Tag Archives: Family


From where I sit in my living room, I have a beautiful view of my neighborhood.  With Christmas in two days, it’s been so much fun to watch the holiday deliveries, the visitors and the pretty decorations my neighbors are enjoying.  And apparently, I’ll be getting new neighbors after the holidays since the sign next door went down and there are new vehicles coming and going!

Above all the food, family and gifts this holiday traditionally brings, I always look forward to this time of year for the traditions. Growing up, there were things we always did.  Always.

  • We went as a family to get a live Christmas tree from a lot in town and then decorated as a family listening to Christmas music on my parents’ stereo. The Amy Grant record with Tennessee Christmas was played every year.
  • We baked cookies together starting right after Thanksgiving.  This was a mom and kids sort of thing though.
  • Mom made us new pjs every year she was healthy enough to.  We opened them on Christmas Eve and wore them to bed!
  • Christmas morning began with a birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday. Then presents. Then family.

This Fall I read several books by Richard and Linda Eyre, Teaching Your Children Values, being the one that inspired me the most.  As I read about their family stories, I realized that what we value the most about our memories are the traditions that came from them.

Matt and I want to create traditions and memories that our children grow up loving and anticipating.  But I also want to make sure that our traditions focus on giving. In the last few years I’ve bundled the kids up to take goodies to the neighbors. I think it’s a great tradition considering that they are so kind to our kids for Halloween. :)  We also make something for our postal carrier. That man works hard for my family! I don’t like going into stores, so I shop online and he makes many, many trips to our home in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

As a family we’ve tracked down the perfect tree and decorated it, we’ve baked one batch of cookies, gone on several drives to see the Christmas lights, we’ve watched Christmas movies and done our Jesse tree and had a birthday party for Jesus.  We dealt with more than our fair share of germs this December, but they helped us teach the kids how to be compassionate and sensitive to each other.

Yesterday, we had our family Christmas.  This year, our children were excited to give the gifts they chose for each other.  I think I can honestly say that of all the fun items they unwrapped, Liam appreciated the gift Sylvi picked out for him the most. They hugged and thanked each other sincerely.  And Sylvi told Liam she “wuved” her gift.  And my mama heart swelled with joy.  Our Christmas traditions were pared down this year because of illness, but the joy and purity of giving is still in our home.


Embrace it

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.


We started this year with so many plans and hopes. And all in all, 2013 has been a good year for our family.  But it’s not ending without tears.  I had put on my goals list for the year to be pregnant and I’m resigned to the fact that it will never be on my list again.

The change this year has come in the form of acceptance.  It’s hard to accept that my dreams of having lots of babies and awesome homebirths are never going to be realized. It’s hard to accept that Sylvi is my last little one.  Accepting Liam’s changes and his growth have been difficult but because there was always the knowledge that there was a baby coming along behind him, it softened the blow for me.  Now, I’m even more aware of the little moments in their lives and the need to cherish them.

Looking through the holiday photos from last year… I’m amazed at how much they’ve changed.  Last Thanksgiving Liam wore a fedora and vest, neither of which have fit his growing body for months.  Sylvi had hair that was long enough to be a sweet little bob.  She’s since had her first professional haircut and has a sweet little ponytail.

At Christmas, she was still squinting up her face any saying “Cheeeeeessse”.  This no longer happens.

Liam had mastered the 60 piece puzzle.  He made it to 100 piece puzzles and lost interest in that activity.  He just wants to write his name. On everything.

Liam memorized his address, full name and birthday.  He’s also learned the addresses or locations of his friends’ homes.  He builds with Legos all the time.  And learned how to work the dvd player.

Sylvi is sleeping through the night on a regular basis.  She also decided one that she no longer wanted to wear diapers.  And although it took longer that I expected (based on how Liam did) she’s also 100% potty trained with no accidents for weeks.  She can almost spell her name, but is convinced her middle name is “Robert” and not “Karin”.

Liam is doing wonderfully in school and I’m constantly amazed by how much he can absorb.  We don’t know if we’ll do Kindergarten next year, but I am just thrilled at how much he wants to learn so I’m soaking it up!

About the only thing that hasn’t changed in our home is Matt’s employment.  Still steady.  Still the same office.  Still the same clients.  And that’s comforting.  I’ve been writing some copy for them as well, so this year when we attend the Christmas party, I will feel a little more like a part of the team :)

So with all the change in our home, the only thing I can say that has worked has simply been to “roll with it”.  I cannot change our circumstance, but I can choose to embrace each of these moments.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.

The handmade wardrobe

See that spunky little girl up there?  She’s mine.  She is feisty and girly and her own individual person every moment of the day. Apparently, she’s exactly how I was as a child. She is very opinionated about her clothing and loves sparkles and ruffles, so when we shop together, I know if what I buy will be worn happily or not.  But as time as passed since she’s been born, I’ve followed more and more sewing blogs and am always amazed at how many of these women are making what appears to be the lion’s portion of their daughter’s clothing.

My absolute favorite way to dress a little girl is in a knit dress and leggings.  Sylvi adds her own twist to this by also wearing boots.  This girl loves boots.  Especially her hot pink Kamik rain boots. But then, who doesn’t?

As I looked over her closet for this winter, I realized I didn’t have many knit dresses and decided that instead of heading to the mall, I’d just make my own.  Most of these fabrics are from JoAnn’s, but I did order the mustard colored one from Birch Fabrics.  It’s organic cotton knit and yes, it was a splurge, but considering that I hadn’t spent more than $8 on all the other fabrics combined, I felt it was more than justified.  And that fabric?  A dream.  I have heard fabrics described as “buttery” and wondered what was meant by that, but as soon as I pulled this out of the package, I knew.  It is amazing.

After I’d made the owl patterned dress, I tried it on Sylvi and she complained that there were no pockets.  Sooooo…. I added pockets to the two dresses pictured together (fabrics from FabricWorm) and then to one knit dress.  You know what?  They are far easier than I’d ever imagined they would be!

All the dresses are from my own patterns. I looked up dresses I liked online (Hanna Anderson, Children’s Place, Old Navy and l.l. bean for inspiration) and replicated them as best I could. Using the dress she’s pictured in at the top of this page for sizing, I used my experience from Oliver + S Patterns and the Sunki dress from Figgy’s Patterns to put the rest together.

At this point, she has 6 dresses in the closet that were made by me for this season, 1 already for the Spring and 2 that I made her this summer that were big enough I think she’ll be able to wear again in 2014.  The tunic with lace-trimmed sleeves brings the total of tops up to four (including what I made this week) and I’ve made 1 pair of leggings (also included in the Sunki Pattern).

What do I have planned next?  More leggings.  For sure.  Her legs are so tiny that I need to figure out a material weight that will cling better when combined with a 12 month width, 2T length.  I’m planning to make the kids’ Christmas PJs (I found the perfect material last week and can’t wait for it to arrive!!!) and have material set aside to make her Christmas dress.  Right now, making her clothes is such a joy and it’s so inexpensive.  To make a long-sleeved top, I only need half a yard of fabric and can get a dress out of 1 yard, including the lining.  I’ve learned how to line, insert hidden zippers, sew with a double needle, create patterns and do a variety of gatherings. So, for as long as she loves me making her clothes, I will.  Liam has loved the pjs I made this week and begs to wear the pants all the time, so I see a future of a lot of handmade pjs for him.  I would like to perfect my raglan skills so that in time I can add some of those to his wardrobe.

All this sewing has brought a whole new level of joy in my life.  I’m a creative person and this is such a wonderful outlet for me.  It used to be that when I was stressed or down, I’d bake.  Which is nice and I learned a host of valuable skills, but I can certainly blame at least 20 of these extra pounds on that hobby.  Now when I am stressed, an hour at my machine or just wandering a fabric store, I am a much more peaceful and content person.  Life is what it is, but I have realized that I can choose to use my time to make beautiful things to show my love for my family and friends.  But this post is long enough as it is… more later this week!


October 15th

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I was in college when I first heard about it.  And I thought it was the saddest thing I’d ever heard of.  Young and naive and unaware of what could happen.  It wasn’t until I was in a nursing class that I learned that there is a 15% chance of miscarriage in the first trimester. Being still young and naive, I still considered this very sad, but foolishly believed that it couldn’t happen to me.

But it has. It’s happened to me four times.  And as sad as this is, it’s still nothing compared to the horrible 1% of pregnancies that end in stillbirth.  I only knew the joy of two pink lines and telling family.  I only started to plan out what everything would be like.  I never felt those babies kick. I didn’t get to see their sweet profiles on the ultrasound in glorious detail. And I didn’t hold them in my arms after they were born.

For all the families who have felt this pain, my heart just breaks.  I ache for their losses, their pain, their dreams that will never come true.  Miscarriage is horrible and in my life has been crushing.  But I haven’t had to bury a child so I am grateful. I had planned to have six children in my life. I do. Everyone who has ever lost a child, regardless of their date of gestation, is still a parent. They are still mothers and fathers, regardless of where or not there is an accompanying car seat and dirty diapers.

My last miscarriage was two years ago this Christmas. And we’ve spent the last 22 months trying and praying and hoping for another baby.  Oh, how I’ve wanted another baby. This summer, I started hunting for another doctor’s opinion.  Several opinions later, we accepted that we won’t be having more children. In a few weeks, I’ll be having surgery so repair an internal issue from so many pregnancies in a short amount of time, but there is nothing they can do to fix the fact that my body will not support another pregnancy.  My heart will always wish for more children. It is going to hurt for a long time when people announce subsequent pregnancies, because no matter how happy I am for them, that longing in my heart will always be there.

This post serves to remind you, dear readers that there is always someone in the world who is hurting. Love on the people around you, even if she starts to cry when she sees your baby. Be kind to the man next door who hasn’t had it together enough to keep up on the yardwork.  You don’t know where people are in their lives.

Checking in!

Oh this week.  I’m incredibly grateful for all the people who stopped by, called or texted to see how we are doing after burying Nunzio.  It will be a full week tomorrow and I think it is safe to say that we are all doing well, except our poor Vito.  He isn’t the most active of dogs, but he’s just extra sad and lost lately.  As I type this, I’m waiting for a package of special doggie dental spray to arrive.  I’m trying to make sure his health doesn’t fall by the wayside in these years of small children who demand much attention, and I noticed a spot on his lower gum that freaked me out.  And I’m already planning his Christmas stocking.  Poor puppy hasn’t gotten to have anything other than rawhides for Christmas (or his birthday for that matter!) because Nunzio would shred all the toys that we got him.  So my sweet Snuggle Pug is going to get his moment in the attention spotlight, I think!

Did you order your copy of Whitney’s new book yet?  It’s $14 on Amazon right now! I tried two of her recipes on Sunday to honor my mother’s birthday (it’s a yearly tradition to celebrate the life that was lived so we can keep her memory alive for the sake of my children who never got to meet her).  My goodness.  I just ate the last of the Farfalle with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Bacon for lunch.  And yes, I did wait to eat until the kids were in their rooms for quiet time so I wouldn’t have to share.  I did share the Chocolate-Swirl Pumpkin Gingerbread, though.  That recipe made an amazingly moist and decadent 9×13 pan of cake.  I sacrificed my fear and loathing of molasses to make this cake and do not regret it one bit!  So good.  So good that if I hadn’t given away half the cake, I would be in trouble.  Tonight, we are having the Curry and Yogurt Roast Chicken and later in the week her Crispy Polenta with Sausage and Fresh Tomato Ragu.  It’s a good food week here!

Next week, I’m trying a few recipes from either Pinterest or the Pioneer Woman’s second cookbook.  Liam has been in Occupational Therapy for a while now and our therapist pointed out to me that if he is ever going to get over his oral aversions to certain textures, I am going to just have to keep exposing him to food, even if he fights me on it.  So I’m learning to adapt our supper menu so that I get to try new meals, but there is always a familiar element in case Liam can’t handle something.  Case in point: the Pumpkin Farfalle.  He cannot handle bacon no matter how it is cooked.  There is real gagging and throwing up so when I cooked the meal, I made sure to set aside the bacon until I had dished his meal out and then added the bacon to the rest.  I also added in grilled chicken and peas to the meal and am proud to report that he ate 6 peas that night.  He didn’t gag at all, so I have good news to report to our therapist that after 3 years of working with him, he ate the peas.  He didn’t choke (which I think is the main concern for him) and they tasted sweet.

We are currently in the full swing of soccer academy for Liam.  He loves it.  As in, he pestered me daily until the program started and now counts the sleeps until the next practice/game day.  As a parent and someone who used to work in supplemental education, I think the set up is fantastic.  The kids all meet at the field twice a week for 1 hour.  The first half hour is spent focusing on a particular skill and they rotate through stations to do skill specific drills.  Then, they divide into teams and have two games against each other, rotating teams once.  I had been running drills with Liam since last summer when he showed interest in the sport, and although he has the skills, he’s not an aggressive player.  So he participates wholeheartedly when the mood strikes and the rest of the time (largely during the game portions) he’s running around and checking out his shadow in the setting sun.

Matt is done with golf league for the year, Praise the Lord.  Our Monday nights were loooooong this summer.  And we did not eat well.  Lots and lots of scrambled eggs and bagels those nights.  I think he really enjoyed the opportunity to get out with the guys and do something HE enjoys even though I really had to push him to sign up.  Now his Fall has already been filled with some freelance work building websites and a really neat opportunity to design the concept art for his former roommate’s movie script.  Every time I see something my husband draws I am just blown away by the skill.  It’s phenomenal!

As for me, I’m just keeping my head above water.  MOPS begins in a month and I’m very excited for the year to begin.  I’m still freelance writing and learning a lot through my research.  I finally have a comfortable home schedule and spend a lot of time with my little bestie, Sylvi.  She is growing up so quickly and is promised a big girl bed as soon as she stays dry through the night.  She is dressing herself pretty well and has finally learned how to put her own underwear on!  There were so many funny, funny moments when she was learning! She misses Liam terribly when he’s at preschool and is just desperate to play soccer with him, so I’m trying to figure out a good balance to help her feel grown up, but still my baby!

So that’s what we’re up to!  My quiet time was short-lived today, so it’s back to reality for me.  Good thing I already cleaned up the evidence of my lunch! ;)

Puppy Love

I didn’t think I would be writing this post for a few years. Today I had intended to write a post about sewing dresses for Sylvi’s winter wardrobe.  Instead, I’m going to tell you a very sad tale about our sweet dachshund.

Matt and I found Nunzio at the county pound a month after we got married.  We had gone to purchase a lawn mower and pulled off at the pound to see what they had because we had been talking puppy since before we even bought our home. And there she was, a tiny little baby shivering in the bottom corner of her cage with her sister. They had been found in a ditch a few days prior and although I wanted to take her home that instant, we had to wait 3 more days to make sure no one claimed her. On the following Tuesday, we arrived, dog carrier in hand ready to take our baby home. She joined Vito, who had come home the night before from a “first time breeder” (read: family with purebred pugs who happened to have a litter and wanted to start a business).

The next day, I noticed that Nunzio had thrown up a lot in her crate and mentioned it to the vet at the lab where I was working.  Matt took Nunzio to our vet that afternoon while I was at the lab and he told Matt that the miserable little baby had parvo and he recommended putting her down to spare us all the trauma of having a very ill pet and then her dying.  I fought for her and since I knew how to start ivs and monitor her stats, we kept her at home and took care of her. By the end of the weekend, she was running around again, a scrawny but chipper puppy.  Our vet has always said that Nunzio beat the odds by not only finding a family, but she found a family that just wouldn’t let her quit when she was so sick and loved her enough to help her get healthy.

In the last 8 years, Nunzio has become an indispensable  member of our family. When my mother died, I came home from the hospital and held Nunzio until my tears ended for that moment. All those nights up with babies? Nunzio would get up with me every. single. time. She would lay on the floor at my feet while I nursed, burped, soothed, rocked and wished for more sleep.  When Liam had colic, Nunzio would lay under pillows on the couch and look at me with her giant puppy eyes as if to say she understood I was miserable, but she didn’t so much like the noise.  Nunzio allowed Sylvi to kiss and love all over her as soon as she was moving independently.

In the last 6 months, things have changed with Nunzio.  She stopped coming to sleep in our bed because she couldn’t jump up on it.  She started wanting to spend all her time outside on the patio in the sun. Then, her pain level seemed to increase. She hasn’t been able to climb up on low furniture, going up and down the two steps to the back yard was hard for her and she now is refusing to eat or drink. I have been taking her to the vet for Cortizone shots to keep the pain manageable, we’ve made trips to chiropractors, I’ve tried homeopathics, ice, heating pads and just love. Her painful episodes are getting more and more frequent, so much so that in the last 3 weeks, she’s only been able to walk for a collective 8 days.

And then yesterday, we woke to a very ill dog.  Bodily fluids were all over my living room. And I knew.  I had really hoped that she would pass in her sleep; that this level of suffering would not continue.  I called our vet… they are practically on speed-dial at this point. The nurse listened to me cry and cry and offered to schedule me right away, but I still needed to talk to my mother-in-law and my husband.  While wondering if we should wait it out and see if she pulled out of this episode, I watched her snap at and bite Sylvi who was sitting next her kissing her forehead gently. This was the second unprovoked snap at Sylvi in the morning and I couldn’t even bring myself to reprimand Nuznio.  How can you when a precious member of your family is suffering that much?

Today, I’ve said goodbye to my little Puppy Love. Nunzi.  Nunzle-nuz.  Nunzio Carmela Contrascheri Burns.   I can’t believe this day has come so quickly and in such a sad manner.  I had never imagined that it would come this way.  I’m no stranger to death or tragedy, but it’s so sad when it’s your precious baby.  Tonight will be  the first of many nights that I have to put my children to bed without my puppy shadow.  We will miss you, sweet puppy!

Sibling support, even in the potty!

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.


My children are 21 months apart in age. I figured this would be helpful in bonding them… the jealousy would be limited and they wouldn’t remember a time without one another. But then, Liam was NOT interested in Sylvia. As in, didn’t want to talk about the coming baby. Didn’t care about her arrival. Didn’t want to hold her – didn’t even want to sit next to her in photos! When you are sleep deprived and hormonal, you worry.

Two years have passed since then. My worries about them bonding are far from my mind. They’ve gotten along well for the most part, outside of the occasional sibling spat. They bicker like any other set of siblings, they roughhouse, they laugh.

But the best thing to me, is watching Liam encourage Sylvia. The most recent example of this is Sylvia’s learning to use the potty. Sylvia made the decision to rid herself of diapers when I wasn’t mentally prepared. But Liam was ready. The first time she peed in the potty, he was the one to tell me. For weeks after, every time she peed in the potty, he lead us in cheering and hugging and encouraging. The first time she pooped in the potty, he was sitting in the bathroom with her.

It’s only been a year since he informed me he wouldn’t wear diapers anymore; it’s only been a year since we all sat in the bathroom cheering for him. Because they have been so close in age, they’ve learned to support each other and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m looking forward to watching their dynamic adapt as Liam starts school and soccer next week… they will continue to have opportunities to develop their own persons, but still be an integral part of each other’s support!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister’s new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it’s definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It’s Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life’s twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband’s have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that’s maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins’ sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children’s relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen‘s children didn’t start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don’t Seek What Isn’t There – On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.

Self Care at Natural Parents Network

Self Care and the Introvert (Laura B.)

Self Care and the Introvert

What is it about parenting that brings out all your weaknesses? Your demons? Your fears? I had considered bettering myself prior to having kids; I bought a number of books and would take notes and underline and resolve. But then . . . I was working long hours with a commute, and when it came down to it, I didn’t really have the energy and time to be committed to the changes I wanted for myself.

I’m 31 years old, and yet I have only started to realize who I am. Do you know who you are? Could we sit here and be honest about you? When you become a parent, you never actually lose yourself . . . you may become a different version of yourself, but your core is still the same.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, learn more about taking time out for yourself today at my post on Natural Parents Network: Self Care and the Introvert.

Birthday Boy Book List

Today, my baby boy turned 4 years old.  He sleeps in his own giant bed and chooses his own clothes. He says things like “I didn’t realize that” and “Mama, did you know…?” He knows so much trivia about heavy machinery that I just sit back and smile while I talks. Recently, as we prepare for preschool I’m noticing more and more of his quirks and I get the chance to celebrate who he is even more deeply.

I started reading to Liam when he was still in utero. I could hardly wait to purchase an entire library for him. And I am thrilled to continue to purchase those books for him. So in light of this, I asked him for his favorite books so we can share with you today. (For the record, I bought him another book for his birthday, he sleeps with it at night :)

My little guy is all about vehicles and superheroes. He’s been like that since he even could make simple choices, so the bulk of books that occupy his bookcase are well… “boy” books.

The Beginner’s Bible – We read from this one almost every night and I love that because the story is so simple, he always has lots of questions to further the story details.

Little Golden Book – Thor

Scholastic Books – he loves the ones about Legos and Superheros

The Cars Storybook Collection – Obviously this one is a favorite :)

A Treasury of Curious George – This was a shower gift for Liam and the book I attribute to his unnaturally long attention span… Thank goodness we have George!

How Machines Work – This was my brother’s book left behind when he moved out of my parent’s home.  He got it in high school. Liam pours over the pages for hours.

Farm - I love everything about this book EXCEPT that you can see the signs along the fields for the seed manufacturers. Makes me crazy.

You Can Name 100 Trucks – This book came from a garage sale and I tell you, it’s almost worn out from chubby toddler fingers combing through the pages every day. Fantastic book!

Anything by Jennifer Sattler! – Of course, we are partial due to the focus on Pugs… but she is still an excellent writer!

Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go – I bought this book for Liam as an activity for while I nursed Sylvi. Each page has so much on it that we used it often as a sort of I Spy book and now, I see him doing the same with his little sister all on his own.

We finished the summer reading program this morning and picked out our prize books.  I’m still debating which books I will add to our own library for the kids from all the books we brought home.  I’ve added one hardbound book each year that each child newly discovered through the program, but this year… there were SO many great books this year!

Have you discovered any new books to read to your children this summer?

Summer is Summer

I suppose I should just accept the fact that it is finally summer. The temperatures keep soaring around here. So now, I begin my days sitting in the back yard with the kids. We have a fence, a pool, a sandbox and a swing set… the kids are perfect all morning for me. Aside from the obligatory fight over the red sand bucket, I don’t have to diffuse too much. I dole out snacks and add ice to their water cups. I’m actually getting time to read in the mornings now because they are so busy.

What I do not have time to do is work on my articles, blog posts and editing. I no longer own a laptop. Why? I’m a workaholic. Once I get started, I have a hard time stopping myself. I will work through the night on anything from actual work to a crosswork puzzle. So to keep myself from spending every spare moment typing, I don’t allow myself the “luxury” of a laptop.

My home is only minimally clean, the laundry barely caught up, meals haphazard, but the children are happy. You see, my philosophy on childhood summers is that they are meant to be spent playing. Outside preferably. I am now giving multiple baths a day. But they play and they run and the neighbors comment on how perfect our backyard is. And it is. My home may not be clean and phone calls left unreturned, but oh to be able to view summer again through the eyes of a child. My 2 year old pushing her baby doll in the swing while the almost 4 year old wears a hard hat and gloves pretending to be Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs.

You know what? My children will not remember if we had a clean house throughout the summer, they will remember all the laughing while we did while throwing a football. They will remember how mom sat her adult sized behind in a child sized lawn chair in their pool. They will remember the water balloon ambushes on Daddy when he gets home.

Summer is for fun. Summer is for love. Summer is for family.