Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Parenting Magazines and Product Pushing



I've read my share of parenting magazines over the years, believe me. From the ones you pick up at the doctor's office while you wait (and wait and wait) to be seen to ones I've subscribed to. In my opinion, much of them is fluff, some of it is junk science, and a lot of it caters to what women want to hear (i.e. "Cut yourself some slack," "You're a great mom," "Lose the pregnancy weight without much effort" "Get rid of guilt in 3 easy steps."). I expect that; they're trying to sell magazines.

What they also cater to, and what drives me crazy, is their advertisers -- companies designed to milk your parenting anxieties and baby-love for whatever they can. Products that promise to stimulate your child's brain! Or cultivate the next musical genius! Or teach them three different languages simultaneously! Or more commonly, dress for success. For example, there's usually a section of clothes the magazine loves, complete with baby cardigan sweaters ($80), leather boots ($120) and a onesie with a simple embellishment on it ($30). Perhaps it's simply a sign of our affluent culture; or perhaps it has something to do with people having smaller families, but what thinking parent would actually pay that kind of money for an outfit that a baby would outgrow in three months?

Today, I was reading this article in Wondertime magazine about the "best" bikes for kids. The cheapest one? $90 for a trike. In my opinion, a trike costing over $30 or $40 is highway robbery, given the 4 or 5 months a child might use such a vehicle -- 8 or 10 months if by some miracle they haven't outgrown it next summer. But then, it wouldn't matter that your child outgrew the trike, because the perfect bike for your preschooler and kindergartner is a mere $180! It gets better, because a year or two later, you could buy one for the bargain price of $190. And two years after that, buy another for $233.

At our house, we buy reasonably priced bikes and hand them down until they're broken or worn out. Even given the fact that we expect our bikes to get more use, we'd consider it a splurge to pay more than $50 for a bike at this point in our children's lives. Perhaps when they're teenagers and use their bikes to get to and from school we'd consider paying more, but luxury bikes for little kids? Not gonna happen here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One Tough Mama . . .





On Saturday, we took our entire family up to Timpanogas Cave. The hike up there is paved, but there is no level grade, it's a mile and a half of steep switchbacks, with an 1,100 foot elevation gain. We decided to go now rather than in the summer when I'm further along, but I kept wondering if I would REALLY want to take my six-and-a-half-month pregnant belly up that mountain. I went anyway, and I'm so glad I did. The twins did great walking the whole time and DH carried Eliza in the Baby Bjorn. I was so proud of ourselves when we came down. And now I get some bragging rights, right?

On the way back down the mountain, as I saw lots of people puffing up the other way, one man looked at me and said, "If a pregnant gal can make it . . ."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And one more thing I can't believe I forgot . . .

I hate:

Maternity Pants. They never fit right and they most often don't have pockets. GRRR.

Pregnancy

What I like about being pregnant:

* Feeling incredibly blessed
* Little baby kicks
* Feeling the baby move
* Finding out the baby's gender
* Having totally routine, normal doctor visits
* Sharing the news
* The "middle" trimester; no morning sickness and yet the baby moves
* When I finally look pregnant and cute and not just fat
* Baby hiccups
* An excuse to eat fudge
* Not having to watch what I eat (as much)
* Imagining what this new soul will be like
* Calculating how many days or weeks I have left
* Epidurals


What I dislike about being pregnant:


* Throwing up for three months
* Not sleeping well for nine months
* Backaches
* Sharp kicks in the ribs
* The last two awkward months
* Nausea showing up at odd times
* Looking extra fat for the first 4 months
* Extra irritability (see "not sleeping well for nine months")
* Feeling tired (see "not sleeping well for nine months")
* Weird dreams
* Heartburn (not bad now, but horrible with the twins!)

Anything I've missed? What do you like or dislike about being pregnant?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!



Sometimes it pays to have a few more kids than average. For example, today at Church each child made a card that said "you are a Marvelous Mom" and tucked inside each one was a package of M&Ms. So I got 6 bags. Of course, having six kids also means there are six little hungry mouths asking for some of my candy, so after sharing with all of them, perhaps there's no advantage after all.

In any case, it was a nice day. DH made a yummy breakfast, I got a few cards, and after Church we went up the canyon for a picnic. Most of us were still eating when our lunch was interrupted by Allison's excited cries, "I found a snake! I found a snake!" She came rushing over with it coiled around her fingers. There was a bit of squabbling over who got to hold it and when, but both girls (and some of the other kids as well) enjoyed playing with it before we let it go. Allison was even kissing it at one point! After we ate, we hiked a short distance to Bridal Veil Falls. The weather was lovely and we had a great time. I had to laugh, though, because as the kids were putting their shoes on, Allison started shrieking, "Eeeeee! an ANT!" The same child who grabbed a snake and cuddled with it moments before was scared of an ant.

We came home, napped, DH made dinner, and we enjoyed a nice evening.

Hope your day was also great!

Here's a video of our snake friend (excuse the initial orientation; I always forget the camera has to be horizontal during videos):

Friday, May 09, 2008

I LOVE having older kids!

Little kids are fun, too, but it's so nice to see the older kids be so helpful. Michael turned 6 this week, so we told him he needs to start doing some more work around here (I know; we're so mean!). So two nights ago, we made him help Lillian with all the dishes. He's emptied the dishwasher before, but that's about it. Lillian was amazingly helpful and patient, teaching him about where all the dishes go in the dishwasher, how to clear off and wipe the table, and more. It's so nice that not all of that teaching rests on my shoulders.

Last night I went to classes at our Stake Enrichment Night on Home Organization and Time Management. I think I do pretty well at being organized. I like to clean out and throw away and keep on top of things. But now that it's spring, I feel I spend all my time outside with my kids. We don't have a fence and I don't think it's in the budget to get one this year, so I need to be with the little ones when they're outside. I feel like a good mom letting them play outside so much, but it does cut into time I'd like to have for cleaning, cooking, scrapbooking, and designing. On the other hand, I'm getting lots of weeding done, and the past two days, Allison & Sarah have been patient weeders right alongside me. They were so enthusiastic and cute about it -- "Is this a weed?" "Did I do it right?" "Yay!" Every weed they pulled with the root attached was a cause for a celebration -- they'd show it to me and clap for themselves. I thought they'd lose interest after a few minutes, but nope, they stuck with it. It's nice to see them blossoming into little girls who might actually be helpful one of these days. They've been such a challenge to raise, especially during their "Terrible Two Twinadoes" phase. Things are so much easier now that they are nearing 4.

My yard is looking great and I'm so pleased with how pretty all the bulbs are that I planted last fall. I'm excited to get some more shrubs planted and buy a few more rose bushes for the front. We spent last summer without any landscaping, so it's exciting to be able to enjoy our yard and the outside.


Last year:




This year:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cool Cars

So my friend Katie just posted about the new car they bought. I think it was cruel of her to make fun of big buses like that. =(

But perhaps she didn't know, since I haven't mentioned it, about OUR new vehicle:



YEP, it's a bus, not yellow, but maroon. It's old and a bit battered, particularly the driver's seat (I picture some big fat man driving it around the last 10 years), but it's in good shape, it was cheap enough that I get to keep my Toyota Sienna, and because it was owned by a hotel rather than a large family like ours, the seats are clean, the seatbelts are in good shape, there's no carseat marks or ketchup stains, and we get to break it in. It's currently in the shop getting some repairs made, then it's off for new tires before we load up the kids for our first test-run.

And actually, YES, I am excited about it. It seats 15, so we will certainly have room for the 9 of us come August.

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