Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Heartfelt Holidays

Coloring a "Cha-ma-sa" Tree for Grandma

Snuggling with Daddy & a Mama-Made doll

Another Mama-Made doll!

Enjoying the community dinner we helped
prepare and serve on Christmas night

From our family to yours, we wish you love and light in the new year ahead!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Caramel Pretzel Button Recipe

If you need a last minute holiday treat, these are just about the easiest things ever. Also? SUPER YUMMY. I hesitate to even call this a "recipe", because to me, that word implies some level of effort, and the most labor intensive part of this process is unwrapping the Rolos.

You'll need equal numbers of:

  • Mini pretzels (I used holiday shaped pretzels, but any mini pretzel will do)
  • Rolos (unwrapped)
  • M&Ms (or similar chocolate button candy)

To assemble:

  • Arrange the pretzels on a large cookie sheet (or two). I lined them with foil for faster clean up. 
  • Place one Rolo on top of each pretzel, in the center.
  • Pop in the oven (preheated to 350) for about 3 minutes, just long enough to soften the Rolo.
  • Remove from oven and press an M&M into the top of each Rolo topped pretzel.
  • If you want to get really fancy, you could sprinkle with sea salt while the Rolo is still melty to get in on the salted caramel craze.
  • Allow to cool completely.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 12 Months of Delilah













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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why I Won't Tell You My "Due Date"

When a woman announces a pregnancy (or happens to venture out in public visibly pregnant), there are a number of questions she'll field on a regular basis:

Photo by Nicole Aarstad
"How are you feeling?"

"Do you know what you're having?"

"Wow, you're huge!" (Okay, not a question. Alternately: "Wow, you're tiny!" We're never just the right size, we pregnant women.)

"What's your due date?"

The first two questions? Piece of cake, for me. First trimester? I'm feeling good overall, just tired. Second trimester? I'm feeling great! Third trimester? I'm feeling good overall, just tired and starting to get uncomfortable.

No problemo.

Second question? Boy parts. Easy.

Third...well...observation? I've learned to take it in stride and then complain to my husband about it later. My husband who then reminds me that I'm beautiful and glowing and amazing and miraculous and yes, just the right size.

The fourth?

When am I due?

I waffle. I'm wishy-washy. I am not going to give you the answer you seek, which is a specific day on the calendar, and you're probably going to think I'm crazy for evading such a seemingly simple question.

"Around the end of January."

For some people, this is a satisfactory. For most, it is not. They demand to know the specific moment at which the timer that is apparently ticking away inside of me will go off with bells and whistles and an electronic voice warning "OVERDUE! OVERDUE! OVERDUE!"

If I say "I don't believe in due dates." They look at me like I'm nuts. If they ask "But what exact date did the doctor give you?" and I say "I don't have a doctor, I have midwives, and they too think I'll have the baby around the end of January." They look at me like I'm nuts. If they ask "But when will they induce you?" and I answer "They won't without a medical indication for induction." They look at me like I'm nuts. (Not to mention that inductions greatly increase the chance of uterine rupture in VBAC; oh, and they can't be done in my living room.)

I've tried "The baby is most likely to arrive at some point between mid-January and mid-February," and they think I'm being deliberately obtuse.

But it's true! The baby really is most likely to arrive at some point between mid-January and mid-February, with the greatest likelihood being toward the end of that window. The fact of the matter is, most babies don't arrive on their "due date." (In reality, the mean length of gestation is 41 weeks 1 day for first time moms and 40 weeks 3 days for subsequent babies. [source]) I don't put any stock in my "estimated due date", a date that is arbitrarily calculated based on a 28 day cycle with ovulation and fertilization occurring on day 14. The "due date" indicates 40 weeks of gestation. There is a mistaken assumption that going one moment past that magical date means the baby is "overdue" and must immediately be evicted from the womb. The truth is that normal gestation often lasts up to 42 weeks. Putting too much stock in "due dates" causes a lot of anxiety and stress, both for pregnant women and for their families and friends. It causes a lot of interventions that increase the risk of fetal distress, unnecessary cesarean deliveries, and pulling buns out of the oven that just weren't quite done baking yet.

So I won't tell you my due date. Because I don't want you to start worrying and hounding me if it passes. Because I don't want you to start telling me I should induce when it gets close. Because I won't be "overdue" until two weeks past my "due date." And even then, I won't automatically consent to induction, unless there is a medical indication to do so. Most importantly, I won't tell you my "due date" because the actual, exact, specific date I am due is on whichever day my baby is ready to born, and my body is ready to birth him, and I won't know what that date it is until it arrives. I am as excited as you are to find out when my baby's birthday will be, but we'll just have to wait and see!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Year End NPN Blog Blitz

I am proud and honored to be a volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

 Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight several wonderful posts from 20 volunteers with the Natural Parents Network. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of the Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of the best of 2012. We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them.

We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!

Jenn from Monkey Butt Junction

Most Viewed Post: Why I want to Homeschool / Why I Don't Want to Homeschool
Personal Favorite Post: Hello Mornings
Post I Wish More People Saw: Eating Healthy on the Road

Visit Code Name: Mama

Dionna from Code Name: Mama

Most Viewed Post: 32 Natural Remedies for Colds, Congestion, Coughs, and Fevers in Infants (Newborn to 6 Months)
Personal Favorite Post: Crying Does Not Equal Manipulation
Post I Wish More People Saw: Why Nurse A 4 Year Old?

Laura from WaldenMommy:Life Behind the Red Front Door

Most viewed post: Ten Reasons to Revoke my Natural Parent Card
Personal Favorite Post: The AP'd Child Speaks Out
The Post I Wish More People Would Read: Having A Child With Special Needs...

Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama 
Most Viewed Post: 333 Uses for Coconut Oil
Personal Favorite Post: You Will Understand When You Are A Mother
Post I Wish More People Saw: Constipation In Children and What You Can Do To Help

Lyndsay from ourfeminist{play}school

Most Viewed Post: Potty Learning the Gentle Way
Personal Favourite Post:Gentle Weaning and Play 
Post I Wish More People Saw: Rape and Attachment Parenting

Abbie from Farmer's Daughter

Most Viewed Post: Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Personal Favorite Post: The Birth Story of David Joseph
Post I Wish More People Saw: A Farm of My Own

Gretchen from That Mama Gretchen

Most Viewed Post: Crockpot Yogurt
Personal Favorite Post: 100 Days Old
Post I Wish More People Saw: A Fresh Perspective | Jemma's Beautiful Birth



Christine from African Babies Don't Cry

Most Viewed Post: I Breastfeed My Toddler For The Nutritional Benefits
Personal Favorite Post: From Full-Time Formula To Exclusively Breastfed
Post I Wish More People Saw: How To Minimise The Chance Of A (Genetically Prone) Child Being Diagnosed With ADHD

Charise from I Thought I Knew Mama

Most Viewed Post: My Misdiagnosed Miscarriage Story
Personal Favorite Post: A Poem for My Baby Girl
Post I Wish More People Saw: How Does Attachment Parenting Foster Independence?

Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children

Most Viewed Post: Attachment Parenting: the Renewed Face of Feminism
Personal Favorite Post: Different Rules for Different Families
Post I Wish More People Saw: Introducing: Attachment Parents Get Real!

Amy from Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work

Most Viewed Post: Censored at the Beauty School
ersonal Favorite Post: Let Them Have the Last Word: Demonstrating Peace For Children
Post I Wish More People Saw: Talents of the Heart

Angela from Earth Mamas World

Most Viewed Post: The No 'Poo Method: Homemade Shampoo And Conditioner
Personal Favorite Post: It's Okay...I Actually Enjoy Spending Time With My Kids!
Post I Wish More People Saw: Gentle Discipline And Our Family

Cynthia from The Hippie Housewife

Most Viewed Post: Winding Down at Bedtime: Three calming games
Personal Favorite Post: While the nights are still precious
Post I Wish More People Saw: Those days don't define you

Fine and Fair Joella from Fine and Fair

Most Viewed Post: Teen Pregnancy: Not Caused by Makeup
Personal Favorite Post: A Letter to my Son: The First of Many
Post I Wish More People Saw: 25 Lessons for my Children

Megan at The Boho Mama

Most Viewed Post: Coconut Oil: Nature's Baby Magic
Personal Favorite Post: When They're One
Post I Wish More People Saw: Using Relaxation and Visualization to Support Breast Milk Supply

Julia from A Little Bit of All of It

Most Viewed Post: 10 Things I'd Like New Moms to Know
Personal Favorite Post: My Mother Blessing
Post I Wish More People Saw: Why Should You Wear Your Baby?

Amy from Anktangle

Most Viewed Post: Growing Sprouted Onions
Personal Favorite Post: Dear Daniel, (On Discipline and Love)
Post I Wish More People Saw: Garden (Time Out) Meditation

 Lauren from Hobo Mama

Most Viewed Post: Where to find cute maternity clothes
Personal Favorite Post: Getting used to having kids
Post I Wish More People Saw: On having two kids & not playing fair

Isil from Smiling like Sunshine

Most Viewed Post: DIY Alphabet Boxes
Personal Favorite Post: Children's Books About Breastfeeding
Post I Wish More People Saw: 7 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Jorje from Momma Jorje

Most Viewed Post: Family Cloth... Really??
Personal Favorite Post: I did not Birth a Syndrome
Post I Wish More People Saw: "Good Baby"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: First Snowfall

We had our first measurable snowfall of the year over the weekend, and we took full advantage of it! Delilah was much more interested in playing in the snow this year, and wasn't afraid to walk through it like she was last year. Being a mom has given me a reason to love snow again! :)

Eager to check out the white stuff.

Helping Daddy with the snowman.
This stuff is pretty cool!

Is there a "crappiest snowman" contest?
Because, winner.
Delilah loves him anyway. :)

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Please: Not Actually Magic

Dear Delilah,

Your knack for picking up the nuances of "manners" has been adorable to watch as it develops. I think one of my favorite phases was when you would cheerfully exclaim "you're welcome!" when someone would give you something you requested. You've refined things a bit since then, and now have a solid grasp on the appropriate timing of "please," "thank you," and "you're welcome."

Somewhere along the way, you seem to have picked up the notion that "please" is a "magic" word. I'm not sure where, as I don't think I've ever referred to it as such, but you clearly think that "please" has some mystical properties.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but the word "please" is not actually magic.

"Please" does not magically make the ingredients to fix you a chimichanga appear when you've just finished breakfast.

"Please" does not magically make me want to let you kick me while helping you get your pants on.

"Please" does not magically turn "shut up" into a nice thing to say. Not even to the dog.

"Please" cannot turn purple grapes into green ones. It cannot turn your pink yogurt white.

"Please" does not make carrots and ketchup an adequate breakfast, nor burritos an appropriate bedtime snack.

"Please" doesn't make the cat enjoy having her tail pulled or the dog tolerate being ridden like a horse.

But please, don't stop trying, because your attempts to sway me with your sweet and insistent "Please!" do have the magical power to make me scoop you up in a laughing, loving embrace and store these adorable moments in my memory bank for the years when the only "please" I'm likely to hear will be "Please get out of my room."



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Thursday, December 6, 2012

As I Grow and Change

Welcome to the Body: AMAZING Carnival!

This post was written as a part of the Body: AMAZING Carnival co-hosted by Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy and Amy of Anktangle. Carnival participants were invited to write about how we learn to appreciate the ways our bodies grow and change. Our posts explain some incredible ways our bodies impress and amaze us.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from all of today's carnival participants.

Photo by Nicole Aarstad,
Bella Photography
I love being pregnant.

There, I said it. I'm one of those women. I recognize that I am fortunate to be one of the minority who don't experience morning sickness, or worse. I'm let off the hook pretty easy with a few mild waves of nausea that cease by the end of the first trimester. That doesn't mean that my pregnancies are a perfect 9 months of comfortable bliss; but it does mean that I embrace the exhaustion, the aches, and the discomforts as part of the incredible process my body takes on to bring my children into the world. Yes, I occasionally complain about some of the inconveniences of pregnancy, like having to get up to pee 5 times a night, but overall, I both celebrate and am humbled by the adventure of pregnancy and the transformation of my body it entails.

Photo by Nicole Aarstad, Bella Photography

Photo by Nicole Aarstad,
Bella Photography
It amazes me. My body grows and changes to accommodate a growing baby. New stretch marks pop up on a seemingly daily basis. My hair and nails grow faster, even as my ability to bend over to tend to my toenails disappears. My abdomen expands as the movements coming from within it become stronger and more purposeful. My body is growing, nourishing, and protecting a whole new person! What more amazing feat could my body accomplish? My body will probably never run a marathon. It will probably never climb Mount Everest. It will probably never lift an impressive amount of weight. My body is amazing.

I never feel more beautiful and more at home in my body than I do while pregnant. With a child growing and thriving inside of me, I cannot find fault with the extra fat, with the road map of stretch marks, or even with the extra chin. Every inch of me is beautiful and amazing as it helps to create life. My husband and daughter shower my changing body with attention and admiration, awed and amazed by the process. I am granted the opportunity to show my daughter an unsurpassed love and profound respect for the body I have, an amazing gift to both of us.
Photo by Nicole Aarstad, Bella Photography

Body: AMAZING, indeed.
If you like this blog, please vote for me on Babble's Top 100 Mom Blogs
 Thanks for your support!

More to read and love about honoring our bodies at these other blogs. Please visit them all and leave some comment love!

Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy is moved to trust her body, even the fuzzy parts. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy of Anktangle writes about living with chronic pain and how she appreciates the ways her body functions in spite of its challenges. You can also find Amy on Facebook and Twitter.

Mari from Honey on the Bum talks a little bit about how her body has changed and how she loves it and what it does for her. You can also find Mari on Twitter.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about why she's not worried about how her body looks, because it has a much more important job right now.

Joella from Fine and Fair discusses her love and respect for her body as it grows and changes during pregnancy over. Hear more from Joella on Twitter and Facebook.

Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow on how Paganism taught her to accept reality and by extension herself and her body. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares about her love/hate relationship with a nose that she saw as ugly . . . until she started to learn to love it. Amy W. can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Destany at They Are All of Me writes about releasing the negative notions she was taught about her period, and embracing it instead.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children talks about how she had to push through her pre-conditioned comfort level and found herself in a position to naturally be open and honest with her children. More great stuff from Mandy on Facebook.

Lauren at Hobo Mama is not a runner . . . but she proved herself wrong by completing a race. Keep up with Lauren's adventures on Twitter and Facebook.
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