Monday, April 28, 2008

Extra! Extra... Read all about it

Here are my latest and greatest book reviews. I have been a busy reading fool lately. These latest two books I can not get out of my mind!!

A Thousand Splendid Suns-I laughed, I cried... okay, mainly just cried actually. About 100 pages into this book, I was happy that this book didn't appear to be as depressing as "The Kite Runner" (they are by the same author). Ohhh was I wrong. I can not stop thinking about this book. I feel like I need to go to therapy to process all of my thoughts about the book... so maybe you can all spare me the cost of a therapist and talk about this book with me if you have read it. This book also takes place in Afghanistan, but this one is about strong women, and I for some reason a huge sucker for strong women books. After reading this book, I just can't believe myself when I am thinking that I have it rough in any sort of way. I seriously feel like weeping when I think about this book too much (and I am not a weep when I think about a book sort of person usually). Maybe this book didn't touch some of you like it did me, but please let me know your thoughts on it anyway!!!

The Vaccine Book-Hopefully this review won't stir up to much controversy, but is anyone else out there freaked out by vaccines? I got almost all of the vaccines for Sofia, and as a first time mom, I didn't really question the vaccine schedule recommended by the AAP, but I always felt so ignorant when I went to the well baby check ups and I didn't know anything about vaccinations (what disease they were each for, contents of vaccinations, side effects etc). I also started getting some of the vaccines for Gabe at his 2 and 4 month check ups (I postponed a couple), but now I am thinking that I am going to postpone even more. Dr. Sears is not at all against vaccinating your children, in fact, he seems to recommend most of the immunizations, but he suggests thinking about doing them on a different schedule. He sets up a schedule where only one aluminum containing vaccination is given at one time. Since I have already done some of Gabe's immunizations, I had the Dr. office print me off his record so that I can sit and make a more spread out schedule for Gabe so that he is not getting more than one aluminum containing vaccination at a time as well. I must say that I, as well most moms that I talk to are very confused about the whole vaccine issue. There has not been a lot of research done to really pinpoint whether or not vaccinations are related to autism, but a lot of parents with autistic children seem to think so. The vaccine that really freaks me out is the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and I know that I for sure plan on delaying that one for Gabe. I know that half of you may think that I am cooky right now, but hopefully this will get some of you thinking. If you plan on vaccinating your children... that is great, but you may want to consider postponing or spreading out some of the immunizations. At the very least, read this book (which I felt discussed pros and cons of vaccinations very wel) and educate yourself on the issue. Even after reading this book, I still have tons of questions and feel confused, but I feel a little bit better about the fact that I can make a plan for my family and that I can walking into Gabe's next appointment with more knowledge to go along with my many questions. Please share your opinions on the matter!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our Weekend

Thus ends another lovely weekend in the Becerra household. Saturday morning I went to the church to help with a primary activity. The kids traveled around the "world," and my friend Victorina and I were "Latin America." We made homemade corn tortillas with the kids and ate arroz con leche. Then we went to a fiesta for our friend' daughter. As you can see from the video, Gabe and Sofia loved this bouncy house that was at the party. Other than that.. just the same old... church, and oh yeah.. I obsessively finished reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" but I get so depressed right now when I think about the book, that I think that I need a day break to process the book before I do my professional review.


This little video is of Sofia and her little friend Trevor playing with flubber. Every mom needs to know about flubber. Why you may ask. After we made flubber, Sofia played with it non-stop for almost an hour and a half. Yes, the newness has worn off, but she still plays with it every day. Don't we all feel like good moms when we make or do things with our kids that we don't do on a daily basis? Of course, and with that my friends.. I leave you with the beloved recipe.
Solution A:
1 Cup Water
1 Cup White glue
7-10 drops of food coloring

Solution B:
1 1/3 Cup Warm Water
4 tsp. borax laundry booster

How to concoct it: Mix ingredients in solution A together in a medium bowl. In a second bowl, mix the ingredients in solution B together until the borax is completely dissolved. Slowly pour solution A into solution B. Roll solution A around in solution B 4-5 times. Lift solution A out of solution B and knead for 2 minutes. Store gunk in a airtight container, and get ready for a flubberiscious party. If the flubber turns out the same consistency as the flubber on my belly, you have done it right :).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We've gotta learn to reduce, reuse, recycle!!

Happy Earth Day everybody. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about how wasteful I am. I have new goals of some ways that I am going to take care of mother earth a little better. Here are a few ideas:
1)I bought a stainless steel water bottle so I can only use plastic water bottles in a bind or emergency.
2)I am going to buy some cloth grocery bags so I stop wasting a million plastic bags.
3) I am going to do better about not driving when I don't need to.

What are more ideas that you all have? If you haven't all gone and watched "The Story of Stuff," this would be a great to do it.

We Miss You Auntie Nita

I found this picture of you and Gabe, and I love love it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Professional Army Crawler

Gabe is mobile! He mainly army crawls at this point, but he also likes to show off crawling on hands and knees for a few seconds at a time as well. Ah... long gone are the blessed days when I can set that boy down and he stays out of trouble.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Amanda Visit

I was honored this last week to receive a visit from the land of Utah by Ms. Amanda and her baby Chance. We had oodles of fun together, and here are some cute pics to prove it :). Mi casa es tu casa my dear!!! Come again.

Rag a muffin

Here is a picture of Sofia busting a move tonight. Do you notice how dirty she is? Many times (okay, maybe just a few) moms have marveled(or thought that I was crazy) at my easy going attitude when it comes to letting Sofia get really dirty. I think that it is important for kids to play and get dirty, and since most of her clothes are second hand, I usually am not too incredibly devastated if stains won't come out. Being dirty is part of childhood.. or it was part of mine at least. With this said, I usually don't let her get this bad all of the time. Are any of you neat freaks who have a hard time letting your kids get dirty? Maybe I can help you relax a little when it comes to cleanliness and you can use the energy you would have used to keep your kid clean to help me organize my house :).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And I think to myself.. what a wonderful world

It has been a wonderful weekend, and this is why:
*The weather has been beautiful.
*We took Gabe and Sofia swimming yesterday.. Gabe's first time. He didn't seem to love or hate it, I think that he was just soaking it all in.
*We walked to church today (almost 2 miles each way), and it is so nice to walk as a family and spend time together. We must have confused people as they drove by with Chris in a tie and me in a skirt and sneakers walking on the walking trail.
*Yesterday we hung out at Avery park forever playing and eating American Dream Pizza, sipping Jamba Juice. Does life get any better?
*Saturday, I left the kiddos with Chris for a few hours and went to a Women's conference at the church. It was so uplifting, and I needed that rejuvenation. I went to workshops on "budgeting" and "The Power of Prayer." The prayer workshop was given by someone that I worked with at Lincoln who has been battling cancer on and off for the last 7 year. She read something from the Bible dictionary that really struck me:"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them." Vicki's talk was so inspiring and good for me to hear. The conference was topped off with Chieko Okazaki speaking to everyone (she is 81 years old!!). What a great conference!!

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Sofia has been saying the funniest things.. in fact, I feel like almost everything that comes out of her mouth is funny (to me at least). I love this age. Here are some of my favorites that I wanted to document:
*Every day when she prays, the main part of her prayer is: "I love my Teacher." We have been taking a creative development class together, and she loves it!
*She loves to announce when she is sharing: "Look mom, I sharing." As she is stealing a toy from another kid, she also announces: "Look mom, he sharing."
*She saw a picture somewhere the other day of President Bush and said: "Mom, is that Barak Obama?" What the heck? Maybe she has revelation of who our next president will be :).
*As a mom, I really make an effort to validate Sofia's feelings. Even when she is frustrated and won't get her way, I at least usually try to validate what it is she wants, and then tell her why she can't have it (mind you.. this is Kara parenting at its' best). The other day we were in the van driving and Gabe was crying in the carseat crying as usual, when all of a sudden in the same tone of voice that I use, Sofia began saying: "Oh Bubba, I know you are so so mad. You are so so mad. You want out of carseat." I thought that this was such a sweet moment.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Book Reviews

I am such a bad blogger, but I am happy to say that I have been doing something worthwhile at night instead... reading. It has been so hard for me to find time to keep up on books that I want to read since becoming a mama. Some moms say that they read a lot while they nurse, but I am not coordinated enough to fully concentrate on a book while nursing. Here are some of the books that I have been reading over the last couple of months, and my oh so professional opinion on each one.

The Vital Touch-Thanks for the recommendation Marianne. This books was great. As stated in the title, the whole gist of the book is how vital touch is for human beings. I liked this book, because it validated many things that I already feel maternally as a mom that are not necessarily supported by our culture. Cultures around the world touch their babies so much more than we do here. The book describes how our babies are in "things" (carseats, swings, walkers) most of the day, and how many other women carry their babies in slings most of the day. From the time we bring our babies home from the hospital here, we are trying to foster independence.. but interdependence is a better concept. The other thing that stood out to me in this book was the idea that in our culture, you can feel very alone as a parent. We live in our own houses, many times in separate cities from our families.. and it is so easy to be isolated and feel overwhelmed by parenting (any mom who has been staying at home in this rain knows what I am talking about). Around the world, most cultures are very community oriented and a baby is being passed around constantly by friends, aunts etc.. This part of the book made me wish that I lived by all of my siblings, but since I don't it made me think about how to create my own tight community here. I don't think that in our culture it is realistic to carry our babies 24/7, but after reading this book, I have made a more conscious effort to carry Gabe in the ergo, and I now have more of an appreciation for the wonderful bond of nursing.

The Attachment Parenting Book-Many of you are probably already familiar with attachment parenting, but it is a great parenting philosophy. Dr. Sears wrote this book, and he is a great resource for a more nurturing parenting approach. This book was also nice to read, because it again validated many things for me that I feel maternally. I will say that I feel like this parenting style taken to an extreme seems a little indulgent to me. I don't think that Dr. Sears means for this style to be indulgent at all, but it is easy to see how some parents may interpret parts of this book to mean "your child will dictate every part of your life without boundaries." Like I said, I really like this approach, but I guess that I don't follow every ounce of advice from any parenting book, because I am me, and I have my own personality, values, and ideas.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby-Okay, so it may look as if I have an obsession with parenting books, but part of the reason I like to read them is so that I can be up to date for the "Live and Learn with Your Baby" class that I teach (and obviously for my own parenting as well). I was weary of this book at first I must admit, because I am not into "sleep training," especially for small babies, but it was actually a pretty good book. Using this approach will definitely involve some crying (which I am not persoanlly willing to endure a lot of at Gabe's age), but the thing I loved loved loved about this book is how it gave research and background information on how vital sleep is for a baby/kid. How much sleep a kid gets correlates to their health, behavior.. everything. Since reading this book, I have been putting Gabe down for the night at the same time as Sofia(usually around 7:00), and I have also been trying to be more in tune with the sign he gives me during the day to show me that he is ready to take a nap. He still wakes up at night to nurse, but at this point, I honestly don't feel like that is a problem for me. This book was good for me, because although routines and schedules are hard for me to implement with my personality, just the little ideas from this book that I have applied have helped me be more in tune with my kiddos. As I said.. the book is a little harsh for style at some points, but I definitely think that it has some great ideas.

The Kite Runner-I just finished this book a couple of days ago, so it is still very fresh in my mind. Everyone has to read this book.... I can get a little choked up just thinking about this book. This is the story of a boy growing up in Afghanistan who later moves to the U.S. with a past that haunts him. This book is about integrity, loyalty, and friendship. Not only was the message of this book powerful, but it was so well written, and I love how the author was able to weave the characters' lives in such a believable way. This book also brings us to the reality of what life is like for people in Afghanistan. I don't even know where to start with this book.. just go and read it.

The books that I am working on for my next review are: "The Vaccine Book", and "A Thousand Splendid Suns." Let me know if any of you have read any of these books and what you though. Oh, and I just ordered a new camera, so I can start posting more pictures soon!!