Friday, November 30, 2012

Vaccinations... Yea or Nay?

So many different opinions this day in age about vaccinations. Parents can decide to not administer them at at all, wait until their child is older, proceed as recommended or simply space shots out.

In the past, my own opinion was to proceed as usual which has been a debate in my home since my husband is practically against cough syrup. With that being said, we skip out on flu shots most years, but when it comes to vaccinations, I typically went ahead with the schedule my doctor recommended.

However, after our last round of "12-monthers" I'd like to now space any future vaccines my children need. My son recently had 6 shots administered during one visit. With him being my third child, I assumed I'd done that for the others and proceeded. I agreed to 6 shots thinking it would help him to be done with what seems like "torture" for those few minutes, but after the fact, I realized how hard it was on him. To be honest, I hated the whole idea of having to hold him down & watch him be injected 6 separate times. When are we going to advance the science of vaccines that they are given in oral form and 100% safe? That would be ideal! 

Until then, when it comes to vaccinations, it's your call as a parent, but this mom likes the idea of spacing.

We recommend a discussion with your doctor where you get to ask questions before any vaccines are considered and then choose a route you're comfortable with. We asked our readers their opinions and we got a wide range of answers....
  • Administer as recommended. They're essential and research doesn't support skipping out on shots for the true benefit of your child's health.
  • Space out vaccinations (only two-to-three per visit)
  • Make sure your child isn't ill at the time of administration
  • Watch for fevers or other reactions post shots 
  • Wait until your child is older or do not administer vaccines at all. Now with all the recent buzz about the idea that vaccines may be linked to autism (for instance), I see why immunizations can feel scary.
As parents, we'll all make plenty of decisions like whether to vaccinate or not and should have faith that what we choose is best for our child's well-being, but always make sure to touch base with your pediatrician about your options. In fact, below you'll find a basic vaccination schedule to consider researching before the actual appointments. With everything medical, there are are often risks and side effects to consider. Knowing facts prior to an appointment prepares you to ask better questions once in front of your child's doctor:


Comment and tell us what's your take on vaccinations?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Car Seat Regulations

It feels like car seat laws are always changing. Sometimes it's hard to remember when your kids can move from rear-facing to front-facing, or from convertible seat to a booster seat. And when can they just sit in a regular ol' car seat with a regular ol' seat bealt. No worries, we are here to help!

*please note that these regulations apply to California only! 

Rear-Facing Car Seat

  • These are for newborn to 1 year old and 20 pounds.
  • If your child is 9 months old and 23 pounds they still need to be rear-facing. 
  • If your child is 16 months old and 18 pounds they still need to be rear-facing.  

Front-Facing Car Seat

  • These can be a convertible or combination seat. 
  • Child must be 1 year old and at least 20 pounds.
  • Child should be in a 5 point harness until they reach the top weight and height for your car seat.




Booster Seats (with back or without)

  • For children under 8 years old OR shorter than 4 foot 9 inches tall, use a booster with a high back if your car's back seat does not have a head rest or is below your child's head. 
  • A lap and shoulder belt must be used.
  • Use only if the seat belt fits your child properly.
Installing a car seat can be a challenge. Did you know that many local California Highway Patrol Offices have lessons that you can attend that will teach you how to properly install a car seat? Call your local office for more information. 

Safety is a top priority for all parents. 
What are some of your safety concerns when it comes to your kids? 

A special thanks to HerMama Regina B. for suggesting this topic. 
If there is any topic you would like to read about (or write about!) please send an email to elissa@hermamas.com or leave us a post on our Facebook Page

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Countdown to the Holidays

In our house we celebrate Christmas. As soon as the calendar turns to December, I am bombarded with "How many days until Christmas?" A few years ago I came up with a way to deal with the constant question.   Something that would give my kids a visual of exactly how many days until Santa touches down.

The Advent Calendar originally began in Germany as a way to countdown to December 24th. This was exactly what I needed. You can find the cardboard kind with a chocolate behind to door at most craft stores. I know my kids don't need anymore candy, and they would not do well with having to share one piece of candy so I do something a little bit different.

You can find many good templates by searching "free printable advent calendar." Now you can get creative. It is what is behind the "doors" that you can really personalize.

Here are a few ideas...
  • put a family photo behind each door
  • leave a love note for your children
  • leave a fun Christmas fact behind the door
  • add a positive quote for the day
  • add a daily holiday activity (this is what I'm doing this year!)
So tell us.
 How do you countdown for the holidays? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is it possible to keep the romance alive?

I sometimes sit back and think about how I've hit the jackpot, I know the following may sound horrible, but then there are times I want more from my relationship. My husband still opens the car door, he's a total hands on pop and actually washes dirty clothes and mops filthy floors. He's the kind that brings home a random bouquet of flowers or buys me that outrageously expensive gift out of nowhere, but here I am sometimes feeling like the romance is gone.

Believe me, I get how crazy that sounds! Bare with me though. I have three kids and in the last 10 years I've felt pregnant about 80% of the time. I know that doesn't add up, but that's how I feel. Maybe that's because I often feel like I give about 80% of me to the kids! I suppose I miss that intense connection that once came from sharing my life with only ONE soul mate. Today, there's 4 human beings wanting my attention and without intending it, those three gorgeous little kids of mine WIN OUT! I find there's less and less husband and wife time and plenty of time spent talking kids, cleaning up after kids, shopping for kids, bonding with kids, dealing with kids... enjoying the kids. Now, that in itself is a BLESSING! It's all I've ever dreamed of, but that doesn't mean there's balance. And if there's one thing I strive for that's balance. So I ask how do I balance a romantic one-on-one life with my husband, a loving relationship with ME, and a fulfilling mother and child bond with three kids?

Please chime in! 

Is there really a secret to having it all... especially that romantic spontaneous relationship that ignited the relationship of two people who eventually become a mommy and daddy team?

And don't forget commenting below enters you in this week's giveaway ($25 Target gift card up for grabs)!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Giveaway Week 4

And this week's winner of a $25 dollar supermarket gift card is:

Xanadu!

Week 4 Giveaway!



This week you can win a $25 Target gift card to kick start your holiday shopping.


Be entered to win 3 different ways:

1. Subscribe to this blog!  Head over to the right and under: "Get Your Daily Dose of HerMamas" enter your email address 

2. Leave a comment on any blog post this week! That is 5 chances to win! 

3. Email us a topic you would like to read (or write!) about on HerMamas.com. Email your ideas to elissa@hermamas.com

GOOD LUCK!

Get your first entry in now! Leave us a comment and let us know...

What you like to do to get in the holiday spirit?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving is over... Now What?

What do you do with the leftovers?
Hope everyone enjoyed the feast of all feasts last night! Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, chances are you've been here: you're done slaving over the kitchen preparing a HUGE meal and find yourself with plenty of leftovers when dinner is all said and done. There's a yummy after thought when it comes to every dish. Here are some ideas to kick start your creative cooking juices:

Leftover turkey?
MAKE:

  • Turkey pot pie
  • Turkey noodle soup
  • Turkey Enchiladas (yup, you read right)! Turkey enchiladas are delicious! Simply choose your favorite chicken enchilada recipe (red or green) and add the turkey instead of chicken. I like shredding the turkey then grilling it with a little bit of olive oil, oregano and diced onion.
Leftover ham?
MAKE:

  • Loaded Omelettes
  • Fried Rice with Diced Ham
  • Ham & Cheese Panini a.k.a adult grilled cheese (try it loaded with yummy extras like tomato, fresh basil or pesto).

Leftover mashed potatoes?
MAKE:

  • Potato Pancakes
  • Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon and Chives
  • Shepard's Pie (my absolute fav.) layer a casserole with ground beef, your favorite spices and veggies, plus a layer of mashed potatoes and cheese. It's simply delish! 
Hope this list made you hungry enough to prepare yet another feast! Try one of these delicious ideas or one of your own and comment below! We'd love to hear about your leftovers creations!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


Everyday is like Thanksgiving around here. I'm grateful on the regular, but when I think about HerMamas.com, I get all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm full of gratitude because YOU click the blog to share in this virtual community. My hope is that when you're here you find encouragement,  inspiration, helpful advice and hopefully some comic relief too. I look forward to sharing so much more with our readers, contributors and friends. And on this thanksgiving, I'd like to wish you happiness as you celebrate today (and everyday of gratitude hereafter). One final and personal note, to Elissa my co-creator and pal, thank you kindly for allowing me to share in this journey with you. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor-mommy-blogger & FRIEND! 
Irene
Just wanted to take a moment to share what I am thankful for this year. Of course I am thankful for the usual. I am lucky and blessed and I completely acknowledge that. But this year I am especially thankful for YOU. Yes you and all the readers and supporters of HerMamas. This little site has been a big dream of mine for the last year or so and to find a partner in Irene and to get things off the ground has been amazing. Irene is my partner in this amazing journey and I really believe there is no one else I could have done this with!  I have a real passion for parenting and supporting anyone involved in raising kids. It is a tough job, it is messy, dirty and it can break your heart. To know that we can help someone with anything is the most rewarding thing. So know that as I sit with my family this Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks to all of you who continue to make HerMamas a reality. We have so much more is store. Thanks for joining us for the ride!
-Elissa

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cornbread Stuffing Recipe




Thanksgiving is only one day away and chances are if you're having turkey, you're having stuffing. A few years ago my sister brought this yummy cornbread stuffing to our annual dinner and it became a fast favorite. Now we look forward to it annually! In fact, it's so good there's hardly ever any left over! Plus, it's so easy you'll find yourself making this yummy recipe for regular dinners throughout the year.

So if you're still looking for a flavorful stuffing for this year's Thanksgiving dinner give this recipe a try and make sure to let us know how it turned out. 

Also, don't forget to enter for a chance to win this week's $25 supermarket gift card by commenting below. 

Tell us about your favorite holiday dish and/or dessert!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Triplets Plus One = Four Times the Fun! Guest Post by Rachel Chronister

A Little Bit of Our History

Bryan and I met our sophomore year of high school and almost immediately fell in love. We dated for eight years before officially becoming husband and wife. June 15th was our wedding day and it was absolutely beautiful. In fact it was perfect, except for the extreme nausea I was feeling. I chalked it up to nerves. During our honeymoon the nausea never went away and I knew immediately I was pregnant. July 15th, exactly one month after our wedding day, my husband and I went to our first official prenatal visit. The nurse took down all my information and calculated a due date for my precious baby, January 31st. We were elated! A new husband and a new baby in less than a year! How lucky could I be? Then the doctor came in to perform our very first ultrasound, we felt so fortunate that on our first appointment we'd get to see our little miracle and hear his or her heartbeat. 

I laid back on the table while the doctor felt my belly. The first thing he said was "Well your uterus feels pregnant" "Well, duh!" was what I was thinking but whatever, I had no idea how this process worked and I just wanted to get to the good stuff like seeing my baby. Then the nurse came back in and we started the ultrasound. The doctor adjusted the screen, then the nurse says "Oh My!" I'm looking at my husband with tears in my eyes thinking maybe something was wrong. Had I misread all those classic pregnancy signs? Then the doctor says, "Is that what I think it ?" Now I am officially freaked. The nurse replies, "I think so." Oh my gosh, the doctor sees something weird and now the nurse has confirmed it, I'm pregnant with something very unusual! The doctor asked us if we had done anything special to get pregnant. Well I thought it was pretty special but most might say it's the same old way people have gotten pregnant. No fertility treatments or special medication, just old fashion passion. Then he pulled the screen towards my husband and my direction and there it was! A little peace sign, or what looked like a peace sign. I looked at the screen confused and the doctor answered the question in my mind: "It's triplets!"

What? Triplets?!? How did this happen? We were over the moon with excitement. We were not going to have just one beautiful baby to love, but three! That day I knew God loved me extra to give me such a wonderful gift. 

My pregnancy went on from there with lots and lots of planning and excitement. Then the big day arrived, December 19th, the day my babies were to be born. I had developed preeclampsia and it had become very dangerous for my pregnancy to continue so the doctor decided to deliver my babies. First Matthew, then Micah, them Margaret (Maggie), each one a minute apart. My husband described it as if the babies were coming out of a clown car (he laughed at that joke harder than I did). They were relatively healthy for being born six weeks early. Thank you God! After four weeks in the NICU my babies were home with us and the real fun began! 

Are All Those Yours?

Our life had become very different when the babies were born and we were adjusting beautifully. The babies were on a feeding schedule of one baby eating for thirty minutes every two hours. This left us a half hour between the last feeding of the last baby and the first feeding of the first baby. It was exhausting! But we were so in love with their little faces and little toes that we didn't mind in the least. 

Everywhere we went was suddenly an adventure. People were always so curious about the three little carriers in two shopping carts that accompanied the two very tired looking parents. At first we kind of liked the attention. "Yeah look what I can do! I can make three kids at one time, what can you do?" The questions we got were cute and corny. "Are all three of those yours?", "Wow, you need to play the lottery!"  and "Wow Mom! You've got your hands full!" Then they started to get a little weird and annoying. "How do you breastfeed all three of them - you've got a third breast we can't see?" Um, that might be a little personal don't you think, sir? (Luckily my husband didn't hear that one) So it became a game between my husband and I to see what we could respond with that would make people blush and rethink what they had just said to complete strangers. When we were asked "How did that happen?" we would respond with, "Well we did it three times in one night and there you go, triplets!"  Or "Oh my gosh, I feel so sorry for you, I can barely handle my one!" We would respond with, "Yeah, we feel sorry for you too because our life if filled with three times the joys and you only get to have one!" A little mean I know but their comment was very rude! 

Pregnant Again?

Our life was coasting by and we were enjoying our ready-made family. Then August came, our babies were eight months old and developing beautifully. I started to feel that tell-tale nausea again and my husband suggested I take a home pregnancy test. But no, I have eight month old triplets, I cannot possibly be pregnant again! Sure enough those two little pink lines reappeared......pregnant! I immediately made a doctor appointment and the doctor could not believe he was seeing my face in his office again. Please Doc, don't tell me I'm having triplets again. Nope, just one this time. 

I sailed through my second pregnancy. I really made a point to enjoy every ache and pain as much as every kick and hiccup. My husband and I decided that even though I was only 25 years old, I was going to have a tubal ligation. Four children was enough for us and we didn't want to take any chances on another surprise pregnancy that could include multiples...again!

April 23rd, sixteen months after the triplets were born, Marina entered this world, pretty, pink and perfect. I had no idea that my heart could contain so much love. God had blessed me for a fourth time and I could not have been happier. I was so in love with all my children. People occasionally thought I was crazy for being so happy when I obviously had so much on my plate. But I was truly one happy Mama!

The Lord Only Gives You What You Can Handle

The triplets are now three and Marina is two and we still have a pretty great time together. We try to make an adventure out of everyday things like going to the grocery store or playing at the park. People often ask us how we handle four toddlers, and the best I can come up with is that the Lord only gives you what you can handle. God put these children in my care to teach me patience, compassion and love. In turn I hope I can teach my children the exact same qualities. I take one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. We make plans, but plans are delayed or fall through, and that's okay. We try to handle our children the best way we know how, by doing nothing but love them. So in turn I almost always have a pile of dirty laundry and dishes in the sink, but I definitely love my children and they know they are loved and they are very, very happy. After all, this whole adventure started with love! 




-Rachel is one amazing Momma! She makes parenting triplets look like a fun party! Her babies are not only super cute but are all so well behaved. As of today, to her best estimate she has seen the Spider-man movie over 100 times!  The kids are obsessed. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giveaway Week 3!

Thanks for all your comments last week! We loved reading them!

And now the winner of the $25.00 gas card is:
Jackie G!

Week 3 Giveaway!

It is Thanksgiving week and the giving continues!

This week you can win a $25 supermarket gift card.

Be entered to win 3 different way:

1. Subscribe to this blog!  Head over to the right and under: "Get Your Daily Dose of HerMamas" enter your email address 

2. Leave a comment on any blog post this week! That is 5 chances to win! 

3. Email us a topic you would like to read (or write!) about on HerMamas.com. Email your ideas to elissa@hermamas.com

GOOD LUCK!

Get your first entry in now! Leave us a comment and let us know...

What are you in charge of bringing to your Thanksgiving dinner? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Super Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Now that the holidays are in full swing, and the weather has cooled down a bit, it's time to bring out all those yummy recipes. In our house one of our favorite fall recipes is Pumpkin Bread! I had always stayed away from making any kind of bread because it seems so complicated, but this recipe is super simple. With all the yummy spices this bread makes your house smell amazing!

Serve warm slices with a little butter and your favorite cup of tea or coffee and you have a nice way to keep warm this season!

What are some of your favorite holiday recipes? 

Leave us a comment (with your email!)
be entered to win a $25.00 gas card!

right click to save and print!







Thursday, November 15, 2012

Teaching Charity

During this time of the year it is nice to be thankful for what we have. It is also important to GIVE during this time of the year.

It is never too early to start teaching your children about charity and giving back. Here are some ways to involve your kids in giving back...
  • Have them go through their toys and choose some toys to donate to a shelter or other charity. 
  • Take them shopping to choose one toy to donate for Toys For Tots. They can also shop for school supplies to donate. 
  • If your child is ready for a big haircut, Locks for Love is a great organization that uses donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Ask your hairdresser if they work with the organization. 
  • If your kids earn money for odd jobs they can save a small percentage to donate to a charity of their choice. For example if your kids really love animals a small donation to the ASPCA can teach them the power of giving. 
  • Sign-up your family for walk for a cause. In my family diabetes effects us and every year we raise money and participate is a 4 mile walk to raise awareness. 
  • If your children are older there are lots of things they can do. Volunteer to serve food in a soup kitchen. They could volunteer their time at a retirement home to spend time with the residents there. 
Teaching your children about the joy of giving is character building. 
Giving back is an important lesson to learn at any age!

So tell us, what are some of your favorite charities to support. 

Leave us a comment (with your email!) and be entered to win a $25.00 gas card! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why I Try: Giving Back


Earlier this year, I heard about two little girls being raised by a single father who lost that father in a car accident. My heart sank for them and then all I could think about were those little girls. When I looked into my own children's eyes, I realized the magnitude of their loss. I decided to offer whatever little I could and ended up mailing two gift cards to the teacher that was now caring for the girls. I posted about it on my Facebook page and an old friend from high school decided to send some gift cards too! How beautiful and contagious is the spirit of giving?


I quite possibly chose my career because of this very spirit. Part of my profession is to teach a curriculum to at-risk youth struggling to graduate middle school. My deepest hope is that the contagious spirit of giving and success overcomes them too. I wish for them personal growth, transformation, and inner-peace. But I actually do more than wish, I serve them.

Some of these students are so broken. Broken to the point that getting them to say one positive thing about themselves is a great challenge. How can a child feel so bad about themselves that one simple word of affirmation out loud is impossible? Yet, I persist. I want to serve them if they allow it. I show up for them every week and they show up for me. If that is all I can give, somehow I know my commitment to showing up just might be enough! 


I believe in them. I care for them win or lose. I see the 6 or 7 classes they're failing and still find effort to compliment. I want the belief I have for them to become contagious too. I want my optimism to infest them and my acceptance to heal them. Whoever has rejected them to the point where they cannot speak kindly to themselves, doesn't have a place in our interactions. I don't mirror those sentiments and I see the slight but deep changes that bring these children one step closer to opportunities, freedom and self-respect. 


Surviving Hurricane Sandy 
So I give back personally and professionally. I give back because I find that life is about service. Life's greatest fulfillment comes from the simple acts of generosity that define the human spirit. 

Giving can be as simple as sending a $10 text to the Red Cross in times of need by texting: Red Cross to 90999 or as big as moving to an underdeveloped country to fully serve in development or relief efforts.

Every form of giving matters. 

Please take a moment to share your stories of giving back in the comment section below. Leave your email along with the comment and be entered to win a $25.00 gas gift card.

Julie Santos moved to Haiti to serve sweet children like Wadley (RIP)
Thank you for your comment.
More importantly, thank you for transforming our world one act of kindness at a time! 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Tradition - Guest Post by Cheyenne Ritchie

We are excited to introduce guest blogger Cheyenne Ritche. 

She is sharing with us a great November family tradition. 




Thanksgiving has never been a huge holiday for me. It has always been the "holiday" that just so happens to fall between Halloween and Christmas. Something about turkey, pumpkin pie, but not so important…Back in 2010, I vowed to change that. I mean, why skip a holiday when all it is asking you to do is "be thankful"??? For that matter, why does it only have to be ONE day? So, I decided to start a tradition with the girls to be thankful the entire month. We started what we like to call our “thankful tree”. Every night, we take turns writing down something we are thankful for on strips of construction paper, then we hang it on our “tree” (which is usually just a branch that has fallen off of one of our fruit trees). We talk about why we are thankful for this thing and encourage each other to be thankful for it also! 



We do this from Nov. 1st until Thanksgiving day. Then on Thanksgiving day, we go through each tag and talk about them again… remembering why we felt thankful for those things at the moment. AND we keep the tags to look at the next year. There have been times when it was hilarious, especially when we first started and I was trying to teach my then 3 year old what the word "thankful” meant. There are very serious tags, like “thankful that God provides for us” “thankful for a roof over our head” “thankful for Uncle Doyle coming home safely from Iraq” and then some not so serious… “thankful for Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Sarge” “thankful for candy” “thankful for foofy” (my youngest daughters blanket). I can honestly say that my girls and I look forward to our “thankful tree” as much as we look forward to putting up our Christmas tree.

Leave us a comment (and be entered to win a $25.00 gas card!) and tell us what you are thankful for. Remember to leave your email in your comment! 

- Cheyenne Ritchie is mother to 2 beautiful and spunky girls. She is also a very talented photographer. She is a sometimes blogger and you can find her at 2 Pink Feet. Cheyenne doesn't really have pink feet, but has her daughters baby foot prints tattooed in pink on her feet! 












Monday, November 12, 2012

Enter To Win a $25.00 Gas Card!

Amazon Gift Card Winner!

Week 1 is a wrap and one lucky winner is browsing Amazon for a nice treat.

Congrats: Tracey N.

Legoland Fun!

Back in September, we had a fun contest offering a chance to win two free tickets to Legoland, California. The lucky winner was an amazing single mother Alba and her daughter Samantha from Southern, California. The best part was this was the first time to Legoland for both of them.

Check out these sweet pics of their adventure that Alba was so gracious to share with us.
(warning: this kid's smile is seriously contagious):



Enter to Win HerMamas Week 2 of Giveaways!

Enter to win a $25.00 gas card!

2 Ways To Enter: 
  1. Leave us a comment on any blog post this week. Just remember to leave your email address with your comment. If you comment each day you are entered 5 times!!
  2. If you haven't already, subscribe to this blog by heading over to the right column and entering your email address.    
With 5 posts this week that gives you 6 chances to enter! And who couldn't use $25.00 in gas!

Get started by leaving a comment on this post. In the comment section answer the following questions.....

Questions:
1. What was your favorite vacation or future dream vacation?
2. A hobby you've always wanted to try?
3. Favorite holiday or tradition?
4. Favorite winter drink?

Irene's answers:
1. New Year's 2002 visiting Brazil with my best friends!
2. I've always wanted to play piano.
3. Opening gifts Santa Claus left under the tree.
4. Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte, non-fat, no whip, only 2 pumps of pumpkin sauce ;)

Elissa's answers:
1. A week at the lake house in Bass Lake with my whole family.
2. Sewing, I think it would be so cool to make my own clothes.
3.  The tracks the Easter Bunny leaves all over my house.
4. Pumpkin Spice Latte, they really need to just keep that drink all year long.

So there you have it.

Good Luck!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hugs and Kisses Are Up To You, Even When You're TWO!


Some years ago, the husband and I noticed our oldest wasn't too keen on saying hello and good-bye to his relatives, in fact he often shied away from warm embraces. Now growing up in a very Latino family where hugging and kissing hello is standard, this clearly goes against how we were raised. In fact, we began to feel like we must have been doing something wrong as parents.

Our philosophy has always been to raise children who learn through what we model. We want them to form their own attachments and comfort-ability with embracing. So we hug and kiss relatives, but they don't have to. 

Now this isn't to say my kids aren't likely to bear-hug grammy first chance they get. My kids seem very happy to love all over relatives, but they make that decision for themselves and so one day Auntie M gets a big squeeze and maybe one day she doesn't. 

Sometimes we ask so much of little children that we'd never ask of adults. I mean do adults force friends to HUG when coming into contact? AWKWARD! And by no means, do we want our children to display poor manners. Good manners are critical and stressed in our home. We expect courteous behavior, but never forced affection to spare an adult's hurt feelings. I mean don't my kiddos have feelings too?

We're raising our children to share their thoughts, to cope with emotions by talking about them and never pushing them into anything they don't want for themselves. We guide, we model, we even suggest, but we don't want to force them into something like hugging which is highly personal.

So we get those passing comments: "my child was nevvvvver like that" with that tone that somehow my child is doing something "wrong." When truthfully just because we parent our children differently doesn't make one way "right" and one way "wrong." So big deal if someone labels our children "rude" or "disrespectful" because of their choice to not hug hello! We're not doing something wrong as parents and neither is our child. 

Besides, just like our 1st grader learned in his anti-bullying assembly: "when someone judges you - that's their problem, NOT yours!" 


Feel free to comment and share your opinion below...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Sofia the First" Latina Princess?

If your kids are like mine and have a love for Disney Channel then you are well aware that this month Disney Junior will be debuting a new animated movie called "Sofia the First". While out promoting this new TV movie the executive producer Jamie Mitchell stated that Sofia was indeed a Latina.

That was enough to start a big backlash. Many people felt that Sofia was not "Latina" enough because of her light skin, blue eyes and auburn hair. Would she be an accurate representation for Latino viewers? This controversy got so out of hand that Disney eventually back-tracked and stated that Sofia was not meant to be a Latina princess. She was from a made-up place and was not mean to represent any Latino culture.

I can understand why Disney would backtrack on this. Trying to create a "Latina" princess that would make everyone happy would be one tough job. They will never be able to make everyone happy. Either people will be upset because she does not look "Latina" enough but on the other hand if she looked , dressed, and sounded too stereotypical Disney would be accused of being racist. 

Of course I would love to see a Disney Princess that looks like my daughters (and me!) with dark hair and brown eyes. Obviously Sofia the First is not that princess for us. I am a little disturbed that my girls don't have a lot of characters (besides Dora!) that they can culturally relate to. I will admit that I am an anti-Barbie kind of Mom, but at the end of the day I am responsible for raising my girls to be strong smart independent Latina women. Disney isn't. Lucky for my girls, their family is full of amazing, smart, beautiful and strong "Latina" role models. Bottom line is my kids really don't care one bit. They are excited to have a new cartoon to watch.

What do you think? Should Disney have stood by their statement about Sofia being a Latina?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Big Decision of Circumcision

A contributor who would like to remain anonymous sent us this piece on how she made the decision about circumcision.....


As soon as I saw the first ultrasound picture I knew my little peanut was going to be a boy.  I don’t know how, call it mother’s intuition, but I felt it in my heart.  After the ultrasound tech confirmed we were having a boy in a later ultrasound my first concern was what we were going to name him.  We had a girl name ready to go but no boy name. My second concern was whether to circumcise or leave my guy intact, which I would later learn is the name for uncircumcised penises.  Like any good parent I did my research but what I found was that the literature regarding whether to let my little guy keep his “hoodie” or not was inconsistent.  That didn't make our decision any easier.  After doing all my research I threw in the towel. I told my partner that this was his call.  I didn't have a penis and could not speak from that experience. 

Though not exhaustive below is a list of pros and cons related to circumcision:     

Pros:
-He will look like most males in the U.S.- 60% to 75% are circumcised (so in most cases he will look like daddy)
-He will look “cleaner”
-Reduced risk of STDs, HPV and UTIs

Cons:
-He will look like most of the men in the world- only about 30% of men worldwide are circumcised
-Tissue development of the foreskin is rarely complete at birth
-It’s permanent and irreversible (for the most part anyway- google artificial foreskin and/or foreskin restoration)
-Interferes with parent bonding and breastfeeding
-Risk of infection and/or error involved as a result of surgery
-Increased risk of meatitis (yeah, that’s what it’s really called- it’s the inflammation of the opening of the penis)
-Baby boys are strapped down in a safety restraint that looks like this:




And if it is important to you circumcision is less common among Asian and Hispanic males.  But wouldn't you know it that after we had to make this difficult decision the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement written by the Task Force on Circumcision (put that on your résumé) in August 2012 noting their position, which was subsequently endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Below is an excerpt: 

“Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure.”

And then two paragraphs down another excerpt reads…
“Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns, the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to justify access to this procedure for families choosing it and to warrant third-party payment for circumcision of male newborns.”*

So from my understanding, the health benefits outweigh the risks BUT are not great enough to recommend for your average, normal, healthy, baby boy. Oh, and if you have health insurance- it’s covered.

So what did we end up doing?  We decided to leave my son intact because we couldn't imagine our little peanut going through any unnecessary pain.  We’re such wienies!

*The full Circumcision Policy Statement can be read here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day! Why I take my kids with me to the polls.

It is the big day. Election day is here and people all over the country are heading to the polls to cast their votes. When I head out to the polls I like to bundle up my kids and take them with me. This may seem like a hassle but I do have my reasons.....


  • The old people that work the polls gush all over the kids.
  • I remember being so nervous the first time I voted. I had never been inside a polling place and had no idea how anything worked. I want my kids to be familiar with the process. 
  • I want my kids to become adults who vote. I want them to know that my voice, their Dad's voice and when it's time, their voices can be heard. And in order for them to be a voter they need to see me be a voter.
  • I want my kids to know that they can make a difference and be a part of our government. They can even run for office if they want to. 
  • I want my kids to not just read about democracy in books, but see it in action. 
  • My kids love stickers. Even "I Voted" stickers.




If you take your kids or go alone, 
GO OUT AND VOTE! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Whole Month of Giveaways!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Today marks our 50th post here at HerMamas.com! We are so happy and thankful for the wonderful response we have received so far. This is just the beginning and we are especially thankful to our readers and contributors.

As we kick of the month of November, we've thought a lot about the spirit of giving and being in service. In fact, that is the whole mission of HerMamas.com to serve you!

All this appreciation has left us here at HerMamas.com in a giving mood and we plan to be all MONTH long. Every week this month you can be entered to win a $25 dollar gift card to select spots.

Week 1: Amazon gift card
Week 2: Gas gift card
Week 3: Super Market gift card 
Week 4: Target gift card (to kick start your holiday shopping)

Entering is easy! Each week we will give instructions on how to enter.


How To Enter Week One

Entering to win the $25.00 Amazon gift card for week one is simple. Simply subscribe to the HerMamas.com blog by entering your email over on the right. Look for "Get HerMamas Updates Straight to Your Email" and in the box below enter your email address. You will be sent an email with a link to confirm your subscription. Follow the link and not only will you be entered to win the $25.00 gift card, but you will automatically get HerMama's posts in your email!

Again thank you for reading and supporting HerMamas

With Much Love,
Elissa and Irene
Co-creators

Friday, November 2, 2012

Knowledge is Power - especially during ELECTIONS

Ready to cast your vote? Like most Americans, I look forward to casting mine, but haven't always done the necessary research. Sure you'll hear the cool ads about how voting is important, but  knowing why you voted a certain way is what is truly important. In an attempt to help Californians understand, check out the very simple propositions breakdown below.
Disclaimer: no sides are chosen on either proposition and these propositions pertain to California only though hoping to inspire every voter across the nation to do their homework this weekend in preparation for Tuesday's election!
California Propositions Nov 2012
California’s proposition 30 is backed by Governor Jerry Brown to fund education. It would implement a sales tax increase of 0.25% for four years and personal income taxes would increase for high income earners for the next seven years to pay for it. If Proposition 30 does not pass, there will be $6 billion in education cuts for the year 2013. Proposition 38 is a competing measure, supported by Molly Munger, with an alternative plan to fund the $6 billion dollars, which includes a sales-tax increase (see below). If both propositions meet the threshold for passage, whichever gets the most votes would become law.
Proposition 31 is perhaps the most complex measure on the ballot. It would create a two-year budget term, give the governor executive authority to cut the budget during times of “fiscal crises,” and it would prohibit the legislature from increasing spending by more than $25 million without complimentary cuts in the budget. It also includes provisions to give local governments authority to use their own procedures to administer state programs.
Proposition 32 bans corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates. It also prohibits contributions by government contractors to politicians who award them contracts. It does not ban these contributions if they are made to political parties instead of directly to the candidates.
Proposition 33 would permit auto insurance companies to use a driver’s history with other insurance companies to set individual customers’ rates.
Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California and replaces the sentences of inmates on death row with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The proposition would require prisoners found guilty of murder to work in prison to pay off their restitution. Proposition 34 would apply retroactively, meaning those currently on death row would be given life sentences instead.
Proposition 35, another corrections measure, would increase sentencing terms for those that commit labor and sex trafficking offenses. Convicted offenders would be required to register as sex offenders and would have their online activities monitored.
Yet another prison reform, Proposition 36 would change California’s current Three Strikes law so that it only applies to “serious or violent” convictions. The proposition would provide for the re-sentencing of those already serving life under the current Three Strikes law if the third strike was not serious or violent. Convictions for rape, murder, and child molestation are all considered serious or violent crimes.
Proposition 37 would require genetically modified food producers to label their products if made with plants or animals containing modified genetic material commonly known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). It would also prevent GMO food products from using “natural” in the labeling of their products.
Proposition 38 is a competing measure with Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30. The measure is being financed primarily by Molly Munger. Proposition 38 would create a 12 year sliding-scale income tax increase, creating $10 billion dollars in additional state revenues. These funds are to be used to pay for education and pay off state debts.
Proposition 39 would repeal the tax exemption for California companies for out-of-state property and payroll. It would also tighten the way California business taxes are calculated. It is estimated that the state would receive $550 million in additional revenue each year and that these funds would go toward clean energy jobs.
California Proposition 40: Redistricting State Senate Districts
The purpose of Proposition 40 was to overturn the state’s 2010 non-partisan redistricting plan. However, the Supreme Court already ruled on the matter and upheld the lines. Therefore, even if Proposition 40 passes, the lines will remain the same. In other words, Proposition 40 is no longer at issue.

And there you have it! Hope you're feeling more informed and inspired to continue to research any issues that you remain unclear on. Please feel free to share your input on the upcoming election in the comments section below. Who knows we may spark a debate of our own at HerMamas.com!