Another Breastfeeding Journey Comes to an End

It’s happening.  We’re pretty much done with breastfeeding.  I’m actually a little sad over this.  When I weaned my older daughter two years ago, I went through some mixed emotions.  I was really ready to get my body back.  This time, I know that this very well may be the last time I ever get to be that close to someone.  And my baby is growing up some; I kinda didn’t want it to end.  I’m having a hard time accepting it.  And my body seems to be having a hard time with it too.  My metabolism has come to a complete halt – I’ve put on weight at an alarming rate since cutting back.  But it’s time.  We made it to 14 months.

I vividly remember Super S crawling up my stomach and my chest and latching on within minutes of being born.  She was so sweet and just knew what to do.  She had a little jaundice so I fed her every two hours around the clock.  She was a sleepy eater.  So I’d switch her back and forth to help keep her awake.  She did a number on me.  Last week I found a form that a lactation consultant that I visited had filled out.  She  actually used the words “trauma to nipples.”  Funny how nature makes you forget.  She had a shallow latch and that resulted in a very painful time for me for the first several weeks.  The consultant helped with that and then it got better but I remember being in tears (I’m sure the lack of sleep encouraged those tears too).

One thing that surprised me (I suppose it’s a little odd) was that I found myself feeling the urge to feed my older daughter too, even though I hadn’t nursed her in a year.  Kind of bizarre, right?  I wonder if it was because I was nourishing the younger one and that maternal instinct to nurture my kids was on overdrive.  Maybe the process just flooded me with memories from the first time around.  I don’t know.

Luckily my sweet little buttercup grew and gained weight.  Once her body pushed out all the jaundice, I eased up and started feeding her every three hours or so.  Sweet, quiet moments shared between just her and I.  But she was also having a hard time with it.  I guess I had a heavy let down; she would sometimes choke when I fed her and she sounded congested and made lots of wet sounds while sleeping in her crib.  She even coughed, which newborns shouldn’t really do.  I got the feeling she had silent reflux.  Luckily she wasn’t spitting up as much as her sister did but I still felt something wasn’t quite right.  So I tried a few different things.  I would sit her upright for awhile after every feeding and was more diligent about burping her.  We put a wedge in her crib to keep her up at an angle.  What seemed to help the most, though, was feeding her with her body at a decline.  She just needed a little help from gravity, I guess.


Super S was a like a clockwork.  Up every three hours to eat without fail.  Then it happened again.  Blood in her diaper, just like her big sister.  We had been to this rodeo before so we didn’t freak out.  We took her in to see her pediatrician, who had helped us work through allergy issues with our first baby.  She didn’t seem the least bit concerned.  It was most likely a dairy allergy.  Since it seemed that my older daughter was most sensitive to soy and dairy, I cut those out of my diet first because I wanted to keep breastfeeding her.  We never saw blood in her diaper again.  She outgrew the gurgles and was easy to feed.  I just kept dairy and soy out of my diet to the best of my ability until she was 9-10 months old.  She was fine.

I very rarely pumped and fed her with a bottle.  I didn’t even try using a bottle until she was around three months old.  And technically, I knew I should have been more diligent but I was lucky.  Pretty much the only time she used a bottle was when my mom watched her.  And by some miracle, she drank from the bottle without much strife.  I think she just loved drinking milk, wherever it came from.


I just loved how warm my little lovely was.  In the early days, there were a few times when she slept with us and she would just sidle up to me, even without much motor control.  It’s amazing what nature enables.  My favorite feeding was the first nursing of the day.  We almost always did this lying down, her little tummy pressed against mine.  Her little legs kicking and pushing against me.  She was just so content and at peace.  She didn’t make a ton of eye contact with me when I was feeding her but I often couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  I remember there were a few times when her big sister would come in the room and the sound of her voice would make Super S smile, eyes closed, still latched on.  It really was the sweetest thing.  And some of my favorite memories of those crazy days of having a newborn and a toddler were of feeding Super S with my feet propped up on the ottoman, Miss K sitting on my legs. The calm that came with the feeding were energizing.  Miss K would say “Sia’s eeeeeeeeeeating.”  She was just a little bitty two year old and Super S would be sleepily and happily filling her little belly.

Maybe the breastfeeding played a role in bringing Super S and I so close together.  She is clearly attached to me, more so than my older daughter.  Even now, she will sleep with her arms clutched around my neck if we lie down together.  She likes to sleep on my face and pull my hair.  It’s aggravating and so incredibly endearing at the same time.  I love this little girl more than I describe.


At a year old, I was still feeding her twice at night and four times a day.  Then I stretched out the daytime feedings and dropped a night feeding.  Then we accidentally  (but wonderfully!) night weaned her when we left her with my parents for two nights.  I finally was getting some rest!  Hallelujah!  Then, in the next month, I gradually dropped another daytime feeding and was down to just the bedtime and morning feed.  Then we dropped the bedtime feeding and gradually tapered down the morning feeding too.  And here we are.  I didn’t have a plan.  I didn’t know how long I’d be breastfeeding her.  But this weaning has been gradual, feels natural, and hasn’t been too upsetting for her.  And I didn’t have any engorgement issues, clogged ducts, or hormonal surges.  But we’re done and I’m going to miss this part of my life.

Why is this even worth writing about?  Because there is something so special, so precious, so validating about the bond that nourishing one’s child in this way brings.  I was lucky – I’m a stay at home mom.  I had the luxury of not having to pump and was blessed with a good supply of milk, despite my age and lack of fitness.  I could do this with her and I’m so incredibly glad I did.  I’m proud of us.  I’m proud of me.  As wonderful as it is to know that you’re the only one able to provide a milk built so perfectly for this one child, it also meant that the responsibility was 100% on my head.  Five to nine times a day.  No break.  No days off.  But it was worth it.  So to any mom reading this that is considering breastfeeding or is having difficulty with it, I say if you can, stick with it.  It’s not always easy.  It’s not always convenient.  But it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your child.


Five Things Miss K Said This Week that Melted My Heart

Miss K has always been a sweet girl but lately she’s just been getting me in the gut with her golden heart.  She gets that from her dad.  I sometimes wonder if being her primary caretaker was the absolute best thing for her and when I hear her echoing positive words and sentiment that I say to her, then I think ok…maybe it’s good that she and I are together afterall.  I’ll try not to cry while writing this.

1.  “This was a great dinner.”  I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been having a hard time getting on the same wavelength as the rest of the family and it seems like my husband and Miss K haven’t been enjoying the food I’ve been making lately.  She has no idea how much it meant to me that she said those words.  All I made was some vegan phyllo dough egg rolls, cut up and salted some cucumbers, bell peppers, and radishes, and warmed up some fried rice.  I just want to know that she’s enjoying something I made that’s reasonably healthy for her.

2.  “You can do it, Sia!  I know you can!”  I don’t even remember what Sia was trying to do but she was encouraging her sister without any prompting from me.  I wasn’t even in the room, so I know it came from a pure place.

3.  “I’m proud of you, mommy.”  For what?  “For being so good.  And for playing candy crush saga.”  I love this on so many levels.

4.  I wasn’t sure how my kids would react when I unexpectedly turned on the hose and sprayed water.  50% chance of delight, 50% chance of freak out.  So without realizing she was even listening, I said, “Let’s see if mama’s awesome or mean.”  And bless her heart, she said “She’s AWESOME!!!”

5.  “Don’t worry, Sia!  It’s gonna be alright!  Mommy’s coming back!  She loves you!”  Sometimes Super S flips out when I leave the room and my little bitty three year old took it upon herself to comfort her baby.  And I really love that she told her that I loved her.  Whether she’s just repeating the words or she feels it from my actions, I am just so incredibly thankful and relieved that she believes that I love them.

One other thing happened when I went to pick her up from school today.  Super S sometimes gets really REALLY happy when she sees Miss K since they’ve been separated for a few hours (seriously, it’s like 3 hours and in that time Super S also takes a nap but maybe to her it feels like an eternity?).  Today was one of those days.  She tried jumping out of my arms so she could go and hug her big sister and squealed in delight.  When I put her down, Karina hugged her and kissed her and instantly took a carrot from her lunch and tried feeding it to Super S.  Those interactions just slay me.

Indian Food Ingredient Glossary

It turns out my kids like Indian food.  This is ironic because I don’t typically crave it.  Don’t get me wrong – I like it fine, but there are only a few things that I would put on my list of favorite foods, despite having grown up eating Indian food for dinner six days a week.  And many of those things I only like if my mom makes it.  Spoiled, spicesaren’t I?  On top of that, I’ve been thinking about my four parents.  They’re getting older and one day they will need to be cared for.  If that’s the case, then I really should learn to cook Indian food more proficiently than I can today.  My poor mother tried.  Bless her heart…she really did.  I helped make pooris, rotlis, bhakris, dhebras, you name it.  I helped make every vegetable imaginable.  I sifted through endless cups of beans and seeds in thalis.  And yet, I had no interest whatsoever in doing it so the moment I moved out of the house, I stopped making those things and now years later, I am no longer able.  I mean…I have a general knowledge but I couldn’t make an entire meal for anyone or anything like that.  It’s embarrassing really.  And more than anything, i want to be able to feed our parents and bring them comfort in the form of food when they’re no longer able to feed themselves.

So I’ve been looking up recipes and trying to make sense of the disjointed jumble of words, methods, and steps in Indian cooking.  You should have seen the light bulb that went off above my head when I realized that millet (which I had been wanting to try for the longest time) was the same thing as bajri, which my mom always has in her cupboard.  Turns out I had been trying it my whole life.  Or the confusion as I stand in the beans and grains aisles of the multi-ethnic grocery stores I visit, trying to figure out if what I see in front of me is what I *think* it is.  So I’m compiling a glossary of ingredients used in Indian cooking for me to reference.  Hopefully it will help someone else too.  Hopefully I’ll add more words as time goes on.  Let me know if you’re trying to find a translation of an ingredient and I’ll see if I can help,

Note: The words I used are the gujarati versions because, well, I’m gujarati and these are the words I know.

Besan Chickpea/Yellow Split pea mix
Gram Chickpea
Bajri Millet
Udad Black Lentil Flour
Toor Dal Pigeon Peas
Chana/Chole Chickpeas
Val Black Eyed Peas
Rajma Red Kidney beans
Masoor Red Lentils
Herbs & Spices
Jeera Cumin
Haldi Turmeric
Rai Mustard Seeds
Hing Asafoetida
Soonth/Adu Ginger powder
Methi Fenugreek
Elaichi Cardamom
Loving Cloves
Dhaniya Coriander (dry, leaves, or seeds)
Variali Fennel Seeds
Aamchoor Dried Mango Powder
Fudino Mint
Tulsi Thai Basil
Kesar Safron
Tal/Til Sesame Seeds
Amli Tamarind
Powa Flattened Rice
Mamra Puffed Rice

Five Things that I should be able to do easily but can’t

So I actually do all of these things – they’re just surprisingly difficult when my littles are around.  It’s the kind of stuff that no one ever tells you about before having kids.

1.  Dishes – since she learned how to crawl, Super S has been super interested in the IMG_20131121_110312dishwasher.  She climbs into the door and sits down and then starts messing with the silverware.  In the process, she gets all wet and I can’t load anything because if I load in the top drawer, she’ll get dripped on and she’s in the way of the bottom drawer.  For the same reason, I can’t unload the dishwasher.  When I do dishes by hand, she always comes up to me and screams to pick her up but I can’t exactly do dishes one-handed.  So then you’d think I’d do them when she’s napping…but we have a one story home and her room is close to the kitchen so it wakes her up.  I’d rather not do dishes at all.

2.  Pee – I know a lot of moms have problems with interruptions or an audience.  Those don’t really bother me much.  What does bother me is that Super S makes a beeline for the bathroom whenever she hears the door open.  It’s like she’s a cat that hears a can opener or me when a bag of fritos opens.  Then she runs in, climbs the wooden step that we have in front of the sink so that Miss K can wash her hands, and then stands there looking at me like “Bitch, what are you just sitting there for?  Turn on the water.”  Since I’m peeing, I just look at her.  That just angers the beast more and she starts grunting like an ape “HOO HOO HOO!”  Of course I’m concerned about her safety too but the worst part is trying to leave the bathroom.  I have to pick her up and physically remove her.  And then all hell breaks loose.  She acts like I took her best friend and ate her.  Crying, throwing body on the floor, banging on the bathroom door, all of it.  It’s awesome.  I’m considering staying in a constant state of dehydration just to avoid it.

3.  Sweep – This should be easy, right?  Wrong.  Both my kids have a crush on the toddler-helping-1broom.  They want to use it and hug it and take it with them everywhere.  So they both get all grabby and try to get it from me or from each other.  Usually it ends up in fistacuffs.  Once that’s settled, and everyone’s calm, I take the broom back and attempt to sweep because they’ve finally lost interest.  This only resparks the interest.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Then they finally give up and then just run through the dirt pile or in Super S’ case, forage for food in the dirt pile.  Sometimes Miss K wants to help so she tries but it ends up making more of a mess, kind of like the picture above.  I love, by the way.  Hilarious.

4.  Fold Blankets – For some reason, folding blankets in front of my kids is futile.  Not only will they grab the blanket while I’m attempting to fold them, but they’ll inevitably fall (I don’t know what they think will happen when they go running into the blanket but it always ends up with a little girl falling on her face).  And even then, I’m ninja.  I manage to fold the blanket.  But I walk away and come back and the blanket is unfolded and thrown on the floor.  I don’t know if it’s an eff you to me or if they think they need to show the blanket who’s boss but 9 times out of 10, if I fold a blanket in front of them, it ends up on the floor within minutes.

5.  Open the refrigerator.  Or close the refrigerator for that matter.  If I open it,IMG_20140130_161044 Super S will come running and will start touching everything.  The other day the two of them were foraging in the the refrigerator – Miss K opened it, Super S assisted and I don’t know what happened but there was maple syrup all over the floor afterwards.  I almost lost it.  Miss K eats butter, Super S eats anything she can get her hands on and GOD FORBID I attempt to close it while they’re looking.  I love how Miss K. is holding a bag of bread in this picture.  They were pilfering grapes.  I actually find this really cute.  And not energy conservation friendly.  And sadly more work because usually it ends with some sort of food on the floor.

More Kind Stuff

So as part of our giveaway last week, I asked entrants to post something kind that someone did for them or that they did for someone else.  I really enjoyed reading the comments so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.  Maybe they’ll inspire you too.

  • The little girl next door is about 11 years old and she always comes over with her old toys to give to my son.  He loves seeing her and it is so generous of her to think of him.  It really touches my heart!
  • I’ve bought food for a homeless person
  • Helped 2 lost dogs find their owner today
  • I just gave all my sons clothes that don’t fit him to my SIL.  I hope it helps her.  I wish someone would have did it for me!!!  I will still give her all the clothes he outgrows!
  • My friend watches my son when I get overwhelmed with homework
  • My best friend came over one day solely to help me spring clean my house from top to bottom, every nook and cranny
  • Last night hubby came home with dinner 🙂
  • My mom bought hubby and I a gift card for dinner and babysat so we could go on a much needed date! 🙂
  • My grandmom is gifting us with gDiapers!  She is great!
  • My wife took care of me all week while I was sick.
  • My 5 year old niece made me a beaded bracelet.
  • My coworker covered my shifts at work the past two days so I could stay home with my sick child.
  • My spouse has an amazing way of holding me and making me feel like everything is just fine even when it isn’t.  That kindness is amazing.
  • i was put onto bedrest before the birth of my daughter, my brother without hesitation flew down to Arizona, from WA, to take care of my toddler for me.  Without a moments hesitation he bought a plane ticket, and didnt hesitate when I need him to stay longer.  He has to be the best brother, uncle, around.
  • I just finished up getting all the pieces to a gdiaper diaper bag present for my best friends baby shower! I cannot wait to give her the beautiful new diaper bag, which is a discontinued color that she absolutely loves! I searched high and low, and found one on ebay, then i stuffed it with all sorts of goodies, including some beautiful new gdiapers!
  • It was particularly cold today, and my husband turned on my electric mattress pad so when I got home from work at midnight, my bed was toasty waitin for me!!
  • I’ve had someone pay for me and my sons dinner after I had lost my card. My 2 year old will opens the door for everyone.
  • I remember when my son was born and I was adjusting to life with a newborn, any teeny tiny thing that my husband did for me was so kind. Before bed, he would set up my “nighttime nursing station” for me. Simple, but so appreciated
  • A friend introduced me to gDiapers, and became my diaper fairy, helping me get started on an awesome stash!
  • So many kind friends kind friends bought us dinner if the first few weeks after L was born. Such a big help:)
  • Bought me flowers and told me what a great mother and wife I was <3
  • My wife sends me a picture of our son everyday while I’m at work. Its little, but it makes me so happy when I cannot be home with them!
  • My husband made me breakfast in bed today … and everyday!!!
  • A stranger gave me a compliment, just to be nice.

Five Baby Products I’m Glad We Didn’t End Up Using & Our Giveaway Winner!

This week’s Five Things Friday is five things we bought for our babies but I’m glad we didn’t use.  I’ve been chucking full tubes and packing up stuff since they’re still in good use.  Not terribly inline with my goals of reducing waste, but I’m ok with that.

1.  Swim Diapers – I’ve been using gDiapers as swim diapers for our bubs too.  Just don’t include an insert and you’re set!

2.  Formula – Because you never know when an issue might pop up (I could get sick alimentumor need to be separated from baby), we bought a can of formula in case of emergency.  Based on our experience with our older daughter, we bought a very broken down formula in case the younger one also showed signs of allergies.  Well, around 3 months old, she did.  So we prepared a bottle of formula and went to go see her doc.  Her pediatrician wasn’t concerned in the least and we just decided to cut out the dairy and we never did use that bottle of formula.  It was a $30 can but I’m glad I was able to breast feed her through the entirety of her first year.

3.  Desitin – According to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database, desitinDesitin ointment is not that bad; it has highly toxic fragrances that are of concern but otherwise is of low to moderate hazard.  But when you look at the ingredients, you see that there are methylparabens, BHA (according to this site, is potentially carcinogenic to humans”), and other questionable ingredients.  With our second baby, I’ve only used Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom balm, which is made up of natural ingredients.

4.  Bottles – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bottles – we did use them for the formula my older daughter needed for her allergies and they’re absolutely a necessity so mom can get away sometimes.  But I’d say my younger daughter drank from a bottle less than 15 times; 10-12 of those times were when we went away for a weekend and the baby stayed with my parents.  I’m glad we didn’t use them because that’s one less habit we’d have to break!  The flip side is that it also means that it was ALWAYS me who fed her.  In the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, everyday.

5.  Little Fevers – My older daughter’s Little Fevers expired a few months after my littlefeversyounger daughter was born.  I’m glad neither of them needed it enough to wipe out the whole bottle!  Same thing with baby Benedryl.  Tossed that too.



And finally, congratulations to Lauren Allen, the winner of a new pair of Good Natured gPants!  You should have an email from me waiting in your inbox.  Woohoo!  Giveaways are fun!

50 Easy Acts of Kindness

To wrap up Be Kind week, I though I’d make a list of ideas for 50 easy acts of kindness.  You don’t have to spend money.  You don’t have to go too far out of your way.  All you have to do is see things from someone else’s viewpoint and think of something that might help them or make make them feel good.  It was surprisingly easy to come up with this list.  What are some easy kind acts that you can think of?

  1. kindesssmallHold open a door for someone whose hands are full
  2. Help someone put their groceries in their car
  3. Write a thank you note to your child’s teacher or instructor.  Be specific about what you appreciate or give an example of why they’re so awesome.
  4. Call your mom
  5. Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans
  6. Send a note to your dad recounting a happy memory of your childhood
  7. Make your spouse their favorite treat or dinner
  8. Offer to watch a friend/family member’s kids so that they can catch a break.
  9. Leave coupons that you’re not going to use for someone else at the grocery store.
  10. Send a package to a deployed soldier
  11. Make an extra dinner portion and give it to someone who could use a little help
  12. Bring a snack to share into the office (or to the office of your kids’ school)
  13. Return the shopping cart to the cart corral for a mom/dad with young kids OR if you see a parent getting out of the car with two little kids, offer them your cart if you’re done with it .
  14. Offer a hot chocolate to someone at the bus stop on a cold morning
  15. The next time you bake a treat, bake extra and give it to someone whom you appreciate
  16. Write a positive review on yelp if you think someone did a good job.
  17. If you receive particularly good service on the phone, ask to speak to the agent’s supervisor and let them know about your experience
  18. Collect box tops for kids who are collecting them for school
  19. Collect toiletries from hotel amenities and donate them to a women’s shelter
  20. Take your kids to visit the elderly at a retirement homediana
  21. If someone (anyone!) smiles at you, for god’s sake, smile back!
  22. If you have a bunch of items to purchase at the grocery store and the person behind you doesn’t, let them go first.
  23. If you see someone drop something, pick it up for them.  Bonus points if it’s an elderly person, pregnant woman, or parent with a baby in their arms.
  24. Compliment a coworker on a presentation or communication well done.
  25. Put your crummy day behind you and meet your spouse with a smile when they or you come home.
  26. Leave an encouraging comment on someone’s blog.  We love that.
  27. Invite a single friend over for dinner on a weeknight just because.
  28. Offer a cold drink to someone who is working on your home
  29. Leave extra coins on the machine at the Laundromat
  30. Make eye contact and smile at the person at the drive-thru
  31. Leave a large tip for good service
  32. Give a gift card or a thank you note to someone who regularly provides service to you
  33. Clean the windshield of the car next to you while pumping gas (ask first!)
  34. Leave a flower in a coworker’s cube to brighten their day
  35. Write a note with sidewalk chalk on a neighbor’s driveway
  36. Bring in your neighbor’s garbage cans
  37. Pick up trash at the park
  38. Let your doctor know what you appreciate about their care
  39. Make a list and rattle off why you’re proud of your child
  40. wildeMake a list and rattle off why you’re proud of your spouse
  41. Make a list and rattle off what you admire about your parents
  42. Thank a soldier and explain to your child (in front of the soldier) why he’s/she’s a hero
  43. Leave a treat for your mail carrier in your mailbox
  44. Offer to take a picture for someone who is clearly trying to get a picture but can’t get the selfie to work
  45. When you see a mom with kids going crazy, give her a smile and let her know it gets easier
  46. When you like something about a stranger’s appearance, tell them
  47. Introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know anyone at a party you’re attending
  48. Open your home to a friend – no need for a fancy meal or scrubbing the house top to bottom – just tell them to come over
  49. Recycle, reuse and reduce – being kind to the earth counts too!
  50. Accept kindness graciously.  It allows others to feel good too.

It’s a Good Natured gDiaper Giveaway!

Be Kind Week continues here on mycrunchylife.  Talking about kindness has really made me aware of how easy it is to be nice and how much more I can do.  From a selfish perspective, being kind to others just makes me feel good.  It’s a little ego boost that serves everyone.

One way to be kind that I haven’t talked about this week is being kind to the earth.  We try to be green in our home by driving an electric car, recycling whenever possible, using earth friendly products, reusing all kinds of stuff, and reducing the amount of trash we produce.  I was REALLY happy when I looked in the trash can on the curb this week and saw such little trash in there.  One of the most tangible ways we reduce our trash is by not using typical disposable diapers.  We use gDiapers instead.  gDiapers are hybrid diapers that allow you to choose what type of insert fits your lifestyle best.  We primarily use cloth inserts and wash them at home.  When we are traveling, I use gDiapers’ disposable inserts.  They’re wonderful – super absorbent, biodegradable (!!!), and even flushable (!!!!!!!!).  Don’t try that with a typical disposable; it’ll sadly just need to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.

Raise your hand if you’re interested in a giveaway!


Sia is!  Hmmm…what should the giveaway be???


gDiapers!  The kind folks at gDiapers are generously sponsoring a giveaway!  Hooray!


The latest release from gDiapers is the Good Natured gPant.




I love the colors on this one and for whatever reason, I like the way the g tag looks.  Even Sia’s booty agrees that being kind is the way to go.  Kind to each other, kind to our children, kind to strangers, and kind to our mother earth.  Love it!  I’ve decided that this gPant is the official uniform when we commit random acts of kindness!


Do ya want your baby’s bottom to look this adorable?  Do ya wanna be kind to the Earth?  Do ya?  I know you do.


It’s easy to win a free pair of Good Natured gPants in your baby’s size.  Just fill out the entry  below with something kind that someone has done for you OR something kind you’ve done for someone else.  And for a bonus entry, like gDiapers’ facebook page.  We’ll randomly pick one winner; entries are open now and will close on Thursday, March 27th at 11:59 PST.  The winner will be announced on Friday, March 28th.  Thank you gDiapers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In case you don’t win, you can get yours here.  Good luck!

5 Kind Things to Do For Your Loved Ones

dalaiSince it’s be kind week on and it’s five things friday too, here are five ways to to be kind at home.  I was looking up benefits to kindness and came across some information from psychologist Sonja Lyubomirksy, whose research suggested that students who performed five acts of kindness were happier than a control group who didn’t.  Side note…this psychologist’s name sounded incredibly familiar so I looked her up and sure enough, she is at the University of California, Riverside, where I attended two years of college.  I am 98% sure I was a research assistant for her my sophomore year.  She was doing studies on happiness back then too.  Back on track: those who performed five acts a day were happiest of all.  Furthermore, happiness is even greater when the acts of kindness are directed towards those we know as opposed to strangers. It feels good to strengthen our relationships.  So how about we do some nice things for the people we love?

1.  The next time someone in your family asks you to hand them a blanket, don’t just hand it to them, tuck them in.  My husband just did that for me the other night and I thought it was so kind.

2.  Leave a love note for your spouse or child on the bathroom mirror.

3.  Volunteer to do your partner’s or your kid’s chore for them.  Tell them it’s because you love them.  Maybe they’ll pay it forward!

4.  Put down the remote, the laptop, the phone, the tablet, or the game controller and listen to a loved one tell you about their day.

5.  When your loved one is taking a shower, throw their towel in the dryer.  When they come out, they’ll have a warm snuggly surprise waiting for them.

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Teaching Kids About Being Kind

bekindOne thing that’s great about kids is that they have genuine actions.  Typically when they’re really little, if they do something nice, it comes from the heart.  They’re not trying to manipulate or get on your good side or get something out of it; it’s just their nature coming through.  I love it when my 13 month old baby tries to feed me food.  The smile on her face is priceless.  It’s her version of being kind.  She’s giving her food to me.  When she was barely two, I bought my older daughter a placemat.  I showed it to her and the first question she asked was “Where’s baby Sia’s?”  That came from a genuinely kind and thoughtful place.  I’m concerned that as they get older, they will fall out of the habit of being kind or that they’ll take kindness for granted.  So here are a few ways to teach kids how to be kind:

1.  Lead through example.  There is no better way to teach kindness than to live it and model it for your kids.  If they see it in action, they will adapt it into their own lives because it’s just what you do.  And after you’ve done something for someone else, explain to them why.  For example, if you stop to help someone put away their groceries, afterwards, tell your child that the person “needed help because the groceries were heavy and it’s a good thing we were able to help them!”

2.  Talk about kindness DAILY.  Maybe it’s dinner conversation – “Did anyone see any kindness in the world today?”  Maybe it’s telling them about something kind that someone did for you.  Use the words “appreciate, kind, considerate, out of their way, nice, thoughtful” and describe how it felt to receive or give the kind act.  Ask them about what they did today that was kind.

3.  Make it a point to recognize when someone does something kind.  Especially the child.  Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.  I find myself telling my child that I’m proud of her often.  Lately she’s been asking me why and I try to make sure I tell her that I’m proud of her kind heart and then give her examples.  When she shares with her sister, I tell her that it was a kind thing to do.  It feels good to be recognized and if it encourages her to do it again, then I’m in!

4.  Make suggestions.   You can’t force kids to be kind but you can help them find ways to do so.  I’ve noticed that if I say “Miss K, baby is crying.  Go give her a toy.” usually there is some dismissal or even pushback.  It seems to be a lot smoother if I say something like “Oh no!  Baby is sad!  Do you think she would feel better if you gave her a toy?”  Coming up  ideas and letting the child choose gives them the chance to own the act of being kind.

5.  Find ways to be kind together.  My daughter and I were at Costco once and there was a handicapped woman trying to get some paper towels into her cart but was clearly struggling.  When we turned the aisle and we saw her, I said to my daughter “She looks like she could use some help, should we go see if she would like some help?” And the enthusiastic “Yes!  We should help her!” was amazing.

An amazing example of teaching children about kindness comes from a dear high school friend’s family.  They sadly had to cope with the devastation of having a still born son.   I cannot begin to fathom the pain they’ve been through.  I believe that if it were me, I would shut down and close myself off to the world.  That I would have a hard time understanding why the world was so awful.  Instead, this beautiful family has taken their grief and turned it into something beautiful.  Check them out here.  This family of four goes around doing random acts of kindness to honor their son, Dylan.  They’ve made donations to the L&D ward at their local hospital, paid for fellow diners’ meals, handed out Krispy Kreme gift cards, and brought treats for nurses and firemen.  The best part is that they involve their two sons in this and their sons genuinely seem to enjoy it and get joy from it.

They really serve as inspiration to me. And today is the Vernal Equinox so I think a celebration is in order.  I’m going to challenge myself to do something kind everyday for a month.  I’ll report back.  Wish me luck.