Monthly Archives: December 2012

Hands that Rock – The Gift of Music for Children

December 28, 2012

Please consider Hands that Rock as you make your year end donations.

hands that rock, HTR, I love you in sign language, music charity, music education, saving music education, chair massage at concerts, Hands that Rock is an organization with a mission to bring the magic of music to under served communities throughout the United States. Founded by Darcy Lynch, a Rhode Island resident, and founder of Stage Hands Massage Therapy, the organization will provide chair massages for audiences at major concerts and events with net proceeds supporting music programs in cooperation with local music outreach organizations.

Since its inception in June 2012, the six month young charity has had 390 massage therapists who have worked at 31 music festivals and events nationwide for 118 consecutive days, and raised $12,000.

Hands that Rock’s primary focus is on developing and partnering with programs concerned with music education, performance, related resources and outreach for individuals and groups in need. It will also support community initiatives associated with environmental, social and health-related concerns to help create suitable environments for the creation and performance of music.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012

family in front of Christmas tree, Christmas Eve family picture, Christmas prayers, Christmas poems, cookies for SantaI wish you and your family a wonderfully Merry Christmas. Snuggle up with your kids, relish the sparkle and savor their pure and youthful joy.

Treasure the perfect moments of Christmas Eve: the candles at church, the love overflowing, the cookies and milk on the hearth and reading the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” My children began a tradition on Christmas Eve several years ago, they received cozy blankets from their grandparents and laid them out in front of the fire and coined the term, “Fire-bathing.” Every Christmas Eve now, they spread their blankets and fire bathe, it makes me smile every time!

Cherish the magical moments of Christmas morning: snuggling in bed waiting, the kids poised on the stairs to sprint to their stockings, the shrieks of joyful face Christmas morning, siblings on Christmas, tradition of stockings, why we light candles in church, cookies for santa, Christmas traditions, childbirth at Christmas,amazement, wide eyes of wonder at witnessing the spirit of Christmas. My heart bursts on Christmas, the unending love for these sweet babies of mine, catching my husband’s eye, and the wide grin that won’t leave my face. I am grateful and hold my family close.

As I wish you a Merry Christmas, I remember the families in Newtown and my friends who have lost parents this year (thinking of you, Scott, Jody, Debra, Beverly, Jimmy). I know that Christmas won’t be the same, there will be a hole, a presence of an absence, an ache that I cannot know. I pray for you, all.

Blessings this Christmas and throughout the new year.

This poem by Henry Scott Holland has brought comfort after a loss.
stockings hung on fireplace, fire before Santa arrives, decorating Christmas hearth, Christmas prayer, poem on death, Henry Scott Holland poem,



Baby Moon Education Getaway

December 22, 2012

Mystic, Connecticut
Friday evening, March 22 – Sunday evening, March 24, 2013

dad massages mom, pregnant couple, older couple expecting baby, pregnancy breathing, childbirth clases, mystic ct tourism, baby moon ideas, Join us in Mystic, Connecticut for a Baby Moon Education Retreat weekend of exploring, connecting, learning and enjoying. It’s a getaway with purpose – only 45 minutes from Providence, one hour from Hartford – but far enough to feel “away” while you connect with your loved one and continue your work to own your birth.

The term Baby Moon was coined first by Sheila Kitzinger to describe the time a family spends nestled together after the birth of their baby, paralleling a honeymoon taking place after the wedding. In years since, a Baby Moon has become the trendy pre-baby vacation.

If you’re envisioning a no or low-intervention birth, if you know that birth is a state of wellness and you desire to birth your baby(ies) normally, if you trust the birth process and want to honor your experience and protect your memory of your birth, this retreat is for you!

We will incorporate education on normal birth and it’s emotional and physical aspects. Between meals and outings, our time together will include discussions, group activities, demonstrations, videos, creative expressions, movement, time to experiment and continue to build your trust in birth and help you to make informed, evidence-based choices.

Between meals and childbirth education workshop time, you will enjoy free time to visit the Mystic Seaport

[caption id="attachment_1158" align="alignright" width="300"]mystic river, mystic seaport, drawbridge, sailboats, baby moon childbirth, full moon childbirth, Mystic River[/caption]

(you’ll receive two free tickets with your registration), Mystic Aquarium, Olde Mistick Village, hike local trails at the Nature Center, get a massage, take a swim (YMCA membership for the weekend is included in your registration) or check out Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods (about 1/2 hour from Mystic) and have time for a romantic dinner with your honey.

The Baby Moon Education Retreat weekend is now open for registration, escape the daily grind, enjoy time together before your baby arrives and get some sleep before the night feedings interrupt your zzz’s.

For more information or to register click HERE.



Pause. Smile. Breathe.

December 20, 2012

woman in red, smiling wrapping gifts, how to wrap a gift, importance of smiles, breathing to relax, Christmas gifts by the fire, gold and red gift, enjoying Christmas, carpe diem ChristmasPause. Smile. Breathe.

Take a moment to pause, breathe, savor the now. This very minute, this exact place and time. Are you rushing around? Is your list a scribbled mess that keeps growing as Christmas nears?

Take this moment to pause, smile, slow your breathing and think of one thing that makes you feel grateful. Hold on to that.

It’s such a busy time of year, busier than our normal hurriedness. We have excited children, family visiting, traveling to do, cooking, baking, entertaining, wrapping, shopping, more wrapping, finishing off the cards and and and …

It’s all too fast, too busy, it takes effort to slow down and to soak in the joy of Christmas.

I’m trying to make that effort. I love this time of year, I love the music, finding the perfect gift, I enjoy wrapping packages up pretty and having candles in all the windows. I love my friend’s annual cookie swap, the Christmas Pageant at church, the festive celebrations, baking with the kids and especially spending time with family and friends. It does get busy but I choose to savor the preparations and anticipation of the Advent season. smiling woman in glasses, smile to relax, benefits of smiling, the key to happiness, gratitude at Christmas, how to be grateful, how to host a cookie swap, baking with kids

Hold onto that which makes you thankful. Amidst life’s pains and tragedies, finding something to cherish, finding gratitude, really living in the here and now, that is the key to happiness.

Merry Christmas and Happy Getting Ready!

Talk to Connect

December 18, 2012

This post appears on The Communication Blog, the blog by Dr. Joseph A. DeVito, Hunter College professor and author of multiple communications textbooks and articles. I thank Dr. DeVito for allowing me to guest post on his valuable blog.

[caption id="attachment_1107" align="alignleft" width="240"]talking vs technology, social media, connecting through technology, facebook talk, criticized for talking, judged for talking a lot, talks too much Talking is still the most intimate way to connect.[/caption]

I like to talk. I talk to connect and get closer to people. What I’ve realized is most people like to talk – and talk a lot. People talk. A lot. Connecting is human and talking is still our most genuine way of connecting. In a world with changing personal contact, where interactions through technology reign, talking is still a precious gift to join hearts and minds with others.

Over the years, I’ve had to grin through painful comments about my talking, sometimes disguised as jokes, other times delivered more directly. Some close friends may comment endearingly but I’ve received critical, judgmental and hurtful remarks. Yet, as rude and cutting as it feels, such frank statements make me think.

Praying for Newtown

December 16, 2012
[caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignleft" width="300"]painting of Newtown, praying for Newtown, growing up in Newtown, blue and gold Watercolor painting by Jane Bogdan of Newtown, CT[/caption]

Along with the rest of the country and people around the globe, I am praying for Newtown.

I have wondered what to write, how to say what’s in my heart, or if I should write anything at all; but I am moved to acknowledge this painful tragedy and to raise my voice and share my love with my hometown community and with grieving families all over.

I grew up in Newtown. This is my town, the town of my youth, my teens, my memories. I learned to drive on Newtown’s roads, watched $2 movies at the Town Hall, and ice skated in Ram’s pasture. I grew up at the Ice Cream Shop, the Pizza Palace and Blue Colony Diner. I went to preschool at Trinity Church, returned from college breaks to my childhood home and got married in the white steepled church in the center of town.

Newtown is a part of me and that makes this hurt in another way.

Old friends are reaching out to one another, seeking others who understand this feeling and grasping connections to home. A need drawing us together again. Tears coming freely, frequently, openly.

No matter where this happened, the pain and suffering is unimaginable. Our hearts swell and we cry for the children, families and community. We cry for the world and humanity. We question, doubt, wonder, fear.

How? Why? Questions that can never be answered. Or explained to our children. So we pray. We hold onto faith and pray for Newtown.

Thank You Note to Moms

December 14, 2012

A Thank You Note to Moms

I was sitting and imagining what it would be like to receive a thank you from my kids.

We don’t become Moms for recognition or acknowledgement, we do it for the relationships we build with our children. We do it from a place of selfless, boundless love.

But we deserve to be thanked for our tireless, passionate, endless work as Moms. We don’t get sick days, personal days and we really don’t even get Mother’s Day off, do we?

So here is the thank you note every Mom should get. This is for you!

Never say you’re “just a mom” and know that your work is the most important there is!

mom and daughters, two girls, sisters, thanks Mom, appreciating Moms, Mother's Day, ideas for thanking Moms, raising children, disciplining kids, Dear Mom –

Thank you for all you do for me and our family.

Thank you for picking up my socks, my Legos, my bouncy balls, my crayons, shoes, towels and cars, my books, my crafts, my underwear, my DS games, teddy bears, magic markers, my pajamas, more Legos, my Play Doh, my Squinkies, my hair clips, my slippers and all the things we leave in a path behind us everywhere around the house.

I know you spend a lot of your day just picking up the things we left around between coming home from school and going to bed. I just wanted you to know I appreciate it!

Thanks for cooking for us, it must really take a lot of work to plan meals, to go to the grocery store, to read labels and pick the best foods to keep our bodies healthy. It must take a lot of time and energy to put the food into the cart, out of the cart to pay, into the cart, out of the cart to the car, out of the car, into the house, out of the bags and then into the pantry; all before you cook us dinner. Great job! (I’ll try not to say, “Eww” or “Yuck” anymore.)

Boob Milk is Best

December 13, 2012

breastfeeding baby, benefits of breastfeeding, children asking about breastfeeding, siblings breastfeeding, cute baby face, baby hand on faceSitting at the dinner table, my youngest, Anna, asked me why she’s the only one without allergies, and the first answer (as a doula and lactation counselor) was, “Because I nursed you for two years.” “Huh?” she asked.

So I dove right in, “That’s what boobs are for,” she giggled, “for feeding babies. Cow milk is for calves, goat milk is for baby goats and human milk is for …” I paused to let her answer, “Human babies!” Her eyes twinkled, and at her age of increasing modesty and bodily awareness, she giggled and challenged, “Boys have boobs… and pecks.” I responded, “They have nipples, too, but can’t feed a baby.” The word nipples was also met with a chuckle.

We’ve talked about breastfeeding before many times, as a toddler she used to put her dolls to her breast routinely and if she ever used a play bottle, she’d tell me it had breastmilk in it. This discussion reminded me that in parenting, things need to be repeated and not just the pick-up-your-towel repeated, but relearned in new, age-adjusted ways. She was revisiting this topic with some more life experience under her teeny belt.

Christmas Tree Trunks

December 10, 2012

We began collecting a fresh cut from our Christmas tree trunk the year our first daughter was born. This is one of my very favorite Christmas traditions each year. I save the tree trunk disk until after Christmas when I write something special about that year’s holiday celebration. The dates of each of my children’s and […]

Chanukah, However You Spell It

December 7, 2012

Hanukkah (that’s my preferred spelling!) starts at sundown this Saturday. My thanks to Melissa for writing about The Festival of Lights and her family’s traditions. Guest Post by Melissa Chernick Chanukah, Hanukkah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Hanuka, Channukah, Cahnukka, Hanukka, Hannuka, Hannukkah, Channuka, Xanuka, Hannukka, Channukkah, Chanuqa.  One holiday with 18 ways to spell it!  […]

Christmas Elves

December 5, 2012

Crispin, Jilly and Zibby are our own personal Christmas elves. These mischievous Santa’s helpers are called from the North Pole with crackers (to remind them of the crunching snow) and water (melted snow); they visit for the weeks before Christmas, hiding, making messes and bringing joy until they return to Santa’s village on Christmas Eve […]

Christmas Birthdays

December 3, 2012

My first two babies were born on either side of Christmas, early December and late January. Over the years, I tried to separate their birthday celebrations a bit by moving parties into late November or early February, but like Kate’s experience in her guest post below, my daughter actually likes doing Christmasy stuff on or […]

My Christmas Binder

December 1, 2012

Thank you to my friend, Danielle, an inspiring Mom and a believer in the importance of family traditions and rituals. Danielle is the voice behind Festival Fete’s blog, going on this weekend in Rhode Island. Festival Fete Guest Post by Danielle Salisbury, Find Danielle on Facebook I admit it; I am one of those super-organized […]