More Talking = Less Shame, More Hope

Artist Peter Tunney
My sponsor in Al-Anon sent a video (below) to me this morning, I watched it while I put my make-up on and I'm sharing it with you as fast as I can.  Amber Valletta does an amazing job of explaining and educating on the disease of addiction.  I feel like watching this was like listening to a healthy version of my Mom.  I feel like I have a better understanding of this progressive disease.  Thank you Amber for sharing your story because More Talking Equals Less Shame, tell it to your neighbor.  Video:

Next, I've been wanting to share this message on Hope.  I heard it in church a couple weeks ago and I've been wanting to share it but didn't have the courage to do so for fear of how you'd receive it.  Thanks in part, to Amber, I have no fear of that this morning!  Start watching at 38 mins for the message of Hope.  Video:


How To Give a Baby a Bath

This is a picture of me and my beautiful 3 week old Baby Girl almost 7 years ago!  I look a little freaked in the picture but just think of me as a 3 week old new mom.  I've been thinking about this time period because our Cousin and his Wife became new parents last week and brought home a baby girl!  Any time there is a First Time Mom in my atmosphere I can't stop thinking about her.  I can't stop thinking about her because becoming a new mom was so hard for me!  I didn't know what I was doing and I wanted instructions, ha!  I wish the law required a nurse to come home from the hospital with a new mom and stay with the new family for a week.  It would have been nice to say to a nurse at 3 am, "Is this normal?" or "Should she be crying now?  I just fed her and I got a really good burp and she just woke up from a 4 hour nap!"  And it would have been amazing to have a nurse say to us, "Dear, it looks like your baby gets overstimulated easily, why don't you think about limiting visitors." or "Sweetie, you're having postpartum symptoms, I'll take the middle of the night feeding, we'll do a bottle of formula and it will be okay, you need rest."

This was my daughter's first bath.  It was terrifying because I thought the bath was supposed to be relaxing and calming.  But, it wasn't!  I didn't know why she was upset and it took a long time to calm her down.  I felt helpless!  This was so traumatic for us that I went searching for help.  Thank goodness a co-worker had given me a book that had helped his new family, Secrets of The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau.  It was the only baby help book we had in the house and I tore through it so searching guidance.  My sleep-deprived self clung to the book!

The author of the book, was a nurse, tell it to your neighbor!!!  Secrets of The Baby Whisperer was a game changer for me, I adopted her E.A.S.Y. routine and her advice made a big difference.  The section I want to share with you so is titled, "Bathing 101: My Ten-Step Guide" because it saved me!

When you read this excerpt I'm sharing below, take only what helps you and leave the rest.  The author's style of writing makes it seem like it's this way or the highway, this could send a new sleep-deprived mom into a downward spiral.  In fact, my pediatrician had to suggest to me at the time to put down the book because, in his words, "baby parenting books can make parents feel inadequate."  So read this only as a "guide" and know that using one or all of the ideas can lead to a happier and easier bath time.  Here is Tracy Hogg's Ten-Step Guide on giving a baby a bath:

Bathing 101: My Ten-Step Guide
Below is the bathing procedure that I teach to my clients.  Each step is important.  Before you even begin, have everything on hand (see sidebar below), so that there's a minimum of fumbling when you take your slippery baby out of the water.  By the way, I know that some people say you can bathe a baby in the kitchen sink, but I prefer the bathroom - it's where bathing ought to take place.
     As you read the steps, remember that you also have to maintain a dialogue with your baby throughout.  Keep talking.  Listen and watch for his response, and continue to tell him what you're doing.
Bath Essentials
  • Flat-bottomed plastic tub (I like to prop it on a bath stand rather than the floor, because that's easier on one's back, and because that's easier on one's back, and because the stands usually have drawers and a shelf to keep everything in easy reach)
  • Pitcher of warm, clean water
  • Liquid baby wash
  • Two washcloths
  • Hooded or oversized towel
  • Clothes and fresh diaper ready on the changing table
1.  Set the mood.  Make sure the room is warm (72-75 degrees Fahrenheit).  Put on music - any kind of gentle pop music (it's to help you relax as well).
2.  Fill the tub two-thirds full.  Put a capful of baby wash directly into the water.  The temperature should be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly warmer than body temperature.  Test the water on the inside of your wrist, never your hand; the water should feel warm, not hot, because Baby's skin is more sensitive than yours.
3.  Pick up your baby.  Place the palm of your right hand on your baby's chest, and scissor your fingers so that three fingers go under his left armpit and your thumb and index finger rest on his chest. (Reverse that if you're a lefty.) Slide your left hand behind his neck and shoulders and gently bend his body forward, transferring the weight of his body onto your right hand.  Now place your left hand under his bum and lift.  With him slumped over your right hand, he's now in a sitting position, bent forward slightly and perched on you left hand.
Never lower a baby into the tub on his or her back.  It's disorienting
to an infant, somewhat like going backward off a diving board.
4.  Put him in the tub.  Slowly lower your baby into the tub in that sitting position, his feet first and then his bum.  Then transfer your left hand to the back of his head and neck to support him.  Very slowly ease him back into the water.  Now your right hand is free.  Use it to wet a washcloth on his chest to keep him warm. 
5.  Don't use soap directly on Baby's skin.  Remember that you've put some baby wash in the water.  With your fingers, wipe his neck and groin area.  Lift his legs a bit so you can get to his bottom.  Then take a little pitcher and pour the water over his body to rinse the soapy water off.  He hasn't been playing in the sandbox, luv, so he's not really dirty.  His bath at this point is more for establishing a routine than for cleanliness.  
6.  Use a wash cloth around his head to wash his hair.  Very often babies haven't got much hair.  Even if they do, they don't need a shampoo and set.  Take the open washcloth and wipe it around his scalp.  Pour fresh water to rinse, taking care not to get water in baby's eyes.
Never leave a baby unattended in a bathtub.  If by chance you've
forgotten the baby wash, just rinse him or her with clean water
this time, and remember to have everything ready for the next bath.
7.  Don't get water in his ears.  Make sure the hand that's supporting his back doesn't dip too low in the water.
8.  Get ready to end the bath.  With your free hand, grab the hooded towel (or an oversized towel without a hood).  Put the hood (or the corner of the oversized towel) between your teeth and tuck the ends under your armpits.
9.  Take the baby out.  Carefully shift your baby into the sitting position you used at the beginning of the bath.  Most of his weight should be on your right hand, which, with fingers scissored, is supporting his chest.  Lift him up, his back toward you, and place his head in the center of your chest a little under where the hood, or where the corner of the big towel, is.  Wrap the ends of the towel under his body and flop the hood or towel corner over his head.
10.  Take him to the changing table to get dressed.  Do it the exact same way for the first three months.  There's security in repetition.  In time, depending on your baby's nature, instead of getting into his jammies straight-away, you can add a massage to this time of relaxation.
Source: Hogg, Tracy, Melinda Blau. Secrets of The Baby Whisperer. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.

This is a picture of my Baby Boy's first bath, a happier experience because I was equipped with tools and experience.

For a new mom it's hard to see the forest for the trees.  The mind hasn't had rest to allow for clear thinking.  It helps if someone reminds you every now and then, that babies get older, you get wiser and eventually they sleep and you will, too.  New moms need a sponsor, a cheerleader that's been through it, that's not a relative.  Maybe I should start a program!

Please pass this post to a new mom, a new dad, a babysitter, a grandparent, anyone who has never known or has forgotten How To Give A Baby A Bath.


Shopping Experiment

The greatest sale ever invented started today, tell it to your neighbor!!!  It's the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  What's special about this?  All sale items are new, pre-season!  And the pricing is amazing!

So I thought it would be fun to do an experiment.  When I shop for my kids I do my best to keep their likes and dislikes in mind.  But do I really?  And if my kids were shopping without me, they wouldn't have to think about versatility, price, size/growth.  What would that look like?  So first I selected realistic favorites I thought they'd like.  Then they picked out their favorites without any help from me.  Let's see if I came close to their personal style and what their picks look like!

First up are Lilly's Picks!  She turns 7 this fall.

1st Day of School Outfit (I came close with the shoes!):

Winter Coat (my pick left, her pick right):

Boots and Sneakers (we had the same pics!):

Hoodie/Sweater (my pick left, her pick right):

Something Extra Shoes (my pick left, her pick right):

Next up are Beau's Picks!  He just turned 4.

1st Day of School Outfit (I think I came pretty close on this one!):

Outfit Links:  Blue Polo, Blue Plaid Shorts, Graphic Tee, Red Plaid Shorts.

Winter Jacket (my pick left, his pick right):

Sneakers (my pick left, his pick right):

Hoodie (my pick left, his pick right):

Of course Beau's picks would include Snoopy, Spider Man and car looking sneakers!  Maybe I should  stay out of the wardrobe selection for my kids from now on!  Their style has a lot more pizzazz than mine does, ha!

Good luck shopping the Anniversary Sale!  If you have a card with Nordstrom, it's double points till Sunday.  And prices go up August 4th!  I'll be purchasing workout clothes because for the first time in 12 years I'm working out!  And I love the Zella brand!


United Colors of Wimbledon

Billie Weiss/AELTC
Every time I watch professional tennis I get inspired.  I like the game, the preppy style, the colors, the atmosphere, the sportsmanship, the fanfare and the athletes.  The height of all this tennis inspiration happens for me at Wimbledon.

Jon Buckle/AELTC
At Wimbledon the mix of colors are classic and fresh.  Working together are green, purple, white, navy, gold and silver.  The players have to wear all WHITE, the court is grass GREEN, the brand logo is GREEN and PURPLE, the ball kids wear a NAVY uniform and the trophies are mixed metals, GOLD and SILVER.

Jon Buckle/AELTC
Sprinkle in the rainbow of colors coming from the audience, the shine of the sun, the blue sky and an exciting yellow tennis ball and I am left completely inspired.  So I went searching for interiors with these United Colors of Wimbledon and created a collection! (Stay to the end of this post to see a different and more important inspiration.)

Apartment Therapy
Urban Walker
Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy
Ellen Degeneres / Architectural Digest / Emily Henderson Blog
Design Sponge
Domain Home
House and Home
House Beautitul

Style Me Pretty
Colin Cowie Weddings
And there's more where those came from, I created a Pin board called United Colors of Wimbledon if you're digging these colors.
Djokovic: You Live For This Moment
Before you go, there was something more importantly inspirational than the colors of this past Wimbledon.  It was the Champion of the "Gentlemen's" Final, Novak Djokovic.  Did you watch the match last Sunday?  It was EPIC!  Djokovic beat my favorite player, Roger Federer, after an amazing and entertaining fight.  Regardless of winning or runner-up-ing I am always impressed with the humility of tennis players and Djokovic didn't disappoint.  If you're inspired by honestly and vulnerability, watch the first 2 minutes his post champ interview.  The #1 tennis player in the world shares how he went to the restroom mid-game and had a "chat to himself" to overcome the mental game.  Love it!


Emma and I

Did you see Emma Stone on The Tonight Show back in April?  I missed it but I caught the clip.  Here's two of my favorite entertainers being adorably funny and talking about things I love:

So, Emma Stone and I have something in common, we both Pin inspirational quotes on Pinterest.  Her board is a secret and mine is disguised by the title "Typography Art", ha ha ha!  I guess I thought if I called it art then it wasn't really an "inspirational quote".  When I was younger my Mom used to create these images of quotes and frame them.  I thought they were ridiculous.  Now I find myself creating my own with Shapely and even posting them on Instagram for the whole world to see.  Slowly but surely I will eat all the words I've ever said.  I have officially become a quote loving fool!  So, I was just looking over the "art" I've collected on Pinterest and thought I could share some of my favorites here.

And here are a couple of my own I've made with the Shapely app:

As I get older I need reminders for everything!


Here We Go Again!

I'm feeling overwhelmed by my house again and as I said in My Clutter Recovery post, that was just the beginning and I have a lot more to go!  So tomorrow I'll be starting a set of challenges from the past.  Peter Walsh's 31 Days To Get Organized from 2013.  Are you interested, too?  Please, join me!  It's been half a year since the 2014 "31 Days" so the timing is great.  And the 2015 "31 Days" will be here in just 6 months!  It'll be the best July you've ever had!  Or, it will at least be the most freeing July you've ever had, tell it to your neighbor!

Peter recently posted a link to a website where all of the past challenges can be found.  It's a guide with a list of the challenges including videos and place for discussion and questions.  It looks like this:

Here's a link to the 2013 Challenge.  Register there to get to the guide.  It's free right now, but I don't know for how long!  I'll be on Instagram @tellittoyourneighbor and Facebook @tellittoyourneighbor documenting the journey with before and after pictures (I hope you don't mind, this keeps me motivated)!  I'd love for you to join me, the more of us working together the better the motivation!!!  Use the hashtags #31Days2GetOrganized and #GetOrganizedInJuly if you're public and if you're private, please tag me so I can see your hard work!  Let's do it!


A Few Birthday Party Tips

This is the last post of Birthday Party Week!  (Pretend it's still the month of May and I didn't start this birthday party week a month ago.  Ha!)  This post is a little different, it's a few tips to make your life easier.  First, I found a way to cut my stress in half when setting up a party-on-location, tell it to your neighbor!  All you need is a laundry basket and Jumbo storage bags:

Take all of your supplies out of their packaging.  That means unwrap plates, napkins, candles, decorations, you name it.

Put like things in jumbo storage bags.  For example all the unwrapped plates, napkins and utensils in one bag.

Then put everything you need for the party into a laundry basket.  Now everything is easy to transport from house to car to party.

The stress of setting up a party-on-location is cut in half because all the time it took to unwrap everything was completed at home ahead of time.  And all the trash is taken care of and left at home!

I used this same tip for my TITYN DIY Night.

And also for my daughter's Wild Kratts party at the Houston Zoo.  A second reason this cuts stress in half: When you get to the party, you can hand a party helper a bag and they can pretty much figure out what needs to be done with it. :)

The second tip is to reuse your party decorations for a birthday morning surprise, tell it to your neighbor!  Whether it's streamers on the bedroom door or hanging from the chandelier for breakfast, it only takes a second because you already have it from the birthday party.  I've done this twice now (it's another benefit of my clutter recovery).

Third, I am terrible at thank you notes but I am very thankful!  I know our party guests want to know we received their gift, that it didn't get left behind.  I like to see a kiddo's reaction to a gift and I assume other people do as well.  Also, I enjoy making a slideshow with music, it doesn't fail to procrastination like a handwritten note does for me.  So I created a slideshow and sent it to our friends to say thank you.  I couldn't worry about etiquette here, this slideshow is way better than the usual: no thank you note at all.  It's a new era for thank you etiquette, whatever works for you!