The Breastfeeding Debate – To Breastfeed or Not?

Life With The Swanks

Ask me several years ago if I would ever breastfeed my children and I would’ve told you “absolutely not!” I had heard so many horror stories from my family about how much it hurt if you didn’t pump on time and what happened if the baby didn’t latch on correctly that I was more scared to breastfeed than I was of giving birth!

In my mind, breastfeeding was no big deal. I didn’t see the benefits it outweighed formula fed babies…after all, myself and 15 of my 17 cousins had all been formula fed and we all turned out just great!

Breast is Best…Is it the Only Option Though?

17499300_1094823600664026_4345808364742699565_nWhen Tory and I first found out we were pregnant, we took into consideration both options- breastfeeding or formula feeding. Most people have looked at me oddly for even asking that, but like I said I was formula fed and…

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Overworked (BLW Contributor)

The Conglomerate Lode

So endless the week appears

Five days this task

Eight hours each, two teams of ten

Merchandise shifts, rearranged in Renton, Washington

Dust swirls, the nose overburden

Ah-choo, ah-choo, ah-choo

Final day mini-trip

Local lake I park

Waves slap on shore near and far

Mountains rise the backdrop

Clouds grey and dark the painting complete

Homes, hundreds, eat into

Nevertheless mind at ease

Raft of ducks navigate the tide

Moored boats mimic the ride

Seagulls perch on shore, wind rustles

I am captivated, I am adrift

So serene, yet so alive

For a brief breath of time work aside

Alas, time to go

I back out, to the show

Seagulls block the path, yet slowly part

Will they let me go or attack?

No time work beckons.

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Proud Father Moment…Update (BLW Contributor)

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Back in January, I wrote the great news about my son who was invited to take the SAT as a seventh grader. This weekend, we received his scores. He was afraid to open the envelope because he kept saying he wasn’t confident about his performance. So I opened the envelope for him. This boy…this SEVENTH GRADER…earned a huge 1380 on the SAT. This placed him in the 96th percentile of the other seventh graders invited to take the test, and it placed him in the 93rd percentile of ALL students combined (middle school through twelfth grade).

The score report indicated he met the benchmark for college readiness, so I asked my son “What’s the point of even going to high school?” His answer was “Because of social norming.”

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The Hideous Bonsai (BLW Contributor)

thesixfootbonsai

No matter what I chose to do in my life the going seemed to be tough, like forcing water to run uphill, defying gravity—attempting to countermand the very laws of nature and the manner in which the world works.

Imagine me, a simple girl from rural Michigan wanting to be Japanese. Me, an intensely independent child who cherished nothing more than to be outside barefoot on her grandparent’s farm playing in an unstructured manner, transplanting herself into a too shallow vessel in an ineffectual attempt to morph into a demure, soft-spoken woman.

I had been born a Michigan pine, a sapling lashed by the wind that crosses from Lake Michigan to Lakes Huron and Erie. But I had allowed myself to be pruned and trained in an unnatural way . . . not simply in an attempt to acclimate to new soil for a time. No, in an ill-fated decision…

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Tradition’s Evolution (BLW Contributor)

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Traditions Evolution

March forward, I say
not back.
Reaching out,
discovering another way.
Not for Knowing’s sake,
or even New’s.
For Tradition’s Evolution,
past these Darker Days
now stepping back
to the past,
of failed promises
for those who need it most.
Reach out, march forward
toward a future where
everyone succeeds
and society cares about
neighbors having
all they need
not being judged for
what the don’t.
Unburden yourself from
the past ways of
kings and prophets,
of saviors and charlatans,
for Tradition’s Evolution.

TJ Reed

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What is Montessori? 5 Ways to Begin

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What is Montessori?

Montessori is a form of education that offers a broad vision of education as an “aid to life”. It draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Letting each individual child’s inner directives freely guide them toward wholesome growth. Here is a great place to learn more about Montessori.

 Montessori Beginnings

I first started hearing about Montessori when my friends started having babies. One enrolled her daughter in a Montessori preschool because she had trouble concentrating in a normal preschool environment. My other friend actually taught at a Montessori preschool where her child attended. It was this friend who truly introduced me to the world of Montessori.

She told me it was all about letting your little one learn at their own pace, make their own decisions and when you get the choice choose natural products and activities. Noting that “You’re probably already Montessori and don’t even know it”. She was right.

Now that I’ve been consciously practicing Montessori for awhile I hear a lot of talk about what toys are appropriate or doubt about making your environment perfect. We are all on our own journey here and there isn’t a standard we all need to meet in order to practice this lifestyle.

You don’t have to go to church every Sunday to be Christian, likely you don’t have to include Montessori in every part of your life to practice Montessori.

 I’d like to think Montessori is more about the interactions you have with your child on a day to day basis, the way you act when given a chance to educate your child and how your child learns with a hands-on approach.

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET STARTED

  1. Ditch the plastic. Donate all the flashy, noisy plastic toys. I know this is by far the hardest step to follow through with. Truth be told we still have a few flash toys hiding away here that I just couldn’t bring myself to give away.
  2.  Respect your child. Yes, you are the adult but you can still show your child respect. Talk to her like you would an equal. Talking to the child, not AT the child.
  3.  Allow your child to make decisions. This works best when given 2-3 choices as not to overwhelm your child. For example, ask them whether they would like to wear the blue coat or the red coat today. This helps them with confidence and independence.
  4.  Let your child help you. Children want to learn. They want to help. It is very hard to let your child make a mistake that you can foresee but it is very important for them to learn the consequences of their actions. Obviously, if your child is in danger you should intervene. Helping with laundry, cleaning, cooking and gardening are all great ways to incorporate your child in everyday tasks.
  5.  Try not to say “No”. This one can be difficult. Instead of saying “No” you can say “We don’t play with those Tommy. How about we read a book.” It is always best to tell them exactly what they shouldn’t be doing and then give them a new activity to focus on. Try to create more “yes” spaces in our house. This allows the child to explore worry free.

With Montessori, my daughter is a much more confident and independent child. I am so happy with her progress I want to share my success with everyone. People starting their journey should know you don’t have to do everything perfectly to consider yourself Montessori. There are several guidelines but at the end of the day, you need to find a parenting style that suits you. So if you have to change the guidelines a bit to meet your needs then don’t stress. The Montessori police won’t be knocking at your door.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe today to get the next 4 posts about Montessori delivered straight to your email. Send me a message letting me know what else you would like to know about.

Do you practice this lifestyle in your home? What benefits have you experienced from this form of education? Leave me a message in the comments I’d love to know how your journey is going!

Check out other great articles from This Toddler Life

Success (BLW Contributor)

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Ricardo Hanley Jr.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Explained eloquently by the Queen Maya Angelou who profoundly knew it. She started by saying “liking yourself”, which is the essential ingredient. For even King Marcus Garvey expressed “without self-confidence you are thrice defeated.” Self-love is above all lessons before any lessons are retained, before any succession is gained. Before knowing what your passion is, the fire to be tamed, by hands that love every inch of the body and soul it is attached too. A love for the mind, your precious tool which you use to direct you, aligned with universal laws which to this day remain. Succeed in knowing yourself, the internal and external nature which is ordered by seasons and led by our reasons. Success is starting with intents to finish, beginning with desires to change; it is pathworking, accessing visions to become…

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All you need is love …

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The Vintage Toy Advertiser

… and a little bit of Lego!


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Here are some pics from Lego set 21306, The Beatles Yellow Submarine. This was a Valentine’s day present for my wife who built it with our son while I snapped a few photos for the blog. I think the character likenesses of Paul, John and Ringo are pretty good, not so much for George though in my opinion. The Yellow Submarine itself is cool, funky and as psychedelic as you’d expect. The cockpit opens up for the Fab Four to get inside, and the set also comes with the character Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D.


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Will Lego follow on with other Beatles/musical themes? How about a 3D recreation of the Sgt Pepper album cover in mini figures? You can see my Beatles Corgi taxis here … so how about some Lego taxis to match? Some smaller sets would work well too, as the…

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“Moma” holic (BLW Contributor)

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Bodaciousjournal

You don’t SEE me, for on most days you only see- through Me

what you don’t seem to do is RECOGNIZE me- the woman in your team

To you I am the face of gender inclusion, a”Need-t0″ and not a “Must- Have”!

I am also a Mother, and you  believe that my brain probably fell -off, with the placenta at the time of birthing

Why else would you de-value me? Act as if its a favor and a blessing that I still have a job

Oh yes! I do prioritize my child’s need;

No, I don’t de-prioritize my work to be a good mother

What I do instead is learn to re-prioritize my work and life

I do 8 hours worth of work in 6 hours or less because I won’t take those networking and gossipy tea breaks

I will not worry about who gets the next promotion or watch Youtube at…

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Villains (BLW Contributor)

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Eye of the Writer

Dear World

Please Kill Me,

Greetings, and Happy end-week, (or just Friday, depending on your level of enthusiasm). Welcome, and as always it’s a sincere pleasure to have you.

Assuming that you’ve got nothing better to do at the moment, (you don’t), how about we share some literary insight? (#MeFirst #OneSidedConvo.)

Any who’s it’s (whozits?),

Villains, (also known as – the real reason we love Batman so damn much).

There is no good hero, without their ne’er do well counterpart. You know him: the a**hole, the fighter, the anarchist, (the guy who makes your sandwich without gloves on) – he/she is the bane of our hero’s existence, (that we root for -until of course things get a little crazy).

Writing a great villain is complex work, however, there is a bit of a formula to it – that I will breakdown simply as E.V.I.L. (#PatentPending).

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