Activity buckets for kids: Bringing fun on the go

At the beginning of the summer, a bunch of families I’d met at new moms’ group planned a joint camping trip. All our excited plans were canceled, though, when the weekend we’d meant to go turned hot. It seemed like insanity to take a bunch of kids camping with no lake or river when the temperature soared past 100. But I’d made activity buckets for all the kids, and I got to give them to the littles at a backyard picnic instead—a small consolation prize.

But I needn’t have been so disappointed! The activity buckets have come with us on many adventures since.

Going disc golfing? Heading to the beach? Playing in the yard? The activity buckets have brought fun wherever the girls take them.

Making kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaMaking kids' activity buckets lets them bring all their supplies for outside fun! Ten Thousand Hour MamaDIY kids' activity buckets for outdoor fun are a great family activity for camping, the beach, or anything outside - made from Dollar Store supplies. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Embracing a child’s joy in the rain

“Raining!” Kiwi shouted, her face beaming and shower-splattered. “Raining! Raining!”

As she ran, her joy in the rain was contagious. “It’s raining!” I echoed, laughing.

It rained this weekend—barely, but anything to quench our burning state’s thirst is welcome. As huge swaths of Oregon burned this summer, we played indoors, asked school to cancel outdoor recess, canceled trips. The inconveniences we endured from smoke-filled air are nothing in comparison to the communities ravaged by forest fire.

So as we skipped and stomped in the shallowest of puddles, the rain felt healing—like the most welcome weather in the world.

It's a welcome change to embrace a child's joy in the rain when the weather brings relief for the summer wildfires in Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Chew on this: The 10 best teething products and tips

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I’m considering starting a baby consulting business. Consultations will go like this.

My baby is cranky. She’s probably teething.

My baby doesn’t sleep. He’s probably teething.

My baby wants to eat all the time/won’t eat anything. She’s probably teething.

My baby bites me/other kids/the dog/wood chips at the playground. He’s definitely teething.

But after having two kids who have grown lots and lots of teeth, I have tried just about every product and technique to relieve teething pain. Here, then, are my recommendations for the best teething products.

Teething hurts! Thankfully, these tips, toys and best of the best teething products will help your baby feel better ASAP. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

North Pole, Oregon

In the days leading up to Christmas, Peeper kept sneaking glances out the window. “It’s going to snow soon,” she said.

Yet the rain continued, and snow refused to accumulate.

The lack of powder was even more cruel considering a huge snowstorm stopped her Aunt Amy and Uncle Luke from driving down for the holiday. At least Peeper got to see all the snow on FaceTime when we talked with my sister.

Then finally, finally, over the weekend it snowed!

Snow storm in Portland Read more

Kiwi is five months

DSC_1046The other morning Kiwi woke up from a nap and I startled when I looked at her.

“You got bigger!” I exclaimed.

I swear she grew in the 45 minutes she was asleep. She has changed so much in the five months since she was born.

Yet some things have stayed the same. Kiwi entered the world talking—not crying—and she is even more of a chatterbox these days. She squeaks, coos, gurgles and squeals all day (and, ahem, night) long. She clearly has a lot to say!

DSC_1210Kiwi is rolling over both ways, trying to sit up on her own and laughing up a storm. She has become remarkably intentional in her explorations of the world. She reaches out her hand to bat at a toy or the Christmas tree, and she turns over or contorts her body to get a better look at what Big Sister Peeper is doing.

IMG_4276The two girls are interacting more. One day while Peeper was sitting on the potty, she yelled “ha!” for some reason. Kiwi giggled, so Peeper did it again—and again—and again, eliciting bigger belly laughs each time. And the other morning, Peeper saw me tickling Kiwi by nibbling her cheeks, tummy and armpits, so she copied me. “Nom nom nom!” she said as she gummed her little sister’s side.

IMG_4325At the same time, I haven’t wished for time to stop or even slow down. The last five months have been among the most challenging of my life. Kiwi is napping much better and starting to sleep more at night, but the ongoing lack of rest has been brutal on me. And my transition to mom of two has been less than graceful. So I smile when I look back on newborn pictures of Kiwi, but I don’t want to transport myself back to those days.

Plus, why stop time when every day brings something new? Kiwi is changing by the minute, or at least by the nap.

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A poem for my water bottle

When Peeper was born, the folks at the hospital gave me a giant double insulated water jug. I reveled in its 28 ounce capacity and brought it everywhere. I drank water like it was my job because, for a breastfeeding mama, it was my job!

Then one bad no good horrible day, I left the jug on top of the car and drove away. The jug was smashed. My heart was smashed. I missed that hunk of plastic for months.

I told this story to the nurses at the hospital where I delivered Kiwi. Not only did they gift me a new one, they gave me two.

Maybe they were angling to get Kiwi named after them.

Well played, nurses.

Anyway, the other night I was trying to keep myself awake and amused as Kiwi nursed, so I composed a little ditty in honor of my favorite drinking receptacle. (What, isn’t that what everyone does?) I give you:

My Giant Water Jug

You’re my beautiful big water jug
Night and day you allow me to chug a lug
I fill you with ice
Splash in water so nice
And continue to breastfeed my little bug

Now I’ll just wait for the poetry contracts to roll in.

Welcome to the world, Kiwi!

Baby Kiwi is born! Ten Thousand Hour MamaWe are beyond thrilled that our sweet, darling Kiwi has joined us!

Maxine Elizabeth Griffin Gregory was born Sunday, July 19, though it took us until minutes before discharge before settling on her name.

“Kiwi is a beautiful name!” the pediatrician on the floor reassured us. “You could always stick with Kiwi.”

I spent most of my labor at home, using HypnoBirthing breathing techniques, baking cookies (but leaving plenty of raw dough to eat after delivery!) and trying to sleep. My mom arrived to watch Peeper at the perfect time—just when I knew we needed to head to the hospital. We were a few minutes away from Labor and Delivery when they told us they were on divert, so we turned around and drove across town to another one.

Thank goodness we went on a Sunday and there was no traffic, because Kiwi was born an hour later.

Meeting the new baby - Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe and I are both healthy, and we were fortunate to avoid complications and interventions. We have been spending the last few days getting to know each other as a new family of four!

Peeper is very excited to be a big sister. She wants to help with diaper changes, watch Kiwi breastfeed and bring toys—though she’s having a hard time sharing some things (e.g. Mom’s lap and the Moses basket, of all things).

Thank you for all your support, encouragement and kind words over the last 40 weeks. I feel so very lucky to bring Kiwi into a world where love, compassion, empathy and love are the rule.

Mama baby skin to skin