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  • Things We've Read: Week of Feb. 20th, 2017

    Have We Lost Sight Of The Promise Of Public Schools? (NY Times): "We began moving away from the 'public' in public education a long time ago."

    A 7-Year-Old Girl Asked Google For A Job (Business Insider): From Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google: "I look forward to receiving your job application when you are finished with school! :)"

    People Are LOL-ing Over This Couple's Blunt Pregnancy Announcement (Huff Post): This dad-to-be in a wheelchair showed off his sense of humor.

    Teaching Children To Play With Fire (NY Times): The debate around fire training. 

    The Bump Reveal: Stealth Vs Show (Vogue): "The casual 'Did I forget to mention I was growing a human?' approach seemed to be the way forward before Beyonce turned the pregnancy reveal game on its head."

    This Is What It Looks Like As A Woman's Organs Shift Inside Her During Pregnancy (Business Insider): Take a look at this GIF!!

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  • Keep Your Baby Entertained Indoors

    In case you don’t remember, the groundhog saw his shadow in early February, declaring six more weeks of winter. Whether or not you trust a small animal for your weather predictions, it’s good to be prepared for those cold, snowy days that February and March can bring. When the weather is at its worst, staying indoors with small children can drive you stir-crazy fast. Here are some ways to keep your little ones entertained all day long, and hopefully keep you sane in the process.

    Babies love ball. Crumple up old newspaper or wrapping paper into small, easy-to-handle balls and toss them around with your infant. A toddler will love trying to catch and throw the balls, too. Clean-up is easy: when you’re all done, bring out a paper bag and toss the “toys” into a recycle bin.

    Cook your way to playtime. Playdough is a perfect standby to give to your small kiddos, but if you want to extend the playtime, consider making the playdough yourself. There are countless recipes for playdough, cloud dough, and slime that are easy to make with simple ingredients that you probably have on hand already. A big bonus to making your own playdough is that you can make it 100% non-toxic.

    Have your kiddo create her own bling. Stringing together necklaces isn’t only fun (and time-consuming for the kids!), it’s a great fine motor activity for your child. It’s best suited for ages 18-24 months. Find string or yarn and large beads or thick pasta, and watch your child entertain himself.

    Clean-up time can be playtime, too. Maybe not when you legitimately have to get something clean, but your little one can at least pretend to help you when the stakes are low. Give him a water bottle to spray with and some rags and watch him get down to work (and play!).

    Boxes are a small child’s dream toy. Did you have a large package delivered recently? Bring the box into the living room, find a pair of scissors and some crayons, and create! Toddlers will be able to help color or design the box, and smaller babies will be interested in crawling and climbing through whatever you make. Some “Boxes for Beginners” ideas to start: a train, a ship, a playhouse, a dinosaur cave, a castle.

    Never underestimate the power of a dance party. On those days when you’re stuck inside and everything feels off, a dance party can seriously help you and your baby reset. Put on music you love, or check out more adult-friendly kid bands like The Not-Its and Recess Monkey for music that you won’t mind playing on repeat.

    Make your own music. If you’re feeling inspired, you can help your little one make her own instruments, like rain shakers out of rice and paper towel rolls. Or you can hand her a few wooden spoons and a set of bowls. She’ll love making “music,” and you can give yourself permission to put on your headphones during her “concert.”

    Let your baby play with his food. As moms, we’re often teaching our babies not to make a mess of dinner. But if your baby is wiggly and needs something different to do, set her in her high chair and give her small scoops of food for her to play with. A dollop of yogurt, some cooked (sauce-free) spaghetti, or tiny cut-up orange slices are all high-sensory foods that she can mess around with.

    Enjoy extended bathtime. Set your baby or toddler up in a warm, bubbly bath, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening. Let him play as long as he wants, and try giving him different toys to experiment with for water play.

    When’s the last time you made a pillow fort? It doesn’t need to be a high-tech fort, but making a small structure with a few pillows or cushions can be a lot of fun for a baby. Find a sheet to hang up and watch her crawl through and explore the new environment.

    Reading aloud is good for you and your baby. Cuddle up together with a stack of board books and read aloud together. Babies and toddlers love all kinds of books, and they don’t mind reading the same ones over and over, which means you don’t need a huge variety. Don’t be afraid to make silly voices and sounds, either.

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  • 5 Skincare Tips for Pregnancy Travel

    What to pack in your carry-on to save your pregnancy glow from traveling.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I’m a firm believer in the importance of self-care. Pregnancy can be a difficult time to remember to take care of you, between all the preparation, the doctor’s appointments, the anxiety and fatigue. And when you travel, it’s easy to forget to be extra good to ourselves. But be careful, when you combine travel and pregnancy, you have a double-whammy of not great self-care waiting for you at your destination.

    Fear not, that’s pretty easy to fix. Here are 5 easy steps to take better care of your pregnant body while traveling.

    1. Start as you travel. As they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. Whether you are flying, driving, or taking the train, travel is hard on your body. So don’t wait till you arrive at the hotel or at your parents’ house to start taking care of yourself — your mode of transportation is where good self-care should begin. Since dehydration is common during travels, drink more water than you usually do. It’s not only good for your skin, it’s also good for your body and baby!

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  • Things We've Read: Week of Feb. 13th, 2017

    At The Grammys, Beyonce And Adele Talk Up Motherhood (NY Times): Their approaches and messages were different, yet it all added up to a discussion about the joy, sorrow, power and responsibility women bear when they give birth to, and care for, children. 

    This Singer's Letter To Her Daughter Captures What All Parents Want For Their Children (Huff Post): “Never dim your light so that others can handle your brightness.”

    Doctors May Now Be Able To Predict Autism Before Age One (Huff Post): Preliminary new findings using MRI scans. 

    This Preschool Teacher Shamed A Mom For Giving Her Child Chocolate Cake (Refinery29): After including a slice of chocolate cake in her child's lunch one day, a mom received a strongly-worded message from her child's teacher, telling her to "please choose healthier options."

    Pregnancy Has Never Looked Sexier (NY Post): Finally, real women have something in common with Beyoncé..

    American Girl's New Doll: It's A Boy! (NY Times): On social media, there were mixed reviews for this new doll. 

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  • Pregnancy Acne and How to Treat It

    We hear all about how pregnant women are supposed to “glow,” right? Sometimes, though, that infamous glow takes a backseat to another common side effect of pregnancy: acne. Acne is quite common during pregnancy and can affect women no matter their skin type. The most likely cause of pregnancy acne is—you guessed it—hormones. During the first trimester especially, your hormone levels increase, along with your skin’s production of natural oils. An increase in the hormones called androgens causes your skin to overproduce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum clogs pores and can also cause bacteria buildup and inflammation, which then leads to breakouts.

    Pregnancy acne is natural, and once hormone levels even out post-pregnancy, the acne usually disappears. It's safest for you, and your growing baby, to avoid heavy-duty acne medication, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through breakouts for nine months. Here are some safe, at-home solutions that can help you deal with pregnancy acne.

    Amend your cleansing routines. You want to be kinder to your skin, so stick to two gentle face washes a day. Washing more than two times a day can overstimulate your oil glands, which can lead to more breakouts. When you do wash (ideally at the end of the day or after a sweaty workout), choose calming cleansers free from alcohol and oils. It’s suggested you use lukewarm water to rinse and avoid harsh steaming water on the face. Since your hairline is close to where acne may form, you also want to be careful of the shampoo you’re using. Shampoo every day using a gentle, pregnancy-safe wash like Nine Naturals Citrus+Mint Nourishing Shampoo. If you find acne breakouts in other areas, follow the same guidelines and check out Nine Naturals Citrus+Geranium Soothing Body Wash.

    Be mindful of your diet. If you’re expecting, you’re probably already hyper-aware of the foods you’re eating. But if you find you’re dealing with problem skin all of a sudden, you might do a diet check-in. Are you focusing on eating whole foods and foods that have been minimally processed? Are you getting hefty daily doses of veggies and fruits? Are you doing your best to avoid sugar? Are you drinking enough water? The food you eat makes a difference in your skin, so be sure you’re being mindful of what you’re consuming. Some foods that make your skin happiest include avocados, salmon, and leafy greens.

    Go for straight-A’s. Speaking of food choices, upping your intake of vitamin A could help out with your pregnancy acne. Vitamin A is instrumental in keeping skin healthy. Avoid the supplements and go straight for the vitamin-rich foods like milk, fish, eggs, and carrots.

    Change how you wear makeup. During pregnancy, you may find it helpful to switch up your makeup routine. Ditch the makeup that are oil-based and opt for water-based products with the label noncomedogenic; this means that the makeup is not pore-clogging. You could also try an oil-free moisturizer or moisturizing product to help maintain balance in your skin.

    Notice the little ways you can take care of your skin. Acne is caused by bacteria, so the more you can avoid bacteria on your face (or wherever your breakouts occur), the better. Keep your hands away from your face, and try not to pick at the pimples. Change your pillowcases frequently as a defense against bacteria buildup. Keep your cellphone at a slight distance, and not pressed against your face. These small tricks can help you battle a massive amount of acne-causing bacteria.

    Talk with your doctor, because not all acne treatments are pregnancy safe. Pregnancy acne is a major pain, but it’s also usually temporary. With that said, it’s best to steer clear of chemically laden, and potentially dangerous, over-the-counter or prescription acne medications and treatments. If you want a natural at-home acne treatment, here’s a recipe we’ve tried: blend together raw honey, cooked (and cooled) oatmeal, and a touch of lemon juice. Apply to your skin and leave on for about 10 minutes. Wash off, then lightly moisturize. Save the intense acne treatments for postpartum, if you still find the need to restore balance in your skin.

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  • First Birthday Party Prep

    How to get the most out of your baby’s first birthday

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Our plan for Owen’s first birthday is to keep it small and intimate, at home. It’s not just that we are working with a smaller budget. We also recognize that the first birthday is, for the most part, more for the parents and the pictures than for our little guy. That said, no matter how intimate, if you want something memorable, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are 8 tips for planning your baby’s first birthday party and how to make the most of it.

    1. Keep the planning simple.

    Life is busy. So rather than stressing myself out about organizing the party, I want to do my best to keep things simple. Why? Because if I keep things simple and organized, I’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the party too! Our little pals and gals only turn one once, after all. Finding a venue that’s both affordable and comfortable for you and your guests is key. We plan on doing Owen’s party at home, but there are many other cheap or even free options, like parks or a friend’s backyard or house.

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