Monthly Archives: November 2015

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On the threshold

Puma will be turning 11 in January.  Since her 10th birthday last year, she has claimed the title “tween” since she is between the single digit birthdays and her first teenage birthday…and last night, we saw the first inklings of that age.

“You are not the boss of me.”

How to answer that statement, that really wasn’t a question – or was it? Was it a challenge to prove it one way or the other? Or was it the first statement of independence as she claims her right to find her own way in the world?

My answer yesterday was reflexive, “Actually, as your mother, I am still the boss of you.” Followed by the reasons why what she wanted was not going happen (stay up all night to fill the house with Christmas decorations). She said this in front of her siblings, and I had to defend my authority, right?!?

However, as I sat with that statement overnight, it occurred to me that there are other ways to handle that statement in the future.  For really, the whole goal of our parenting philosophy has been to raise self-assured, compassionate and self-realized individuals.

We strive to treat our children as human beings, not mimics or pets who are bound to obey without question. While we try to behave in a way to earn their respect, we try to avoid the “boss”role. Speaking for myself, I strive to be a compassionate parent to serve as a tour guide through the life lessons they must learn to be competent adults.

What was going on last night? She wanted to have the house ready for the season because Christmas is her favorite holiday. She wanted to have it ready as a surprise for Busy Bee. And she doesn’t like it when things don’t happen the way she had planned.

To her, all the joy of the day was forgotten because her one goal to have the house decorated was unfulfilled. Forget the fun she had playing outside as she and her siblings helped Daddy with the garage. Forget the help she gave me, just the two of us enjoying some quiet time in the kitchen while everyone else was outside. Forget the fun she had running around after dinner playing games with her siblings. Her day was terrible because Christmas decorations were incomplete.

So then, a better response to that statement would be something like, “You are right – at the end of the day, only you are the boss of you. And we hope that you will make choices that preserve your health and your happiness.  Would you say that staying up all night to impress someone, when it will compromise your sleep and your immune system, is a good use of your time? Or maybe, we can make a checklist, and be diligent about completing it every day so that by the end of the week, the house looks the way you want it to, and we all stay as healthy as possible this season?”

If only life had a “redo” button.  Since it does not, I will take some time this morning to honor her feelings, make that list, and get started on it as soon as today’s school day is complete. Thank God our children are resilient, and that we are blessed with another day with them to be their guide, their North Star on life’s journey.

As I close today, I ask you to remember a family in your prayers who lost their North Star yesterday. Ella Bowen was a beloved dance mom at our childrens’ dance school. From what has been shared on social media, it seems that the other driver was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Such a tragic loss of a beautiful human being, who leaves behind a husband and two beautiful daughters. Hold them in your thoughts and prayers as they find a new normal without her by their side.

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Preschool Playdate: Thanksgiving

Preschool Playdate: November 19, 2015
Theme to introduce the concepts of Thanksgiving + Native American Month

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: We used the two Native American books pictured below to show the children how the continent of North America was populated before the arrival of European settlers, and to show them visually the rich culture that already existed here.
— Storytime: The Sweet Pea Kids presented a Thanksgiving Story play

STORY TIME

Here are the books we used to introduse the topic, and I am also sharing pictures of the pages that state the concept I was trying to get across to the children: the Europeans did not “discover” the Americas. There was already a rich, vibrant, and established culture that existed here.  If one child will remember that and speak up when American colonization is taught in public school, then today’s mission will be accomplished.

I read the pages shown below, and then turned through the pages of The Very First Americans so the children could compare and contrast the ways of the Native Americans to the things we do today.

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LITERACY CENTER
Today’s activity reincorced fine motor skills as well as letter recognition. You can print your own copy of this activity page HERE.  The only modification I am going to make is to print the letters along the bottom row upside down on the clothespin so that they are “right side up” when the page is completer.

Level 1: pull out letters from child’s name or vowels

Level 2: all the letters of the alphabet

http://www.pre-kpages.com/thanksgiving/

MATH CENTER

Using corn kernels and fall/holiday shapes – more fine motor skills on this activity!

Level 1: parent orders the numbers and helps child count out the correct number of corn kernels for each card

Level 2: child orders the cards and counts the kernels. Parent can choose how many numbers 1-3, 1-5, etc. numbers 1-10 available

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DISCOVERY TABLE

My mom sent me these “popcorns” from their community garden project in Illinois called the Manhattan Friendship Garden.  One of the Thanksgiving stories we have read this school year talked about the Native Americans sharing popcorn with the European settlers, so this was a perfect share for playdate!

The corn is about 6-7 inches long, and it makes about the same amount of popcorn as 1/3 cup conventional kernels that we use in our Whirly-Pop.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take

We used craft paper and stickers that I bought on sale last year for this craft.  The idea is that the Sweet Peas can write one thing they are thankful for on a daily basis: one gratitude per branch until Thanksgiving.  On the holiday, they can share all their thankful statements with the family.

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Thankful Tree – I modified THIS line drawing

We finish this Preschool Playdate with a play prepared by all of the children.  Puma and Busy Bee wrote the play; Puma did the costuming, and as time ran short, they told me what they wanted for props and I helped out.  They did a great job of modifying the Thanksgiving Story Book for our guests – it ended up being an 8-minute play.

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All in all, it was a fun playdate with a little more emphasis on history than we usually do.  I hope that you will have time to share some of these ideas with your family either before or after your Thanksgiving feast today.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours <3

HappyThanksgiving

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A Sleep Story

Sleep. Glorious sleep.

We just did our cry-it-out talk in our Bradley class on Saturday. We do encourage our students to co-sleep with their infants, for at least nine months after their sweet pea’s Birth-Day, based on Ashley Montagu’s theory of “nine months in, nine months out” as the completion of the human gestation cycle (read more HERE). We offer several reasons why it’s important to consider other sleep strategies besides Cry-It-Out (CIO). You can check out our VLOG and blog tomorrow on SPB for more on that 😉

One of our students who is an avid reader pointed out that she had read that it is best to put infants in their own room between 6-9 months, or else the transition to separate sleeping quarters may be more difficult.  My only response to that is that each family needs to choose what is right for their situation.

Ha. Ha. Inside I am laughing as I said that. Our own family is a perfect example of waiting too long. And…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I like being able to hear our children sleep, and I don’t want electric monitors interfering with the re-charging their body is doing every night.
  • The quality of their breathing helps me assess who is well and who is on the brink of an illness. If I hear them snoring or sniffling in their sleep, I can adjust their diets and take more care with their dressing to try and head off any illness. (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I am aware!)
  • I sleep better knowing that my children are not likely to be kidnapped out of their rooms in the middle of the night. The Elizabeth Smart story ruined me for ever wanting to have our children sleep alone.
  • It makes my husband and I creative to keep our intimate life alive and well…and as I will occasionally point out in our classes, our co-sleeping arrangement did not serve very well for birth control.  We do not engage in our intimacy when our children are around…so I will leave other options to your own imagination.

Are these great reasons for continuing to co-sleep with all of our children? Maybe not for you, however, they work for our family.  Our bedroom is large and we have a king bed, two oversized chairs, a recliner, and a toddler bed in our room. In addition, sometimes the children like to make their own nest on the floor – we are open to any kind of arrangement that lets everyone sleep comfortably.

I will close with saying that all of our children have their own “regular” beds in rooms that are separate from ours. During the day, those beds are used for naps.  Every once in a while, they want to sleep there overnight and we honor that as part of their exploration of growth and independence.

Otter wants me to sleep with her when she wants to be in her own bed at night, and that’s okay with me, too. I have never understood why adults, who like to sleep together and are supposedly “emotionally mature” adults, expect emotionally immature children to be okay sleeping alone. It makes sense to me that our children crave our company during waking or sleeping hours, until their confidence grows and they are ready to strike out on their own.

I won’t lie – I enjoy the occasional nap when I have the bed all to myself, and I’m not struggling to find a pillow or a blanket that I can  use just for me. However, snuggling a sweet child who is going to spend the majority of their life away from me is a “memory treasure” to store for the days when we are empty nesters and our children are off building lives of their own.

 

 

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Preschool Playdate: Ninjas

Play date: November 12, 2015
Theme: Ninjas

The inspiration for all our activities was our storytime book and these amazing little cookie cutters that were gifted to the Sweet Pea kids:

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— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime

STORY TIME
We pulled from two of our favorites for today’s theme.  We used the MAPS book by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski to introduce the theme, and take a look at the country of Japan.  It was perfectly suited for the theme: the pictures of the samurai and the ninja were right next to each other, and it was easy to have the children compare and contrast the two different kind of warriors.

For storytime after our songs, we read Nighttime Ninja, by Barbara DaCosta and Ed Young.  It is the story of a ninja creeping into and through a home…with a delightful revelation at the end. Our guests enjoyed it as much as our children do.

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LITERACY CENTER
I traced the cookie cutters and added faces to one side. On the reverse side I added the vowel letters in upper case and lower case letters. Whether the family played the Level 1 or Level 2, vowel sounds can be tied to the letter identification.

Level 1: Match vowel cases

Level 2: Play a memory game with all ten cards – face side up and have the children turn over two cards at a time in search of pairs.

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MATH CENTER
“Count the katanas” was the first activity I came up with for today’s theme. Charger helped me find the right katana shape on the internet, and then he helped me decorate them once they were all cut out.  I had 6 ninjas left over from the letter activity, so he added to the theme by numbering the ninjas on the back so that they could match the number on the katanas.

Level 1: Count the katanas

Level 2: Match the numbers on the katanas to the numbers on the ninjas.

Level 3: Order the numbers

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Our discovery table was more of an activity for this theme.  I set up an obstacle course, and the sweet peas had to do the course as quickly and as *quietly* as possible. It was so fun to see the kiddos try to sneak around the room, and have so much fun at the same time :)

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This theme’s project was inspired by Nighttime Ninja’s illustrator, Ed Young. The story is delightfully brought to life with his 3-D paper art. I wanted to have the art activity reflect that all art is not necessarily drawn or painted.

We provided glue, black ninja cut outs, yellow and white circles, brown “katanas”, and “cloud” shapes (although there are no clouds in the book – what’s a moonlit night without a little cloud cover?). We also provided some kite string for the children to embelish with if they wanted.  The cookie cutters were available for the children that wanted to trace and cut their own ninja shapes from black paper.  I set out the colored construction paper so the kiddos could pick their own background, then waited to see what would be created.

Here are examples from my four sweet peas. You can see that our older children also added some drawing elements into their pictures:

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until lunchtime.

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Tuesday Tip: Favorite Mac+Cheese Recipe

I love it when our Sweet Peas get involved in the kitchen and meal planning.  Night Owl’s reading skills have exploded over the last few months. I found myself sitting with him at the kitchen table on Saturday night, reading through Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbook, definitely one of our favorites.

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Next to a chicken finger recipe he wants to try, we found THIS gem of a recipe. At it’s most basic, it’s a four-ingredient dish, and it doesn’t require any extra prep* outside of measuring the ingredients.

What’s to love:

  • It’s easy to make gluten-free and vegetarian by substituting ingredients
  • It takes 35 minutes from start to finish
  • Easy clean-up: the rice cooker container + 3 measuring cups
  • It’s a crowd pleaser!
  • A child can prep it by themselves and proudly tell the family, “I made dinner!”

How we made it work for our family:

  • We used gluten-free pasta – the Trader Joe’s penne pasta held up really well and also reheated well
  • We used a vegetable broth instead of the beef broth called for in the recipe
  • We cut the salt
  • We subbed whole milk for rice milk
  • We did actually use a real shredded cheese mix from Costco :)

Night Owl and I made it on Saturday evening, and served it with a side of 4-bean chili (another fave Weelicious recipe HERE) that I defrosted from the freezer. YUM!!!

I decided to try it again on Sunday to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.  Yes, it’s a legitimate win!! We are adding this to our roster of regulars.

As a bonus, I was able to steam broccoli to serve on the side in the steamer portion of the rice cooker while the mac+cheese recipe was cooking. It didn’t get overly cooked since there is not a lot of water to convert to steam in the cooking process – most of it was absorbed by the pasta in the cooker.

I hope you and your Sweet Peas will enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Leave me a comment and let me know if you try it, and if you made any adjustments that worked for your family!

*P.S. We usually make our own vegetable broth…if you make your own broth, then that would be a prep step! Since I was too impatient to defrost a freezer bag of veggie broth, we used store-bought this time.  Next time we make this, I will pull a bag of broth out of the freezer in the morning :)

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Preschool Playdate: Restaurant

May 21, 2015
Theme chosen in honor of National Waiter/Waitress Day

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: we talked about eating at a restaurant, asked if any of the mommies had ever waited tables, and the kinds of things we see in a restaurant: tables, chairs, food, cash register, menus, etc.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

 

STORY TIME
We took the opportunity to introduce the concept of money this playdate…because waiters and waitresses need to make change!

As the book introduced different values of coins, we passed around the oversize coins that we use in our own homeschool math center.

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LITERACY CENTER
We introduced the concept of vowels in May – so here is another activity that takes advantage of matching letters to sounds.  I selected five foods that started with each of the vowel letters: apple, egg, ice cream, oatmeal or “O’s”, and unagi (a type of sushi).

Level 1: Name+Match the letter magnets

Level 2: Match the letter magnet to the beginning sound of the food item.

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MATH CENTER
This was a shape-match center today! We put out the matching egg activity that was gifted to Puma for her first Christmas (the set is almost 11 years old now!).  We also pulled out a pancake-plate matching activity. The brown circles represent pancakes – the Sweet Peas would use the spatula to put them on the plate with the corresponding shape.

Level 1: Match shapes

Level 2: Match & name the shapes

Level 3: Sort the pancake shapes, and then count them as they are placed on the plates.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
We put out the oversize shaped coins, along with actual coins. The sweet peas could interact with both the teaching and the actual money.

Level 1: Sort them into matching piles + introduce the concept of value

Level 2: Count how many coins are in each pile

Level 3: Add up the value of the money

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Each Sweet Pea got to make their own apron to use during imaginative play time.  We used hole reinforcers to make the hole-punched paper stronger, and used a thin craft yarn for the ties.

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After the kiddos finished their aprons and we cleaned up the stations, the Sweet Peas played restaurant. We pulled out the play cash registers, food, and kitchen so that they could take orders, prepare, and serve foods to the mommies.  I made visual order forms so that the children could see the written words for the food that the mommies were ordering.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

 

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Homeschool Update

We entered new territory this year – adding in a regular student that is not related to us.

“I-Bear” is one of Puma’s friends from the dance academy we attend.  She had been wanting to be homeschooled for a very long time, and as the universe would have it, last year I was toying with the idea of taking on more students so that each of our Sweet Peas would have a companion in our home that is their own grade level.

As our understanding grows about homeschool regulations, we have learned that it is okay for us to homeschool one child that is not related to us.  If we accept more than that, we would have to start an official school! **crickets** No one in the Bowman House wants to deal with that paperwork and adminstration…

Our Preschool Playdates provide some opportunity for mixing and mingling, however the overall lesson there is that I am going to have to be better about finding opportunities for our other Sweet Peas to be around children their age.  Then, getting out of the house and meeting up with other homeschooling families, which takes me out of my comfort zone. Here I grow again, thanks to my Sweet Peas!!

Accepting a new student has been a good experience for the most part.  For me, there is no more teaching in my pajamas.  Not a big shift, it just means that my shower happens before 7:00 am most mornings.  It has actually been nice to have time in the afternoon. I can’t say that I miss the rushed showers before dashing off to whatever class our children are attending.

For the first time, I created a school calendar.  I had always planned out our year in a monthly form, so I had a loose idea of what our targets were.  This year, I have a one-page document that incorporates trips the girls have planned, as well as set vacation times.  It has been nice to have an easy reference sheet, so I will definitely be doing that again with or without extra students.

As far as family dynamics, Puma was definitely the “captain of the kids” in our home. I wondered how the dynamics on our home would change when we added a child that is older than her.  All of the younger children compete for I-Bear’s attention, and Puma has taken that in stride.  In some ways, I wonder if it relieves her from always feeling like she was the leader.

Puma and I also had several conversations as we made this transition. I made sure to tell her that my love for her was not going to change because there was a new person in the home. I had some childhood experience with sharing my mom with outsider children that came to visit, so I was able to share those feelings and reassure her that she is still first in my heart, and that she will always be my favorite (age)-year old.

Puma and Night Owl had the biggest adjustments to make. Puma has had to learn that just because she isn’t the most advanced student, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t intelligent. Night Owl has had to share his study partner, which was hard for him since he really treasures time spent with his sister.  We made some other adjustments to our day so that those two get their daily one-on-one time.

Overall, it has worked out much better than I could have expected. The older girls enjoy working together and motivate each other to finish their work.  Night Owl has been gracious in accepting a third person into their study group.  Charger and Otter seem to enjoy having another “big sister” in the mix, and I-Bear is mixing in well with all of us.

We continue to use the Sonlight curriulum for the older three.  Starting in this month, I am going to use Simple Success for Otter. It was a program I found at the homeschool show in 2009.  I tried to use it with Night Owl but it really wasn’t his style since he wasn’t ready for it, so we will see how it goes this time around.

I will post an update about it once we have used it for a couple of months.  Wishing all of you other homeschool families out there a great school year!!

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Preschool Playdate: Cookies

Playdate:  October 29, 2015
Theme: In honor of National Cookie Month

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)

— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)

— Discussion of theme: we pulled out a book from our library, “Things People Do”, that showed all the different working parts of a bakery and ingredients used in baking.

— Storytime: “The Clever Baker”, a story from Scotland from The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book.

— Unsquiggle activity: went along with our story this time! Four groups acted out different parts of the story

— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Patty Cake, Patty Cake Baker’s Man was planned – so excited to get into centers we skipped this!!

 

STORY TIME
Discussion time: The book on the left is Thing People Do by Anne Civardi and Stphen Cartwright. We opened up to the bakery page and talked about the things the children saw in the pictures.  Night Owl also thought to bring in one of his castle books from Usborne Publishing to show what a bakery looked like in medival times. It was neat to show the kids that the ingredients are pretty much the same, as is the process of baking.  

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Story time: We read “The Clever Baker – A Story from Scotland” from The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book by Bob Hartma and Krisztina Kállai Nagy.  In the back of the book are suggestions for group storytelling, so I applied them to our group. We divided the group into four parts: noisy bakers, dogs, cats, and babies. As their parts were read out in the story, the group made their sound – it was such a fun storytime this week!!

LITERACY CENTER
The cookie letters are from Kidsparkz.com.  I looked up 3-letter words and picked a couple of pairs that started and ended with the same letters and changed vowels.

Note: I am really trying to emphasize those vowel sounds this season for our pre-readers!!  You can check back to see how our last few themes have incorporated the vowel concept.

Level 1: Match the letter pictures and identify sounds: A, C, P, T, U

Level 2: Match the letter pictures to the word cards

Level 3: Match letters to words and then have the child sound out the word.

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MATH CENTER
This was a perfect opportunity to pull out one of our Lakeshore Learning games that our Sweet Peas have enjoyed for years!

Level 1: Roll and match the cookies to the number on the die

Level 2: Keep score! And add up the cookies on the plate until you get up to or past number 10.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
We did the first activity before we started storytime. Each of the children received a card as they arrived (activity cards from Kidsparkz.com). As we talked about the ingredients or the equipment used to make bread, the child would come pick the item that matched their card.

We filled three old medicine jars with spices for the children to smell: cinnamon, clover, and nutmeg.  I had thought of letting the children mix them into the playdough as they played…and then got busy with the Sweet Peas doing centers and forgot about pulling them out of the tray and moving them to the play center.

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During playtime the children played with the equipment and play dough to “bake” their own cookies. Our “oven” is a banker’s box with the lid adjusted to be an opening door.  It served as our supply holder for the first activity, and then as the “oven” during play time.

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Our third “discovery” activity was meant to be a take-home…it kind of worked that way! Each family brought their favorite cookies to share.  The children were meant to take a goody bag home for treats in the car so the sugar high would be away from playdate….little hands snuck into the “cookie jar” though, and there was snacking at playdate as well :)

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
I created a simple “cookie sheet” using shapes in a Word document, then printed them out to use as our art paper for today’s printing activity.  Using watered down tempra paint and lids in different shapes and sizes, the Sweet Peas dipped into the paint and printed cookies on their cookie sheets.  We invited to decorate them at home once the paint dried.  You can see that Otter drew designs around her cookies instead of on them. It always warms my heart to see the Sweet Peas make an art project their own with their unique interpretation of the guidelines.

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As I was poking around the internet to find cookie images, I also found THIS website with a fun cookie craft.  If we had more time, I definitely would like to do this.  I think we are going to save it for our year-end celebration when we have more time for play.

We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

I hope you and your Sweet Peas have lots of fun if you are inspired to have your own COOKIE DAY.  Have a great week!

SPBNov2

Rally for AZ Midwives

It is time to stand up with our Arizona Midwives again. A law revision by the Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) that became effective in July of 2013 opened up the possibility for some Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) clients to access homebirths legally in Arizona. Along with the access to homebirth care for some families, some other unwelcome mandates were added into the Midwifery Rules and Regulations.

HERE is a link to the current regulations. Under these regulations, I would have been placing our midwife in direct conflict with her beliefs and the expectations of the state.  Here is why:

Midwives believe in watchful waiting: watch the mother, monitor the baby, and only “do” when the situation warrants more of whatever needs to be done to ensure a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

As a patient, it is my right to decline someone’s hand penetrating my body when I am in the throes of labor. In the hospital setting, it is virtually impossible to assert this right. After discussing past sexual abuse with my midwife, and how I experienced vaginal exams as the most painful part of labor, she agreed that we didn’t need to do any during my birth if everything remained healthy and low-risk.

I did not need vaginal exams to tell me that my labor was progressing. I could tell that things were moving along by the way contractions got steadily stronger, longer, and more frequent. I could tell as my left-brain turned off and I entered “laborland”, a place of intuition and sensation.

Our midwife and her team of students watched, waited, and monitored throughout the labor. All my vitals remained steady throughout the entire time.  Our Sweet Pea was amazing every time she was monitored. So they kept watching, waiting, and monitoring.

For once, I had a birth with no hands in my vagina!! It was amazing!! And the baby came out!!!   Under today’s regulations, that birth would be asking my midwife to choose between her conscience and the state.

It seems like such a simple request: birth without vaginal exams. Birth without the invasion of my body. Yet the state of Arizona has decided it knows better and it is denying my right to a peaceful, non-violent birth.

The craziest part of the story? The ADHS has been aware that their rules and the enforcement of said rules place midwives between their clients and the law *for years*. And they still haven’t done anything about it.  You can read the court proceedings HERE (see Page 4, Section 12) where an ADHS representative admits this in court. In spite of the judge recommending that the ADHS address these conflicts, they still haven’t done anything about it.  Read the midwife’s account of these proceedings HERE.

Now it’s time.  I am standing up with our midwives and saying NO THANK YOU to the Arizona Department of Health Services.  Will you join us?  The information for the rally can be found at this social media event RSVP HERE

(IF you cannot attend in person, join the virtual rally group here. Social media links for elected officials and ADHS will be posted + hashtags at 9:00 am on 11/05/15.  Check back into the virtual event page from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for more updates and posting requests from the organizers. Thank you in advance for joining the virtual rally!)

Information from the AAM event page:
“Arizona Association of Midwives (AAM), with the support of community members and everyday families of Arizona will rally in front of the Arizona Department of Health Services, at 11am Thursday, November 5, 2015 to demand that the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), along with the State of Arizona elected officials, including Governor Ducey, stop the bureaucratic persecution of, and instead, publicly support the Midwives of Arizona in providing safe preconception, prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care to the families of Arizona. The rally will coincide with a special announcement by AAM.

“Arizona midwives want to provide safe and ethical, evidence-based care to the growing families in our state. ADHS has said they just want compliance with their rules. ADHS relies on said rules to coerce and force people into mandatory medical care, mandatory testing, and mandatory vaginal exams, mandatory hospital transports for non-emergent or contained emergency situations.

“IF a midwifery client declines any of these, they are no longer legally allowed to be cared for by an Arizona Licensed Midwife. Not in that moment and not for the rest of their pregnancy or postpartum. Midwives have protecting their clients from these mandates and the response from ADHS has been to threaten, harass and persecute.

“Midwives are being persecuted and harassed for providing safe, evidenced-based and consensual care to their clients. Since the new rules and regulations for Licensed Midwives came into effect in 2013, 22 midwives of the 74 currently licensed in AZ have been sanctioned by the ADHS for any number of “offenses.” These offenses include respecting their client’s ability to opt out of testing, procedures, hospital transfers or for continuing to see their clients after resolved complications.

“ADHS current interpretation and enforcement of midwifery rules is in direct conflict with the midwifery model of respecting clients rights to low intervention practices and informed choice.

“This is shameful and illegal!

“AZDHS and the State of Arizona need to stop persecuting midwives and need to start embracing them as a means to reduce infant and maternal mortality in the state by way of providing thorough and professional maternity care at home and outside of the hospital.

“The Arizona Association of Midwives is taking action on behalf of all growing families in the state to ensure that their healing hands are not tied with red tape when it comes time to welcome new life into this world.

Please join us at the rally, come hear the announcement, stay informed!”