December 22nd, 2010 | Archives | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wow, what a year it’s been! During the past year, I have dedicated all my time and energy to helping Bella Luna Toys grow into my vision for it.

Last February, this blog was created. By May, I began work on building a whole new website for Bella Luna Toys that I’d hoped would feel as warm and welcoming as a Waldorf kindergarten classroom. I spent most of my summer in front of the computer adding new products, uploading photos, and writing and re-writing product descriptions. Finally, in mid-October the new site was launched after more than a year of planning and dreaming.

I barely had time to catch my breath before the holiday orders started pouring in—so briskly that I had to recruit the help of four angels and elves to help me get all the children’s presents wrapped and sent off in time!

Now, in these final days before Christmas, things are starting to slow down enough that I was able to enjoy some lovely time with family this weekend (eldest son Harper is home from college for Christmas!) and to help  ”trim the hearth and set the table.”

I am filled with gratitude for all the words of support and appreciation that I received from so many of you along the way; to my husband Max for his love, encouragement, and good cooking; to Harper, Liz and Heather for their help in getting so many beautiful toys off to their new homes; and especially to Laurie Heriz-Smith for becoming my right-hand angel this season.

Wishing you and your families every blessing at Christmas time, a holiday filled with love and joy, and a new year full of play!

Love,

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December 7th, 2010 | Music, Parenting, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Amy Robbins-Wilson. Amy is a talented singer, author, and practitioner of mindful parenting.

Be sure to read through to the end for a special giveaway that Amy is offering!

Amy Robbins Wilson, Mommy Jingles

I’ve gotten to know Amy through our mutual association with Spindlewood Waldorf Kindergarten and LifeWays Center in Lincolnville, Maine, and Amy and I were both teachers this past summer at the northeast LifeWays training for childcare providers inspired by Waldorf education.

Oh, and Amy’s son Clayton happens to be one of the children who appears in the slideshow on the new Bella Luna Toys‘ homepage!

I invited Amy to share with us the interesting work she’s been up — finding a way to help mothers transform their days with children through song.

As a Waldorf early childhood teacher, I learned how effective singing can be in easing transitions, eliminating conflict, and how much joy and lightness it can bring to the days we share with the children. Amy has come up with a unique video course for parents who may not be accustomed to singing through the day, or those who think that they can’t sing (never true!), or don’t know any songs.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, Amy?

I am a singer, a storyteller, an author and artist.  I am the lucky wife of an amazing man who builds me up as we dream our way forward.  I am the blessed mother of a son who teaches me each day what it means to be fully present and full of joy.

What about your musical background? Can you tell us more?

I’ve always loved to sing and performed my first solo in preschool when I was three.  It was a song about mothers that I no longer remember but now seems like such an indicator of the future!  My life has been a journey of losing and finding my voice.  I actually stopped singing for about ten years to pursue “more serious matters” until I realized that music was an inescapable force in my life.  I studied music in high school and have performed professionally most of my life.

I received an M.A. in Ritual Song and Chant from the Irish World Music Center (now the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance) in Limerick, Ireland.  Once I became a mother, music became both a tool and a refuge for me.

You know that I’m a big fan of your book Transformational Mothering and your lullaby CDs, which I think offer a lovely calming and grounding experience to mothers of young children. What led you to create your latest project, “Mommy Jingles?”

I developed Mommy Jingles because I was looking for ways to connect to my newborn son, to teach him, to communicate with him and to keep my spirits up as I went through some serious baby blues.

Transformational Mothering

Clayton was born prematurely and his ears were so sensitive that he could not listen to a full lullaby for the first ten months.  He would burst out in tears when I sang which was a real ego deflater.  So I started out with humming and then made little jingles for our day that he could use as cues and markers and Mommy Jingles was born.

It was a revelation to me when he began to respond.  He knew that the getting in the car jingle meant we were getting in the car, he knew that the napping jingle was for napping.  It brought us even closer and I felt like such a great mother,  which was a rare feeling for me those first few months when I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit lost.  Mommy Jingles made our day fun and I realized just how brilliant even the smallest babies are.

Other moms started to ask me what I was doing and I shared songs with them. When I started to hear back from them about how Mommy Jingles helped, I was thrilled and decided to create our online course.  My passion is supporting mothers and this seemed a great way to do it.

Can you give us some ideas on how parents can use singing during challenging times of the day with young children. How can singing ease difficult transitions to, say, bedtime, or separating at daycare?

Read the rest of this entry »

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