Archives for October 2012

Happy Halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN y’all.

CONNECT IN THE KITCHEN

 

Halloween. It’s a big deal when you are a kid. Plans for what to dress up as can begin as early as July…

Here are three super easy ideas that don’t take a lot of supplies, talent OR time and are SURE to be a hit with your kids no matter their age – tots to teens.

 

Watermelon BRAIN: Just a small watermelon, a potato peeler and a knife will get you this good looking center piece!

Bread Stick Roll BONES: My kids had a blast making these femur bones and ribs out of a roll of bread stick dough. They ate ‘em up with a side of butter cinnamon sugar to dip them in. Get creative and make your own shapes!

Scary HAND Veggie Dip: Just cream cheese “glue” almond slices onto the ends of five finger-looking (peeled and ends cut off) carrots, then stick ‘em in a bowl of dip and you’ve got a spoooookie treat. Your kids will want to eat even their GREEN veggies with this one. (for the picture, check the video above.)

How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

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xo

Suzanne Tucker is co-creator of My Mommy Manual.com and a proud mom of four. Join her and other moms on this journey called motherhood, because life’s better when we hold hands.

The Crayon Connection

I am so happy my friend Shanna agreed to write for us about crafts today. She’s a mom of two under age three and I am inspired, not only by her and her crafty-ness, but by the simple truth she shares with us today. Thanks Shanna!!!

(PS: Crayons rock. You two have inspired me. I have our crayons out today) … 😉

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I’ve done a million crafts with my daughter and for the most part, they have been really fun and educational. So when Suzanne asked me to write about crafts and connection, I must admit, I kind of panicked. As I thought back to all the crafts we’ve done, my mind kept going back to one thing…crayons. Silly, right? I thought so. I kept saying to myself, “Crayons just won’t do.”

I pondered and pondered what I could write about. What would be the best craft to help us connect with our kids?

Thinking…thinking…Crayons…Really? That’s still in my head?

After sleeping on it, I finally realized why crayons were so prevalent in my thoughts about this post. When I color, simply color and draw with my child, that is when I feel the closest, the calmest. I notice it in my daughter, Grace, as well. We clear the table and the excitement builds as she’s helping me. I go to our art station and grab the crayons and A LOT of paper. She asks me to let her carry them and she’s so proud to do so. We get ourselves set up and we are off to the races.

The crayons allow us to tell a story to one another…Grace has great stories.

The crayons allow us to talk about fear, love, sharing and caring.

The crayons allow us to learn together.

The crayons allow us to encourage and complement each other.

Grace is only three years old, but has a vast vocabulary. I enjoy talking to her and hearing what she has to say and I want her to know that I am always willing and excited to listen. But let’s be honest for a moment. When I’m cooking or cleaning, I’m not doing my best listening as to how she just saw the COOLEST ladybug. And when she’s really focused on her dolls and giving them checkups with her doctors kit…well, Mommy is the last person she wants to tell about the nice dragon that visited her and who would now like to be her friend.

But I want to hear about that ladybug and the adventures they have together. I want to hear about the nice dragon and I don’t blame him for wanting to be my daughter’s friend…she’s AWESOME!

When we color, I get hear those great adventures and she gets to know that I’m 100% listening…we’re connected.

I always stand from the table feeling like I know my daughter better than when we started. I always feel closer. We get to laugh together and tell secrets and share our creations together.

It may not be a huge craft with themes and glue and buttons and glitter and pom-poms…those are really fun and we do them all the time. However, there is something special about the connection I get with my daughter through a simple crayon.

That little waxy, colored tube gives me a window into my daughter’s heart and mind and I can’t help but think that somehow, in her own little three year old way, she gets an understanding of mine.

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By guest blogger Shanna C. of Momma C. Designs.

Remembering…

I am not the same person I was before miscarriage, before our angel babies Leo, Mary, Tucker, Lily and Nina forever rocked my world.

I feel my angel babies making a difference every time I sit down to write to you.

I feel them in my heart when my second daughter tells me how she feels her angel brothers and sisters are looking out for her.

I feel them when our eldest daughter, now twelve, draws her family portrait at school with me, her dad, her two sisters and brother and herself surrounded by five cupcake stickers; the stickers she only later tells me are her angel brothers and sisters.

And I feel them when, last month, celebrating fifteen years of marriage, I experienced a love there between my husband and I, stronger in spite of (or maybe even because of) the times we pushed away from one another, grieving so much loss together but more often, separately.

I am remembering my baby angels today, something I usually do privately or maybe here with you or with other angel mamas; but today I will do this publicly, with friends and family and some that may not quite understand why.

I will do this because October 15th is a day for the world to remember angel babies and the ones they left behind, that we may know we are not alone.

If you have lost a child, know that I and many, many others are remembering with you today. We want to wrap you in love and light. We want to listen to you. We want to say your baby’s name aloud.

Write your angels name below and we will say it aloud with you, that all those that come here know, your angel is remembered.

xo

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By Suzanne Tucker, co-creator of My Mommy Manual.com. Join her and other moms on this journey called motherhood, because life’s better when we hold hands.

Let’s Build Each Other Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the best thing anybody said to you after you had your first baby?

Say that to new moms you know.

What was the best thing anybody did for you? Was it a friend that came over to scrub your toilets instead of coming over to hold your cute new baby? A meal dropped by without a visit attached? A card? A kind word when you nursed in public even though it was new and still uncomfortable for you?

Do that.

Was there ever a mom that listened to you complain without trying to solve your problem or make it bad or *wrong*?

Listen this way to other mothers.

Was there ever a mom that told you early on (when you thought you could do nothing right) “YOU’VE SO TOTALLY GOT THIS”?

Say this to other mothers.

Was there ever another mother that told you “Perfect is overrated” and “Don’t worry, when it comes to babies, there is no such thing as NORMAL”?

Remind other mother of this too.

Today, if you see another mother out and about, be kind. Smile at her even though you do not know her. Be for her what another mother was (or could have been) for you in those first few fragile days, weeks, months… years.

We are more connected than we are separate. Make a difference for another mother TODAY.

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

– Mother Teresa

xo

 

 

 

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By Suzanne Tucker, co-creator of My Mommy Manual.com. Join her and other moms on this journey called motherhood, because life’s better when we hold hands.

I Don’t Want to Do Something Wrong…

My friend Desi wrote to me last night wanting thoughts on how she might best support a friend:

My girlfriend just lost her baby. She was around 27 weeks. I don’t know what I need to do. I am going to mail a card tomorrow, but I don’t want to do something wrong at this sensitive time in her life. What can I do for her?

I love my friend. She is the mom of two, her baby just months old. She has never lost a child, but in her compassion, she is reaching out to learn how she might best support her friend. This is the sort of person everyone deserves to have in their life when bad things happen. I was (am) lucky enough to have friends and family like Desi, but so, SO many are not.

Here is what I wrote back, my immediate reply to a friend asking for advice. It took me all of about 48 seconds to write… and instead of adding to it or making it pretty, I thought I’d share with you just as it was, not in spite of its unedited-ness, but because of  it. (Sometimes our heads just get in the way…)

do listen. just listening, with your whole heart, without a need to make it better or make it go away… this is the most powerful thing you can do.

do be compassionate in your listening. you do not need to have had a loss to be of comfort to her.

do tell her you are sorry. that you are thinking of her. over and over, many times. those are really the best words. you can tell her in a card, in a gift, in a phone call, in a meal you drop by.

avoid fresh flowers. they die and can be a sad reminder when eventually they need to be thrown out.

ask her how she is. talk to her about her baby and call her baby by her baby’s name.

never feel you are best not mentioning it because you don’t want to “remind her” because, trust me, she won’t have forgotten and likely she is thinking about it anyway.

do not give her advice on how to feel. ever. things like “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you have another child” or “well, your baby is in a better place.” These words ring empty and do not comfort most in their loss.

do sit with her while she cries. drive over to give her a hug if she lives in town; even if she tells you she is okay and doesn’t need you to do this, hug her.

do ask if you can buy a plant or a tree for her to plant in her babies memory so she can see it’s life cycles and remember her sweet baby angel with each passing season.

do offer to help organize the memorial service. a balloon release or something of this sort where all can remember her baby with her. lots of ideas online.

do put this on your calendar for this time next year. remember this day with her then as she will be thinking about it. it may be a tough month even. likely nobody else in her world will be remembering along with her (unless she is really good at creating this sort of support in her life) and you remembering for and with her… this is a great, great gift.

give the gift of you. your heart. your listening. your tears. your understanding. your permission for her to grieve. she may denying these very things to herself. i know i did.
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you are a real gift in her life. you are a good friend to even ask.

 

What would you have replied? (And thank you ahead of time. I plan to add your thoughts to JOURNEY.)

xo

 

 

PS: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is coming up October 15th. This might be a nice time to remember a friend’s loss for and with them.

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I believe that when we follow our bliss, anything is possible. If you know what it is to lose a child, be it to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss, I hope you will walk with me and other moms here, because this journey we are on is better when we are holding hands. Join and receive email support and inspiration for the journey of life after losing a child.

This Is My Intention

I know this feeling. I have another something growing within me. This something has a soul. I’m not pregnant (with a baby anyway) but something is definitely growing. 

It’s still new for me to say it out loud, but I’m going to say it anyway. I am writing a book. A companion journal for mother’s who know loss be it to infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant loss or any other. Loss is loss.

I can see the journal so clearly, how it will look and even how it will feel to hold; to write in. This book will be covered in pretty things, tied with a ribbon and a promise to hold all it contains forever close. This book will be a place for mother’s to feel less alone, to capture memories and search their hearts, unearthing the treasures that await them there. Gifts for them alone.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And so it is for healing, more a way than a place one arrives. Being with our grief is a worthy journey. Though not popular in our culture, being intimate with our suffering has the power to bring peace and healing. This is the inspiration for this companion journal.

After seven years of living in my journal alone, this book is unfolding. It begins with a chapter on stillness and ends with a chapter on sharing. Each of the book’s five chapters includes stories, quotes, and poems followed by big, beautifully illustrated open spaces to journal.

Writing this companion journal is part of my healing journey to be certain. In 2005 we lost our first son. Leo took flight and left me with a heart full of pain. About a week into my struggle to accept our loss I experienced what I can only describe as a calling. It happened like a tap on my shoulder, a tap that spoke to my heart even though it made no sense to my head. I was supposed to write about my journey with loss.

I doubted this tap. I though, “Who is gonna want to read about my life?” But I started to write anyway. With pen to paper, I wrestled with my life and searched for answers to the questions that filled me.

Six months after losing Leo, one miscarriage turned into two. Turned into three. I was down on my knees and the call got louder. I wasn’t doubting anymore. Turned into four. Turned into five.  Somewhere in the middle there, I started to believe. I was supposed to make time for my grief to live; to  hold love present to my pain that I may be called ever closer to the fullness of life; to share my story and to listen to the stories of others with out judgment or conditions. I was supposed to tell my story.

The chapters are taking shape, miraculously, like little baby fingers and little baby toes. If this book were a baby I think I’m somewhere near the end of my first trimester. An early spring birth, 2014, in time for Mother’s Day and the anniversary of Leo’s passing. I hope so anyway.

It takes a team to have a baby and I am very clear, it will take no less to bring this book to life. I hope you will be there for the long haul so together we can wonder at it’s creation into being.

In my next post I’ll show you a picture of how I see this companion journal looking. Like an eight week ultrasound, this picture will give you a glimpse of what I hope this ‘lil angel will look like one day soon. I can’t wait to show you. (I think it’s going to have my husband’s nose…)

xo

 

 

 

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I believe that when we follow our bliss, anything is possible. If you are a mother that knows loss, I hope you walk with me and other moms that know what it is to grieve as well. This journey we are on is easier when we are holding hands. Join for support and inspiration for the journey of life after loss.