforadelaide #traveltips

A few others that were said a lot:

  • Check everything so you have very few carry-ons, and can just focus on kids. (For us, checking everything is an expense we cannot budget in, so we are just bringing bags that are easy to maneuver.)

  • Special snacks kids never get. (Again hard, because we don’t want to give Addie sugary snacks for short-term benefit of quiet, when she may react poorly to it, overeat, and the late flight paired with sugar is a poor choice for us.)

  • Bring LOTS of snacks. (I will be doing this for me, too!)

  • Extra clothes for accidents and in case of long layovers or accidents. (For parents and kids!)

What’s your your best advice?

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Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Calm-a-Mama… or anyone!

I received a sample of Calm-a-Mama blend for my post. All opinions are my own, and are not swayed by the sponsor.

Believe it or not, there’s lots of stress in the Martinka house. It’s like a plague you try to keep out of the home, but somewhere, there’s always a window open. And sometimes it’s a lot for this mama-to-be and her little one. Until recently, I’d tried meditation – unsuccessfully. To find the time to take a deep breath, or even the lung space at this point is difficult, not to mention getting to the point where I remember to stop and slow down is usually also the point where I have reached breaking. To prevent all of the little things bottled up inside me, to help me cope, if you will, I’ve turned to Calm-a-Mama flower remedies.

calmamama #shop #aisforadelaide #flowerremedies

Flower Remedies (essences) are infused waters from the flowering parts of the plant (NOT perfumes). They’re used to restore wholeness via the balancing of mind, body and spirit, as a safe, natural healing remedy. These remedies target emotions and heal by encouraging peace and harmony, and are perfect for all stages of life from childhood through adulthood, and are even safe for pets! Calm-a-Mama blends are made in the USA and use authentic Bach Flower Remedies, formulated by British physician, Dr. Edward Bach, in the 1930′s.

In our current state, I’ve opted for the Mama-to-Be Pregnancy Blend and for Addie, the Midnight Mouse Blend. The Mama-to-Be Blend is a combination of 4 flower remedies that come together to help with smooth transitions, to take deep breaths and to move with grace. It also helps you accept your body as it is, changing, right now. Which, with baby 2, has been  much  different than baby 1! The blend is there for the sole purpose of supporting a harmonious transition to motherhood – for the first time or again! Using Crab Apple to help you accept your changing appearance, Olive to help rejuvenate you from exhaustion, Walnut to help you embrace transitions and Larch to increase confidence, this blend is perfect for all the things that have gathered in my system and that I’m having a hard time balancing.

Taking 4 drops in the morning and then repeating this a few times a day has truly lead to harmonious days, from the toddler race to work-balance and everything in between, no matter what that consists of. For the final edits that need to be made to dinner being on the table just as Dave gets home, and all of the diapers washed, dried and folded… the Mama-to-Be Blend is perfect for me. For post baby, I am stocking up on the Baby Blues Postpartum Blend (to pair with my encapsulation pills), as well as the original Calm-a-Mama Crisis Blend. There are still moments of course, but as a whole my days are calmer. I am at peace. And I’ve found a way to treat myself for just a few moments… those precious moments to calm this mama.

The Midnight Blend is for sleep, however it does not make a child sleepy, so I am using it for more than the nighttime hardships. For hard days, which are aplenty without AC, molars making their appearance, and limited binky time, we head to Addie’s 4 drops for some peace. It’s a combo of 5 flower essences for calm, peace of mind, quiet courage, opening up and unwinding. Often there are those moments of pure loss, where there is pain, a lack of communication and the need for some love. I ask her if some drops would help, and she often settles long enough to nod yes. As she walks to her room, we settle under the fan, her wrapped in my arms, enjoying a light breeze and I give her one “dose”. She usually smacks her lips and smiles, then rests her head back onto my chest. Before bed, she also gets her 4 drops, and I love that part of our routine- it’s the moment she knows that she needs to stay in bed and we are ready to shut the lights off.

#aisforadelaide #calmamama #shop #flowerremedies

For Millie’s arrival, I am definitely stocking up on The Bachs Five Flower Kids’ Crisis Blend, which includes Rock Rose for terror, Star of Bethlehem for shock, Cherry Plum for loss of control, Clematis is for detachment and Impatiens for irritability. It helps to take the edge off and restore balance- which I think is going to be important in the big changes that’s coming and for all the moments we simply cannot prepare for. And what about Miss Millie? There’s Soothe and Calm Baby Blend: Featuring 3 flower remedies, this blend can be used for infants, kids and adults alike, with Impatiens to replace irritability with good humor, Larch for confidence, and Rock Rose for courage in the face of terror. Ingredients also include chamomile, filtered water and vegetable glycerin as a preservative.

There’s even a blend that Dave will be using: Calm-a-Daddy Crisis Blend. They say going from 1 to 2 is the hardest transition… and I know that there will be moments for us all. Because of that, I think having a remedy for the Daddy is important, too.

The one thing I like to remind myself is that even when I have it all under control (because that happens?), flower remedies work best when used for an extended period of time and not necessarily when a large dose is consumed. I love this, to be honest, because (as mentioned) I give myself a routine. A few moments throughout the day to myself to find center, peace and… well… me. And I give that gift to everyone in my family, too.

#aisforadelaide #calmamama #shop #providenceflea #rhodeisland

For all the Calm-a-Mama blends and to order your own (always free shipping), check out their website and Facebook… and share all of your Calm Moments on Instagram. And all you locals to RI, check out Calm-a-Mama’s booth at Providence Flea on Sundays this summer!

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Filed under Pregnancy/Birth, Reviews

#JustForLove

I received a t-shirt (that you can get, too!) in return for a blog post about Baby2Baby. All opinions are my own and are not swayed by the sponsor.

I’d never heard of the #JustForLove campaign Séraphine was running, but if you know Jessica Alba, you know Baby2Baby. As it turns out, Séraphine, the leading maternity fashion brand in the UK and US, kicked off their Mother’s Day celebrations by beginning this campaign to celebrate Mother’s Day this year to help raise as much money as possible for Baby2Baby. To do this, Séraphine is hosting a fundraising app HERE and are personally donating each time the app is used! So far they’ve raised $1184 (my photo submission was number 1,184)! It’s super easy to upload your own image to the site- and in an effort to spread the love as far and wide as possible, for every image uploaded to the site, Séraphine will donate $1 to the organization Baby2Baby. . Seriously, it’s that easy and more than worth it! The app works just like an Instagram feed, inviting everyone to post an image that represents their own personal moment of love- whatever that means for you. A picture of your baby bump, your child, a hug with your mother or your partner… it can be anything truly meaningful and symbolic of a loving moment.

AisForAdelaideSeraphone #baby2baby upload

If you don’t know what Baby2Baby is…
Baby2Baby provides low-income children, ages 0-12, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. Supported by a board of influential women, including celebrity moms Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie, Baby2Baby will serve over 70,000 children this year by collecting and distributing donations of new and gently used children’s essentials.

#Aisforadelaide #JustforLove #baby2Baby #shop #makeadifference

See that gorgeous shirt I’m wearing? It’s a beautiful white top, scoop neck maternity tee produced by Séraphine. Around the belly is #justforlove… and every single time I wear it I get compliments. It’s not only gorgeous, but this day and age everyone wants to know “what does it mean?”! My answer is simple, It means I can give #JustForLove to another family.

For me this means that my wearing my shirt, wrapping my unborn in the phrase, is spreading the word about this important project (that’s coming to a close at the end of the month!). My favorite meaning of this whole project, why I am involved, why I think every city needs a program as selfless, is this:

#JustforLove #amotherslove #aisforadelaide

 

For any moms-to-be out there who want some beautiful fashion (I do love when fashion meets charity!), please consider visiting the site and ordering yourself a t-shirt HERE! They’re $20 each and 100% of the sale price goes to Baby2Baby, helping to increase support for the mothers and children they serve.

#aisforadelaide #shop #baby2baby #justforlove Make a difference

 

“To become a mother is to experience love in one of the strongest and purest ways imaginable, so we fully support Baby2Baby’s mission, helping mothers and their children in desperate situations,” said Cecile Reinaud, founder of Séraphine.

Please join me in the campaign and learn more by watching this moving video. Let’s help families… all by sharing a favorite photo!

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Filed under Pregnancy/Birth, Reviews

So… what’s a doula, anyway?

I cannot tell you how much I try to push having a doula. To anyone who asks about birth, the first thing I relay is how much a doula helped me… in my case, doulas. Yep. 2!

I first heard about birth doulas from co-creator of RI New Moms Connection, Kristen Kardos. She herself is a postpartum doula. I decided to attend a Doulas of Rhode Island event (DoRI) to see if it was for me- Dave joined me for the informational session and really opened both our eyes. While I was enamored with having a doula, he liked the idea of placenta encapsulation. Gathering cards and speaking with lots of people, we left with a few interviews to discuss our pending arrival on the books!

There are lots of considerations with what your doula has up her sleeve- I really loved that my team offers everything from photography to massage and encapsulation. Some doulas offer these services or others, and all are accommodating and want to make your experience exactly what you desire (and if you think a c-section mama doesn’t need a doula, trust me, it’s a common misconception). I never say I “hired” a doula, because that is so impersonal. For me, I found friendships in each of the women who came into my home. We laughed, we were serious, we shared, and we listened. In the end, I chose two friends, a team, that welcomed Addie, and I cannot wait for them to help me usher Millie into the world, too.

#aisforadelaide #birthphotos #achondroplasia #blessedbeginnings #doula

I wanted to share my favorite ladies in Rhode Island, and encourage those of you out there who are worried about birth to just talk to a few doulas in your area. A doula will come have some tea, a chat, and together you can see if having a doula is right for you- an option I think is invaluable to most women.

Kim is one of my birth doulas. She works with a partner, Erica, together known as Blessed Beginnings, bringing in new life… she’s also a masseuse,  does encapsulation for doula clients, and is super high functioning on very little sleep. I first met Kim (and Erica) at a DoRI event in Providence, and fell in love with her infectious smile, warm hug, and genuine love for all things birth. I can remember calling her at 10pm to tell her I thought my water broke, and her immediately giving me the power over what I felt was the best move. In my panic, I wanted to call the doctor- but had called her first… my best action. We discussed how my contractions were, how I felt, how Dave felt and together decided I would stay home, take a walk, have a shower, and eat something light.

Best. Ideas. Ever.

I ended up over 12 hours at home, laboring through the night in my own bed snuggled next to Dave and the dog, and loved it. So peaceful- AND allowed me to get rest. Kim checked in early the next morning- although I knew I could have called her at any time because she was ready. When I spoke to her, she was already heading close to my house and offered to come over, but I knew I was OK with Dave. Her being there gave me strength, and when I was ready to go to the hospital, she gave me lots of tips on the travel there, reminded me to grab my toothbrush, and met us there to be sure triage wasn’t a nightmare…. while I was so comfortable with Kim, I almost forgot to call my doctor to give them a heads up!

Throughout labor Kim was there not just for me, but for Dave, too. Food, drink, a few winks of shut-eye… it’s hard to say, but dads needs some love during labor, too (and it’s not coming from the mamas!). Kim also helped Dave help me- where he could hold or press on my back to relieve some of the discomfort, making sure that I was staying hydrated, and giving him all the towels and sheets he needed when I inevitably threw up.

Most importantly, Kim and Erica read what I needed before I knew, and reminded me that I could do this- no matter how I wanted to proceed. I remained in control because of that reminder. In the end my team got me moved from the smallest to largest labor and delivery room, which gave me access to a private shower, ball, and space for my crew to be (Mom, Dave, Kim, Erica… plus doctors, nurses, etc.).

But… enough about me! I asked Kim a few questions, and she gave me some pretty stellar answers.

Me: What does “doula” mean to you?
Kim: Someone who serves a woman and her family throughout pregnancy/labor/beyond.

Me: What’s your specialty and why did you enter that niche?
Kim: I don’t really feel like I have a specialty, but when I first started, I was totally freaked out about VBACs and really let quite a few mamas down in their time of need because of my fears and feelings of inadequacy regarding it all. One family in particular sit deeply in my memory as a complete failure on my behalf. Once I sat with it and realized that it was fear based, I hunted down evidence based research, I talked to VBAC mama’s and realized that birth is full of fear of both the known and the unknown and I couldn’t bring that into the room with me anymore. It wasn’t my right or privilege to have fear because mama and her family have enough for everyone and that is their right and privilege. My job is to help them voice their concerns and fears and hear them. Once the fear has a name, it’s much easier to confront. Needless to say, I have a large number of VBAC clients and they have a very special space in my heart whether it was “successful” or not because they face their fears head on.

Me: How many births have you attended?
Kim: Somewhere around 70.

Me: Favorite/most anticipated moment about birth… besides the baby!
Kim: Vomit, hormonal shaking and the birth song. I also love the time right after baby is placed on mama’s chest, docs are repairing and cleaning up so they are out of the family’s faces, and the family is close and touching and talking and laughing and whispering and and and perfection. I usually take pictures of this time or sit back and soak it all in usually with tears streaming down my face or a straight up shit eating grin. I’m totally crying and smiling ear to ear just writing this. During this time, I get to witness the hopes, dreams and love that this little one will be surrounded with. His/her welcoming party! Life on earth isn’t easy but when those first few moments are drenched in love and joy and laughter and deep deep soul sentiment it brings such a sense of all being right in the world if even only for a fleeting moment.

Me: Hardest part of your work?
Kim: Hard stuff… Mamas feeling like failures instead of victorious warrior princesses. Care providers that set aside the care part of their work and see this blessed sacred privilege as a job/career/burden/paycheck.

Me: A few words that you feel describe motherhood?
Kim: The most difficult. life changing season of insecurity and humility drenched in adoration, humor and love. All extremes of emotions and feelings, positive and negative, being experienced in the short span of the remainder of life. Ahhhh… motherhood!

Me: What areas do you serve in RI/MA/CT?
Kim: RI mostly but willing to travel out of state in special circumstances.

Me: Your hope for the future of your profession?
Kim: That every woman/family that desires a doula has one: prenatally, during birthing, and postpartumly.

Kim’s love comes out, even in the hardest times. This is my favorite photo from our birth…

#aisforadelaide #blessedbeginnings #doula #love #birth #pregnancy

To learn more about Blessed Beginnings, check out their website and Facebook!

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Filed under Pregnancy/Birth