Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: First portraits

Now that Karsten can reliably sit up,
we figured it was time to head to JC Penney
for some sweet and happy family portraits.

Nailed it.

At least Mikko thinks it's funny.
Seriously, could Karsten be any redder?

Ok, there. That's better.

Here are the other bros
in the same smocked outfit by Nana!
It was super loose on Alrik, ha.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Drumming monkey

20 nifty seconds from our Lego Robotics class at the homeschool co-op:

Success! Even though apparently Mikko and I are both not spatial thinkers!

That's an Auto-Awesome movie Google+ made for me, which was nice and easy.
The sound is just music if you need/want to watch it on mute
(such as near a sleeping baby).

The only thing that's regrettably missing, then, is hearing Alrik
pronounce the drumming monkey "cool," or as he says it, "tyuuule."

You're also missing Karsten on my lap lunging for all those tempting tiny little pieces.
I can solve that one:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Calling for submissions for the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself

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 June 2015! (Check out April, March, February, January, and summaries of all our 2014 posts, 2013 posts, 2012 posts, and 2011 posts if you missed any.)

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

Here are the submission details for June 2015:

Theme: Talking to Yourself: Write a letter to yourself at another age, either past or future. Tell pre-parenthood you what’s in store, or talk to new-mama you and give some advice. Have a lunch date with yourself in the future and speculate on what you’ll be thinking then. Pick a "you" to write to, and let us read along!

Deadline: Tuesday, June 2. 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}

Carnival date: Tuesday, June 9. 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 November 11 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published on June 9 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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lying-in: Rest, recovery, and bonding after a birth

This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, Jessica from This is Worthwhile. She builds a strong case for the age-old but currently neglected practice of allowing mothers an established period of rest and recuperation after giving birth.

I first published this guest post in 2009, and Jessica was gracious enough to allow me to hog it again since I love it so much. I hope the idea of lying-in can reach even more parents, because I found it essential to healing after my births.

A typical lunch in our house in the first few days.

Guest post by Jessica from This is Worthwhile

In September of 2006 I was minding my own business checking out at Whole Foods. I looked up and saw Mothering Magazine. At the time I had two best friends 1200 miles away both expecting babies in 2007, so I grabbed two copies and went home, never having heard of the magazine before, and not even a whisper of my own pregnancy in my ears for months to come.

I started flipping through the pages and was overwhelmed by the sense of community I found there. Up until that moment, my idea of pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing was a foggy ideal based on my mother's methods (no spanking, lots of nursing, lots of educating yourself), not so unlike what I found in those pages. But what really struck me was an article about lying-in, a concept that really struck a chord with my cultural anthropological background and with my feminist beliefs, written by Katherine Gyles, called "At Rest in the Arms of the Mother."

What Is Lying-In?

Lying-in is loosely defined as a period of rest postpartum by the mother and babe anywhere between 1 week and 3 weeks and even more if feasible by the family. The mother is to be waited on and to remain on her back as much as possible to accomplish a number of physical and emotional goals. Physically, it allows her organs to reposition themselves and generally affords her more rest. Emotionally, it allows her to focus all her attention on the new infant at her breast, to bond, and to set the tone for the rest of the family to follow suit.

It is also called confinement or doing the month.

It is a time of quiet, reflection, and calibration. There is to be no fussing by the new mother over dishes, chores, or bills. She is to rest. Period.

Why Rest and Lying Down Is Critical

The uterus needs to shrink back to regular size and get back in position, there is lots of bleeding (I bled for 6 weeks), the perineum will need extra special attention as it recovers from the brutal stretching and pressure it endured (and any possible tearing), and women's legs and feet may become swollen in the couple of days after birth. Being off your feet will release any pressure felt in your bottom, give your guts time to reposition, and allow blood to flow freely. These physical changes are critical to our health and shouldn't be brushed aside for daily chores or lunches with well-wishers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Dance party

28 seconds of his own rocking choreography:

Clearly I need to get this kid signed up for dance classes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Family in the park

We had our Family Day at a nature center
with an inspiring adventure playground.

That was delightful enough in itself.
But to get everyone looking pleasant
and more or less the same direction
for a photo?


Monday, May 4, 2015

Carnival of Natural Parenting — 2014 year in review

Hobo Mama - Carnival of Natural Parenting — 2012 year in reviewFor the past five 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 2014, our writers revealed their parenting fears; they shared their family's pastimes and discussed how to balance "me time" and family time; and they offered ideas and tips on fun and frugal family vacations and on how to make the most of indoor time with kids. The compilations of posts are a rich resource — I hope you will look through 2014's themes and articles below 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 upcoming topics at our main Carnival page. Here are the topics for the next few months: In June, we'll be writing letters to ourselves; in July, we'll be sharing ideas for summer fun; and in later months we'll let our kids take over our blogs, we'll reveal some parental confessions, and we'll share traditions surrounding anniversaries. Topics are posted through January 2016 - come read more details at our main Carnival page.

NPN 125 badgeWhether 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). NPN is a community that connects, informs, empowers, and inspires parents and parents-to-be. We are thankful for the larger NP 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.

If you haven't yet, be sure to sign up for the joint newsletter of Natural Parents Network, Code Name: Mama, and Hobo Mama.

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.

We look forward to reading more from our writers — new and old — in 2015 and beyond.

I'd like to share with you a few highlights — and a few of my favorite things — from our 2014 Carnival posts.