Saturday, December 31, 2011

Carnival of Natural Parenting: 2011 year in review

For the past two years, I have been proud to co-host the Carnival of Natural Parenting with Dionna of Code Name: Mama. We created the Carnival in January 2010 to bring together the awesome community of parenting bloggers who identify as "attachment" or "natural" parents.

In the past year, our writers have shared how they handle advocacy compassionately, they have opened up about their finances and their parenting philosophies, and they've inspired us with stories of parenting through play and how they've learned from their own children. The compilations of posts are a rich resource — I hope you will look through 2011's themes and articles and get to know some of the writers!

Anyone can write for the Carnival of Natural Parenting, and you can write as few or as many times as you'd like throughout the year. You can read more about how to write for the Carnival as well as details on the topics we have scheduled through June at our main Carnival page. Here are the topics for the next few months: In January we invite you to write about your experiences trying out a new aspect of natural parenting; in February we want parents to reflect on how they can communicate with others respectfully; and in March we want you to share how your life has been touched by a child with special needs.

Whether you write for or enjoy reading the articles written for the Carnival of Natural Parenting, or whether you are simply interested in learning more about natural parenting practices, we want you to join our community at the site born out of the Carnival: Natural Parents Network. NPN is a community that connects, informs, empowers, and inspires parents and parents-to-be. We are thankful for the larger natural parenting community we interact with on NPN's website, Facebook page, and Twitter stream, and we're doubly thankful for the close-knit family of NPN volunteers — we have found true friends.

And for Carnival updates, be sure to look for the #CarNatPar hashtag on Twitter and follow the Twitter list of our #CarNatPar writers. On Facebook, you can get Carnival updates by "liking" the CarNatPar Fan Page. You can also subscribe to all our participants' RSS feeds in one go by subscribing to the shared CarnatPar feed by reader or by email.

We look forward to reading more from our writers — new and old — in 2011. But before 2012 starts, I wanted to sum up our second year and share some of my favorite Carnival posts once again. (Here are the 2010 favorite posts and stats if you want to look back.)

Here are a few quick facts:

Thank you to Dionna for compiling these!
  • In the 10 months that we hosted CarNatPar in 2011 (we took June off for my babymoon and December off for Dionna's babymoon), we had 169 different writers. That is 52 more writers than we had during the 11 months we hosted the Carnival last year.
  • In addition to Dionna and me, we had 3 writers write all 10 months: Amy from Anktangle, Deb from Living Montessori Now, and Jorje from Momma Jorje. Our next most prolific writer was Mrs. Green of Little Green Blog, who wrote for 9 of the 10 months. Thank you, mamas!
  • We had only three natural papas participate - Liam of In the Now, Mike, husband of Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Sam (also here), my lovely husband. We need some more men to write for the Carnival — who will join us in 2012?
  • Dionna and I edited a grand total of 484 posts. That is 125 posts more than last year! I would guess that we spend a minimum of 20 minutes per post each month (counting the time it takes us to write the call for submissions posts, the summaries, our comments, our tweets and FB updates, communicating by email with the writers, etc.), so that means Lauren and I each spent approximately 161.3 hours each (or about 16.1 hours each month) putting the CarNatPar together in 2011. Wow!

Here are some of my favorite posts from 2011:

*(click on each month for a complete list of posts; the monthly themes are in parentheses):
  • January (Learning from Children): Lessons from the First Year — Having a child made Emily at Crunchyish Mama realize that her decisions affect more than just herself, and The Importance of Being Less Earnest — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante has one list of earnest and one list of silly things she has learned as a parent.
  • February (Parenting Essentials): Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • March (Make a Natural Parenting "Top 10" List): Ten Fundamentals — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante gets philosophical with a list of the fundamentals that drive her natural parenting, and Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children has shared 10 reasons why you should leave your newborn son intact.
  • April (Compassionate Advocacy): I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting, and Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • May (Growing in the Outdoors): Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds! and Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • July (Parenting Philosophy): Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids, and grown-up anxiety. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • August (Creating With Kids): Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how 'creating together' has evolved from 'things' to memories, and The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is thinking about winter.
  • September (Parenting Through Play): How To Herd Toddlers by Talking Pictorially — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama demonstrates how talking in pictures is a playful way to engage your young child in transitioning from one activity to the next, and Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play — Lily, aka Witch Mom, redirects unwanted behavior in a toddler using games and play, and Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
  • October (Money Matters): An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood, and Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • November (Kids in the Kitchen): Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.

Obviously there were many months that I could not choose just one favorite, there were so many fabulous posts this year. See Dionna's favorites on her blog — many more to gush over!

And here is a complete list of all of our participants, with Facebook and Twitter links where applicable:


VAL said...

Hello, I found your blog fairly recently and I have been enjoying reading it. I missed the sign up for the January Carnival but I have joined in anyway, I blogged about it here - - I am looking forward to keeping up with you in 2012.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Valerie: Nice! I loved reading what you're doing.

You haven't actually missed the sign-up, by the way. If you wanted to write up something new, submissions are due this coming Tuesday, Jan. 3. Sounds like you have plenty to choose to write about! :) (Details here.)

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

Thank you and Dionna, for all the effort and time you put into creating a carnival that I am always excited to read and participate in. I am, as always grateful for the support you both have given to Kelly and me for the Mindful Mama Car.

This is an impressive list of posts and participants. I am looking forward to checking in with some that I've read and meeting the few that I haven't yet. And I appreciate the shout out on my post, too.

Best wishes for 2012. I am looking forward to another great CarNatPar year!

Laura @ Our Messy Messy Life said...

Thanks for the mention and for all the work yall do to run such a busy blog carnival! It's funny you linked to this specific post of mine because I have given much consideration to the worries of my children not liking me when they grow up and made decisions *today* in my life to improve our future relationship. As my husband would say, it's quite synchronistic!

Happy New Year to your little hobo family!

Herman said...

Gah. I so badly wanted to make the 10/10 list this year, but sickness bested me :( Oh well - I have a goal for next year, right?! Love you for putting this together! I loved it last year and love it this year too!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: Yea for community! Thanks so much for the inspiration you are with your own carnival, and best wishes in this New Year!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Laura @ Our Messy Messy Life: That is so cool! It's amazing how themes swirl around our lives and come back to the surface as they need to. Happy New Year to your little messy family! Just trying to be synchronistic, hee! :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Luschka (Diary of a First Child): Aw, HG trumps carnival-ing. Good thing we didn't hand out gold stars, or you really would have been bummed to have missed out!

Dionna put most of this post together, even coding the huuuuge list of participants. She's a babymooning rockstar, isn't she?

Kate Wicker said...

I am forever grateful for all you and Donna have done to build this online natural parenting community. My only regret is that my life with many littles keeps me from participating more. Here's to another great year in 2012!

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