Thursday, February 26, 2015

Preparing a toddler for their first dental visit

Most pediatric dentists will say that your child should go in for their first visit when they get their first tooth or have their first birthday.

Penny will be 3 years old (!!!) next week and I had been intentionally delaying her first visit because she is normally very shy and easily spooked. I wouldn't say that Penny is a child that truly suffers from anxiety in new situations; her temperament is just on the sensitive side and I have always carefully focused on honoring her when she says "no," or shows her discomfort. This isn't a focus on letting my girl always get what she wants; because there definitely have been times where she has to be overruled for her own health or safety. I focus on that she is a person with feelings who can't always truly explain why she is uncomfortable and as her parent is it my job to advocate for her and discern where and when it is appropriate for her to be encouraged beyond her boundaries.

As an example, when she was about 18 months old I started going to MOPs for my first year. Each time I dropped her off at childcare she would be tearful and cry the entire time. I gave it a few meetings to see if it was a growing pain. Afterall, until that time I was her caregiver 90% of the time. It would be rare for me not be with her, and if I wasn't then it was either her dad or grandparents. MOPs was her first experience in being cared for by "stangers." After 5-6 tries, it was obvious that she wasn't enjoying herself and it was outside of her comfort zone. I decided that in spite of the fact that I really wanted to participate in MOPs that year, it was best for us to stay home and work on her confidence in smaller settings. We started doing more play date with new friends and went to story time at the library.

Ruby's birth really catapulted Penny into becoming more confident. It was a tough thing for me to accept and embrace that my two year old girl sort of had to learn how to "fend" for herself when the new baby came. Mama's attention was now divided into two and now Penny had to find ways to occupy herself while I nursed Ruby or was unavailable. She grew beautifully in this new transition and flourished with the "free range" time.

When MOPs started up again in September this year, she was still a little anxious but for the most part had a great time. She found a couple of the MOPPETs (caregivers) that she trusted and they learned that she just needed to be held for the first few minutes while she surveyed the situation. Now she literally runs down the hall and barely gives me a glance when I drop her off. My heart grew knowing that the small sacrifices that I had made in delaying some experiences was now paying off. My shy girl was becoming a social butterfly.

With this new found bravery I knew it was time to start introducing more experiences that she was due for. I wanted to be sure that her first experience with the dentist was one that she would understand (at her developmental level) and where she could be inspired to be brave.

The time finally came where I felt confident that Penny had the chance at a good experience at the dentist. I started looking around at good recommendations for a local pediatric dentist. Luckily I was unanimously recommended to a pediatric dentist that is in our small town so I quickly make an appointment a week later.

One of my ways to help Penny prepare was by already having set the foundation of being comfortable with dental care. We have been using Jack n Jill natural toothpastes for over a year and she also loves having her teeth flossed!

The day before her dental appointment I found a couple videos on youtube that would show her what to expect. She is already very familiar with Elmo and Sesame Street, so this video was an easy introduction.

I also found a video made by a dental office that walks you through the experience. Children seem to learn better by watching other children perform, so she really learned a lot in watching this older girl go through her first dental experience.

Other ways to help your child prepare:
  • Pretend play is so powerful! Try this toy dentist tool kit 
  • Get crafty and make some tooth art with chalk or paint.
  • Help your child learn what foods are good or bad for their teeth with magazine clippings

So the day came where we visited the dentist! I prepped Penny by talking about how the dentist would be polishing her teeth ("With bubblegum?!" she would exclaim) and that she would get a brand new toothbrush too.

Our dentist's office was bright, colorful and filled with popular books that she recognized - also a big factor in her comfort level. She immediately picked out the Frozen and Cinderella Little Golden Books and read while I filled out her paperwork.

The hygienist came back and brought us to her chair. The office had an open floor plan so the kids could see each other in the chairs. Another encouragement to be brave!

Just like in the video, she showed Penny all of the different instruments and gave her a lot of compliments to get her comfortable. She went on a ride in the "big girl chair," which she actually gladly sat on. I was expecting to sit with her, and it wasn't until the polishing that she asked me to sit with her. We encouraged her by talking about how beautifully sparkly her teeth and she was allowed to hold the mirror. They gave her a plastic version of the dental mirror to take home too. Getting her to sit still long enough to polish all of her teeth was the only hard part, but for a 3 year old's first visit she did great. Oh, and no cavities either! :) I was really happy that this dentist was willing to work with us regarding educating us on our choices with fluoride.

Overall it was a great experience and I couldn't be more proud of her.  It's a great accomplishment for the child who didn't let anyone else but her mama and daddy hold her for her first 18 months. It takes a lot of bravery to trust that everything will be ok and I am so thankful that she trusts me enough to allow me to push her comfort level when it's appropriate.

How was your child's first dental visit? 
How did you help them prepare?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, February 23, 2015

GB Evoq Review

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GB. 
I received a GB stroller to facilitate my review as well as thank me for my participation.

Now that Ruby is almost a year old I've been looking more closely into tandem stroller systems. There's tons on the market but the designs seem to be limited to either the seats side by side ("2 wide"), "sit and stand," and strollers with glider board options.  I was excited to try out the glider board style stroller because it offers a little of flexibility for the older child, which is what I need at this stage!

So when I got the opportunity to try out the GB Evoq travel system, I jumped on it! The GB Evoq is a 4 in 1 stoller system. You can use the stroller frame with the Asana35 car seat, rear facing with the stroller seat, forward facing and finally the option of having a toddler "glide" along on the back. 

This stroller system appealed to me because I have an almost 3 year old and an almost 1 year old. We go on walks regularly and my toddler wants to walk most of the time, but there are times where she gets tired, is stopping a little too often to smell the roses or I need to keep her close for safety sake. I was intrigued by the glide on board as an alternative to those bulky "sit and stand" style stroller systems. I have a different stroller that also has the option of purchasing a separate glider board, but that's an additional $50, which is mainly what's discouraged me from even trying it out. I was pleased to see that the glide on board was already built into the GB Evoq. Because of this, the GB Evoq system is well equipped for the family that has two children fairly close to each other in age, because it can be easily adapted for a newborn, infant or toddler and can be used in tandem. 

When I first received my stroller I tested myself to see if I can put it all together without having to read the instruction manual. I was happy to see that I was able to assemble the stroller within a few minutes and it was fairly intuitive on how it works.  My husband has a degree in plastics manufacturing so his attention to the details on commercial products has rubbed off on me and I like that all the parts feel sturdy and I don't see very many pieces that would break or wear quickly. The materials are quality and quite a bit of thought went into the design. Switching between having the car seat or the stroller seat on the stroller frame was simple and easy. Nothing feels too heavy or cumbersome. As a mom with an infant and a toddler, you can guarantee that my main requirement for any child-gear is that it does not take a lot of time for me to put together or adapt. At any given moment either child needs to be held, isn't happy with something or just wants a closer look. It was a big relief to me that I could switch between the 3 different seat options without too much fumbling or adjusting.

The Asana35 infant car seat's quality matches the stroller. Ruby looked comfortable in it and enjoyed riding in the car in it. My husband installed this seat into his commuter for me and he reported that the Firm Fit Arm and Harness features are really helpful. This feature makes sure that the car seat is installed safely into the car. Even though car seats are an integral part of childhood, unfortunately there are so many incorrect ways of installing a car seat or putting a child into a car seat, so additional safety features that "take the dummy" out of installation are much appreciated. Again, picture the parent who has 2+ kids battling for their attention while they are trying to install a car seat. Any little bit of extra engineering goes a long way in my book!

Now that you know what I like about this stroller system, if someone were to ask me what I didn't like about it, I would have two areas of improvement:

  • Unfortunately no matter how we adjusted the stroller seat (as you are able to switch between forward and rear facing as well as height up and down) there just wasn't a good way for my toddler or her much taller friend to be able to ride on the glide board and not have her face be completely obstructed. 
  • I also wish that the hood on car seat were larger. In comparison to the 2 other infant car seats that I've used, the Asana35's hood is very small and doesn't do much to block out light from any direction except for directly above. 

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Catch the moment: Week 7

Nurse Loves Farmer

This week my husband was away on business so I was on double duty ... it went a lot better than I expected, mainly because I planned something special to do each day. How do you survive when your spouse travels for work?

On this bright and sunshiney day, I decided that I'd get my spring fitness in gear and pull out the bike trailer that we had gotten for my husband to use on his bike rides. He warned me that his bike tire had a slow leak so I'd have to pump it up. Ok, got that done. Attached the trailer and off I went. Passed a few neighbors and gave a friendly wave, totally pumped that I was getting this done. Half a block later, it gets really hard to pedal. And harder. I stop, check the bike tire. It's totally fine. One of the trailer tires was totally flat. Not letting this defeat me, I went on - I figured I'd just have to work twice as hard. A couple more minutes and I accepted defeat. Those same neighbors that I had given a wave to got to watch my ride of shame back home.  

 My brother is the assistant coach for my old high school swim team, so I went to watch his guys swim at districts. 
 We don't get out for drinks very often, but we took advantage of it one afternoon and had margaritas. So he asked the waitress "What's that one called where the beer is tipped into it?" And that's what he got. 
My husband is an automotive engineer and his current project is implementing natural gas engines into Kenworth's lineup. Reality hit me one afternoon when he pointed out on of "his" trucks on the freeway - which is pretty impressive given that there aren't that many of them on the road just yet and that this one in particular had been built over 4300 miles from us and we saw it less than 50 miles from home. It's so cool getting to see his work in real life and seeing it do work. 

 There's not much to be said about this, except that children sleep in the most hilarious positions sometimes.
This one too.

 We visited my sister in law on Whidbey Island and I was talking to Penny about how we'd be riding a ferry over to see auntie. Penny was very excited; it's the second time in a couple weeks that we've gone to visit them and she loves her cousins so much. Once the ferry started moving, I pointed one out in the window - and the silly girl said "Mama, if that's a fairy, where are it's wings?" 

Catch up on previous weeks: 
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

This new year

Things have been quiet here on The Pierogie Mama, haven't they?

Nothing really new has been developing in my life that would draw me away from the blog. One part of me simply has nothing to write about, and I'd rather not waste my (or anyone's) time in writing about the mundane. The other part of me has recognized that towards the end of last year (when I got my snazzy new phone) that I am constantly connected. It's a really hard balance in growing your blog, especially when I do it primarily for fun. Growing a blog kind of means always being available. Always reading and connecting with other blogs, scouting out the next new campaign that procures the little bit of extra cash that helps us make ends meet. But I recognized that I was going overboard with the "iMom" generation and rather than being present online, I realized that I needed to be present here and now. How can I even begin to call myself a "mama blogger" when I'm not really being mama?

I've been taking a step back. Being more present in my real life. Not checking my accounts all the time and in fact, laying my phone down in a completely different room for large parts of the day. That is a big step for me.

I'm hoping that this disconnect will ground me better in life. As of February 3rd I have been a stay at home wife and mom for 3 years and while my life isn't as pinteresty-perfect as I initially imagined it would be, I am slowly but surely finding my groove in what I need my life to be.

So that's what's up. No big surprise is brewing, it's quite frankly boring, but I am loving it. In the next week my parents will be visiting for a couple weeks (they've been living in Europe for the past 6 months) and I'm also in the midst of planning a very spectacular birthday party for Penny and Ruby. That is definitely post worthy and you can expect to see it on the blog!

In the meantime, while I am on this sabbatical, you will be guaranteed a post every Friday with a recap of what my week was like in pictures, it's called Catch The Moment.

Thanks for staying in with me and I promise I'll be back soon :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lotus Bumz cloth diapers and leggings!

This post was originally part of the Favorite Things Giveaway Hop

Spring has almost sprung and I am particularly excited because that means OFF come the warm cozy pants and OUT come the cute little dresses that show off those cute fluffy bottoms :) #clothmom

But alas, spring isn't a true season here in Washington and half the time we are still in cozy clothes. That typically hasn't stopped us because we can always opt for baby leg warmers, right?

So today I want to share with you the cuteness of Lotus Bumz cloth diapers and her line of coordinating leg warmers!

Lotus Bumz is family owned by Lorain and the diapers are ethically made in China. The diapers that I got to review are a one-size pocket diaper. If you are new to the cloth diaper lingo game, "one size" means that the diaper is made to fit most babies from usually 8 - 35 lbs, and "pocket diapers" means you stuff an insert inside the cover. The insert doesn't get bunched up or out of place so it's really a great option for many families.

We've been using Lotus Bumz cloth diapers for about 6 months and love em. Just plain love em. They have the cutest prints and fit my (now potty trained) toddler and infant really well. Each diaper comes with a microfiber insert.
The outer material, PUL, is thick and high quality. I have had zero issues with leaks and I can see these diapers standing up to a lot of use. Even though I use cloth diapers because I think they're cute, my main goal is to be able to use them through multiple children and I don't have any doubt that I'll be using these for another child. Here's my full Lotus Bumz cloth diaper review.
The leg warmers are also great quality. They have been a life saver for Ruby's knees while she motors around between carpet and hardwood. The best part about them is that they make diaper changes a breeze! A bonus is that when your kids get a little older and their legs are too long or thick for the leggings, they become great arm warmers. They are the right mixture of warm and lightweight that you can use them most of the year.

Are you ready to win a set of your own? Lotus Bumz wants to give a Pierogie Mama winner a coordinating cloth diaper and leg warmer set! Just enter via the giveaway widget below.

This giveaway has ended.

Disclosure: The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Reasons to Babywear When Your Little is Sick

Did you have the joys of experiencing the crud that has been passed around this winter? I call it "the crud" because there's really no other name for it. It's not quite a cold or the flu, sometimes a little bit of stomach virus gets mixed in and it just percolates through a home for weeks, sometimes even months. Truth be told, we've been going on about 6 weeks of this and that. And typically as soon as we feel well and go out for a play date or some kind of event, BOOM a new strain gets picked up and we start all over again.

Before kids, I would either tough it out and lock myself in my office and only accept human contact in the form of IMs or I'd resign myself to the couch. Mamas, you know that this is not even a remote possibility if you and especially if the kids are sick. But life goes on and the couch beckons for the husband when he returns home, not for you. What are you to do?

Babywear. Babywear. Babywear.

Here are the top 5 reasons why one should babywear when the little is sick:

1. Skin to skin (Kangaroo Mother Care) contact helps children heal faster. Skin to skin contact releases oxytocin, it helps regulate heart rate, temperature and breathing.

2. Nursing babies want to nurse more while sick, so wearing them gives them easy access. Breastmilk is full of antibodies and is very hydrating; both of which are important when a little one feels under the weather. There's also studies showing that breastmilk is the pathway between mother and baby for shared immunity, and the mother is able to respond with antibodies that the baby needs.

3. Sick children inherently want to stay close to their parents and snuggle, so wearing them helps satisfy that need. Staying close is comforting and reduces stress levels for both.

4. Wearing children helps keep them upright, which helps drain their sinuses and can help them relax enough to get some rest. I encourage you to (safely) babywear in the shower or in a steamy bathroom. Beach Front Baby Carriers are great for water-use!

5. Just like with all baby carrier types, you can still get stuff done while your little one is needing to be held more!

During our season of "The Crud" I was able to try out the Boba Wrap. Normally I opt for a soft structured carrier, like the Boba 4G, but I found that the wrap was awesome for several reasons:

1. It was soft, snuggly and just the right amount of stretch. Perfect for sick babies.
2. The "tails" were perfect for wiping snot. There, I said it. You know you do it too.
3. It washes and dries very quickly, especially after too many snot wiping episodes..
4. Because of the stretchy factor, it encouraged me to move slowly and not move around as much as I normally would in a soft structured carrier. Using a Boba Wrap doesn't necessarily limit you to standing in one spot in fear of the material moving out of place, but it definitely kept me mostly upright (no unloading the dishes for me) or snuggled on the couch.

Ruby is about 20 lbs and 11 months old, which is still well within the 35 lb weight limit. My almost 3 year old weighs 25 lbs, so I gave it a shot and she loved it too! She called it the "Boba Hug."

Learn how to tie a Boba Wrap here. It took a little bit of practice for me to get it tight enough but once I got it down it was so comfy to wear.

You can get the Boba Wrap at Pish Posh Baby!
The innovative Pish Posh Baby Boba Wrap is the perfect wrap style carrier for both advanced babywearers and beginners. Featuring a unique fabric blend free of buckles, straps, or buttons, it offers simple, no-guess tying and a hands-free hold that is comfortable for both you and your baby. It also makes breastfeeding a cinch! By evenly distributing the weight of your child, there is no time limit to how long your baby can stay in the wrap. You may calm and soothe your baby with your warmth, your voice, your movement, and your heart beat for as long as you both would like! The Boba Wrap holds babies weighing from 7-35 lbs. Available in black, navy blue, gray, orange, purple and print stardust, the Pish Posh Baby Boba Wrap retails for $37.99.

Follow  Pish Posh Baby 

Disclosure: I received a Boba Wrap from Pish Posh Baby in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Catch the moment: Week 6

Nurse Loves Farmer

More instagram quality pictures. One day I'll pick up my camera for real ;)

 Miss Ruby had some really wrinkly feet after her bath, and it totally brought me back to that super newborn phase where they are still wrinkly and crinkly. We are on the eve of her first birthday (well, it's next month..) and I don't know about you, but with the first baby everything is so new and fresh that I couldn't wait for the next milestone. With Ruby I am finding myself holding back, because I know that she will never be this little again. With the grace of God she will not be my last baby so I will get to relive all those baby moments again :)
 When I ask Penny to smile for the camera, or to say "cheese," this is the face she makes. Gosh I love this girl. She is just too hilarious! She quite enjoyed her cupcake.

 Miss Ruby is now 11 months old and the girls' joint birthday party is in full planning mode. 

 I am a bandwagon fan. I don't know anything about football, but anyone in Seattle these days needs a bit of Seahawks gear. So the day following the Superbowl (this is going to sound really horrible..) I knew that a lot of Seahawks stuff would be on sale so I headed to my local fabric and craft store to buy remnants.  Along with a thrifted scarf and a bit of lace, I made my own Seahawks infinity scarf. Boom.

My sister in law has gone gluten free and she's pretty stinkin good at making macrons. So naturally I had to go out for a visit to watch her make some and then eat them. :)

 Squirt and Ruby have this strange bond that he never grew with Penny. From the very beginning, he knew that she is something to be protected and cared for. And in the last 6 months, also that this is a source of food. He commonly sits under her high chair and waits. Times when I put her on the floor with a snack, he stays close. Today she taunted (and later shared) him with a piece of french bread. But this dog will never snatch from her, he always waits for her to offer. And she squeals when his tongue licks her hands :)
Until we build a new coop, we still be sticking with the 5 hens that I've had since last year (but don't quote me on that). Since it's chick season, we got our chick-fix by visiting our local Co-Op and took a look at the little chickies that are currently in. Maybe later in the season when they have older chicks that never got bought, I'll pick up a pretty one or two..or three.

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Catch the Moment Week 5

Nurse Loves Farmer

Our little town had a 12th man flag raising ceremony at noon. I took the girls down to watch the local high school drum squad and cheer on our hawks.

 I taught my first Cloth Diapering class at Grow With Me Boutique, and the owner of Buttons Diapers sat in!

On sunny afternoons I let my girls free range and I love seeing them go bottoms up. Their butts are just so fluffy!

 Penny has requested a "fairy dinosaur" themed birthday party. So each week I'm hitting up the local thrift stores in hopes of finding good deals on these dinosaur models and will start putting together the decorations.. Find all my girly dinosaur pins.

Have you ever seen anything quite so adorable?

 Penny wrote out Valentine's Day cards to the loves in her life, and I made sure that a very special one got sent to Daddy's office (shh it's a surprise!). The first true love a girl has will always be her daddy. No one will ever replace him as the love of her life. 
Since July I've been on hiatus from my contacts because I've got some weird irritation going on in my eyelids that contacts seem to make worse. BOOO. I've been wearing my frames that I've had for ten years and I just needed a new look. Finally - these bad boys. I kind of feel like a mix between Alex Voss and this Tula model mama!

Catch up on previous weeks: 
Follow along on Instagram daily!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Teaching Cloth Diaper 101

This past weekend I taught my first cloth diapering class at my local children's consignment store, Grow With Me Boutique!

Grow With Me Boutique is very quickly becoming the go-to location for anything cloth diaper related - she's stocking up on multiple different brands and accessories so it seemed appropriate to help educate our community about the benefits of cloth diapering as well as show parents how easy it is to cloth diaper.

When I was initially looking into cloth diapering I was so overwhelmed with all the different options and didn't have a location close to me where I could actual hold a diaper to see how they worked exactly. We bloggers try our best to show off the features of each diaper we review, but sometimes you just gotta hold it in your hands and have a person talk to you face to face about what it is. With this in mind, I created my "lesson plan" and Grow With Me set up the event!

I was thinking that a group of 6-8 would be perfect; more than I could ask for. As the date to the class grew closer the attendance count kept ticking up and soon over two dozen were signed up to come!

My goal of the class was to introduce the different styles of cloth and to show everyone that every family is unique so there is no "right" way to cloth diaper. I started by giving a brief overview of the different styles of cloth as well as their pros/cons:
  • prefolds and flats with covers
  • all in ones
  • all in twos
  • pockets
  • fitteds
I also covered accessories, wash basics and a little bit of trouble shooting. Some of the attendees were already experienced in cloth diapering so it was great to have them share their experiences, such as while I use the dry pail method, two other moms shared that they use wet pails and why it works for them. It was a great open discussion with tons of questions and it made the time just fly by. I was also able to give out samples of Rockin Green, Country Save, Motherlove Herbals, Earth Angel Mama Baby and Planet Wise even sponsored two prizes!

We also had a special guest appearance; my own "cloth diaper community star," Amy the owner of Buttons Diapers. Amy and I have worked together several times, through my own Buttons Diapers reviews and at the Mommie Mixer in 2013. She's somewhat local to me so it was fun to have her come visit and for a couple customers get to meet her.

It had been several years since I've taught a class so it was fun and refreshing to jump in again. I hope I'll get to do it another time soon!

Connect with Grow With Me Boutique 
to find more cloth diapering resources for Snohomish County!


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