Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pieds Frais Chic! (Cool, Stylish Feet)

I hate being barefoot at the gym. Obviously on the treadmill, elliptical, etc., I wear sneakers. But I don't like being barefoot for classes like pilates, yoga or barre. Did I mention I really can't stand being barefoot at the gym?

I have taken to not even wearing socks with my sneakers in the past year or so, much to the unhappiness of my heels. I thought I had tough skin and callouses from figure skating. But try a gym work out for, oh, say, a few years without socks, et voila! Hardened, tough feet that could be their own sneakers. The amount of lotion, Eucerin and night socks I have tried and worn to soften my feet is extensive. I thought being off my feet for the past almost year after hip surgery would help. But it hasn't. Now that I am skating again and ready for the gym, I dreaded digging out socks that slip down into my shoes. I cleaned out my sock drawer but I haven't yet hit the gym.

I was then offered a chance to try Shashi socks. I was intrigued by the around the house, then a pair with my sneakers. Although they are meant for the gym floor and yoga mats, they worked great with my sneakers!
design, with mesh on top and grips on the bottom. They feel like the nylon-think socks/tights I wear for skating, but with underneath grips like you would find on house socks/slippers. They are not meant for dance, as you need to be able to slide across the floor and these will now allow that. I first tried them

Shashi founder, Natalie, wanted the same things I have wanted:

"Regardless of the workout, I found there to be a common thread:

  • My preference is for my feet to be protected in a studio environment.
  • While exercising, the heat became stifling, especially with your feet covered.
  • I wanted my workout accessories, including socks, to be a stylish addition to my outfit.
  • I desired different grips."


Shashi socks come in three different styles:

They are definitely more pricey than gym socks, I love these and I can't wait to wear them at the gym!




** I received a review copy of "Small Talk" to facilitate this feature. **








Friday, August 15, 2014

Parlez-Vous?

From the time my children were born, we used sign language with them. Actually, we started learning sign language before they were born. When we found out we were pregnant with triplets, I immediately looked up how to begin learning ASL. I was so afraid I'd have three screaming infants on my hands, and I knew they would be able to communicate long before they could actually articulate with words. So I dove into Signing Time. My then 10 year old
stepson and I watched it frequently, bragging to my husband what we had learned, and egging him on to join us. He did eventually. And boy was he glad.

Once they babies arrived, we had a significant period of time where they were hospitalized due to prematurity. They had a laundry list of medical complications, not the least of which included one having a large scale stroke and two of them suffering pulmonary hemorrhages. Thus, we had no idea what would happen when they finally came home.

Fast forward to age two - my son who suffered the stroke had a vocabulary of over 100 signs and over 50 spoken words. I was amazed at what had occurred, and so encouraged, I began teaching them French. I had them watch things in French, like Little Pim, which had a similar
format to Signing Time, and listen to music, but then I had an idea I hoped would work. And it did. I began signing using words they already knew, while speaking in French. I aimed low, only looking to develop their accent and vocabulary. Suddenly, they began spouting out all kinds of things, randomly, at various times of the day. I was incredulous that it worked, and very excited! I began responding to them in French when they asked questions, using directions in French when crossing the street and while eating. The doctors had said that it was possible for new synapses to grow around the brain injury. It seemed that either the language center in his brain had not been damaged, or new pathways grew to accommodate it. Either way, I was thrilled.

My other two children were only slightly behind him, but I was in awe that the despite a traumatic brain injury, he was leading the way in so much of their development. A miracle! I believe strongly in doing things to stimulate brain growth, even if you have not had a TBI. I enjoy languages and music, both of which are known to do this. So we did as much of both as possible with the kids.


I came across Nicola Lathey's and Tracey Blake's book, "Small Talk" more recently. It focuses on developing language in babies up to four years old. It also divides lays out the chronology of language development with age categories divided into chapters, making it easy to start reading at whatever age your child is at the time. What I liked about it is the simplistic mission: to identify where your child's communication is, and encourage the natural stages of language development.

Supporting what I discovered in my own experiment with my children, "Small Talk points out the positive results from the visual cues signing offers to small children who cannot yet speak. I am convinced that had we not used this approach, we would have endured far more crying. And we heard PLENTY. But understanding that crying is a baby's method of communicating helped us remain motivated to sign. Today, my son still signs while talking, and sometimes when he is too tired to speak.

With two of children ultimately diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, we had no way of knowing just how valuable our decision to focus on language would be. Our daughter's CP is mild. But our son had a stroke, and his entire right side was affected more severely.

"The left hemisphere of the brain controls the movement of the right side of the body, plus speech and language. A child who has a stroke on the left side of the brain may have trouble moving the right side of his body and may have difficulty reading or talking." ~ National Stroke Association

Sign encouraged the use of his right hand, which encouraged his brain, which encouraged his oral motor skills. By the time they were three, they could count to 30 in six languages. Today he watches his favorite shows in many different languages. At a theme park visit a year ago, he began mimicking some other visitors in their own language. They turned and began speaking to him and he looked surprised that anyone understood him. Giving a child early language skills allows them to communicate more effectively with you, the parent. I was selfish. I just didn't want three crying babies. I was outnumbered! What it was however, was a gift that made a bigger difference than we knew possible.



** I received a review copy of "Small Talk" to facilitate this feature. **

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm Trying Not to Blink

The other day a friend posted a photo of her daughter who is about to be a senior in high school. She drives, she grown, she's beautiful . . . and . . . she's no longer a cute little girl.  She commented that she blinked and her baby was all grown.

The picture of her daughter as a small child was precious, and I immediately looked at all three of my 'little ones', growing faster than I want to admit. But they are still small, for now. I can almost see their little bodies stretching out, pushing out baby teeth as the 'grown up' teeth fight to reach the air. They cry over things I might consider silly, but are uber important in their young lives. They fight with each other intensely, but play together with a synchronicity that no one else will approximate.


In the last few years they have not always been at the same schools. This year they will be. They will also have longer hours, more homework, more structure, possibly less in school creativity, They may feel more stressed, they may love every second of it. Either way though, it will be a change. I can already see the changes in their speech, vocabulary and mannerisms. Hormones seeping in, attitudes sometimes.

They bounce back and forth from saying things that offer glimpses of who they will be as older children and even as adults. Then they bounce right back to imaginative play that is so creative I want to blow up a magic bubble around them so the scene remains as I see it. All at once I want to grab my phone and record them playing, even fighting, or take a picture. But I don't want to disturb the vibe if they should see the camera and begin to act goofy. I also don't want to only see their lives through a lens. I want to be in it, on the floor, in the mud and dirt, and getting Otter Pops on me while we make sure the Slip 'n Slide is wet enough to sail across the lawn properly.

When there were no children (of my own) in my life, I clock watched at work, and wished time away until I could do the things I wanted to do. Once I had my triplets, there was so much to do, and still is, that I am rarely able to check a clock. And when I do, I am always surprised at how they day/week/month/season flew by.

It seems like only yesterday we were sleep deprived and terrified at all that needed to happen to care for our premature infant triplets. From holding them, smaller than the palm of our hands, to them being able to swim, ice skate, ride a horse, and shower alone . . . where has the time gone?

I hear them running in from playing with neighbor friends and making up rules to negotiate the play situation. I find toys in their room that no longer hold their interest. They learned what they needed to from them and moved on. I find clothing that is suddenly too small for them to wear any longer, I hold it to my face and breathe in the smallness of their
bodies when it enveloped them. I feel my heart well up, pushing tears into my eyes, puddles of memories trying to make room for new memories and reach the air.

I'm trying not to blink.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dust Bunnies and Other Tasty Treats

I cleaned a bin of toys out in my daughter's room. Here is what I found:

  • 3 purple sparkly bunnies
  • 1 kitchen egg timer
  • 1 faceless dinosaur
  • 6 mismatched doll size ice skates
  • 1 stringless panda tree ornament, listing without a way to be hung up
  • An assortment of bug catching and inspecting 'equipment'
  • 2 Pez dispensers (Ariel and Jessie, hanging out)
  • 3 flashlights 
  • 1 tiny gumby
  • 6 rubber ducks
  • 5 spin thingies 
  • 10 doll brushes
  • 11 plastic carrots, because, you know, horses

  • 1 bicycle bell, sans bicycle
  • 1 non working kitchen bell timer
  • 1 captain America shield
  • 1 rain stick (homemade)
  • An assortment of Legos (none of which I stepped on, whew)
  • 3 flags (2 American, 1 pirate)
  • 1 deflated beach ball
  • 2 yo-yos

  • 2 handmade Madeline stick dolls (she's an 'artiste')
  • A large variety of farm and other animals, real and imaginary. Some looked to be of the 2-by-2 groupings (no ark in sight), but among them were a family of piggies, one of zebras, and a Hello Kitty group that had one dressed as a bumblebee. Also included was a clearly misguided and identity searching rubber duck and a well fed ladybug.

No, I did not find a partridge, nor did I come across a pear tree. I would have enjoyed encountering a pear martini. And for reference and everyone's benefit, dust bunnies are a decidedly excellent manner in which to kill an appetite. You're welcome.

(ptooey, ptooey)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh Soooper Undies!

My son loves all things ‘super’. His current obsession is Mickey Mouse and ‘Super Toodles’. He runs aoround the house asking me if I see the Mouse-ke-tools and calling, “Oh Soooooper Toooodles!” What he doesn’t like is potty training. To be fair, he has Cerebral Palsy, and his body doesn’t want to cooperate much more than he does. It’s been a struggle to get him to even entertain the idea of wearing underwear. Over his diaper.  This summer he somehow relented and even got excited about underwear. Finally. I got him cute stuff with minions on them, frogs, whatever he likes.

Then we had a chance to review Super Undies. I was intrigued, initially just by the name. We have never used cloth diapers, and I wasn’t keen on having to wash these. They didn’t work for us during the day, primarily because I only had two of them. So changing more frequently was impractical. But if you have more they’ll do the trick nicely. The upside is that my son wore them at night and had NO LEAKS. That was a first for us. So even though the diaper has to be washed, the sheets don’t!

Super Undies come in a variety of colors and sizes, and make potty
training fun. We tried the pull on diaper and the snap on diaper, and both were fantastic. These are far better than disposable diapers because they provide the opportunity for your child to feel the wetness around them and begin to understand what is happening.










These are also wonderful for special needs children. They are soft, comfortable and come in larger sizes for children who are delayed in toileting.

Super Undies has a YouTube channel where you can watch how the undies work. Check it out!

You can wash these very easily by turning them inside out and washing and drying with your other clothes. They are soft, only slightly bulky and very comfortable. By the second day my son was asking for these over his character undies.



Super Undies were born in 2007 and have become very popular as a potty training aid. They were created by Laura Wojciechowski, owner of Star Bunz Diapers.




** I received a pair of Pull On Super Undies and a pair of Snap On Super Undies to facilitate this feature. **

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Won't Miss the Sand

It finally happened. I have seen it with others, the tears, the head shaking, the 'How did we get here so fast?' comments. The look of bewilderment at the pick up gate on the last day of school, masked only by and in direct proportion to the amount of caffeine intake from the day this far. Oh, and whether or not there was mascara on.

Kindergarten. Ending.



For some this marks the end of the 'little years'. For me this means the sandbox is no longer a part of our lives carpet.

I truly could not have imagined just how fast indeed the time would fly past us. Certainly not when I had no children. Certainly not while trying to conceive. Most definitely not while pregnant. But then - BAM! Babies everywhere. No time for eating! No time for sleeping! No time for . . . well, you get the idea. And I began to wonder, in my hormonal and sleep deprived haze, just how it is that time seems so very different in its passage when you have children.

I figured it out eventually. And by eventually, I mean when I had the guts to take triplets out of the house alone and to the drive thru Starbucks for some java lifeblood. nevermind that the Starbuck's was two freeways, a mountain range and three towns over. It was worth every shoulder-tensed wheel turn. Oh how they slept, soothed by the car's motion. Little by little, I pieced together one entire thought. Nevermind that it took five years to make that happen. I am now able to piece together two, sometimes three complete thoughts. In a week. If I'm lucky. And the noise level in our house hasn't reached a sonic boom.

My point is this - when you don't have children, or at least, when I didn't, time moves differently by how you perceive it. I clock-watched at work. I wondered how much longer I had to stay on the elliptical for that guy over yonder at the gym to ask me out. How much time I had spent in traffic and on airplanes for work, etc. How long it would take me to decide what to eat for dinner.

After I had the triplets, I was so consumed with everything baby, and everything, well, everything, that I forgot what a clock was. Time warped and morphed into something unrecognizable. No late night movie marathons, no midnight snacks (unless it was for a small being who needed it) and most definitely, No sleeping in. Scratch that - NO. Sleeping. At. All. Time passes in a completely different manner.

So, {rip sound to current scene} - I felt no strong emotions as my children went through their respective ceremonies and completions of Kindergarten.) If you read my very early posts you'll see some of what our family went through initially.)  I was not sad that they are moving on to 1st grade. I was relieved! I am of course incredulous that and at how fast the time has indeed passed.

Two of my kids have been at a school where they played in an amazing yard daily and had a wonderful group of friends and teachers. But each and every day, they brought sand home in their shoes, clothes and hair. I swear our house may be covered in it until they leave for college. Don't get me wrong, I did some weeping when Kindergarten was over. But I wasn't stealing furtive glances at older kids and silently begging my own not to grow. Sidenote: my daughter has already declared her desire for a phone. Sigh.

Ok, relieved and a little scared. Nonetheless, I was shedding a few tears
of relief in my adult beverage that as much as I will miss their little Kindergarten faces and all that came with it, as of this moment:

I Won't Miss the Sand.

Cheers!