Saturday, September 24, 2011

International Beraved Father's Day

Remembering the daddy's of lost babies and children today on International Beraved Father's Day. 
You and your precious little ones are not forgotten!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rachel's Creed

I believe in healing and the full restoration of wounded people.
I claim that for myself and my family.

I believe in the provision of a propitiation --perfect substitute-- for desperate situations.
I trust that God will bring one about for myself and my children in His timing.

I believe the promise that God will heal the broken hearted, binding up their wounds.
I am comforted in knowing that I won't hurt forever.

I believe the promise that God will turn our mourning into dancing.
I am excited to know my life will be abundant.

I believe that past suffering can be used to bring about the survival of many people.
I will use my journey as a way to lift others up.

I believe that I do not have to be hurt in the same way again.
I will choose to be healthy and protect myself while loving extravagantly.

I believe that God is all I need, and He will lead me beside still waters.
I will not follow temptation to have anything replace what He can give me.

I believe that I am valuable.
I will live in a way that models for my children that one's value is not dependent upon what happens to her.

I believe that my future is beautiful.
I have peace and joy when I think about what is to come. 

What are you claiming for yourself today?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm going to be a Music Together teacher!

Tomorrow morning at 9am, I start training to be certified as a Music Together teacher. I'm really excited about this as it will bring early childhood music education classes to an area that doesn't have them, new income possibilities for my family, and I got a scholarship to attend the training on top of it which made it all possible (thanks, Music Together scholarship program!). My daughter is just as excited as I am, daily talking about how she can't wait to help mommy when I'm teaching the classes after I'm trained. :) 

She was, in fact, one of the main reasons I chose Music Together over the other early ed music programs out there. After a lot of research, I had narrowed my decision down to Kindermusik or Music Together. One thing that I really liked about Music Together was that it's family oriented and thus more accessible for parents with multiple children, not to mention more affordable to them. My 2-year-old daughter verified this when I played both a Kindermusik album and a Music Together sample album for her...and we have been listening to the "Hello Song" from Music Together ever since! Yes, I really do think we know every word of every song on their "Family Favorites" album since it's the staple music in our minivan (don't knock the minivan, I have a story about it that I'll share sometime).

From their website:
Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. 

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

The training will last three days (whew!), then I'll drive straight to work for a 28-hour-minimum shift (whew! again). Yes, I will probably go crazy missing my little people, but I couldn't let my daughter down by not being able to teach these classes that she's so excited about, right?

What are your thoughts on music programs like Music Together?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honoring and Remembering 9/11

I wanted to be in NYC yesterday, on 9/11. It's been ten years, and I can still vividly remember being outside hanging laundry on the clothesline when my sister came out and told me that an explosion or something happened in on of the Twin Towers. My mom and most of my seven sisters and I sat around the radio and listened as the events rolled out and it was determined that a plane actually crashed into the building. Once the word "terrorist" was thrown out as a possibility, we got the TV out of the attic and set it up in the living room. School work didn't happen that day. Chores didn't happen that day. And the things I remember most? The moment when we watched live as the second plane approached the second tower. The people who jumped out of windows--alive as we watched them plummet through the air toward the ground...and we knew what was going to happen both times. And we couldn't stop it or look away.

Afterward, I watched as men from our town's fire department went down to the city to help. I later listened to the stories, saw the somber faces, and I continued to wait until the day when I was legally old enough to join the fire department myself. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a firefighter.

Here we are now, a decade later. I had planned to be in NYC for the 9/11 ceremonies until I found out that first responders were not allowed to attend. So I changed my plans to a local 9/11 services at my church...until another paramedic had to leave his shift at our ambulance company because he was volunteering for disaster relief due to all of the devastating flooding that is occurring in my part of our country. I signed up for his shift, feeling a little grouchy because I thought I would just be sitting on my butt all day doing nothing at an International racetrack near us.

The day before on 9/10, I had missed the funeral procession of a local soldier killed in duty in Afghanistan because I was working. Again, I would be missing something important to me that signified remembering and honoring those lost and those who stand for life and freedom. I wondered if anyone at the racetrack would hold some sort of service or do anything to commemorate the day, and I was quite relieved when I was notified that in half an hour, there would be a service for the first responders. I got up to eat my lunch so that my partner and I could attend, and had just finished when our radio went off.

Someone had crashed their car--not even during a race. It was during a non-event that no one would ever suspect anyone to get hurt in. Not only was this patient hurt, but it was severe. Waiting for a helicopter to come and fly our unconscious patient to a trauma center, I spent the next 45 minutes stabilizing  him along with another paramedic, a doctor, two nurses, and three EMT's. Instead of attending any service, we gave life back to a stranger.

While I was cleaning blood off of things, throwing out used equipment, and documenting the events, I thought to myself how disappointed I was that I hadn't been able to attend any service or even watch one on TV throughout the day. Then I realized--what better way to honor those killed in the terrorist attacks, the standing survivors, and those who are still fighting for life and freedom by their occupations or volunteer work in the US, or their service in the military overseas? Nothing could be more honoring to them than to continue the work, to continue to serve, and to continue to be there when someone needs you.

These words, taken from Fire Wife Katie and her Firefighter/Paramedic husband's blogs, sum it up well:
Potent feelings were awoken that day ten years ago. People who never voiced an opinion suddenly felt compelled to set things right. Our desire to stand up and say something was stirred.

I think the 9/11 generation will be remembered as the generation that cared. Deeply.

To my brothers and sisters that have gone on before me, I will carry on. To the public, when you need us, we will be there.

And we will be here, always ready to give and protect life.

To the 343 NYC firefighters, 15 EMT's, and 60 police officers killed that day, as well as the 2,000 first responders who were injured in the 9/11 attacks: you will never be forgotten, and your brothers and sisters will carry on.

Note: original post written on 9/12/11.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Smart Phone Apps for Toddlers

I've finally done it; I have joined the world of people with "smart" phones. It's a long story, really, of how it came to be, but in a nutshell it goes like this: I had a Verizon contract that made me pay really high bills, have a really crappy phone (regardless of which one I got), and ZERO help from the Verizon employees that I came in contact with (not to mention a website that is almost impossible to navigate). In EMS, a smartphone is really handy for when you need to look something up on the fly, calculate difficult drug dosages, keep track of something, or navigate to a home or hospital that isn't on your map. It was a no-brainer, then, when my sister called me last week and asked if I wanted to switch from Verizon to Sprint and go on a plan with her and her family so we would all only have to pay around $60/month...and did I want a free (or very discounted) smart phone with that, plus a $125 credit to switch from Verizon (to cover the early cancellation fees)? Yes, yes, yes!

So now I have a smartphone. (A Motorola Photon 4g, to be exact). All I can say is that One of the things I love so much are apps. (Brilliant ideas, people! Brilliant!) Since I have a very active almost-three-year-old and a one-year-old who tries in every way to keep up with his big sister, I'm wanting to find some good apps for toddlers. They need to be free, kid friendly, age appropriate, preferably have lock features, and support good development and creativity. That's where you come in! I have lots of readers with small children, and I'm sure that many of you have excellent apps on your phone for those cute little ones.

Leave me some messages telling me what apps you use for your toddlers and why! Or, why do you choose to not use child-oriented applications on your smartphone? Thanks a bunch, my friends! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers Review & Giveaway

While my children have been primarily cloth diapered, I am finding that my son's skin actually does better in disposable diapers as of late. Clearly, the thought of those harsh chemicals and the non-biodegrading ingredients in most disposable diapers does NOT thrill this mother, so I was pretty interested when contacted about trying Seventh Generation's Free & Clear diaper line that they just revamped. Here's what I think:

1) One diaper fits a variety of sizes. I tested on both my toddler (overnight) and my baby (daytime/overnight) with no problem for each. The diapers hold up well and didn't leak.

2) They are not real attractive. No cute prints, and the color is a cream off-white, so it looks kinda gross when soaked with you-know-what. But then, who really looks at a used diaper, anyway?

3) No rashes! AND I didn't have to feel badly about putting them against my lovies' skin because they are so much gentler than regular disposable diapers. :) :) :)

Here's a little info from MyBlogSpark, who provided the sample for me to try and is also providing a package for one of my readers to try:

What Seventh Generation leaves out is just as important as what they put in. Free & Clear diapers do not include chlorine processing, fragrances, latex and petroleum based lotions. In an effort to contribute less overall landfill waste and continue to ensure a premium standard of absorbency, the new Free & Clear diapers have been redesigned with a lighter-weight core. With processed chlorine-free wood pulp in Free & Clear diapers, Seventh Generation also makes certain that no chlorine is released into the environment during the totally chlorine-free (TCF) whitening process of the diapers and training pants.

Seventh Generation has also reduced the size of the diapers’ plastic packaging, meaning that each pack now contributes even less overall landfill waste than before. In fact, Seventh Generation Free & Clear diaper packaging can now be recycled at local supermarkets where plastic bag recycling collection boxes are available. 

My vote? YES! Please buy these diapers instead of regular disposables. Can't afford them? I'm not promising anything and I HAVE NOT talked to Seventh Generation, but overall, they seem to be a great company to work with and I wouldn't be surprised if they would send people coupons for the asking. 

Win it! The first person to do the following two things will snag a FREE package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear diapers:

1) Leave us your best (or worst?) diaper story below. It had better be worthy of winning diapers! Feel free to tell us why you do or don't use cloth, free & clear diapers, etc.. INCLUDE your email address.

2) EMAIL me your full name, phone number, and mailing address, plus what size diapers you want!

Good luck and be blessed!

Disclosure: MyBlogSpark and Seventh Generation provided samples for this review and giveaway. I was not otherwise compensated for this post and the opinions expressed are all mine. :)