Thursday, April 30, 2015

On a quest toward health with help from vitafusion™ (plus $100 giveaway!)


Two tasty little cherry-flavored gummies can give you your daily B12!


I'm on a quest right now to Get Healthy (I always think of it as a trademarkable phrase), so I was delighted when BlogHer and vitafusion™ gave me an amazing resource to try out toward that goal: vitafusion™ Extra Strength B-12.

These gummy vitamins are a yummy, enjoyable boost to my daily nutrition. Since February (we're a little slow on the uptake for New Year's resolutions), Sam and I have forsworn grains and also most refined sugar. For those of you following along regularly, we gave up grains about two and a half years ago at about 80-90% compliance, but we decided to be absolutely strict about it for a while, and for kicks, also see if we could do without added sugars. It's a challenge, but a worthy one!

That's why I'm always on the lookout for ways to ensure we're meeting our daily nutritional goals. I'm happy we're eating more whole foods and am confident that will help us meet our health needs, but I'm never sure what gaps there might be. For one thing, I don't eat the most varied diet. I like certain things and am not keen on others, so I tend to eat the same (delicious) meals over and over. Plus, I recently gave birth and am breastfeeding, so I know my nutritional needs are heightened. That's why supplements give me that extra boost of reassurance that I'm doing what I can to be complete.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Beach in spring

Are you on Instagram?
I am now, and would love some more delightful followers & followees!

Follow me at hobomamacom & I'll follow you back!

Here are some Instagrammy pictures from our recent beach excursions:

A photo posted by Lauren Wayne (@hobomamacom) on

A photo posted by Lauren Wayne (@hobomamacom) on

Friday, April 24, 2015

Can You Even Help Your Kids Gain Independence Today? on BlogHer

Syndicated on
I'm happy and proud to have a post today on the BlogHer home page: "Can You Even Help Your Kids Gain Independence Today?"

They've syndicated my post from the other day on how I'm a would-be free-range parent who feels hemmed in by today's safety expectations. BlogHer has made me some lovely Pinterest imagery as well:

That's totally what I wanted to do with those quotes and didn't! Procrastination pays off! And looks so much prettier than I would have done!

I'll be hanging out over yonder to field comments and spark some chatter on the topic of free-range kids. Come join me!

Even if you've already read the post and let me know what you think, I'd love for your clicks on and shares of the BlogHer page so they know I'm sending my peeps over to give it a look!

And if you haven't commented or shared it yet, I'd really appreciate your voice added to the conversation. Why is it so hard to grant kids independence today?

Continue reading at BlogHer ››

Life with a big baby

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

Any other parents of mondo babies out there? Or parents of munchkins who want to live vicariously? Here's what it's like to have a baby beating landmass records:

  • At birth, Karsten was a hearty 10 pounds, 6 ounces. Mikko still has him beat with 11 pounds, 13 ounces. The trend continues: Karsten at 5 months old was 23 pounds to Mikko's 28 at the same age. At nearly 6 months, he's up to 28 (5 pounds gained in 30 days!), and Mikko was up to 30. Either? Is plenty big. Just ask my back.

  • I kid you not: He broke my back. For the past week, I've been healing through a muscle spasm that has me nearly laid up.

  • Speaking of which, I scheme ways to get out of carrying him. I call Sam for help transporting him down the stairs or when I have to carry absolutely anything else. Glass of water + Karsten = fear of dropping one or both.

  • Strangers say: "Wait … how old is he?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Three months

Continuing on from two months, here are a few photos from February. (That's how caught up I am at photo editing.)

We interrupt the baby programming to bring you Cat on a Computer.
Must be warm.

Brothers. (And another cat.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

The legal complexities of giving kids independence

The other day, Sam, Alrik, and I wanted to head out to the playground — and Mikko didn't. Now, the playground is literally a block from our home. Mikko is 7 years old, nearly 8, and perfectly capable of amusing himself and retrieving drinks or snacks as needed in a short absence of parental supervision.

But we knew we couldn't leave him home alone, and told him as much. "But whhhyyyy?" he asked. Indeed, kiddo, why?

Because the neighbors might call the cops on us, that's why.

Instead, we had to cajole and bribe him into accompanying us. In fact, Alrik, Karsten, and I left first, and Sam followed a good forty minutes later, with new plans and relevant toys to meet up at the beach for a digging party, the activity Mikko finally agreed to.

Let me tell you a bit about my childhood in less (?) enlightened times. I walked to and from kindergarten in Alaska. My mom used to say she'd watch through the window until we disappeared into the fog. When I was 6 and living in Colorado, my mother went back to work, leaving me in my 10-year-old brother's care throughout the summer break. By the time I was 7 or 8, my best friend and I, and her brother and mine, would frequently walk as a group alone to the swimming pool. I remember wearing our towels in elaborate concoctions on our heads and pushing our bare toes into the hot, melting tar stripes on the pavement. When we got there, we swam without adults besides whatever teen lifeguards were on duty. By the time I was 8 or 9, my friend and I were going on walking or bike-riding jaunts by ourselves, visiting my dad at his office or the hospital (he was a social worker in the Army) or running errands for our moms, like picking up stamps or the newspaper. I began babysitting my little brother soon after he was born when I was 9. I had a chart to track my $1-per-hour payments. (I was surprised when I began babysitting for other families at age 11 or so and figured out they would pay me more than that.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to connect with grandparents across the miles (plus Panasonic HomeTeam™ $100 giveaway!)

My kids live 3,000 miles from one set of grandparents and 2,000 miles from the other. As you can imagine, visits are all too infrequent and phone calls with little kids (aged 7, 3, and 5 months) just don't cut it, but I really want to keep my kids connected to our extended families.

That's why I jumped at the chance to review Panasonic's new HomeTeam™ app. It's a video chat specifically geared toward the grands, both older and younger. You can read books, play games, and make family connections, no journey needed.

Who here has hosted stiflingly awkward video chats between your kids and your parents or in-laws? Depending on the age levels of the littles, so much can happen. Staring. Screaming. Racing around the room like a hooligan. Interrupting every word Grandma says to show off another amazing toy. Saying inappropriate things. Thinking it's oh-so-funny to cover up the webcam with a well-placed finger. Toddling off in boredom. {Raises hand for all of the above.}


HomeTeam is here to help us out, guys. It relieves all the "but what do I do?" anxiety around video chatting between grandparents and little kids. Because it's not just video chat — it's video chat and then some! You can read books together and play child-friendly games. You finally have something just perfect for building those bridges between the generations, giving them something to do together and lending a natural flow to the conversation. Kids will remember Grandpa next time he comes to visit as the guy who plays checkers and Nana as the person who reads them all those wonderful stories.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hand family stories down to the next generation

Welcome to the April 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family History

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, lore, and wisdom about family history. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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

Cuddle up for some intergenerational emails: Hand family stories down to the next generation == Hobo Mama
Cuddling up for some intergenerational emails

Mikko is seven, nearly eight. He doesn't like to say he can't read yet — he says he's "in training." This is very true.

Since Sam and I both learned to read, organically, from a pre-preschool age, we weren't prepared for a child who was heavily resistant to the idea of decoding written language. We don't want to push him to do anything he's not ready for, but we also have relatives and neighbors and other well-meaning folk asking us repeatedly, "Can he read yet? … How about now?"

So Sam and I got an idea. We'd emphasize with Mikko how much fun reading is, and how practical as well. (He's a pragmatic soul.) We'd talk about reading as it comes up in video game screens (very important to him), we'd read aloud fun books together (Mikko and I are onto the second Harry Potter at the moment), and we'd ask for help from some of the very people expressing concern: his relations.

I emailed Mikko's grandparents on both sides and his sole, delightful cousin. I requested, if they would be so kind, occasional emails, texts, and even written letters — maybe one thing electronic a week and one thing snail-mail a month. I had an idea that if a correspondence could be struck up and the ball pushed into rolling, Mikko would get caught up in the enjoyment of the back-and-forth.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers in jammies

Monday, April 6, 2015

On knowing your family is the right size

affiliate links in post

The other night, I had a a dream that I was pregnant again. Since I don't quite remember and didn't understand, I'll spare you the weird, dream-like details of how this happened (something involving an evil queen, I think?), but whatever the cause, there I was, expecting another baby when my current one is just five months old. We would be having four children instead of the three we'd planned on.

In my dream, Sam and I had a reaction of: "Oh. Well, ok, then." I wasn't unhappy. I would embrace this child as I had the others, but…. But I'd have a newborn when this baby was only fourteen months old. I was just about to get rid of my maternity clothes (well, the ones I'm not still wearing, ahem). We had accepted that Karsten would be our last, and now here we were being thrown back into the thick of it again. I tried to wrap my dream mind around the concept that we would be a family of six instead of five — it wasn't what I'd anticipated, and it was a hard thought to surround, like something stuck in my throat.

When I woke up, I was relieved. Not at the fact that we weren't having a fourth baby, but at the fact that I was apparently more at peace with it than I'd thought.

If my subconscious was telling me a fourth would be a less-than situation, then stopping now must in fact be the right decision for us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Two months

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I don't know if you've noticed, but things have been a little slow around here lately. It turns out it's challenging to parent a new baby, take care of and homeschool two other kidlets, run a home business, and blog. Who knew! (You can see a day in my life here.)

I thought something fun would be just to show off a few of the cute pictures of Karsten since the last time I posted a Wordless Wednesday when he was not yet two months old. He just turned five months and is a chunka-chunka burnin' love, but I've edited pictures only for the rest of two months through three months. Yup, photo editing is one of those things that's hard to fit in as well!

Anyway…here are some adorable pictures of all three kids from December and January!

Hipster baby

Mikko & Alrik writing on the sliding door with a gift of window markers from Nikolaustag

Big brother Alrik