Swell Mommy

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● Parenting for Busy Moms ● Discovering kids activities and trips ● Have a question you want to ask? DM! ●


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We went to the @santaanazoo and I captured this picture of my 5 year old looking like a teenager. 
All the tears. 
More about the zoo in my stories.
We just took our last trip as Annual Passholders to Disneyland. Two kids, one mom, the whole day of little kid friendly fun. Details in my Disney Story Profile Tab. #disneylandkids
Sex Education. This is a hot topic in my community today so I thought I would share my thoughts. My children are too young for sex ed. At the Kindergarten and Preschool ages, the only sex education related things we talk about are vocabulary words like “penis,” “vagina” and “uterus.” When asked about where babies come from, I say, “When two people love each other very much and they are ready to take care of a family, they plan to have a baby.” It gives enough of an answer that they usually don’t ask anymore while imbuing some of the readiness values I want them to know and not alienating adoptive or same sex parent families.

In terms of public education sex Ed, since there is a California mandated course, I have this to say:

No one is going to teach your child about sex in a way that is satisfactory except you as a parent. Don’t sign the permission slip if you think you are going to be bothered by any of the content. 
For instance, I am a parent who does not believe in body shaming, would emphasize the biological/scientific information about reproduction and would discuss the multitude of dangers from various types of sex.

Kids are starting puberty as early as 9 years old now. That’s 4th grade. Blame it on environmental pollution, hormones in food or dairy, whatever. But it means they are experiencing body changes they need to be educated on and we as parents have to get there first.

But I really encourage parents to discuss all topics, including anal, oral, and other sex as the recent trend in teens is that they believe that as long as the sex is not vaginal, there are no risks when in fact other forms of sex still present serious STD risks. Various forms of contraception, like flavored condoms mentioned in the video, in fact may not prevent against STDs or pregnancy. We cannot refuse to talk about the current risks to our children today in favor of pushing abstinence when the world around them is sending them a different message.

Parent for the child you have and the world you are raising them in towards the values you uphold. No school curriculum is going to do it for you.
Kids In The Car Tip: Math work. For my Kindergartener, we count as high as we can, count by odds, count by evens, and count in Mandarin. We also do addition with numbers less than 6 so he can use his hands. 
With my preschooler, we play “How many do you see?” where I would ask how many cars or trees or signs he sees to get him counting on his own.

When they were toddlers, we played, “How many are in?” And ask how many are in a group he was familiar with, like our family. “Mommy - one, Daddy - two, big brother- three, and you - four” to get them counting with me. 
#workingmomlife #momhacks #montessoritoddler #montessoripreschool #montessorikindergarten #mlfl39 #mathgamesforkids #preschoolmath #kindergartenmath #toddlermath
Milestone: 10 year anniversary and first night away from the kids. Dropped off the kids with PoPo and immediately went to get margaritas, micheladas and Mexican from from @lahuasteca_oc to rekindle pre-parenthood life memories. Spicy challenges, drinks that look kid friendly but are meant for adults, crickets on a paleo friendly taco. 
This post made possible by my wonderful mother who willingly stayed overnight with our boys for us to be able to go. (Thanks Mama!)
#10yearanniversary #besttacosinoc #parenthood_moments #marriage365
Orange Coast College Community Science Night! This campus opens up with professor and student volunteers showing kids the world of sciences they teach on campus. Astronomy, biological sciences, horticulture, robotics, geology and marine biology were huge hits with our kids!
Breastfeeding. We are weaning down to bedtime nursing only. 2 babies, over 4 years of my life, through 5 mastitis infections, going back to work and pumping during the day, we are almost at the end. Join us during Breastfeeding Week 2018 and share your breastfeeding stories and advice. Here are a few breastfeeding tips I share with new moms:

1. For the majority of women, breastfeeding is challenging and painful for the first month. You are not doing it wrong, it really is awful in the beginning and then our bodies adapt. Stick it out. It is worth it.

2. Newborns nurse around the clock. You are not underproducing. You are not starving your baby (except in very rare cases of medical conditions which a doctor or lactation consultant can help determine). Just let baby latch and nurse on demand and your supply will increase based on how often baby is nursing.

3. Don’t expect to get anything else but keeping baby fed done for the first month. Everything else can wait. Give yourself some grace.

4. Don’t focus on trying to make it to X number of months or years during the hard parts. Just get through the days and weeks. 
5. Don’t judge other mothers for how they feed their babies. The harder you are on other moms, the harder you are being on yourself. Nurse because you want that for you and your family, not because you think it makes you better than moms who don’t. You’re doing your best. We’ll all doing our best.
Back to School Checklist. I am a minimalist at heart but when it comes to educational things, I am  totally extra. Trying to keep it in check this year, by making a list.
1. Make and Print First Day of School Sign.
2. Buy backpack, lunch bag, stainless steel food container and water bottle.
3. Buy everything on the school supplies list.
4. Get haircut.
5. Buy first day of school outfit.
6. Buy personalized waterproof labels.
Am I missing anything? This will be my first child going into public school.
Self care. As moms, we often prioritize everyone but ourselves. Personally, when I get too overloaded, my patience runs thin and my effectiveness as a mom dwindles and the only way back to balance is a little “me” time. I mentioned in my stories selfie that I had 5 people ask me this week if I am getting enough sleep. And though I appreciate their concern, I must be looking as tired and rundown as I feel so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite restful respites I am considering this weekend.

1. A beauty treatment of any kind. Whether it’s a new haircut, a facial, or even a mani pedi, taking the time to be pampered and groomed feels like a mini vacation.

2. Glorious uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is one of my first sacrifices when my time gets crunched but lack of sleep has such a profound effect on mood and perspective. Put someone else on night duty and get some ZZZs. 
3. A workout, walk/run or swim. Did I say sleep is the first to go? Exercise is right next to it. From the looks of all the fit mommies in my IG community, it doesn’t look like all of us have this problem but I definitely put exercise aside when overwhelmed with life and getting back to it always boosts my mood with endorphins, clears my head and gives me life. 
4. Pre-Kid Activity. There was a time when a nice cup of fruit tea in a comfy chair engulfed in a good book was a regular experience I took for granted. Now most of my reading is done by Audible, my tea drinking is done in a car while driving and there is little silence. Getting just an hour of this pre-kid life again would be so good for my soul.

5. Meditation. There is a reason so many successful people make meditation part of their daily routines. Meditation is and efficient way to get recentered, relaxed and ready to take on challenges. As little as 10 minutes can make time stretch into a significant mental escape. 
What are some of your favorite self care activities? 
#letterboardquotes #raedunn #anthonybourdain #wholebrainchild #wholefoodslife
Thank you for 3000+ giveaway!! Last week ya’ll voted for several small giveaways instead of one large one. I thought my community of education loving mamas would appreciate these 20 books for their own libraries so one lucky family will win this set.

To enter, drop an emoji or series of emojis that best represents your #momlife. Or tag a friend that might like our IG mom musings. 
Giveaway entry acceptance closes in 48 hours on 7/13/18. Good luck and thank you for making my IG experience so positive!! (More giveaways to follow.)
Encouraging Curiosity. We have a fine balance to strike as parents. Keeping our kids in line enough so they don’t end up in certain danger while giving them enough freedom to pursue their innate drive to learn and understand. And finding enough time to do it all. Here are a few easy ways we foster curiosity in our family.

1. Exposure. Taking a child out of their normal environment into another environment where they can see things in action they wouldn’t normally see. A mountain hike, a stroll down to the beach, a city stroll near construction, even kid museums like the Discovery Cube that put new images in their minds.

2. Questions before bed. As part of our bedtime routine, we ask, “What questions do you have about today?” Specifically, “Did you see something you didn’t understand or want to know more about?” It puts the kids in a mindset to remember their questions for later discussion and research.

3. Follow the child. Our kids are Montessori educated so we do try to reinforce this idea at home. We let them pick the activities we do together, let them try on their own before stepping in to help when they ask, and get excited about the things they like. It gives them the autonomy and reinforcement to pursue their interests.

4. Model Curiosity. We are parents with robust interests of our own and we model the Interest-Question-Research-Answer cycle with our kids. Many times, kids need to see us do as we teach. Verbalizing those steps to the kids is extremely helpful to them as well. 
How do you foster curiosity in your kids?
4th of July Activities! One day in the middle of the week and so many options for the littles! Here are some ideas. 
1. History Lesson. It can be as simple as we’re celebrating America’s birthday or as detailed as talking about the Declaration of Independence being signed. The lesson can get more detailed as they get older.

2. Go to a Parade, Block Party or Carnival. Our city blocks off a couple major roads and sets up a mini carnival, game booths, food trucks and a live band. Very kid friendly and many cities have events like these.

3. Make something red, white and blue. Whether it’s a door wreath craft or triple layer Jello, nothing is more kid friendly or patriotic than making something with our own hands!

4. BBQ of course! Is there anything quite as celebratory as food cooking on a grill over a fire? My kids always love seeing the grill light up!

5. Fireworks! Whether a big fireworks show or just sparklers in the front yard, every kid’s favorite memory of the 4th seems to be the fireworks. 
6. Relax! Don’t try to do it all in a day. Instead focus on doing the things you would really enjoy with your family. #independenceday #4thofjuly #modernparenting