Sight words and life lessons

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.

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When we moved into this home 4 years ago, I struggled to make it my home and get over that it was my grandmother’s home my entire life. Initially, I picked darker colors for all the walls… Covering every inch of the stark white paint I could. The hardest room for me to “transform” was the dining room.

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For one thing, it’s in the middle of the house, and filled with the massive dining room suite I couldn’t sell when we held the auction after her death. Dark and formal, it’s never been the style that is practical for our family. And the added worry of little ones opening the glass doors and breaking the china? No thanks.

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As the years have passed, I’ve taken things out of the china cabinets and packed them away. The table no longer has a centerpiece or a table cloth for that matter. And little by little, the table became the place to settle in and draw or paint. So when we decided to homeschool, I knew right where we would set up.

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The cabinets now hold workbooks and books I’ve been collecting in the last year. The drawer that once held fancy silverware now holds my Montessori letters and 100s board. And the table that was only used for holidays now is the table I will always hold dear as the place where Liam learned to read.

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Every morning we settle in at the table and I’m grateful that although I never thought I’d find a way to make this room ours, it fits like a glove. We watch the cardinals out the window and spread our words out on the table. We high five our success, jump out the frustrations and soak in our lessons.

For us, the room that didn’t fit is now the room I look forward to spending more and more time in as the years pass. In that, we all are learning together – sight words and life lessons.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Are there really kindred spirits?

By the time I graduated from high school, I think I had read Anne of Green Gables no less than 100 times. I adored everything about Anne and Diana’s relationship, so I was certain it would happen for me.

At that time I really thought that I would have that one friend from high school that I walked arm-in-arm down the lane each visit home. But that’s not how it worked for me. Instead I made friends in Biology labs and study groups. One of those friends is still, 15 years after our first meeting, very dear to my heart. I started college as a double major in music and biology and because of that was introduced to two girls who later served as bridesmaids in my wedding and were among the first people I told I was pregnant.

For me, the scariest thing about making friends was that once school was over, there weren’t mixers or dorm rooms or study groups to help me. I spent 3 semesters in grad school following my return home and I cannot tell you a single name of the people in my classes. I commuted and worked full time… There weren’t enough hours in the day. When I started my first professional employment, on September 29th, 2003, I was in the same orientation group as a girl who became my “Diana” for years. And on the day she moved an hour away, I stood in my home and sobbed deep, suffocating sobs because my friend was gone.

I was crushed when she moved, because now I had a major void in my life. We saw each other on a near daily basis and who would even want to spend that much time with me?!

This is the point in my writing where I tell you that for me, there isn’t so much a kindred spirit as a complimentary spirit. This friend I’m telling you about was my Diana because she served as the calm voice of reason to my fly-off-the-handle emotional responses. Because if I am anything, it is emotional. I cry. A lot. So although we are not two peas in a pod, we fit together like two puzzle pieces. Different, but perfect.

Since this time, I have made two close friends. What?! I know. I have two of them. And I even talk to them on a very regular basis. And when I’m with them, I’m honest and open. Now I am. When we met and even up until about 3 years ago, I was still pretty guarded with my reality, but now I am brave. I am brave because they are the puzzle pieces that complete my life. This week marks 10 years since the day I met one of those friends. The other friend… well, she came into my life in 2008, but it wasn’t until July 19th 2009 that I realized if this woman was willing to stick out finding a solution to my nursing woes, she was a real friend.

I am the sort of person content to only have a friend or two. In fact, I feel guilty when I call someone my friend and we aren’t much more than acquaintances! Regardless of how I feel about the actual friend label my goal, as I encourage my children to be brave, is to also encourage those relationships. I want them to learn how to be a good friend so that when those kindred and complementary spirits come along, they can fully embrace the experience. And who knows? Perhaps these relationships my children are building will be ones that stand the test of time and life.

First in our books

Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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As I sit here typing, I’m recovering from our first ever vacation. We traveled to Canada to visit with my family… We hadn’t been there since the summer of 2007. Seven years people. As a result the trips was less of a wandering and more of a cram-in-as-much-time-with-family-as-possible sort of trip. I was so excited about the trip that I almost lost sight of the fact that I wasn’t the only person on the trip. The day before we left, a friend briefly mentioned that I needed to keep any expectation for rest/relaxation at a bare minimum. Thankfully, that was what I needed to hear to keep myself in line!

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I thought about this post all week and wondered what I would write about. I’m not a big traveler, so vacations are not high on my dream list. And although I feel like I could certainly teach courses in how to plan  and pack for a trip, I don’t feel inspired to do so. I don’t really have dreams of future travels to share with you either. Our week couldn’t have been better… there were snags here and there, of course, but all the planning in the world wouldn’t have changed them.

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Because I am myself, I had lists and plans and neatly organized bags. So as I was loading the car the night before the trip, I patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. As I stood in the garage admiring my work, I suddenly remembered all the trips I took with my family growing up. We had always traveled by car and packed the majority of the food. I realized that all those years of driving around the United States prepared me for my very own trip.

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I knew how to write those lists because I’d sit with my mother and write out what we needed to take for each day. I knew how to estimate our snacks because of so many hours spent trying to make it to the next stop without… stopping. And I knew how to load the back of the car because I was the kid who was always in such a hurry to get going that I’d rush the bags out to my dad. I never realized that all that time I’d spent watching my dad play luggage tetris, I was learning how to do it for myself.

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On our last full day on the beach, I noticed a family paddling by in kayaks. Matt was taking photos, Liam and Sylvi were at my feet digging in the sand and I was (ironically?) reading The Wilder Life. I looked up from these pages that were spelling out my own childhood daydreams to see Kayak Family. I took a photo because seeing the two boys and their parents laughing and working together made me hope for my own future vacations.

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We are home now. I’ve sorted through all the photos, ordered prints, done laundry and settled into our household again. I haven’t had the time yet to sit down and process all that we experienced. Spending late nights with my grandmother, visiting with ALL my Canadian cousins and seeing the glorious sights – all these things were what I had hoped for and more. I wonder if my own parents wished these moments for their children. I wondered if they realized those experiences were shaping my children’s future trips?

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For a crazy moment I started to plan our next trip. It was a moment when I thought to myself “Wow. I am a rockstar at this traveling gig!” I’ve since slept a night and regained my sanity. I don’t want to travel again for a while. Instead, I’m content to soak in the pleasant memories of our trip and know that we can do it. We can travel as a family and live to write it in our books as a wonderful story to tell in the years to come.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia’s Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don’t take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don’t just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you’re a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki’s post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our “Western Adventure” — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look “picture perfect” to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan’s recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers “behind the scenes” so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family’s new “beach house”!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier – and your kids happier – and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won’t make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents’ station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!

Puppy Love for our Family

Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets.

Before we got engaged, before we bought our home, and before we were even married, Matt and I were scoping out pet options. Originally we had talked about a basset hound. Ree is always posting these drool-worthy (pun intended, ahem) photos of her beautiful babies and I just think they are so precious! But Matt was put off by the potential stink, the howling and the drool. So we continued our search. I wanted a dachshund as my second choice so we looked at a few rescues and breeders, but weren’t quite ready to commit when we found sweet little Nunzio huddled in a cage at the dog pound. She just had to come home with me.

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During our wait period imposed by the pound’s policies, we discovered Vito’s ad in the newspaper and within 48 hours we had two little puppies in our homes. This was a month after we married and a few weeks before we left for Arkansas to watch my brother graduate from college. A week after we returned my mother died. During the short weeks that we had these dogs, people were constantly telling us that we had shot ourselves in the foot by taking these dogs which would dramatically impead our freedom. The morning Mom passed, I had to send Matt home from the hospital so he could let our squirmy little puppies out to potty, for goodness sake!

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But what people didn’t see was how those dogs cuddled themselves right into the very fabric of our family. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I don’t know that I would have survived some of those days without them. While grieving my mother, I would lay on the ground while the dogs stayed to offer comfort. When I was depressed after our first two miscarriages, they snuggled up to remind me I would always have them. When I dealt with HG while pregnant with Liam, Vito would lay in the bathroom with me in between vomiting and whimper his concern. When Liam was born, Vito never left my side (much to the midwife’s chagrin). And when my water broke with Sylvi, Vito, who was sleeping out in the living room, woke up at that same instant and ran back to my bedroom to be with me. All those night feedings and ill babies, Nunzio stayed by my side offering her wise eyes up as comfort when I cried from fatigue and frustration. And when our children started to feed themselves, both dogs were even more attached to our children!

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At this point, we’ve had pets in this house, including a brief dalliance with hamsters (which Matt hated), for eight years. After Nunzio’s passing last September, I honestly pondered if we should get another pet to keep Vito company. But he’s getting old, so the odds of the new pet being lonely and us starting the cycle all over again are high. As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed more and more that after his initial greeting when people come over, he flops down for a nap and cannot be bothered to join in… even when food is presented!

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Our children have been welcomed into our home by our pets, they’ve held onto Vito’s sturdy back as they learned to stand and curled up with them to watch movies. Through our dogs, our children have learned how to be gentle, how to be kind and how to be aware of another’s feelings. Liam cared for and protected our dogs long before he had a little sister to do that for. And Sylvi practically smothers them with her love and snuggles.

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People often ask me what we will do when Vito’s time on Earth comes to an end. Honestly, the answer is mostly likely going to be “find a couple of pugs to fill our home”. As snorty and loud and spoiled as this dog is, he is perfect for our family. I’ll never be able to go for a run with a pug, but the pug is perfect for our family. And perfect for our children. We love our pets, and I love watching my children learn responsibility, awareness (hello! poop in the yard!) and kindness by having them here. And besides, if we didn’t have a pug, what else would I call this blog? 😉

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she’s learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are “Woof” — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn’t yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are “woof.” Here’s the proof.
  • Dude, where’s my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn’t. However, Adora’s longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge–Learning from Animals–running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn’t catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura’s family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook is mostly vegetarian…not 100%, and not because of animal rights…yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It’s not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus —Kids, dog, haikus, at

    Dionna (Code Name: Mama).

    Pet-centric poems.

  • Beanie’s BunniesOur Mindful Life‘s Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • How to Nurture Your Child’s Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of SpiralElixir.com. Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn’t sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!
  • 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn’t prepared for was what they would teach her two year old daughter too.

The fab five – stages so far

The Fab Five Stages So Far

Welcome to the May 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Ages and Stages

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about their children’s most rewarding and most challenging developmental periods. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Natural Parents Network: The Fab Five Stages So Far
I have often heard older, wiser mothers tell me that “each stage will be a new favorite” and while I have loved each moment a little more than the last, there are stages that stand out to me as the ones I never want to forget. Liam will be 5 this summer and Sylvi just turned 3, so I don’t have a huge span to draw from, but these are the stages that when my children are all grown up and having their own, I hope to be able to impart my delight for these moments that may seem so small and fleeting, but are just so precious. I cannot say there is one stage that rises above the rest, but I can narrow the choices down to five favorites.

The hidden weeks

Oh my. For me, these weeks were 13-18/20 of my pregnancies. I could feel the baby fluttering and moving, but no one else could. For those weeks, the baby was allllllll mine. My belly wasn’t big enough that people felt the need to touch or comment, but there was enough that at night, I’d lie on the couch and rub it, delighting in the little “bubbles” of movement after. Once these weeks passed, we knew baby’s gender and name. After that point, the baby was property of the world (ok, I exaggerate, but really…people really seem to feel that way about babies!) and I had to start sharing. So to me, those precious moments when I was the only one in baby’s world, those were a favorite.

Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon May 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • When Three-Year-Olds Stand Up For Themselves — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at her blog, Parental Intelligence, enjoys the stage when three-year-olds dramatically wow their parents with their strong sense of self.
  • This too shall pass — In the beginning, everything seems so overwhelming. Amanda at My Life in a Nutshell looks at the stages of the first 1.5 years of her daughter’s life and explains how nothing is ever static and everything changes – the good and the bad.
  • Age 5 – Is It Really A Golden Period? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the developmental norms for the five-year-old set and muses over if this age really is the ‘golden period.’
  • How much do you explain to your preschooler when crime touches close to home? — When tragedy strikes someone your preschooler knows, Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings wonders how parents can best help young children cope.
  • Thoughts on ToddlerwearingThat Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we’re living it up in the toddlerwearing days now!
  • Parenting Challenges—Almost a man — Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about leaving childhood behind as her son turns 12.
  • How Child Development Works – Competence Builds Competences — Debbie at Equipped Family shares how each stage of childhood builds on the next. Focus on doing the current stage reasonably well and success will breed success!
  • Making Space — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is adjusting her thinking and making room for her babies to stay near her.
  • The Best Parenting Resources for Parents of Toddlers — Toddlers can be so challenging. Not only are they learning how to exert their independence, but they simply do not have the developmental ability to be calm and logical when they are frustrated. It’s the nature of the beast. I mean … the toddler. Here are Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s favorite books and articles about parenting a toddler.
  • The Fab Five Stages so Far — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen couldn’t choose just one stage for this carnival and is sharing her top five favorite stages in the young lives of her son and daughter at Natural Parents Network.
  • The best parts of ages 0-6 — Lauren at Hobo Mama gives a breakdown of what to expect and what to cherish in each year.
  • Lessons from Parenting a Three-Year-Old — Ana and Niko at Panda & Ananaso are quickly approaching the end of an era — toddlerhood. She shares some of her thoughts on the last two years and some tips on parenting through a time rife with change.
  • Feeling Needed — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders which developmental stage is her favorite and why. She bares it for us, seemingly without fear of judgment. You might be surprised by her answer!

Fear: realized

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

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In those days before becoming a parent, I spent my thoughts preparing for every possible scenario. First aid? Check. Heimlich Maneuver?  Check. Extra locks on the windows? Check. Attack from a sicko on the bike trail? READY!!!!

I know how to look for signs of concussion fashion a tourniquet out of pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Disaster preparedness? I’m on it. I was raised by a cynical realistic police officer… and as a result, I don’t mess around. But try as I might, there are things I cannot fully prepare for, a car accident being one of those things.

Please understand that I’m a very cautious person by nature, so driving is not something I take lightly. Checking out safety standards is one of my strongest skills… I am a Type A, after all. So when we got in our car on January 30th, every one was belted in; I was an alert and defensive driver. And then less than five minutes later when I was screaming while our car spun around, I realized one of my worst parenting fears: the car accident.

This fear ranks pretty high on my list because no matter how safe a driver you are, you are never really alone on the roads, so there is always the chance that someone else isn’t as concerned with safety as you are. But here’s the thing about fear: you can conquer it or let it control you. As someone who used to have a panic attack every time I left my home, I’m going to tell you that it’s far more worthwhile to conquer those fears than it is to let them control you.

My car stopped spinning and came to a rest, no one was seriously injured and there were people who came along to help me. (As a side note: This was my father’s last accident to occur while on duty before he retired. Also, the last time I will ever get to drop his name and watch the officers jump into action with fear. It was fun while it lasted, right?) It is no longer practical for me to hide in my home whenever I am afraid. I have to not only leave the house, but drive. And drive with the kids in the car again. So I talked to the kids and I told them I was afraid, but I would face my fears so I could be a better mama for them. This does not mean that I am driving around town like I used to – I am still flinching and feeling a cold chill when I go through intersections, but I’m not going to let this fear control me.

After the accident, I asked Liam if he was afraid and he simply asked to see what happened to our car. Our car was a little two-door coupe – he never saw the other car coming, he didn’t understand what happened… he only wanted his boot, which had been knocked off in the impact, back on his foot. So we stood next the car and he looked at our crumpled door, raised his eyebrows and “humphed”. Then, he simply moved on with his life.

Yesterday, we drove to a playdate and a squirrel jumped out in front of me. I drive a sizeable SUV now, but I still don’t want to squash anything! So I gasped and swerved. And Liam told me not to be afraid. I’m not real big on sharing my fears with people, but he needs to know that I’m not perfect (although, he’s getting a pretty good idea of that from everyday living) and that I struggle with fears like he does. Our experience wasn’t something I’d like to go through again, but there’s a lesson in this for my kids: Mama gets scared, but Mama doesn’t hide… even if she really, really wants to.

So the next time, Liam or Sylvi tell me they are afraid to do something new or are afraid to hop up on the bike again after a tumble, we can talk about the accident and how even though I was afraid, they helped me be brave. And now, I get to help them. I get to help them with fresh empathy and understanding… and for those reasons alone, I’m glad my parenting fear was realized… and survived.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):

  • When Parents’ Fears Escalate — If we didn’t self-doubt, we probably wouldn’t care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama’s family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I’m a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son’s future?
  • I Don’t Homeschool to Manage My Kids’ Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household – that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent – that most parents share – looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit…Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear…
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren’t anywhere near as scary as she’d thought.
  • Don’t fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me… — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.

Sibling support, even in the potty!

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings – their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

My children are 21 months apart in age. I figured this would be helpful in bonding them… the jealousy would be limited and they wouldn’t remember a time without one another. But then, Liam was NOT interested in Sylvia. As in, didn’t want to talk about the coming baby. Didn’t care about her arrival. Didn’t want to hold her – didn’t even want to sit next to her in photos! When you are sleep deprived and hormonal, you worry.

Two years have passed since then. My worries about them bonding are far from my mind. They’ve gotten along well for the most part, outside of the occasional sibling spat. They bicker like any other set of siblings, they roughhouse, they laugh.

But the best thing to me, is watching Liam encourage Sylvia. The most recent example of this is Sylvia’s learning to use the potty. Sylvia made the decision to rid herself of diapers when I wasn’t mentally prepared. But Liam was ready. The first time she peed in the potty, he was the one to tell me. For weeks after, every time she peed in the potty, he lead us in cheering and hugging and encouraging. The first time she pooped in the potty, he was sitting in the bathroom with her.

It’s only been a year since he informed me he wouldn’t wear diapers anymore; it’s only been a year since we all sat in the bathroom cheering for him. Because they have been so close in age, they’ve learned to support each other and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m looking forward to watching their dynamic adapt as Liam starts school and soccer next week… they will continue to have opportunities to develop their own persons, but still be an integral part of each other’s support!

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister’s new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it’s definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It’s Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life’s twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband’s have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that’s maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins’ sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children’s relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen‘s children didn’t start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don’t Seek What Isn’t There – On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.

The Princess Paradigm

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:

Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.

***

In the days following the ultrasound, I just kept rolling around the reality that I was having a girl in my mind. There were so many things going on in our lives that the inane worries about raising a girl were somewhat comforting. I spent the next few months theorizing about how I would raise a little girl. My plan was for a pink-free life. I wanted to expose to real life and not the fluffy, vapid life of a Disney princess.

As I type, I’m taking a break from sewing the matching Batman tank tops I’m making Liam and Sylvi to wear to Liam’s 4th birthday party. Both children are very into superheroes and love to run around “rescuing”.  So they will have grey tank tops, with matching Bat symbols stenciled on them. Cute, right? Ah but you see, while Liam’s will be the typical black and grey, however Sylvi’s will have pink and glitter.

In spite of having a very masculine older brother and limited choices as far as the books she had handed to her and movies to watch in the house, she is genuinely feminine and girly and SPARKLY.  She gasped when her Easter shoes arrived in the mail and declared them pretty.  She loves to wear her tutus and this morning asked me to put my lipstick on her “wips”.

It makes me laugh to see that although I did everything in my power to make sure she wasn’t over exposed to the glitz in life, she has taken what she was shown and absorbed every moment of it. It makes me so happy to watch her be the child I didn’t plan her to be… she is who she is without the influence of anyone else.  I love that in theory, I was going to raise a little girl who was independent of the curve; a little girl with her own mind.  In reality, that’s exactly what has happened, even though it’s not the way I thought it would.

And although I balked in the beginning and tried to steer her away from the traditional “girly” choices, I’m soaking in every moment of her life experiences. She makes me laugh and cry and think. She makes me re-evaluate who I am as a person; she is teaching me who I am instead of the other way around. It would seem that my theories on parenting have turned into realities on how to raise myself.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.

<!– END BOTTOM STRAIGHT LIST CODE –!>

The recovery in the change

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

 This post went live last week in error, so I apologize to my regular readers for seeing it again, but I do encourage you to scroll to the bottom of this post and check out the rest of the posts from our NPN participants!

Hmmm… how do we recover from the holidays around this kitchen?  Well, in past years it took at least a week. Eating rich foods, staying up absurdly late far too many nights in a row, plus the stress of crazed travel? We were always sick and grumpy the next week. This year, though, I didn’t want to repeat the drama, so I made changes.

I didn’t send out hordes of Christmas cards and photos. I sent out 52. The rest, I just handed to people. We didn’t have massive baking days, I did what I could as I could. I started shopping in July and while I was still wrapping on December 20th, it was peaceful. All that to say, as we prepped to leave the house each day for our events, I kept mulling to myself how all the time I had spent getting myself organized was paying off.  Christmas morning as we slipped out pajama’d children into the car, I actually thought “easy peasy, lemon squeeze-y” as I drank my homemade mocha and settled in for the long drive.

This year there really isn’t a recovery. And for that, I am grateful. My 3 year old has returned to his sweet self now that the anticipation is over. Their gifts were very carefully thought out and I am so grateful for the generosity afforded by not only our current financial status, but in the hearts of our family. The blizzard that forced us to be home bound in the days following Christmas was quite possibly one of the greatest blessings. Instead of feeling compelled to rush out to the store and find storage bins so I could kick the home into top organization, I simply unpacked and wrote thank yous.

Instead of rushing to prepare meals, I was grateful for my panicked Christmas Eve Walmart run for fruit and lettuce. To recover from our holiday meals, we ate fruit and chicken and whole grains. We put together puzzles for days and I watched the kids create train track masterpieces and paint elaborate stories. We watched movies and played games. I folded diapers and washed the sticky kitchen floor under Sylvi’s chair.

This year, I didn’t really need much of a recovery because it was honestly the best Christmas I’ve had in the past 8 years since Matt and I started dating. This year, I wasn’t up all night with sick or nursing babies. I wasn’t dealing with horrible morning sickness. We hadn’t lost family to cancer or babies or miscarriage. Although we were busy and spent a lot of time in the car, we were peaceful. I don’t think life has changed so much as my heart has. Perhaps, just perhaps, my recovery started after last Christmas when I decided it was time to take care of myself. In the last year we’ve become a healthier family: physically, emotionally and mentally. We’ve grown and learned and loved one another more deeply.

Life may not always be so peaceful and easy, but I’m going to enjoy every second while it remains. I learned many lessons in 2012, but perhaps the most important thing I learned was that in order to truly recover, you must be willing to change. In my case, that change was long awaited and much appreciated!

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

 

 

In My Own Handwriting

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

During this carnival, you’re probably going to read a lot of warm, fuzzy posts about the amazing memories harbored from childhood or the ones hoped to be created in their children. Perhaps there will be some here and there that talk about wanting to create a better life for their own children. Mine… well, I struggle with memories. I love my family and the memories that are good, but I also recognize that the memories that I will never share with them have the power to make me very fearful.

My baby book is filled out in my mother’s precise script. Her journal has entry after entry with details about my milestones and our life. My brother’s baby book had almost nothing written in it. And it’s not because I was the first born, it’s because my mother was very ill when my brother was born and the detailed memories weren’t recorded for him like they were me. When I put together my youngest brother’s baby book, I pulled the information from my own journals and not my mother’s because she wasn’t recording things anymore.

Christmas brings the most vivid memories of my childhood to light: The stockings hanging on the staircase in our home on Maple St. Lighting the Advent candles Sunday afternoons after church while Dad read aloud from Luke 2. Sneaking around in my parent’s bedroom hunting for our gifts… unwrapping and re-wrapping so they wouldn’t know. My mom baking a cake on Christmas Eve so we could have it for breakfast the next morning.

Perhaps, I’m a little nutty about documenting our memories. I have scores of digital files neatly organized and dated, baby books carefully filled in for each child… including the date I discovered each tooth. I have stacks of journals from as far back as 1989. Each book written in my scrawling, haphazard penmanship is filled with the minute details of my life as a child, as a teen, as a college student and as an adult. I write lists and notes and save my calendars so I have a reference for my children if something happens to me.

In part, I write all these details down for myself. I’ll never get to share the fun things the kids say and do with my mother or my grandpa, but I can write them out for myself to read over and over. And when I’m old and gray and my memory isn’t as vivid as I wish it to be, I can flip to the appropriate book and find the answer to the question my daughter could be asking about her toddlerhood temper. Perhaps, her daughter will love the stories about her mama and will curl up in my bedroom to read. Regardless if I ever share my memories with others, regardless if anyone tries to decipher my handwriting, it’s written down. Nothing needs to be forgotten if we don’t want it to be.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.