A Happy Nest Blog

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From Bon Voyage to Bienvenidos

Monday, August 21st

Bon Voyage…

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Our year together has come to an end and it’s so hard to say goodbye. How can I describe the memories, the impact, the bond that you have imprinted on my heart, and the hearts of my family.  Jessica, you have blessed our world during a whirlwind of a time, and stepped right in as if you had been here all along. As you go forth into the world, know that you will forever be a part of The Fann Clan.

A new face, a new place. New adventures, new experiences.

That’s what the au pair program is about, on the surface.

Laughs. Tears. Traditions. Firsts. Cultures. Families.

That is what the au pair experience is truly about.

Last Summer, I shared about our au pair experience in its beginning stages. (A Summer With Our Au Pair)  I was uncertain of how this would all look once we got into the thick of school-work-holiday-deployment life. The fact of the matter is, it was better than I could have even imagined! Jessica was my partner-in-crime for the 5 days-a-week sport practices, the 4 games on Saturday afternoons, overseeing homework, assisting with dinners, and catching me up on the days happenings as I laid across her bed at the end of a long day.

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Playing the part for movie in the park “The Wedding Singer”

You see, to me, Jessica wasn’t a caretaker… or a nanny… or a babysitter… or an au pair, for that matter. She was a member of our family. A Thanksgiving trip to Arizona brought on the American traditions of eating way too much (that she had to switch pants) and experienced some middle of the night Black Friday shopping. Jessica’s face on Christmas morning was simply priceless as she realized that she had the same amount of presents under the tree as all the kids.

Sharing in so many firsts for Jessica, was a highlight for me. “S’mores are delicious!” she once proclaimed as we sat around an evening fire and ate the melty goodness. The movie seats at the luxury theatres were a frequented treat. “You mean I can lay back!?” she asked excitedly. Peanut Butter M&Ms were a midnight snack staple. The play in the park under the stars was amazing fun.  Her favorite fast food place hands down was Panda Express, and many many more firsts!

As much as I enjoyed having Jessica around me, she equally enjoyed life as a carefree young adult living in America. From ringing in 2017 on the Strip with friends, taking a week-long trip to Maui, and partying at the hottest clubs in Las Vegas hosted by some of the biggest names in Deejaying.

Jessica hung out with other local au pairs and built lots of friendships.

IMG_0242My children each connected with their “big sister” in their own ways as well. Dean will remember their afternoons visiting Craig Ranch Regional Park, the  Discovery Children’s Museum and Kid’s Club most of their days while the older kids were in school. They developed a bond that melts my heart. Gabe will remember the French he learned, accompanying to his baseball and soccer practices, the morning greetings with hugs, and the homework help.  Evie will remember the many times they laughed together, their girl time, and playing board games. Gigi will remember the Harry Potter talks and the big sister girl talks in Jessica’s room. John will miss having an ally in discussions and knowing that his family was in good company while he is away.

And me? Well, I will miss oh so much! To name a few: watching “our show” Orange Is The New Black, working our bodies from fat to fit with 21Day Fix Extreme, our bingo dates at the Aliante. Devouring desserts after the kids were in bed; the macarons…oh the homemade macarons!

 

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The Grand Canyon-West Rim

While we say ‘Bon Voyage’ to you, Jessica,

know we will always have the Grand Canyon.

 

…Bienvenidos!

On July 21st, we said “bon voyage” to our French  Jessica, and in that same evening said “Bienvenidos!” to our new Jessica, from Mexico! (Yes, they have the same name) What’s even crazier is that their birthdays are only 2 days apart! As we enter this new season of au pair life, we are hopeful that ‘new’ Jessica will endure this crazy little thing called life with the Fann Clan with love, grace, and heart.

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Stay tuned…


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No Room For Judgement

Monday, August 21st

The day I became a doula, was the day that I became a better Christian. Wait…let me clarify that statement. The day I became a ProDoula doula, was the day I became a better Christian. Faith has always played a part in my life. When I turned 21, I fully understood and embraced what it meant to be a Christian-by society’s standards. If one were to ask my family members, they would proclaim that I’m the judge-y one. “We can’t tell Aisha, because she’ll have something to say” and “Oh, we didn’t tell you because we knew you would judge us” were phrases I heard time and time again.  While in my head, I was being supportive Christian. At least, what I thought the term supportive meant-to be there for someone, and to share your thoughts and views on the subject and your reasons as to why. Whether they asked or not, whether it hurt them or not. I thought I knew what was best for them. That was then.

As Christians, we are taught to

‘love thy neighbor as you love yourself’ (Mark 12:31), to

‘do not judge, or you too will be judged’ (Matthew 7:1), to

‘stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.’ (Romans 14:13).

As a walking, talking, breathing human being, that’s often easier said than done. The side eye to the woman baring more skin than we feel one should in public. The whispers under breath about the family with the 6 kids and one on the way. The gossip of the spending habits of the neighbor who owes you money. The discussions of how one chooses to raise/discipline/educate their own children. The views on abortion, other religions, “unconventional” couples, and all the other ways of the secular world we Christians have strong opinions.

As an already certified doula, truth is, the moment I stepped out of my 1st training with ProDoula years ago, I felt like a new Christian. My eyes were opened to a new world in my profession as a doula. While I never once judged a client for her decisions child rearing, I did judge my own mom friends.  My new doula training allowed me to step into the lives of my clients and friends, and really understand where they were coming from. My soul was filled with restored passion. The definition of “love thy neighbor” and “do not judge” truly became crystal clear. No matter the reason, no matter the journey, no matter the condition, a new family needs that unbiased, no agenda, uplifting non-judgmental support. Walking into a client’s home knowing that whatever I may encounter, I won’t be the person in that family’s life casting one single judgement. THAT is absolutely freeing! I support my clients in all facets of the word. I get to witness growth and confidence as these families reach out and let me into their new raw world.

Every family I get to support is a blessing to me;

 I am a better person because of them.

When you are supported by A Happy Nest, we support YOU! No Judgement. No agenda.  No criticism. There’s simply no room for judgement.


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Summer Activities for Kids in Las Vegas

Monday, August 21st

If you frequent Las Vegas or live here full time, you’ll know that summers can be real scorchers.

With temperatures warm to hot most of the year, it can be tough to find the right activities that can entertain the whole family, while beating the harsh summer heat.

Luckily there’s always something to do in Vegas and even though it’s easy to think slot machines and poker hands, our city and the surrounding area has a ton of activities to enjoy as a family.

We put together a list of our favorite spots to take the kids during the hot summer months to help your family plan your next getaway to lucky Las Vegas.

Shark Reef Aquarium

A visit to the aquarium can captivate kids and adults alike, making a visit to this incredible attraction a big hit with the whole family. The Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay resort is the only care facility that is accredited by  the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums so you can feel good about supporting the exhibits. There’s over 2,000 different species of rare, endangered or exotic marine animals and there’s always something new to see. There’s even some interactive exhibits where you can feed some animals!

Lion Habitat Ranch

If wildlife is your thing, the Lion Habitat Ranch has some of the most incredible animal exhibits you’ve ever seen. There’s a family of 40 lions to see in a spacious habitat where your family can get a glimpse of them eating their lunch or even taking a bath! Aside from the lion families here at the ranch, there’s a bunch of other animals to see including giraffes, macaws and more. This is one of the wildest family adventures in Las Vegas to enjoy this summer.

The Adventuredome

What summer would be complete without a visit to an incredible amusement park. The Adventuredome in Vegas is a unique experience as you navigate all the awesome rides and attractions in the comfort of an indoor space. With a visit to this park, sweating on line in the beating sun is a thing of the past and the only thing you’ll feel is the wind rushing through your hair as you climb on board some of the country’s most impressive roller coasters.

Cowabunga Bay

Sometimes you need to make a splash and Cowabunga Bay is the place to be. Your family can zoom down massive water slides or lounge in the lazy river to beat the summer heat. They have a kid friendly splash zone where your little ones can cool down and explore the different adventure areas that are specifically designed for smaller kids. Parents can enjoy lunch at the park and the convenience of lockers to keep all your belongings.

Vegas isn’t just for casinos, there’s tons of family friendly activities to enjoy together over the summer.

Even when the temperatures start to soar, there’s indoor activities around the city to help you keep your cool while making those sweet summer memories.


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Nesting 101

Monday, August 21st

Birds aren’t the only moms who nest to prepare for a new baby.

Most if not all mammals nest in preparation for their young, getting their living space comfy and ready to bring home their baby. Women nest in different ways and it’s actually an important part of the childbirth process.

If you or your loved one is expecting, helping their nesting behavior can allow them to feel more comfortable as they await birth, more prepared to begin their postpartum period and supported through the process.

Why do women nest?

Professionals recommend strategic nesting to women who have experienced trauma, infant loss, surrogate parents and adoptive parents as a comfort and support mechanisms. Nesting can be organizing and decorating a nursery or even thoroughly cleaning a home. No matter how the mother is choosing to nest, it’s a therapeutic and natural process that should be encouraged.

Nesting can be helpful for mothers who have experienced miscarriages or infant loss as it helps them grieve from their earlier pregnancy in a healthy way and uplift them to feel confident as they welcome another baby.

Aside from being therapeutic, nesting just feels good. 

You nest when you settle into a new home or apartment and nest when you get comfortable at work. The physical act of nesting is a manifestation of a person becoming comfortable with a major milestone or new environment.

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How can you facilitate the nesting process?

It’s an old wive’s tale that if women begin to nest more often, labor isn’t far away. If you’re the mom to be, asking for help is important to make sure you’re staying safe around household cleaners, paints, adhesives and ladders. If you know a nesting mom, try offering their help or make suggestions, encouraging nesting habits and being open to talking about ways that the mother can feel more comfortable and prepared to welcome baby.

Sometimes even fathers will nest! It’s good for parents to team up and nest together, starting their bond with baby and helping establish a strong support system for birth in each other.

If you’re nesting, make it a happy nest.

Your doula can also offer tips and tricks for nesting moms or parents looking to get their home and nurseries organized and ready to go. Since nesting continues beyond bringing home baby, a postpartum doula can be a great resource for parents looking to stay organized and maintain a safe, comfortable space for their new baby.


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Interview with Las Vegas Diaper Bank Founder Carlye Davis

Monday, August 21st
This May, A Happy Nest is hosting a 5k/1Mile Family Fun Run and Diaper Drive to benefit babies and families here in the Las Vegas Valley. 
Recently we spoke with the founder of our No Child Wet Behind beneficiary, Carlye Davis, about Las Vegas Diaper Bank and all that it has done for families in Las Vegas and how the community can continue to contribute to such a wonderful organization!
For race information, registration, sponsorship & vendor opportunities, volunteering, and vendor spots,
Please contact us at:
info@ahappynest.net  or  702-907-NEST
To Register/Donate/Fundraise: NCWB Las Vegas

 

Carlye M Davis

 

AHN: When was Las Vegas Diaper Bank founded?

CARLYE: Las Vegas Diaper Bank held it’s first “Operation Dry Bottoms” Diaper Drive in 2015, and recognize 2015 as their founding year.

 

AHN: Why was Las Vegas Diaper Bank started?

CARLYE: The thought of a parent not having the means to purchase the most basic need of diapers for their babies and these babies having to suffer in a wet, soiled diaper for an extended length of time (because mom is trying to make the few diapers that she does have, last until she finds a way to get more) is heart wrenching.

Most of the families the LVDB helps are in an unexpected situation in their lives. Faced with the loss their job, a divorce, the death of a loved one and even grandmothers that have custody while the children’s parent is in drug rehab or prison.

I have seen time and time again where the help that these families receive at the Las Vegas Diaper Bank, brings hope into a hopeless situation.

 

AHN: How many families has the Las Vegas Diaper Bank helped since opening its doors?

CARLYE: Our first year in operation, Las Vegas Diaper Bank has had the pleasure of helping 533 babies with diapers and wipes!!!

 

AHN: What is the greatest need for the diaper bank?

CARLYE: Diapers and wipes!!! We are in most need of the larger sized diapers (size 4, size 5 and size 6)

Monetary donations are always welcomed. When LVDB receives a cash donation, it enables us to purchase the right size diapers that we are in most need of at that time. Also, the LVDB is enrolled in the Community Diaper Program through Jet.com. So for every dollar that is donated to us, enables us to purchase 3 times the amount of diapers than the average individual can buy at a retail store or even the big warehouse stores. Cash is good!

We need volunteers! Willing and helping hands are always needed around the Diaper Bank!

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AHN: How are diapers distributed?

CARLYE: Diaper Distribution Day is held every Monday from 10:00AM – 6:00PM (by appointment only) at the LVDB Office located at 928 E. Sahara, Las Vegas.

 

AHN: Who qualifies for diapers?

CARLYE: Last year (2016) …88% of the families that received help from the LVDB had incomes below poverty level and the other 12% qualified as low income.

 

AHN: Where can we the community give or send their donations?

CARLYE: Monetary donations can be made by clicking the “donate button” on our website www.lasvegasdiaperbank.org and/or the same button on our Facebook page.

Checks can be mailed to…

Las Vegas Diaper Bank

PO Box 231321

Las Vegas NV 89105  

Diapers and packages of wipes can be dropped off at the Las Vegas Diaper Bank office on Mondays, with a call notification at 702-462-1718 Our office hours are somewhat flexible.

 

AHN: Do you accept other items? (Gently used clothes, shoes, food, etc.)

CARLYE: We are a “diaper bank”, that is our specialty…diapers and wipes!

If you have these other items to donate, we can absolutely put you in touch with other organizations that would be able to take your items.

 

AHN: What are your monetary/diaper goals for 2017? How many families would that help?2015-12-08 19.05.25 (1)

CARLYE: Our goal for 2017 is to collect 60,000 diapers!!! That’s enough diapers to help approximately 1800 babies!

 

AHN: How can others get involved? What can the community do to help?

CARLYE: YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS!!!  Please help make an impact right here in Las Vegas. Consider helping financially, hosting a diaper drive or through various volunteer opportunities!