Honoring Moms Category
Have you checked out the latest boxes of Cheerios®? They have a very special surprise in them – a children’s book! Cheerios and Simon & Schuster have partnered to encourage parents and kids to read together. Since 2002, Cheerios has giveaway away over 50 million books on package and donated more than $3.5 million to a non-profit that provides children from low income families the opportunity to own their first books. It’s a wonderful program and we applaud both Cheerios and Simon & Schuster for this great program.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Laurie Isop, author of How Do You Hug a Porcupine? and winner of the 2009 Spoonfuls of Stories Contest. Laurie is a very down-to-earth mom with an imagination that brings children and adults to wonderful worlds of possibility. We know you will enjoy her as much as we did!
Laurie, did you ever imagine you would be a published author?
I was always hopeful I would be and when you have hope it’s an inspiring thing to have! When my boys were little I made stories with clip art on the computer and used their names in the story. It was a fun project and gave them a positive connection to reading. As for me, it made me “feel” published. After that I started writing more seriously.
What inspired you to enter Spoonfuls of Stories contest by Cheerios?
My sister told me about the contest so I entered. I learned a lot along the way. I still remember the day I received the call that I won the contest. I was STUNNED. It was a miserable afternoon and when I picked up the phone, I heard a lovely voice. At first I thought it was a solicitor and almost didn’t answer the phone! When she told me that I won, I was so excited and emotional. First thing I did was call my mom to tell her the good news.
Where did you get the idea for your book?
It was a process really. My family was sitting around the dinner table talking about people who are difficult to warm up to. You know, the kind who are cold and “prickly”. I realized there was something here that could be a story concept. Kids love animals and are receptive to learning from animals so an animal would be part of the story. My family brainstormed – there are fun animals, cute animals and animals that might not be so easy to love. (Editor’s note – we love that a book for children was the result of a family, meal discussion.)
What do you hope parents and children will get form reading your story?
I hope they see the basic message of being persistent and that things that are difficult can be done. You just have to keep your options open because there is always a way!
Writing children’s books is in many ways more difficult than writing a novel. What made you want to write this genre?
Children’s books have their own sets of challenges, but I like that challenge. It’s a challenge to get it done, but when you met that challenge there is a sense of completion. I actually had my mailman, UPS man and the kids read the various stages of How Do You Hug A Porcupine? When the book was finally published my family thought it was so wonderful. It was like seeing a baby for the first time. I examined it like I was looking at a newborn. It was real and surreal at the same time. We toasted our new arrival and drank plenty of wine to celebrate!
Why is reading to children so important?
It’s all about connection. Reading to a child, sitting close to him, drawing her into the story and escaping from the digital world all brings a positive impact on your relationship with your child and teaches them to love to read. Each child will love a different sort of story. You have to just see what type of story they connect with and follow that lead.
Will there be more books?
YES! Stay tuned.
Laurie at a glance
Describe your ultimate day – Oh it’s a luxury to even think about it! I would sleep in and have breakfast with my husband. It would be 70º and sunny, chores would be done so I wouldn’t feel the pressure of completing them! I would do some yoga then head to the water and the islands nearby. Oh – I’d also go to the spa and then have about 2 free hours to write.
What is always in your fridge? Leftovers!
What is your favorite mom phrase? HA! “I’m on my way home, please make sure you pick up…”
If someone was going to write a book about your life, what would the title be? The One Woman Band
WIN A Copy of How Do You Hug A Porcupine?
Laurie is giving away an autographed copy of How Do You Hug A Porcupine? It’s easy to enter!
Mandatory Entry - like Laurie Austin-Isop on Facebook and leave a comment on our blog that you did so
Extra Entry - Check out Laurie’s website and let us know one interesting thing that you learned about her as an author.
You can never have too many copies of this adorable book. Run out to your grocery store and pick up a box of nutritious Cheerios. Enjoy reading the story and having a healthy breakfast!
You find out you are pregnant – oh the joy, the shock and the worry that ensues. How would you like to have someone to help you out so you could have the best possible stress-free pregnancy and start to mommyhood? Sound like a fairy tale? Not any more!
Bravo TV has kicked off season one of Pregnant in Heels where maternity concierge, fashion designer, and pregnancy guru Rosie Pope guides expecting mothers through the joys and perils of preparing to have a baby – at a bit of a steep price.
As a full time working pregnant mom, there are many days I would love for someone to help me prepare for baby (especially the nursery). A maternity concierge is a long off fairy tale for me, but on the flip side I get to go through all the uncertainty and unexpected joy of my pregnancy and motherhood with a virtual mommy community and that is priceless. Nonetheless, I’ll be tuning in as will our other Kolcraft digital staff – Emilie & Colleen – to watch the Pregnant in Heels drama unfold.
Will you be watching Pregnant in Heels? What is the one thing you would have loved a maternity or mommy concierge for while pregnant and those first years of your baby’s life?
Lifetime has a new series, One Born Every Minute, that chronicles several couples’ journey though labor and delivery. Each episode takes on a different theme such as pain management during labor, complications at labor, etc. Since we are all about babies here at Kolcraft, we decided to check it out.
We felt that it was a more realistic portrayal than most and showed a variety of experiences because no two labor/delivery experiences are the same. Our favorite part is the smiles of the parents as they see and hold their child for the first time. For those who don’t want to have memories triggered about painful or difficult labor experiences, you may want to pass on this show. For those who are preparing for their first labor/delivery, the show may give you a more realistic experience of what to expect, but keep in mind your experience will be uniquely yours.
The One Born Every Minute site has some interesting basic info on labor & delivery. We think it is worth checking out the site because you can enter to win $200 weekly prizes and a grand prize of $4,000 for a nursery!
Tell us what you think about the show by leaving a comment.
As your baby bump grows it may be increasingly uncomfortable to wear a seat belt, but your seat belt is key to you and your baby’s safety.
A few tips on how to protect your baby:
- Move Your Seat Back – Maintain at least a 10 inch distance between the center of your chest and the steering wheel. If you are petite, you can talk to your car dealer about installing a pedal extender.
- Wear Your Seat Belt Correctly - The shoulder belt should be between your breasts and away from your neck. Secure the lap belt below your belly, across your hips and pelvic bone.
- Keep Your Airbag On – Your airbag is more likely to protect, rather than hurt, both you and your baby in an accident.
Those Holiday spirits can be tempting this time of year, but if you are pregnant and trying to resist alcohol you may feel at a loss of what to do. Not to fear, our list of 6 yummy preggo cocktails is here!
We love these drink alternatives found at Babble.com. Another added benefit? Calorie savings!
Check them out here – tasty festive drinks for pregnant mommies.
We have all heard of Man Caves. You know – those spots where men can put their sports memorabilia, strange collected objects that don’t match the Pottery Barn furniture in the rest of the house and just be comfortable and left alone with their thoughts/sports/insert whatever noun here.
Finally we are hearing more talk about Mom Caves – places where moms can go to relax, rejuvenate and recharge mommy batteries. These spots can be as big or as small as our house (or yard!) allows.
5 tips to start your Mom Cave:
- Spotted – Pick your spot. Make sure it’s somewhere that gives you some privacy and makes you feel relaxed. It can be near a window, by a favorite painting or photo, etc. If your house is too small to make that your permanent spot, you can buy a screen that you can put up when you are in your Mom Cave so you can have more privacy.
- Scented – Be sure to have your Mom Cave evoke relaxation through your favorite scent. Have a candle, scented sticks, fresh flowers; whatever delights your senses.
- Secure – Make sure your family knows that this is your special spot and when you are there, it is sacred Mommy time and the other adult in the house is in charge.
- Stylish – Let your Mom Cave speak of your personality. Surround yourself with things you love. Your Mom Cave should bring on smiles that soothe you.
- Sensible - Be comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable, it will be hard to relax. Be sure to have a piece of furniture or pillow that is comfortable and soothes your tired muscles.
Most of all have fun building your Mom Cave. You give so much of yourself to others everyday, that you deserve a little oasis just for you. Our friends at Mom Logic are hosting a $250 giveaway to get your Mom Cave started! All you have to do is send in your contact info. It’s that easy!
What Mom Cave Tips do you have?
A week from today we will be celebrating a mom being born. What is this? Along with My Mommy Manual we are celebrating a virtual baby shower for Virginia Kerr, the anchor on Channel 4′s early news show, Awake. This virtual baby shower is also a celebration of all moms!
During the two-hour celebration which you can attend through chats and videos, you will meet other parents, win prizes (lots of great baby gear & more!), learn about the Holding Hands bracelet and help support March of Dimes who will receive proceeds from A Mom Is Born!
We are thrilled to be part of this fun event. If you want to follow via Twitter, use hash tag #momisborn
You are excited about your new bundle of joy and your growing baby bump is a daily reminder that you have to buy more maternity clothes, but you’d rather spend your money on baby gear. What’s a pregnant mom to do?
Known for their trendy clothes at inexpensive prices, Forever 21 has expanded their line to maternity wear. We liked the cute fashions that were all under $20.00! Our favorite was the Chiffon Flowered Maternity Tunic that would look great on any pregnant mom.
Who says you can’t be a trendy pregnant mom and save money too? With maternity wear taken care of, you can concentrate on more important things like buying the perfect crib mattress for baby.
What tips do you have to save money on maternity wear?
- Darker eyes, brown or dark green, most likely will stay dark especially if the mother or father are of a darker complexion.
- Lighter eyes, blue or gray, often go through several color changes in the first three months. They will usually darken to the final color in six to twelve months.
- If both parents have brown eyes there is a 75% chance that baby’s eyes will remain brown.
- If one has brown eyes there is a 50% chance baby will have brown eyes.
- If both parents have blue eyes baby will have blue, but there still is a chance that a great grandma who had brown eyes may leave her mark on your baby’s eyes.
Our suggestion? Take as many photos as you can so you can have a lasting memory of your baby’s first eye color.
Did your baby’s eye color change?
Some amazing moms have been gracing our Kolcraft blog from new moms, to moms of many children, to single moms to today’s very special mom – Ana Benitez. Ana has been at Kolcraft for 13 years and helps keeps our office running as Executive Secretary. Ana is a mom of two beautiful girls. Her youngest, only 9 months old has had a struggle from the beginning. Here is Ana’s amazing story of hope overcoming all odds.
Ana, you have had quite a journey of motherhood. Your youngest, Liliana had to have heart surgery right after she was born. Did you know she would need surgery?
Liliana was only 9 weeks old when she had her heart surgery. Yes, I was 18 weeks into my pregnancy, when we found out that our baby Liliana had an Atrioventricular (AV) canal defect which is a large hole in the center of the heart that could only be repaired surgically. We also found out that babies with this kind of heart defect have a 50 percent chance of being born with a chromosome problem, Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). Our baby Liliana was also diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after birth.
You must have had so many emotions – joy over your new baby, sadness that she was sick and struggling. How did you make it through those first few months that were so “touch & go”?
The love and support I received from my family and friends helped me overcome what I was feeling mentally and physically. My daughter Alexa, who will be turning 8 years old at the end of this month, was the greatest motivation to get back on my feet. I knew she was having a hard time being away from “mommy”. I knew then, that I had to be strong and somehow be there for both of my daughters. I then remembered the phrase “If God brings it to you, God will help you get through it” so I prayed and asked God to give me strength and help me cope with my emotions.
What family “lessons” would you say you are all learning with having a baby with special needs?
I’ve learned that no matter what the case maybe, my family will always be there to support and guide me. I’ve also seen how it’s brought our family closer together.
What is the one thing you have discovered as a parent to a special needs child that you hope to communicate with others?
The one thing I discovered as a parent to a special needs child is that there is no reason to treat them any differently. They are as normal as an average child, but they are born with and will face a few more challenges in life.
What is your greatest joy of being a mom?Having my daughters call me “mommy” and receiving their bear hugs (as my daughter Alexa calls them) and kisses. But the greatest joy ever is receiving their unconditional love.
Ana at a glance:
What is your favorite time of day? The evening! When I get to cuddle and read to my girls.
What is your favorite Kolcraft product? Contours Options 3 Wheeler
Best “sanity” break to recharge your mom battery? What’s a break? A good night sleep, when I can get one!!
If someone was going to make a movie of your life, who would play you in the lead roll? What would the title of the movie be? Either Ashley Judd or Salma Hayek – The Gift of Life
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us Ana.
If you have a burning question for Ana, feel free to leave it in the comment section!