Monday, March 28, 2016

How to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy: The ONLY thing that works!

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

When I was pregnant, each time there were nights when I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a charley horse in my calf, leaving me gasping in pain and shock and unsure what to do to fix the problem. By my third pregnancy, I knew just what would solve it, and I want to share that with you in three simple steps that are really just one step broken out into three parts. Because I love to complicate things.

In my first and second pregnancies, I researched why pregnant people get leg cramps and what I could do to prevent and remedy them. I tried stretching. I tried more activity. I tried less. I tried warm baths. I tried magnesium supplements. I tried massage. Nothing seemed to affect whether I got the cramps, how often they came along, or how severe they were. If I couldn't get the cramp to go away quickly, my calf would be sore for days after a cramping episode.

But now I know what to do!



Bam. That's all. But let's break it down, shall we?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Growing with their trees: A height comparison through eight years

We bought a baby Christmas tree for Mikko's first Christmas, so we did the same for Alrik and Karsten. Here's how their measurements are keeping up over the years.

First, a look back: 6-month-old Mikko's baby tree.

3-and-a-half-year-old Mikko with his now bigger tree.

7-and-a-half-year-old Mikko last year, both pretty dang tall! This tree stays out on the balcony in a state of benign neglect, which is why it's so scruffy. I assure you, we take (marginally) better care of our children than our plants.

This year:

Eight and a half years old. Tolerating picture time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

How to make new parents happy: Gift & nurturing ideas to show you care

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Having had a baby recently, I had the chance to experience what was and was not helpful in supporting new parents.

[Ed. note: I first wrote a version of this post in 2007 when our firstborn was only a few months old. That's squishy little Mikko in the photo there.]

It inspired me to treat my own friends and family well when it's their turn to be overwhelmed by a newborn. So, I thought I should write these ideas down before memories of the sleep-deprived-fog days have disappeared into the ether.

These tips will help first-time parents for sure, as well as parents of a newborn who also have older children.

Please do leave your own suggestions in the comments.

  • Having a baby is all about learning to get by with no hands. Be a pal and bring over foods that can be eaten (a) cold and (b) with one sporadically free hand. Ideas: cut-up veggies and dip, cut-up fruit such as melon or apples, pico de gallo and chips (for all of the above: mixed and single veggie & fruit containers and platters can be found pre-made at the supermarket in the produce section), cheese slices (gourmet or otherwise) and crackers, ready-made sandwiches and wraps, hummus and pita slices. Remember, think "Would this taste good at room temperature?" (which is what it will be by the time they finally get around to settling the baby long enough to eat it) and "Can they eat this without silverware?" (because juggling a newborn is hard enough without throwing cutlery into the mix).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

36 natural & candy-free Easter basket alternatives

Are you filling up a basket with Easter goodies for a little one and want to skimp on the sweet stuff or skip candy altogether? Bonus points for avoiding junky plastic trinkets that break or get lost immediately! Here are some ideas for the natural-minded parent:

(Example products are affiliate links.)

  1. Miniature animal or action figurines.

  2. Lip balm.

  3. An orange.

    It works for Christmas stockings, so why not Easter?
  4. Mini Lego sets.

  5. Goldfish or bunny crackers.

  6. Fruit gummies or fruit rolls.

  7. Seasonal DVD.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stickylegs McGee & other friends at the aquarium

Last month we headed to the Seattle Aquarium
to visit all the fishy folk.




Stickylegs McGee!

You can watch our video adventures to hear all the names we decided on for the animals, to see the octopus undulate, and to watch the sea otters eat. More photos below!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Funniest inexplicable Kidz Bop lyric changes

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

Do your kids listen to Kidz Bop music albums? Mikko got into them in a big way a couple years ago and has since gone back off them, but they greatly amused me. For the uninitiated into their ubiquitous television infomercials, they're CDs of kids singing pop songs.

Since these pop songs are being sung by minors, the producers have changed many of the lyrics to often hilarious and baffling results. I'm not even talking censoring swears or bowdlerizing sexiness — they change things in some truly bizarre ways, ostensibly to protect your children's innocent ears.

Here are a few of my still-family-friendly favorites:

Uma Thurman, by Fall Out Boy

She wants to dance like Uma Thurman
Bury me till I confess

Kidz Bop 30:
She wants to dance like Uma Thurman
Talk to me till I confess

Don't bury anyone, kids! The original doesn't seem offensive to me, just…odd? Guess Kidz Bop decided to clarify: They're just talking.

Keep you like an oath
May nothing but death do us part

Kidz Bop 30:
Keep you like an oath
May nothing but this do us part

This one confuses me no end. The original is a quotation from typical Christian marriage vows. What's "this" in the new version?

Friday, March 4, 2016

All cats are girls, and all other animals are boys

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

You'd think this was biologically improbable, but it's true.

Witness the admirably entertaining Pet's Tails touch-and-feel book by Jellycat, written by Anne Wilkinson. Every single pet on every page is a boy:

"I love my budgie — his tail is a beautiful blue."

"I love my stick insect — his tail is like a twig."

"I love my fish — his tail goes swish-swish."

I commend Wilkinson on her extensive research that correctly identified the masculinity of nearly all pets.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Mikko's pwning Photoshop.

May the Mikko be with you.