wow almost 2 months since i have updated!!
i have been so insanely busy i haven't really had time to blog.

shakti has started singing her ABC's.
she says ABCD H 9 10 11 Q M N O P Y Z
hahaha it cracks me up! she just added the "10, 11" today. but i'd say thats pretty good for a 20 month old!! hehe.

she is definitely saying sentences now....3 or more words at a time. she blows me away with how smart she is. she knows more signs (as in sign language) than i can even count. she knows just as many signs as she knows wordrs if not more... she loves to draw and make music. i really can't get over what an amazing little girl she is.

we are still breastfeeding and that is going well.
at about 18 months we hit a rough patch...she was teething and wanted to nurse all night long and i was getting so exhausted i had considered weaning her! i am so thankful that i stuck with it because it of course passed and we are now settled back into our normal routine. breastfeeding is definitely good for reconnecting after busy days.

aaron is doing really well. he is working a very hard. i am definitely very proud of him. he has had a lot of gigs with his band lately too which is definitely great!! i know how important his music is to him so i am very thankful he is able to share it with the world. he has a gig in new york coming up this next summer that he is really looking forward to!!

i am doing really well too!
i am still working for Family Connections. i really love working for them, they are so amazing and i get to do a lot of the work from home so that is really a huge plus!

i also got a new job a few months ago. i am working as a breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC.. i am seriously LOVING this job. i wake up excited every morning to go to work. i want to talk about breastfeeding all day every day hehe so i am very thankful that i have found a job that pays me to do just that!! i get to do one on one counseling sessions with pregnant moms and moms that are having trouble breastfeeding as well as teach breastfeeding classes. its like a dream job for me! i am hoping to be able to sit for my exam to be a board certified lactation consultant in july of 2010 (the deadline for signing up for next years exam in July 2009 is in January so i will not have enough creditable hours yet..but next year i will!). so yay!
then at the end of January (the 23rd thru the 25th) i am taking a birth doula training.
if you are interested you can read about that by clicking here. i am so thankful for all of these doors and opportunities that are opening up for me!
i really care about womens health in general (pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, well care etc.) and so i am really excited to explore all areas of that and encourage and guide women to more natural, gentle ways to care for themselves and their babies.

so all in all things are going really well here for us.

here are a few photos of the babe since i have been slackin' on the photo updates as well.

sucha a big girl brushing her teeth hehe. <3

esther, shakti and aaron on Esthers birthday!!

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the last couple of weekends our family has gone to two different festivals in arkansas. the first one was in Fayetteville Arkansas. Aaron played with his band InitString and then he did a solo show with Artificial Life Preserver. we had such a good time!! shakti is such a good camper, its unbelievable! i guess it is good we started taking her camping so young. she is a real trooper!

then the following weekend (this past weekend) we went back up to Eureka Springs Arkansas for a festival called Coalessence. wow i seriously had no idea how beautiful arkansas was!! the land is just absolutely beautiful. i had never seen anything like it!! the festival was a ton of fun. both weekends our friends Eamon and Michelle came with their daughter Anya who is 10 months old. there were a bunch of kids at Coalessence. i mean a BUNCH.
shakti did really well both on the ride there and back...i was so proud of her. 12 hours in the car is a long time for an adult let alone a baby! but she was a real sport. we colored pictures and read books, watched movies etc. and she was just perfectly content.

here are a couple photos from this past weekend...

she borrowed this hat from little Anya. she actually kept it on for a looong time i was really impressed!! hehe.

side view of the hat ;p

yayyy toessss. hehe. shakti playing with her piggies on the ride home from coalessence :D
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ok ok i know that i am in big trouble for not updating very often!!
i know you guys know how busy we have been. we moved to a new house (that i am absolutely IN LOVE with!) and of course with a toddler running around any extended period of time on the internet is out of the question unless its like nights like tonight where i am lucky enough to be able to stay up late while she sleeps hehe.

wow so someone posted to the attachment parenting group here on livejournal with a link to this website that her lactation consultant had given her. cosleepingsurvey.com. it is a survey for cosleeping families. so our voices can be heard!! if you look to the right and scroll down a big you will see shakti's blog posted as a link!!! i am so insanely flattered. i have no idea who is running that site but to have shaktis blog linked from a cosleeping website definitely makes me very happy!!

there are so many amazing and wonderful benefits to cosleeping and i am so thankful that i am able to share that with friends and family and help get the word out there.

i found this on the holistic pediatric association website and thought i would share while on the topic of cosleeping!!

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Shakti is doing wonderful! i can't believe how big she is getting. she will be 17 months old here in a couple days. it just blows me away how smart she is. she repets everything, follows commands, she is learning her shapes, animals, sounds, music...wowowow the learning in our house never stops and it shows!! she is quite the little artist too haha. we have been letting her color with crayons and wow she absolutely LOVES it.
and of course music, we can't forget music hehe ;p

at our new house we have a big gorgeous yard that we share with our dear friend Melissa and her son Toshiro. the kids have sooo much fun in the yard! shakti stands at the front door and says "outside! outside!!" haha its so cute.

things with aaron and i are both going well. aaron is working hard and doing very well at his job. he seems very happy and comfortable there. i am still working with Family Connections. my hospital visits have been going really well. i am so thankful for this opportunity. it really means the world to me to get to work with new families during such a special time.

shakti gets up and down the stairs at the new house really well. she has recently started sliding down backwards on her belly. it is the most hilarious thing EVER. i laugh so hard every time. she can get down those stairs much faster than i can that way! haha. its a total riot. i will have to make sure to get that on video and post it because its just toooo much! haha.

ok i must get some sleep, its late!!
i love you guys and im sorry that the updates have been so far and few between. i will try to do a better job at keeping you guys updated on miss shakti <3

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i realize it has been a long time since i have updated shakti's blog!
we have been so busy! i am not even exactly sure what happened to the month of may, it definitely got away from us!

we were lucky enough to get to travel as a family with myself, shakti, aaron and esther to South Carolina to visit shakti's grandparents and aunts! shakti had never met her grandpa or aunt marybeth so that was very special!

L to R: Marybeth, lydia, esther, mrs. anthony, shakti, mr. anthony and aaron

shakti and daddy at lydias graduation!!

then the following weekend we took shakti on a 4 day camping trip. it was definitely a lot harder than we had anticipated but now we just know for next time. i can only be thankful for my experiences as i learn and grow from them.

here are a few pictures of shakti from this week.
i am so sorry i have been slacking on the photo updates to those of you family members who are always eagerly awaiting new photos! i will try to do better this month!

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today aaron, myself, shakti, esther, brandan, alan and ali went to the greenbelt.
i took this cuuuute photo and knew you would all enjoy it as well :D

and then this silly one of shakti with a diaper on her head was taken a few weeks ago hehehe
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i feel compelled so post this article as i have seen commercials on tv lately that encourage parents to not share sleep with their children. you all know i am a huge cosleeping advocate so i thought i would pass this along so that my loved ones don't let the media scare them into thinking that cosleeping is bad. if the safe sleep guidelines are followed, sleeping with your child is much safer than crib sleeping.

article written by dr. sears.


There has been a lot of media lately claiming that sleeping with your baby in an adult bed is unsafe and can result in accidental smothering of an infant. One popular research study came out in 1999 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that showed 515 cases of accidental infant deaths occurred in an adult bed over an 8-year period between 1990 and 1997. That's about 65 deaths per year. These deaths were not classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), where the cause of death is undetermined. There were actual causes that were verified upon review of the scene and autopsy. Such causes included accidental smothering by an adult, getting trapped between the mattress and headboard or other furniture, and suffocation on a soft waterbed mattress.

The conclusion that the researchers drew from this study was that sleeping with an infant in an adult bed is dangerous and should never be done. This sounds like a reasonable conclusion, until you consider the epidemic of SIDS as a whole. During the 8-year period of this study, about 34,000 total cases of SIDS occurred in the U.S. (around 4250 per year). If 65 cases of non-SIDS accidental death occurred each year in a bed, and about 4250 cases of actual SIDS occurred overall each year, then the number of accidental deaths in an adult bed is only 1.5% of the total cases of SIDS.

There are two pieces of critical data that are missing that would allow us to determine the risk of SIDS or any cause of death in a bed versus a crib.

* How many cases of actual SIDS occur in an adult bed versus in a crib?
* How many babies sleep with their parents in the U.S., and how many sleep in cribs?

The data on the first question is available, but has anyone examined it? In fact, one independent researcher examined the CPSC's data and came to the opposite conclusion than did the CPSC - this data supports the conclusion that sleeping with your baby is actually SAFER than not sleeping with your baby (see Mothering Magazine Sept/Oct 2002). As for the second question, many people may think that very few babies sleep with their parents, but we shouldn't be too quick to assume this. The number of parents that bring their babies into their bed at 4 am is probably quite high. Some studies have shown that over half of parents bring their baby into bed with them at least part of the night. And the number that sleep with their infants the whole night is probably considerable as well. In fact, in most countries around the world sleeping with your baby is the norm, not the exception. And what is the incidence of SIDS in these countries? During the 1990s, in Japan the rate was only one tenth of the U.S. rate, and in Hong Kong, it was only 3% of the U.S. rate. These are just two examples. Some countries do have a higher rate of SIDS, depending on how SIDS is defined.

Until a legitimate survey is done to determine how many babies sleep with their parents, and this is factored into the rate of SIDS in a bed versus a crib, it is unwarranted to state that sleeping in a crib is safer than a bed.

If the incidence of SIDS is dramatically higher in crib versus a parent's bed, and because the cases of accidental smothering and entrapment are only 1.5% of the total SIDS cases, then sleeping with a baby in your bed would be far safer than putting baby in a crib.

The answer is not to tell parents they shouldn't sleep with their baby, but rather to educate them on how to sleep with their infants safely.

Now the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Juvenile Products Manufacturer's Association are launching a campaign based on research data from 1999, 2000, and 2001. During these three years, there have been 180 cases of non-SIDS accidental deaths occurring in an adult bed. Again, that's around 60 per year, similar to statistics from 1990 to 1997. How many total cases of SIDS have occurred during these 3 years? Around 2600 per year. This decline from the previous decade is thought to be due to the "back to sleep" campaign - educating parents to place their babies on their back to sleep. So looking at the past three years, the number of non-SIDS accidental deaths is only 2% of the total cases of SIDS.

A conflict of interest? Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.

What does the research say? The September/October 2002 issue of Mothering Magazine presents research done throughout the whole world on the issue of safe sleep. Numerous studies are presented by experts of excellent reputation. And what is the magazine's conclusion based on all this research? That not only is sleeping with your baby safe, but it is actually much safer than having your baby sleep in a crib. Research shows that infants who sleep in a crib are twice as likely to suffer a sleep related fatality (including SIDS) than infants who sleep in bed with their parents.

Education on safe sleep. I do support the USCPSC's efforts to research sleep safety and to decrease the incidence of SIDS, but I feel they should go about it differently. Instead of launching a national campaign to discourage parents from sleeping with their infants, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission should educate parents on how to sleep safely with their infants if they choose to do so.

Here are some ways to educate parents on how to sleep safely with their baby:

* Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother. Like heat-seeking missiles, babies automatically gravitate toward a warm body. Yet, to be safe, place baby between mother and a guardrail or push the mattress flush against the wall and position baby between mother and the wall. Guardrails enclosed with plastic mesh are safer than those with slats, which can entrap baby's limbs or head. Be sure the guardrail is flush against the mattress so there is no crevice that baby could sink into.

* Place baby adjacent to mother, rather than between mother and father. Mothers we have interviewed on the subject of sharing sleep feel they are so physically and mentally aware of their baby's presence even while sleeping, that it's extremely unlikely they would roll over onto their baby. Some fathers, on the other hand, may not enjoy the same sensitivity of baby's presence while asleep; so it is possible they might roll over on or throw out an arm onto baby. After a few months of sleep-sharing, most dads seem to develop a keen awareness of their baby's presence.

* Place baby to sleep on his back.

* Use a large bed, preferably a queen-size or king-size. A king-size bed may wind up being your most useful piece of "baby furniture." If you only have a cozy double bed, use the money that you would ordinarily spend on a fancy crib and other less necessary baby furniture and treat yourselves to a safe and comfortable king-size bed.

* Some parents and babies sleep better if baby is still in touching and hearing distance, but not in the same bed. For them, a bedside co-sleeper is a safe option.

Here are some things to avoid:

* Do not sleep with your baby if:

1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger of pendulous breasts and large fat rolls.

3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

* Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

* Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

* Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

* Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

* Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

* Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.

Parents should use common sense when sharing sleep. Anything that could cause you to sleep more soundly than usual or that alters your sleep patterns can affect your baby's safety. Nearly all the highly suspected (but seldom proven) cases of fatal "overlying" I could find in the literature could have been avoided if parents had observed common sense sleeping practices.

The bottom line is that many parents share sleep with their babies. It can be done safely if the proper precautions are observed. The question shouldn't be "is it safe to sleep with my baby?", but rather "how can I sleep with my baby safely." The data on the incidence of SIDS in a bed versus a crib must be examined before the medical community can make a judgment on sleep safety in a bed.
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much needed update!

i am so very behind in updates!! it has been a very busy month for us!
shakti's birthday was on the 4th of april, it was an absolutely PERFECT day! i couldn't have asked for anything more! we shared the day with friends and family at little stacy park. we had a pink theme and lots of yummy food!

we ended up making her an applesauce dessert with applesauce and graham crackers. i didn't want to give her anything too heavy as she isn't that interested in solids yet. she didn't make too big of a mess either which i of course was hoping she would :p

my mom was in town the week of shakti's birthday which was a huge help! i always love when my mama is here to help out with shakti <3 i wish that she lived closer!

a few days after my mom left my friend leah from michigan came to visit. it was really good to see leah but i do think that it was a little overwhelming having 2 straight weeks of company. not just for me, but for shakti too. by the end of leahs visit shakti had just had enough i think. everything frustrated her and she was very moody...now that we are back into the swing of our routine she is doing much better thankfully.

while leah was here we went to krause springs which was absolutely GORGEOUS.

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also this past week, i am very sad to report that we lost our beloved kitty, Oceania. she is just flat out gone, i have no idea where she is. she disappeared last saturday. a few days later the maintanence man said he saw her in a crawl space underneath the office...aaron crawled in there but couldn't see her so we set a trap outside there. we have caught several cats but none of them were oceania. i am so insanely devistated. we are thinking she may have been ran off by a resident stray or something. i honestly don't know though. she was more than just a kitty to us, we truly truly loved her and its so heartbreaking. so please pray for us that our kitty has a safe return home to us.

our family just loves going to the town lake park, where they have the fountains i believe i have posted photos of the fountains before. its always so much fun to take shakti to run around in the water.

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