Thursday, November 20, 2014

Calling for submissions for the December 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Greatest Gifts

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in December 2014! (Check out November, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January, and a summary of all our 2013 posts, 2012 posts, and 2011 posts if you missed any.)

Your co-hosts are Lauren at Hobo Mama and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Here are the submission details for December 2014:

Theme: Greatest Gifts: We're talking materialism! What have relatives or friends bought your family or kids that were hits out of the park? What gifts have tanked? What recommendations would you have for gift givers, and what's on your wish list this year? What gifts have you given that showed what an awesome gifter you are? Let's talk presents this holiday season!

Deadline: Tuesday, December 2. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at}

Carnival date: Tuesday, December 9. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on December 9 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published by noon Eastern time, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants' links to generate lots of link love for your site! We'll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Babymooning

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

A little look at what we've been (not) doing
for the past month
with little Karsten around.

(Hint: It's mostly looking at Karsten.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Where to get the wiggles out in bad weather

Welcome to the November 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Indoor Play

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 ideas and inspiration to keep families happy and healthy while cooped up indoors.

Seattle has about nine months of drizzly gray skies to contend with — but I have three (count 'em!) little kids who need to run off some energy each day, and a small home in which to do any of that. We have to rely on getting out of the house regularly — so, in particularly grim weather, that means having indoor spaces we can fly to that allow for boisterous movement and loud voices.

I wrote, when Mikko was two, a top 10 list of my favorite places to amuse kids during wintry weather, but since Mikko (now seven) has aged out of many of those excursions, I've added to and expanded my list here to include options for elementary-age kids as well. I've found, unfortunately, that many kid-centric locations cater solely to the five-and-under crowd, which has made life challenging when I want to take more than one kiddo with me (which is to say, most of the time!). I know it's just that most places assume kids over the age of five will be in school all day, so we've had to source some homeschooling-friendly (or at least -tolerant) options. I hope this list can help you, too, if you're in the same boat!

Friends' houses

We live in a building with quiet-loving adult neighbors who don't always understand children's needs to be total hooligans all day long. Getting away from the grown-up grouchiness to friends' houses where kids are allowed to stomp around, jump off furniture, slam doors, and yell at the top of their lungs is so dang freeing. Plus, great for all ages!

Play cafés & indoor playgrounds

We have various coffeehouses & cafés around that offer play spaces for the kids along with hot beverages, wifi, and snacks for the parents. Admission prices vary, as do age limits. There's a nice, big indoor play structure downtown that allows a high range of ages, just giving young tots a small safe place blocked off within the larger area and otherwise allowing the older goobers free rein. And, um, don't shoot the messenger, but fast food joints also sometimes have some sweet climbing structures.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Three for tricks & treats

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

We successfully went out for Sam's birthday a couple days before Halloween,
so the baby & I were emboldened to join in on a short
trick-or-treating jaunt at our local business district.

Sam and I had different, themed costumes planned,
but Karsten's somewhat tardy arrival meant mine
didn't fit my postpartum mummy tummy. (Nerts!)
So I'm the ocean, and Karsten's a shark. Bam.

Alrik will not take off this Power Rangers hoodie.
It's the best.

Mikko's super into dragons
and wanted me to design an even fiercer costume
or ratchet this one up a notch,
but…um…I had a baby. So that's my excuse.

This baby.
That's a no-sew fleece mei tai I made, by the way,
that just happened to be oceanic in color. Score!

My sweet niece bought this "I love my mummy" outfit
for Mikko when he was born. We've taken Halloween pics
for each kid in it since.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: First days

We are happily enjoying our babymoon with Karsten, who is a week old. What with one thing and another, his birth announcement didn't get posted till several days after I wrote it, so he's already a more peaceful little guy than it first appeared. I think having lots of milk now is to thank for that!

Li'l sleeping dude.

With the proud mama.

He's beginning to open his eyes
and take in the world.
Today he made his first pre-cooing sounds,
and I just about died of cuteness.

With the happy dad.

Meeting the brothers (7 & 3) for the first time.

He's got a little too much face.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome to the world, Karsten!

Our third son, Karsten

Born at home
October 20, 2014
3:23 a.m.

10 lbs, 6 oz
22.25 inches

After two weeks and a day of prodromal contractions, I awoke to what (finally!) seemed like real labor the early morning of October 19. The midwives came and went throughout the twenty-one hours of labor but left in the evening to get some sleep. In the middle of the night, my water broke as I was trying to grab some rest myself in between contractions. I hopped into the birth pool, and out Karsten came shortly thereafter, caught by his father.

Yes, we once again managed to call the midwife too late! Unplanned unassisted birth is now sort of our thing. I have to say, I kind of dig having the birth be unassisted and then having the midwife come in and sort out the postpartum situation.

As I was saying to Sam, the first time we called the midwives too early. The second time, we called them too late. This time, we split the difference and did both!

This baby is much more like his oldest brother than the peaceful middle child. For one thing, he's a big boy! He's not as big as Mikko, but he looks so similar with his chubby cheeks, full body, squinty eyes, wide nose, and head full of dark hair promising to faux-hawk — just like Mikko-lite. For another, he scorns sleep and prefers to cry most of the time he's awake, perplexing Alrik who cannot for the life of him figure out what's wrong. My milk has come in and he's nursing like a champ, which is helping space out the wake-and-screams since his belly's full now.

Both siblings are fascinated by this little brother. Mikko is over the moon and keeps coming by to poke and yell at Karsten (in joy — it's just his brotherly way). Alrik is a little more circumspect since he doesn't know what to make of his baby sibling's emotiveness, but he thinks Karsten is adorable. The boys slept through the birth, with their aunt on hand to help out. It's probably for the best, because I know I dropped an f-bomb in the birth video!

This labor was really, really challenging (posterior baby, back labor, intensity to the nth power), though I'm glad it remained peaceful, at home, and at our baby's own pace. Hypnobabies kept me mostly calm and helped me limit my swearing to only once or twice…. Pushing him out, though, I kept having the thought, I'm glad this is our last one! Heh heh. It's ok — he's definitely worth it.

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, blessings, and good wishes! We felt them all.

When I'm not so sleep deprived and have use of two hands, I'll have to write the full birth story, but for now, here are a few more pictures of this sweetness.