Friday, August 30, 2013

Intending to travel

Intending to travel == Hobo MamaOnce again, our only vacation this year has been to see family. Sam and I have been talking about this recently — we realized that ever since having children, the only traveling we've done has been short jaunts around our home base, or longer trips to visit the grandparents.

Before we had kids, we'd shake things up: a visit to our parents here and there, but interspersed with farther-flung adventures — to Atlanta, to Denver, to Seattle, to New York City, D.C., London, Paris, Berlin.

Contrast that with this year's trip that brought us through the overly familiar states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. I mean, no offense, Midwest, but…yeah.

Now, I totally get it. Having kids has brought with it consequences: Less money to blow with an unfortunately correlated increase in travel costs, distant relatives who want to connect with our offspring, and a whole mess of more inconvenience in traveling. This has made our trips a lot less frequent, and a lot more focused on seeing family to the exclusion of traveling for fun.

But the problem is — I'm boooored.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Learning through unschooling

To celebrate the release of my new book on homeschooling, I had a thought of doing a Wordless Wednesday with a catalog of all our recent unschooling, home-education, natural-learning photos. As it turns out, there are far too many, so I decided instead to put in a few examples from the eight class headings the state of Washington informs me are the key curricular subjects that every home educator must address.

Enjoy a glimpse into our kids' everyday learning!

Language Arts

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
A very happy boy with a book

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
Reading clues in a scavenger hunt

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
Writing letters to the grandmothers

Mathematics

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
A chess match

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
Playing with shapes

Learning through unschooling == Hobo Mama
Um … measuring things?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preview of What Will We Learn Today? at LaurenWayne.com

Preview of What Will We Learn Today? at LaurenWayne.com

I'm so happy to introduce you to my newest book, What Will We Learn Today? — an ideabook of more than 550 quick and simple homeschooling activities.

I've put up a post over at LaurenWayne.com with a full description and plenty of juicy excerpts, so head over there if you're interested in learning more!

There are days when you want to do something fun — and educational — but you can't quite figure out what it is. I have good intentions of natural-learning activities to do — but then I don't always remember them.

So I wrote this ebook to be a collection of idea-joggers. You can keep it on your computer, phone, or tablet (it's a PDF, so easy-peasy) and then anytime you're having one of those "What should we do now?" moments, just pop that puppy open and choose an activity.

Read the rest at LaurenWayne.com.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Homeschooled kids are allowed to be weird

Homeschooled kids are allowed to be weird == Hobo Mama
"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." — Thoreau

Last year I took Mikko and Alrik to a German enrichment program. The big kids played board games and did sports activities while the babies and mamas did clapping games and bebopped to German tunes.

I was hesitant about signing us up, and did a lot beforehand of that weird, shelter-y stuff some people hate about parents to elicit promises that Mikko could either stay with the baby and me, or the baby and I could stay with Mikko in his class, at least until he got situated.

Because Mikko is not big on separation. That's putting it hilariously mildly.

Since he'd had so much trouble with separation anxiety in his German immersion preschool, I knew there might be a double whammy here: separation combined with German immersion. So I needed to make sure he'd be comfortable.

I was assured beforehand that, yes, we could be the odd ducks and I could be the hovering helicopter parent Mikko needed me to be.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reviews: 6 Mindful Learning resources, all in one bundle!

Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

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

I'm pleased to announce that the Mindful Learning eBundle Sale is now live!

I collected the resources for this bundle myself, so I got to read and hand-select all the books in advance, and let me tell you:

I'm excited.

These six resources are an incredible wealth of information about learning methods and practical tools to help you in your educational goals.

These are six amazing resources that will help you practically and philosophically as you guide and nurture your child's learning:
  • Everyday Sensory Alphabet Activities — encourage educational sensory exploration
  • You Can Read! — teach early reading
  • Book Love — nudge a reluctant reader
  • Montessori at Home! — implement Montessori ideas into your everyday life
  • What Will We Learn Today? — inject educational fun into your homeschooling
  • Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning — have your questions about unschooling answered

That's over over 1,200 pages of learning resources with a huge assortment of hands-on printables.

Grab your chance to get these six incredible e-resources at 75% off — that's only $12.50 for over $50 worth of learning materials!


Reviews of the resources

Since I've had a chance to enjoy all the ebooks in advance, I'll bring you my honest reviews of each. Read on!

Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sneak peek at the Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

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

Mindful Learning eBundle SaleIt's back to school — or back to unschool for us! Which means … um … everything's exactly the same for us, since we learn in the everyday. (Love that!)

But we could all use some inspiration and rejuvenation in our educational routines, right? Maybe you'd like to know more about:
  • how to guide your kids' learning at home,
  • how to teach early reading or nudge a reluctant reader,
  • how to implement Montessori ideas into your home life,
  • how to inject educational fun into your homeschooling,
  • or how to have your questions about unschooling answered.

Well, I have great news! I've been busy organizing (and contributing to!) a new e-resource bundle focused on just those topics: the Mindful Learning eBundle!

It's a collection of six carefully selected resources on learning and education. This is a practical bundle with over 1,200 pages of learning fun and numerous printables.

Starting tomorrow, you can grab your chance to get these six incredible e-resources at 75% offonly $12.50 for over $50 worth of learning materials!


So what's in this bundle?

Let me tell you:

Mindful Learning eBundle Sale

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Calling for submissions for the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe

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 September 2013! (Check out August, July, June, May, April, March, January, and a summary of all our 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 September 2013:

Calling for submissions for the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe == Hobo MamaTheme: Staying Safe: How do you approach some aspect of family safety? We want to hear about car seats, water safety, emergency preparedness, poison control, babyproofing, and more.

Deadline: Tuesday, September 3. 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} NaturalParentsNetwork.com

Carnival date: Tuesday, September 10. 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 September 10 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published on September 10 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, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Take me out to the ball game

Take me out to the ball game == Hobo Mama
Every year, we take our kids out to a baseball game.

Take me out to the ball game == Hobo Mama
Sometimes we even get to watch a few minutes of baseball!
(But not more than that.)

Take me out to the ball game == Hobo Mama
This kid had his finger in his mouth all day long.

Take me out to the ball game == Hobo Mama
Surprise! Because he'd lost a tooth that morning and didn't want to tell us.
(As in
lost it, lost it. I later found it in the hallway carpet: Super Mama!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The responsibility for childhood

The responsibility for childhood == Hobo MamaI have a six-year-old. Six! When did that happen?

My first strong memories of myself as a self are from five years old on. I have memories dating back to two, and could tell you something of what my preschool years were like. But there was something defining about five that catapulted me into who I was. It was the time I really began to think of myself as me, and my place with my family, and muse about why I was myself instead of someone else. (Existentialism begins in kindergarten, yo.)

It's also a time I remember as golden. Sure, I have sour memories, such as when a substitute teacher yelled at me for talking and then tried to make it up to me by having me demonstrate to the class how to tie a shoelace. (Gosh, why do I remember that?) But I generally remember a period of calm, of being loved, of having friends, of being good in school, of playing on the playground behind our houses. I loved singing our Sunday School songs about Jesus loving little children, and I was cozily satisfied that I myself was one of those children. I loved being a child.

And so I look at my older son, who's now six, and I realize I'm already one year past when Childhood began. That's Childhood with a capital C, as I sort of consider the years from around five to ten years old. That's when it seems most iconic, most idyllic (or should be): the years beyond the little-child memory fog and before the tensions of being a tween and teen set in.

And I worry: Am I doing his Childhood right?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Surf: Kids on the bus

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Kids on the bus == Hobo Mama
These two handsome and independent young men were my companions yesterday.
They sat by themselves on the bus, but we all played together on the beach and at the toy store.

Links for you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Berry fun

There is nothing sweeter than sun-warmed, freshly ripe berries.
Unless it's picking them at a farm that also sells crumbly shortcake.

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Berry fun == Hobo Mama

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The complex and wonderful world of siblings


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.




The complex and wonderful world of siblings == Hobo Mama

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

Before I gave my firstborn a sibling, I was kind of pessimistic about the nature of sibling relationships. And now that I have two children, I sort of hope for better things than I'd come to expect — but am trying not to get too attached to the idea.

I guess it's because my relationship with my own siblings is tepid. There's no strain there, but we don't stay in touch very well, and we see each other every couple years, emailing or phoning maybe twice in that timeframe. I have one brother who's four years older and one brother who's nine years younger. (He was a surprise.) My parents had been planning to have my older brother and me five years apart, but the timing sped up when there were rumors that my dad would get an unaccompanied deployment to Korea for a year. That never developed, but I did: a little, girly sister to my macho brother.

He didn't have much use for me, being so much older and having a completely different personality and alternate preferences for spending his free time. I did the usual pining after him, cursing myself for adoring him when clearly he didn't give two pins about me.

When my younger brother was born — even when still in utero — I fell in love. Here was a real live doll for this nine-year-old to nurture, and so I did. I was his babysitter even when legally my older brother was technically in charge of both of us.

My older brother moved out and joined the Army when I was 14. He later went to West Point and off on his own trajectory, a fiercely independent soul rarely home even for school breaks. My younger brother was 9 when I left for college, so I've retained an affection for him that often forgets to see past his current age. Yes, ok, he's 28, but he's still a cute tousle-headed 9 to me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Interview about working from home + chub rub in the UK!

 photo 20130729_195058.jpg
Cousins. I know it's out of focus, but: Aw!
In lieu of our regular Sunday Surf, I thought I'd catch you up a little on Things That Happened While I Was Away. I promise, they're pretty exciting!

For the past two weeks, our family's been tootling around the Midwest from the BlogHer 2013 conference and on through four states and multiple family gatherings.

We had a great time, but I'll tell you, I am so glad to be back home — and I could really use a vacation from my vacation now! Does someone want to come unpack for me? Thanks.

Interview with Hobo Mama at tooMODmama

First of all, I'm so pleased to have had tooMODmama interview me all about how to balance working from home with parenting. If you have ever considered working from home or are interested in learning more about it, here's your FAQ for how it works for our family and how it might work for yours.
Interview with Hobo Mama at tooMODmama
I admire Lauren’s  candid writing about motherhood while juggling all of the other challenges of life brings. With this interview we dive a little deeper into her day-to-day routine running a business from home as well as her take on natural parenting.

As a mother and successful family business owner –  What does a typical day look like for you? Can you share how you balance your desire to spend time with your family while growing your business?

It can definitely be a challenge if you want to work from home and care for your kids, so we’ve had to think hard about our options and how we could make this lifestyle work. My husband, Sam, and I both knew we wanted to raise our kids yet continue working and pursuing our passions. Since having two kids — Mikko’s 6, and Alrik’s 2 — we’ve had to work out more intentionally who’s working when. Sam gets up really early for some pre-kids writing time. Then the rest of us roll out of bed for breakfast and waking up. (We’re not morning people, so that takes awhile!) Previously, we had a routine where I took the kids most afternoons and evenings while Sam worked in the family business (selling DVDs online), and then I did my own writing work late into the night while he put the kids to bed. Lately, we’ve been trying out a different schedule that allows for more socializing during daylight hours with other parents and at kid activities, which tend to be in the mornings. So now we alternate days, so we each have three “working” days a week and three “kids” days, plus one family day to do something fun all together.
{Continue reading my answer there!}

I also get to delve a little into what natural parenting is (or isn't) and what "hobo parenting" might be.
Do you have any tips for moms-to-be who feel intimidated by “natural parenting”. And what does "natural parenting" mean to you?

I’m sure natural parenting really can sound intimidating to the uninitiated! I know I was intimidated by crunchy types as I first dipped my toes in the water. Certainly there are some gatekeepers in the natural parenting world who think they own and enforce some sort of rulebook, but there are many more natural parents who are welcoming and accepting of wherever you are along your journey. I try to be one of those types and let criticisms from the other type roll off me.
My definition of natural parenting is attachment parenting combined with green living. However, that can be whatever it means for you. I fully encourage people to take the elements of natural parenting that resonate with them and leave the rest, and not feel like they have to live up to some crunchy ideal before they can seek out the community and inspiration of other natural parents. Pretty much none of us are that ideal, anyway, and most choices we’ve made have happened over time and with a lot of encouragement.
{Continue reading my answer there!}

I'd love to chat with you in the comments over at tooMODmama! Ask your questions about how working from home might work for you, tell me your own definitions of natural parenting, or let me know your own experiences of either.


Chub rub making headlines in the UK

Hobo Mama Giveaway: Bandelettes Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands = 3 Winners! = $15 ARV {8.22; US}I was standing in line for a roller coaster when I decided to check my email on my phone. An alert came up that my blog had been mentioned in the online UK tabloid The Daily Mail. "A cure for 'chub rub'? New product promises to help women who suffer from 'embarrassing' inner-thigh chafing." Excellent! The fact that my chubby thighs are being discussed across the pond was pretty much just as thrilling as the roller coaster ended up being. (P.S. Do not read the comments.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

My "terrible" two-year-old

crying toddler tantrum

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

When Mikko was nearing two, we noticed an increase in his frustration levels and a corresponding increase in his dramatic responses to those frustrations. Were they tantrums? Maybe sorta. I didn't feel like labeling them, particularly since I had yet to see the stereotypical movie kind where the kid flings himself on his stomach and kicks his legs about. Mikko used to fling himself on his back. Much different.

(Just after writing this post, Alrik flung himself face down — onto a mattress, smart kid — for a good scream fest. I was so impressed.)

Mikko has always been what we might delicately call "dramatic." Or intense. Or, as his Grandma so gently puts it, he has so much personality. Or, as parenting author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka titled her kindhearted book on the subject, he's spirited.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Child's eye view

Mikko and I went to a Science Expo downtown and took the monorail to dinner after. There, Mikko took over the camera to show us what the world looks like from four feet up.

Child's eye view == Hobo Mama

Child's eye view == Hobo Mama

Child's eye view == Hobo Mama

Child's eye view == Hobo Mama

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mikko's weaning story


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.




Mikko's weaning story == Hobo Mama
World Breastfeeding Week: Mikko's weaning story == Hobo Mama
This year's World Breastfeeding Week theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers. In that spirit, I'm sharing my stories in the hopes of contributing to the dialogue about real-life breastfeeding experiences.
I've been reluctant to talk about Mikko's weaning, even though it's now over a year in the past. Mostly it's because I'm a sentimental fool who tears up every time I even hear the word weaning, much less speak it — in relation to my own children!

I know it's a totally natural and beneficial step toward growing up. But, dang it, my nurslings and I have had such a special connection, and it's definitely sad to see that specific type of connection end, even if it's gently and honorably, and even though life and other connections continue on.

Here, as best I can remember it, is Mikko's story of going from extended nursling to weanling.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Surf: Old midwifery, mother's bodies, & enlightened children

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Old midwifery, mother's bodies, & enlightened children == Hobo Mama
Super low tides are super!

Some super links for your enjoyment!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.





World Breastfeeding Week: Mikko's weaning story == Hobo Mama
This year's World Breastfeeding Week theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers. In that spirit, I'm sharing my stories in the hopes of contributing to the dialogue about real-life breastfeeding experiences.

Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old == Hobo Mama
Nursing one crown prince at Alrik's joint birthday party with Mikko
This post is my State of the Union address on how nursing my second-born is going. I don't find as much to say about it on a daily or weekly basis, because it just is. But I will attempt to elucidate and evaluate:

Smooth sailing

The good news is, everything's mostly just great. We haven't encountered any major nursing problems (mastitis, clogged ducts, nursing strikes, tongue tie, low milk supply, etc.), so I'm one lucky ducky. Alrik's got a good latch still, the milk's flowing, I don't have nursing aversion with him (the way I did with his older brother before he weaned), and I'd long established a routine and wardrobe for easy nursing.

How much and how often

As for frequency , he's nursing many times a day and at least a few times a night (more on that later). He nurses more often if I'm around and he's not otherwise distracted; in other words, if he's bored. Sometimes, if I suspect that's why he's asking to nurse, I'll set about distracting him if I'm not in the mood. I feel fine about that. If Sam or I think he's thirsty, we might also offer a drink of something else. His longer nursing sessions are going to bed, going down for a nap, waking up from a nap, and waking up from his nighttime sleep, when he has to have both sides and actual milk flow. The ones during the day otherwise are usually much quicker and can end as soon as something else catches his attention. Of course, if he's distraught about something, nummies are very soothing.