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Wondering how to get this sign?? Read on to find out!

I am so excited by today’s guest post!!  Chalita shares with us tips for how to GET pregnant.  These are questions I get all the time and never really new the answers to…until now!  Read on and learn….

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Guest post by Chalita Photikoe, L.Ac.

Starting to plan the family of your future or trying to conceive can be a very exciting time.  Here are some tips that can help you get pregnant faster and boost your body’s fertility.


Know when you ovulate. 
It is a myth that women ovulate on day 14.  This is based on the assumption that all women have a 28-day cycle each and every month.  Most women do not, and furthermore it is common for ovulation to vary from month to month by as much as 5 days.  Purchase some reliable ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), and begin keeping track of when your most fertile days are.


Time intercourse. 
If your partner has a normal sperm count, begin having sex on day 10 of your cycle, or when you first get a positive on your OPK, which ever happens first.  There after, have sex every other day until you get a positive OPK.  Once you get a positive, have sex 2-3 days in a row.  Skip one day, and then have intercourse once more.


Track your cycles.
  Free online services such as fertiltyfriend.com can help you keep track and chart your cycles.  You can easily enter in basal body temperature, OPK results, intercourse days, and much more.


Increase your cervical mucous. 
Healthy, copious amounts of cervical mucous  (CM) nourish the sperm and maximize travel time and travel conditions to the egg.  As we age, cervical mucous can decline.  Healthy cervical mucous looks and feels like raw egg white.  If yours is less than optimal, increase water intake and limit alcohol and caffeine.  Taking 3000 mg of evening primrose oil a day from the beginning of your cycle up through ovulation can also help to increase the quantity and the quality of CM.


Check your lube. 
Most lubricants, in order to extend shelf life, have harmful additives and preservatives that have been shown to kill or adversely affect sperm motility and mobility.   PreConceive Plus and Pre Seed are two lubricants that are not only preservative and additive free, but also have ingredients that help nourish and feed the sperm, similar to a woman’s natural cervical mucous.


Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  
Studies have confirmed what practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have known for thousands of years. Acupuncture can improve fertility by regulating and stabilizing hormone levels, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, and reducing stress.


Increase blood flow to the pelvis.
Any regular cardiovascular exercise and deep stretching targeted at the pelvic region increases blood flow to the genitals, which can make sex more pleasurable and can also increase the chances of implantation.  Yoga, power walking, jogging or cycling all target the pelvic organs.  Regular exercise can also decrease stress and improve your mood, both important factors when trying to conceive.

 

Chalita is the owner of Chalita Photikoe Acupuncture in Mill Valley, Ca. In 2010, she expanded her private practice to include a community room offering $35 acupuncture treatments. She believes that healthy and happy mothers are the cornerstone of healthy and happy communities.  For more information, visit www.ChalitaAcupuncture.com.

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While playing the his favorite game on my phone the other day, Brady figured out how to switch over to the camera.  Later, I checked out his shots.  I LOVE them.  The neat thing, when he and I were looking at them later, he told me he was taking very specific shots on purpose, of Violet’s nose, of her eye.  Perhaps a photographer on our hands!

self portrait

There is something else about that I learned about these pictures and this post.  I shouldn’t say learned, because its something we all know.  Something I was reminded of.  To slow down, to take time to enjoy the little things, the little ones in your life.  To really get on their level and see the work through their eyes. Brady probably took 50 pictures in this ‘series’  and then he and I sat and looked at them all.  He told me about them, what he saw, what he was trying to do…it was amazing.

Things have been busy around our house lately, lots going on.  Like everyone’s house all the time right?!?!  I haven’t posted as much as I have wanted to over the last few weeks and I haven’t done some of the other projects on my never ending list.  AND I had a classic Megan melt down feeling overwhelmed and questioning how are we going to ‘get to it all’.

I still don’t know.

But I can stop to appreciate Violet the talking dog’s nose, or eye or most importantly the little eye behind that lens.

What will you do today to appreciate the little things (that are really the big things) in your life??

(and any tips for getting it all done would be appreciated too!!!)

Does this picture need more explanation?? Read on to find out!

 

I LOVE pregnant bellies.

 

There have been quite a few beautiful pregnancy photo shoots floating around in my slice of the internet lately.  I love photos of pregnant woman.  I think they are not only beautiful, but such a touching reminder of such a fleeting time.

 

I loved being pregnant and loved my pregnant belly, and I LOVE the photo above.   But I really regret not having those lovely black and white, softly lit images for myself.

 

So, send me yours!

 

Really, I mean it!  I’d love to see your pregnancy photos and maybe even use the images on my blog (with your permission, of course!)  Send me your favorite shot, professional or iPhone-in-the-mirror snap shot to meganflatt@gmail.com

 

Now, want a little more info on that picture above??  This is a very pregnant me visiting the riders on the AIDS Lifecycle charity ride from San Francisco to LA (585 miles over 7 days).   ALC supports AIDS research and services, and thousands of riders participate raising millions of dollars each year.  I have done the ride twice (pre-kids), my husband has completed 6 rides and my 60+ dad has rocked out 7 rides so far and is ready to go on his eighth ride this June (want to support him? Click here to donate!).  I was visiting my husband and his friends at the end of Day 5, also know as Red Dress Day,  This is my good friend and yes… he rode his bike in that outfit!  ALC is an amazing organization, that does amazing things and I am honored to be associated with the organization and the riders.

Seeing dad off on Day 1 of the 2009 ride

Clean your space, clean your thoughts

Guest Post By Sharon Lincoln

As Spring time rolls around and you are cleaning out the house, how about spending some time cleaning out some old thoughts as well? Did you know that your thoughts create your feelings?

How often do you find yourself saying things like:

  • I’m not skinny enough?
  • I’m a bad mom for working/not working/being too impatient/scattered etc.
  • I’m being selfish if I take more time for myself

It  is easy to default to negative thoughts about ourselves as old habits tend to die hard. Often these thoughts lead to negative results and behaviors. After awhile we simply start to believe what we think even if there is no real truth behind it.

This month as you are doing your spring cleaning, take the time to clear out some of the negative thoughts about yourself as well. Try this exercise:

Write down on a piece of paper all of your negative thoughts in one column. Next to the negative thought, write the opposite. For example, instead of I’m not good enough, try “I did my best” or “I’ll never lose weight” to “I ate a healthy breakfast that will help contribute to my weight loss goals.”

By being your own advocate you are creating new thought patterns. New thought patterns create new behaviors. This month, make the commitment to eliminate negative self talk from your vocabulary and become your own advocate!

Sharon Lincoln CPCC is a Certified Personal and Professional Coach and lives in Tiburon, Ca. She is a mom to a preschooler, Ethan and baby girl Maya and can be reached at sharonlincoln5@gmail.com


This post marks the 100th article I have shared with you, the Bump Life community.  And the fact that this also marks my 9 months in the blogging world, somehow also seems very fitting.

To write this post, I went back to the beginning and re-read my very first post.  It is still one of my favorites and still brought a little tear to my eye to remember where I was 9 months ago, how far I’ve come, and how I am still in the same place in so many ways.  In fact, I am quite literally sitting in the same coffee shop I sat in to write that first post and I still question my parenting decisions on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I don’t think I am the only one who hopes they are making good decisions when it comes to raising her children.

In another early post I talked about parenting being this weird, isolating club.   There may be millions of women in this club with us, but at times, we feel so alone, like we are the only person who has ever struggled with whatever we are struggling with at the moment.

As parents and as moms specifically, it is so easy to feel judged by others for the choices you make as a parent.  And if judgment from the outside wasn’t hard enough, usually the toughest critic of our parenting decisions is ourselves.  Mother guilt is an ugly monster that rears its head, even when you least expect it.

But through writing these posts, I hope to provide education without judgment.

Bump Life, for me, has been about talking about the hard parts of parenting and sharing successes .  It has been about discussing topics and weighing out choices.  But most of all, I hope bump life has been about realizing there are many right choices out there and the choice you make for you and your family is the best possible decision.

Breastfeeding? Potty training?  Co-sleeping?  YOU are doing it right.  Having a hard time with something??  Someone else is having the EXACT same problem.

A dear friend of mine wrote a beautiful essay about finally feeling connected to her newborn daughter after three and a half weeks of life.  They struggled with breast-feeding and when she found out her daughter was not getting enough milk and was losing weight she said;

“Discovering this on day four of her life was a tremendous blow for me. I felt guilt, shame, and sadness, creating a further disconnect as I felt I had failed in my role of sustaining her.”

I wanted to reach through the computer and give her a big hug and tell her she is a wonderful mother.  I felt a bit of guilt as a fellow mother and a member of this community for not helping her more to see that she was not failing.

This is what I am here to tell you.

YOU ARE NOT FAILING

So what’s next??

What is the next parenting hurdle we will have to jump over?  I have no clue., but we’ll talk about it here.

What is next for me and for Bump Life?  Well, if these first 9 months have been Bump Life’s “pregnancy”, than I am SO excited for the next phase- “birth”

Bringing this little thing out into the world and watching it grow and change and become its own little being.

I have so much planned for this little one.  From a new design and layout, to lots more posts, more videos and more guest experts.  And new additions like downloads, webinars and newsletters.

Most of all, for my 100th post, I want to thank you.  Thank you for being MY community, for being my sounding board, for being the voice that tells me and tells each other; “we are all in this together”

In those early days of parenting two kids, I found I had lost my groove a bit.  Starting Bump Life has helped me find my mommy groove and I hope it has helped you find yours.

here’s too the next 100 posts….

Rain, rain go away…..

Its raining today and it is supposed to rain for the next week or so.  As much as I know we need the rain (its been such a dry winter), I can’t help but think wishfully for the rain to stop.  Rain and kids are a big hassle, wet clothes, not park to burn energy, mud tracked through the house, getting poked with an umbrella…

But at least once a rain storm, I try to let me son go crazy in the puddles.  He puts on his fireman rain boots and his jacket and jumps in puddles until he is so wet we have to strip his dripping clothes of him on the door step and wrap him is cozy blankets with hot chocolate to warm up.

He reminds me how sometimes even the big hassles in life can be enjoyable if met with the right attitude.

I promised him after school today, he could jump in all the puddles he could find.

Maybe today, I’ll have to join him.

Do you have a well-stocked disaster bag?

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.  Re-watching the footage from that disaster reminded me, again, how vulnerable we all are to a natural disaster.   And last Monday, my own little house was jolted by an early morning earthquake.  Now, this one was only a 4.0 and nothing even fell of a shelf, but the first thing I thought was.

Why do I still not have an earthquake kit???

This task has been on my to- do list for months, if not years.  I’ve downloaded lists, I thought about all the places I need to go to collect the supplies; target, REI, the hardware store.  I’ve heard the stories, I have a family to protect, and yet I still have yet to cross it off my list!

Well, now I have no excuses!  I have been introduced to PrepareUs, a local company that sells disaster preparedness bags.    These bags come with everything you need to survive after a natural disaster and I mean everything (Full size toilet paper anyone??). 

Not only do you get a well stocked bag, but a full step-by-step guide to help you prepare for a disaster, no more wondering what you should or need to do, its all spelled out for you here.

One more thing really sets these PrepareUs bags apart.  Their unique refill system.  They will automatically alert you if anything in your kit is about to expire and replace it, at cost, insuring you are always up-to-date and never have to think about your disaster kit again!

The guys at PrepareUs have put together a list of helpful tips to ensure our families have the ability to anticipate and conquer in any unplanned event.

With 7 things, break it down to one task a day and you’ll be prepared for anything by this weekend!

  1. Make a List: Take 5 minutes and just think – if there were a disaster right now, what would you do? What would you grab? What are your top 5 must grab items in the house?
  2. Stabilize and Secure: Go around your house and make sure all heavy and fragile objects are sturdy and secure, especially above your bed or where you would normally sit and lounge about. (Bolt that picture to the wall that is precariously leaning on top of the fireplace!)
  3. Plan: Become familiar with your children’s school evacuation plans and make a plan that works for your family so that you all know where to go, how to reach each other, and what each one expects from one another.  Write this down for each person and stow it in a safe place that is always near. (i.e. a wallet or backpack) Make a plan with babysitters and let them know where you expect them to go in case they have to evacuate you are not able to get home.
  4. Backup: Make sure you back up and keep extra copies of important data such as computer files, birth certificates, passports, and other items you feel necessary on either an external hard drive or online cloud server.
  5. Educate: Look up your local red cross shelters, find the local radio stations that you can tune into for information in case of emergency, and find the local 911 dispatch number to directly call local dispatch instead of a general 911 operator.  Also learn how to turn off your water and gas lines.
  6. Supplies: Make sure you have a Go-Bag with enough of the essential supplies: food, water, sanitary items, and any medications needed for each person in your family to last for a few days; keep one in your home, along with smaller versions in your car and/or office.
  7. Pets: We all know that pets are members of the family, so don’t forget about them!  Be sure to keep extra food and water to sustain them for a few days as well.

Natural disasters can be stressful and terrifying, but preparing for them doesn’t have to be.  With these few simple steps, you can become armed and ready for any unexpected occurrence, creating the safety and security that your family deserves.  For more information on anything we discussed, or to purchase fully equipped Go-Bag Packages, visit www.prepareustoday.com

 

*PrepareUs supplied the 7 tips and I was offered a discount on a go-bag as a thank you for this post.  As always, my opinions are my own

 

Should that nose go to school??

According to the Academy of Pediatrics, kids between the age of 1 and 3 can get up to 12 colds a year.  Symptoms can last up to two weeks, so with two kids (…multiply times 2, carry the 1…)

 

It’s a good thing it is a leap year because according to my calculations, my kids will be healthy for exactly one week in 2012!!

 

We all know kids are germ factories and pass these lovely germs to each other, between siblings, at the playground and mostly at school.  But with seemly never-ending illness in young children, just when IS it ok to send them to school or daycare?

 

 

Colds

Colds are the most common in this age group and symptoms can last two weeks.  Kids are the most contagious between day 3-5.  Contrary to popular belief, colds are contagious no matter the color of the mucus  (darn! That was always my excuse!) and they remain contagious the entire time symptoms are present.  You can’t keep them home for two weeks, so the best bet, good hygiene and frequent hand washing, but avoid contact with other kids at the peak of the illness.

 

 

Fever

A fever of 100.4 or higher is symptom of a viral infection, like the flu.  You should keep your child home and he should stay home until he has been fever free (without medication) for 24 hours.

 

 

Cough

A mild cough is ok to head to school.  A severe cough warrants a trip to the doctor as it could be bronchitis, the flu or pneumonia.  But as soon as the bad cough subsides, school is fine, you don’t have to wait for the cough to disappear completely – that could take a week or longer!

 

 

Diarrhea or Vomiting

Keep your child home until the illness is over and for at least 24 hours after the last episode.  But, some virus that cause vomiting and diarrhea can be shed in the stools for up to a month after the illness.  Make sure all caregivers who change diapers or who help preschoolers wipe practice extremely good hand washing.

 

 

Sore throat

A mild sore throat is usually not a problem, but a severe sore throat could be strep.  Children should stay home until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

 

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Children should stay home until given the ok by their doctor.  Pink eye is VERY contagious and is usually viral, which can’t be treated with antibiotics.

 

 

Rash           

A doctor should see a child with a rash.  Other than common diaper rash (which even that can turn into a staph infection), skin rashes can be contagious and some require antibiotic treatments.

 

 

A few more tips:

  • For the most part, if a kid feels well and is acting normal, she can go to school, even with a runny nose.
  • Always check with your daycare provider or school for their specific sick policies.
  • If a child seems lethargic or ultra clingy, keep them home.
  • Trust your gut, you know your child; when they can power on and when they cant.

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

Webmd.com 

Parents.com 

Kidshealth.org

First pigtails

You bring these little adorable blobs home from the hospital and you think,

“I will never love you more than I do right now”

 

And then you do.

 

Each day.  Each milestone.  Each new word or idea.  You watch then grow and change and develop into these little people.    One day they are little blobs and one day you are able to put pigtails in their hair.

 

Its amazing.

 

I am off to tour another preschool…so I leave you in the incredibly capable hands of todays guest blogger, Jessica Edelen.   Jessica’s article on how to pick a preschool is spot on.  The number one thing I took away from her article is an important parenting lesson for us all to learn – trust your gut.  It is so easy to get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘have toe’ and the ‘maybes’, but at the end of the day, across many parenting topics, the most important thing is your parenting intuition. So, I am off to trust my gut about this next school…enjoy!!

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How to Pick a Preschool
By Jessica Edelen
Now, I want to make clear right out of the gate that this is not a researched and tested methodology on choosing a preschool. There are plenty of books out there that will give you that. This is just *my* opinion based on *my* experience. But you’ll begin to see (hopefully, if I’ve written this article well) that *your* gut feeling and intuition are really what matters in this arena. So here we go.
You could say I was a bit overwhelmed when I had my first child. There were the usual joys of newborn-hood: sleepless nights, mysterious ailments and rashes, learning to swaddle, forgetting what a moment to yourself feels like…And then we moved from the city to the suburbs. And he wouldn’t take naps, and he got an ear infection, and I quit my job, and I joined a Mothers’ Club, and he smiled for the first time… And slowly, but surely, we started to get the hang of things. And then: SCREECH. What?! I’m supposed to have him enrolled in preschool by this point? He’s 9 months old!
Luckily or unluckily (because believe me you can look at it either way), my mom is a preschool teacher. So, on her kind words of wisdom, I put my child on the list at two preschools in the area. I had not been to either one. I did some research, if you can call research seeing the word Montessori in front of one (my mom is a Montessori teacher), and knowing that a friend liked the other one. Now, if you’re familiar with the suburban environment of any major metropolis, you probably know that being on two preschool lists is NOT a lot. Some of my fellow mom friends were on seven. I kid you not. That’s a lot of applications to fill out, not to mention the $50-$200 deposits!
After I officially had his name on the lists, I sort of forgot about preschool for a while. I had a lot going on. Then, one Spring morning, I got the call: It was time for his interview at school #1. “Interview”??? I called my mom. She said, “Have you even seen any of these places?”  “Um, no,” I replied. So with my mom in tow, we toured all two of the schools.
Here’s my summary of each:
School #1: Lots of “hardscape.” This was my mother’s assessment and I remember it to this very day as it was so accurate. But before I get to that, I want to make clear that this was a place where the children were happy. They looked occupied, stimulated, and healthy. And the classrooms were sweet, with bright raincoats hanging on wooden pegs, puzzles and dress up clothes strewn about, and little beds for those who napped. It was also very different than the preschool image I had in my head. Located in the downtown district of a neighboring town, there wasn’t much grass to speak of and the playground was on a patch of black asphalt shared with the parking lot. Now, you should know that I had lived in a big city for eight years; I was not unfamiliar with urban environments. But this wasn’t the city…it was the suburbs.
So I left with a good feeling about the children and teachers, but less so about the campus and what I could only describe as a bit of a distance between me and it. I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy. I didn’t necessarily “see” my little guy there.
School #2: The first thing I noticed upon visiting school #2 was the sense of calm in the classroom. I couldn’t believe there could be 30 three- and four-year-olds in the room and yet, hardly any noise. The children were “working” on their jobs (Montessori lingo), happily; sometimes together, sometimes alone. And the materials were clean, engaging and age-appropriate. I loved the sense of warmth during circle time, and believe me, the fact that the school is housed in an old Tudor-style home didn’t go unnoticed.
Now, here’s the thing: You might think I was biased toward school #2 because it was Montessori-based. But really, I almost wanted to NOT like it due to the fact that it was more expensive, philosophically narrow-focused, and of course, my mother’s first pick.
But in the end, my heart tugged when I saw the little “wash the baby” job at school #2 — something I just knew my son would love. And I could envision his name on a bright red cubby; I could almost see what photo we’d send in to stick on the front. It resonated with me, this Montessori school in a location not quite soooo close to home. And though school #1 was absolutely wonderful, it wasn’t for us, for OUR family. I know many children who truly thrive there, and I’m so happy they do. But we chose #2 and are still there today — three children later.
So please do your due diligence when choosing a preschool. Get on lists, go on tours, talk to your friends, go SEE the campuses. But in end, go with your heart. Because as your mother probably told you (and she’s right, darn it!), when you do that, you can never go wrong.

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About Bump Life

Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!