Sunday, April 29, 2012

More Details & Exciting Updates on "Moms Helping Moms"

This baby was a day old when the photo was taken. His mother died during childbirth. Two of his aunts are raising him. One breastfeeds the baby while the other (pictured) will raise him as her own.
The number of individual messages and emails I've received since writing this post is amazing.  There has been an outpouring of support and offers for supply donations both locally and from people out of state.  I think we're going to be able to do something very impactful with this little event we're throwing together.

FAQ:  How do these items help?  What are they used for?
Clean Birth Kit specifics:
1. Soap (for the birth attendant to wash her hands). We'll use a hotel-size soap or cut a regular bar of soap into 1/8-sized pieces.
2. One pair of plastic gloves (for the birth attendant to wear).
3. Five 3"x3" squares of gauze (to clean the momma's perineum and baby’s eyes).
4. One blade (to cut the cord). You can buy individually wrapped sterile blades at the drug store or buy utility blades (much cheaper) at the hardware store.  The women are taught to boil the blades for sterilization, so utility blades work just fine.
5. Three 10 inch pieces of string (2 for tying the cord, 1 for “just in case”)
6. One plastic sheet (for a clean birthing surface). Plastic dropcloths can be purchased at a hardware or paint store.  We'll cut them to size: 1 yard x 1 yard.

You can read more about the women of Papua New Guinea HERE and Clean Birth Kits HERE.

Exciting developments since my last post...

- We've been contacted by KCTV 5!  They're interested in covering the kit packing party.  Stay tuned. 

- We'll be holding a raffle for an exciting prize (or prizes) on the day of the event for those who participate in helping pack the kits.  We're still in the process of  putting together the details, but if you're signed up to help on May 12th you could go home with something fabulous!

When:  Saturday, May 12th from 2pm-4pm
Where: The Vintage House 7612 W 80th ST OP, KS 66204

If you haven't signed up yet and would like to help please email me or post a comment below.  I also have an event set up on FB that you can join.  Hope to see you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help Save a Momma's Life This Mother's Day

I cannot type this post fast enough...forgive me if I ramble...

Since becoming a mother I've had a strong desire to help other moms.  Moms in third world countries?  Single mothers?   I haven't really known what to do or where to focus my attention, but I am constantly thinking about other mommas and how their situations might be different from mine.  And how they are similar.  After all, the fierce love we have for our babies must feel the same in each of our hearts regardless of the hand we've been dealt.

I know that I've been extremely fortunate in every step of my motherhood journey so far.   I think about everything from being able to give birth in a clean hospital with pain management options to the fact that I have a wonderful support system surrounding me and my little family.  Each of my children were born into a safe and healthy environment.  I have close family and friends who take part in my boys' lives.  And I have Billy, who enables me to stay home and focus on the job I love the most in life (who, on top of that, is a very hands-on father, cleans and makes a mean banana bread :)  No matter how trying any of my days are, my heart is still overflowing with the deepest gratitude for the life I've been given when I lay my head down to sleep at night. 

In some ways I envy the strength and bravery of other moms because I know I would crumble under the pressure of certain circumstances.  Single mothers deserve a Superwoman cape.  Women who give birth without medical assistance on a dirt floor should earn a badge of courage. 

So, get the point, right?!

Tonight I stumbled across a blog post that detailed the statistics of maternal death in Papua New Guinea...the death rate is 1 in 7.  I'm so shocked by those numbers.  One in seven moms will not live to experience the joy of motherhood.  And its all because of the lack of basic supplies.  As I was working myself into tears thinking about these women, the writer of the blog outlined a way to help: provide "Clean Birth Kits" through an organization called Medical Ships.   I re-read it again. And again. THIS is what I could do.  A small thing to help other mothers at the most critical  moment of motherhood...birth.

Clean Birth Kits can help ensure that every mother in the region has access to the appropriate supplies that can keep her and her baby free of birth related infections and injuries.

So what’s in a birth kit? Really basic stuff.  Soap, plastic gloves, a small plastic sheet, gauze, a small blade, string.  Can you believe that these seemingly insignificant things are standing in the way of some children growing up with a loving mother?  Ah, I'm going to start crying again!

Ok, here's what I'm going to do and I hope you'll join me.  I'm going to host a Clean Birth Kit packing party (at The Vintage House rather than my home for space reasons) on Saturday, May 12th...the day before Mother's Day.  I think it will be a great way to pay tribute to all moms near and far.

Any and all mommas in the KC area are welcome.  I'm going to set up an event on FB or you can email me or leave me a comment below to let me know you're interested in participating.  I'll assign each person one supply to bring (ie. 5 bars of soap or 1 package of gloves).  Then we'll package them together in good company on May 12th. 

Stay tuned...this idea literally sprung up about 2 hours I haven't ironed out all of the details quite yet :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

My house is crawling with kids...

Quite literally.

Now that Sullivan is officially crawling I have two small humans with free will going in different directions.  One of Sully's best attributes was that I could lay him anywhere and he would wait there peacefully blowing bubbles or chewing on his toes until I came back.  These days this is the only view I have of him....
Cute baby booty crawling away.
He does the "army crawl" though, which is so hilarious looking.  Apparently this is the only style of crawling I accomplished as a baby too.

At first I didn't think it really counted as crawling, but he is getting so fast!   The other afternoon I left him on the floor in the living room and went to the kitchen to get his bottle.  When I turned around I saw his cute little face peeking around the corner of the kitchen doorway.  Genuinely surprised, I said "Where did you come from?!"  He just gave me a huge grin and continued dragging his chubby little legs behind him as he made his way over to me.  As a mom you always know your babies want you, but when they seek you out on their own, well, it makes you feel like the most important person in the whole world.  I'm pretty sure if anyone else had been in the room they would have been blinded by the glow of my heart as I scooped up my baby boy who was looking for his momma.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just because

Dear boys,

We were on our way home one afternoon driving down the street we take almost every day.  Except this particular day the trees were in full bloom (magnolia trees??  cherry blossom??).  I swear they did not look like that the day before.  And I know these trees...they are in bloom one day and then full of plain old leaves the next...or so it seems.  Their breathtaking beauty is too short lived.

So, just because the sight of these trees was so stunning I nearly slammed on my breaks.  Just because I cannot get over how handsome you both are.  And just because I've made a promise to myself to document the ordinary.  I decided an impromptu photo shoot was in order.

A couple days later we passed by again and sure enough all of the blossoms had fallen and were being mowed up.  I was proud of myself for being spontaneous.  I had captured that brief moment and if I had said..."oh, we'll stop there tomorrow" I would have regretted it.  I guess the same applies to kids.  You look away for a moment and they're different. Constantly changing. I'm not ashamed of my obsession with taking pictures of their ever-evolving cuteness.  I'll be glad I captured these ordinary moments.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


No matter how well lit the photos of my little stinkers look or how organized this blog makes me seem I am most often times overwhelmed, disorganized and fully frazzled.

Aren't most moms?  (please say yes. please say yes.) 

Aren't we all doing the best we can for these littles that we love?  We want to give them the best.  But when we give them our best its enough.  Love.  Attention.  A bit of structure and consistency.  I truly believe this is the best recipe for turning these little cavemen into the best people they can be. (We'll see how my theory turns out in about 20-30 years :) 

Every once in awhile I'll encounter a "mean mom"...the ones that make you feel like they do it all better in half the time.  It makes my stomach hurt when I run into someone like that.  I like to think that as mom's we're connected and have so much to share with each other...we have enough of our own thoughts of imperfection without someone else piping in with how they NEVER let their child watch TV or how they NEVER let their child have sugar.  I have exposed Max to both and I'm confident that he's going to be just fine.  I believe in a happy medium...and I believe there's more than one right way to raise a well-adjusted child.

The mom's I choose to surround myself with are the ones who openly admit that they don't always know what's best, but are doing their best.  I appreciate their flaws, because I'm very aware of mine.  Parenting is challenging at times and I don't expect it to get any easier any time soon.

As Augusten Burroughs says, "I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

And I just think about that when I encounter someone who tries with all their might to hide theirs.

It's liberating to admit weaknesses.  How exhausting would it be to try and cover them up all the time?

My dear boys, I will give as much as I can to you every single day and will do it with the very best intentions. I know you'll be just fine.  My whole heart, Momma

Monday, April 9, 2012


Another memorable holiday in the books for the Murray family.  It was Sullivan's first Easter.  I keep trying to imagine the little boy he'll be next year...walking and talking.  It's weird how you can never picture them any other age than they are at any given moment.  As with all holidays, there are many layers of traditions that take place...

The Prep (coloring eggs, fun treats, visiting The Bunny)
(Making SMEEPS!, glitter eggs, a visit to Crown Center and a terrifying encounter with the creepiest bunny ever.)

Pre-Easter brunch and Egg Hunt
(We have a brunch at my parents the day before Easter so the kids (and us big kids!) can get their treats from Lolli & Boobo.)

Easter morning (baskets, egg hunt and church)
(Max's Basket: wooden rainbow puzzle, Carrot Cake playdough, hopping bunny, a "busy" page I made for him with velcro and felt cut outs, egg shaped chalk, Bunny Bars and a "cheddar bunny" carrot and a book.  Sullivan's Basket: felted chick and egg, handmade rattle bunny with chewable ears, wooden push bunny, a couple bunny books and a sweet potato puff "carrot".  The boys did really great at Easter Mass at Visitation too!)

Meyers Family Easter
(Went to Lolli & Boobo's for the big extended family celebration on Easter!)

Murray Family Easter
(Easter dinner and egg hunt at the Murray's.  We also celebrated MiMi's birthday and cousin Brandon's birthday!)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update: 8 Months

Sullivan Michael!  Here we are again...another monthly update! 

Here are a few fun things you're doing now:

- You are officially mobile.  You haven't done the traditional crawl yet, but you have no trouble getting where you want to go with a combination of scooching, inching and rolling.

- You've got so much rhythm!  Whenever you hear music you bounce and clap to the beat.  I'll turn on music just to watch you pause...drop your toy...and start bouncing and clapping :)

- You say "momma"!  I would normally think that its one of those vowel sounds babies make indiscriminately but you only say it when you need something so I know it's meant for me ;)  When you're hungry, when you wake up with a dirty diaper and when your teeth hurt you say it loud and clear over and over until I answer.

- Your bottom two teeth are taking forever to come through and you're not happy about it.  You never full-on cry over it, but you'll stick your bottom lip out really far and say "mommmaaa"  Breaks my mommy heart.  I'm sure those little bunny teeth will be here in time for Easter though!

-  You're eating finger foods now.  Just small pieces of banana, pears and avocado.  It's hard to believe we'll soon be leaving puree's behind.

- You are getting interested in pulling up on furniture which reminds me that walking is right around the corner too.

- You understand little phrases like "Where's Max?" and "Put the block in the box."  Smart dude :)

All of these things and so much more my littlest man.    I know they're all ordinary baby milestones, but they feel so extra ordinary when I watch you do them.

My whole heart,
"Hmm...has this sign been here all along?  How did it take me 8 months to notice it?"