Tag Archives: life

My 2012 Goals

It’s said that if you put your goals into writing, you actually manage to accomplish them. I am taking a page of blog-speration from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (and if you aren’t reading her blog, you should be!) and here are my 2012 goals:

Financial

Spend less, bring in more– I am still working my Thirty-One business and I am hoping to expand more. I have a pretty good sized display kit, so I am really going to try to stop the excess shopping. I have kicked my previous retail demons, and since we are living in such a great climate, I can play outside with my kids rather than head to the den of temptation (aka the Mall.)

Get that emergency fund established. Enough Said.

Writing

Determine and Perfect my Blog Niche– Right now I write about a whole gamut of ideas and I have been thinking of trying to streamline it a bit more, to focus.

Begin actually writing my YA novel– instead of just planning and re-planning and re-planning

Write an ebook– I talked to a friend a few years back about writing a book and this might be the right platform for it!

Become Self-Hosted– It might run me about $10/ month for blog hosting, but it might earn me a bit more cred.

Health and Wellness

Kick Sugar– for good this time

Start Jogging again– There is this pin on Pinterest that really reflects my feeling towards running. But a second hand double jogging stroller is less expensive that a gym membership, and the loop around the Rose Bowl Stadium is about 3 miles (just about 5K.) Spend less.

Work on my flexibility– there is a Bikram Yoga place near us, but I might just get a few Yoga DVDs instead. Again, spend less.

Personal Mental Wellness

Get my budding friendships established– Make some “momma-only” dates with the ladies that I have met here

Meet other Spiritually focused At-Home Moms at our Church– there is not a mother’s type ministry at our Parish, so I think the Holy Spirit has been kind of pushing me to start something… Maybe Mass Readings at the Park or something.

Get out once a month for some alone time– Just a date with me and a coffee cup

Re-establish Friday Night Date Night– for a bit, DH and I were having Friday Night Dates at home and they need to come back. Maybe even take some Tango lessons…

Reading

Actually finish reading Anna Karenina and The Lord of the Rings.

Work Crossword puzzles again.

Craft

I have decided to let my Etsy Shop go to the wayside. I started listing my baby hats, longies/soakers and fascinators at the peak of their popularity and I don’t like the extra pressure of having the shop stocked.

I will continue to work of my lace knitting techniques. There are some BEAUTIFUL patterns for lace shawls out there and I’d love to try them out. Plus I have some new blocking wires that I can’t wait to use.

 

Let’s see how far I can get on that list this year! What are your goals for 2012?

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Filed under books, challenge, family, finance, ladies, meatless, monday, New Year Goals

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 19)

1.

Yesterday, I had the lucky occurrence to join the thousands of people who have dropped their mobile phones into the toilet. It was in my back pocket and flipped out. Mad Skillz.

2.

If you ever have the misfortune of dropping your phone into water, throw it into a bag of white rice ASAP. The rice will act as a desiccant and help to draw the water out of the device. Then start your Internet search on what to do next. Most will say, leave your device in the rice for 2-3 DAYS. Like I said, mad skillz.

3.

I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I am going to take a stab at them this year. I resolve to read The Lord of the Rings and Anna Karenina, all the way through. With both of those books, I make a valiant effort and get started… and then… just… peter… out.

4.

DH and I are debating “camping” out for the Rose Parade. We are not allowed to occupy Colorado Blvd until 11a the day before (so Jan. 1 since the parade is being held on the 2nd due to city regulations,) however. Plus, I don’t know if an all night party with a 4yo and a 2 yo is really the best idea.

5.

DH was very generous this year and if you are on my Twitter feed, you know that I was the lucky recipient of a Dyson Vacuum. Little did I know that this marvelous piece of engineering would bring out some inner OCD tendencies and make my house cleaner than it has EVER been.

6.

At Christmas Eve Mass, the cantor was this amazing 13 year old (my guesstimate.) Her final communion song choice was “O Holy Night” and she nailed it. Then… everybody clapped. In fact, the people in front of us pretty much jumped out of the pew. OK, what’s the big deal? Clapping at Mass, for me, is a pet peeve of mine and I find myself praying about it a lot. Why? For me… when we applaud at Mass, it seems as if we are celebrating the person (the cantor or the priest) for something THEY have done, rather than saving our glory for God or that the Mass would be somehow less meaningful or holy if we didn’t have “performers.” Opinions on the matter really varied on my FB page, and then someone sent me the Holy Father’s view on applause during Mass.

7.

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

Word.

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Things that I know

I may never have over 1000 twitter followers

I may never have over 1000 “likes” on my FaceBook page

I may never be invited to a big blogging conference

I may never be a popular “mommy blogger”

But I do know…

that for my husband, I am his Complement

that for two little girls, I am their first example of God’s love for mankind

that for my friends, I am as Christ to them and they are as Christ to me

that there is nothing wrong with having faith, in a world full of pain

that as a broken person, I am more than happy to lean on the crutch of Christ

And to steal from Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, “…that may be all I need to know.”

(Image from Danyso.blogspot.com)

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Filed under Catholic, children, husband, life, marriage, Thursday

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 18)

1.

A few weeks ago, I contemplated wearing a head covering everyday when I went out, rather than just at Mass. The thought being, if we are called to pray without ceasing, and since woman is called to cover her head when praying, then it follows that (a modest) woman should consider covering her head at all time. Right now it’s still hit or miss with me and it makes a great option when one is having a not so good hair day. (No worries, I do realize that the state of one’s hair should not be a factor.)

2.

Grandma sent this gift to the girls. They will absolutely love it, but I don’t think that the phrase “Pop N’ Lock” was meant to be used in this manner.

3.

One of the first friends I met here in Pasadena happens to be a hair stylist. I took DD1 in for a haircut and DD2 decided that she wanted her hair done too. So here she is, getting her first blowout:

4.

Pardon the blurriness… one of my handmade Christmas gifts to give. It was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

5.

Wednesday I talked about my favorite secular Christmas song. My favorite religious Christmas songs are: “Mary, did you know?” “Adeste Fideles” “O Holy Night” and “Hark! The Herald Angels sing.”

6.

Yesterday, my hubs surprised us by coming home at 2:30p. He had us all get ready to go out because he had a surprise for us. This is where we headed and we had a blast!

Seeing the girls on ice skates for the first time was pretty funny. They have these walker-thingies for the little non-skaters to use. I can tell you, I was really glad I took that ice skating class in Grad School!

7.

This is the photo that was chosen for our Christmas Card this year. I wish you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy Winter’s Solstice!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 17)

1.

My quick weekend trip back to Missouri was lots of fun. It didn’t allow nearly enough time to me to see a lot of people but I’ve already decided to make another return trip, sometime in the Spring and maybe I’ll take the kiddos with me.

2.

The reason I headed back was to attend the baptism of my Godson, and here I am with one of the newest members of the Catholic Church.

He just looks priestly, right? 🙂

3.

It’s a little over a week until Christmas. Guess who still has not found a gift for her husband. Yup. Me.

4.

The Bear has been pretty clear about wanting a Play-Dough Ice Cream maker and a Barbie “Beetle” for Christmas. She has become enthralled by Beetle cars… whenever we run errands, she keeps a running tally of Beetles. I wonder if I can find a toy Beetle that has not been branded by Mattel?

5.

Yesterday, using some Pinterest-piration, the kiddos and I made Salt Dough Ornaments. I used my KitchenAid mixer to knead the dough together but forgot to prick the ornaments before baking, so some kind of puffed up, but they look pretty neat. We are going to paint them today. You can find the original post, with directions, here.

6.

Yesterday, I started detoxing from sugar. You might think it’s extreme to call it a detox, but that it totally what it is. And yesterday was horrid! I let the girls have a TV day as I just felt ill all day: Headache, shaking, nausea, tired. Today is Day 2 and I am feeling much better. I am not as trembly and my head is not as achy, but not 100%. I am following the cleanse guidelines from here. I know that it’s crazy to start this right in the middle of the gluttonous season known as the holidays, but I like a challenge. Plus, I am really tired of people asking when the baby is due. I. am. not. pregnant. I just look 6 months along because I am perm-bloated and stoppered up. TMI, I know.

7.

Tomorrow, we bake Christmas cookies and make Christmas candies!! I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a masochist, but I’m starting to wonder…

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Thank you so much for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, cards and gifts! It really did brighten my life in this dark moment. It’s so hard being away from friends and not having a support system (yet!) and it’s great knowing that you are all there!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Words to live by, a farewell to Mom

A few people have asked me if I said any words at my mother’s funeral. If you know me well, you know that I did. What I had to say was short, sweet and not without a point. I think I drew a laugh when I walked up there with my iPad, but it’s so much easier than dealing with papers!  Without further ado:

On behalf of my mom and the rest of our family, thank you all for coming here today. You were all affected in one way or another by my mother and I know that she is glad for your being here.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my mother and I had an interesting conversation. It was a conversation about what she would like to happen in the event of her death. Up to that point, our family was no stranger to tragic events and while that was a very somber topic, it had it’s merits.

(A little history: My mother’s youngest brother was found murdered in his home around Thanksgiving. Her younger sister died from surgical complications around the holidays. My brothers lost both of their grandparents… around the holidays, and their father OD’d… can you guess?? Yup. Around the holidays.)

While the details may have changed, there was one point that always remained the same… that she wanted a true celebration of life. No mournful music, no wailing, no gnashing of the teeth. A true party, where people would exchange happy memories, look at old pictures, laugh and have a fun time.

(We ended up having mournful/ happy music. Somehow, the organist made the music mournful. Oh, well.)

She always said she’s prefer cremation over burial because she dreamed of having her ashes sprinkled among the elephants on the African plains. I told her that I’d take her to the Zoo and sprinkle her there and we’d call it even.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul reminds us to:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.

We are not called to be overjoyed with my mom’s death but we are called to be grateful for all the ways she left her mark on our lives.

My mother and I had a bit of a strained relationship at times, but I will attest that the last few years have been nothing but joy, with a little exasperation mixed in for good measure.

Maybe 5 years ago, my mother became very interested in family history. She wanted to find out where everyone came from and how we came to be. I remember how excited she would be when a new lead would pop up on her ancestry.com site and she would either call, FaceBook or, her latest joy, text message me. She really missed the closeness of family that she experienced growing up and she began working on bringing the family closer, starting with reigniting family reunions. But, I think you will have to agree that this might be a drastic way to bring the family closer together.

If nothing else, please do not let my mother’s death be in vain. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans across all ethnicities and accounts for half of the deaths of American women. Heart Disease kills more women than breast cancer, but yet it’s danger is relatively unknown.

To often, we as women put ourselves 3rd, 4th, 7th, or just flat out last on the list but that helps no one. You were put on this Earth for a specific role- one that no one can fully fill. I am blessed to have loving aunts, a fantastic step-mother and a wonderful mother-n-law to lean on in tough times, but they will never fully fill the void my mom left behind. Visit your doctor for a yearly check up, know your numbers, be proactive and don’t become another statistic.

If you have been to a wedding in the last 2000 years or so, you know what St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; than I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My faith gives me the hope that I will see my mother again, united with He who is Love along with her little brother, little sister, parents and relations until the end of time.

So there you have it.

Little excitement heading my way… tomorrow I am quitting sugar COLD TURKEY. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow and why I am doing it (basically, I am tired, grumpy and tired of looking 5 months pregnant.) I am preparing my family for the evil beast that could result of sugar withdrawal symptoms. Stay tuned!
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Filed under family, life, wednesday

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 16)

1.

This is my first post since we’ve returned from my mother’s funeral service. As much as we tried to put the FUN in funeral, it was still a bittersweet event. Not only did people tell me how much I reminded them of her, but I’ve realized that my mom was a people collector just like me. She had made so many contacts and so many impressions that the fact that she was gone was very apparent.

2.

Case in point, after the military service at their cabin in the woods (and you could totally spot us city folk from the Nordwoods folk, by the fact that our feet were freezing as it had snowed,) the hubs, my BF and I headed into a bar for a beer. (It’s Wisconsin.) The other bar patrons asked if we were visiting and I told them that I was there for my mother’s funeral. A bit of time passed and one of them said… “Not Stephanie?! You look just like her!” Everyone in that little town knew her.

3.

One thing about funerals are the old pics that get pulled up. Here is a pic of my parents and my grandparents in the 70s.

IDK what gets me more… my dad’s hair and Tom Selleck ‘stashe or his 3-piece suit.

4.

One good thing about the trip is that we were able to introduce the girls to an Old Milwaukee legend… Real Chili!

They had hot dogs.

5.

For me, one of the most touching moments of our trip back was the fact that my husband’s family (Mom, Dad, Brothers, SIL, our niece and nephew,) as well as my dad and stepmother,  all drove over for the funeral. Why? In the words of my MIL: “Family is family.”

6.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. To celebrate, we made blue frosted cupcakes.

Can’t really tell in the picture, but the cream cheese frosting kind of took on an “odd” texture. But they were still yummy.

7.

Today, I tried to become an official California Resident. However, since the fact that I needed additional proof that I am an American Citizen was missed (needed to bring in a passport or birth certificate and marriage license) I spent 40 minutes at the DMV for nothing. The other gem of the day? Because we’ve owned the Swagger Wagon for less than a year, we have to pay the SALES TAX difference between MO and CA (even though the van was bought in MO.) That grand total was $1300! To register my car!  The DMV worker *suggested* we wait until after we’ve owned the van for a year to avoid the extra cash out of pocket. Hot. mess.

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Thank you so much for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, cards and gifts! It really did brighten my life in this dark moment. It’s so hard being away from friends and not having a support system (yet!) and it’s great knowing that you are all there!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tomorrow I have a 7a flight out of LAX but I will try to get my “homemade” gifts post out before then.


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

1.

Fall Ball was last Saturday and needless to say the girls had an absolute blast hanging out with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Tiana, Tinkerbell and Rapunzel. The Dragonfly is already talking about next year!

2.

It seems as if the Milwaukee Co-Sleeping/ Infant Mortality billboards have really hit a nerve in the blogosphere and has even received some national attention. So, now we’ve got lots and lots of people talking about it, but will anything good come of it? I can tell you, most of the ire is coming because of the vilification of co-sleeping/ bedsharing. If would be different if that was the only factor leading to the deaths. Why aren’t we talking about how important it is not to parent while under the influence or why co-sleeping needs to occur on a firm mattress, without fluffy pillows and blankets and not on the couch. I know that “keep your baby in a crib” is the easiest message to get across, but there are also inherent safety dangers to crib sleep: fabric crib bumpers, ill-fitting slats, too small mattresses. Considering it’s been about 2 years since the first controversial anti-cosleeping ads hit the city and we are still “talking” about it shows there is still much to be done.

3.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and the only plan that we have in place is that we are going to be brining and smoking a turkey. Have I mentioned that we haven’t purchased a turkey yet?

4.

I am a week into the 14-day Heart of Gratitude challenge put forth by Betty Beguiles and I have to share that after a bit of a rocky start (ahem, Sunday disagreement) things really are becoming lots of fun. I find myself looking forward to the challenges and excited to see DH’s reaction. So far, so good! Plus, he’s planning at-home date night tonight!

5.

This week, The Feminist Breeder featured a guest post about the Fertility Awareness Method. Two fantastic things came out of this post:

a. thousands of women found out that NFP is a form of the FAM (just with abstinence rather than condoms)

b. thousands of women found out that the Catholic Church endorses NFP and NOT the rhythm method for spacing children.

Yay for information sharing!

6.

I have to admit something. Despite reading tweets and information pages about the Occupy Wall Street movements, I honestly can’t figure out what the goal is. I mean, like them or not, the Tea Partiers had a pretty clearly stated goal, right? So, if you can help me out, I’d appreciate it.

7.

Read this awesome prayer in the December issue of Good Housekeeping:

“Lord, Grant me the Power to get out of the Shower.”

How many of us have been there, done that?

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tune in tomorrow for my gift guide for the “hard-to-shop-for” in your life!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 14)

1.

This week I did something that I have been meaning to do for the last 7 years… I joined the Junior League! Now, before you get an image in your head of women with tea sandwiches and pearls, it’s nothing like that. The women of my class are made up of professional women, SAHMs, WAHMs, and recent college grads all linked with the desire to serve their community. Needless to say, I am excited. Plus kids (and dogs) are welcome at any and all meetings! The dogs thing kind of threw me, but as our Provisional Chair said… It’s California!

2.

The funny thing about my recent weeks of getting involved with organizations is, according to this (humorous!) website, I hold certain characteristics associated with snobby moms. Thoughts?

3.

This week at story time at LBS, there was an elementary school class listening to the story. The looked to be about kindergarten age and so I asked the teacher what school they where from. (Little back story: I found out earlier in the week that I *need* to be looking at schools NOW for The Bear, if we are planning on sending her. EEK!) Turns out they were from what would be our neighborhood school and it’s a school that specializes in the arts. They bring in amateur and professional artists and musicians for all of the classes, and beginning in 2nd grade vocal or instrumental lessons begin.

4.

For me, the instrument lessons are a definite plus, especially since we are still thinking about getting The Bear started in Violin lessons. Now, before you start thinking that I am going to go all Tiger Mother on my girls, I value getting them started in lessons as soon as they can, just to get the foundation laid. I started my Violin lessons when I was in elementary school (I think it was 1st Grade) which lead to developing an ear for music and fostering the creative side that tends to get squashed.

5.

Joy of Joys! We picked the SwaggerWagon up from the body shop this week. It’s so great having it back and I am starting to lose my nervousness when driving… not by much, but it is easing. I am not sure that it will ever go away, nor do I think that I want to lose it. I mean, there has to be something going for being a defensive driver. But there is a difference between defensive and fearful.

6.

This random thought popped into my head tonight: Isn’t it beautiful that the word “Thank You” in Romance languages tend to root in the words “grace” and “mercy?” (Gracias, Grazie,Merci) Germanic languages… not so much.

7.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (my hometown) has unveiled another ad campaign to help reduce the level of infant mortality in the city. Instead of addressing all of the factors involved, or even the biggest factor (ONLY consider co-sleeping if all safety requirements are met including EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING,) they are taking the sensational approach… just short of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you… that’s a butchers’ knife with the baby. At least the United Way of Milwaukee is trying to *gasp* EDUCATE?!?! (and, sadly, most of the deaths were in poor, minority families and ALL of the deaths involved the infant being formula fed. This is not an anti-formula statement, but if you are going to formula-feed you shouldn’t co-sleep (see page 12 of the PDF.) Plus you shouldn’t be under the influence either. That counts for breastfeeding moms as well.) But I can see the flip side of what Milwaukee is doing… they have an public health epidemic going on and they are trying to keep infants alive. Read my previous thoughts on this topic here.

ETA: I would like to clarify that Milwaukee County is using the term “co-sleeping” when “bed-sharing” is more accurate.

ETA: More links to current breastfeeding/ formula-feeding/ safe sleep research.

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tune in tomorrow for my gift guide for the gentleman in your life!


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Teaching the Teacher Tuesday: Nothing more precious

Today was our first full day here in Pasadena and it will remain in my mind as the most memorable first days ever in a new city. On the way to Costco, with the girls, I was involved in an auto accident.

First of all: We are all OK. The airbags did not deploy and the girls were giggling afterward with the Bear saying how “fun” it was. I wish the same thing could have been said for me. With adrenaline rushing through my veins, I did what most people would have done… I cried and then called my husband. A pair of witnesses called the Police and they arrived within 10 minutes to file the report. I was able to drive the van back home and now we wait.

I’ve had a couple hours to process what happened… after all, I have been driving for 15 years and this is my FIRST accident (I’ve never even received a speeding ticket!) and let me tell you, this was the scariest thing that I have been though… especially when I imagine it could have been that much worse. Sure, my Swagger Wagon is damaged and looking very sad and not drivable for any sort of distance. Until we get a rental car, I have no way of getting around Pasadena on my terms (short of walking.) Our auto insurance will go up and I no longer have the luxury of bragging about my spotless driving record (but I still have the no tickets thing going for me.) But: WE ARE ALL OK.

Both girls were in 5-pt harnesses and The Dragonfly was still rear-facing, even though she is over 20 lbs and over the age of 2. I have been a stickler about keeping her RF-ing as long as possible, despite my husband’s (and others’) protestations/ questioning. Keeping your child rear-facing adds a level of protection that is unsurpassed and it all has to do with anatomy and physics. I wish The Bear was still RFing but her beast of a CRS is FF-only (Britax Regent. It’s 50 lbs without a child in it.)

Before the age of 3-4, it has been found that the vertebral column in humans is more on the flexible side (if it helps, we are born with more with over 300 bones which fuse over time to make the 206 in the average human.) This makes sense when you consider that during birth, the neck has to flex to make it through the birth canal. But because of that, the necks of infants and toddlers remain very flexible:

If the infant is facing forward in a frontal crash–which is the most common and most severe type–the body is held back by the car seat’s straps, but the head is not, explains Kathleen Weber, director of the Child Passenger Protection Research Program at the University of Michigan Medical School. While older children and adults wearing safety belts may end up with temporary neck injuries, a baby’s immature neck bones and pliable ligaments can allow the spine to separate and the spinal cord to rip, says Weber.

Basically, she’s saying that a child can internally be decapitated because the vertebrae and ligaments will stretch but the spinal cord will not. Some of you out there may be thinking to yourselves: Well, we (have car seats/ weren’t rear facing/ didn’t wear seat belts/ sat in the front seat, etc, etc) when we were growing up and we turned out just fine.” To that I have to ask: Were you involved in an accident in which those safety measures would have been employed? Most people will answer “no” which affectively renders their argument moot. If you haven’t been in an accident, what you grew up doing has no matter.

Another concern I often hear is one that I used with our first. She was rear-facing only until about 18 months, because I felt that her legs were getting too cramped in that position. (We were driving a car that didn’t allow the seat back to recline.) The way I look at it now, I’d rather risk broken legs than a dead child.

When all is said in done, the Swagger Wagon will be repaired, we will have two new 5-pt. harness car seats (after an auto accident, seats must be replaced and the old ones rendered inoperable,) and I will struggle with the guilt of what I could have done differently. My mind has been filled with “what-ifs” all day: What if I’d just stayed home? What if I’d waited until after rush hour to venture out? What if I had just gone to the market by our house rather than trying for Costco in Burbank? But at least the one “what-if” I don’t have to deal with is “What if I had left her Rear-Facing?”

For more information here is some light reading.
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To my friends and family: I am sorry that you are reading about this on the blog rather than my calling you, but I feel that this is a message that needs to get out ASAP. We’ll talk soon.


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Filed under family, infant mortality, mothering, travel, Tuesday