3 Ways to Teach Toddlers About the Environment

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Like most people, I want to raise my children to respect the environment and have a knowledge of renewable energy. That’s a pretty complex subject, though. How can I teach two toddlers about something as complex as green power? Learning begins with simple gestures! Here are three things that we do to teach our kids about the environment:

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Behind the Selfie: The True Story about our Night

Behind the Selfie The Truth about our Night

Baby Jo and I took this selfie last night. You see our smiles, but you can’t see anything but this brief moment in time. That’s the problem with selfies. We see all these smiling faces plastered over social media, but do we really know what’s going on? What’s the story behind the selfie?

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Teaching Volunteerism to Our Children

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Experiencing the kindness of others #SimplyHealthy #ad

When difficult times strike, you have the opportunity to witness the kindness of others. We have been in that position each time C visited the hospital. Friends stopping by the hospital, a homemade blanket, a toy car, or a cup of coffee go a long way when you’re struggling. Now that we have experienced that side of volunteerism and kindness, it’s become more important to me to pay it forward. I make an effort in teaching volunteerism to instill that value in our children. Giving to others is an important part of healthy living.

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The Ups & Downs of Special Needs Parenting

The Ups and Downs of Special Needs Parenting #LittleMamaJama

Special needs parenting requires more patience and perseverance than I sometimes think I can bear. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I really don’t know why the setbacks surprise me. Maybe it’s because they come on so quickly, seemingly out of nowhere. We’ve barely gotten into a routine with the good progress and we’re struck with a sudden downturn.

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Thankful for my Babies on a Bench

Sometimes I look at these two and am so thankful.

Thankful that they love each other so much.

Thankful that they enjoy playing together so much.

Thankful that C is thriving, even when some days are difficult.

Thankful that they are growing, growing, growing.

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When It’s Scary to Raise a Family on Campus

This post may include affiliate links that make me money if you made a purchase after clicking on them. I have to support C’s organic blended diet habit! 

With the exception of one year of newlywed life, I have been living on campus for nine years. Campus has always felt like a safe place for me. Residence halls require card access, campus police is always nearby, and two of the three campuses I have lived on had security cameras. All considered, it’s one of the safest environments around.

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The Clarity of Bedtime

Bedtime provides clarity on difficult days with our #spd toddler #specialneeds #LittleMamaJama

The tension in his little body is visible. I know it is going to be a difficult day. Today, he will be aggressive. It will be difficult for him to follow direction, because auditory processing will not be easy. Motor planning will be harder today so I expect him to run into his sister, body slam me, and roll around on the floor in frustration.

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The Loneliness of Special Needs Parenting

No one ever tells you how hard parenting might be, that you might have a child who often demands more from you than you believe you are capable. No one ever tells you that, should this happen, it will consume all of your time, thoughts and energy. No one ever tells you that special needs parenting will leave you exhausted, exasperated and lonely.

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#ad Fight Hunger: Raising Children to be #HungerHeroes

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Poverty in the USA remains a big problem. My biggest concern? Hungry kids. Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the US is hungry*? That is a staggering number. I recall the pastor of our church recently talking about how many students, even in an affluent area, are signed up for the local school lunch program. I look at my children and can’t imagine the heartbreak of parents who are unable to provide enough food for their children.

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Clinging to moments with other parents who “get it.”

I found myself sitting in a break room with five or six other parents. Normally, I leave for a few, brief moments of alone time during C’s group therapy sessions; but they have an iPad set up so that we could watch this session. I was intrigued enough to stay.

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Wondering what the future holds for my special needs child

What does the future hold for my special needs son?

I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.

When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.

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The Moments That Make the Hard Parts of Staying Home Worth It

Staying at home with my kids means I’m there through everything. Every smile, every hug, every “first.” That also means I witness every tantrum, every skipped nap, the monotony, and I can’t forget the body fluids. Oh, the body fluids. We may live on a university campus, but I think even our neighbors would be shocked by the amount of body fluids going on in here every day. I’m sure any parent who stays at home would agree that parenting in the trenches 24/7 can get really hard sometimes.

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Moms are awesome. #WorldsToughestJob

If you haven’t seen this viral video yet, by American Greetings and Cardstore, you must watch it! They created a real job posting, posted it on real sites and conducted real interviews. Their working job title was, “Director of Operations.” It gave me goosebumps! Enjoy. :)

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5 Tips to Potty Train a Toddler with Sensory Processing Disorder

5 Tips to Potty Train an SPD Toddler

Sensory kids are tough. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! For months, I had anxiety about potty training C. Would he be ready? Would he play games with us, like the first time we attempted? Would he have major meltdowns?

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What I Don’t Say About Being a Special Needs Mom

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.

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Parenting as a Multiple Choice Exam

Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!

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“Tummy Hurt.”

I think this may have all been a little easier before C was able to articulate things. Last night I noticed that there was fluid leaking around his g-tube button, which meant that I needed to add 1-2 ml of water to the balloon for a tighter fit. He squirmed and whined as I tightened the fit of the g-tube button.

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The Great Cheerios Cleanup Standoff of 2013

C and I are a little too much alike. And by that, I mean that he’s basically me in male form.

With his sensory processing disorder, health problems and the terrible twos, we’ve been dealing with some pretty intense behavioral issues. I’ve started to really crack down on the bad behavior. The result is an epic battle of wills between two people who are basically the same.

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Figuring Out My Parenting Style

It seems like these days you’re expected to pick out a parenting style before giving birth. Are you going to practice attachment parenting? Free range parenting? Are you going to use the Ferber method? Extended breastfeeding?

There are just so many theories. Quite honestly, the parenting theories overwhelmed me when I had C. I had no idea what parenting style I believed in. Then I got a postpartum mood disorder, and I was struggling to tread water. I kind of fumbled through that first year and did what felt right.

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I’m Not Just Doing Laundry, I’m Raising Human Beings

Many times since C was born, I’ve found myself struggling to answer the questions, “What do you do?” and “What did you do today?”

As a mom, my days can be monotonous. I sometimes often feel like I haven’t accomplished a single thing. C can demand my constant attention, preventing me from “doing” (read: accomplishing) anything else. Now I’m in the midst of my first week as a stay-at-home mom of two children, and simply meeting everyone’s fundamental needs can seem like a challenge.

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The Feeding Basket

Disclosure: I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link in this post.

I was chatting with my sister-in-law about what it’s like to transition from one child to two, and she was offering me some tips.  One of them struck me as a particularly awesome idea: a feeding basket.  What the heck is a feeding basket, you ask?

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My Response to the Article, “A Nation of Wimps”

I’m not sure why this article suddenly went viral, considering it was published in 2004, but “A Nation of Wimps” by Hara Estroff Marano has been making its way around social media this week. Published in Psychology Today, it discusses how micromanaging our children is negatively affecting childhood development. If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so. In my opinion, the article has a lot of merit.

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Things I Never Thought I’d Say

Parenting has this way of making you blurt things out of your mouth that you never would have expected.  Here are some of mine:

  • How many times do I have to tell you not to grab your poop?!
  • This baby better show us its genitals today! (I feel the need to clarify that this was said on anatomy ultrasound day.)
  • Come here – let me get that wax out of your ear.
  • Thank you for handing me your booger.
  • We don’t pick Mama’s nose.
  • He’s bathing in his own urine!
  • I am not a tree that you can climb.
  • DON’T EAT POOP! (This particular one was accompanied with a shriek of horror.)

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What I Love About Being a SAHM

There are some days that I really wouldn’t mind going back to work outside of the home.  I do miss working in higher education sometimes, and when I have a particularly challenging day with C, the thought of going back seems very attractive.

Then I have moments with him when he’s very cuddly or he sees me from across the room and runs up to me saying, “Mama!”  I love when he says a new word or his eyes dance when I read him a story.  It makes me laugh when his favorite song comes on and he starts bobbing his head and dancing.  When he sees a dog on TV, he says “woof woof!”

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One of THOSE Days

So yesterday was one of THOSE days.  You know, the ones that make you want to run for the hills.

Or in this case, it made me want to run back to one of those cushy office jobs that I used to have.  Where I spoke with ADULTS all day and didn’t have to constantly pull a climbing toddler off of the furniture.

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What 2011 Taught Me

As 2011 comes to a close, I’ve been pondering the life lessons that this year has taught me.  Do you also find yourself reflecting on the past year?  If so, what are some things that you have learned?

1. Becoming a parent is life-changing.  Even though you have the entire pregnancy to prepare for parenthood, the actual transformation is almost instantaneous.  Shortly after I had gotten my epidural in the hospital, Hubster went out to get himself dinner.  We knew there was a long night of labor ahead of us.  I’ll never forget how I shocked my nurse by choosing to lay in silence instead of turning on the television.  I told her that my life would never be that quiet again and I wanted to relish in it.  Wow, was that the truth.  Leaving our home as a couple and returning as a family was an amazing experience for which I don’t think we could have emotionally prepared.

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Myth: Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is Easy

Over the past week, someone said to me that they’d love to be able to “just” stay at home with their kids.  (They emphasized the “just.”  This person did not have children.)  Inwardly, I was outraged that this person thought that life at home with children was so easy.  Outwardly, all I could do was smile politely at their ignorance.

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Read Your Books!

When I was pregnant, one of the last things I felt like doing sometimes was reading.  I was kind of a lazy sack at the end of my pregnancy.  But looking back, I wish I had taken that opportunity to read some parenting books that I struggle to find the time for now.

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Things Change…

There’s some things that I can no longer attend or do because C needs a nap, is fussy, or a barrage of other things.  Yet, it’s funny because now there’s nowhere I’d rather be or nothing I’d rather be doing than hanging out with this teeny tiny little person.

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“Superwoman” is a Relative Term

It’s amazing how little it takes these days for me to feel like Superwoman! C was content long enough for me to pump while he sat by me in his Boppy. Then he hung out in his swing while I did dishes, changed the load of laundry and then made myself look presentable for the day. I even fixed myself a snack before he started to fuss! Breastfeeding makes me SO hungry.

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Prepping for Baby’s Arrival

How early did you start preparing baby clothes, sterilizing bottles, packing your hospital bag, etc.?

Earlier this month, I started washing all of my son’s towels and linens as well as all of his newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  Last week, I sterilized all of his bottles, pacifiers and my breast pump.  After having to make a quick trip to the doctor this week, we finished packing the hospital bag.  Hubster installed the car seat last week.  I honestly don’t know what else is left to do before he comes!

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Holy Crap – I'm Going to be a Parent!

Did you have one moment where it hit you like a ton of bricks – the realization that you’re going to be responsible for a whole other little person?  For life?!

I feel like I’ve had multiple mini-moments like that, but yesterday it hit me a little bit harder than normal.  Like WHOA.  I don’t think that I’ll fully understand what that responsibility and life change will feel like or really mean until we’re actually holding our baby in our arms.  At the same time, though, it’s so strange to think about how our life will be changing forever.

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Are Teenagers Today Really Like the Ones on "Skins"?

Last night, I watched MTV’s “Skins” for the first time.  Before the show premiered, I remember reading about the controversy with Taco Bell pulling its ads from the show due to content that they felt was too adult-oriented.  There was also concern that the show was violating child pornography laws, since all of the actors are actually high-school age (unlike most shows about teens, with actors in their mid-20s).

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Creative Birthday Cakes

I hope I’m half as creative as these parents when it comes time to host awesome kids’ birthday parties :)

Play Makes Babies Smarter

I have to admit that sometimes articles like this overwhelm me.  You mean just by smiling at my baby, I’ll be helping him develop social skills that will impact him for the rest of his life?!  You’re telling me that simply playing with blocks, my child will be developing language and mathematical skills?!  It makes me wonder if I’ll do enough of the little things correctly and if I miss something, will my child be irreversibly screwed up?!

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