Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gratitude Journals

Research in psychology has found that people who write a gratitude journal experience more positive experiences and more positive affect (mood) than people who don’t. Gratitude journaling can include writing for short periods during the day about what you’re thankful for, and obviously you can do this on paper, on a journal on your computer, or via a blog.

So what are you thankful for today? Take 10 minutes per day to sit and think about this and I can bet that you’ll be thankful for gratitude journaling :)

Me, what am I thankful for today?

1. My job. I love it. Where else could I sit around and talk to people about something I love (psychology and teaching)?

2. The fact that my son doesn’t have a stomach virus. My sister, her kids, and her husband all have it. I can’t imagine how worn down they all are and how terrible it is to see your 23-month-old being afraid of vomiting. I wish I could go down and help her more, but #1 and #3 keep me from doing so.

3. My son. He’s freaking amazing. And he was an amazing work of science – seven doctors all coming together to help me and Mike have an amazing and healthy little boy. He’s so sweet and fun and inquisitive. And he’s working hard on growing and developing (like his language skills). I love him so.

4. My husband. He’s patient (most of the time) with me and lets me do what I need to do (nap, grade, read), and I appreciate that wholeheartedly.

5. My parents. They’re super fantastic and supportive. I wish we all lived closer so they could hang with #3 more often. We’re trying to put together video chat this week. I hope they can get it working on their end!

6. My mama friends on Facebook (especially the Gen-Y B/S/T ladies). Without them I’d lose my sanity and feel completely disconnected from other mamas and that would be rough. Support is awesome, even if it’s in the form of online discussions!

Now it’s your turn. Go gratitude journal even just for a little while. Everyone’s thankful for something and someone. I bet there’s someone out there who is thankful for you.


Welcome new readers from the Circle of Friends Weekend Hop. If you decide to stick around and follow me, be sure to leave a comment so that I can follow you!
Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Long, Fun Day

Last October Mike and I took Silas and Kyle (Mike’s son) to Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs, TX for a day trip of exploring and swimming.

We had such a fun time that we decided we would do it again at some point. Mike and I decided that we would do something this week because we didn’t get to do a lot as a family this summer, so we gathered our friend Steven, and Mike, Steven, Silas and I drove to Dripping Springs.

An hour and forty-five minute drive there, and Silas barely slept (even though it was nap time). He did take some cute naps with Uncle Steven though.

While we had to wait 45 minutes to get in, it was definitely worth it.

Silas has never been swimming. So we brought swim diapers and a swimsuit along with a shirt with sun protection (and a super cool hat). I wore my new Vibram Five Finger shoes and actually went in the water where fish live. You have to understand that after watching childhood friends get bitten by turtles and stung by jellyfish, I have avoided the ocean or anything resembling it since 4th grade. So to walk in the water and see a fish swim by and NOT get out was a big thing for me. But I don’t want to pass on my phobias to my littlest best friend, so I stuck it out (and had no problems, thank you).

He was tired, and that was to be expected. But he was so interested in all the people and the whole floating thing.

He clung to me (or Steven or Daddy) and floated around as we moved around the natural pool. He wasn’t so hot on floating on his back, but he would kick a little if we pulled him around in the water. He was very into sitting and chilling on your shoulder with his little snotty nose (poor punkin’).

We tried to get him to take a nap on a towel in the shade but he wasn’t having any of it.

Finally around 3:30 we packed up and left (only to have Silas fall asleep on my shoulder as we hiked out .25 miles of rocky terrain – and you all know how heavy a sleeping kiddo who already weighs 34 pounds gets).

We got some lunch/dinner at one of the new restaurants (or new since we were there last) and Silas had a little grilled cheese and fries, but everything went bad quickly and we left. And everyone slept on the way home (except Mike who drove). All in all, it was a good day. We’ll definitely be going again next summer (or maybe even later this year when it calms down over there).
Monday, August 15, 2011

My Son Goes To Daycare and This Is What It Feels Like

Silas and I were home for almost four months together before I had to go back to work full-time and we found him a daycare. While it was an amazing time, I definitely got to the point where I envied my husband for having a reason to leave the house every day (to go to work LoL). If we lived closer to town I would have made up excuses to go out, but we lived 30 minutes from anything so even just a drive to get a Mtn. Dew was ridiculously long and required 30 minutes of baby prep! So when it came time to go back to work I was sad to leave the Monkin all day but excited to do something different with my day.
I searched and searched for his first daycare, and we interviewed a boatload of home daycares. Ever want to be concerned for other children’s wellbeing? Visit home daycares. Some we were both appalled at (and Mike and I look at different things differently). We finally decided on one, and she seemed flexible and that was great. She would send me pictures of him throughout the day and there were other Littles there for him to learn new skills from. Then she got kind of wonky and inconsistent, and I realized my son wasn’t crawling because someone was carrying him around all day (she thought he was gorgeous and wanted him for herself, she’d say). Sooo we left there. We found another daycare run by two sisters out of their home and it looked fantastic. They had 28 years combined daycare experience, and their house (or the kiddo’ed part) looked exactly like every other daycare you’ve seen. Silas and I spent some time there over Christmas break and we liked it, so he started in January when I had to go back to work. These ladies worked hard to get licensed and to get food programs in place for the kids (awesome, everyone benefits). They teach Silas Spanish and I feel comfortable enough asking them to tell me how to “dice” something. So my little Mono (monkey) is learning Spanish and a boatload of other stuff.
This is all fine and good. This summer though I’ve gotten a lot of text messages from daycare asking if it was ok if they took the kids (usually just the two Littles, Silas and a 17-month-old girl) here or there. Since they’re free to go under two to most places, I would always say sure. But I can say that recently I’ve started feeling…I don’t know how to put it. Jealous I guess? They took my son to Sea World for the first time.

They put him in the wave pool for the first time. They took him on his first merry-go-round. In my head, these are all my things. They’re my job. I should take him to SeaWorld first and see how excited he gets over the water rides. I should put him on a merry-go-round for the first time and see his reaction. I’m his Mom. Mike and I should be doing these things, not his daycare teachers. And that makes me feel badly. I think Mike’s feeling this too. I’ve talked to other parents who are either working full-time or students full-time, and they’ve said very similar things. It’s like you keep worrying about what you’re going to miss. I was lucky to see him crawl first, walk first, and try to imitate words first. But I feel like I’ve missed out on this piece that seems to so small but is yet so important to me because I had memories of these things as a kid. I don’t want his memories to involve his two nannies.
We work hard to create new memories of fun stuff we do together as a family (like drive out to Hamilton Pool Preserve this weekend), but I still get dumpy whenever I get those “Can we take the kids to ________?” texts. I suppose it’s part of life.

What’s been the hardest part of parenting for you so far?
Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wild Weekend Blog Hop

Welcome blog hoppers! What is a blog hop you may ask? It's a way to find new blogs to read and get more "traffic" to your own site. This week I'm participating in the Wild Weekend Blog Hop hosted by About A Mom and Smile and Mama With Me. Join up if you're interested and leave a comment if you're a "hopper" who stopped by. Thanks!
Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cloth Wipes – Not Just Awesome for Diapering (“United By Fluff” Review and Giveaway)

A few weeks ago I got a package with a Gen-Y diaper cover that I had traded for and it came with a little something special – a square cloth wipe from United by Fluff (crafted by the amazing Jessie McLouth). While we cloth diaper, we don’t typically use cloth wipes but I had been thinking about getting some wipes for general Silas clean up (think after spaghetti).

When I opened it I honestly didn’t want to wash it and use it on him – I wanted to rub it on my own face. One side was cotton flannel print, and the other side was super soft minky-type fabric. It was sewn extremely well (and machine stitched, work-at-home-Momma-made), and simply fabulous. It made me WANT to use cloth wipes on Silas’ tush. So just to try it, I did and it worked well - just as well as those disposable wipes. AND you don’t trash them after you use them; you simply wash them with your cloth diapers (or by themselves if you don’t cloth diaper). Some of her wipes come with the minky dot fabric as well, which I have found is super useful for getting in nooks and crannies of fingers and toes and other areas as well.

So you don’t cloth diaper? What can you use these luscious things for? Child clean up. Drool catching. Hand washing. Counter clean up. Spilt anything. Baby washing. Feet washing (I don’t know how many times we’ve done this so far with my stinky-footed lad). Wiping off the dog after ravioli night (no I’m not joking). Pretty much anything cleaning or child/cleaning related, you can use these for.

I am so in love with these wipes that I want someone else to have some too! Since the Facebook “likes” is close to 100, I’m going to give one lucky “liker” 10 of these fantastic things in their choice of print. How do you enter? Well, let me tell you…

1. Make sure you’ve “liked” us on Facebook.
2. Like United by Fluff on Facebook.
3. Fill out the entry form (which requires you to go to United by Fluff’s Hyenacart store and pick a favorite print).
4. A winner will be chosen randomly on August 15th at 11:59 p.m., so that gives you just over a week to enter. The winner will be emailed for their shipping information once the giveaway ends.
5. Wipe and clean eco-friendly!

Thanks for all your support you guys.

**FYI: The products endorsed and offered here were chosen by me and I was in no way compensated for suggesting them to you. I just really enjoy them and hope you do too!**
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Today I Was Staggered By Generosity

Let me start off by saying that I am proud to be a part of an online community of Gen-Y Mamas who are simply amazing people. Even though I have only been a part of it for three months or so, I watch these women help each other with diapering issues, help each other find diaper covers that they are in search of, and help each other find good deals for diapering, and I am amazed that a group of women who don’t know each other in-person are so amazingly helpful. I don’t know a handful of people in real life who are so helpful honestly, so to have a whole group of them online is just astounding.

This week we were told that a group member was having some financial difficulties, and that diaper covers in the older prints would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to this member. Mamas were excited at the opportunities to both help and to get an older print diaper. If you don’t understand why they were excited, think about something you collect or something you know others collect. Then imagine that you sat around and talked to other collectors about this thing, and someone came and told you you had an opportunity to get a rare collector’s item – you’d be excited too. Auctions were scheduled for Thursday and Friday, but other Mamas started auctioning off their own stash of diapers and covers on Wednesday with the proceeds going to our group member. The psychologist in me was interested. The Gen-Y Mama in me was pretty flippin’ excited.

As a psychologist, I watched my community raise money for a member today with an interested eye. I waited for the first auction to start, wondering just how much people would “donate.” I personally had an amount preset in my head of how much I was going to donate regardless, and I figured I would throw in my preset amount at some point on an auction and see if I won. If I didn’t, I would simply donate it and be happy with that. I expected things to get a little crazy but not too much so. I figured people would go up to $50 per cover honestly. But then things got a little more than crazy. Mamas were bidding like they had unlimited funds. $10 - $20 - $40 for one cover in under a minute. The psychologist in me was perplexed. We talk about ourselves as “collectors” (not addicts), and these collectors were out for those out of print (OOP) and hard to find (HTF) prints with their PayPal waving in the wind.

As a Mama, I watched these auctions today and thought, “Holy *expletive*, are you kidding me?!” I love me some Gen-Y and some cute covers, for sure, but…wow. One print/cover went for $100. $100. These things sell for $16.99 each (well obviously the current prints do). $100 is groceries for the week for us. I don’t think I could do that. On the other hand, I could give $100 to a friend and not expect it back, so I guess that getting an OOP/HTF cover would be a nice thing to get WHILE helping a friend. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s an online community (in which most members have never met face-to-face) that amazed me. We all help each other online and give each other good deals (and make it right when something goes wrong), which is amazing for any community (online or not). And we all love Gen-Y and super cute diaper covers on our little ones’ tushies, but $100?! Wow.

Interestingly, today in class I talked with my students about the definition of altruism. Since altruism loosely means helping others with no expectation of getting anything in return, a student asked me if I believed that true altruism actually exists. This is something that has been debated by psychologists for years, and my view has always been that since a person feels good about themselves (or at least receives a subconscious boost in mood) after helping then true, by-the-book-definition, altruism cannot exist. We always get something (even if it’s a good feeling), and thus helping others for no reason except to help them cannot exist because we receive that boost in mood. Do I wish for true altruism? You bet. But have I seen it or did I ever expect to? Not in my lifetime.

And you’re probably thinking I’m overthinking this, but that’s what I do. The psychologist never sleeps. She’s always trying to understand “why.” Sure there’s excitement there about diaper covers. And it’s definitely for a good cause; this member’s an amazing and helpful Mama. We are a helpful bunch anyway. Add all those things together though and I still can’t come up with the amount of money I watched Mamas offer to spend today via the auctions. But I also have to keep in mind that people from this same group have done this for other members and even for me – I have been amazed at one Mama in particular who was generous in offering to help me continue cloth diapering Silas who seems to be growing out of diapers at an exponential rate (he’s 15 months and in size XL – no joke). All of the theories of altruism that I’ve learned cannot explain this. And thinking about that brings tears to my eyes because it means that maybe, just maybe, true, by-the-book altruism does exist, just as I’ve always wished it has (but was told by others and my science that that belief was na├»ve).

So I want to thank all of those amazing Mamas who played along today. Thank them for their donations to our member and for being an amazing community for sure, but mostly for giving me a glimpse of what I thought I would never see – true, by-the-book altruism at work.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time. If you followed my previous blog, you may recognize it:

“But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you.” –Valerie (V for Vendetta, 2006)
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And the winner is...

Jordyn Lessenberry! Jordyn won our 50 Facebook Fans Giveaway and will receive four reusable shopping bags. Please be sure to check out her blog The Green House and show her some love!
Monday, August 1, 2011

One Last Reminder - Giveaway!

If you're a blog follower, don't forget to like us on Facebook and enter the giveaway for reusable shopping bags by midnight tonight!