Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#365feministselfie November

November was quite a month! The season's first snow fell, and melted away. Delilah turned 5. (There was bunny cake and Chuck E. Cheese involved.) My baby brother signed his Letter of Intent to play Division 1 College Baseball. My husband and I started a 30 day fitness challenge (today is day 16 of working out every. single. day.). We enjoyed a relaxing Thanksgiving. We procured and decorated our tree and I didn't even twitch when Ty put the lights on in a way I would not and Canon put every single musical instrument ornament on one branch. My husband found his class ring and slipped it on my finger and asked me to be his girl. I celebrated my love for scarves and deepened my love for having pretty nails. I snuggled my (not-so) babies and giggled with them. It was a good month, busy and full in the best ways. 

This is usually the spot where I mention what this photo project, and the community that has grown from it, has meant to me. I can hardly believe we are already nearing the end of this year of selfies, this year of friendship and sisterhood, sharing laughter and tears, celebrating births and mourning deaths, lifting each other up, working through conflicts, and growing as women. As feminists.

All of this has taken place over the internet, and we are looking forward to taking our online relationships to a deeper level by meeting in person for two conferences in 2015. Our group is diverse in every possible way, and in order to ensure that those of us with less means have the opportunity to attend, we are raising funds via an online auction. I donated an item made with my own two hands, as did many of the other women in the group. Check it out and do some holiday shopping while supporting a good cause!

#365FeministSelfie 2015 Conference Auction

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Dear Delilah,

I can barely bring myself to type the words.

You are five. 

The tiny six pound baby I met five years ago has become a sassy, sensitive, curious, energetic, smart, silly five year old. You are thriving in your Montessori Pre-Kindergarten program; you've learned to write your own name, are working on upper and lower case letters, and are determined to reach your goal of counting to 100. Your teacher tells us that your are polite and respectful in the classroom. You enjoy playing "school" and teaching your father and I songs and dances or "reading" to us for "group time."

Your love for your family is evident. You enjoy introducing us all to everyone we meet, including servers at restaurants and random strangers on the street. You believe that your daddy can fix anything and that your mama is beautiful. We love weekend mornings when you come and snuggle with us and tell us about your dreams.

You are a loving and playful big sister, and your patience with your little brother is unmatched. That is, with him, you actually have some! You love to teach him, and are quick to jump his defense and remind us that he is a baby and he is still learning.

Your favorite foods are pasta, cereal, green peppers, apples, and ice cream. You love to check the mail and help around the kitchen. You thrive on routine and have an urgent need to prepare for what lies ahead, always asking what we'll be doing tomorrow and double and triple and quadruple checking our plans.

You're a bold and bright child; you can take command of a room instantly, and it's not unusual for people to find themselves unwittingly following your every direction without realizing it. Some may you call you bossy; I prefer to describe you as having excellent leadership skills and an assertive personality.

This morning, we woke up to the first snowfall of the season, and you insisted on going out to play in it immediately, at 6:30 am. You had no interest in the balloons and streamers your father hung with care; no interest in the brightly adorned packages that awaited you. You were interested only in snow pants, boots, and dancing in the snow. I hope you never lose that determination, and that your zest for the here and now stays with you always.

You take after many strong females before you. In your life, there will be people who shush you. People who criticize you for being too intimidating. People who tell you that ladies don't act like that. People who fear the power you emit. Do not bow to those people. Show those people that you are proud of who you are and what you do. Be gracious and kind, but firm in your convictions.

I look forward to the great things you will do in this life. I hope that you will always be as unabashedly YOU as you are now. I hope that your fiery spirit and gentle compassion will grow stronger as the years go by. I hope that your heart will continue to be filled with wacky songs, and your feet with herky jerky dance moves, and that you will OWN it like you do right now. And I hope that the next five years don't fly by quite as quickly as these last five have.

Happy 5th birthday, my baby girl.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween 2014

Dear Delilah and Canon,

This is a bit late, and these photos have been shared when it was more timely, but for posterity, and in my desire to get back to the roots of this blog (to serve as a bit of something for you to look back at your childhood with), I'll share them here again. 

I clearly have not lost my penchant for run-on sentences. Ahem.

As has become tradition, we kicked it all off with the downtown Trick-or-Treating event the weekend before. Your cousin Harper joined and the three of you did a great job saying "Trick-or-Treat" and "Thank You!" The three of you did a not-so-great job of standing still and facing the camera for a group photo, HA!

Narrowing down costumes this year was a bit comedic. Delilah-you picked out a construction worker costume, and Canon, we figured you'd fit nicely into one of your sister's ensembles from years past. When we pulled the costumes out from storage, Delilah was taken with her "Foofa" costume from two years ago, and everything else was far too small to fit Canon, so he ended up getting to wear the construction worker get up he was so smitten with. 

Halloween fell on a Friday this year, and a Friday off from school, at that! As Halloween in Wisconsin goes, it was a beautiful one. You never really know until the day arrives if you're going to be sweating in the heat or trudging through an early snow. This year, it was sunny and clear, but with a crisp chill in the air, a promise that Winter is on its way. 

 As we made our way around our neighborhood, we laughed and talked together, seeking out the houses with lights on and avoiding the ones with especially ominous looking decor. You were both brave and caught up in the excitement of it all. Delilah you'd stop every so often, saying you were out of energy and needed "gas," meaning a piece of candy to give you a boost! I would occasionally remind you to say thank you, and you would remind me "I'm still learning!"

We enjoyed the costumes of those we passed by, but perhaps the most impressive was the horse-drawn carriage with Cinderella that went right past our house!

Speaking of Home, Delilah couldn't wait to get back to Trick-or-Treat at our own house, hustling us inside the house so she could ring the door bell and pick her treat from our own candy bowl. Both of you had a blast passing out candy to the Trick-or-Treaters who came to our door, and many of them were just as tickled to get it from you! 

 Your father and I enjoy Halloween in our own right, and I got motivated at the last minute to put a witch costume together.

Your father went a bit more obscure, dressing up at work as a colleague of his who enjoys bird-watching.

I'll sign off with some throwbacks to Halloween before the two of you were in the picture. 





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#365feministselfie October

You know it's been a busy month when you go to upload your monthly collage and realize your last blog post was the previous month's selfie collage. I've got two windows open with partial posts started, but the month has been all hustle-bustle! There has been lots of work. Work-work, yard-work, restructuring-our-schedules work, house work, personal work. There have been walks to the park, hikes through the marsh, and leisurely strolls around the neighborhood to take in the beauty of the changing leaves. There have been pretty scarves and pretty nails, hallmarks of fall in my world. The whole family got in on the Halloween fun, and we have enjoyed the lovely fall weather, drinking in every last drop of warm sunshine that we can before the air takes on the biting and familiar chill of Wisconsin winters.

Monday, October 6, 2014

#365feministselfie September

Better late than never, my collage of #365feministselfie photos from September! The season has started to turn, bringing with it walks to school, hikes, cuddles, scarves, tea, and our family's first respiratory infection of the season!

Happy Fall! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Hope Academy Lending Library

International Babywearing Week is just a few short days away, but I'm kicking off the festivities a little early because I am just so excited about this project. 

Photo Courtesy of Halee Cesneros
Photo Courtesy of Brittanie Super
As one of the founders of a local babywearing group, I occasionally  get asked to do baby wearing demonstrations for various local groups. When I was invited to present a babywearing demo at Hope Academy, I wanted to do more than just demonstrate. I wanted to provide them not just with the education and skills required for safe babywearing, but with the materials needed to do it; a lending library of variety of baby carriers.

The Hope Academy is a local alternative school for teen mothers. At Hope Academy, pregnant and parenting teens bring their babies to school, providing them with the opportunity to complete their high school degrees while bonding with and nurturing their children. 

Photo Courtesy of Sabrina Lynn Hall
The goals of Hope Academy include a high school diploma or GED, education and information about parenting, child development, and healthy living, and developmentally appropriate language and pre-literacy activities for the chidren. Services are free and offered to pregnant or parenting mothers ages 14-21. 

Babywearing has many benefits. It aids in early bonding, helps to facilitate breastfeeding, and provides opportunity for skin-to-skin contact. It helps new parents learn their babies cues by keeping them close. It helps to meet infants' need for physical closeness to their caregivers. It's also practical; babywearing allows parents to multi-task, keeping their babies safe and comfortable while they take care of responsibilites, like, in the case of teen mothers; attending school and studying. 

Photo Courtesy of Cheyenne Dye

My vision is the school's own Carrier Lending Library, complete with a variety of carriers to suit the students' needs. Carrier types will include soft structured carriers, ring slings, wraps, and mei tais. 

For more information on Hope Academy, CLICK HERE . 

I am using a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to reach my goal of raising $1000 to purchase carriers for Hope Academy. Any funds raised above and beyond the goal of $1000 will be donated directly to the school.

Do you have a new or gently used carrier to donate? Contact me on Facebook! 

To contribute (please note that GoFundMe does not use paypal, have a credit or debit card ready!) : 

Can't donate? You can still help by sharing this post or the campaign! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

25 Babywearing Costume Ideas (That won't make you look like a Racist Asshole)

It's that time of year again, when babywearers everywhere take to google and pinterest and innocently type "babywearing halloween costume" into all-knowing boxes, in hopes of incorporating their baby and their baby carrier into an adorable and/or hilarious halloween costume.

Many of them, likely unknowingly, will settle on seemingly easy or authentic ideas that appropriate other races or cultures. (Don't know what cultural appropriation is? Start Here.) Ideas like "Indian and Papoose" (see also "Sacajawea" or "Pocahontas"), "Traditional African", "Eskimos", "Geisha and Dragon", or "Babushka Dolls" (alright, that one might be a stretch) will catch the eye of well-meaning white mothers all across America. (Not sure if your costume idea is racist? Start Here.)

So, without further ado, here are 25 Babywearing Costume ideas that WON'T make you look like a racist asshole this Halloween.

1. Aviators

via Pinterest

2. Bee & Beekeeper

via Pinterest

3. Flower and Gardener

via Pinterest

4. Garbage Collector & Trash Can

via Pinterest

5. Kangaroos

via Pinterest

6. Max and his Boat

via Pinterest

7. Monkey in a Tree

via Pinterest

8. Owl in a Tree

via Pinterest

9. Movie Popcorn & Concession Worker

via Pinterest

10. The Itsy Bitsy Spider Crawling Up the Water Spout

via Pinterest

11. Spider and Web

via Pinterest

12. Two-Headed Monster

via Pinterest

13. Zombies

via Pinterest
14. Bee and Flower

via Pinterest
15. Chick in Eggshell

via Pinterest
16. Cookie Monster with Cookies and Milk

via Pinterest
17. Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat

via Pinterest
18. E.T. and Elliot

via Pinterest
19. Princess Leia with Ewok

via Pinterest
20. Luke Skywalker with Yoda

via Pinterest
21. Octopus

via Pinterest
22. Oscar the Grouch in Garbage Can

via Pinterest
23. Pirate & Parrot

via Pinterest
24. Luigi (pretend he has bibs and green hat, m'kay?) and 1-up Mushroom

via Pinterest

25. Whatever this Amazingness is called

via Pinterest

A few additional ideas that I couldn't readily find photos for include:

  • Dorothy & Toto
  • Mummies
  • Skeleton
  • Mermaid and Fish
  • Horse and Jockey
  • Dora and Boots
  • Frog and Fly
  • Alice and the Cheshire Cat
  • Skeletons
  • Boat and Barnacle
And there you have at it. At least 35 baby wearing costumes that won't appropriate or disrespect another race or culture. The unoffensive, non-problematic possibilities are virtually endless!

Have an idea that's not on my list? Let's hear it! Have a photo of your own creative babywearing costume? Share it!

Remember friends, this Halloween: have fun, be safe, and don't be a dick. 
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