Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: May, 29th, 2012

So, it is NOT Monday, but it was a holiday! So here it is!

Oven Fried Chicken and Cornbread

Spinach, Chick'n, and Pasta Bake (subbing Quorn Chik'n)

Pork Ribs and Rice

Mughlai Vegetable Biryani 


Spaghetti with Homemade Gluten Free Garlic and Herb Bread

Tahini quinoa bowl with beets, kale and chickpeas

Don't forget to share what you are making this week. Meal Plans and Recipes welcome, and feel free to grab my button from the sidebar!

Built for Two

Welcome to the Carnival of Tandem Nursing
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Tandem Nursing hosted by Mommying My Way. Our participants have shared their personal stories of the highs the lows and information on what to expect if tandeming is in your future. Please read to the end of each post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Outside my bubble of breastfeeding, attachment parenting minded friends, most people couldn't understand why I would continue to breast feed my almost 2 year old. When I got pregnant with my second child, a few people thought it would be time for us to wean. My son didn't think so, and neither did I. So, I started reading, readying myself for what I could expect from tandem nursing. It sounded perfect. Feed my new baby, and have a way to still my toddler for a few minutes. I could nurse them both down for naps at the same time! When I was too tired to get up for snacks, I could offer to nurse. It would ease the transition to sibling life and teach them their first lessons of sharing with each other at the breast. For the most part, it was great. And it was all of those things. But, there were a few things i wasn't prepared for that made things difficult for me to continue to tandem nurse. (In fact, we even weaned for a time.) I want to share them, not to scare anyone away from the idea of tandem nursing, but so that you can prepare for it, in case similar issues arise for you.

 My oldest child, L1, is the sweetest little boy. He loves me, and loved to breastfeed. Our first night apart was the night I was in labor with his brother. He was 23 months old. We had started doing bedtimes with daddy so he didn't need to nurse to sleep every night, but had not worked to night wean otherwise. The new baby, L2, was a GOOD sleeper. Not waking most of the night after the first few days. But, L1 was waking frequently to reconnect and nurse. More often than the baby. I was frustrated and tired. So we started using Daddy as the first responder. Daddy would offer cuddles, water, snacks, whatever we could. I made an effort to breastfeed during the day more frequently to make sure he wasn't trying to make up for lost time at the breast at night. Eventually, L1 was able to sleep through the night again. When my third child came, we had learned our lesson and started practicing Daddy at Bedtime. Which was especially helpful to start early enough he was sleeping through the night by the time the baby came and my husband started working nights.

The other issue I came up against was the distinct fear and overwhelming feeling that I was not safe when I tandem nursed them at the same time. I have always had some issues with confined spaces, and being "trapped" under two children was difficult. What I was able to discern was some primal need to be alert, to be able to defend my children at a moments notice. How could I do this when I was so EXPOSED and weighed down? I could generally get past this feeling by limiting these moments to spaces I felt secure and relaxed. Mostly at home in our bed. Also at the house where I nannied, so I could get all three children to nap at the same time. For some reason, because the prospect of a few minutes of all of them sleeping at once was so enticing, I could manage it. Finding that space to feel relaxed helped us continue to have that special time together.

 The last issue I needed to address wasn't so much a problem with my first two children, but with my newest addition. We had weaned for the last part of my pregnancy, then had a hard time establishing breastfeeding, prolonging our temporary weaning until things were better. By then, I was breastfeeding my new baby, had taken on pumping milk to donate to another mother and baby, and my middle child was interested in unweaning. It has been a lesson for us all about sharing, self-care, and patience. Working to teach a more sensitive child to wait while the baby eats is not an easy task. Especially when your toddler thwarts your attempts at distraction with offers of flavored milk with a sad face "Nursies are better than ice cream milk!" I think things have gone pretty well as long as I keep communicating "First sister gets nursies, then I will pump for Baby Buddha, then you can have nursies. BUT, you can sit with me and help."

Through all of that: I would do it all again. Maybe even better. I believe in tandem nursing, if that is what works for you and your baby.
  • My Tandem Nursing Journey: Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy is sharing her tandem nursing journey so far...
  • Built for Two: No matter how much you read and plan, things may not always go as you expect. A few things that Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy wished she knew when she was planning to tandem feed her toddler and newborn.
  • Tandem Nursing - Magic Cure?: Jorje of Momma Jorje had high expectations of tandem nursing easing her toddler daughter's transition from being the baby to being a big sister.
  • Mutually Desirable - Navigating a Tandem Nursing Experience: Amy Willa at www.amywilla.com talks about limit setting and meditations that help her navigate an intense tandem nursing experience.
  • My Adventure in Tandem Nursing: Alicia at Lactation Narration tells her story of nursing her daughter through pregnancy and then tandem nursing.
  • 4 months in: the good/hard: Becca at Exile Fertility writes about the joys and struggles of having two nurslings 17 months apart.
  • Tandem Nursing: One at a Time: When tandem nursing resulted in a nursing aversion, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children looked for ways to meet everyone's needs.
  • Why Nurse a 4 Year Old?: One of the questions Dionna at Code Name: Mama keeps getting is, "but why breastfeed a four year old? What are the benefits?" Today she answers that question.
  • My Hurt Feelings: Shannon at The Artful Mama shares how her first son reacted to nursing after the birth of his brother and the gift she received the last time he nursed.
  • Carnival of Tandem Nursing: A Letter To Myself 7 Years Ago: Dulce de leche shares the advice and reassurance that she would have given to herself if she could go back in time.
  • Nursing Both My Babies: Cassie at There’s a Pickle in my Life shares her experience with nursing and transitioning into tandem nursing. She also gives tips for struggles.
  • Our Tandem Nursing Journey: Kim at Life-is-Learning describes her journey into tandem nursing and why it is important to her.
  • Based on her own experience, Lauren at Hobo Mama dishes about the benefits and downsides to nursing multiple children.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I am Mom! Enough! Linky

Welcome to the I Am Mom! Enough! linky party. This link up is part of the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. How To Participate: Share your favorite post that coincides with the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival. (Suggested topics listed below). Add your URL in the linky form below. The linky will be available until this coming Friday (June 1st) at 11:59pm. Your post does not have to be new, just on topic. Off topic, derogatory, combative, or inflaming posts will be removed. Visit some of the other blog posts that are linked up for the week, and be sure to leave them a comment letting them know that you are visiting from the I Am Mom! Enough! linky party. If time is not on your side, please at least click on the post immediately before yours on the linky list and leave a comment. The #1 link on the list can comment on a post on our current host's blog. The more support we can lend each other, the better! Here are suggested post topics that you can link here. Please see the I Am Mom! Enough! Call For Submissions post for further clarification.
  • What was your personal reaction to the Time article? The photo?
  • What was your response to the public reaction to the article and photo?
  • What was your family/extended family's reaction?
  • Do you practice or support extended breastfeeding? Share posts that outlined your thoughts or some factual information about the benefits of extended breastfeeding.
  • Have you discussed attachment parenting (AP): all of it or one aspect of it?
  • Have you shared your thoughts on parenting in today's world. Why is there such a great divide? How can we bridge this?
  • Do you have a post where you suggest some ways to go about respectfully supporting other parents in their journey instead of getting into parenting wars over whose method is right?
  • Any posts where you provided statistics on AP which potentially help others see the benefits of this style of parenting?
  • Have you discussed how AP is really for everyone and not just SAHMs, a certain ethnic group, a certain income level, etc?
  • Parenting is a personal decision and one family's approach does not invalidate another family’s approach. Ever share your thoughts on this idea?
  • Have you taken on AP from a feminist viewpoint? Many women think that this inflammatory magazine issue, purposely insighting mommy wars, being published right now isn't coincidental at a time when women are losing legal rights.
  • And of course: SHARE YOUR CARNIVAL POST!
  • Not much of a writer or not sure what to say? Share your photos posts! Show us your child(ren) breastfeeding. Show us photos of you practicing AP!
This linky party is hosted by Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy. You only need to enter your link at one site. It will appear on both!

Good Enough?

I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival buttonWelcome to the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. This Carnival is dedicated to empowering ALL parents who practice and promote and peaceful, loving, attachment parenting philosophy. We have asked other parents to help us show the critics and the naysayers that attachment parenting is beautiful, uplifting, and unbelievably beneficial and NORMAL! In addition to the Carnival, Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy are co-hosting a Linky Party. Please stop by either blog to share any of your posts on the topic. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Post topics are wide and varied, and every one is worth a read.

When I started learning to play the clarinet in the 6th grade, my teacher had a motto. "Good enough is not good enough." I hated that motto. I was doing something brand new to me. It could take hours upon hours to get to "good enough," how could it not be good enough? I was so frustrated at just the thought. My fingers hurt from reaching for the keys and pressing them closed tightly. My whole face hurt learning the proper embouchure to get the right sound out. I was TRYING! Who is to say that my effort wasn't good enough?

"Are you doing the best you can? Can you learn to do better? As long as you work to do better, that is what matters. You can't just stop at good enough." My dad, in one of his "wise man" moments. Turns out, it was for more than just music.

There has been a lot of exploration into the idea of being "Mom Enough." Time magazine tried to use it as an inflammatory statement meant to draw attention to their periodical. Pushing the mommy wars and pitting parenting styles against each other. I chose to take it as a personal inquisition, and ask if my parenting was good enough for my children.

The answer was: of course I am Mom Enough for my children! I do everything I can for them. They want for nothing. But, there are times when I find that I am at a loss. Where no matter how much I try, I don't have all the answers for how to best help my child. When my good enough is not good enough for my individual child. I realize that my children need more than my good enough, and I need to do more.

Yes, we are enough for our children. But I want to be MORE than enough. I want to be the best *I* can be for my children. So I keep learning, reading, exploring, and interacting with other amazing parents to further my parenting education.  I follow my instincts, and trust them to tell me when a new idea will help me build a better connection with my family. I take what works for us, and leave what doesn't behind. I am not going to stop at good enough; I am going to keep working at being better, everyday.

Thank you for visiting the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants and check out previous posts at the linky party hosted by Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 28 with all the carnival links.)
  • Good Enough? — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes about how Good Enough is not Good Enough, if you use it as an excuse to stop trying.
  • The High Cost of High Expectations JeninCanada at Fat and Not Afraid shares what it's like to NOT feel 'mom enough' and wanting to always do better for herself and family.
  • TIME to Be You! — Becky at Old New Legacy encourages everyone to be true to themselves and live their core values.
  • I am mom and I have had ENOUGH — A mother had had ENOUGH of the mommy wars.
  • Motherhood vs. Feminism — Doula Julia at juliamannes.com encourages feminists to embrace the real needs and cycles and strengths of women.
  • T here Is No Universal Truth When It Comes To Parenting — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how parenting looks around the world and why there is no universal parenting philosophy.
  • Attachment Parenting Assumptions — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings argues that attachment parenting is not just for the affluent middle-classes, and that as parents we all need to stop worrying about our differences and start supporting each other.
  • Thoughts on Time Magazine, Supporting ALL Mamas, and Advocating for the Motherless — Time Magazine led That Mama Gretchen to think about her calling as a mother and how adoption will play an important role in growing her family.
  • Attachment Parenting: the Renewed Face of Feminism — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children embraces her inner feminist as she examines how the principles of attachment parenting support the equal treatment of all.
  • What a Mom Wants! — Clancy Harrison from Healthy Baby Beans writes about how women need to support each other in their different paths to get to the same destination.
  • Attachment Parenting: What One Family Wants You To Know — Jennifer, Kris, 4 year old Owen and 2 year old Sydney share the realities of attachment parenting, and how very different it looks than the media's portrayal.
  • We ALL Are Mom Enough — Amy W. of Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making It All Work thinks that all mothers should walk together through parenthood and explores her feelings in prose.
  • A Typical Day Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares what a typical day with her attached family looks like...all in the hopes to shed light on what Attachment Parenting is, what it's not and that it's unique within each family!
  • The Proof is in the (organic, all-natural) Pudding — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World talks about how, contrary to what the critics say, the proof that attachment parenting works in visible in the children who are parented that way.
  • I am mom and I have had ENOUGH A mother had had ENOUGH of the mommy wars.
  • Time Magazine & Mommy Wars: Enough! What Really Matters? — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter encourages moms to stop fighting with each other, and start alongside each other.
  • Attachment parenting is about respect — Lauren at Hobo Mama breaks down what attachment parenting means to her to its simplest level.
  • I am an AP mom, regardless... — Jorje ponders how she has been an Attachment Parenting mom regardless of outside circumstances at Momma Jorje.
  • The first rule of Attachment Parenting is: You Do Not Talk about Attachment Parenting — Emily discusses, with tongue aqnd cheek, how tapping into our more primal selves actually brings us closer to who we are rather than who we think we should be.
  • Mom, I am. — Amy at Anktangle discusses how Attachment Parenting is a natural extension of who she is, and she explains the ways her parenting approach follows the "live and let live" philosophy, similar to her beliefs about many other areas of life.
  • I Am Dad Enough! — Attachment parenting does not only have to be about moms; their partners are just as important. In Code Name: Mama's family, Dionna's husband, Tom, is papa enough for lots of things.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Case for the Dramatic

Welcome to May edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month's topic is "Parenting Practices and Criticism." Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!


People in our society have a very "clear" understanding about how things should look in a child/parent relationship. Some people seem to think it is just fine to let you know when what you are doing doesn't match that image. It is a special challenge when it is done by someone you know. BUT, when you are being accosted by a stranger you can expect to never see again, I have discovered an entertaining way to keep my own humor. It may not be your style. But, it floats my boat.

To set the scene: I take L3 with me to Zumba class. I am wearing baby in a carrier. "Friendly" older woman approaches, intent on enticing a smile from my chubby bub. 

"Oh! Aren't you an adorable chunk! Snuggly with mama! You should tell mama to bring your car seat next time so she can get her workout!"

1.) I hate when advice is given as a dialog to my children. 
2.) I have found a workout with baby to be just as much of a workout.
3.) There is information pointing to car seats as possibly trimming baby's oxygen levels, and general use outside of the car can be hazardous

I could just smile and nod. I could gently inform this stranger of the information available that led me to the decision to wear my baby. Or, I could conjure up a dramatically confused look; "That would be really big and heavy to carry in! This works well for us."

"Doesn't she use a little car seat with a handle? She should be in a little seat still, not a big seat."

I decided to stick to dramatic, but decided on a slightly horrified look. "Oh! No! We don't use those bucket seats."

The message was finally received, and we were left to enjoy our class. I know I would have been nicer, and generally I am. But, it can start to weigh on you when your methods are always being questioned by nosy well-meaning people. The point is to find a way to have faith in your choices and escape the naysayers with the least amount of impact on your day. Most of the time I do this by explaining the reasons I do what I do. After so many justifications, that drags me down and I just can't do it one.more.time. Making it a game just makes it easier to play next time.

Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Stepping out of the box and dealing with criticism   — Stoneageparent shares how she deals with criticism over her parenting choices 
  • BEWARE of Sanctimommy — Amanda at Blinded by the Light talks about how recognizing your own inner-sanctimommy and how it will facilitate ways to deal with other criticism in your life.
  • We're on the same team — Brittany from The Pistachio Project shares about how we should support and respect each other because we already get enough criticism from the outside world.
  • 30 Responses To Parenting Criticisms — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares 30 ways in which you can respond to parenting criticisms. 
  • A Case for the Dramatic — A smart-alec response to a stranger's view by Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • I Could Never... — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how the phrase "I could never" really means "I would never want to" and how owning our words and actions can lead to understanding and empathy.
  • Admiration For A Parent's Strength— Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares her admiration for parents who continue  to make parenting choices in the best interest of their child even when those closest to them disagree.
  • Assumption Free Zone — Paige @ Baby Dust Diaries challenges us to cultivate kindness for everyone; even if you disagree with them.
  • Perfection, Criticism, Parenting and The Sock Police — Ariadne @ The Positive Parenting Connection is sharing how parenting has been an excercise in overcoming perfectionism and handling criticism.
  • Silencing the Voices In My Head — At Authentic Parenting, Laura writes about fighting her inner critic. 
  • Tackled from the Sidelines — Marisa from Deliberate Parenting reveals what parenting choices she makes that are most often questioned and how she is coming peacefully to the defense of her decisions.
  • Different Strokes — Justine from The Lone Home Ranger shares the method she uses to explain her family's "crunchy" differences to her preschooler.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: May 21, 2012

Italian White Bean Soup

Stir Fry

Chinese Chicken and Asparagus Salad


Spring Veggie Quinoa

Chicken Pot Pie

Brazilian Shrimp Stew

Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.

I always knew I would breastfeed. Not that I would try: that I would. You know, Do or Do Not style. I was able to establish breastfeeding in the 8 short weeks I was able to take off of work after my c-section (one good reason for it: in our abysmal state of maternity leave vaginal birth moms got 6 weeks, c-section moms got 8) and then return to my job full time and pump enough we never needed a single bottle of formula. When I realized I hated leaving my son for 10 hours a day, I left my retail job for one I could take him with me. My plan was to breastfeed him as long as we both wanted to.

I wrote how his weaning and unweaning went a while ago. Soon after that, our lives settled and L1 didn't need to breastfeed as often. I think he stopped asking altogether shortly before I became pregnant with L3. L2 was still going strong.

L2 has a very strong personality. He is somewhat sensitive, high needs, while demanding to be independent. It can be a struggle to connect with him. Breastfeeding was our time. So I continued to breastfeed him into my third pregnancy. But, his temperament made it difficult to set limits, especially where nursing was involved. When I needed to start setting limits, he started hitting, scratching, and kicking. It finally came to the point that it was just easier to distract him or deny him than to deal with the abuse I would receive if I needed to stop the session before he was done.

I felt horrible to push him to stop. Breastfeeding was so important to our relationship. He was always so much "younger" than his brother in his attitude. I just kept promising he could try again after the baby arrived. I knew it had worked for L1, I could just hope we could do it again.

It took a few months of settling once L3 arrived. And one day, I was finally able to give him a chance. He mostly held my breast in his mouth, but he was SO HAPPY, and I felt closer to him than I had in those long months. After a few tries, he is now able to nurse again. He doesn't ask all the time, about once a week when things get rough.

Some people might ask why I would let them begin again after going through everything to get them to wean. The answer is simple: we weren't done yet. Circumstances led us to that point, but my children still needed what breastfeeding had to offer them. The closeness, that bond, the soothing routine of settling down for a dose of the good stuff. L1 was able to slowly stop, and now L2 is getting his chance to have a say in the weaning process. My only goal is that they last time they ask: they get it. They are still so little, it is important to me to treat them with respect and honor their needs. And I will, as long as it works for us.

Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 21 with all the carnival links.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Son: The Culinarian

At the store L1 has never shopped at today:

L1: We need cheese.
Me: We have cheese at home.
L1: We need snow white cheese. (All white things are SNOW white.)
Me: I have string cheese at home.
L1: No, I need to talk to the cheese person. (Not sure how he knew this store had a cheese person.)
Go up to cheese counter.
Cheesemonger (CM): Can I help you?
Me: My son says he needs cheese, and only you can help him.
CM: What kind of cheese?
L1: Snow white.
Me: Hard or soft?
L1: Little hard, kindof soft.
CM: I have something. It is mild, good for introducing kids to cheese. Would you like to taste?
L1: This is hard.
CM: It will get softer it you let it sit for a bit.
L1: (Tastes) Hmm. This is good. We'll take this one.
Me: You want that one?
L1: Yes! We need to take some home.
Me: Ok, then.

My child: he knows good food, and knows what he wants. We ate the cheese for an appetizer. He also chose the halibut that we poached in coconut milk. And the grilled lobster. He devoured the baby artichokes and garlic roasted marble potatoes with pearl onions as well. He has expensive tastes...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: May 14th, 2012

Bacon and Maple Chicken Thighs

Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus with Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Chik'n Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa (we are substituting fake chicken)

Fry Bread (Didn't get around to it last week!)

Pike Place Special (We are going to the market to see what catches our eye!

Lentil Helper

Quinoa Pasta Salad with Roasted Artichokes and Pesto
A really simple dish I like to pull out for those few days it is too warm to eat a hot dinner.

2 boxes Quinoa pasta pagodas
1 can Italian Stewed Tomatoes; drained and diced
1 small jar roasted artichoke hearts; drained (reserve some oil for dressing, if you like)
1/2 cup pesto

Boil pasta until preferred consistency. Rinse in COLD water. Toss with remaining ingredients. Serve chilled.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just Another Mom, and That is Enough.

There are plenty of conversations going on about the "extreme parenting" idea of attachment parenting. I don't want to talk about the latest article. All that matters is what works for my family. I didn't set out to follow any kind of script with my parenting style. I knew before my children were born that I wanted to have a natural birth. That I wanted to breastfeed. I knew babywearing made things much easier. I had stories of babies sleeping better when in their parents arms. I don't think I learned what Attachment Parenting was until my first child was 5 or 6 months old, and I was trying to find friends with similar ideas.

Moms have tough jobs. Love your kids, love yourself, love your partner, take care of your home, kids, car, job, school, I could go on forever. I know moms of all different styles. I have only seen one bad mom, who abandoned her son for drugs (though, it was likely for the best in the long run for her child when he was placed with a loving family.) I know moms who don't breastfeed, couldn't, use formula, use donated milk, breastfeed for a little while or leave it to their children. Moms who work, go to school, stay home, work from home, work nights, use a nanny, use a day care, trade days with other moms. Some sleep with their kids, others find their family needs separate sleep space. Discipline in a wide range of ways.  Still, what matters? What works for us.

So, if someone asks you if you are "Mom Enough," try not to think of it a pitting one style of parenting against another (even if that is what THEY want you to think.) Ask yourself: are you mom enough for your children? Do you do your best to meet their needs, as well as your own? Do you make decisions based on what is possible for you in your current situation? I know that very frequently we feel the mommy guilt and think our children deserve better. Sometimes we feel beat down and think we deserve better. But, dig down to the nitty gritty and look. Are you mom enough? Look at your children, best done while they are sleeping ;-), and know that if they are grubby from no more than good clean earth and comfortable, that you are enough. You are enough mom for your children. Because you are their mom, and that is enough.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tante and the Uncles

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

My husband and I work hard to be everything we can be for our children. We try to be gentle, patient, and understanding. We cook, play, clean, work, plan, educate, party, drive: whatever we can to give them full, happy lives. It is HARD WORK. Which is why I LOVE that my children are so close to to my brothers and sister. Having them there to support our parenting, by emulating our parenting choices in their interactions and being the kid of people we can trust to care for them so we can get out for a grown-up break is the best thing in the world!

My sister goes by Tante. Not only to my children, but their friends as well. Tante is Tante to all. She is fun, perky, and straight-forward with kids. She was L1's nanny when I was working full time when he joined our family. She has lived with us for most of their lives while working on her high school and college degrees simultaneously. She is quick to connect with them with hugs and understand: sometimes better than I am. And it is nice to know we have support. When bedtimes get harried, the extra hands is a plus. Live in baby sitter definitely has its benefits.

My brothers are the kind of uncles every kid wants. They love to play ball outside, wrestle, build forts, and play video games. They aren't very "sensitive" but they are good about communicating with them in a no-nonsense way to get a positive response to redirection. I am rather impressed by it. I never realized they would be amazing enough to be able to leave our boys with for periods of time.

When people lament how much their children fight and bicker, I am quick to point out that as children my siblings and I were quick to fight. And fight to hurt to win. We knew how to use violence to get the reaction we wanted. As we grew older and somewhat wiser, we were able to figure out that we didn't NEED to act against each other that way. My siblings are some of my best friends, best supporters, and I am glad we have a relationship that shows the great bond siblings can have. I hope that seeing that kind of relationship between us will be a good model for my children. I am so glad my brothers think to call just to say hi and stop by when they can. Mostly I am glad that this relationship builds a connected bond outside of just my husband and me for my children to go to and trust.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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 May 8 with all the carnival links.)
  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Quinoa Pudding: Move Over Rice

I adapted a recipe from  Cannelle et Vanille.

Quinoa Pudding with Strawberries and Bee Pollen

makes about 8 8 oz servings, with some pudding left over.

6 cups raw milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cup quinoa

1 lb strawberries, diced
2 Tbsp sugar

local bee pollen

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt and extracts in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the quinoa and stir. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot slightly, and cook until the milk reduces and thickens (about 30 minutes). Ladle into bowls or jars.

Place cut strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle them with sugar. Toss them and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour until juices start to come out.

Top the puddings with the strawberries and a sprinkle of bee pollen.