weebly statistics
Home About Links Contacts Show Show

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

41p0vy8-3ml_sl500_aa240_ Imagine yourself living in post WWII England. There are buildings that have been condemned due to safety hazards with people living in them anyway.  There are bomb shelters and buildings that have been damaged by bombings.  You live in London’s East End and you work with people who you have been sheilded from your whole life.  You are a nurse, training to be a midwife and living in a convent with nuns and other nurses.  You aren’t too big into religious things so living in a convent with nuns is interesting. You are thankful that you don’t have  to go to the services, and yet thankful for living in community with these fascinating women.  You go out on a bicycle, your only means of transportation, on daily calls to the people in the East End–mostly in the tennements (otherwise known as slums)–even in the rain.  You do prenatal care and help to deliver babies.  Sometimes you help the other nurse nun who you don’t get along with too well do patient care visits to the older, sick people in the community. You discover that a family with 10 children can live in a two bedroom flat and that laundry can be hung anywhere and everywhere. 

Jennifer Worth, a midwife from the 1950′s did all of these things.  This book, The Midwife, is a biography of her life as a midwife. She went to live in the London Docklands to serve a wide community of people as a nurse-midwife. The area she served dealt with fighting, drunkenness, and poverty.  The overcrowded area seemed to welcome crime.  The people were also hard working, trying to make a living and the men trying to provide for their families.    

Her memoir is definitely an interesting read.  The chapters are story clips of women whose births she attended, difficult births, families with domestic violence, families with great love for one another, a prostitute, and nuns she worked with.  She paints an amazing picture of what life was like back then. I enjoyed learning about some of the history of London and especially enjoyed learning about the Cockney dialect.  Her stories are engaging and easy to read.  

You don’t have to be a midwife or even particularly interested in “birthy things” to enjoy this book.  This book helped me to appreciate some of the modern day conveniences we have as mothers.  Indoor toilets, running water, washing machines!  Can you imaging having 10 children with no running water in your house and no washing machine?  Can you imagine how much of your day would be spent simply washing clothes?  It helped me to appreciate the amount of space we have for our own living quarters and that there aren’t abandoned bomb shelters nearby with people doing all sorts of terrible things while my children are outside playing.

One of my favorite chapters is about a woman from Spain, who only speaks Spanish, who is married to a man who only speaks English.  Oh, and they have 25 children!!!  25 children!  Can you imagine?  Their story is heartwarming and leaves you with your jaw dropped.  

If you go on Amazon and read the other reviews of the book, I think you’ll want to find your own copy to read.

Magazines for Kids (from a magazine junkie’s perspective)


It seems like I’m always writing about books, an article I read here, a website I found there.  I guess that says something about how I like to spend some of my free time (escape from the kids time).  


Instead of writing about some enjoyable reading resource for us moms, I thought I would write about magazines for kids this week.  My mom loves to spoil the kids and she has ordered us some subscriptions to some fun magazines.  I thought I’d give a review on the ones we have received in case you were looking for some fun reading material for your own kids.  They also make great gifts for others if you are looking for something a little educational and fun that lasts all year long.  



1. Ladybug Magazine- We were given a bagful of some old magazines by our neighbor who had read and reread them to several of her 

children.  I had never heard of Ladybug before, but I gotta tell you that my 4 and 5 year old LOVE them.  We had a stack of about 20-30 magazines and we have read them so many times that they can look at the covers and know what is inside.  Ladybug is a great magazine for preschoolers and toddlers. Each magazine usually focuses on some kind of theme, like rain, and will incorporate rain into several of the stories.  The magazine is full of short stories, one or two longer stories, a song, some poems, and two cartoons that are simple-with easy to love characters.  When my mom came to visit she read several of the magazines to them and decided to order a subscription.  They squeal with delight when one comes in the mail.  


images-1.jpeg 2. Zootles- Another good find.  Zootles is a magazine for 2-5 year olds.  It focuses on on animal and has several stories, pictures, and facts about the animal of the month. It also introduces a letter and a number in each issue.  A one year subscription provides 6 issues since it only comes out every other month.  The kids also enjoyed this one and learned a lot about animals.  







images-3.jpeg 3. Zoobooks- Is made by the same company as Zootles but is geared for older kids. The stories and information in the magazines is more complex.  The kids also had this magazine for a while.  They really enjoyed it.








images-7.jpeg 4. National Geographic Kids- This is a fun magazine too but it is definitely geared for kids 7 and up.  I actually enjoy reading this one more than my kids do–but I imagine that it is entertaining for kids in the right age group.  The magazine has fun articles about living green and how kids can contribute to caring for the earth.  It has funny jokes, wild and interesting facts, amazing but true stories about animals, movie reviews from a kid’s perspective, and lots of ads for video games (that part I don’t like so much).






images-4.jpeg 5. Kids Discover- Is geared for 7-12 year olds. Another gift from my mom.  I think she was trying to give them something that was interesting and educational.  I have to say it was a flop–but they were just too young.  Again, I enjoyed reading it more than the kids. If the boys were a few years older, I think they would enjoy some of the magazines a lot.  We did sit down and read the last issue together because it was about chocolate.  And who doesn’t love chocolate?  We were all fascinated about the science of how chocolate is made and where it comes from.  This magazine would make a great addition to any homeschooling family!





images.jpeg 6. Highlights Top Secret Adventures- This one showed up in our mailbox and we were all intrigued.  A new package comes in the mail every month and the kids squeal again when they see it.  Top Secret Adventures is a kit that includes a small puzzle of a country, a book about the country containing facts and information about the culture, people, regions, major cities, language, and food.  It also includes a puzzle book where you enter a journey as a top secret agent trying to figure out who the crook is, what they stole, and where it is hidden.  The puzzles teach kids how to think critically and logically.  I’m sure you can tell by the sound of it, that is is not geared toward the preschool ages but my kids love it.  We sit and do it together.  They of course, need help with all the reading but there are some puzzles they can do without our help and we have noticed in the last few months that they are able to understand and do more without so much help from us.  It is something I would enjoy doing by myself too!  


images-5.jpeg 7. Highlights Hidden Pictures Playground- If you have kids who love stickers, like to draw, and maybe do seek and find pictures then this is a good magazine.  My kids aren’t into it very much though.  I’m not sure why but I think it is because they don’t love to color. I usually do bring the magazines with us on long car rides or plane trips to give them something to do for a while.  They don’t squeal with delight when it comes in the mail or piles up in their book corner but it does provide something different to do while we are traveling.  





images-6.jpeg 8. God’s World News Early Edition- Is a gift from my in-laws.  I have found it to be interesting and enjoyable too.  The magazine covers a broad spectrum of stories happening around the world.  It touches on animals, history, science, culture all through the perspective that God cares about our world and what happens in it.  Young readers or preschoolers will like looking at the pictures and reading some of the simple stories in it.  There are sections marked for parents to read to children (who are too young to read themselves).  It also has a few puzzle games in it for a fun follow up activity.  





Wow, I didn’t realize that we had so many subscriptions in the past few years until writing them down.  Do you get any magazines for your kids?  Which ones?  Had any bombs?  Which ones?  Don’t be shy–share your opinion!


5 Baby Name Book Reviews

by Amanda on February 16, 2009
category: Pregnancy,Product Reviews

I have mentioned before that I am currently in the process of picking baby names for my second little one coming in 4 weeks. We didn’t find out the gender so we have to pick out a boy and a girl name. It is one of the most exciting and difficult parts of having children. That is a lot of a pressure on a parent! Luckily I have a stack of baby name books to help me in the process. I like going to my library and checking out almost every baby name book they have. Here is a review of the stack currently sitting on my desk.

coolnames.jpg ‘Cool Names’ is a book of lists broken down into four different categories: Mainstream Names, Famous Names, Old Names, and Creative Names.  There is a February 2008 edition with a turquoise cover and an August 2003 edition with a red cover. Both are great sources if you are trying to find a name that is a little off the grid. Some of the lists are titled, “Old Lady Cool,” “Neo-Yuppie Cool Names,” and “Foreign Word Names.” Some of the names are completely off the wall, but it is a fun short book to look through.

50000.jpg ’50,000+ Baby Names!’ is a great companion book to the authors’ other book ‘Cool Names’ because you can find a name in ‘Cool Names’ and then look up the definition of the name in the this book. It is also a good baby name book just to read through. I like that it puts a gray box and star next to up-and-coming names. It also has an arrow facing up or down next to names to indicate the trend in popularity. In addition to the definition of the name it also gives an opinion about the name and how it is interpreted in our current culture.

worldofbabynames.jpg We found our first child’s name, Annabelle, in this book. It was sitting in our doctor’s office and my husband was reading through the Spanish section during a visit and found ‘Anabel.’ We decided to go with the most traditional spelling, but I like how this book is broken down into the origin of the name and gives a whole definition of a name. ‘A World of Baby Names’ is comprehensive and has a lot of names from foreign countries.

puffy.jpg I picked this one up from the library, because it looked interesting. It is not very comprehensive at all. Each chapter titled by a letter begins with advice in a section called ‘Crib Notes’ which contains comments on famous names, ‘Pocket Ts,’ ‘Trendy Suspenders,’ and ‘Think long, think hard.’ Unfortunately this advice is out of date ten years after being published. It also doesn’t seem to give full definitions of the names. Overall this book is okay, but I wouldn’t use it as my sole source of baby name information.

20001.jpg I found this book in my coat closet left by the previous owners of my house. They knew that we were buying a 4 bedroom to fill it up with kids. They themselves had four children and moved out because the house became too small for them. It seems that I live in a fertile house! ’20,001’ was published in 1999 and is a no-fuss, easy to read baby name book. It has all the mainstream and common names and is great for a quick resource to look up a definition rather quickly.

It seems that I am obsessed with baby name books. I also like looking through them at Barnes and Nobles. I brought them all with me to the hospital when I gave birth to my first one, so we could pick a middle name. I am determined to have a first and middle name chosen before we go into labor this time!

Book Review: Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul

by Amanda on February 1, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Product Reviews

parentinginc.JPG If you are interested in the marketing perspective of baby products, then Pamela Paul’s “Parenting, Inc.” is a great read for you. The tagline on the front of the book reads, “How we are sold on $800 strollers, fetal education, baby sign language, sleeping coaches, toddler couture, and diaper warmers – and what it means for our children.” The author shares her own anecdotes while breaking down the history of various baby phenomenons such as baby mega stores, edutainment, and the InStyle-ization of parenthood.

The book begins by tackling the question of – Should the decision of having a child be based a family’s financial status? Then Paul breaks down the cost of having children in today’s world versus the world of our parents. Apparently costs started rising in the 1980s when baby boomers entered parenthood.

The first chapter titled “The Mother Load” is an interesting look into how baby mega stores like Buybuy Baby and Babies R Us came into existence in the 1990s. According to the book the “ ‘mom market’ is said to be 1.7 trillion, with the toy industry for babies birth to age two alone generating $700 million a year.” It is not surprising to hear these numbers if you have ever walked into the toy section of Target or a Babies R Us.

I found the history recount of baby formula fascinating in the second chapter titled, “Target: Parents.”  German chemist, Justus von Liebig, was the first to create a baby formula in 1867.  The product grew from that year forward and really took off in the 1950s. In 1974 deceptive marketing practices such as sales people dressing up as nurses in Africa to promote the product were uncovered and many people boycotted Nestle. In response to the boycott Nestle came out with the DHA/ARA supplement in formula as a new way to market its formula. The chapter recognizes the benefits of formula while spilling its history and how it is marketed to parents.

The third chapter breaks down the Baby Einstein phenomenon and how toys and television shows are created to educate children. Basically, parents shouldn’t really expect shows and toys to educate our kids and parents are the best teachers. Even though some parents feel inadequate and don’t feel like they are doing a good job, they truly are the most effective teachers that a child has.

The ‘Pampered’ chapter explains how the price point of strollers and designer cribs were raised and the media’s growing interest in celebrity babies. Particularly intriguing is how celebrities are given tons of free products in hope that they will be photographed by the paparazzi. So when they are seen with a certain stroller it may not be the safest or best product available, it may have been the closest one to the door before they left. This chapter also gives us insight into the new trend of junior country clubs.

Other chapters cover the marketing behind baby classes, outsourcing parenthood, birthday party trends, the benefits of a hyper-marketing culture, and so much more.

The author concludes by stating that we need to teach our children that their worth is not derived from material things. Children will benefit more from what we deny them and teaching delayed gratification rather than buying all the newest and greatest products. Overall, ‘Parenting, Inc.’ is current, well written, very well researched and easy to read if you are interested in the subject matter.

My Most Favorite Books About Down Syndrome

by McKenna on November 17, 2008
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Down syndrome,Product Reviews,Special needs

When we found out Darah most likely had Down syndrome during my pregnancy, I immediately started my quest of finding out anything and everything there was to Down syndrome.  I am a research junkie and I have purchased more than a few books about Down syndrome.  I would love to share with you  my most favorite books about Down syndrome.  I strongly recommend any new or expectant parent of a baby with Down syndrome add these books to their library or at the very least check them out from their library.  Our local Down Syndrome Association has a library for parents to borrow books from; yours may have the same!  These books also make great gifts for grandparents,  extended family members, child care providers, etc… of babies born with Down syndrome.

Common Threads coverweb_2840.jpg

  • I have the coffee table version of this beautiful book, and I can’t wait until my children are old enough for me to actually keep it out without being destroyed.  This book was given to me after Darah was born and I was immediately encouraged by the beautiful pictures and stories.  I did not learn a whole lot about the medical issues or the developmental delays in my daughter from this book.  I learned the more important things. I learned how beautiful the life of a person with Down syndrome is and this book helped me so much during my early days of grieving.

Roadmap to Holland roadmap.jpg

  • I wish I would have had this book when Darah was first born!  Jennifer Graf Gronberg writes about the first two years of raising her son with Down syndrome.  It is honest, insightful, and encouraging!  Every new parent needs to read this book! This book’s title is inspired by the incredibly well written depiction of having a child with special needs, “Welcome to Holland.“  I met Jennifer at a conference and she is such a genuine person.  My children stole me away from her, but I would have loved to have talked with her longer than our quick introductions!

Babies with Down Syndrome

  • babies_with_down_syndrome3.jpg My wonderful local Down Syndrome Association mails this book to all new or expectant parents and I got my copy before Darah was born.  This book helped me learn everything there was to know about Down syndrome!  It clarifies common myths, explains in detail what Down syndrome is and how it occurs,  explains the different medical issues sometimes associated with Down syndrome, has adjusted weight and height charts for children with Down syndrome, talks about what medical exams a child with Down syndrome needs and when, and was basically my go-to book for a while with anything concerning Darah.

Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome early_communication_skills_for_children_with_down_syndrome.jpg

  • The speech pathology student in me has to declare that this book is a must have!  I had the pleasure of attending Libby Kumin’s conference in Atlanta and again in Kansas City at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention and she is the most knowledgeable, insightful Speech Pathologist I have ever met.  She seriously knows her stuff!  This book will really help you understand your child’s speech development and the best way to help them achieve speech and language milestones.  There are a lot of pre-speech activities in this book and it really is incredibly informative for parents of newborns all the way up to teenagers with Down syndrome!

Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome gross_motor_skills_in_children_with_down_syndrome.jpg

  • This book has awesome milestone charts that tell you when you can expect your child with Down syndrome to achieve different milestones.  Even though you should not compare your child to any child, it is helpful to know an average age that you can expect certain milestones.  At this point in our Down syndrome journey, I am pretty laid back about developmental milestones, but during Darah’s first three years I was all about achieving the next milestone as quickly as possible.   This book kept me focused on what step came next as we got closer and closer to Darah learning to walk and postwalking skills.  It gives practical exercises to do with your child to strengthen his or her core muscles and help their gross motor development.

Fine Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome fine_motor_skills_for_children_with_down_syndrome.jpg

  • This is another great book to add to your library early.  I don’t like the layout as much as Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down syndrome, but it is still incredibly informative.  I have used this as my go-to resource for exercises, activities, and ideas to help Darah’s fine motor development.

I Can, Can You? 

  • i_can_can_you.jpg I love this book because it is a board book for Darah with children who all had Down syndrome like her!   All of Darah’s board books had children with the standard 46 chromosomes and it made me happy to have her chewing and reading a book that had kids who had 47 chromosomes like her!

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red well_paint_the_octopus_red.jpg

  • I checked this book out at the library.  Since Darah was our first child, we did not have to introduce “Down syndrome” to her siblings when she was born.  However, I love this book and think any parent who has older children needs to give this to them after finding out their younger sibling has Down syndrome. It is endearing and encouraging for siblings of a child with Down syndrome.

Do you have any favorite books about Down syndrome? What do you love about them? 

« Previous PageNext Page »


Blog Ads: