Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Story of How I Met Your Dad

So, our wedding anniversary is coming up soon and I told this to DD, wondering what I should do/get/say for the special date.

"What's your story?" I was confused for a moment until I realized she was asking the child-version of, "How did you meet?"

I figured I'd put our story here.

DH and I first met through....wait for it....a homeschooling group. So much for the socialization myths with that one. We became acquaintances but didn't really develop a friendship until my sister intervened while our group was having fun at the zoo one day. She made us exchange IM names. (Remember IMming?? LOL).

It turns out we had a lot in common and so a friendship quickly blossomed and deepened over several years. When IMming wasn't enough, we turned to notebooks, filling out pages before exchanging them at our weekly homeschool meetings. It wasn't until the Valentine's day before I turned 16 that our friendship turned into something more. That day, he gave me a small notecard with an awkward message on it. In the immortal words of love, he confessed that he, "more than liked me."

Poor young DH, who could write beautiful songs during a car ride or pen long-winded, complex poems, could barely scratch out that he more than liked me. I was thrilled, however, and sealed it with a big hug. (We are homeschoolers after all.)

Playing the piano at a friend's house
Our first date consisted of my dad driving me over to the $1 movie theater and meeting him and a best friend. I don't remember what movie it was, nor did we really care. We sat there and giggled and held hands, then we stood outside the movie theater, leaning on each other (ok, maybe tightly embracing) while Mr. Third Wheel attempted to stack pennies onto themselves as a distraction.

Still more friend than boyfriend at that point,
I couldn't think of anyone more fitting to be my 
confirmation sponsor. 
We quickly became inseparable, finding time to hang out together whenever possible. Since we were both from large families, (our parents together have 20 kids) it was easy to find fun things to do, such as take the children to the museum or playground for the day. Dating "alone" was a rare treat and yes, if you've ever read Cheaper by the Dozen, the dating stories in that book are rather accurate.

Breaking another homeschool stereotype,
we enjoyed several homeschool proms together.

We had a ton of fun times in those early years and dabbled in all kinds of interests. We both thought about the medical field and attended classes together at Washington University St. Louis. We helped out with the family business for awhile. We traveled to new places and learned new languages together. We also followed Christopher West around the country like his top groupies and bought every book he wrote lol!

Cramming in some vacation time
before the onslaught of parenting in our life lol.
One night, we were watching a horror movie on his family's front porch when he leaned in closer to me. "Will you marry me?" I didn't even turn my head away from the TV, as we had discussed this and many other tough topics such as parenting decisions all through our friendship. "Of course, duh," I said. He pressed closer, "No, I mean, will you marry me?" That's all I got for a proposal! We were officially engaged.

Engagement photo
We went with his Irish heritage, choosing matching
claddagh rings. He worked full time that summer to buy me
the ring and import it from Ireland. I was happiest to
find out that he didn't buy a diamond one out of consideration
of the ethical issues in that topic.
We finally settled on a date: November 24th. His parents celebrate on the 23rd and my parents on the 25th, so we were carefully cushioned in between them, something we wanted to show our gratitude for their own marriages and the examples they were/are for us. It was a big wedding and a lot of fun thanks to the many people who pitched in and cared so much about us.

Right before receiving the Eucharist together

Our favorite sport is scuba diving, so of course we spent our honeymoon at Cozumel, getting our cave, deep and night diving certifications.

And good thing we packed all that fun in, because about 3 months after getting home, I was pregnant with Zon and haven't had enough space in between kids since then to get in diving! :) And that's our story, thanks for reading!

Celebrating might not be the same kind of fun,
but we still make time for us!


Unconditional partnering FB page:

Seeing your partner in a positive light:

Relationship book list:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Friday Natural, Crunchy, Eco Holiday List

Below you'll find a list of sellers who have deals or promotional codes available for the general holiday season. Any known exclusions or expiration dates will be listed. To get on the list, send a private message to The Guggie Daily. I am doing this freely, on my own to provide more buying options for those looking to buy natural, crunchy, eco-friendly, handmade, unique, etc gifts from small businesses and work at home parents.

And also, because really, who wants to battle the
zombie crowds with a cart that's already filled?
Homebirth and Natural Parenting books by Toni Olson are on sale through December 12th. Enter Thanks20 at checkout to save 20%.

Stainless Steel Tableware offered by Amber will have two promos going: Friday ONLY, receive two FREE stainless steel cups in Christmas colors (1 Ruby Red, 1 Spring Green) with your purchase of $50 or more. Enter code XMASCUPS at checkout. (While supplies last, supplies are limited.) Then from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, save 20% off your entire purchase with code BLKFRI20 entered at checkout. BONUS: These two codes can be combined on Black Friday!

Baby Bottoms Boutique has a list of Black Friday specials. Deals run Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Local pickup is available at the Central Florida showroom.
Get $5 in Bottoms Bucks for every $50 spent
FuzziBunz diapers are buy 1, get 1 free
Thirsties duo wraps, diaper covers and Duo diapers up to 50% off select styles
Balm Baby skin care products up to 60% off
BumGenius 4.0 discontinued colors $13.95, all others $14.95 each
Buy $50 in toys, receive a free gift while supplies last
And much more!

Bwipes by Natalie (Facebook, Hyenacart) is offering 20% off all in stock reusable items for babies, mamas and houses with code Thanks20.

Romany Designs by Angela is offering $10 off on every purchase of $60 or more on Black Friday with code LOVE2TREES at checkout.

Heidi at Azure B LLC is offering $10 off their compact composters for Black Friday. Mention The Guggie Daily at checkout for the discount.

Just Ducky Design by Stephanie is offering 10% off commissioned art work with code Mommymadethis2013. Must mention code in first contact.

Clothtastic is offering 15% off (in addition to our *always* FREE shipping) all items at our Etsy store on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, AND Cyber Monday! Please visit to shop our line of mama cloth, family cloth, nursing pads, and more!

You Tell 'Em Advocacy Tees by Alexandria is offering 30% off everything in her Hyena Cart starting Black Friday and going through Cyber Monday by entering THANKSGUGGIE at checkout.

Kate is a representative for Norwex and offering 15% off any purchase when mentioning The Guggie Daily for the rest of November.

Sarah with H2o at Home will be offering a variety of holiday specials on natural cleaning, body care, and home fragrances at her site.

Urban Sprout Clothing by Darlene is carrying sizes 12 months to 7 years. The dresses are designed to fit for several years, first as a knee-length dress and later as a tunic or apron top. My corduroy tulip skirts feature adjustable elastic waists. Everything is designed and handcrafted by me in our home. I pair uncommon colours and fabrics, both for a unique touch and to serve as a bit of an antidote to what's typically found in stores. Use promo code NOV2013 to receive 10% off all next week.

Jennifer from Kid Cozy is offering a 20% off sale on Hyena Cart starting Black Friday and going through Cyber Monday by entering Thanks20 at checkout. (Heads up parents: these are safe and warm alternatives to puffy coats in carseats!)

Bekah at Momma Bean Stalk is offering free shipping on all domestic orders with code SHIPFREE at checkout. To see our special pricing on certain Raw Baltic Amber Momma/Baby sets, memory wire bracelets, Raw Baltic Amber anklets for baby and more click here.

FiggyFuzz Baby Boutique is offering TONS of deals online or locally in our showroom by appt. in Aberdeen, MD. Stackable freebies, sales, and doorbusters starting at 12:01am EST Friday. Most sales continue through Cyber Monday. Orders of $69 or more ship free. No codes needed. Sale prices will show in cart. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for up to the minute info! All day, while supplies last. Get Free with minimum purchase:
$15+ Detergent Sample OR Diaper Rash Cream Sample OR Lip Balm
$25+ Baby Legs or Snack Bag (+lower level freebie)
$40+ AppleCheeks Wet bag or Piggy Paint (+all lower level freebies)
$65+ Full Size Bath or Skincare Product (RV $9.25-$14.95) (+all lower level freebies)
$100+ One-Size Diaper (RV $17.95+) (+all lower level freebies)
$175+ Aden + Anais Swaddle Blanket (RV $17.99+) (+all lower level freebies)
$350+ Maya Wrap Ring Sling (RV $74.95+) (+all lower level freebies)
$500+ Onya Baby Cruiser Carrier (RV $149.95) or $100 Gift Certificate (+all lower level freebies)

Essentially Mama by Sarah is offering a free bottle of doTERRA Holiday Joy with all new doTERRA wholesale enrollments. This amazing blend consists of cassia, cinnamon bark, wild orange, nutmeg and vanilla. It's sure to put you in the holiday mood. AND the first 10 enrollments will also receive a Modern Essentials Usage Guide book (a $35 value).

Fairy Nice Essentials by Shannon is offering several specials for the holiday season and FREE shipping on domestic orders. Visit her Facebook page to see the specials announced!

Purple Lotus Oils is donating $25 to the Central IL tornado relief effort for each person who enrolls with a starter kit for the rest of November. In addition, you will receive a free 15ml bottle of oil!

Honeybuns Cloth Diapers is offering a site-wide sale, NO promo code necessary! Everything will be up to 40% off to start the holiday season!

Marija at EC Wear is offering a 15% discount on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday using code THANKFUL at checkout.

Sarah at Healthy Families for God is offering a Black Friday special on her nutrition counseling services. More info here.

Suzanne with It Works! Has some great specials for the holiday buying season.

Modia Diapers by Hannah featuring home made cloth diapers will have a great sale. (Website, Facebook.) Check out their flier below:

Mt. Tom Gourmet Foods, Organic Pepper Jellies and Preserves, is offering an additional 20% off on all purchases made on Black Friday using code TURKEY13 at checkout! ENJOY!

Stacy with Ava Anderson Non Toxic, a line of toxin-free personal, pet, household, family care items that are safe and really work is offering FREE SHIPPING Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Customers MUST call or email to get the deal. (757.510.8048 and Thank you!

Perfectly Posh With Charlotte is offering 10% off of orders on the website and in stock products in the album on her Facebook page.

At GoGoNatural, save 20% off storewide with code BLFR13. This year's doorbusters (coupon does not stack on these) DinkleDooz 50% off, Select GroVia Buy 2 Get 1 Free, SoftBums Bamboo Starter Pack, Rockin Green Special Edition, and more! Giveaways daily! Code valid 11/29-12/2/2013.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's Your Excuse? A taped together laptop, 4 kids and an unmarried dog from another marriage.

What's your excuse?

Does that question sound rude to you? Inflammatory? Judgmental?

Did you ever stop for a moment to consider your reaction to that question is coming from within you, and that only you can change?

For weeks now, I've watched people publish Maria Kang's exercise photo so that they could attack her, shame her, criticize her, and overall completely miss her point.

Yup, miss her point. Completely.

I've seen people wrongly think she wants everyone to look just like her. I've seen people wrongly claim she wants mothers to abandon motherhood, to neglect their children, to undergo elective surgery, to starve themselves and more.

All of it is a dire attempt to miss her point completely.

What's your excuse anyways?

We all have excuses. I'm not talking about priorities. For myself as well as many of you out there, fitness is not a priority on our list. We don't have that desire in our hearts, so we aren't working on it.

But Maria's photo still applies to us.

It's not about trying to look exactly like a 5 foot tall, slightly Asian, very skinny woman. She's not telling you to have 3 children. She's not demanding that you wear tiny athletic outfits.

She is, however, making a really good point, one that mothers in our culture work very hard to ignore. And it's time to stop ignoring it. Now is the time, right now, today, to stop making excuses.

We all have something inside of us. It could be something beautiful, or meaningful, or maybe useful. It could be profound or exciting. It could be tiny and precious or huge and important. Whatever it is, it's in each one of us.

And yet, we obscure it. We run from it. We bury it deep down under hundreds of little excuses. Let's get honest here: We are scared of failure, sure. And maybe the effort, the climb, the commitment. But really, we are scared of ourselves.

What's your excuse?

No matter what life puts in our way or how many obstacles fall in front of us or how others treat us or the cards fate plays for comes down only to us. We box ourselves in and we decide on our restrictions. No one else can do that for us and more importantly: no one else can remove them for us.

Do you ever hear that whisper in your heart? How you long to be.... an artist, maybe?

"No one will like your paintings."
"You can't afford to go back to school."
"Artists don't make money and you're already poor."
"What would the in laws think?"
"You could never build your own studio."
"You husband will just laugh."
"Just because you like it, doesn't mean you're good at it."

What's your excuse to stay in your box? 

Late at night, when you're thinking about that thing, the thing you stopped doing or gave up sacrificially or lost sight of in the shuffle of life, what excuses quickly overpower your thoughts?

"I'm a mom now, I'd never have time for that."
"And jog when? I don't even get enough sleep to wake up early!"
"We can't pay our bills as it is, how could I ever sign up for that class?"
"Boy, I'd love to join that volunteer group, just as soon as I find time to take a shower!"

Guess what. Everyone has excuses. Everyone is slightly nervous, slightly unhappy and hugely restricting themselves at some time in life. But you only get one life. One time. The days pass by whether you are doing it or hiding from it. And you can't buy back time. You either get out from under those excuses and do what you have always wanted to do, or you can make excuses as the days pass by, then look back and wish you had done it.

Whatever dream is inside you, what's your excuse?

That excuse can be overcome or sidestepped or dealt with in some way. With creativity and patience, you can do it. And those who have faced their excuses know this. That's why they turn back, like Maria Kang, and ask: What's your excuse?

"I'm just a mom." Well, so are thousands.
"I'm poor." Well, so are most people. They say 99% for a reason.
"I don't have time." None of us do.
"I'm scared." We all are scared.
"People might laugh at me." They probably will, and they might attack, shame, and criticize you.
"I might fail." You most certainly will, likely several times. That's part of life.
"I could never do that." You can't if you never do it.

What's their excuse?

"I don't have legs."

"I don't have arms."

Harold Alvarez, a Haitian artist and Rotarian who has no arms,
paints by holding the brush in his mouth. 
"I've been diagnosed or labeled."

Stephen draws like a camera
"I don't have a degree."

CEOs without a degree
"No one will like my idea."

Crazy business ideas that worked
Look. The point is, if you want to do something, try something, taste something, experience something, make something or live someway, then it's up to you to do it. What's your excuse? I guarantee you it's nothing new. I promise you many others have faced it, or worse. And if you look around, you'll find some people throw off those excuses. Because this is life and you only play one time. Go big.

What's my excuse?

I want to write a book. It's been on my mind for a long time now. But when I chat about book writing, I say self-deprecating things with a little giggle. "Oh, congrats to you! Maybe someday when the kids are in college I can write mine, too. *laff*

"I'm a busy mom." And what mom isn't?
"I don't have a nanny." So I'll work around the kids.
"I don't know where to begin." It's time to start somewhere.
"My computer is taped together and must be plugged in all the time." It still works.

"People might steal my research if I put it in book format." They'll steal it anyways.
"I don't have money for publishing and marketing." Then go cheap and just write.

It's time for me to stop making excuses. This idea is within me. It's important to me. I want to do it. So what if I have perceived limitations. So what if I have some obstacles. Other people do, too, and it's not stopping them. At the end of the day, I only have myself staring back at me in the mirror.

I'm writing a book.
What's your excuse?
Update: PLEASE READ THIS LINK! This article touches on something vitally important to the perspective in my article. You don't have to be a daughter and it doesn't have to be about your mother...this is a cultural phenomenon.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What if I Told You...The Flu Vaccine INCREASES Flu Infections?

People like to play the vaccine debate a specific way. Whether you're concerned about the ingredients or the ethics or both, at least everyone agrees that vaccines help reduce infections.

(A reaching joke about the "I forgot how to cat meme" which
can be seen here:
"Results.The 2011-2012 season was mild and peaked late, with circulation of both type A viruses and both lineages of type B. Overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness was 47% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36 to 56) in preventing medically-attended influenza; vaccine effectiveness was 65% (95% CI, 44 to 79) against type A (H1N1) pdm09, but only 39% (95% CI, 23 to 52) against type A (H3N2). Estimates of vaccine effectiveness against both type B lineages were similar (overall 58%, 95% CI, 35 to 73). An apparent negative effect of prior year vaccination on current year effectiveness estimates was noted, particularly for A (H3N2) outcomes."
"The vaccine was found to be 62% effective in those who hadn't been vaccinated the previous year. That was similar to findings in the other observational studies and also to the results of a recent, rigorous meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In contrast, those who had been vaccinated 2 years in a row (before both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons) got no significant protection."
"We included 50 reports. Forty (59 sub-studies) were clinical trials of over 70,000 people. Eight were comparative non-RCTs and assessed serious harms. Two were reports of harms which could not be introduced in the data analysis. In the relatively uncommon circumstance of vaccine matching the viral circulating strain and high circulation, 4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%). The corresponding figures for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%). These differences were not likely to be due to chance. Vaccination had a modest effect on time off work and had no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates. Inactivated vaccines caused local harms and an estimated 1.6 additional cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome per million vaccinations. The harms evidence base is limited."

Here's a similar issue related to a different disease:

"In contrast, vaccination led to a 40-fold enhancement of B. parapertussis colonization in the lungs of mice. Though the mechanism behind this increased colonization was not specifically elucidated, it is speculated to involve specific immune responses skewed or dampened by the acellular vaccine, including cytokine and antibody production during infection. Despite this vaccine being hugely effective against B. pertussis, which was once the primary childhood killer, these data suggest that the vaccine may be contributing to the observed rise in whooping cough incidence over the last decade by promoting B. parapertussisinfection."

Have fun with that game! Sounds more exciting than a coin toss!

I know! If we just keep adding more injections,
we'll break statistics and then vaccines will work!
The vaccine post list:

MO police arrest two over genital mutilation of baby boy who was only around FIVE DAYS old -Parody-

The following is a satirical work of parody over this article:

As always, we firmly stand against ANY and ALL forced genital cutting and take FGM *and* MGM seriously, as grave violations against basic human rights. --

Two people have been arrested over alleged male genital mutilation on a baby boy.
In this picture, a survivor of genital mutilation is seen caring for his intact sons.

Police officers in St. Louis have arrested two people over the genital mutilation of a baby boy, it has been reported. The alleged criminals live in Missouri and the baby is believed to have been mutilated at five to six days old - believed to be the youngest case reported.

Male genital mutilation involves the cutting or removal of male sexual tissue and has been illegal in the US since 1996 under equal protection of the constitution. Because a culture of acceptance surrounds the procedure, however, no one in the U.S. has ever been prosecuted for the crime, but officers hope this case could lead to the first.

Police have submitted a file to prosecutors but doubts remain because, although the little boy is now considered a human being with basic rights, it is not known if he was at the time. Despite the high number of cases - 8,000 so far this year - nobody has yet been prosecuted for the practice. Last month Child Protective Services said it is studying five case files passed on by the STL Police.

Director of CPS Alice Smith recently said a charge would be made relatively shortly, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch. More than 15,000 new cases of male genital mutilation have been revealed by a single St. Louis maternity unit and staff at St. Louis Children's Hospital admit that other cases could have 'slipped through the net.'

St Louis Children's hospital has treated nearly 200 boys a year since it started keeping records on the violent practice, it emerged last month. Disturbing statistics show that most of the victims were born in the U.S. The operation is usually performed on newborns or young boys before entering adolescence, though ages vary from doctor to doctor.

Families often band together to protect the practice and to try to pass on a sense of normalcy to the next generation. Mutilations on baby boys are performed by MO doctors for as little as $200, often without anaesthetic, using blunt surgical tools and scalpels.

Due to the nature of the wounds, problems can occur later during puberty and sexual activity. While the practice has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996, there have so far been no prosecutions due in part to victims' reluctance to come forward, and also because some men do not recognize it as a crime.


Dedicated Facebook page:

Who is a Gentle Parent? Book Review and Giveaway!

Gentle parenting comes with a whole set of stereotypes and myths. People aren't quite sure who a gentle parent is or what gentle parenting is, so they are quick to decide that the absence of harshness and hitting automatically indicates permissiveness, neglect or ineffective strategies.

This couldn't be farther from the truth and L.R. Knost shows you why in her newest book, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline available in softcover or as a digital download.

The third book in her series, The Gentle Parent is filled with wisdom on what it means to be a Gentle Parent. Firm boundaries, common sense and reasonable expectations fill this book from beginning to end. You won't find vague references to Unicorn-parenting or magical rainbow children floating above the mist here. Come down to the ground and walk confidently with this practical guide on gentle parenting.

Don't forget to download the first Gentle Parent Workshop to accompany your journey into gentle parenting. Fill your parenting toolbox with a variety of effective, simple and easy to implement strategies that will protect your parent/child relationship and bring peace to your home!

Whether discussing food or medicine, birth or parenting, a downside I've noted in the natural community  is the tendency to lean towards ambiguity and vague, inaccurate promises. This false "Best Campaign" strikes the gentle parenting topic, too. I've learned that a good way to tell if someone has wisdom or folly to share is to look at their promises. Are they open ended, vague and offering you the "BEST" of all? Immortality from food? Avoidance of all disease if you use their immune boosters? Beware of the blogger who offers too much.

L.R. Knost doesn't trigger the BSo'meter. She knows that parenting is challenging and that no one can parent perfectly or be the best. Here is an excerpt from The Gentle Parent:

"The goal of parenting, of course, cannot be perfection because we are imperfect people raising imperfect people in an imperfect world."
Her wisdom resounds with a point I've tried to make several times in the natural community and leads me to realize that this writer and mama of six knows what she is talking about when it comes to parenting, so much so that I've taken time out of my busy parenting to discuss her work on here without compensation.

So if you're an imperfect parent to imperfect children and you're looking for real, effective parenting methods that don't hurt or manipulate, be sure to check out her books and her workshop!

To help get you started, I'm offering a giveaway of her first book, Two Thousand Kisses a Day  to two randomly lucky winners in the U.S. To enter, follow the rafflecopter widget below and make sure you use a valid email address as that is how the winners will be contacted.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best-selling parenting and children’s book author and mother of six, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood are the first in her Little Hearts Handbooks series of parenting guides. The newest book in the series, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline was just released on November 1, 2013. Other works by this award-winning author include the children's picture books Petey’s Listening Ears, and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series for ages 2 to 6, which are humorous and engaging tools for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools. 

Twitter: LRKnost_Author

Friday, November 8, 2013

What it's like to be 5 years old...unconditionally

So, DD is 5 years old and I've fielded a few questions now about practices and if/how they changed. Here's a synopsis of growing into age 5:

The top question of course is, "Is she still breastfeeding?" Yes! We are still on our path of CLW (Child Led Weaning). She asks to nurse only for bedtime, and even then she has skipped a few nights.

Breastfeeding for her seems to represent comfort and affirmation. She will latch on for a few minutes and quickly begin to fall asleep.

Her nursing has naturally tapered off without me needing to fuss or restrict. I also notice that when I envision her weaning, it doesn't hurt my heart, so I think we are both together on a journey that is almost over. Upon asking her when she will wean, however, she firmly tells me not until age 15. Haha.

Speaking of sleep, yes, she is still in the family bed. She mostly keeps to herself at night and is sleeping through the night, but loves to steal cuddles from me in the early morning, when the boys are still snoring.

Interestingly, bedsharing is one of the things I find hardest to imagine giving up for us. She is wary of the dark and dislikes being alone, two things that are just part of who she is, as I've noted her brothers show their own likes/dislikes that are different despite ages and milestones. I would feel bad transitioning her out of the room.

(PS, this was a supervised photo op and does not represent safe bedsharing practice. Be sure to read up on that when researching this method.)

Under the topic of meeting milestones and learning new skills, we are still pursuing the CLL (Child Led Learning) route.

For example, she was physically capable of bicycling around age 3.5/4 years but emotionally not ready. I've noted this in her personality on several other milestones such as potty learning, so I quickly backed away from the topic.

Sure enough, one day she pulled her bike out of the closet and began to teach herself in the playroom, completely unprompted by anyone. Then I brought the bike outside and she got on as if she had always been riding.

She is doing some limited reading and writing, working on phonics and sorting out English, Spanish and Tagalog. I'm unsure if introducing her to all 3 languages was ultimately good or a hindrance, as at this point it's caused some confusion. So right now she primarily uses English and I follow her lead on that and support it. She also has found a great interest in science (fist pump) and is getting what she most wanted for her birthday: a microscope!

Is she still rearfacing in her carseat? No. I made the decision to turn her forward a couple weeks before her birthday. Although the Radian XTSL did not have a rearfacing limit excepting the 1inch of hard shell, I noticed the newer models all had 44 inch limits, which led me to worry that the XTSL merely hadn't been tested. She was also about 2lbs from the weight limit.

She has upgraded to the Britax Frontier85 SICT, handing her XTSL over to her brother. At first she was upset about not being rearfacing, but when I gave her "big sister" privileges such as opening the van door, she felt better about it.

Is she still babywearing? Yes, she does pop up there occasionally, although she rarely asks these days. She only requests when she is tired out and there's a long walk ahead.

But we've moved into new and precious land: siblingwearing!

I feel as if we've reached a new turn, getting to the magical age 5, and it's wonderful to get up over that big mountain of "babyhood and toddlerhood" because now I see more of what's ahead.

Is it bittersweet to leave some things behind? Sure. But the future is filled with the light, sensitive, inquisitive and joyful spirit DD brings with her to every part of our lives. I can't wait.