Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Camp Week Two and Three

heading to the mountians

hiking along

checking out an old cabin

being silly in the woods

resting in the wind

making new friends

exploring together

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week One of Summer Camp at Home

Owen loves rock hunting in the creek
 I mentioned this before, I love camp, love it! I wanted to do a few things this Summer that would make our days feel a bit campy. If you didn't go to camp as a kid, or were a counselor at a kids camp here's what makes camp feel like camp; swimming every day, getting to do activities you might not do at home, art--real art not just crafting, playing so hard all day you  need a nap in the afternoon, staying up late, being outside all day long, eating big meals (trick of camps, they feed your kids high calorie foods so they don't look too skinny when you pick them up. When kids play as hard as they do at camp they burn off a lot of calories and then moms freak out when they are given back skinny kids, so kids are allowed to eat things like a fudgesicle with peanut butter on one side and marshmallow fluff on the other), making new friends, being in the woods. I am going to try and do a few things throughout the next few weeks to give us the feeling of camp.  
taking a trip up the creek

what will we find?

packing lunches to eat after a long morning of swimming lessons

evidence of naps

sun prints after a nature walk

visiting our favorite bakery and yes please on the extra frosting

playing in the park way past bed time

discovering the best pancake recipe

eating breakfast outside

more evidence of naps

just trying to finish that one last page before rest time is over

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Attention all women! Midwives do more than catch babies!

Donna and Jess come to help Owen out!
 Meet one of my midwives, Donna. Donna and Jess cared for me while I was pregnant with Owen. They answered every single one of Marin's questions, and let her use the doppler to find the baby's heart beat. They came to my house for all of my prenatal visits, and they came to my house for the birth of little Owen. 

Owen gets his first Well Child Check-up right on our bed, no bright lights or cold hospital rooms for this baby
 After Owen was born Donna and Jess came back to care for me in my house. Bonus, postpartum care in your house, AMEN!

So you might be asking why I am talking about my midwife again? You all know I had a home birth so what's this about? 

When I was a teen and about to get my first Well Woman Exam my mother decided the best way to introduce her daughter to obstetrics was under the care of a midwife. She found a local midwife, set us up an appointment and one day this woman arrived at my house. We were introduced to each other and then she and I sat out on the porch for a while and talked about growing up, the components of the girl body, boobs and such, and about taking care of yourself, and boys, and how pregnancy works (I had known about this for a long time because when I was five I found a book hidden on a shelf in our house called Susie's Babies by Edith Clarkson. Susie's Babies: A Clear and Simple Explanation of the Everyday Miracle of Birth 
   So I read most of the book and when my mom found me with it she sat down and we finished the book together and talked through Susie having babies. I then informed every child in my kindergarten class as to how babies are made and delivered, in the hamster world that is. 

My first experience with obstetrics care was in the comfort of my home, with a woman who cared about my personal health and emotional experience in growing up. She was nice and chatty and made it anything but awkward, even though I was nervous about it, she made it less scary. She made it easy to ask questions I may have felt weird asking my mom, not because my mom was critical of me but she was my mom. 

So a few weeks ago I called Donna and said, "I haven't seen a doctor in over two years, can you do my Well Woman Exam?" she said yes. I was supposed to meet her at her office on Monday, but Owen was asleep after a morning of swimming, so I called her and asked if she was able to come over (my house is a mile from her office). She said, "Don't wake the baby!" and arrived a few minutes later. Marin did crafts at the table and Owen took a nap, and Donna did my entire exam in my room. She went through everything an OBGYN would have, sent off my labs to the same place, everything was the same, EXCEPT I was in my own house, my baby was napping. I didn't have to set up a sitter, drive across town, pay for parking, use stirrups, sit on that crinkly white paper, wear a paper gown (I wore my own comfy things). 

I paid her my normal co-pay and a bag of fresh garden tomatoes.

So if you don't like going to an office for your Well Woman Exams, if you have a daughter who is approaching the dreaded first exam, check out your local midwifery care. Midwifery care is not some hippie, back woods type of care. A midwife cares for the whole woman, she takes care of her when she is expecting a baby, she takes care of her when she has a miscarriage (and stops by to talk, listen and make you tea), she listens when you feel like your hormones are out of whack, she frequently visits when you are postpartum, she knows how to look for things that might be abnormal and can recommend good further care, she comes to your home and believes your care should take place in your habitat where you can be most comfortable, and she can do your well woman care forever. She can care for your growing daughter and she sees caring for you as whole family care. Midwives do house calls! 

I wanted to post about this because I feel like its often overlooked at how vital midwives have been and still are in female health care. I also have been thinking about how I will handle this some day with Marin. I'll probably just call Donna. Who will probably still come over even though by then she will be retired.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Preschool Graduation, Kindergarten Prep!

Today we experienced our first graduation, and have our first graduate! Marin graduated from preschool. She has been in preschool for two and a half years. We have loved our preschool experience, learning to work in community, going from letter recognition to the beginning stages of reading. 

Our little graduate

Marin draws herself graduating in her end of the school year Psalm in Sunday School
As we leave preschool I have been spending a lot of time and energy on preparing our graduate for the next stage, KINDERGARTEN!  

Kindergarten Prep Part 1
One of the ways I have been doing this is by asking lots of questions. I ask every "professional" I meet (her pediatrician, other teachers, parents, etc...) "How do we get ready for kindergarten?" "What should I be teaching her?" "What does she need to know." The most common response I got was, wait for it...


No joke, of all the things, wipe. Yep everyone said that. Know your letters? How to count? No everyone just said "wipe". But you know me I won't take that as the only answer. So I sent a friend who taught kindergarten for many years a letter asking very specific questions. Here are my questions:

1. What can I expect when my child enters school?
2. What did you find parents worried about?
3. As a teacher what frustrated you the most? (In relation to what kids needed to know from their parents)
4. How can I advocate for my child's teacher?
5. What can I help my child learn between now and school starting?

Below are her answers:  

I loved being a kindergarten teacher! You get to see such growth in the course of nine months. Children come in a bit tentative...they have to learn all the ropes of a new school, a new teacher, a new set of friends, and by the time they leave, they have such confidence.

First off, I think it is a really good idea to visit Marin's school. Maybe you've already done this. Try to meet teachers, and if there is one you connect with or one you've heard great things about, go ahead and request her or him. Some parents seem to hesitate to request teachers, assuming that they'll get the label as being "high maintenance". Teachers and administrators don't really care. Of course, in some unique situations, requests can't be made, but in general, pairing your child with a teacher that you think will "get" them is such an advantage. Plus, the teacher will be flattered!

 I had one room mother who always made me fill out a little questionnaire at the beginning of the year...questions like "what do you like to do in your free time?", "your favorite takeout lunch?", "what is on your wishlist for your classroom?". Then, for any kind of appreciation gift, she would go to these answers. Sometimes, she would just surprise me with a lunch. I cannot tell you how appreciated I felt by her. It was just little things, but they meant so much.

As far as what Marin needs to know or do by the time she enters kindergarten...I would say to work on these things:

1. tying shoes (teachers have to tie an insane amount of shoelaces)

2. zipping up coats (same explanation as number 1)

3. cutting paper and gluing (crafts are not as prevalent as they once were in kindergarten, so this is a skill that kids need to work on at home)

4. holding a pencil correctly

5. having some letter recognition (kindergarten will be when most children start reading and writing, so a familiarity with letters is quite nice to have upon entering kindergarten, but not required)

6. writing his/her name...letter formation in general is something to practice at home as well...especially lower case letters.

7. other basic skills - knowing colors, shapes, rote counting to 20

8. the ability to leave your parents this one is hard! but, maybe a little class could help or a Sunday school class. or preschool, of course.

9. this one is also a bit harder, but the ability to use words to talk about problems as opposed to crying/screaming or hitting/pushing


I know this is a lot and really, it is rare to have a kid come to school with all of these. So, do not stress, just do the best you can.

The only other thing I'd tell you is to try not and linger on the first day of school. Get her settled, take a photo, give a hug, and then's so much easier on, the kid, the teacher. 

This letter was very helpful. I hope it is helpful to anyone else getting ready for school. I will write a second post about this topic and the other ways we are getting ready for kindergarten. In the meantime Happy Summer! School is OUT!!!!