Friday, May 29, 2009

Physical Friday: Benefits of Rocking

The opening topic of a junior-level university lecture I attended was "How to Calm a Crying Baby." I chuckled as I recalled all the times my babies have fussed and I'd tried everything I could think of to calm them down. My babies love to be swaddled and to be rocked. Of course both of those were on the list along with diaper changes, feedings, singing, pacifiers, and changing positions of the baby.

I was beginning to wonder if this lecture would be worth my time when the instructor went off on a tangent about rocking. He shared some pretty interesting information that I thought I'd pass along. First, mothers rock their infants at the same rate of speed at which they walk. Since rocking is a familiar motion to babies from their in utero experience, it only makes sense that they would be most calmed by being rocked at the same speed at which their mothers walk. What I find more fascinating is that mothers unknowingly rock their babies as fast (or as slowly) as they walk. And yet, that is precisely the most calming speed for their babies. Which also explains why mothers seem to have "a knack" for calming their babies faster than anyone else. I can't tell you how many times I've refrained from offering to take a crying baby. I'm pretty good with my own kids, usually, but that doesn't mean I'm a super-comforter!

The second tangent about rocking showed how rocking is important and necessary for baby's development. The rocking motion helps a baby organize the vestibular system which controls equilibrium, or balance. As a baby is rocked, the fluids in the inner ear move around which triggers the vestibular system to action. While the baby is calmed and rocked to sleep, this system is hard at work practicing communicating to the brain all the information gathered about the baby's balance. I love this because all the times I've just sat and rocked my babies, ignoring chores, ringing phones, and errands, are completely justified because I was promoting my babies' development. The next time the current baby insists I drop everything and rock her, I will remind myself it's as important as tummy time to help her development.

I recently learned that children between 3 1/2 and 4 years of age go through a major physical development stage which leaves them awkward and clumsy until they get a handle on their new skills by about age 4. I was thinking about that in relation to rocking. It leads me to believe that rocking continues to be a necessary part of how we interact with our little ones. And it's not always the calm, rocking-to-sleep motion; it doesn't always happen in a rocking chair. Often Sammi and I "rock" when we dance together or she bounces on my leg or a variety of other times when we are physically close and moving together.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emergent Literacy and Beyond

Today's post on literacy comes from Colleen Felz, the Homeschooling Coach. Find her homeschooling tips & curriculum ideas as well as stories about the joys & trials of home education at her blog, Homeschooling Coach. In her sister blog, Living as a mom, read stories about her life as a Christian wife and mother. Here are her thoughts on literacy...and beyond.

Becoming a literate person is a big undertaking, and the early years are the time to lay a firm foundation. Throughout this series on emergent literacy you have read about some specific skills needed to read and write well and learned that it takes lots of practice to master those skills. In this post I'd like to sum it all up.

The most important thing that you can do to help your child learn to read and write is to simply reading good literature to your child from birth through the teen years. There is so much that you share with your child during those special times spent reading together. Your oral reading helps your child hear the rhythm of the language and the intonation used in reading. You also serve as a model for what expert readers do and how they solve problems when they read. Since your child naturally wants to mimic you in the early years, reading aloud is a great time to inadvertently (or even intentionally) teach your child about reading.

What behaviors are you modeling for your child as an expert reader? Just think of all that you do when you are reading aloud. If you misread a word in a sentence, you correct yourself when you realize that the word did not make sense, and you use the context to figure out the meaning of certain words. You make predictions as you read, too. You even reread excellent books because you get something new from those books each time you read them. The next time you read aloud, think about all that you actually do when you read.

As you model these skills, you can also explicitly share them with your child when you read aloud to him/her. When you and your little one snuggle together and read, talk about the book and ask questions.

"Those words rhyme."

"I love this author (book)."

"I wonder what will happen next."

"Have you ever felt like that?"

I cannot stress enough how important it is to read to your child . The time you invest in reading aloud to your child is time well spent. Enjoy it!

What are some of your favorite books to read with your little ones?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Discovery Gateway Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered! I had no idea my favorite part of this giveaway would be all the wonderful ideas about sparking the imagination of our little ones. Seriously great ideas! If you didn't have a chance to read all the comments, I strongly encourage you to take the time to do it.

And the winner is...

Alicia who said, "I would love to take my kids to Discovery Gateway. I have heard a lot of wonderful things about it.

"I try to do a lot of different things with my children- go explore nature, different museums, read books on different topics that have to do with the world or people, do different crafts, etc. My son's imagination can turn a piece of string into a fun toy. It is so fun to watch!"

Congratulations, Alicia! Please email me TODAY with your mailing address! If I don't hear from Alicia today then a new winner will be chosen at random and announced tomorrow.

Hopefully all of you get the chance to visit the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. Such a fun place! In fact, we are planning on going up there Monday, June 1. If you're interested in meeting us up there, just leave a comment so we can pick a time! I'd love to meet you and enjoy the museum together!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musical Monday: Surviving the Road Trip

Last week we drove from Utah to Colorado (and back) to see my brother graduate from college and to visit with friends. On the way over we drove on I-80 through Wyoming and it took about 9 hours including two long stops, one at a park in Rawlins. On the way home, however, we took 1-70 through the mountains and it took us 13 1/2 hours! We only stopped one more time than on the way over. Those winding mountains really slowed us down.

Toward the end of our visiting in Colorado and especially during that long drive home there were two things that really helped us survive. Both are music oriented so I thought I'd share them here today.

First, musical instruments! I don't even know what inspired me to pack them at the very last moment, but they were a huge hit with both girls! From Melissa & Doug's Band in a Box I brought the maracas, the cymbals, and the clacker. (Read my full review here) It was cute to hear them shake the maracas together. At one point Sammi was so bored and getting really cranky so I pulled out the cymbals. As I gave them to her I promised myself that I wouldn't be annoyed. She banged them together for 20 minutes straight! And I kept my promise. It really helped her get through a difficult moment.

Another time the instruments were really helpful was when we were driving to a friend's house. We were almost there, we thought, and Sammi was starting to doze off. We knew if she fell asleep we wouln't be able to wake her up and then she'd miss playing with the kids. Plus, after that visit we had an hour drive ahead of us to Colorado Springs and we really wanted her to sleep then. So, Brent handed her the maracas and asked her to shake it so we would know she wasn't asleep. Everytime she started to slow down we reminded her to shake them again. It kept her awake the whole time!

The second thing that really helped the trip go more smoothly was her favorite CD. We'd been listening to our favorite songs and occasionally we'd turn on a movie for Sammi, which she had very little attention for so it usually went back off fairly quickly. On the drive home, which was 4 1/2 hours longer than the drive there, she asked for her songs. As soon as we put in her CD (Fun Time Classroom Songs) she started singing along and was completely happy again.

Often experts recommend getting a new toy for a long road trip to surprise you little ones. This can be a good choice for some kids. Sammi didn't play for very long with the new toys we bought her. For her, the best choice was her favorites. They brought her the most comfort and the most joy! This was a good test run for us as we prepare to move across the country at the end of June. I think we're going to broaden her CD selection so we don't listen to the same one for three days straight!

What's your little one's favorite CD?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Physical Friday: Blowing Bubbles

I love the warm weather and the chance to get outside and play! One of Sammi's favorite outside games from last summer is blowing bubbles. When we first got bubbles, she was content to let us blow them and she'd chase them down and pop them. But very quickly she wanted to be in charge of the bubbles! She worked so hard one day until she was able to blow bubbles out of the bubble wand. Once the cold weather came back, we found a way to bring the bubbles indoors with us. We have a medium-sized rug in the living room that Sammi can blow bubbles on. As soon as she steps off the rug, though, we put the bubbles away. It only took her a few times of not watching where she was going that she figured out how to stay on the rug so she could blow her bubbles.

It takes an awful lot of coordination to actually blow a bubble, successfully! First, little ones need to grasp the wand, put it in the bubble bottle and take it out. That's fairly easy for a child who's 18 months or older. Next they have to figure out how to hold the wand close to their mouth without touching their mouth. This was THE hardest part for Sammi. I kept a damp washcloth with us to wipe her mouth off periodically so she wouldn't have the icky soap flavor on her lips. Finally little ones need to control the shape of their mouth at the same time they are blowing air out. This took lots of modeling for Sammi to get the hang of. It's taken her months to be able to blow air with any force.

With how difficult it is to successfully blow a bubble, I'm surprised that anyone would stick with it! But, the activity itself is so rewarding for little ones that they keep going despite the setbacks. This is learning at it's best!

If that wasn't enough to get you outside blowing bubbles with your little ones, here's an interesting connection between blowing bubbles and language development: In 2006 researchers reported that children who could blow bubbles, lick their lips and pretend tend to have an easier time learning language! Read more about the study here and here. Also, check out these 10 ways to use bubbles for language development.

Have you entered the giveaway for tickets to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum? Click here to learn more and enter! Giveaway ends May 26.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Emergent Literacy #6

Emergent Literacy #1: Print Motivation
Emergent Literacy #2: Print Awareness
Emergent Literacy #3: Letter Knowledge
Emergent Literacy #4: Vocabulary
Emergent Literacy #5: Phonological Awareness
Emergent Literacy #6: Narrative Skills

I think children are storytellers at heart. Storytelling is a great way for little ones to organize their experiences and thoughts by reliving events. It's also a great way to imagine different scenarios, play out different choices and outcomes and practice expressing thoughts and emotions with words. Storytelling is evident during imaginative play, but it's also a sign of early literacy.

Pre-Reading Skill #6
Narrative Skills
Narrative skills is the ability to tell stories and describe things and events. Many of the books children encounter tell a story. There is a beginning, a middle and an end.
As children are able to tell their own stories, they begin to understand the pattern of stories leading to improved reading comprehension. Reading comprehension improves because children are better able to organize the meaning of the words by knowing they are looking for a beginning, a middle and an end.

We can help children practice narrative skills by asking them what comes next when reading a familiar story with them. We can also help them process the story by drawing a picture of some part of it. We can then ask them about the picture and let them use their narrative skills to describe the picture, what came before and what comes next.

But, I think the BEST way to help little ones develop narrative skills is just to listen to their stories. They are constantly telling stories; we don't need to ask for them. Sammi constantly tells me about what happened the last time she was at Grandma's house or what she did with Aunt Maren or what who she played with outside. If I'm quiet and listen, I get the most amazing insights into her life. But if I pry for stories or information, she clams up and I am left wondering about her world.

Little ones figure out that books contain stories. When they know they like stories, they are drawn to books to relive their favorites and discover new stories. As parents, care givers, nurturers we can listen to children's stories and offer our own when the mood is right.

Next week we'll sum up the emergent literacy skills with a guest post by Colleen, the Homeschool Coach.

Have you entered the giveaway for tickets to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum? Click here to learn more and enter! Giveaway ends May 26.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Discovery Gateway Children's Museum Giveaway-CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed.
The winner is Alicia. Congratulations!

Another Utah giveaway, but it's to one of my FAVORITE places so I just have to do it! Discovery Gateway in no way is sponsoring this giveaway. It's just from ME to YOU because I love this place.

Discovery Gateway is THE best museum for little ones in Utah. They are designed to engage, enthrall, and enlarge the minds of little ones. Seriously, little as in starting at age 1! The entire first floor is dedicated to imaginative play as well as role playing activities. They have a kid-sized village complete with store, home, construction zone, farm, gas station and mail courier system! But Sammi's favorite part was the Water Play area. She has so much fun watching the water move through various funnels, colanders and other contraptions.

Oh, and let's not forget the ball area. Remember the ball pool at Showbiz Pizza (now Chuck E. Cheese) where you could jump in with the plastic balls? Well, this is SO much better. The same balls, but now they go up in a vacuum tube and whirl around along various paths before coming back down, just to be scooped up by little hands into plastic tubs and carried off on another adventure. I think this area might be Sammi's all-time favorite.
I've only mentioned the first floor and only the activities that are designed for the youngest of visitors, but there's a whole host of activities designed for older ones and even things that amuse adults. Upstairs they also have science lab presentations on occasion that are highly engaging and interactive. Discovery Gateway Children's Museum is definitely a must-see for the whole family!

I'm giving away a 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Gateway. Admission begins at age 1, so only tiny ones are free. This family pack of tickets is the ideal way to explore the museum. Bring a lunch and eat out on the helicopter deck off the second floor!

Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment below and tell me how you spark your child's imagination. That's it, just comment! I love to hear from you :)

For additional entries you may do any of the following (please tell me about each one in a separate comment):
  • Follow this blog
  • Add the Because Babies Grow Up button to your sidebar
  • Friend me on Facebook and post about the giveaway on you wall using this link.
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway using this link
  • Link to this giveaway in a post on your blog using this link.
This contest runs through May 26. The winner will be chosen at random using The winner will be announced Wed, May 27. The tickets are valid through August 31, 2009. Good luck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Emergent Literacy #5

Emergent Literacy #1: Print Motivation
Emergent Literacy #2: Print Awareness
Emergent Literacy #3: Letter Knowledge
Emergent Literacy #4: Vocabulary
Emergent Literacy #5: Phonological Awareness
Emergent Literacy #6: Narrative Skills

Here is where my linguistics persona jumps out of hiding and shouts a big hurray! Today we're looking at how children figure out how sounds make up words and how adding different sounds changes the meaning of words. In linguistics-speak children are said to parse the language into smaller meaningful parts. I am fond of the word parse and rarely get to use it so I just had to throw it in!

Pre-Reading Skill #5
Phonological Awareness

It sounds rather intimidating, but phonological awareness simply means that little ones are able to hear and play with the smaller parts that make up words. Children begin by babbling or repeating the same syllable over and over again. Once they master several consonant-vowel repetitions, they begin mixing and matching the syllables together. Already little ones are showing phonological awareness.

We can encourage that awareness by capitalizing on things babies and toddlers love: rhymes and music. Nursery rhymes are perfect for helping little ones get a sense for the feel and rhythm of the language. They also begin to recognize rhyming schemes that show them how sounds are used in the language. Plus, they love our high, sugary-sweet voices that we use when reciting nursery rhymes. Such experiences add to print motivation for little ones in a big way!

Many nursery rhymes are set to melodies that are easy and fun to sing with little ones. Setting words to music is another way to slow down the language and help little ones hear the individual sounds that make up words. Try clapping along while you sing to emphasize syllables so little ones can hear the smaller sounds of words.

When we first started reading books to Sammi she would only let us read nursery rhyme books. She loved the rhythm, the music and the rhymes. It was like she just couldn't get enough of it. Now, she can recite almost any nursery rhyme and can "read" her nursery rhyme books because she knows which one goes with which picture. She's even started adapting lyrics of songs to her present experiences. She makes up a different tooth-brushing song almost every night! I created a list of board books for babies that includes lots of nursery rhyme books.

Next week we finish up the emergent literacy skills by talking about narrative skills. The following week, we have a literacy expert lined up to recap the skills and give us more ideas about preparing our little ones for reading.

In what ways do your little ones show phonological awareness?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review: Bingo by Eeboo

We had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday. We spent most of it in Kaysville at my in-laws. I love going there because I always get a nap! Grandma has plenty of toys to entertain Sammi (although she spent at least an hour on Grandpa's hair, spraying it with water and combing it) and there are plenty of people to hold and entertain Elli so I always get a little break. And to me, that was the perfect Mother's Day.

There was one toy, that was worth waking up from my nap to play with Sammi. It was a Bingo game by Eeboo. Each player's card had pictures centered around a theme: nature, animals, clothing. Then, in a bag are little tiles to draw. Each tile matches one picture on one player's card. Whoever fills their card first wins! We passed the bag around and took turns drawing tiles out. Sammi loved the level of participation and I was impressed with how quickly she could find matches among so many choices.

All of the illustrations used in Eeboo toys are original and from beloved children's book illustrators. The game was sturdy and vibrant. A combination I appreciate in toys for little ones. After browsing through all their games and writing accessories I have quite the wish list.

They have some really cool preschool games of matching and dominoes. These types of games are great for preschoolers. They are so engaged in the game while they are expanding their attention span, practicing cognitive skills like attention to detail and memory, and learning how to follow rules. And all while they are having fun and not even aware of the progress they are making in their development!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musical Monday: Eensy Weensy Spider

The Eensy Weensy Spider is one of the first songs that Sammi could sing all by herself. It's also one of the favorites at the library. They have a puppet spider that the kids love when we do this song.

Before Elli could sit up, I put her in my lap and did that actions on her, as shown in the video. My favorite part is tickling her under her chin after the spider crawls back up her arm.

There are a couple of ways to do the spider crawling action. First is what I think of as the traditional way: index finger from one hand to thumb of the other crawling over the other thumb-index finger pair. The second is using your fingers on one hand to crawl up the arm of the other hand. Children seem to love both. We often sing it twice and switch the action the second time through.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To All My Mothers

Here is a tribute to the women in my life I am fortunate enough to call Mom.

To my mom who raised me so lovingly and continues to help me grow up.

To my step-mom who has truly been a mom for me, always loving and supporting me.

To my mother-in-law whose wisdom and generosity know no bounds.

To my grandmothers who are dear friends, not just relatives.

And here's to my two darling girls who, in calling me Mom, melt my heart everyday.

As women we bond, we share, we nurture, we love. We consistently find ourselves connecting with those around us. Today is a day to celebrate those women who nurture, those women who care and those women we love.

Today I'm also grateful for Brent who has worked hard to make today special for me. After I got up this morning he snuck my presents and cards from the girls onto my pillow.
He was also pretty sneaky about the present he got me. He had to talk me out of getting it myself because I was headed down to Goldsmith Jewelers on Friday to pick it up with my birthday money. Fortunately he was able to delay my plans until Monday without raising any suspicion.
I got my two little girls! I fell in love with these charms at the blogger event I attended at the end of April. I'm so happy to have them on my bracelet. Here's my bracelet to-date.

Happy Mother's Day! My hope is that each woman believes the difference she makes in another's life as she serves, befriends and loves. Each act matters. It really matters.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nature Days and Other Utah Activities

I attended I Never Grew Up's Nature Day this past Monday. It was held at the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake. You may recall from this post that the Peace Gardens are on my to do list before we leave Utah. I was so excited to meet up with other reader's of Vanessa's blog and share an absolutely beautiful day at the gardens.

We traveled the world going from Korean gardens to Finnish to Italian and my personal favorite, the Swiss gardens. The little ones all had a grand time racing from one grassy spot to another. I tried to talk to Sammi about the countries, but she was more interested in the rocks and dirt! Another day:)

Two highlights of the day: 1) I won this adorable tee shirt for Sammi. The tee comes from beleaf, a company that combines organic and recycled fabrics with eco-education. Sammi's shirt says, "I recycled a cardboard box and built a fort today." She loves forts so it's a saying we stand behind 100%. We have already worn and washed the shirt twice this week! 2) Sammi made friends with another little girl among the crowd. The exhibited the Nature Day philosophy to the max. They played in rocks and dirt, with the lilac bushes and in the grass. The took off their shoes and ran through the damp soil then laid down on their stomachs and examined the blades of grass. The we lost in thier own world for nearly an hour before we coaxed them back to us for a little lunch before heading home.

Another activity from my list of things to do in Utah before we leave was to see the Walter Wick exhibit at the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University. Wow! What a creative mind. His photography is fantastic. I'm excited to check out his I Spy! books. Part of the exhibit comes from a Halloween poem and I'm saving that for October.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Physical Friday: Tummy Time

The buzz word around babies is always tummy time! "Make sure they get their tummy time!" "Are you putting your baby on her tummy?" "How much time does your baby spend on her tummy?" Everyone is so concerned with tummy time! and for good reason, too.

Here's the deal: Babies are born with big heads and weak little muscles. It takes a lot of work to build up the strength in their necks to hold those big heads up. That's why they sleep all the time! They're so tired from working on strengthening those muscles.

Tummy time provides the perfect opportunity to help baby develop neck and head strength. My babies, though, are NOT fans of tummy time. Even now, at 8 months, when Elli rolls to her tummy she fusses until we get her sitting up again. But, there are lots of ways to make tummy time work. You can start by laying your baby across your lap on his tummy. Another way to be more involved in tummy time is to lay on your back or recline and put your baby on your chest so you can look at each other. Since babies love faces, this is a great way to make tummy time interesting.

As your little one gets older and stronger, move tummy time to the floor. At first you want to aim for a combined total of 5 minutes a day of tummy time. Once your baby can do 5 minutes in one session, gradually increase the number of times you do tummy time to several a day. Keep tummy time interesting by getting down on your tummy and talking to your baby. You can also put a toy in front of baby to encourage her to keep her head up.

Eventually little ones learn to hold their chest up off the floor with their arms. Then they learn to move their arms to reach for toys. All these aspects of tummy time help babies get stronger and more coordinated which leads to other milestones like crawling and walking.

How does your little one react to tummy time?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Emergent Literacy #4

Emergent Literacy #1: Print Motivation
Emergent Literacy #2: Print Awareness
Emergent Literacy #3: Letter Knowledge
Emergent Literacy #4: Vocabulary
Emergent Literacy #5: Phonological Awareness
Emergent Literacy #6: Narrative Skills

We took a break in April from the emergent literacy skills while we waited for the last workshop at the Orem Public Library. It was the last Saturday in April and just as exciting and informative as the first! So now, as promised, we are finishing up the last three skills this month. For a refresher, refer to the list above to check out the skills we've already discussed and for a sneak peek at the ones to come this month! Let's jump right in.

Pre-Reading Skill #4

Vocabulary is, simply put, knowing the names of things. Little ones build their vocabulary by coming in contact with new words again and again. It takes many encounters with the same word for it to stick in a little ones vocabulary. It's one of the reasons they love repetition so much. Each time they hear the same thing again, they strengthen the connection between word and object. So even though it gets tiresome to read the same book time and time again day after day, just remember, it's making a difference in your little ones' vocabulary!

Other ways to build vocabulary include using nonfiction books to learn about different things. We used books on construction vehicles to learn about all the things happening on our street when they replaced the water lines. It served us well because we moved and the are replacing water lines on our new street now! Sammi is in HEAVEN. And the workers are all impressed with Sammi because she knows what's going on. They let her in their lunch circle on Tuesday. So cute to see her all dressed in pink sitting on the grass with the guys in their reflective jackets and hard hats.

Back to literacy and building vocabulary! Find fun phrases in books and repeat them with your little ones. If you're really brave you can add a melody to the phrase and make it a song. One favorite book that we do this with is Trashy Town. The chorus reads "Dump it in, Smash it down, Drive around the Trashy Town." We even added actions.

You can also choose books that will help your child put words to emotions and experiences. This is a great way to help them deal with feelings like anger, frustration, disappointment and sadness as well as joy, excitement and anticipation. When children can put words to their thoughts and emotions, it's easier to stop or even prevent a meltdown or temper tantrum.

The bottom line is that having a good vocabulary will make it easier for little ones to learn to read down the road.

What do your little ones know about that reflects their unique interests?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review: Guide to Pirate Parenting

Parenting is hard and full of difficult decisions that will affect our children for the rest of their lives. No one knows this better than Cap'n Billy "the Butcher" MacDougall who shows parents a great alternative in his Guide to Pirate Parenting. Parenting is always best when taken with an extra dose of humor and Tim Bete delivers.

Guide to Pirate Parenting is a quick and witty read. I read it in various public places and got many curious stares as I read it and occasionally laughed out loud. This book has everything you'll ever need to know about raising pirates, from nursery rhymes to converting your minivan to a schooner and then naming it! I laughed my way through this book, which was a welcome release from the tension of having a toddler in the house.

Aside from the humor, I really enjoyed this book because Bete incorporates useful tidbits about kids and parenting in a casual way. I saw a lot of real advice and insightful comments underlying many of the humorous anecdotes.

Well done, Tim. Now I'm off to get my hands on his first parenting book, In The Beginning...There Were No Diapers. If you're antsy for some Pirate Parenting guidance while you wait for your book to arrive, you can follow Cap'n Billy on Twitter or check out the website, Pirate Parenting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

$50 Goldsmith Co Jewelers Giveaway Winner

I have had so much fun hosting this giveaway! It was fun to read through all the comments about why you wanted new jewelry. Fortunately for me, the winner was chosen by so I didn't have to decide between all your comments! Whew.

And the winner is ceejay! Please send me an email by midnight tonight so I can send you the gift certificate. You have until Saturday May 9th to redeem your $50 gift certificate. If I don't hear from ceejay by the end of today, a new winner will be chosen and announced tomorrow.

Just because you didn't get the gift certificate doesn't mean you didn't win! You can still print the coupon for your free pearl necklace from Goldsmith Jewelers. You need to bring it to the store to receive your pearls by Saturday May 9th. Happy Mother's Day!
I wanted to share a few more pictures from the red carpet event at Goldsmith Jewelers. I felt like a million bucks that night. The best part of Goldsmith Co. Jewelers is they make every person who walks in their doors feel like a million bucks! Go check out the beautiful Pandora line for yourself, the amazing watches for your honey and all the rest of their sparkly collection. I'm positive you'll find something you love!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Free Pearls and a Giveaway-Contest Closed

This contest is closed. Congratulations to ceejay who won the giftcard from Goldsmith Jewelers.

This giveaway and pearl offer is for Utah County residents and those who can get to Utah County before May 9. I'm sorry it's location specific, but it's such an amazing offer I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it.

Goldsmith Co. Jewelers is a family owned business in Provo. They have been serving Utah County for 38 years and live by the philosophy that customers come first and employees come second and that the rest falls into place after that. Because of their service-oriented approach, they have grown tremendously and are now the only location in Utah licensed the sell the hot and trendy Pandora line of jewelry.

Pandora, a company founded in Denmark, is committed to helping women capture the unforgettable moments of life with their jewelry. They specialize in the most unique charm bracelet system I have ever seen, and quite frankly the only one that has actually made me want a charm bracelet! Their charms range from animals and objects to sophisticated designs and colors. The best part is YOU get to personalize your bracelet to fit your fashion style and passion.
I was able to spend an evening at Goldsmith Co. Jewelers discovering the store and the new Pandora line. Everyone, from the owner to the jeweler on staff, were so informative, helpful and personable. We were able to look through all the charms and try on the bracelets. It was a fabulous experience. I came away with a bracelet and a charm, but I am already working on how to get the rest of the charms I want!

Here's the fun part, Goldsmith Co. Jewelers is offering a $50 gift certificate to one lucky Because Babies Grow Up reader! The gift certificate can be used on any item in the store, but I promise the Pandora charm bracelet will capture your heart!

To enter you must be a Utah resident able to get to Goldsmith Co. Jewelers store in Provo by May 9. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell me why you want a new piece of jewelry. The winner will be chosen at random with the help of a random number generator ( so your answers are just for my benefit! This contest runs through May 4 and the winner will be announced Tuesday morning. I will email the gift certificate to the winner. The gift certificate must be redeemed by May 9 (the day before Mother's Day!)

Additional entries are available for the following actions:
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Did you think I forgot about the pearls? How could I forget about the pearls! They are gorgeous and FREE! All you need is the coupon below. Present it at Goldsmith Jewelers by May 9 to receive a FREE strand of freshwater pearls. I'm wearing mine right now and they are fabulous! Share this coupon with all your friends who can also get to the store by next Saturday. These are great for women and girls and are just in time for Mother's Day.

Have a great weekend and happy commenting!

Physical Friday: Handedness

I love the term handedness. It conjures all sorts of ideas in my head: to be with a hand; to have things handed to you; the image of lefties writing; cute, chubby baby hands handling objects.

Handedness is defined as the preference for the use of one hand over the other. Here are some interesting facts about handedness in little ones:
  • for infants under 1, only about 30-50 % show a preference for the right hand in reaching for objects
  • for infants under 1, 10-30 % show a preference for the left hand
  • for infants under 1, the remaining show no preference
  • the preferred hand may change as they get older
  • more permanent hand preferences in infants don't occur until the second year of life
Sammi showed an early preference for her left hand. We were certain she would be left-handed. Then shortly after her first birthday she started using her right hand more. We thought maybe she would be right handed after all. But now that she is more independent and opinionated (meaning she doesn't have to exactly imitate us anymore) she has shifted back to a preference for her left hand. She fairly consistently eats with her left hand (she owns left-handed trainer chopsticks, so cute!), draws and writes with her left hand and throws a ball with her left hand. It will be interesting to work with her on writing since I'm not left-handed.

One thing we do that unknowingly influences handedness in our little ones is handing toys or other objects to a specific side of their body (always handing a spoon to the right hand). We can remove this influence (it's not crucial to, but just for fun to observe their handedness) is to always hand objects to the middle of the body. When Sammi started preferring her right hand, I got in the habit of handing everything to the middle so she could choose and because I didn't know what hand it would be this time. I think this also shows acceptance of whatever hand they use, especially if it is a different hand from you.

Does your little one have a hand preference?
Cute, chubby baby hands picture courtesy of Lottie Lou Design.
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