Thursday, June 30, 2011

Win a Trunki kids suitcase from Melissa & Doug = 2 winners! {7.8; US/Can}

Melissa & Doug are promoting fun and happy family travel for this upcoming holiday weekend, and to celebrate they're offering my readers a chance to win one of TWO Trunki kids suitcases in the winner's choice of color, along with a saddlebag, tote bag, and 3 packs of decorative stickers!

Trunki kids suitcase from Melissa & Doug giveaway

See my full post on Hobo Mama Reviews for details.

Have Kids Will Travel special giveaway event at Hobo Mama Reviews
I love the look of the Trunki suitcases and have long wanted one for travel with Mikko. You can see from the picture that they're fun colors and the perfect size for kids to pack their own belongings.

But the kicker is that kids can ride on them.

The contest closes July 8, so enter soon!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Longitudinal family study

From 1 year old to 4 years old, from family of three to family of four:

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Anktangle visits a Hobo Mama!

Amy of Anktangle graciously drove up with her young son, Daniel, to visit me just before the birth of our newest little one. This is a photo post she crafted of our time together helping me finish up my nesting chores and prepare for baby!

Super-fun guest post by Amy from Anktangle

Touristy shot of the Space Needle
This is quite a bit overdue, as the Hobo Baby pictured in-utero here (little Alrik) is out in the world and over one month old now. In any case, I wanted to share some photographs and a few stories from my time at Lauren's, helping her get ready for the arrival of her newest family member.

Lauren's Wordless Wednesday post (depicting the disarray of her house mid- third trimester home improvements) inspired me to offer to do something for her which was just a bit out of my usual comfort zone: to travel by car with my baby (and without my partner) to help a friend prepare her home for the arrival of her second child. I say it's out of my comfort zone because—and if you know me well, you already know this—I don't much like driving. I also really enjoy being a part of a parenting team, especially because Daniel requires a lot of special attention due to his sensory processing difficulties (even more so when we're not at home).

I stepped out of my comfort zone and Lauren graciously accepted my offer to help...and I am so glad she did! It was really fun for Daniel and me to have a bit of a reprieve from our regular lives, and I found that visiting someone who already has children is much different (and easier) than visiting somewhere that isn't as accustomed to having little people around.

I had a great time, and I was sad when we had to leave earlier than planned (more on that later). (Somehow, a lot of these photographs were taken on the same day...I assure you,
we all did change our clothes on a
fairly regular basis while I was visiting.) Here are a few photos from the trip:

I did a bit of computerizing while I was there...

...and Daniel did a fair amount of napping on my back.
Seeing Mikko interact with Daniel throughout our visit was one of the sweetest things I've encountered to date. Mikko would help me buckle Daniel into his car seat, he would hand Daniel something to play with, and he was always helpful in letting me know when Daniel needed more nummies. I could tell he was about to make a very caring big brother to a lucky little sibling!

Mikko and Daniel happily sharing the back seat.

(We also got to try out Alrik's car seat on Daniel.)
Lauren finished sewing this really beautiful (and extremely comfortable) mei tai while I was there:
 It wasn't quite the right size for Mikko.

Daniel fit in it just fine, though!
Lauren was kind enough to allow me to come with her and Mikko to what turned out to be her final prenatal appointment with her midwives. While Daniel had a little nap in the car seat in the waiting room, we had loads of fun in the exam room:

Mikko helped measure his Mama's belly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Surf: Balance in parenting

In light of Alrik's birth, I'm making my Sunday Surf quick & dirty.

mother and newborn baby son Alrik 4 weeks old
As a counterpoint to last week's father-son shoot, we did some mother-son artsiness.
Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

via on 6/25/11
Oh, thank goodness, someone else is talking about moments of failing to react with gentle discipline. Visiting an unfamiliar place as Dionna & Kieran did is hard. So is having people visit (my in-laws are coming tonight for THREE WEEKS—ack!) and having a new sibling, so I know whereof Dionna speaks. Sigh.

Really thoughtful article about staying who we are even as we are partners & parents. I feel like I have to give permission not only to my partner but to MYSELF and not seek permission from him to be myself. I sometimes use what I perceive as his inconvenience or (imagined) lack of support to get out of doing something challenging I actually really want to do. I agree with Jessica: It shouldn't take a divorce to realize that and to find time for ourselves as people and not just mothers. (For instance: "Taking responsibility")
I don't want women the world over to have to separate from their partners just to get some breathing room and to feel like a grown up.  There has to be a middle ground and clearly Rooster and I had no idea how to make that happen and neither do any of my friends.  It wasn't until I left the building that he was able to spread his parenting wings and really take over for me.  I get that marriage and relationships are hard, but are we making them harder than they have to be by simply not giving ourselves permission to leave the house if that's what we really need to do? 

newborn baby son Alrik 4 weeks old smile

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Carnival of Natural Parenting

After a month off for the babymoon, the Carnival of Natural Parenting is back for July! Tell us your parenting philosophy. Submissions are due Tuesday, July 5.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Calling for submissions for the July Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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 July! (Check out January, February, March, April, May, and the full list of 2010 posts if you missed them.)

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

Here are the submission details for July 2011:

Theme: Parenting Philosophy: Focusing on long-term parenting objectives can put present actions into perspective. Thinking about the qualities you'd like to see in your children and the relationships you want to have with them as adults, what parenting practices are you using or can you use now to help further your goals? (For more on parenting philosophies, see Respectful Parents Respectful Kids.)

Deadline: Tuesday, July 5. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CodeNameMama {at} and mail {at}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: One month

I was wondering if it was time to call an end to my babymoon — until I spent half the day unable to catch a break from nursing and bouncing to put on pants. Maybe next week…

So you were expecting more cute pictures of Alrik, right?
Because that's about all that's going on here at the moment.

Good. Let's carry on:

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks peering over dad's shoulder

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks with father
Happy Father's Day to Sam.

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks first smile
Look who's smiling now!

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks with big brother mikko 4 years
Psst…Mikko's secretly Superboy. Don't tell anyone.

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks getting kisses from big brother mikko 4yo
It's all about loving on the little brother. Alrik gets kisses all day long.

newborn baby Alrik 4 weeks in mama's arms

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am nursing a 4-year-old

I wrote this post, "I am nursing a 3-year-old," last year for Code Name: Mama's Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy. A year later and a couple weeks past Mikko's fourth birthday, I'm republishing it here to say that it's still true.

It's official.

Three years ago today, Sam and I were coming to terms with the new person in our lives. Three years ago today, we were eating hospital food and trying to catch some sleep after two full days in labor. Three years ago today, I was just beginning to breastfeed and was in the midst of receiving terrible advice about it.

Three years ago today, I knew I was open to breastfeeding for a long time, but I didn't know how long. I didn't see anything wrong with it, but nursing toddlers did look big to me, compared with my newborn. I imagined I'd probably be nursing still at 2 years old, but 3 seemed a little far out.

But you breastfeed day by day, not a year's leap at a time. Nursing Mikko today, at 3 years old, is different from breastfeeding him at 2 years old by only one day, one moment. He didn't become a gangly toddler overnight, so I had plenty of gradual time to adjust my vision of what a nursling looks like, each day.

When Mikko turned 1, we mutually chose to continue, even though that first birthday put us past the magical 12-month mark. Turning 2 wasn't all that different from turning 1. He still wanted to nurse, and I had no objection.

Will Mikko still be nursing next year, at 4? There is a part of me that still feels a twinge of unease about that, but I know if the time comes, and he is 3 and 364 days, it will not be any different to continue nursing him when he is 4 on the dot. We adjust our expectations, and our prejudices, and those big kids who look so huge suddenly shrink in size when it's our little baby who has reached that age.

Today at Mikko's party, there were two women there nursing their newborns. I was proud to be among them still, planting a seed that even though my toddler must look gargantuan to their newborn-attuned eyes right now, maybe as those babies gradually get bigger, the mothers will keep responding to their growing babies' need to nurse. Maybe they won't feel bad about responding, or awkward in their social circle, because they know that I'll understand: Nursing toddlers don't become nursing toddlers overnight. They start as a baby, and they grow, right under your heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Surf: This is dedicated to the one I love

In light of Alrik's birth, I'm making my Sunday Surf quick & dirty.

father and newborn baby son Alrik 4 weeks old in window
Happy Father's Day, Sam! You've got two sons who think you're the best. And they're right.
Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

We're going out for a celebratory pizza. Not really because it's Father's Day, just mostly because we're hungry and like that. But I'll still take this opportunity to express my joy at sharing parenting with my partner.

And now, completely unrelated, on to the links…

via on 6/19/11
Love this dedication to stepping back & seeing how kids can manage their own interactions.
Itook my boys to a La Leche League meeting last week, and my son took toys from everyone. It was a disaster. I was stressed, the boys were stressed, and everyone around us was stressed. One of the mothers confronted

via on 6/19/11
So glad to hear honest talk about nursing aversion — I'm going through this in some part with Mikko (as opposed to with Alrik), and it's good to hear it's normal and can pass.

Also helpful is this companion article with strategies on "What to Do When You Hate to Breastfeed."

Upcoming carnivals:

Two fabulous opportunities to write in community with other natural parents!
  • The Freedom of Cloth Carnival from Natural Parents Network:
    As the Natural Parents Network works to compile your articles into a cloth diapering resource, we’re excited to announce that we will also be hosting a week long cloth diapering carnival. The Freedom of Cloth Carnival is scheduled over the week of July 4th (July 3-9) to celebrate the beauty of finding independence from unnecessary waste through the use of cloth diapers, as well as to support independent, mama-run businesses. … You are welcome to participate on just one day, or join us all week long.
    See the post for details on daily themes and submitting articles.
  • 2nd Annual Carnival of Gentle Discipline from Baby Dust Diaries:
    Last year’s Carnival of Gentle Discipline was a wonderful success. Our participants posts were read widely and helped spread the word that there IS another way to parent that is non punitive. This year, let’s do it again! The 2nd Annual Carnival of Gentle Discipline will take place June 27 through July 1.
    See the post for details on how to submit original and previously published articles.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How to make a necklace (according to Mikko)

A babymoon is the perfect time to post craft tutorials.

boy showing off new jewelry

Guest post tutorial by Mikko

There are three special steps to making a necklace.1

boy wearing turquoise bead necklace and bracelet

Step 1.

Put on a bead.

Step 2.

Get some string.

Step 2.

Get a neck.

Step 2-2.

Tie it on.

That's it! Three special steps!

boy in sunshine wearing turquoise bead necklace

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Early weeks

It's my babymoon, so I might not have my hands free to comment and link up at all your fabulous Wordless Wednesday posts, but I still love to visit them all!

I have a picture of Mikko's first bath, by the hospital nurse, where he screamed the whole way through. I was so glad Alrik's first baths have been this: blissed-out, recollecting the calm of the womb and his birth.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mother Nature: The isolated suburban mother

Despite having just had a baby and therefore having little time for blogginess, my mind is still awhirl. Read on.

I have this tendency to talk about books I haven't read or haven't finished (witness: here, here, here, and here). Today I'm honestly in the midst of reading a book by an author, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, I've talked about admiringly in the past, despite having never read her actual writing. (But, no, I haven't come close to finishing it yet…)

Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species was published in 1999 and at 541 rather large pages (not including the 50 pages of notes, the 87-page bibliography, and the 32 pages of index) is a humdinger of a book to have picked up when I have a newborn, a tandem nursing preschooler, and therefore not much lap space to spare.

But Hrdy would approve of my ambitions.

Sarah (may I call her Sarah?) is an anthropologist who has studied extensively the role of mothers in nature. (Oh! See? The title of the book!) She's challenged prevailing pat answers about what the nature of motherhood is (see, the title has many meanings), both in various animals and particularly in primates — and, even more particularly, in humans. She has wrestled firsthand with the need to balance her own passions with her decisions and desires to bear and nurture children, and she's helped me understand how our society limits women by giving them such a terrible choice (against, let it be said, how it naturally should be).

Anyway, I'm on page 58 of Mother Nature, but let's dive in, shall we? I wanted to share one particular insight that spoke to me so far.

Through the 1960s, comparative psychologists isolated mother rats, hamsters, cats, and other animals in discrete cages with only their offspring for company. Subjects were buffered from the complexities of larger social networks and the need or opportunity to forage (what one might call "breadwinning"). These mother-infant units were eerily reminiscent of model suburban housewives of the same era. [p. 28, emphasis all mine, baby]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Surf: Phoning it in

I suspended my Sunday Surf posts about a month before my recent birth, but I just had a thought that if I could make them quick and dirty instead of having to hand code, I might be able to throw one up there. So here goes!

Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week month(s).

newborn baby Alrik sleeping peacefully week 3
Photo because: Why not?

via on 6/7/11
Adding waiting to our gentle discipline toolbox for the sweet surprises our kids give us.

via on 6/4/11
On our children's patience with our whole selves.
But isn't it so staggeringly amazing to know that when our true selves are on display - however lovely or ugly that picture might be - we are so unconditionally loved by them?

via on 5/30/11

via on 5/28/11
I've been there, and out the other side. Give this mama some love.

via on 5/19/11
Great alternatives to spanking to calm down and reassess.

via on 5/17/11
Very thoughtful working through of why it's OK to label ourselves.

Really interesting comparison of the spectrum from foremilk to hindmilk. Posted on FB by Fabulous Mama Chronicles.

via on 5/9/11
Beautiful post on accepting the process of trying to conceive and knowing your child is waiting for you.
Yesterday, something absolutely wonderful happened to me. I was at my Yoga For Fertility class, that I've mentioned here before. It's a very small intimate group, and we always start our practice by checking in with each other, and how the week has been, and where we are emotionally that...

via on 5/5/11
What a wonderful, simple, & touching idea for a Mother's Day gift!

via on 4/25/11

via on 4/20/11
Infuriating (the rude guy) & inspiring (the child's delight in art) at the same time!