Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Adopt Your Baby from China

In 1992 the Chinese government passed a law ratifying international adoption, and within seven years, China surpassed Russia as the international destination from which most parents adopt their children. By 2005, nearly 8000 Chinese children were adopted by American couples alone. The adoption process is orderly and systematic, with all aspects of adoption (including costs and the referral process) being regulated by the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) in Beijing. All adoptions must work through an agency approved by the CCAA.

The CCAA has established a finely structured system that makes the paperwork predictable and manageable, and they offer plenty of concrete information on how to compile your dossier successfully. The journey from beginning to end is, indeed, a long and arduous process, but we know of friends who have become proud and happy parents by journey's end.

The Orphaned Child's Profile
More than 95% of the children adopted from China are girls who were put up for adoption because of China's One Child Only population control policy. 39% are under 1 year of age; 59% are 1-4 years old. Although they were abandoned after birth, these children generally were wanted while in their mother's womb, and their parents were most likely hoping to give birth to a male baby. Most of the birth mothers took good care of themselves and their unborn child, hoping that they would have a healthy, life-long relationship together. Very few Chinese women smoke or drink alcohol, so most babies start out with a relatively clean bill of health at birth and have their basic needs met in the orphanage. Adopted Chinese children tend to be free of long-term physical or emotional issues.

Because child abandonment is illegal, birth parents leave no trace of their identity, and adoptive parents receive a certificate of abandonment that proves that the biological parents have relinquished their parental rights through abandonment. There is no legal avenue for the birth parents to reclaim custody.

Basic Facts:
Estimated Cost of Adopting: $20,000 to $25,000. USD

Age Requirements for Adopting Parents: Both spouses must be at least 30 years old and only one parent can be older than 55; parents over 45 may be referred toddlers and those over 50 will probably be referred school-age children. Singles must be under 50 to adopt a non-special needs child.

Family Status: Married couples preferred. Prior divorces permitted. A limited number of singles may adopt. Families must have no more than 4 children at home when they apply. Gay couples are not eligible. Both parents must be physically and mentally healthy and free from contagious diseases. Family income should exceed $35,000. USD per year.

Travel: At least one parent must travel to China to adopt. The average stay is 10-14 days. The child's visa will be issued at Guangzhou Consulates.

Timeline: Approximately 10-14 months after the completion of the dossier. There is a shorter wait for pre-identified special needs children and parents of Chinese ancestry.

Well, that's the basics. My advice to you is to find an adoption agency specializing in China adoptions. Remember, it must have affiliations with the China Center of Adoption Affairs. The CCAA maintains an extensive list of agencies on its website; fees vary, as well as services. After your initial contact, congratulate yourself: you have taken the first step in your goal of expanding your family!

Timothy Green is the co-author of SPEAK E-Z CHINESE In Phonetic English. You can find fun and easy Mandarin lessons, as well as travel and culture tips about China at http://www/CathayCafe/com

How To Return To Work In Style After Having A Baby

Are you a new mum who has decided to stay at home with your baby? However long you choose to stay home with your baby, the prospect of re-entering the workforce can be daunting. Being away from work for any length of time can be a worrying time. You may feel nervous about being judged on how you look by your work colleagues, you may feel you have forgotten how to dress well and look good for work . There could be additional anxieties of how you will fit back in with your work colleagues, and how you will cope with being the consummate professional and being a parent to your young child. There may be issues about skills that may have grown a little rusty during your leave.

These fears can be compounded by worrying about your appearance when you return to work. You may lack confidence in your appearance and feel that you have let yourself go. Some mums develop a new body shape after having a baby and do not know how to dress to enhance their shape. Pre-baby work clothes may no longer flatter you now or, depending upon the length of the time away from work, may no longer look stylish. Mums tend to adopt a practical style when home with the kids, which is perfect for the home, but when you are returning to work, you need to swap your casual look for a look that means business.

When you are in total control of how others see you, that it is a really powerful feeling and will make the transition of returning to work much easier.

How would you love to have a Personal Stylist working with you, helping you to feel really good about yourself, and projecting a strong sense of your own unique style. How would you like to walk back into your office and your work colleagues say you are looking really well.

To overcome the fears of returning to work, many professional mums rely upon the services of expert personal stylists who show them how create a dazzling, professional look for the office. This will help you to let go of worrying that you may not be taken seriously by your boss or peer group.

There are excellent personal shopping firms such as the Glass Slipper, where expert personal stylists have helped mums return to work in style. While your child may not mind how you look, the board room demands a confident woman with a professional, stylish look. Mums who experience a change in body shape after having a child can often feel uncomfortable wearing their pre-baby clothes. For all of the mums that have used this type of service, a new look has made the transition back to work an amazing, energizing experience. After working with a personal stylist, clients report that they look and feel great about their bodies and express delight at finally learning how to dress to flatter their bodyshape and colouring. Clients approaching their forties and beyond are ecstatic to find that they do not have wear frumpy clothes. Working with a personal stylist helps mothers returning to work project a powerful, confident image that translates to a successful transition back to work and a jump start for the return to their careers.

If you are preparing to return to work after a break to raise your children, you, may be riddled with fears. Creating a stylish look for yourself will help you return to the work world feeling confident. You will feel amazing because you know that you look your best. That confidence in your appearance can bolster your morale and help ease yourself back into the working environment. You have got enough things to worry about; your appearance should not be one of them.

If you are preparing to return to work after a break to raise your children, here are some tips that will help you transform your insecurities, promote a confident, professional image, and help you regain your status at work effortlessly.

1. Spend time and money creating a flawless foundation for your business wardrobe. Undergarments that shape, lift, and smooth can make you look and feel fabulous, and give you tons of confidence. Many celebrities walk the red carpet in Magic Knickers and similar underweas can give you confidence by pulling in your tummy, smoothing your hips and thighs and lifting any sagging areas. Before you buy any clothes that your colleagues or clients will see, invest in some hard-working underwear that they will not see.

2. As you prepare to re-enter the world of work, dig into your wardrobe to see what you need and what you do not need. Try on everything you think you want to keep. Be as objective as possible. You may want to take digital photos of yourself in outfits to see how you look in them. In addition to front and back views, check your silhouette to make sure that your top and bottom halves are in proportion. Clothes that looked fabulous before the baby may no longer flatter your shape or fit properly, or they may look outdated. If an item does not make you look and feel great, donate it to your favorite charity. Once you have narrowed down your wardrobe to only those pieces that flatter you and make you look amazing, you will start finding the gaps in your wardrobe.

3. To fill the gaps in your newly reduced wardrobe, you will need to shop for some replacement items. Make a list of the pieces you need. Most professional women need skirt or trouser suits, shirts, accessories, and a classic, well-cut coat. Preparing a list of your wardrobe must-haves will help you stick to your budget and your plan. This way you are more likely to return home with clothes, bags and shoes that meet your professional wardrobe needs.

4. Before heading out to shop, take a good look at fashion magazines, catalogues, and websites. Pay attention to current trends and think about how you can adapt them to you. Do you suit wide-legged, boot-leg or skinny trousers? Should your skirts be pencil or A-line shape? What is the best skirt length for you? Do cropped or fitted jackets look good on you? What about colours and patterns? Make note of the trends that you like and that appeal to your sense of style, and work out how to adapt them to suit your body shape, size, personality and budget.

5. Head out to the shops early in the day with your list. Look for the styles that you liked in magazines and begin trying on clothes. Your goal is to find the best cuts and styles for your body shape and size, and to choose the colours that make your skin glow and your hair and eyes sparkle and shine. Then you need to start thinking about how to put outfits together, what will go with what and how to accessorise each oufit to make you really stand out from the crowd. It is best to get someone else opinion about what suits you best. Go shopping with someone whose sense of style you trust. This person can give you an objective opinion A friend, salesperson, or even better, a personal stylist can be an objective judge of what looks best on your body. If you must shop alone, take along a digital camera or camera phone and take photos of yourself in various outfits. You will be able to tell which ones are the most flattering and confidence-inspiring.

6. After you have decided which styles and colours suit you best, be prepared to be flexible and creative. If a skirt suit was on your list and you have found a trouser suit that makes you look fabulous, go with the trouser suit. You may find that certain colours lift your skin colour (and your mood) go with them! Be specific and disciplined about what you are buying. If you intended to buy two tops, do not blow your budget on ten tops and have nothing left for a bag or shoes.

If the thought of putting together a uniquely stylish and professional look fills you with dread, book a personal shopping session with a creative and gifted personal stylist. Within a few hours, she will show you how to look and feel amazing everyday at work. A good personal stylist will spend time getting to know you and helping you understand what works best for your body and colouring. A shopping professional can help you steer clear of cuts that are unflattering and show you how to focus on building a wardrobe that will have you returning to work looking and feeling confident and gorgeous. Good stylists will work within your budget to help you create the professional look you need. Plus, in the long run, using the services of an experienced personal stylist can actually save you money by preventing your buying clothes you will never wear (how many pairs of black trousers are in your wardrobe now?) A great stylist will help you spend money wisely on key pieces that you can wear over and over and mix and match to create a whole host of different outfits and looks.

For further information visit

Pregnant And Buying For Baby

Buying for a baby is one of the most fun ways to shop but being
pregnant takes some of the fun out of it as the walk around
packed shops can become a bit of a struggle. The larger items
in particular can be a bit much for a heavily pregnant woman.
The best solution is probably to buy for the baby online as
there are many online stores which sell baby cribs, car-seats
and other essential baby and nursery items. This way the mother
can shop for their new baby in the comfort of their own home,
yet still maintaining the luxury of choice.

The weight gained during pregnancy because of the steadily
growing baby can often lead to stretchmarks. This can be
unsightly although they tend to fade eventually. But sometimes,
pregnant women can feel as if they are not looking their best
and the onslaught of these marks can be upsetting to many women
but they can be avoided or at least minimized with certain
creams and oils designed for pregnancy. Rubbing a pregnant
belly with cocoa butter or similar products can keep the skin
smooth, taut and stretchy and even better is the fact that an
unborn child will often respond to this type of touch.

Getting a Nursery Ready for a New Baby

A lot of preparation goes into the time before a baby is born.
Many items and products are needed such as baby clothing and
lotions and somewhere is needed to store all of this extra
baggage. Those who are lucky enough to have room for a baby
nursery, pregnancy can be the perfect time to prepare this room.
Finding the right color scheme can sometimes depend on
discovering the gender of the new arrival but there are many
colors which are not aimed at any particular gender. The room
also needs to be furnished with the rest of the essential items
that a baby needs.

The sheer number of things that can be placed in a nursery can
be a bit steep on the wallet but luckily a baby shower can help
to alleviate the cost by giving family and friends a chance to
purchase some keepsakes as well as necessary items such as
bedding for the new arrival. Some of the items given can be
duplicates or similar so it is a good idea to let the guests
know beforehand what exactly is needed or by preparing a list
similar to a wedding list at a certain shop so that they will
all know what gifts have already been purchased.

About The Author: Kimberly Carlson is an author and devoted
mother of two little ones. You may find more of her poignant
articles at

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Care Of Baby Teeth: What A Parent Should Know

Of course, with your newborn, you won't be worrying about tooth
care. However, as your child gets older, you'll want to know
how to take care of your older baby's or toddler's teeth.
Caring for a baby's or toddler's teeth can be challenging, but
it's still important. Here are some tips you should follow.

When new teeth come in

As any new parent knows, by the time a baby is just a few
months old, he or she may be cutting a first tooth. This is
where the care of baby teeth starts. First of all, to help the
baby teethe, you can purchase specially made teething rings that
usually can be put in the freezer and made cold and hard.
Babies love to chew on these, since they help ease the pain and
also help new teeth break through the gums.

Oftentimes, children get slight colds or runny noses during the
teething process. If this happens, or if your child is running
a slight fever, you can wipe the child with a damp washcloth to
make him or her feel better. If the fever persists, make sure
to contact your pediatrician or other health care professional
to see what interventions you might do. For example, you might
be able to give the child a little baby Tylenol or some other
type of pain reliever. This will not only help fever go down,
but it will also help ease the teething pain.

Once your child has a few teeth, you can begin to introduce him
or her to proper oral hygiene. For very, very small babies with
few or no teeth, a warm, clean, wet washcloth rubbed on gums may
be enough to help keep the mouth clean. Of course, always put
your child to bed with only a bottle of water, no milk or juice.
Once your child is a bit older, you'll want to begin to
introduce him or her to brushing teeth. At first, do this
yourself with a soft brush and a little baby tooth paste.
Brushing your child's teeth while he or she is still young will
help him or her get used to the process.

Of course, once your child gets older, around the age of five
or six, the baby teeth will start to fall out and adult teeth
will start to come in. Once this begins to happen, remember to
make it fun and exciting. Of course, children usually like this
process, because the tooth fairy visits and they get a little
spending money for their trouble. Make sure to make the process
even easier by providing soft foods if the child has trouble
chewing after he or she loses the tooth.

With a little luck and some planning, your child's teeth will
take him or her to adulthood healthy and strong. Good oral
hygiene is a must for this, so start early by both practicing
good hygiene and taking the child to the dentist for regular

About The Author: Peyton Hines is both a parent, grandparent
and has coached children athletics for years. He has written
articles on a wide variety of topics. To learn more about
general baby care tips and information visit our site at

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A Look At Baby Gift Basket Ideas

Planning to host a baby shower? Or a friend of yours recently gave birth to a healthy bouncing baby? How else could you express that you care for that friend of yours and her baby? A baby gift basket could be the best present that would express your concern.

A baby gift basket is one of those themed gift baskets that are presented containing items that are of value to the recipient. Oftentimes these baby gift baskets contain the following items that will surely give delight to the new parents and to the new addition. You could make use of this information to create or stuff your own baby gift basket that will rid you of those more expensive commercialized kinds.

Nursery room items are always popular. These include colorful mobiles to keep the baby busy, lullaby music to soothe the infant, and nursery rhymes CD's. Bigger items like layettes, changing mats for tables and cribs, and other furniture for the baby may be found in deluxe baby gift baskets. Educational toys are also good to make the baby gift basket more beneficial in stimulating the baby's mental development.

Toys R Us. The following toys are also nice to place inside your baby gift basket. Rattles, pacifiers, teethers, feeding bottles, infant cups, bibs and spoons are also useful add-ons in your baby gift basket.

Bath products for babies are also commonly found in baby gift baskets. These include baby shampoo, baby powder, baby towels, wipes, bubble bath; brush set and tub toys that the baby will surely enjoy in the near future. Baby clothing's could also be considered as one of the best baby gift basket goodies that one could ever give. Just be sure that the clothes you'll give suit the gender of the baby.

If you are to a baby gift basket to someone with a toddler or a young kid, the items should also suit the baby's age. Soft toys, board books, board games, piggy banks will certainly win the jump with delight of a toddler. Clothes for toddlers are also nice to include in your baby gift basket.

If one is intending to give the baby gift basket as a baby shower present, it will be nice if baby cookies, baby cakes, jelly beans and other baby foods will be found there. Announcement and invitation cards may also bring some added surprise to the recipient of the basket. Small picture frames and albums could also add more fun to your baby gift basket. Surely, this sweet gesture will be appreciated.

Gourmet food, wines and other fine food may also be placed inside a baby gift basket for the parent's celebration.

Oftentimes, bows and ruffles adorn the baby gift basket. But one could still be more creative by doing a decoupage of baby pictures or baby items. Other handmade crafts may add personal touch to your basket. They could be in the form of paper mache', origami, sculpture, small painting, woven or knitted items, etc.

If the one giving the baby gift basket intends to give it during a christening celebration or baptism, a small bible, silver cups and any symbolic item that adheres to the theme of the celebration and that the recipient's religion appreciates may also be placed in the basket.

A small gesture like giving out a well-thought of baby basket can surely go a long way. The recipient's smile is enough to mean a sincere "thank you".

Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get quality baby gifts at http://www.babygiftsplusmore

Why Babies Cry And How To Tell What They Want

Communication - that's what a baby's crying is for. This sweet thing that suddenly turns into a fit of tears is just craving for your attention. All cultures in the world nod to this pattern all infants are accustomed to.

A baby cries the most during his or her first three months. Though the amount of crying steadily increase, the crying time period may vary from an hour to most of the day and this could still be considered within normal range. Like, whoa, right? Babies are also known as howling tear factories.

Some thought that a baby cries more during the afternoon accounting it to the anxiousness of the mother or the stressed mood of the father after going home from work. But the most accepted assumption now is that babies have this automatic screening ability they use to shut off all the noise that may stimulate some response from them so they could get enough rest. But in the long run, this filter weakens and totally disappears during the approximate age of six weeks. This, then, make a baby very sensitive to the external factors such as noise, movements, etc. And these generally elicit a reaction from a baby and how best he or she could respond but only through crying.

There are many reasons why a baby succumbs to crying. Deciphering these reasons is the major feat a parent must surmount. Here are some of the things your baby is making you understand through crying.

Hunger. Yes, your attention-hungry baby is craving to let you know that his tummy is grumbling. This is the most common reason for a baby to cry, especially, during his early months. The pattern of the hunger howl could be characterized as being persistent, demanding and almost rhythmical. But that rhythm is not at any rate close to becoming musical, of course.

Boredom. What can I say? Aren't these babies just plain spoiled? Crying because of boredom, errr, I'd find that a bit more twisted or weird if it's with an adult that is. But babies are really built like this. Crying is their way of telling you, "Hey get me a life here!" Aside from attention and food, consequently, babies need a lot of stimulation. And when they don't get this, there you get your waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!! The trick is to pick the baby up and play with him. This move may be frowned upon by some because of its amounting to spoiling the baby. But it is important to know that stimulation is also one of the major necessities of an infant and it won't hurt to provide him with some while in his growing age. This boredom cry is said to be also rhythmical and full of sobs and moans.

Discomfort. pain is another precursor of the baby's crying. Who won't cry when in pain, right? Babies are not major pains to endure the most excruciating discomfort they could undergo. They are little, vulnerable beings that need to be attended to when injured or when in an inconvenient situation. This cry could be more persistent, louder and more demanding. Shrieking and screaming, those are words that better describe the crying pattern roused by pain.

Another cause may be disturbance; surely, howling will proceed just when they're about to sleep or are already fast asleep and suddenly gets surprised by some noise, or movement. An illness that causes discomfort to a baby may also be the reason for a baby's bursting into fit of tears.

Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. To get quality baby strollers for you baby go to

Fun Baby Games To Play At The Baby Shower

Anyone who has ever has a baby knows that babies are lots of fun but baby shower games are fun for everyone because the mom-to-be, grandparents, and all the other adults get the opportunity to play like a kid. Some of the more popular baby games played at baby showers are Baby Truth or Dare, Measuring Up Mommy, and Sing It Baby!

Baby shower games like these are some of the ones that are played most frequently and are a simple way of showing the new mom-to-be that she is much highly thought of and appreciated. They also make for a great icebreaker helping people to get together and know each other better.

So how are these baby games played? Let's take a look at each one.

Baby Truth or Dare is a great baby game for those who love trivia, particularly baby trivia. To play the game you will want to have baby trivia facts written down ahead of time and include correct and incorrect answers. As you play the game you will ask guest at random whether a baby fact that you state is true or false. If one answers correctly they are rewarded with some type of prize while those guess the wrong answer are given a dare to take.

Measuring Up Mommy is another fun game, just be sure that mommy is okay with this before you plan it! Some mommys-to-be may be too sensitive about their belly size! This game gives everyone at the baby shower the opportunity to measure the size of mommy's belly. You start the game by having toilet paper rolls ready for the guests to use in order to guess the size. Each participant in this game will cut the toilet paper to the size that they think will fit mommy's waist. Once this is done each guest wraps their paper around the mommy-to-be's waist with the one coming nearest to guessing right being declared the winner.

Sing it Baby is a game in which each guest must sing a couple of lines from a song that includes the word, baby. You organize the game by having everyone gather in a circle which can be standing or sitting. When the first player finishes their song, the next person to the right gets ten seconds to sing a song with baby in it. The songs cannot be repeated and anyone who cannot think of one or repeats one that has already been sung gets kicked out of the game

These are some of the more fun of the baby shower games I know of, you can probably think of some more.

Gregg Hall is an author and internet marketing consultant living in Navarre Florida. Find more about birth announcements and baby shower invitations at

How To Massage Your Baby To Help Them Sleep

There is nothing like the feel and smell of your baby. It is what bonds Mother and child. The most common way to calm a fussy child is to pick them up and cuddle. It is a psychological and physiological need in every human. It is important to have that human contact, the feel of skin to skin. It is a part of the development and socialization of a baby.

Massaging your baby can be relaxing and stimulating at the same time. How can that be, you ask? Even babies have certain levels of stress even though they don't really do anything and can't watch the news to obtain outside stresses. One of the most stressful things for a baby is to be separated from its mother or care giver. When mother and child are reunited after a work day often the first thing the mother will do is to hug the baby. This reassures the baby and calms the mother too.

The initial contact with mother will calm and relax the child but how is it stimulating? Babies'
muscles are not developed and can only become useful through use and control. When massaging a baby, you are making that baby aware of their different body parts. They might not realize what is down there or what they can do with it. Massage and exercise of the baby's legs will strengthen them for the time when the baby will crawl or walk. Even a very young baby can try to extend their legs and stand or bounce when held. They same is true for the babies arms. It can also develop better hand to eye coordination. Even though most babies are good at getting things into their mouths, there are different tasks they may enjoy when they can control their limbs.

A mother should develop a routine for massage. A good time is in the evening after a bath. For some babies, bath time can be very stressful even if they do it every day. Afterward the mother can lay the baby down and massage baby oil or lotion into its skin. This is soothing and calming for the baby and good for the baby's skin too. There are also scented baby oils that can be used to calm. In recent years the use of lavender scented products has become a popular way to provide aromatherapy for infants.

After the baby has been massaged and dressed it is time for the final feeding. After the feeding it is best to hold the baby close and rock them, rubbing and patting their back can eliminate any gassy build up that can prevent the baby from sleeping well. When done properly the baby should feel very relaxed and assured from the parent and sleep well.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. For more on baby health or baby nursery bedding go to

A Few Great Ideas For Baby Shower Gifts

For many people the idea of trying to find a really good baby gift for a baby shower is a difficult one. Even those of use who have children may have grown out of touch a little; I know I have since my son is now 16 years old and near six feet tall!

It doesn't have to be a daunting task and these days many couples already know the sex of the baby which makes it even easier on those doing the gifting.

One gift that anyone can use of course is a mobile. Depending on whether you know if a baby boy or girl is expected you can buy one that has a masculine or feminine theme and if you know the couple well and are privy to their choice of d├ęcor you may even match that.

Another nice gift that can come in handy is a baby quilt. This can be especially fun if you are one of those crafty people that like to sew. There are many things that can be done with a quilt. You can customize it with family items or if you have enough advance notice you can even have a square personalized by each guest that will be attending the baby shower.

Another nice and thoughtful thing you can do is to put together a scrapbook. This can be personalized with everyone in attendance adding to it and signing it and will be a treasure later on.

One person who is often overlooked is the prospective daddy. It will definitely be a welcome surprise to include a small gift for him to open with the mommy-to-be and other family members later.

If the baby shower is happening very close to the expected due date another thoughtful thing to do for both the mom and dad is to bring some prepared food dishes that can be frozen and reheated during that first week or so after mom and baby come home.

Of course, if all else fails you can't go wrong with diapers! Diapers can be an expensive burden on a new couple and will be most appreciated.

These ideas are just a guideline to get you started, I am sure you can think of many more. Just remember, the baby isn't going to be up and around for several months and giving gifts that make the work of raising a newborn baby easier will always be appreciated by both parents.

Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get the best baby gifts at

Saturday, October 27, 2007

As I Promised... The Story of Baby Deuce

April 26th was a happy day for James and I. It was confirmed that we were pregnant. We immediately knew what his name was. James just KNEW the baby was a boy! We decided to name him after him; James Seth- We'd call him "Deuce", as he would be the second. (Deuce means "2")

As the months went on, on occasion, I'd ask James what time it was, or he would ask me. The time would often be---"something": 11.

In other words, it could be 1:11, 2:11, 3:11, 4:11, 5:11, 6:11, 7:11, 8:11, 9:11, 10:11, 11:11, or 12:11.

This happened often enough to where it was recognized! It started to happen strangely! We could be sitting and watching television, and he or I would look casually at the cable box, and it would be 8:11!!! We would be in the car and he or I would need know the time and it was and it would be 10:11!! This went on continuously. We began to see this a good 4-6 times within a day.

One of the times, James said, "This is Deuce, Deuce!" Ever since we adopted the number 11 as Deuce! Deuce means "2". One and one is two.

This continued for months!! Every time this happened, we'd get all excited and shout, "Deuce Booty!" or "Deuce, Deuce!" And I'd rub my belly and smile.

On September 13, 2007, our Deuce Booty was removed from my belly by emergency c-section. When I woke up from surgery, I heard a baby cry. The nurse was in my room. I said drowsily, "Is that my baby?" She said, "No, that's another woman's baby in the room on the other side of the curtain."

I felt so sad. I hadn't seen my baby. I hadn't held him. I hadn't heard him cry. I kept asking for my son and I was being told that I'd have to wait because he was being stabilized. They were preparing to send him to a more experienced hospital that specializes in premature babies.

I felt so empty. It was only James and I and boy did we worry about our son. James couldn't even see him. Through the rest of the day and through the night, our spirits continued to be brighter when we'd spontaneously see "something":11.

When I was released from the hospital, and was able to begin seeing my baby boy at the new hospital, the "something":11's continued. By now, it was so regular to us that we'd announce it in the middle of conversation, smile, and continue on.

As you may know, Deuce did very well in the hospital. He was a trooper. It's pretty clear. But if you are a NICU parent, or Preemie parent, you know that there are very scary moments. His first scary moment was his VAD surgery. I posted about that and it was awesome because his bedside was number 11. YAY! Before his surgery, I was at his bedside typing on my laptop. The log that I typed AFTER that surgery ended at 4:11 pm, so there-you have witnessed it. I looked at the clock, and that's what time it was.

Deuce was then transported back to his regular hospital and we continued to spend time with him, and continued to recognize the number "11". It was in the time, and in other random things.

On Monday, October 15th, we received a devastating call. They were preparing to transport Deuce back to the surgical hospital. They said he developed NEC and he had a perforation in his intestine. He would need surgery. I asked when they would be transporting him. They said the transport team would be on their way as soon as they received my verbal consent over the telephone. I consented.

When Deuce arrived at the hospital, the nurse explained many things to me and gave me information of his transport condition and details like visiting hours and his bedside number. That conversation devastated me even more.

Deuce's condition there deteriorated quickly. James and I felt helpless. We couldn't help our son. Still unable to hold him, we couldn't protect him. We prayed, and many of you prayed as well. We had strength from all over the world for Deuce. So many people loved this miracle baby. We had our family by our side, especially our parents, and the number "11". We soon began receiving extra doses positive energy from the number "11" as it showed up in other forms. We noticed that we'd randomly look at the clock, and it would be 5:33. We'd add up the numbers. 5+3+3 equals "11"!! We still would see it, in and out of the hospital--regularly. By now, "11" was like a part of the family. It made us smile, it gave us hope.

Patrice Walker is a preemie mom who enjoys sharing her son Deuce's story with the world. Finish this incredible true story on her blog:

Friday, October 26, 2007

3 Free, Must-Use Baby Resources For Easy Parenting

There is some debate among mothers about what is the best
advice for easily raising their babies. Is it following the
guidelines of a specific guru? Finding out what works by
trial and error? Listening to friends and family? Following
the latest hot advice?

Here's what I consider the best approach for moms all over
the world... learning from others.

I'm sure you are well aware that there are some universal
keys to baby development. That is, babies all over the
world develop according to the same principles.
Fortunately, almost all of these development principles and
how to handle them have at some point in time been
recorded, reported or experienced.

The only thing that you need to do... is find this
information... and then use it.

What follows is my suggested list of 3 free baby
information resources which you can start using today for
the best advice to easily raise your baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

Raising your baby easily and effortlessly begins with
knowing the answers to the "common" questions. That is,
there are a few problems almost all parents experience and
want to know the answers to. The first approach is knowing
the answers to these "common" difficulties. And then to
avoid these pitfalls.

A quick and easy way of learning from others is to study
the frequently asked questions asked by other parents.

** BabyZone is one such online site with content and
resources covering the most important questions you may
have. It's an excellent destination for answers, timely
suggestions, advice, lessons and tutorials on pregnancy,
childbirth and parenting. access this great resource at

Discussion Forums

The second resource is to take part in some kind of open
discussion. Rather than struggling to find out what works
and what not, learn from others. Somewhere someone has
already experienced and solved the same problem as you. And
is willing to share the experience. Forums allow you to ask
questions, express your opinion, and learn from others.

** has a number of forums broken down by due date
months, breastfeeding, caesareans, baby naming, pregnancy
loss and more. You can enter as a guest and browse the
previous posts, but you must register before posting or
answering a message that's already there. Registering is
quick, simple, and free at

"Looking Over The Shoulder"

One thing many parents find difficult is knowing how to do
the things they read or hear. Despite getting all the
information, some of us simply learn better and faster by
seeing rather than by reading. That's where local guidance
centres are invaluable. It's a great resource for sharing
information and experiences many parents often overlook.
But obviously, it's not meant to substitute consultations
with medical practitioners.

** The Expectant Mother's Guide provides pregnancy,
childbirth, and baby-related information for parents in
specific metropolitan areas. Much of the available articles
and resources are specific to a particular city or region.
Consult for a list of
countries and cities covered and served.

In order to consistently make the best decisions raising
your baby, several things need to be considered. You want
the information most suited to your situation. And you want
to get it quickly and easily. These 3 free resources will
surely help any parent to achieve that goal almost every

About the Author:

Dalene Joubert is the author of The Baby Resource Bible - a
free, comprehensive baby resource ebook for anyone wanting
the best baby resources they can start using right now.
Grab your copy at:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

7 Of The Best Baby Shower Invitation Ideas For A Unique Mom-To-Be Occasion

Baby shower invitation ideas need to represent the sense of joy
and expectation that a tiny new life awakens in the
parents-to-be and all their family and friends. The invites are
likely to set the tone for the day and you have to plan them
with care. They should fit into the general theme of the party.
Choose a unique baby shower invitation idea that will become a
delightful memento of the imminent arrival of another special
boy or girl.

You probably know the mom-to-be well enough to be able to form
an idea about what she will enjoy. Perhaps you can start by
looking at the nursery and use the decor as a theme for the
party. For instance, if there is a classic Winnie The Pooh crib,
you can build the event around that. There will be more than
enough material available. If the furnishings feature African
safari crib bedding, you can use all sorts of cuddly animals to
create a delightful and unique baby shower invitation idea,
filled with animal antics. Tiny, fluffy animals can accompany
the invites.

Although the occasion needs to be spirited and lighthearted,
don't try to be too funny. This is not the time to embarrass the
mom. Remember that she is likely to feel somewhat emotional and
overloaded, so to speak. Be sensitive to her feelings and state
of mind. Make sure that it is a day that ensures her of the
support, love and care of all her friends and family. Make it a
pick-me-up afternoon that will add to her excitement about the
arrival of the baby.

Your unique baby shower invitation idea can include the basics,
such as the name of the mom-to-be and her baby (if this has been
decided), the date and time, the address and directions, and
RSVP and a telephone number. If arrangements have been made for
a gift registry, this information can also be mentioned here.
Many invites include a fun poem.

1. Distribute Mini Diapers

These are always a hit and will bring a smile every time. You
can cut nappy-squares from your choice of paper or flannel.
Decorate them as you wish and write all the details neatly with
a felt-tip pen. Then fold them into triangles and further as you
would a diaper. The finishing touch is a small diaper pin. A
variation on this theme is to use real, disposable diapers. This
may not be so cute, but can also do the job. You can then write
all the details on the nappy.

2. Launch A Mini Library

Story-times in a nursery glider or rocking chair are always
special, almost right from the start. Use your baby shower
invitation idea to help the new mom to build a book collection
well in advance of the nap-time tale hours. Create a story book
theme around old favorites and ask each guest to bring her
special read. It can be a childhood treasure of her own, or it
can be her child's read-it-again books. Personalize the idea by
asking each person to include a short inscription in the book,
detailing why it is the source of happy book-hour memories. If
the theme revolves around animals, ask for books in which animal
characters feature.

3. Down A Mom Memory Lane

As most guests will probably know the mom-to-be well, ask them
to compile a small scrap-book filled with memories and pictures
of their contact with her over the years. If they know her from
childhood, that much the better. Ask them to tell stories about
growing up with her, special occasions, pranks or her school
years. These will become treasures later on.

4. Message In A Bottle

Design your invitation on quality paper. Roll it up and tie a
colorful ribbon around it. You can even cut out bottle-shaped
invitations for this purpose. Pop this into a baby bottle. Ask
the guest to bring the bottle to the shower, so that the mom can
collect them. If real bottles are too expensive for you, buy
small doll-sized bottles, make a hole in the invitation and tie
it with a ribbon to the bottle. For variations on this theme,
use pacifiers or bibs. If you use a bottle, baby shower favors
and other interesting goodies can be added.

5. Baby Babble

Create cards that appear to be written by the on-the-way
infant. This can be adorable. If you have access to an
ultrasound image, you can make copies and use it to decorate the
card. Write a sweet message from the baby, inviting each guest
personally to attend the joyous occasion. This is an
inexpensive, yet original idea.

6. Practical Mom Treats

Create a list of practical treats and help the new mom will
treasure and appreciate during the first few weeks with the new
arrival. These can include assistance with family meals, sending
her for a beauty treatment, arranging time away for the new
parents, offers to baby sit while she has some quiet time with a
chocolate and a magazine, doing some cleaning for her, or a
collection of bath treats. Ask the guests to choose from this
list and surprise the family with some much needed help once the
baby arrives. Most new moms will feel totally overwhelmed at
some point and a kind gesture from a friend can be just the lift
she needs on a particularly exhausting day. This is a unique
baby shower invitation idea that will be appreciated.

7. Spoil-Shower

If you can afford it and plan to invite only women, why not
arrange with beautician friends to help you to organize a treat
for them all. Design the baby shower invitation idea around a
beauty feast for moms. Perhaps you can do it in the form of a
special 'pass' that will allow them access to a variety of fun
treats, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, manicures, pedicures
or make-up advice. You can fill small containers with a fragrant
lavender bubble bath and tie the 'pass' to it with a ribbon. At
that stage of the pregnancy, the mom-to-be will probably love to
be pampered for an afternoon. If you can hold the party at a
spa, so much the better.

These are just a few ideas to get your mind into the right
gear. Your friend will love you for the effort you put into the
arrangements. She will feel special and adored. Most of all, she
won't be able to wait for the baby to arrive. Remember to ask
that guests bring a small gift or sweetie for the siblings. They
can easily feel neglected when all the attention is focused on
the soon-to-arrive infant.

Don't stress about the occasion. Make the unique baby shower
invitation idea fun and enjoy yourself.

About The Author: - Quick facts
about baby furniture, crib bedding and nursery accessories. Read
about personalized baby blankets in the article: A Personalized
Baby Blanket A Baby-Soft Newborn Gift Idea And Keepsake

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