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Thirsties Baby » Search Results » 67 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog Modern Cloth Diapers Thu, 26 May 2016 20:10:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/ways-to-make-every-day-earth-day/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/ways-to-make-every-day-earth-day/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7779

 Now that Earth Day is over, you’d think we’d be all done with the whole “find ways to improve our planet” thing, right? But, nope!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY. After all, it’s our home 365 days of the year; why just look for ways to help it on ONE day, or one week, or one month?

The good thing is that many of us already make everyday Earth Day. Whether you cloth diaper for an economic reason, environmental cause, cuteness factor, or some other awesome reason, you’re still doing a huge part to help cut back on unnecessary waste. It’s true!

Even if the only environmental choice you make is to cloth diaper, your impact is massive.

MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY
So, since everyday IS Earth Day, I thought it’d be fun to share a round-up of some ways to get your kiddos into … Read More
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 Now that Earth Day is over, you’d think we’d be all done with the whole “find ways to improve our planet” thing, right? But, nope!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY. After all, it’s our home 365 days of the year; why just look for ways to help it on ONE day, or one week, or one month?

The good thing is that many of us already make everyday Earth Day. Whether you cloth diaper for an economic reason, environmental cause, cuteness factor, or some other awesome reason, you’re still doing a huge part to help cut back on unnecessary waste. It’s true!

Even if the only environmental choice you make is to cloth diaper, your impact is massive.

MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY
So, since everyday IS Earth Day, I thought it’d be fun to share a round-up of some ways to get your kiddos into the spirit of environmentalism.
 hungry caterpillar necklace

Hungry Caterpillar Toilet Paper Roll Craft from Kids Activities Blog

Of course I had to start with this one because a) our family is NUTS for Eric Carle and b) I’ve been collecting all of our empty TP tubes for a craft just like this one. Perfect! Extra points for reading the book while wearing the “necklace”!

little-girl-making-nature-collage

Nature Craft Collage from Kids Activities Blog

Who doesn’t love a fun collage? Plus, this one gives you an excuse (as if we really need one) to go on a nature walk to collect your “art supplies”.

sensory bin

Garden Sensory Tub by No Time for Flashcards

Sensory tubs are great for fine motor skills, concentration, and just good ol’ fashion fun! I love that this post includes some books (two of my favorites – seriously, The Gardener is historical and uplifting and just generally all around engaging) to go along with the tub’s theme.

garbage sort

Sort the Recycling/Garbage Game by No Time for Flashcards

Again, this post is made all the more awesome with suggested reading, but the idea is great on its own. Cut out images from old magazines and have your child sort them into the different “bins” to get them thinking about what items are recyclable, what goes straight into the trash, and maybe even what could be reused.

books

Read a Green Bookor Two!

I actually read several of these every year with my younger library students. What’s better than reading to teach the importance of conservation and a love of the planet? (Let me just add my new favorite to this list: The Tree Lady. There are tons more I could add, but my students have loved it!)

butterfly garden

Plant a Butterfly Garden by Kids Garden

What better way to celebrate the Earth than to dig your hands down into the soil and grow some plants? Whether it’s flowers, veggies, herbs, (or even a tree!), the experience is just as important as what you grow.

 crayons

Melted Crayons(!) by Skip to My Lou/Make It and Love It

Reuse those broken, non-pointy crayons (do your kids get picky like my son does? I can kind of understand how frustrating it is when you’re learning to write and color) by making new, fun crayons in cool shapes! We saw these types of “crayons” at the Eric Carle Museum awhile back (they really do help you color Carle-like pictures!) and we’ve been dying to do it ever since.

Or, just pick your own “Act of Green” to take on together as a family!

Aside from cloth diapering, what are some ways that your family makes it Earth Day every day? 

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Thirsties Thursday Giveaway #223 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/thirsties-thursday-giveaway-223/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/thirsties-thursday-giveaway-223/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 18:56:56 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7731 onesizeallinone

Thirsties One Size All in One

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onesizeallinone

Thirsties One Size All in One

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 Fun Children’s Books to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/8-fun-childrens-books-to-celebrate-st-patricks-day/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/8-fun-childrens-books-to-celebrate-st-patricks-day/#comments Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7664 Celebrate

Yup, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with children’s books! Boy, how our lives sure have changed since our younger days.

But, seriously, it’s never too early to read to children. My husband and I have both worked in libraries (I’m a school librarian), so we feel that it’s important to instill this love of books in our children. It creates a solid foundation of learning, opens a whole new world of imagination, and offers an opportunity for routine bonding time…honestly, the rewards go on and on.

So, today I’m sharing some favorite children’s books to help get your kids in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit!

curious-george
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George – This is a favorite at our house! This series of Curious George holiday books has given us ideas for fun activities and broadened our son’s idea of what each holiday means, and this one is no exception. It actually … Read More

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Celebrate

Yup, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with children’s books! Boy, how our lives sure have changed since our younger days.

But, seriously, it’s never too early to read to children. My husband and I have both worked in libraries (I’m a school librarian), so we feel that it’s important to instill this love of books in our children. It creates a solid foundation of learning, opens a whole new world of imagination, and offers an opportunity for routine bonding time…honestly, the rewards go on and on.

So, today I’m sharing some favorite children’s books to help get your kids in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit!

curious-george
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George – This is a favorite at our house! This series of Curious George holiday books has given us ideas for fun activities and broadened our son’s idea of what each holiday means, and this one is no exception. It actually feels like you’re checking out the parade and having a real Irish party with everyone’s buddy, Curious George.

jamile-o'rourke

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato – I’ve used the word already, but this is MY personal favorite. There are other Jamie O’Rourke books, but I prefer this one’s potato reference (not that young kids need to know about the famine, but it was the livelihood for many in Ireland). Extra points if you read it with an Irish brogue; my students LOVE it when I do.

s-is-for-shamrock
S is for Shamrock – Another wonderful series that give a very different spin on your typical ABC book. This one will give your child a tour of the country itself, taking them to famous landmarks, all through Eve Bunting’s incredible poetical writing.

swallowed-clover
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover – A new take on a silly old story, the rhythm and repetition will have kids excitedly “reading” along. What does the old lady make this time with all the crazy things she swallows? Here’s a hint: It’s where you hide your pot o’ gold!

how to catch
How to Catch a Leprechaun – With fun illustrations and colorful descriptions of all the naughty tricks leprechauns will play on you (I mean, seriously, a green toilet?), your little ones will be giggling up a storm reading this book. Plus, it’s a great way to get their minds going to craft their own leprechaun traps!

Let’s not leave the older kids out! Here are some of my favorite suggestions for 2nd-4th grade.

leprechaun-in-late-winter

Leprechaun in Late Winter
– Follow Jack and Annie (of the Magic Treehouse fame) to long-ago Ireland where they must inspire a girl to share her creativity with the world. When she shows no signs of imagination, they take her to a magical world…where things go different than they had expected.

leprechauns-don't-play
Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball – We all know something’s not quite right at the Bailey Elementary School, right? Things are no different in this installment (albeit a more fun, lighthearted read), where their new substitute teacher for gym class is awfully short and full of…magic?

mary-mclean
Mary McLean and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – A picture book that blends Irish folklore with the harsh realities of an Irish immigrant family in the 1850s, my students had a hard time determining whether this was historical fiction or fantasy. Very well-written with perfectly-accompanying illustrations, this one’s just right for teaching slightly older kids a bit of Irish history.

How are you guys celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Crafts? Books? Leprechaun traps? Do tell!

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Indoor Winter Family Fun http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/indoor-winter-family-fun/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/indoor-winter-family-fun/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 13:02:59 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7487 winterfun
Now that we’re deep in the throes of winter, it’s only a matter of time before the kids start climbing the walls. (Okay, okay…parents, too.) As much as we’d love to live the life where we can summon the energy to bundle up and take full advantage of all nature has to offer on a daily basis, it’s just not plausible. Unless you’re Wonder Woman or Superman. In which case, you rock and I’m jealous. Reeeaaally jealous.

But, since most of us aren’t fictionalized characters, it’s nice to have some ideas in our arsenal to fight off kids’ cases of the “I’m Boreds” and the dreaded “How Does One Literally Bounce Off Walls?!” Many of these ideas are for younger kids but can be adapted for the older crowd, too.

If you were in the line of this past weekend’s storm, in particular, today’s tips for some indoor fun around
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winterfun
Now that we’re deep in the throes of winter, it’s only a matter of time before the kids start climbing the walls. (Okay, okay…parents, too.) As much as we’d love to live the life where we can summon the energy to bundle up and take full advantage of all nature has to offer on a daily basis, it’s just not plausible. Unless you’re Wonder Woman or Superman. In which case, you rock and I’m jealous. Reeeaaally jealous.

But, since most of us aren’t fictionalized characters, it’s nice to have some ideas in our arsenal to fight off kids’ cases of the “I’m Boreds” and the dreaded “How Does One Literally Bounce Off Walls?!” Many of these ideas are for younger kids but can be adapted for the older crowd, too.

If you were in the line of this past weekend’s storm, in particular, today’s tips for some indoor fun around the house might just help you restore your sanity.
COLOR SORTING HOPSCOTCH – This teaches colors and sorting skills to younger kids and is just a blast for the older ones. This mom made a race out of finding toys and assigning them to different colors (using simple colored construction paper). You could make it simpler by only using one or two colors at a time and having a pile of toys all ready, or more complex by making it a scavenger hunt. Either way, good times!

OBSTACLE COURSE – You knew this was coming, right? Look around your house with a new eye, asking yourself: “What can kids use to go over/under/around/through?” A footrest, a tunnel (or makeshift tunnel using chairs and a blanket), a laundry basket, streamers…the list goes on. If you have older children, give them the task of putting the course together; they’ll get twice the fun out of it.
 
PAPER BAG PUPPETS – Have your kids get their “art” on by creating their own puppets with whatever you’ve got hanging around the house – paper bags, socks, whatever. Up the creativity factor by having your kids name their puppets, giving them personalities and a storyline, then putting on a show with their new buddies.

PLAY HIDE-AND-SEEK – If your child’s too small to do this on their own, have them pick a partner and let the odd man out be “it”. When our guy was smaller, we’d also assign the on-limit rooms for hiding so that he didn’t end up in a room with breakables or something he could get into. And, he may be larger now, but we still do this trick: hide a toy rather than yourself. This makes it much more fun if you have a small house with few hiding spots. We may not be able to hang out on the bookshelf, but our dinosaur friend can!

DANCE PARTY – What better way to forget the depressing chill outside than to throw on some tunes and boogie out? Up the “summer” factor by trying out a Pandora station like The Beach Boys Radio or Oldies Party Radio and give the kids a firsthand history lesson while you’re at it. 😉 Sesame Street Radio and Broadway Radio are also popular at our house.   

handson
Hands on as We Grow (There are literally hundreds of ideas at this link!)
BOWLING WITH BOTTLES – Here’s a favorite that I loved when I was a kid, it’s exactly as it sounds: clean, empty plastic bottles can be set up as a “bowling set” and knocked down by rolling whatever type of ball you have handy (we used a tennis ball, but any play toy works).

HOT LAVA / PRETEND ISLANDS – Okay, who hasn’t played this before? Poof, the floor is molten lava (or water, if that’s less scary for the littles). They have to hop from pillow to pillow (or blanket) to stay “safe”.

boredom busters indoor activities for kids - toddler approved
TAPE TRACK – Lay out a design of painter’s tape on the floor and grab whatever little cars or trains you have lying around. There, you’ve got an instant track for the kiddos to “race” around!

MAKESHIFT BLING – Got some penne hanging around? “O”-shaped cereal? Grab some thick string and make some bracelets and necklaces! This is a great fine motor activity, and you can also have kids practice making patterns.

BUILD TOWERS – As kids, we used to do this with our Little Golden books (open, then stack the next open one on top at an angle), but Toddler Approved has a great idea to use cups for stacking. Heck, I’m sure you guys can come up with even more things for your kids to make towers out of, right?

WHAT’S YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE INDOOR ACTIVITY TO WHILE AWAY WINTER? 
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Jumping Into Cloth – Keeping it Low-Stress http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/jumping-into-cloth-keeping-it-low-stress/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/jumping-into-cloth-keeping-it-low-stress/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2016 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7453 I mentioned last week that our family resolution for 2016 is positivity (among other things). Another “word of the year” is also going to be “cloth” – with an accent on keeping it low-stress. Because, life.

As our little newborn girl (at what point do they switch from “newborn” to “infant” or even “baby”?) continues to beef up and lessen her – shall we say – messier diapers, we’re looking to finally take the cloth diaper plunge. You can read about our experiences/failures with our son in this blog post, but this time we’re dedicated to making it work without stressing ourselves out about the whole thing.

So far, we’ve prepped a plethora of diaper styles and done a handful of days with the little one to stick our toes in (again). I was hoping to make January 1st our official “daytime diaper switch” day, but since we have Read More

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I mentioned last week that our family resolution for 2016 is positivity (among other things). Another “word of the year” is also going to be “cloth” – with an accent on keeping it low-stress. Because, life.

As our little newborn girl (at what point do they switch from “newborn” to “infant” or even “baby”?) continues to beef up and lessen her – shall we say – messier diapers, we’re looking to finally take the cloth diaper plunge. You can read about our experiences/failures with our son in this blog post, but this time we’re dedicated to making it work without stressing ourselves out about the whole thing.

So far, we’ve prepped a plethora of diaper styles and done a handful of days with the little one to stick our toes in (again). I was hoping to make January 1st our official “daytime diaper switch” day, but since we have a limited amount of newborn/appropriately sized dipes and are currently under a boil water advisory, we’re trying not to make too much dirty laundry. Ahhh, the best laid plans…

Regardless, that’s the plan! We’re so cross-eyed with exhausted delirium during our nighttime changes, I figured that starting out with cloth during the daylight hours would be a nice jumping off point. Plus, we’re lucky (knock on wood) that our Harper sleeps a solid 5+ hours at night between feedings, so throwing a wrench into that sleep cycle with additional changes or analysis of which style of diaper and soaker solution will work is beyond my mental capacity right now.

Sleeeeeeep goooooood. (Monster voice.)

On the days that we’ve tried, I’ve preferred the newborn AIOs, big-time. Not to mention – SO CUTE! Out of sheer surplus, though, we used plenty of prefolds with our adorable Thirsties covers. They worked well, but I just didn’t like how they fit her tiny little frame. However, with a growth spurt lately, I’m going to give them another shot. At this point, I’m keeping an open mind to figure out what works best for us by literally keeping a variety of styles at hand.

I’d like to be 100% cloth 100% of the time, and hopefully we’ll get to that point. But, as with all things in the world of mommyhood, the guilt is strong; if we don’t go “all the way” with cloth, I definitely feel the weight of that decision.  

But, the thing is this: we do the best we can with all things in life. Our best HAS to be good enough, even if it’s not what others deem to be THEIR best.

right_way_CD


We all have reasons for choosing cloth.
The financial savings. The environmental friendliness. The lack of chemicals. The sheer adorableness. So, every time we choose cloth, it’s a win. One less box of disposables purchased. One less diaper in landfill. One more adorable tushy in the world. We should pat ourselves on the back every single time we choose to use a cloth diaper. If we only use them 50% of the time, that’s 50% less diaper landfill waste, 50% less continual cost, 50% less chemicals OTB, and 50% more cuteness. If we decide not to use them when we travel or visit family or when our little one is sick, we should be proud of the vast majority of the time that we do choose cloth.

There is no “cloth competition” to be won. We’re all awesome for making this choice for our families, no matter how frequently we make it.

That said, I am chomping at the bit to make it our new norm. This little girl’s too cute not to be sporting Alice Brights and Poppy as much as possible.

What about you guys? Are you “all in” or are you a part-time CDer? Did you jump into cloth diapering head-first or one toe at a time?

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Simple Halloween Crafts http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/simple-halloween-crafts/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/simple-halloween-crafts/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7315

Can you guys believe Halloween’s less than a week away?! The fact that it’s on a Saturday this year makes it super fun, but also offers a chance for boredom to creep in. I mean, how does one actually celebrate Halloween when it’s not on a school/work day? (Maybe, as an educator, I’m just used to seeing what we do during the holiday with the kiddos at school.)

Here’s how we plan to do it up. I foresee a creepy breakfast of some sort (pancakes with strawberry “blood” or made purple with crushed blueberries, maybe?), a trip to our favorite farmers’ market, a spooky-but-healthy lunch (to make up for the inevitable junk food), fingers crossed for a long nap and early dinner, fun craft, then getting dressed up for trick or treating! Since our guy’s only 3, we’ll head back early for some popcorn and our traditional Charlie Brown viewing.
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Can you guys believe Halloween’s less than a week away?! The fact that it’s on a Saturday this year makes it super fun, but also offers a chance for boredom to creep in. I mean, how does one actually celebrate Halloween when it’s not on a school/work day? (Maybe, as an educator, I’m just used to seeing what we do during the holiday with the kiddos at school.)

Here’s how we plan to do it up. I foresee a creepy breakfast of some sort (pancakes with strawberry “blood” or made purple with crushed blueberries, maybe?), a trip to our favorite farmers’ market, a spooky-but-healthy lunch (to make up for the inevitable junk food), fingers crossed for a long nap and early dinner, fun craft, then getting dressed up for trick or treating! Since our guy’s only 3, we’ll head back early for some popcorn and our traditional Charlie Brown viewing. Bam. Bedtime.

Sure, if one or two of those things goes by the wayside, it’s no big deal. But, I’ve found tons of SUPER simple, can-be-done-very-last-minute craft projects that I’m hoping to choose from. Maybe your family will like trying out one or two, as well!
Okay, I’ve heard of apple stamping before, but to make PUMPKINS…out of APPLES…is genius.
ghost

Cotton Ball Ghosts
Cotton balls + a ghost cut-out & face + glue = super simple ghost buddy.
Add some string to make it into decor.
Considering Hadley’s being a ghost, this one’s all sorts of awesome.

Hanging_Ghosts


Spooky Hanging Ghosts

Got white coffee filters? You’re all set for this one!
In our house, toilet paper tubes are called “doot-dee-doos” and these ones are beautifully imperfect!
I love when you can tell that little hands had a part in making the craft, don’t you? There are some on the interwebs with perfectly placed wrappings, but this one’s awesome.
Got an early scissors user? (We do!)
This is a cute, simple way to “sharpen” those skills AND make a fun little project.
Paint Chip Halloween
Paint chips are just darn awesome…and FREE!
Plus, all you need to do is cut out shapes and let your little one glue them on.
Super cute and super simple.
See anything you’d like to do with your family?
Or do you have something else you’re planning on doing to celebrate this Halloween? We can’t wait to hear!
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Baby Name Conundrum http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/baby-name-conundrum/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/baby-name-conundrum/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7279 names

The name you choose for your little bundle of joy is kind of a big deal, right? There are so many factors to consider when trying to make the right choice. What’s it mean? Does it go with your last name? Does it hold sentimental significance? Is it too weird? Is it too common? Will it suit them for the REST OF THEIR LIFE?! How many syllables? (Seriously, some people find this terribly important.) Does it go with their sibling’s names?

Some of these factors, people don’t find to be very important. Others hold more clout. Then, there are those times when you and your significant other don’t necessarily agree — not just on the names, but the “why”s behind the names.

Our first son’s name is “Hadley Allston” (Allston is my deceased father’s middle name that goes way back). We pretty much adore his name as much as we … Read More

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names

The name you choose for your little bundle of joy is kind of a big deal, right? There are so many factors to consider when trying to make the right choice. What’s it mean? Does it go with your last name? Does it hold sentimental significance? Is it too weird? Is it too common? Will it suit them for the REST OF THEIR LIFE?! How many syllables? (Seriously, some people find this terribly important.) Does it go with their sibling’s names?

Some of these factors, people don’t find to be very important. Others hold more clout. Then, there are those times when you and your significant other don’t necessarily agree — not just on the names, but the “why”s behind the names.

Our first son’s name is “Hadley Allston” (Allston is my deceased father’s middle name that goes way back). We pretty much adore his name as much as we adore him. Since we didn’t find out his gender beforehand, we went into the hospital with a handful of names for both a female and male, plus a couple of possible middle names. It may have driven our families nuts (and, in this case, definitely caused an eyebrow raise or two), but we kept them all pretty much locked up tight in advance. When the little (big, 10+ pounder) guy was born, all the other names flew out of our brains. His face just emanated “Hadley.” We feel we nailed it, head-on, with his name.

Even those who were doubtful upon hearing his name on Day #1 have come to say, “No, he’s a Hadley. He just is. No other name suits him.” It’s a general consensus. Thank God and whew. Not that it matters that family and friends deem it an acceptable name; it just helps. We still get strangers who respond, “Uuuummm…okay.” But, who cares? 😉

The fact that we feel “Hadley” hit it out of the ballpark puts the pressure on for Baby #2. We haven’t pored over the baby name book quite as thoroughly (we actually did the activities in the book our first time; this time, we’re just perusing the name dictionary part), and while I’m not feeling a huge sense of urgency about tightening up our current list, my husband totally is.

Our challenges? I look at everything. If the name has a meaning that’s really cool (or, at the very least, doesn’t mean “steaming pile of feces in the yard”…you get the gist), I’m more apt to be on board for it. Same goes for origin: since I have an ancestry with Welsh/Irish/English roots, I gravitate in that direction. If it’s got too many syllables or doesn’t sound good with our kind of unusual last name, I’m out. Add to that the fact that I’m an educator, and it cuts our list down tremendously.

My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t think any of those things is really important. He doesn’t care as far as ancestry is concerned (he likes to say he just feels “American”). He seems to have more of an organic way of picking ones that just sound good to him. And I can respect that. I just feel awful when he mentions one and I immediately shoot it down: “I have three of those in kindergarten as we speak.”

So, our criteria, at present?

– Not too common, but not too “out there.”

– Not a name I’ve taught before. (Or, at the very least, only once and they have to have been a good kid. I’m weird.)

– Should have at least a good flow with our last name. (There’s one my husband LOVES, but I just don’t think it sounds good with our surname. Just doesn’t.)

– If it could be slightly Anglo, that’d be great. (My husband has even taken to saying, “Hey, nudge nudge, this one’s even Irish!” He knows my soft spot, what can I say?)

– Compliment “Hadley.” (Not rhyme, or necessarily start with the same letter, but be in a similar “family”, if that makes any sense at all.)

So, the list-making continues. Our fingers are crossed that, come November, this baby’s face will do exactly what his/her big brother’s did: sneak us the answer.

Did you guys have much trouble naming any of your children? What criteria was super important to you? Did you use any cool books or tools to help you figure it out?

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6 Ways to Calm the Back-to-School Craziness http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/6-ways-to-calm-the-back-to-school-craziness/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/6-ways-to-calm-the-back-to-school-craziness/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7181 My son is only three years old, but “back-to-school” is still an anxiety-heightening phrase in our household. See, although we’re not doing preschool yet, I’m a school librarian. I LOVE my kiddos at school and enjoy things once the routine returns, but this year will be a whole new ball of wax with a maternity leave come November; my son was born mid-July, so I didn’t have to figure out the logistics of that the first time around.

Not to mention that being afforded the opportunity to stay home with my son all summer is not something I take for granted. I cherish the time we can spend this way, and every single year I go through the same emotional roller-coaster heading back to normalcy. It’s pretty tough.

And, thinking of all the unknowns children face when going back to school – a new teacher, new classmates, possibly the prospect … Read More

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My son is only three years old, but “back-to-school” is still an anxiety-heightening phrase in our household. See, although we’re not doing preschool yet, I’m a school librarian. I LOVE my kiddos at school and enjoy things once the routine returns, but this year will be a whole new ball of wax with a maternity leave come November; my son was born mid-July, so I didn’t have to figure out the logistics of that the first time around.

Not to mention that being afforded the opportunity to stay home with my son all summer is not something I take for granted. I cherish the time we can spend this way, and every single year I go through the same emotional roller-coaster heading back to normalcy. It’s pretty tough.

And, thinking of all the unknowns children face when going back to school – a new teacher, new classmates, possibly the prospect of a whole new school or schedule (even a change in lunchtime) – it can be daunting. For kids who crave a routine, it’s even scarier. It breaks my heart to see the first week tears and stress the little ones (and even the not-so-little-ones) endure during morning drop-off.

But, I’ve learned some ways to cope. Whether you’re sending your first one off to school or have been doing this for years, I thought I’d share some tips that may help keep things calmer for both child and parent.

back_to_school_tips

Go over your schedule early and get everyone’s bodies into the routine. Ugh. I honestly hate this one, but it genuinely helps. Start with a casual conversation about what time they’ll leave the house (whether by bus or car), and discuss a realistic time to wake up. Start getting everyone up a little earlier each day so that the first day doesn’t feel like jet lag for everyone. It definitely makes for a less frazzled start!

Read back-to-school books. There are tons of books for starting school (from Wemberly Worried to First Day Jitters to Llama Llama Misses Mama for littles to Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! and Wonder for older readers), so if your child has an easier time relating to a book, just head to your local library together. Read together or independently, but be sure to follow-up on their thoughts.

Talk about any worries or fears in advance. Some children handle transition smoothly; others become suddenly introverted and their worries don’t rise to the top until the very last minute – like in the school hallway at 8am on the first day. If you notice any changes in your child’s behavior before school starts, talk to them about it. Allow them an open space to discuss any feelings without telling them that things will, simply, “be fine” or that “it’ll get better once you get there.” Sure, that’s probably what will happen, but the anxiety beforehand is often the worst part. Think about a time that you were scared or anxious (before a big presentation or when starting a new job) and validate their feelings.

Stock up and prep while things are still relatively calm. If your school year hasn’t yet begun (sorry if it has!), make a list of favorite meals and healthy snacks that your family loves. Pick a handful that you can make now to freeze for later use. It sounds silly, but just having a stockpile of healthy muffins or meals (and lunches like these healthy “real food” options) on hand alleviates tons of morning and evening “what do I make?” stress. Oh, and if you can at least start prepping lunches the night before (and remember to thaw the meal or set up the Crock Pot), it’ll save even more worry!

Plan your meals. Use the aforementioned list of family favorites to create a meal plan, either weekly or monthly. Make sure the first week or two are full of comforting, easy-to-make (or unthaw/cook/serve!) meals. You’ll be far less stressed (or apt to grab fast food), and having a sit-down meal together at the end of the day will give your family a chance to touch base about the activities of the day. Also, aren’t there so many emotions tied with meals? We look forward to the meal knowing we’ll be having our favorite spaghetti and meatballs or sloppy joe recipe that night.

If all else fails, role play. If your child is having true fears and anxiety about going to school, have a further discussion and try a role play scenario. Even we grown-ups lose more energy worrying about the unknowns of life than what we eventually endure. So, ask what exactly it is that worries your child? Is it unlocking a locker? Go through the steps of unlocking one in advance, having them practice, and talk about who they can seek out to help if they have an issue. Or is it an issue of making friends? Role play, pretending to be a fellow student sitting next to them in class and allow your child to practice talking to and connecting with another child.

And, of course, if there’s a greater underlying issue (a past case of bullying or an academic problem), feel free to contact the school to see what suggestions they have for a smooth transition into the new school year. Be proactive and positive, and maintain that attitude with your child to help empower them rather than enable them.

So, how many of you have already begun school for the year (if your child is of school age)? Does anyone else want to hide their head in the sand until the very last minute? Who’s homeschooling, and if so, do you go all year or take a summer break?

And, is anyone else looking forward to at least the “pumpkin everything” that autumn brings? (Fall is my favorite, BTW, once the back-to-school anxiety has subsided. ;-))

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Baby Gender Wives’ Tales http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/baby-gender-wives-tales/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/baby-gender-wives-tales/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:00:54 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7165 Since we’re expecting our second child in November, I’ve noticed one huge similarity between our first and second pregnancies: People all have an opinion as to the fact that we’re not learning our child’s gender. BIG opinions.

And I get it, I do. The first question we generally hear after people find out that we’re expecting is, “Oh! What’re you having?” Is it really a given these days that parents find out what they’re having? According to our local hospital, pretty much. My sister and I are the rare difference; many months can go by without that “It’s a…!!!” surprise moment in the delivery room.

I have heard that it’s becoming the “in” thing not to find out. If you know me in “real life,” you know that my husband and I are (proudly) as dorky as they come, so it’s clearly not why we’re making this choice. We just … Read More

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Since we’re expecting our second child in November, I’ve noticed one huge similarity between our first and second pregnancies: People all have an opinion as to the fact that we’re not learning our child’s gender. BIG opinions.

And I get it, I do. The first question we generally hear after people find out that we’re expecting is, “Oh! What’re you having?” Is it really a given these days that parents find out what they’re having? According to our local hospital, pretty much. My sister and I are the rare difference; many months can go by without that “It’s a…!!!” surprise moment in the delivery room.

I have heard that it’s becoming the “in” thing not to find out. If you know me in “real life,” you know that my husband and I are (proudly) as dorky as they come, so it’s clearly not why we’re making this choice. We just know that there are very few really incredible surprises left in store for we “gotta have it now” humans these days. We also love keeping things simple and down to basic gender neutral decor and clothing (we have loved ones who will overbuy! Can’t wait to use our own hand-me-downs instead), so planning ahead isn’t really necessary.

One fun thing I’ve seen/heard a lot about are all the wives’ tales for “guessing” the baby’s gender. I thought, for anyone who may be waiting to learn their baby’s gender OR who may be planning a fun gender reveal party, it might be fun to share all the ones I’ve learned. Just for fun!

gender predictions

1. No morning sickness, it’s a boy. It’s a girl if you’re having any nausea. If this is the case, I’m on my second boy; I had less nausea this time and wasn’t very nauseous at all the first time, with zero actual sickness. However, my poor sister was horribly ill all 18 months of her two pregnancies and has a girl…and a boy. 😉

2. A higher heart rate (140+ BPM) means it’s a girl; lower for a boy. To say nothing of the fact that they all have fast heart rates earlier in the pregnancy.

3. If you crave salty foods, it’s a boy; sweet, it’s a girl. We’ll see if this is true; I’ve craved salty stuff both times.

4. If dad gains weight, it’s a girl. If his weight stays the same, it’s a boy. Not touching this one.

5. It’s a girl if you get acne due to the increased levels of the female charged hormones. A girl “steals” her mother’s beauty. Anybody else LOL’ing yet?

6. If the linea nigra stops at the belly button, it’s a girl. If the linea nigra goes all the way to the bottom of the rib cage, it’s a boy.
Got nothin’.

7.
You’ve got dry hands – it’s a boy. Or a super dry Upstate New York winter. Whatevs.

8.
More hair on your legs than normal, count on a boy.
Can’t say that I remember my experience the first time, but it is a lot less noticeable this summer…huh.

9. If your face swells and gets rounder, it’s a girl. Long and narrow face, a boy. Mine looks normal, I think…but my brother would crack an immature joke. 😉

10. Cold feet, a boy. Um, so I’ve been expecting a boy my whole life? #alwayscold11. If you find yourself clumsier with pregnancy, it’s a boy. If you remain grounded and still in control of your body, it’s a girl.

11. If you’re clumsier with pregnancy, it’s a boy. If you’re physically grounded and stable, it’s a girl. Again, every day of my life…clumsy.

12. If you’re carrying low, it’s a boy. If you’re carrying high, it’s a girl. Is there such thing as a middle carry? There I am.

13. Speaking of carrying, if you’re carrying in front, it’s a boy. All around your middle, it’s a girl. I think front, mostly.

14. Loop your wedding ring in a piece of thread and let it dangle over your belly. If the rings swings in a back and forth motion, it’s a girl. If the ring moves in a circular motion, boy. I haven’t done this yet, but it’s one of my favorites – just for the fun of it, really. There’s also a string-and-needle variation.

15. Or, just skip all of the above and go for the gold: a Chinese Gender Predictor. Clearly, it’s a girl. That, and my 3-year-old son insists it’s a girl. Insists, I tell you.

Let me know if you’ve had any of these wives’ tales tell you your child’s gender accurately! And, of course, please feel free to add any that I’ve missed in the comments! (I know there are dozens upon dozens more.)

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Just For Fun: Seeing is Believing, New Tools for Modern Parents http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/just-for-fun-seeing-is-believing-new-tools-for-modern-parents/ http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/just-for-fun-seeing-is-believing-new-tools-for-modern-parents/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:19:00 +0000 http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/?p=7000 It wasn’t until the 1960s when a typical middle class household had a television, but today, nearly all of us do—and not only that, but access to information and images of all sorts, all the time on our laptops and smart phones. One very useful and under-used tool that both the World Wide Web and Television can provide for modern-day children, other than keeping them entertained and quiet for a while, is the ability to look into the lives of others. What exactly do I mean by this? Read on.

“I am so hungry—I’m starving! No I do not want a banana or a sandwich or cheese and crackers or carrots and hummus….etc etc.”

To satiate this sort of starvation, I like to serve a hot, savory episode or two of “Survivorman.” “Do you see that man, there? He hasn’t eaten in three days and now he’s … Read More

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It wasn’t until the 1960s when a typical middle class household had a television, but today, nearly all of us do—and not only that, but access to information and images of all sorts, all the time on our laptops and smart phones. One very useful and under-used tool that both the World Wide Web and Television can provide for modern-day children, other than keeping them entertained and quiet for a while, is the ability to look into the lives of others. What exactly do I mean by this? Read on.

“I am so hungry—I’m starving! No I do not want a banana or a sandwich or cheese and crackers or carrots and hummus….etc etc.”

To satiate this sort of starvation, I like to serve a hot, savory episode or two of “Survivorman.” “Do you see that man, there? He hasn’t eaten in three days and now he’s cooking up some juicy grubs that he found in a hollow log for dinner. He’s so hungry that even though those grubs aren’t the most delicious food in the world, he’s eating them because he’s really hungry and he needs to eat to stay alive. Oh, you think a banana sounds pretty good, after all? Good choice! I bet Survivorman wishes he had a banana right now too!” I am trying to teach Lauren, Kate and Cooper that food doesn’t have to be “their favorite” or the “one thing that they are in the mood for” if they are really hungry. Sometimes we need to eat for survival. You aren’t really starving if you have enough caloric energy to turn down half a dozen snack choices.

“I’ll clean my room later. It’s not even very dirty,” or “I’ll clean my room but I am emotionally attached to every scrap of paper I’ve ever scribbled on and every contraption I’ve ever made from paper-towel tubes, 8 feet of scotch tape, cotton balls and empty water bottles. That’s NOT trash. That’s a trap for bad guys!”

Time to Clean Your Room!

Time to Clean Your Room!

Time to watch Hoarders: Buried Alive. Yes, it is hard to throw things away sometimes and cleaning up isn’t always fun. But we do these things for a reason because if we don’t, we can actually be buried in our own possessions–just like that woman who can’t walk through her living room anymore on TV. I can relate to being emotionally attached to tangible possessions, books, my children’s artwork, old notes and souvenirs that I’ve saved since I was a child but I draw the line at holding on to actual trash. We don’t need to keep the ripped box Barbie came in—even though it is a pretty color pink and has pretty pictures on it. And the apple core under the bed? Yes, the way the mold is growing on it is really cool, isn’t it? It’s like a science project. In fact, it’s so much like a science project you can take it to school and show it to your class or you can throw it in the trash—where household science experiments involving old food belong.

“I hate brushing my teeth! Noooooo!”-followed by or while running away and/or kicking.  To combat the occasional  Toothbrushing Strike, I have Googled pictures of rotting teeth and shown them to the kids. I really have. Plaque, gingivitis, possible cavities and inevitable dental bills are something too abstract for a lot of kids to grasp and many remain convinced that toothbrushing is simply a cruel and pointless nightly ritual. Thank you Google for bringing Reality and Graphic Images into our home. A single close-up picture of rotting teeth truly does speak 1,000 words…while the 10,000 words spilling from a parent’s mouth often go unheard.

How do you use TV or the internet to convince your children to do things or to put things like “hunger” into perspective? Or maybe you don’t…but would you?

 

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