Monday, July 19, 2010

Profile of a 1-year-old

21.5 lbs
28 inches tall

Walking since: June 5th
Vocabulary: about 35 words

Favorite food: bananas
Favorite animal: dog
Favorite animal noise: baa baa
Favorite color: blue
Favorite toy: any kind of ball
Favorite book: 100 First Words

Things I love:
  • Walking all by myself
  • Going outside
  • Saying "Hi" to people
  • The library
  • Little Einsteins
  • Being in the BabyBjorn
  • Bathtime

Things I don't love:
  • Diaper changes
  • Mommy driving
  • Staying inside
  • My stroller
  • Wearing clothes
  • Really loud noises


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Flower

My baby picked a flower for me today. It was a sort of pathetic looking clover, and he plucked it right of with most of its stem, looked at me with his big blue eyes and grinned, and held the flower out towards me. "Thank you baby" I said. "I'll keep it forever."

It is currently being pressed beneath a stack of Hubby's books. I think I'll make a bookmark out of it.

Good day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stay-At-Home-Mom: Carnival of Nursing in Public

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.

I would love to be breastfeeding and/or pregnant for pretty much the next 10-15 years of my life. Crazy? Maybe a little. But let me explain. My hubby comes from a family of 6, and his mom is one of 8 kids. His aunts have between 2 and 9 kids (the one with only 2 is the youngest and may have more!) Family gatherings at his grandparents' house are some of the most joyful events I've ever been exposed to, with kids running around, teenaged cousins watching sports together, engaged 20-somethings showing off their rings, middle aged aunts cooking and gushing about their grandkids and bragging about their honors students, and nursing mamas and their grinning babies. Seeing these happy large families has given me the confidence that I could successfully raise 6-8 kids if I'm able to have that many.

So for me, and for other mamas who want or already have large families, the issue of nursing in public seems even more pressing. I guess it's sort of like taking the concept to the logical extreme. Because the nursing phase of my life (hopefully) won't be over anytime soon. It will be a big chunk of my life. In fact, when my almost-year-old baby is a teenager, there's a good chance I'll be nursing a new baby.

Very few people in contemporary American society would argue against the proposition that women in general have the right to be in public places. Yet many of them do argue that nursing moms should just stay home until their babies are old enough/weaned enough that they don't need to nurse in public. I've seen this proposed in the comments on pretty much every news story I've read about a nursing mom being told to stop or leave the public place she was at. I've also heard it from relatives.

Which leads me back to my 10-15 year plan. If I have older kids and teenagers and nurslings at the same time, I can't live in some sort of babies-and-mommies-only-dreamworld. I will have to (and want to) be out in public, driving my kids to stuff and watching them compete and perform.

And you know, babies don't "choose" when they want to nurse. They get hungry and want to eat, or get frightened and want to nurse for comfort. Period. There isn't a thought process like there is for adults, or an understanding of time that allows babies to think "well, we're almost done here, so I'll just wait 15 minutes to nurse." At some point (although I'm not sure when) a nursling may be old enough to be asked to wait and to understand what that means enough to be willing to do it. But not for a long while. Anyway, if a nursing mama and her nursling are out in public for hours at a time, there's a good chance the little one will want to nurse at some point.

My question for people who say nursing mamas should stay home is this: if my current baby turns into a baseball player, and has a tournament, do I not have as much right as any other parent to go watch him play? And what if I do have a nursing baby-say 4 months old, old enough to be out and about, but young enough to be nursing exclusively and frequently? To argue that I should stay at home instead of being present at my older children's activities is an infringement of my rights as a parent, and my human right to go out in public.

Guess what? I'm not hiding in my house for the next 15 years so I can nurse my babies. I'm going to nurse my babies in front of their older siblings. And any of their friends who happen to be around. I'll try to use discretion, but I honestly don't think it damages kids psychologically to see mothers breastfeeding (which seems to be the implication of many people who argue that they don't want their kids to "see that"). I think it's probably good for them, if anything.

If you can make it work financially, I think being a stay-at-home mom is best for kids, which I believe is well-supported by social science data and anecdotal evidence. But to argue that moms actually have to literally stay in their homes? Absurd.

Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alternative ABC's Review

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to review Alternative ABC's from AMMO Books, and here's what we thought.

What it is:
An alphabet board book featuring cool words and art from "alternative" lifestyles, like street and skate style, green living, and even yoga! All of the art in the book is from the 13th floor design firm, who’ve done work for everyone from Quiksilver and Oakley to Mattel and Disney.

Publication info:
Published by AMMO (American Modern) Books, a publisher specializing in provocative, one-of-a-kind books, especially on visual arts and pop culture.

First Impressions:
I was immediately impressed by the vivid colors and smooth artwork in the book. Baby seemed equally interested in the eye-catching pictures.

General Impressions:
The artwork in this book is awesome. It’s surprisingly sophisticated while still child-like and fun. There was never a page that I wondered why they chose the artwork they ended up with to match that particular word. And I love that each letter gets a full two-page spread, so there’s plenty of room to have great art and a nice big letter to help the kiddos learn them (it's easy to get so distracted admiring this book as a piece of artwork that you forget that the actual point it to teach kids letter-or maybe it's both?)

My biggest concern is that the unusual words might be confusing for babies. If you are still learning the words "shoe" and "car", throwing "k is for kicks" and "l is for lowrider" into the mix might not help matters. However, for a pre-schooler who already has basic words down, the hipster vocab may tickle their funny bone.

I think this book would be an especially fun shower present for a mama-to-be who isn’t the pastel-colored-baby-animals type, or of course for anyone who participates in, watches or talks about activities featured in the book but ignored by most pre-school literature, like dirt bike racing or yoga!


  • Unique art
  • Bold, colorful style
  • Includes words from many popular lifestyles typically ignored by pre-school literature


  • Unusual words may be confusing to babies

The bottom line:
These books are cool-looking and very unique. I would especially recommend them for kids who are bored with traditional alphabet books, and as shower gifts for alternative parents.

Buy it:
Alternative ABC's is available directly from AMMO for $14.95 or from most major book retailers.

*This review is my honest opinion of the product and exclusively mine. I received a free book to review, but did not receive any monetary compensation. Every baby is unique and your family may have a slightly different experience than the one I just described.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Morality & Breastfeeding in Public

    A recent comment from a relative that even with nursing clothes and discretion "just because you can [nurse in public] doesn't mean you should!" set me to thinking quite seriously about the morality of breastfeeding in public, and here's what I came up with:

    I believe based on the scientific research and anecdotal evidence I've seen that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies' mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Because of this, I think I have a moral duty to breastfeed.* And I believe other mothers do too, unless it would be an unreasonable hardship or otherwise impossible. I don't think mothers who can't breastfeed should feel bad or are doing anything immoral by formula feeding though, of course! Or say, a mother who has to take a medication for a serious condition that is not safe for breastfeeding babies and has to use formula- I definitely don't think that's immoral! I do think that if a mother is reasonably capable of breastfeeding safely, she has a moral duty to do so and provide her child with the best nutrition and comfort available. Anyway, there are a couple of other moral duties I've been thinking about with this too.

    One is that as a Christian, I think I have a moral duty to behave modestly. In life in general for me, this means not wearing low cut tops, not posting sexy pictures of myself on Facebook, and a myriad of other things. So how does this balance with the moral duty to breastfeed? I think I ought to breastfeed modestly. I don't think that breastfeeding is in any way obscene, but I do think that due to the oversexualization of our culture, many men would be prone to sexual thoughts if they saw exposed breast, and I don't want to elicit sexual thoughts in anyone other than Hubby!

    To help me nurse modestly, I got a few super-cute nursing tops from Motherwear that allow me to nurse without revealing any of my breast except maybe when Baby's first getting attached and when he's done. And I try not to flash anyone. Baby won't tolerate a blanket over his head, so I don't bother even trying that anymore. For other moms who can afford it, nursing tops, etc are great. But I certainly don't think any mom should feel she has to make expensive purchases to breastfeed. Simply exercising reasonable discretion with what she can afford is all I think is necessary. But even with that being said, Baby's needs come first, and if that means some breast is exposed to public view, I don't think that's bad at all!

    I also think the general population has a duty in regards to breastfeeding, and that is to mind their own business. I know that some people are creeps and might be trying to check me out. But beyond attempting to be modest in my feeding Baby, it's really not my problem. I cover up in hopes of not tempting anyone/causing anyone to sin by lusting after me, but I think that's as far as my role goes. My obligation to my baby comes before any obligation to the general public, including the obligation to modesty.

    This goes for church too as far as I'm concerned. While I try to nurse modestly and quietly so I'm not a distraction, I think it's ultimately the responsibility of the other people in attendance to ensure their own focus is on God and not on the people around them, including me and my nursling.

    What are your thoughts on the morality of nursing in public?

    *"Duty" tends to have a little bit of a negative connotation in some contexts, so I just wanted to state for the record that besides thinking that I should breastfeed, I also love breastfeeding my son, and while I consider it a duty, I certainly don't think of it as a chore!

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Ways to Have Outdoor Fun with a Pre-Walker

    Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

    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 their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


    Baby and I both love being outside. But since he can't walk yet* it's easy to feel like there's nothing to do outside. And it's true that he can't ride a bike or fly a kite or play tag or kick the can yet. But here are some things we've come up with to allow our crawling baby to enjoy the great outdoors!

    Feed the animals
    Scatter birdseed in your yard or a park and point out the animals and birds that come for a nibble. We've had cardinals, robins, pigeons, thrushes, grackles, chipmunks, and squirrels! Baby gets really excited and waves to them, which is adorable and makes me giggle.

    Go sight-seeing
    Many landmarks, state and national parks, etc have wheelchair accessible trails, which means they are also stroller accessible, plus you can bring a baby carrier pretty much anywhere!

    Go on a nature walk in your own neighborhood
    To a baby, even manicured lawns, landcaping rocks, and backyard flower and veggie gardens are exciting new examples of nature. Act as baby's tour guide, pointing out the names of natural things in your everyday world. Look for things baby can touch and smell, like rocks, pinecones, and flowers, and supervise closely to make sure your baby doesn't eat anything dangerous.

    Use the playground equipment
    Baby loves swinging. He's a chewer though so I always bring baby wipes and wipe down the black rubber park swing before I put him in it. They also have cloth covers for baby swings you can buy if you're worried about germs and to add padding if your baby is still pretty little for the swing.
    We feel comfortable now letting him "ride" a little dinosaur on what looks like a giant spring (it's only about a foot off the ground). We hold him the whole time even though he hangs on too most of the time.
    We have also started using the baby slide, again holding him the whole time. You have to gauge your baby's abilities and the limitations of the playground equipment available to you, but you might be surprised how much you can play at the playground if you're willing to get involved in the playing yourself.

    Make a Splash
    While you have to be extremely careful, swimming can be a great option for pre-walkers. And there's tons of great gear available to keep baby safe and comfy, from swim diapers to UV protective shirts to floaties. If your baby thinks he's a fish like mine does and never wants bath time to end, swimming is an awesome way to let them enjoy the water more!

    These are just a few things we've thought of to do with Baby, but it's by no means an exaustive list of the possibilities for outdoors fun with a pre-walking baby. Be creative and have fun with your little one and the wonders of nature!

    *No longer true as of this weekend...I now have a walking baby! Hurray!(I'm very proud)


    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:

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Strawberry Banana Pudding Pie

    This pie was so yummy and easy I wanted to share the recipe with you! Enjoy!


    • 1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers
    • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 boxes of vanilla instant pudding
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 container Cool Whip
    • 2 bananas
    • 6-8 strawberries

    Step One: The Crust

    • Melt butter in 2 cup measuring cup or microwave safe bowl
    • Stir in sugar with fork
    • Stir in Graham crackers
    • Grease pan for less sticking
    • Press graham cracker mix on bottom and sides of pie pan
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes to set

    Step 2: The fruit

    • Slice 1 1/2 bananas (feed other half banana to baby to keep him occupied while you make pie)
    • Slice a half dozen strawberries
    • Layer the fruit directly on the crust

    Step 3: The pudding

    • Mix two 3.4 oz. boxes of vanilla pudding with 2 cups of milk
    • Add 1 cup of Cool Whip to the pudding
    • Pour the pudding mix on top of the fruit and spread with a spoon so it fills the crust
    • Spread Cool Whip on top of pudding. If desired, use frosting gun to make it cutesy. I don't have one, so I just used a spatula.
    • Add a few slices of banana and/or strawberry to the top for added beauty and flavor.
    • Attempt not to eat all in one sitting.

    Suggestions for variations:

    • Add pineapple slices to the fruity layers and 1 cup of shredded coconut to the pudding for a tropical treat!
    • Try chocolate pudding with either bananas, strawberries or rasberries. Use chocolate Graham crackers for the crust!
    • Use soymilk or lactose free milk for the pudding if desired/necessary.

    This yummy recipe post is linking up to Foodie Fridays @ Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and Momtrends

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Body Image Blog Carnival Wrap-Up

    For the past week (April 12-18th) I co-hosted a "Body Image Blog Carnival" with Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite! We had tons of great posts written by fabulous women who really shared their heart on this topic. But sadly, our Body Image Carnival has come to an end. I really enjoyed reading all of the great submissions. For one thing, it made me really feel like I'm part of a community (or at least an e-community!) full of women who, just like me, have insecurities and flaws, but are learning to love their bodies anyway. We tried to split it up into small chunks so it'd be possible to read all the featured posts each day, but just in case you missed any of the great posts, here's a complete listing of all the posts we featured. Any link that doesn't say where it leads goes to either Melodie's site or mine! Enjoy, and thanks again to all the participants, especially the lovely ladies who submitted posts and to Melodie for all her hard work!

    How Breastfeeding Can Change Our Body Image

    Less Breast at Momthings and the Snoot

    BFAR, Breasts and Body Image at Pocket Buddha

    Big B, Little B at Code Name Mama

    Commentaries on New Study Breast Ptosis: Causes and Cure

    Sagging Breasts? What's to Blame? at PhD in Parenting

    Saggy Boobs and Nursing at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom

    The Skinny on Being Skinny

    You Can Never Tell About Anyone Just By Looking a guest post at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!

    Too Thin? at Schmoopy Baby

    She's Way Too Skinny at Step Up and Stand Out...For Real!

    Extra Curves at Breastfeeding Momma

    Weight Loss Surgery: My Ball and Chain at Cream of Mommy Soup

    Who Am I?

    Hello, I'm a Dancer at Hobo Mama

    Learning From My Daughter at Living Peacefully With Children

    Body Image at One Starry Night

    The Goddess at Mother Flippin'

    Body Image and Culture

    "Mom Jeans" and the Curse of MILF at Tis Worthwhile

    You Look Great at Lil' Snowflakes

    The Body Image Carnival at Authentic Parenting

    Happy to be Female at Breeder Brain

    How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? at Breastfeeding Moms Unite

    Sexy Moms

    What is Sexy at The Bee in Your Bonnet

    VII - Happily Ever After The End Part or LUCKY at Honest To Betsy

    My Body - A Critical Look at Keeping Mum Sane

    Making Peace

    Making Peace at

    Embarrassed by My Leg at Kim Through The Looking Glass

    How Pregnancy Changed My Body at The Mahogany Way

    Baby Body at Motherhood Saved My Life

    Making Peace With My Body at Momopoly

    Pregnancy Loss and Femininity at The Verve Path

    Beach Body at DesignHER Momma

    Three Practices for Loving The Skin You're In at Baby Dust Diaries

    Cesarean Sections

    What To Expect of Your Body After a C-Section

    Eating Disorders

    NEDA Walk Invitation guest post at Maman A Droit

    Product Reviews

    Bravado Bliss Nursing Bra

    MENYKA Nursing and Maternity Wear

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Making Peace With Our Bodies

    This post is part of the Body Image Carnival held by myself, Maman A Droit and by Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite!. Each day we are featuring great submissions by real women about their body image. Most are moms, and all have heartfelt stories to tell.

    We all have our flaws, things we'd change to have a "better" body. And it's easy to let these imperfections win out, to let them convince us that we have less worth because of them. But ultimately, reaching the goal of a positive body image comes down to one thing: embracing these imperfections and who you are, the way you are now.
    Making peace with yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done. Today's featured posts share personal stories of how some fabulous women are making peace with their own bodies.

    Amber from Keepin' it Real in the Suburbs talks about making peace with her body not being entirely her own anymore in her post, Making Peace.

    I have deeply ambivalent feelings about this loss of control over my physical self. On the one hand, I am very grateful to have had this experience of birthing and breastfeeding my children. It is an amazing gift. They are amazing gifts. On the other hand, it hasn’t all been super-fun. I didn’t enjoy pregnancy much, between the nausea and the extreme emotions and the constant nosebleeds I got. I don’t really like its physical aftermath, either. And sometimes I really just want some time and space to myself, which isn’t always possible when you have these two little people underfoot.

    Kim of Kim Through the Looking-Glass makes peace with her pregnancy-induced varicose veins in her post, Embarassed by My Leg .

    I became unexpectedly pregnant with my son when my daughter was just one year old. My first symptom was a juicy varicose vein running across my thigh that made me say to myself - "Hey! I haven't seen one of those since ... oh no!" During my second pregnancy, my veins got much worse much more quickly.

    Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite! makes peace with her c-section scar in her post, What to Expect of Your Body After a C-Section.

    After I had time to take in the fact that my abdomen wore staples that looked like a Hannibal Lector mask, I was pretty upset that I wouldn’t be able to wear a cute bikini or pretty panties ever again. But I got over that aspect of my c-section pretty fast. My issues with my cesarean were more than skin deep. As far as my body image went I was a little more concerned with my deflated beach ball tummy and stretch marks.

    Darcel from Mahogany Way makes peace with her stretchmarks, and not losing her pregnancy weight as fast as some people made her think she might, as she discusses in her post, How Pregnancy Changed My Body.

    Watching my body transform, and having the baby belly was amazing. I still think pregnancy is amazing.
    I was completely unprepared for the way my body would look later on. The stretch marks, and the way my belly was hanging down just made me feel disgusting. I hated that I had to wear maternity clothes for so long after she was born. I wanted to know why my body didn't snap back into place like the women I saw on TV.
    I wanted to know when it was going to snap back.

    Celina from Motherhood Saved My Life! makes peace with her "longjas" and episiotomy scar in her post

    I don’t view these things as negative. These physical marks are worth the beautiful “prize” at the end of the 40 weeks. Don’t get me wrong I had a few issues with my body after I had each of my children. I gained a lot of weight with each baby and after escaping my first pregnancy stretch mark free, the pregnant belly of my second child wasn’t as forgiving.

    In Making Peace With My Body Kate from Momopoly talks about how motherhood and her Catholic faith helped her in her struggle with eating disorders and gave her the inspiration she needed to make peace with her body.

    But, like He does so often, God gave me a wake-up call, an “Ah-ha” moment that forced me to take a good, hard look at something other than my new butt graffiti. One day I was staring at Madeline’s naked body and admiring all of her dimples and rolls. She grinned at me, looking up with bright eyes. Something about that innocent smile crushed me. I began to cry as I realized that for the first time in my life my body angst wasn’t only hurting me, it was hurting my daughter. Each time I punished myself for not being thin enough, each time I shed tears over stretch marks, each time I stood in front of the mirror just to berate my body, I was transferring my hate to Madeline and failing to be a healthy role model.

    The Verve Path discusses how miscarriage can impact body image and self-esteem, and provides some insights into how she made peace with her body after multiple miscarriages in Pregnancy Loss and Femininity .

    It is obvious that a pregnancy loss can affect a woman (and her partner) in many ways emotionally and physically. The physical pain and hormones alone can wreck havoc. What I have realized with this most recent loss is that it affects my feelings of being feminine. Our sense of ourselves as feminine beings can be so intimately tied into our reproductive health and vitality that a loss can cast a dark shadow on our views of ourselves. Feelings of anger at your body, of being “broken”, of being “less of a woman”, are all very common. Personally, I have found that I face a major period of anger at my body.

    Erika from DesignHER Momma talks about making peace with her new swimsuit body in her post, Beach Body.

    I wish somebody would have shook me, looked me in the eye, and told me that I will never look as good as I do at that very moment. Told me that my stomach will never be as tight, and my b00bs will never be as perky. Told me to stand up straight and find some freakin' confidence.

    Honestly, I don't wish for those days back. I'm happy and content with my place in life. I admit that things on my body wiggle and jiggle a bit more than they used to. I'm ok with this (kinda). My body has created and housed 3 perfect little babies, and I have the war wounds to prove it.

    Paige from Baby Dust Diaries provides some tips for making peace with your own body in Three Practices for Loving the Skin You're In .

    I find though, that there aren’t very many tools for physically practicing self-acceptance. If we wanted to learn to relax we could think about what stresses us and how we want to feel but we would also be able to implement daily practices, like breathing and meditation, to help us embrace the change. Here I present three practices for learning to love the skin you are in.

    Also be sure to check out the great body image submissions from "Sexy Moms" that Melodie is featuring today at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Culture and Body Image

    This post is part of the Body Image Carnival held by myself, Maman A Droit and by Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite!. Each day we are featuring great submissions by real women about their body image. Most are moms, and all have heartfelt stories to tell.

    While much of body image is individual, there's also a large and undeniable amount of influence held by culture. Culture tells us the standards of beauty in our society, or at least held by a segment of our society, which we then individually choose to accept or reject.

    In her post, "Mom jeans" and the Curse of MILF Jessica from This is Worthwhile rejects the inherent assumption in phrases like "MILF" and "mom jeans" that Mom=not hot.

    In modern society mothers are discarded by the mainstream as sexy, powerful women based on the caricaturization of a few. Yes, some women wear clothing that is frumpy and ill-fitting. Yes, some women choose not to wear make-up or do their hair. But that does not mean it is a "mom look." It is that particular woman's expression of herself and she might also be a mother. It's not the mother in her that makes her dress in an unflattering way. It's the woman that she is that fuels those decisions. They are separate.

    Over at Lil Snowflakes in You look great!, Sheryl observes a cultural phenomenon in which people seem to think it's okay to say just about anything to pregnant women.

    As I gained weight my body changed and suddenly it became a topic of conversation for anyone that I encountered. Not a day went by without someone commenting on my body. Here are some examples: How much weight have you gained? Your face has really changed! You look like you're having a girl (code for: your face is fat!).

    Mama Poekie at Authentic Parenting shares her experience examining her body image in light of Western culture and then Western African culture.

    I moved to Africa three years ago and from then on, things really started to change. Over a period of six months, I had gained back all the weight I had lost through years of dieting. Our cook was trying to do a good job, which meant that his bosses needed to be well nourished, and every time I tried to explain how to cook healthy meals, he added oil or sugar when I wasn’t watching. At that time we were living in Cameroon, where really fat people are considered beautiful. This led to horrifying cultural clashes: the plumber coming over telling me Cameroon did me justice, because I had gotten so big! That’s probably the last thing you want to hear if you are living with the ‘thin is beautiful’ mindset we are raised by.

    Carolyn from Breeder Brain thought she had fully explored her gender identity... until she became a mother, as she discusses in her post, Happy to Be Female.

    When I was born, I was labeled female and given a female name and raised as a girl. I don’t remember ever feeling strongly about my sex or gender identity until recently. My sense of self and my perception of how my physical body and how society expected me to be meshed well enough for me to get by.”

    Also be sure to check out The Skinny on Being Skinny where Melodie features some great posts about how "skinny" women view their own bodies.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    My Vintage Green Raincoat

    Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we're writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    I have a bright green raincoat I love to wear-its rubbery coating means I actually stay totally dry on wet days, and its mid-thigh length means even the tops of my legs benefit from this wonderful dryness. I've worn it to shop in, to run in, and all sorts of other rainy day activities. But I'll let you in on a little secret: it's actually a GapKids size XXL from about 1994. It used to belong to my big brother when he was in 4th and 5th grade. But in my family, we don't throw old clothes away: we hand them down. So when my brother outgrew it, it went into the coat closet until I grew into it a few years later.

    Besides this raincoat, I was also a regular recipient of hand-me-downs from a girl at church who, like me, had no sisters. Luckily she had great taste in clothes and I got tons of compliments when I wore her old things. More recently, almost all my maternity clothes and a few of my nursing tops were generously given to me by my husband's aunt who had worn them herself about 3 years ago, and we've been dressing our son in the hand-me-downs from her toddler. When Baby is a big brother, his siblings will wear the same adorable little outfits he did (plus a few new things here and there).

    "Hand-me-downs" get a bad rap; many people think it's shameful, an indication you can't afford new clothes. Many people who wear hand-me-downs are embarassed to admit it and do so quietly. But I think hand-me-downs are highly underrated, and actually one of the best traditions in our society. In fact, here are the top 5 reasons I think hand-me-downs are great:
    • Good for the pocketbook-since they are generally free, they save lots of money over buying all your family's clothes new.
    • Good for the environment-reusing clothes saves resources used in the clothing itself and in the manufacturing process.
    • Good for your pride-it's a lot harder to base your worth on material things when your material things are last season (or older) and have already been worn by someone else. It just becomes less of a priority.
    • Good for your imagination-you have to be creative to incorporate old clothes into your wardrobe in a fashionable way.
    • Good for nostalgia-when I wear my raincoat, I think about hiking through a French forest and exploring Irish castles with my big brother. A new coat wouldn't have those fun memories!

    So next time you realize that pair of jeans is just never going to fit again, complete the bittersweet weaning of your youngest and don't need nursing tops anymore, or your 8 old's shirts are suddenly all 3/4 sleeves, pass them on. Pass them on to your younger kids, your cousins, your friends. Pass them on to other families in your playgroup or La Leche League meeting group. And don't be ashamed of wearing your favorite hand-me-downs. Proudly go out into the world and don your vintage green raincoats!

    You Tell Me: What's your favorite hand-me down you've received or given (or both)?

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Code Name: Mama and Hobo 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 March 9 with all the carnival links.)

    Thursday, March 4, 2010


    I just migrated here from where I was unhappy with the limitations of typepad's free blogs. I'll repost my best posts here plus resume tomorrow with my normal blogging. Thanks for checking it out!