New Year's Eve, Family Style

What to do this New Years with your family?  Article provides thought-provoking ideas.  New Year's Eve, Family Style

Be Prepared: Babies Will Fuss, Cry & Sleep When Bombarded with All the Celebrating

Prepare for the highs and lows of your baby this holiday season.  With so many eyes, hands, and noise, poor baby is going to fuss and cry.  Throw in a few people who might be ill or recovering from an illness and your baby just might catch something too. 

Think about your baby's day in advance.  How much will you need to carry along with you to a family event?  How long will you be staying?  What does your baby typically drink/eat?  Who will be permitted to handle your baby?  Who will watch your newborn when you can't?  How many children approximately will be present?  The more activity you bring your son or daughter into, the more you will need to consider.

New parents make mistakes when they bring babies into public gatherings without planning properly.  Think about how warm the environment is going to be, the space, whether you will be able to change baby comfortably, and whether you need to bring baby's highchair and play yard.  It would make sense to dress baby in layers and then proceed to shed those layers off depending on the temperature of the atmosphere.  You would also want to bring whatever is necessary so that both you and baby are comfortable unless you plan on holding your baby the whole time.  Babies don't like to be passed around after awhile.  Their little bodies begin to ache and skin can get irritated from all the kisses and rubbing on their skin.  They also will begin to sneeze from various perfumes, food smells, and dust particles from people walking near them.

If you should bring your baby to any public event, do remember to do the following (some of these tips can be applied to your older children as well if you have any):

1.  Swaddle baby when tired and fussy.  Be sure you are in a quiet place when trying to get him/her to nap.

2.  Don't sit in drafty areas or where many people are walking by your baby.

3.  Don't leave your newborn or child unattended anywhere assuming that people are paying attention to him or her.

4.  Watch how much your baby is eating or not eating.

5.  Change diapers like you would at home and try not to put diaper changes off.  Be careful who you select to change your baby's diapers.  Not all people (including certain family members) are clean, trustworthy, know what they are doing, or do well with babies and children.

6.  Bring play yard, toys and high chair when you know a place is ill-equipped.

7.  Take along change of clothes, food, utensils, bottles, wipes, medicines, and anything else you know is a must-have when traveling with baby/children.

Print these tips out to help you remember to prepare your son or daughter's items the night before.  Most partners will frown on how much one might be carrying to a family's home, but you may not have to bring as much stuff if you keep the visit short.

Stressed Out Mothers?

Awhile back, I wrote a book for women who are struggling with motherhood challenges.  It is a nonfiction book that opens up areas of a mother's life (including prior to motherhood) that might be contributing to your struggles while offering solutions.  It isn't easy being a parent and you don't have to do alone!  Enjoy the book When Mothers Cry and check out the blog here.


A Message that Makes You Think Twice About Where You Go, Who You Talk To and What You Bring into Your Home

I don't typically put up things on this blog that are non-related to parenting, baby tips, etc.  But this particular audio is a wake up call to those of you who are often busy and don't think much about what you are buying for your children, who you are permitting into your family circle etc.  If you have a faith, you know that there are those products, people, and places that appear to be cute, nice and wonderful, but the reality is that there is a hidden opposition-- an evil behind the scenes at work to destroy families.  So please be mindful what and who you bring into your home and where you take your next family vacation.  Stay in prayer!  

Christian Workers: The Hidden Opposition at the Workplace, Home, Church - YouTube

What New Moms Should Know About Motherhood But Probably Forgot

Caring for a newborn while maintaining other responsibilities can be a daunting task, but with a positive outlook and the determination to achieve desired goals, you will look back on these times and say, “Where did the time go?”

One.  You can’t do it all, so do even try.  Enlist some help.
Two.  Not everyone will be supportive.  So why argue about or worry over them?
Three. Don’t expect the gifts to keep coming.  People lose interest in baby once they start getting into everything.
Four.  The baby will rob you of your beauty sleep, so put some makeup on and do your hair when you can.
Five.  Your work schedule will be affected for the better or worse.  You will either find that shorter hours is making you appreciate your family more or if you are using the job to run from your family, it will eventually make you resent them.  So find the balance and don't go overboard with trying to be all things to everyone.
Six.  Caring for baby will affect finances.  Extra money oftentimes is non-existent.  So when you get it, hold on to it, because you never know what baby might need.
Seven.  Emotionally and physically you will feel different and may look or act strange to others.  It happens, you don't feel yourself and your body seems to be out of control, so when you feel like you are "losing it" get help fast!!

As much as we love being a mom, sometimes it can be difficult.  This is why it is important that everyone looks out for one another.  If you see your fellow mom online is not typing her usual nice stuff or a mom offline seems to often have red, swollen eyes, something is going on.  Don't take yourself or others lightly, do what you can to get out the house, around people, and use all those "cool" baby tools to your advantage to keep baby happy!

God bless.

Nicholl is the author of When Mothers Cry

Play Video Games Too Much?

Play Video Games Too Much 

This would never be an issue if so many people weren't setting aside time each day playing them.  But many do and often the game playing becomes the priority.  It literally suffocates relationships, causes arguments, affects school work and other activities, and causes many to wish they had never started playing them.

Is video game playing worth forgetting that a baby is in a bath tub?  Is it worth losing your partner?  Is video gaming so bad that your son or daughter has a hard time looking you straight in the eye because he or she is too busy looking at his or her gaming device or the TV behind you? 

This is a serious wake up call for some of you gamers. Don't let a leisure activity rob you of your life!

Feel free to click on the link and I pray someone who "loves" playing games will realize what it is doing to you and your family.

10 Memorable Things You Can Do For the Babies and Children

Everyone tells you, "They grow up fast!"  If you are a parent with a baby or small child, you are seeing that everyday.  For some of you, expectant parents, reading this, before you know it you will have a baby in your arms and will be commenting on "how beautiful, sweet, wonderful," etc.  But then those whines will begin to take their toll and you will start to forget important moments, people, places, and things.  Life gets in the way of the littlest of things, doesn't it?  Therefore, the following is a simple "To Do" list just to remind you of some things you will want to do, if not for you, for your baby/child.  Recording memories is one of the wisest things you can do, because it helps a son or daughter know one's history, appreciate family, welcome others into their inner circle, create closer bonds in the future with one's own children, and more!  Here are some things you will want to do.

1.  Invest in a good digital and video camera.  Record milestones including photos of you and partner interacting with the baby.  You might also want to get an Digital voice recorder to create mp3 Cds.
2.  Create a traditional photo album/book offline. (Note: blogs get deleted, companies go out of business).
3.  Save all collectible baby items, toys, shoes, etc. (if you don't know what is of value, check online).
4.  Create a blog and include fond memories, personal challenges and wisdom for the future.
5.  Visit as many relatives and friends as you can while the baby is still somewhat new, this way you will be building a network of support early on in case you and your son or daughter should ever need these people in the future.  People are more open to newborns.  Take photos with these individuals holding the baby, share them with your group, and keep thoughtful cards from these people.  Organize their contact information, so that you can keep them up to date on your baby's progress. Preserve this information because one day your child will want to invite family and friends to things like: sporting events, graduation, weddings, etc.
6.  Keep a baby book and include all health information in it including any necessary records.
7.  Consider a calendar or some memento that tells them about how the world was when they were born.
8.  Organize your child's creative work and protect it in things like frames, jars, etc.
9.  Give gifts of t-shirts, cups and other fun things when grandparents and other relatives are far away so that they can treasure your child's memories as well.
10.  Back up photos, scan documents and put what you can in a fire safe.

There are numerous other things you can do once your child becomes older and can draw. Do similar things as mentioned in this entry to preserve their work.  Although some of these tasks might be tedious to some, know that your efforts will be appreciated by you one day, your child, a relative, or who knows, a group one day depending on how popular your child is and what kind of impact your son or daughter might make on society.

Nicholl McGuire

Amoxicilin Herbal Alternatives | LIVESTRONG.COM

Amoxicillin is frequently prescribed by doctors to treat a number of bacterial infections including ear infections which are popular amongst children.  For those of you who are looking for some herbal treatments for the whole family, the following information might be useful.

Amoxicilin Herbal Alternatives | LIVESTRONG.COM

Pediatrics Questions? Ask a Pediatrician for answers ASAP

Pediatrics Questions? Ask a Pediatrician for answers ASAP

Evaluating Family Life Web Sites

Thought this information would be useful for those of you who may be researching various sites that deal with family life issues.  You might want to learn how you can evaluate some of the more popular sites that claim "expert" advice.

Evaluating Family Life Web Sites

Tips on Flying with Children

Family emergencies , relocation and just a pressing need to vacation comes up and there you are mom and dad having to travel with children.  What to do, what to do?  Check out our blog about flying with children and learn what we did to have a carefree flight.

Tips on Flying with Children

Older Childrens' Activities: Hockey Safety Tips

Thought this might be a useful site to those of you who have children who are active or plan to be active in hockey.  Better safe than sorry!

Hockey Safety Tips

PBS Parents: Your Resource for Parenting Tips & Parenting Advice

My toddler and school-age son turned me on to  I didn't know about all the games related to the shows on TV.  I know that sounds weird considering the commercials that come on between shows, but seriously I wasn't paying much attention.  So when they told me they wanted to go online, a few months back, I let them after some tutorial sessions on Internet usage.  One child is now 4 and the other is 5.  They do well getting to the website.  They really make good use of their time and they free me up as well.  Recently, I checked out their pages for parents.  Great tips to keep children engage with things other than TV and toys.  They also have a wide variety of topics related to: education, parenting, fun, games, activities, and more.

PBS Parents: Your Resource for Parenting Tips & Parenting Advice

Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry, Baby Gifts, Car Seats, Strollers & More

Throughout my pregnancy and afterward, when I needed new items like:  a diaper pail, bibs, baby clothing, and more, I would periodically stop by this site and check for sale and clearance items.  I never bought any furniture from this site because I found it too expensive.  However, I did get lucky quite a few times both on and offline for those things you don't really think about until you see them then you say, "I think that I could use this for baby."  FYI - I don't get anything for recommending this site, but I thought new parents might be interested.

Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry, Baby Gifts, Car Seats, Strollers & More

Check out book excerpts of When Mothers Cry by Nicholl McGuire

Nicholl, blogger and author of When Mothers Cry has uploaded book excerpts at Chirbit about her motherhood experiences.  If you haven't heard them yet, feel free by clicking the following link.
Chirbit Nicholl McGuire ( nichollmcguire ) - Record, Upload and Share Audio Easily - Social Audio  
Nicholl's book is available here.

Check out book excerpts of When Mothers Cry by Nicholl McGuire

Nicholl, blogger and author of When Mothers Cry has uploaded book excerpts at Chirbit about her motherhood experiences.  If you haven't heard them yet, feel free by clicking the following link.
Chirbit Nicholl McGuire ( nichollmcguire ) - Record, Upload and Share Audio Easily - Social Audio  
Nicholl's book is available here.

TV Programming: Parenting Tips by Nicholl McGuire - YouTube

"Oh that's not so bad.  She doesn't know what she is looking at.  They learn about this stuff in school.  What's the big deal?  What's with all the fuss about the TV?"  If you are the rules enforcer in your home, then you may have heard a comment or two from someone who loves TV (and video games) sometimes more than the family.  You have every right to be concerned.  Teach the children right from wrong even if adults don't seem to understand or feel that they should be cautious about what they are viewing around the children.

TV Programming: Parenting Tips by Nicholl McGuire - YouTube

Never too young to do chores. 3 and 4 years old - YouTube

They have to live with you too, the children.  Why not put them to work?  Chores need to be done.  Things need to be organized.

Find small tasks, treat them like you expect to be treated when you do nice things for those at your workplace, and when everyone does what is asked of them, treat them to a dessert or a park visit.  One problem solved, now how many more to go?

Never too young to do chores. 3 and 4 years old - YouTube

Unexpected Children Expenses

This past year I did something different when it came to saving money for the children's immediate expenses.  I chose to put coins and dollars aside from shopping trips; rather than give them money every time a holiday or a request was made.  Instead, I added the money to separate accounts I had made for them in the past.  Once an unexpected need came up, I took from that money rather than from bill money.

Those unexpected expenses were not the large kind, just those little annoyances.  Like the event in school, the needed school supply, or some thing that suddenly came out of nowhere like some needed tutoring materials.  Talk about save for a rainy day.  By cutting down on the gifts during the holiday season, rewarding less (that too was breaking the budget) and turning the children down on many unnecessary requests, money was being saved for those unexpected expenses.  I can tell you that for far too many years I had been worried over not being able to get certain things for household, children and me, because I spent every dollar up on something that I or they only wanted, but didn't really need.

Consider saving some money for yourself too, but for wise future decisions.  Those unexpected expenses can come out of nowhere for you too!  Turn yourself down sometimes when you find yourself just wanting another bottle of perfume, lipstick, household gadget, or fast food meal.  Save that money for the pressing need that will come later, and trust me, it will come most likely sooner than later!

So if you haven't done something like this already for the children, here's a simple to-do list:

1.  Visit a site like Ing Direct and make separate savings accounts for the children.
2.  Name the accounts.
3.  Have an automatic deduction each month go into each account from your main checking account or some other account.
4.  Take change from store visits and put away in a place that doesn't advertise that you have money (ie. change jar, envelope).
5.  Add cash once a month to your change jar.  This way you have cash on hand as well as monies in the bank for those unexpected expenses.
6.  Consider putting a set amount of money on a pre-paid card for older children.

7.  Teach children to give at least a dollar away to a non-profit group or someone in need.
8.  Allow children to handle their own money when they show they are responsible.  However, limit responding to their requests for more money.
9.  Set up a chore list.
10. Find other ways to reward them for helping out and doing well in school that doesn't break your budget.

Nicholl McGuire Author of When Mothers Cry

If You Have a Mental Disorder...

If you come from a long family line of mental illness, then chances are your son or daughter will have the same or something related to a similar mental illness.  But how do you know for sure?  Try paying close attention to your child's habits.  Share your concerns with your child's pediatrician and if that doesn't work, always get a second and third opinion.  Do your homework.  Find out what are the alternatives to prescription drugs if in fact your child does have a mental issue.  I noticed that many males in my own family as well as on my child's father's side have behaviors very similar to bipolar disorder.  Only one man in our families actually got tested and we found out that he as well as three of his sons also have bipolar disorder.

Some parents refuse to admit that they have mental problems.  Others know they have them, but refuse to see issues with their children.  Why allow a son or daughter go through life wondering, "What is wrong with me?" and why let others assume they know what is wrong with your child?

Here are a few websites worth visiting when researching mental illness and other disorders in children.

Auditory Processing Disorders

Bipolar Disorder in Children & Teens

Mental Illness in Children

Connection Between Attention Problems and Video Games, TV

If you have ever noticed some children are walking talking TV shows and/or video game characters, it's because they have been exposed to more television and video games than most.  Therefore, some parents have more problems trying to raise their children.  Misbehaving children are often bored, easily excitable, angry, and play out many of their emotions especially after watching characters in video games and television do destructive things.  Visit two websites that show that attention problems with children are directly related to video game playing and television watching.

It happens...40 something with children and mid-life issues.

You may be at a place in your life where your career isn't what you want anymore, the family is getting the best of you, and you really don't know where you fit in life anymore.  This writer reminds you of what your purpose is in life even through the challenges of mid-life blues.  This is written from a Christian perspective.  Read here.

Use TV Time Wisely

When two of my four children were very young, I didn't have cable so they watched many children's videos.  To date, for my other two, I still allow them to watch videos despite having cable service and I also encourage public television shows.  I like the fact that all are commercial free, but cable, well that is another story!

I am appalled at the ugliness of so-called children's programming.  It isn't any wonder that many of these children who sit and watch cartoons and other shows all day and night don't become crazy.  The amount of TV and now video gaming that children spend is ridiculous!

When I saw that my own children were watching too much TV and playing video games, that's when I started cutting back the time for each.  I realize that oftentimes they were getting too much TV and gaming time because they were quiet.  What parent doesn't want a child to be off doing something and out of his or her hair for a time?

One of the things I did was create a chart and allowed the children to have a say on what time and days would be good for them to watch TV and play video games.  Of course, there was a limit and they couldn't do both back-to-back.  For the younger children, I just tell them when the TV comes on and when it goes off each day.  Since they are still small, we haven't really needed to set a video gaming time, because their attention span for that sort of stuff isn't very long.  I am surprised when they can stay at a computer screen longer than an hour.  The two younger ones are 3 and 4.  The two older ones are now 11 and 12.

When you feel like your children are spending far too much time watching TV and playing video games,  let them know and be open to their suggestions on how they can cut their time.  I realized that I had to incorporate other things during the days they were out of school to keep them busy.  I came up with the following:  reading time, practice worksheets, chores, exercise time (outdoor/indoor play), TV/video time, snack/meal times--of course, and then a favorite, I call, "Do Nothing Time."  They are to go to their rooms and relax.  This way I can have some peace and quiet to myself.  Sure, there is a lot of scheduling involved and yes, some have said, "That sounds like the military."  But it works!  Just think we all have routines in our days that require a certain amount of time to get tasks accomplished, so what's the difference?  The results over the years have been great!  My two older sons use my ideas when they go elsewhere.  My other two look forward to their scheduled times to get tasks completed.  Overall, everyone is happy.

So utilize the TV not as a babysitter, but as a privilege.  Make it work for you!  When children misbehave, cut it off.  When they continue to be disobedient, remove it out of their rooms.  Unlike what our society tries to portray when it comes to TV being a must-needed item, it is a mere luxury.  All of our children must understand that everything on that box isn't real, necessary or is the truth!

Nicholl McGuire
Read more about my experiences raising children here.

Expecting? Start Stocking up on Baby Underclothes

Sometimes both new and old moms are so busy thinking about everything but baby stuff that they end up bringing a baby into the world short on supplies.  Some expectant moms hope that others will buy certain needed items but unfortunately if you already have two or three other children, people don't always help.  One of the most important things that is often overlooked is having an adequate amount of baby underclothes.

Just think of how often you will need to change baby's clothes.  The t-shirts, socks, hats, and bibs (which is not an underclothing item, but are extremely helpful) are very important to have.  I recall the many days that I didn't take my newborn outdoors and simply dressed him in his t-shirts and socks on most days with a little sleep cap to match.  I also needed bibs handy for those unexpected dribbles.

So if you or someone you know is expecting, find some good quality underclothing-- you know the stuff that doesn't shrink up.  I found most of my items on Amazon, Target and Walmart.  I also got many of my baby diapers on sale everywhere from the drug store to Sam's.

Nicholl McGuire

Useful Websites for Family Health Concerns

The picture above was taken in San Diego CA on December 25th.  Unlike on the east coast, children who live in warm climates, don't hibernate for the winter--lol.  They are usually still out and about playing which means that the potential for them getting hurt only increases.  Sites that I visit when the children have colds and other illnesses are as follows. 

Other useful sites worth mentioning for our UK audience include:
Dental Elite - Careers in Dental Healthcare
Does your child need tutoring?  Simply Learning Tuition
Interested in starting your own business?  Small Business Ideas

Thoughts on Future Gift Buying for My Children

From birthdays to family holidays, children will expect to receive something during these special moments of the year.  The earlier you start planning, the better!  What parent hasn't been caught between an upcoming birthday and a household bill?  If you learned anything from this past holiday season it most likely was "Next year I need to do something different."  Then before you know it, next year is already here!

I recently discovered just how fast time has flown with one older child in his late tweens (lol) and now another older child who will become a teenager this year--their development has been simply amazing!  One child is 5' 4" and he's just 11.  (Meanwhile, the five-year-old and the four-year-old, at times, seem to be regressing especially when they have their share of tantrums.)

One day, while shopping, a fellow mom in the toy aisle suggested I get a video game or gift card for my older children after I asked her son had he heard what all the kids have been wanting lately since I was going to surprise the older ones with a few toys.  But his mom interrupted, "They just aren't into toys that age."  My tween still seems to be into the imaginative play toys such as action figures like wrestler men and toy soldiers who come with play sets.  However, the soon-to-be teen, well, I guess not so much.  The mom and her son saved me some money that day.

Nearing the end of last year, I realized that mixed in with the gift card and popular video games I bought my children, should be some educational videos, spiritual teachings, and something to help with extracurricular activities.  So I bought a little bit of everything I thought would appeal to their interests.  I wanted my children to start the New Year off to a good start mentally, physically and spiritually.

It was a nice shopping season and gift-giving experience in 2011, but I decided that yet again, I will be doing something different this year.  Rather than buy most of the children's gifts nearing the holiday season, I think it would be better to give them a gift or two each month--you know, spread out the gift-giving thoughout the year and give less gifts by the end of the year.  This way it encourages them to keep doing their best throughout the year and not just because a birthday, Christmas or our traditional Happy New Year celebration is right around the corner (we don't gift exchange on Christmas.)  Besides, I think starting the New Year off paying debt is really getting old (sigh.)

Nicholl McGuire

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