Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Merry Christmas to all!

Hobo Mama: Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Calling for submissions for the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

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 January 2014! (Check out December, November, October, September, 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 January 2014:

Calling for submissions for the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

Theme: The More Things Stay the Same: Life changes, it's true; but it often continues on a steady path. This month, write about continuity. What does it mean to you: stability? Monotony? Is it a broken resolution, or a conscious effort? Whether it is something in the past or a goal for 2014, share what "staying the same" means to you and your family.

Deadline: Tuesday, January 7. 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, January 14. 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 January 14 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, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas here & there

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

Here is a taste of the merriment we've been enjoying this season.

Hobo Mama: Christmas here & there
We went with a group of friends
to see the fantabulous gingerbread houses downtown.

Hobo Mama: Christmas here & there
They're built entirely out of candy
as a fundraiser for juvenile diabetes research,
which always makes me chuckle.

Hobo Mama: Christmas here & there
Nursery Rhymes was this year's theme:
Here's poor London Bridge falling down,
with Humpty Dumpty in a precarious position.

Hobo Mama: Christmas here & there
We appreciated the decorated Christmas trees at another hotel.

Hobo Mama: Christmas here & there

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Enter the DidyTai giveaway! {12.19; US/Can}

A gentle reminder to enter the DidyTai giveaway that ends Thursday!

I've reposted the review and entry form below for your convenience.

 

Didytai Giveaway Event

Sponsored by Adriane Stare of Caribou Baby

 

Hosted by:

The Squishable Baby

 

Co-hosted by:

Our Piece of Earth According to Jenny Zephyr Hill Blog
The Median Mommy Life as a Wife, Mummy and Nurse I Thought I Knew Mama
Mommy's Favorite Things Kerrific online Living Peacefully with Children
Hobo Mama Momma Lew

Monday, December 16, 2013

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself!

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

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo Mama

Are you the parent of a young baby? I hereby pass along to you my holiday gift: the permission and suggestion to slow down and take care of yourself, too.

I've been through four Christmases with a younger nursling. My kids are currently 6 and a half and 2 and a half years old, and I learned a thing or two from their Christmases at around six months and around 18 months on how to take the holidays easy.

Now, there's what worked for me, but then there are the choices you will make, and it's totally possible and probable that you will have a different set of criteria and priorities when it comes to holiday celebrations. So take my advice as just a series of gentle suggestions. Sometimes people need permission to let go of the pressures of the holidays and of visits to distant relatives, and if that's you, I want to grant it! It's your holiday celebration, too, so try to slow down and enjoy it.


Cut down on travel, or plan ahead

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo MamaWe traveled by plane with Mikko when he was four months old, and then again when he was seven months old. After those two experiences, we swore off plane trips for the next several years at least. We then, warily, tried a road trip when he was 20 months old...which made us rethink future road trips. We've now traveled twice with Alrik, once by car and once by plane, and while neither was awful, neither was a walk in the park.

I'm not saying you'll have a bad experience if you travel somewhere with kids. I'm just saying you might. We did. Our first Christmas with Mikko, we had decided: No way are we flying out East. It wasn't just the holidays, though. We decided to put a general moratorium on flying. If our families wanted to see us more frequently than we did them (and see the kids — mainly the kids), they could come out West. And so they have. For years before we had kids, Sam and I schlepped our sweet twosome out their way. We figure we're due now for a few reciprocal visits.

So that's my first advice, if you can swing it and if you want to. Put your foot down, say you're staying put, and enjoy a quiet holiday season with just your immediate family, or with any relatives who decide to come out your way. Now that I've said that, I'm realizing that housing and feeding visiting relatives might not be any quieter, so maybe have them come at a different time!

But, if you really want to travel and it would make you sad to stay home alone, then I would suggest really preparing in advance for the trip.

If it's a plane trip, breastfeeding can help you out immensely. You can nurse during takeoff and landing to help regulate your little one's ear pressure, and it can also help calm a cranky kidlet. Prepare by reading The Parent Vortex's post on natural parenting and air travel as well as PhD in Parenting's post on "Tips for Breastfeeding on a Plane" for ideas of what to bring to breastfeed comfortably in flight, and how to deal with any confrontation. Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has good advice to airlines to make all flights breastfeeding-friendly, and Geeky Gaming Mama reminds us to practice safe cosleeping and breastfeeding practices while on the plane. If you're likely to be tired yourself, make sure you have a safe place to put a young infant while you sleep, since it's not safe to sleep upright with a small baby in your lap. Ideally, buy a separate ticket for your baby and bring along an airline-approved car seat so that you both have a secure spot to rest.

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo Mama
Do encourage your baby to review the safety instructions.

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo Mama
But under no circumstances should you allow your infant to order from SkyMall.

For road trips, make sure to leave extra time and bring extra supplies. Particularly when traveling with kids in the winter, I like to know we have everything that might help in case of a weather emergency. Equip your car with warm blankets, nonperishable snacks, water bottles partly filled so they won't explode if they freeze, jumper cables, flashlights, and charged cell phone with emergency numbers. Keep your gas tank comfortably full as well. A good tip is not to let the gauge slip below a quarter-tank. Don't push it when you're traveling in winter. If you become temporarily stranded, having some extra gas might be the only thing keeping you warm while you wait for help. Bring along your cloth diapers as well.

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo Mama

But the most important thing to have as a traveling mother is extra time. You never know when the baby is going to need you to pull over somewhere safe to eat — and the younger the baby, the more often this will happen — so don't try to rush to your destination. One of the best pieces of advice I received as a parent was never to promise to be anywhere on time. Just accept that a young baby is going to need some pit stops to refuel. Find somewhere safe and warm, or use that extra gas I mentioned earlier to keep your car running at a rest stop, and feed safely. Never try to breastfeed in a moving car, even if you're both strapped in — car seats and babies aren't meant to withstand the weight of a mother rushing at them in a sudden stop. What you can do, though, is be a presence to your child by sitting in the backseat with him or her. And this is something anyone in the family can do, not just the nursing mama. I let Sam take over that job when Mikko's had enough alone time, because I get carsick back there and Sam doesn't. If you're bottle feeding or offering solid foods as you drive, also have someone sit in back with the baby to make sure there's no choking.

The other way extra time helps is in letting you slow down and drive safely in inclement weather. I still remember rushing to Sam's parents during a blizzard on Christmas Eve one year. We skidded off the exit and ran into a little pole. Fortunately, that was all we hit! That was pre-kids; I would want to take absolutely no chances of rushing on icy roads or during a storm with a baby on board.


Put the relatives to work

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo MamaIf you're visiting or being visited by family members and friends, take advantage of the situation.

Does Grandma want to bounce the baby for an hour? Let her enjoy her bonding opportunity, while you take some time to eat a warm meal — with two hands and actual silverware!

Does your young cousin want to play countless games of peekaboo with your toddler? Say: Go for it, cuz! Now you have a chance to enjoy some adult conversation for once.

Instead of trying to do it all yourself, let there be a dispersal of responsibility, and take the time, at this stage in your life, to relax and just enjoy the holidays. It might feel selfish, but you're caring for a full other human. If you're breastfeeding exclusively, you are supplying the nutrient load entirely. That gives you the right for a little time to put your feet up! And your loved ones will actually appreciate the chance to interact with your little bundle of joy.

If no one is volunteering to help you out, you might have to get specific and ask for help. Sometimes people don't know what would be most helpful for a mama of a little one, so you might have to point out what does and doesn't work for you. For instance, you might need to keep a newborn close for those frequent feedings rather than pass the sweetness around, but you can request that someone bring you a cup of holiday punch or fill a plate from the buffet with finger foods and set it on a convenient table at your side. If your baby is at risk from exposure to germs, limit your festivities and be clear to guests what the guidelines are for touching the little one.

If you're hosting the holiday gathering, be shameless about requesting help, both in advance and on the day. Make it a potluck where you provide just one dish — if any at all. Be reckless and use paper plates, or assign clean-up duty to some of the tween and teenage set. They'll probably enjoy the chance to have a little water fight with each other, anyway — bonding over bubbles, and all that! Have a group of friends come over early to help you decorate and tidy, or see if you can wangle an early present of a cleaning service gift certificate.


Have an answer ready for any questions or criticism

Consider ahead of time how you might smoothly handle any criticisms of your attachment parenting style, your gentle discipline, or your breastfeeding. This is not meant to make you paranoid. Just as I have never been asked to cover up on an airplane while breastfeeding but some women have, and just as I have not had nosy relatives criticize my commitment to long-term breastfeeding but other women have, I prefer to go into a situation with forethought of how I might conduct myself if something should occur. Here are a few resources that should help you formulate a plan: Kellymom's "Handling criticism about breastfeeding," The Tranquil Parent's "Six ways to defend extended breastfeeding, positive discipline, or other attachment parenting habits," and NursingFreedom's "Answering Objections to Nursing in Public." If, for instance, you don't want to agree to move to another room or cover up while breastfeeding, have a calm response to give to anyone who asks you to.

You might also practice ahead of time ways to breastfeed in a way as will keep you comfortable, perhaps investing in a few simple key pieces of a nursing wardrobe in advance, such as a nursing camisole or belly band. I'm not at all suggesting that you cover up or treat breastfeeding as anything other than natural and normal — but you have to decide what your personal comfort level is, considering your experience with breastfeeding and which people will be present to observe you.


Slow down and pare down

Caring for a baby over the holidays? Remember to take care of yourself! == Hobo MamaIt's so tempting to run yourself ragged over the holidays, even if you're not caring for young children. But when you are, it's even more important to weigh carefully what sorts of commitments you'll allow yourself to get into.

Be willing to say no to parties that don't interest you or events that would require finagling a babysitter and expressing milk, if that would stress you out. Agree not to exchange presents with some people, or go more low-key on the giving. Don't wear yourself out trying to hand-knit 20 people on your list an extra-special poncho. Maybe this is the year you commit to an emailed annual letter instead of hand assembling artsy holiday cards. Who knows? In making things easier on yourself, you might just save money and help the environment, too.

And if you have a newborn: That advice to sleep when the baby sleeps? It still applies during the holidays. If you need a rest and can grab a nap, take the chance!

How do you relax and recharge as a mama of young children during busy seasons?

Top photo credit: BenSpark on flickr (cc)

A version of this post originally appeared as part of
the Carnival of Breastfeeding.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Surf: Bedhead & a haircut

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

Does anyone else feel like the Christmas season is racing by? Stop, stop, stop! I want some of that kid-perspective of Advent-lasts-foreeeever-and-when-is-it-going-to-be-Christmas-already, because I can't believe it's almost here and we've done about … oh … 5 things on our list of 100 possibilities. I'm trying to slow down a bit and just enjoy it, regardless. We have our tree and stockings up now, so that's nice!

Sunday Surf: Bedhead & a haircut == Hobo Mama
I thought you'd want to enjoy this epic bedhead from Alrik's nap.

Sunday Surf: Bedhead & a haircut == Hobo Mama
I also gave him a haircut that day. You'd think that was because of or after the bedhead, right? Nope, the haircut came first and apparently unleashed even more volume. But the back of his head's pretty much always like that. We got off easy with Mikko and his self-styling locks.

Sunday Surf: Bedhead & a haircut == Hobo Mama
Of course, not that we do much at all to keep this kid looking this cute.

I've got links saved up for you!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Santa & family

Hobo Mama: Santa & family

We have never, ever, ever gotten a Santa picture this good,
with neither kid screaming or flailing away in terror.
I am all agog.
Thanks to Shannon for snapping it!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Homeostasis


Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change…

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 life changes.




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

Homeostasis == Hobo MamaI've enjoyed learning more about the body's state of homeostasis: the tendency toward stability, as controlled through multiple and ongoing small changes.

For instance, our body's temperature might be an average of 98.6 degrees (or not) — but only because the body constantly reacts to make it so, sweating to cool us, shivering to warm us, and many smaller responses that we don't even consciously register.

In other words, we're always changing — and always staying the same.

I feel a lot of homeostasis in my own life.

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to sew easy superhero capes for kids


How to sew easy superhero capes for kids == Hobo Mama

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

I've got a super-fast project you can whip right up for a holiday gift! Your kiddo will love opening up and flying away in a handmade reversible superhero cape for Christmas, so grab some shiny fabric, and let's get sewing.

This is seriously SO EASY you're going to laugh at me for making a blog post about it. Stuff you could figure out on your own is my crafty specialty, yo.

Materials:

How to sew easy superhero capes for kids == Hobo Mama
  • Superhero-worthy fabric: I followed Mikko's lead and headed straight to the gymnast/ice-skating costume section of Jo-Ann's, where we picked out (on sale, woo!) some sort of shimmery spandex stretch fabulousness. We made sure to get two contrasting colors for each cape so they can be reversible plus have an intriguing lining. Other fabrics that would work well would be satin, silk, or, for a floatier sort of fairy cape, perhaps something like organza. If you were going for something more Middle-Earthly, you could do a light wool, or an opaque costume fabric for a vampiric tot. Unless you're going for a floaty look, lean toward drapey fabrics.
  • Thread to match — any regular sort will do, and the color match doesn't have to be perfect, just subtle.
  • Some form of closure — I used and am quite happy with Velcro Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape — it comes in white, black, and beige, so choose the one that coordinates best.

A Jo-Ann tip for you: They now have a free mobile app that will give you scannable coupons on your phone. Since I always forget to bring my mailed coupons, this has been a serious money-saver. If you don't want to wait for specialty fabrics to go on sale, there's almost always a coupon for 50% or at least 40% off one regular-price item, which includes one cut of fabric. No, Jo-Ann isn't paying me to say this — just some advice that's helped me out recently!

Instructions:


How to sew easy superhero capes for kids == Hobo Mama
Measure out how much fabric you'll need in length by measuring from your child's neck to where you want the cape to fall. (I can hear you saying "Uh-duh.") I found the width of my fabric sufficient to wrap around my kids' little necks with room to spare. I erred on the long side with their capes, particularly for wee Alrik, since I figure they'll last longer that way.

How to sew easy superhero capes for kids == Hobo Mama
Cut out both of your pieces of fabric to the same length (which might have been done for you at the store — I had to make two boys two capes each, so I did additional cutting at home) and match up the seams, shiny sides together so you're looking at the dull underside of both pieces. Pin around the edges. If your pieces are uneven, as mine were, start with one corner with both layers matched perfectly together and pin, then work from there, smoothing the fabric as you go so you keep the layers from puckering.

How to sew easy superhero capes for kids == Hobo Mama
While you're pinning, your kids will be hard at work doing the same with the scraps (one can only assume).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Put your boots out: It's Nikolaustag!

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

This post is especially for Momma Jorje, because every year I post about our St. Nicholas Day celebrations after the fact, and every year she suggests it would be better if I reminded everyone beforehand so they could join in!

So: Let this be your reminder! Put your boots out tonight and Saint Nicholas might just stop by to tuck some shiny little goodies inside!

(Unless you've been naughty, of course. Then all bets are off.)

Since we speak some German at home, we like to learn about the culture as well. That's why we celebrate Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, each year.

Because the feast day of Saint Nicholas is December 6, empty boots (Nikolausstiefel) generally go outside the door the night of December 5, the eve of Nikolaustag (Nikolausabend).

Put your boots out: It's Nikolaustag! == Hobo Mama

Hear me speak on long-term breastfeeding today!

Hear me speak on long-term breastfeeding at the Healthy Child Summit today!

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

Please head over to the Healthy Child Summit today to hear me talk about breastfeeding beyond infancy and tandem nursing!


The Healthy Child Summit is FREE and is in sneak-peek mode right now, and my interview was selected for inclusion in this preview. The full summit will be available in February, but for now you can hear me speak today only!

Hop over with my affiliate link to register and listen for free!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Giveaway: Didymos DidyTai baby carrier from Caribou Baby — ARV $190 {12.19; US/Can}

 

Didytai Giveaway Event

Sponsored by Adriane Stare of Caribou Baby

 

Hosted by:

The Squishable Baby

 

Co-hosted by:

Our Piece of Earth According to Jenny Zephyr Hill Blog
The Median Mommy Life as a Wife, Mummy and Nurse I Thought I Knew Mama
Mommy's Favorite Things Kerrific online Living Peacefully with Children
Hobo Mama Momma Lew

Wordless Wednesday: Mystery box

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

Hobo Mama: Mystery box

Since my giveaway for Appleseed Lane ends Friday,
I thought I'd share our fun with the
November box on crime scene science!
We bought a subscription to Appleseed Lane,
so we get a science-based box once a month
with fun activities, crafts, and a book to explain it all!

Hobo Mama: Mystery box
Mikko was eager to spread it all out.
As you can see, we had two of everything
with the sibling add-on (no fighting! woo!).

Hobo Mama: Mystery box
Mikko loves crime-solving games and shows
(this is actually true and, yes, I know he's 6),
so he was ready to get right to detecting.
We had to solve which nefarious caterpillar sibling got into the cookie jar.

Hobo Mama: Mystery box
One thing I love is Appleseed Lane supplies ALL the materials.
For instance, one of the activities called for a pencil, and I was thinking:
Oh, no, I have to find a pencil? But it was included — but unsharpened.
So I was thinking, Oh, no, I have to find a pencil sharpener?
But the sharpener was INCLUDED! It's so easy.
This bag of flour was a great relief to me,
because we never have any now that we're grain-free!
That was another one where I read the directions first and had a mini-panic
before realizing: Nope, it's all included. Whew!

Hobo Mama: Mystery box
So, anyway: First up, handprint molds!
See that little packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid? Included!
No running to the store. Love it.

Hobo Mama: Mystery box
The boys mixed together peacefully. Yea!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Surf: Hedgehog baby steps

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

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

Here's hoping you all had a celebratory Thanksgiving weekend! We just stayed home and the boys puked. And I cleaned up puke. And they puked some more. It was … different.

But now it's time for the holiday season, and I am stoked! Christmas music, ahoy!

Sunday Surf: Hedgehog baby steps == Hobo Mama
Once upon a time, I used a Sunday Surf to talk about manifesting a hedgehog. Since Mikko's now enthusiastically on board, we are one step closer. Don't you just adore his drawing of a hedgehog? Totally unprompted. We made a shopping list and went to the pet store to get some supplies.

Some links to be thankful for:


And along the same lines:

  • Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe - 4 KIDS (by jimgaffigan)
    "Four kids. If you want to know what it’s like to have a fourth, just imagine you’re drowning … and then someone hands you a baby."
    "We had all our babies at home … just to make you feel uncomfortable."
    "People always assume there was some laziness involved. ‘You didn’t want to go to the hospital?’ ‘It was far. I didn’t feel like putting on pants.’"
    "People are like, ‘You didn’t want to go to that germ-infested building where sick people congregate? … Didn’t your wife want to give birth in a gown someone died in yesterday?’"
    "There was also a midwife there, because we believe in witchcraft."
    Ok, I’ll stop quoting. Enjoy!