Restore and replenish: My February monthly resolution

In my first yoga class in ages, the instructor began by asking us to put a hand on our heart and set an intention for our practice that day. The first thing that came to my mind: restore. I’ve been feeling burnt out physically, mentally and emotionally, so for my monthly resolution I’m focusing on replenishing my reserves and trying to get back to my usual self.

6 self-care steps to restore and replenish physically, mentally and emotionally when you're feeling burnt out. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

12 best children’s books about a new baby: What we’re reading

These children’s books about a new baby will help a big sister- or big brother-to-be understand what’s coming, process their emotions and feel reassured that they’ll still be special even after the baby arrives. The post contains affiliate links.

12 best children's books about a new baby - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

When I was pregnant with Kiwi, Peeper and I read a lot of books about a new baby to help her know what was happening—and why Mom’s belly suddenly took up my entire lap. She had a lot of questions, which books helped us answer in a comforting way.

Kid’s literature also gave a reference point for us to talk about what would happen when our new baby was ready to come—and after.

12 best children's books about a new baby: Ten Thousand Hour MamaHow to help Big Sister adjust to a new baby: children's books about babies. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

When the Big Day came, Peeper was more calm and comfortable with everything that happened—and I’m convinced these children’s books about a new baby were a big factor. All the changes were more familiar and less scary because she’d read about them many times.

Rereading these books with her and Kiwi now, I finish with stories about when they were born: like the very first time Peeper met Kiwi in the hospital, she came in and sang her new baby sister “Happy Birthday.” Awwww!

And although their relationship has had its rocky points, they have become the best of pals.

How to help Big Sister adjust to a new baby - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

If you’re looking for children’s books about a new baby to explain what it means to be a big sister or big brother, start here. Add them to your cart or request them from the library: You and your child will want to read—and reread—them even after Baby arrives. Read more

The all-time best toddler thank you

The all-time best toddler thank you

Toddler thank yous are honest—and heart-melting. Here's the best one I ever heard. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Image by Becca Jean Photography

The other morning Kiwi got up before the rest of the family. Like many mornings, we cuddled on a chair and woke up together. I pulled a quilt over us, one I’d sewed when I was pregnant with Peeper.

“I made this quilt when I was pregnant with your sister,” I told Kiwi.

“I come there?” Kiwi asked.

I wasn’t sure what she meant. “When you pregnant?” she added.

I clarified that I was pregnant with her after Peeper was already born. (Details like these often escape toddlers.)

“You grew inside me,” I explained. I pinched two fingers together until they were almost touching. “You were this little, and then you grew bigger and bigger and bigger inside my belly until you were born!”

Kiwi paused, taking this in. Then she said, “Thanks, mommy.”

*heart melt*

You’re welcome, my beautiful daughter. Even without that perfect toddler thank you, I’d do it a million times over if it meant I’d get you in my life.

Growing kids, heartwarming moments and the best toddler thank you I ever got. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Image by Becca Jean Photography
Mixing colors: Ideas for homeschool preschool activities

Mixing colors: Ideas for homeschool preschool activities

These homeschool preschool activities help kids learn about mixing colors in a hands-on, fun way. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to read about our preschool science experiment, a dragon that spits foam! This post contains affiliate links.

Homeschool preschool ideas: Activities and lesson about mixing colors, including art and science projects for toddlers! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

At a recent meeting of our homeschool preschool, one mom joked that I was the messy mom—not necessarily because my house is always disheveled (which it is), but because my homeschool lessons always involve a warning: “We could get messy today. Dress accordingly!” The toddler-friendly activities about mixing colors were no exception.

I’m a giant fan of anything having to do with art and paint, but I try to design my homeschool preschool activities to involve pre-math skills, science and/or fine motor and gross motor skill-building options. So when I planned a day to learn about mixing colors, I kept this in mind and included hands-on projects that tick multiple boxes.

The mixing colors homeschool preschool lesson was a success! The kids—and the moms—got a kick out of the variety of activities we did to learn all about mixing colors. Read more

“Let them be little”—protecting your kids, or white privilege?

“Let them be little”—protecting your kids, or white privilege?

“Let them be little”—it’s a hashtag I use on Instagram often enough, and it’s a sentiment I hear on Facebook. But when a friend wrote this in response to a post I’d written about involving my kids in the resistance against injustice, my gut told me, no. Sheltering children from reality at any cost doesn’t do them any good, and it is a mark of white privilege.

After all, parents of color can’t “let them be little” when it comes to teaching their kids how to deal with a police officer so they don’t end up shot. Undocumented parents can’t “let them be little” when it comes to preparing their American-born children in case parents are detained or deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or police.

We live in a time where raising children to grow up and create the world we value is more important than ever. For me, that means raising socially conscious, compassionate and strong citizens.

"Let them be little" - good parenting or white privilege? Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Finding your people, finding your place: Coworking and community

Finding your people, finding your place: Coworking and community

I have been a paying business member of The Perlene, the all-women social club and feminist coworking space in Portland, Oregon, since last summer. This post was not paid, sponsored or solicited. I wrote it entirely on my own because I think it’s crucial to support women and mothers to find your people wherever they may be.

This feminist coworking space in Portland, OR is where working moms and I find our people. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Last summer, I found myself in a great place in my career as a freelance writer: I was working consistently. I was writing inspiring stories about nonprofits doing great things and kids changing the world through technology. I was publishing stories in magazines and web sites like Cosmo, Real SimpleScary Mommy and Travel Portland. The problem: I was lonely.

I worked by myself at my home office, and it wasn’t uncommon that I’d get to bedtime and realize I didn’t step outside that day. I talked to folks over the phone but rarely had face-to-face conversations with people outside my family. And I found my productivity dwindling.

I remembered the good feeling I had getting a ton done while working with a colleague at WeWork in Portland. But the community—or lack thereof—was a turnoff. I didn’t feel like I’d find my people among all the tech bros working on four giant monitors.

A little googling led me to a new space that sounded more my speed: The Perlene, Portland’s feminist social club and coworking space. I had the feeling I would find my people here. Read more

4 surprising ways to entertain kids at the doctor’s office

We have been fortunate that overall, our kids are pretty healthy. But when Peeper had to go to the doctor’s office a bunch last month, I found myself stretching to keep her happy as we waited. The waiting room isn’t inherently fun (unless you’re a fan of fielding 100 questions about getting a shot), but it’s not impossible to entertain kids at the doctor’s office. With a little creativity (and by swiping some of your pediatrician’s stuff!), you and your kids can have fun while you wait and the doctor’s office!

It's not typically fun at the pediatrician's office, but these 4 surprising ways to entertain kids at the doctor's office will help as you all wait to get better! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more