Friday, October 28, 2011

I do love me

Welcome to the I Love Me! Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the I Love Me! Carnival hosted by Amy at Anktangle. This carnival is all about love of self, challenging you to lift yourself up, just for being you.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from the other carnival participants.

I am lucky. I was a skinny kid, with parents who modeled good eating habits but didn't make treats off limits, who also valued who I was as a person and rarely made negative comments about my appearance or eating habits, who loves to eat vegetables and always has. I was also mostly oblivious to social pressures. When I finally did notice that I was an odd kid, like from 5th-9th grades when I was mercilessly teased, it never occurred to me to actually try and conform. Much of my internal angst was centered around wondering what was WRONG with the kids who teased me that they couldn't just accept me for the comic book reading, weird clothing wearing, gaming girl I was.
So I came into adulthood pretty happy with my body. I had plenty of emotional stuff to work through, but I never thought there was anything wrong with the shell of me. Even my one major issue with my body isn't something I really get a lot of sympathy for. You have large breasts? Oh you poor thing! Please ignore that they make it just as hard to buy clothes as a poochy belly, or big hips do, it's societally acceptable to have a big rack, therefore, it can't be that bad. Sure it's hard to buy a bra, or a fancy dress, or play pool, but I can't even be that upset with them. It's just genetics, a natural genetic predisposition to gain weight there.
I stopped participating in conversations with other women about body hatred sometime in my early 20's. Partly because I never felt like I was allowed to be a part of of. I'm too thin, and my boobs are too big, and I can't possibly understand what it's like to have a really horrible body like person A over here. I realized after awhile that it was like the conversations about our hair that my friends and I used to have about our. The one with curly hair wanted straight, and the one with straight hair wanted curly. I always wanted long, thick, wavy black hair. But that's not something you can really change.
And neither is your body. Sure, you can gain or lose weight. You can have surgery. You can buy compression garments to make yourself look different. But if you don't actually like what you look like, you won't even if you manage to lose those inches. You will always see the 'flaws' because you are looking for them. So I decided to stop.
Here are the secrets I want to pass along to my daughter. Your body is beautiful. Keep it healthy and strong and it will take you far. Think about the things you can do, not the things you can't. Anyone you date who doesn't like your body, or wants you to change it doesn't deserve to sleep with you. Be happy before you worry about making other people happy. How you feel about yourself directly effects how other people think about you. Treat yourself with respect and ignore anyone who doesn't.
A couple of years ago, I had a chance to have boudoir photos taken for Father's Day, through my mother's group. I was so sad at how many turned down the chance because they were ashamed of their bodies. I've only shown this photo to Walker, and possibly one friend. It's also the only one I kept because the rest of them featured my post pregnancy tummy. But I'm glad I tried it, and I'd be up for doing it again.

You don't have to be my daughter for me to want you to love your body. You are amazing. You are beautiful. Your presence lights up this world. Please love yourself.

Thank you for reading this post from the I Love Me! Carnival. Please take some time to read the contributions from the
other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the afternoon of October 28th with all the carnival links.)

  • The Art of Being Thoughtful – Becky at Old New Legacy likes that she is mostly thoughtful but wants to become more thoughtful. She shares a story that demonstrates that giving gifts doesn't have to be expensive.
  • I love me (and running)! – Sheryl of Little Snowflakes writes about her new love of running and how it has helped her learn to love herself!
  • For the Love of Moe – Valerie at Momma in Progress shares her thoughts on a body forever changed, but forever loved.
  • Where I Find My Worth – Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how finding her worth in worldly things always falls short.
  • Oh Yeah, I'm Cool – Tree at Mom Grooves shares her very favorite gift and the thing she most wants to pass on to her daughter.
  • Loving – Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about some of the things she loves about herself - some easily, and some by choice for the sake of healing.
  • caught in a landslide – jaqbuncad of wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! shares a list of reasons why zie loves hir body.
  • I Love Me! - A Rampage of Appreciation! – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle stops waiting for anyone else to tell her she is wonderful and goes on a rampage of appreciation for herself!
  • Raising Healthy Daughters – In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Kate Wicker offers tips to pass on a healthy self-image to the young ladies in our care.
  • Unexpected Benefits of a Healthy Pregnancy – How does it feel to have a healthy pregnancy? Dionna at Code Name: Mama discovers that making positive choices can be empowering.
  • Filling Up Our Watering Cans – Nada at miniMOMist believes that practicing Sabbath is the same as being a gardener who lovingly tends to the flowers in her garden. She needs to fill up her watering can first.
  • Better Body by Baby – Jess from Mama 'Roo and Family Too! shares how having her first baby makes her feel even more beautiful and confident about her body than ever before.
  • These Breasts Were Made for Nursing – Becoming a mother helped Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children to embrace her womanhood and improve her self image.
  • Yeah, I'm Pretty Cool – Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes about her own self love and how she hopes to foster the same self-respect in her children.
  • Who I've Become – The future is bright with That Mama Gretchen who shares her past and present perspective on body image and how she hopes to become a change agent with her daughter.
  • Ever-Evolving Me – Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about her innate drive to continue learning, growing, and evolving.
  • I love you for your mind – Lauren at Hobo Mama turns a dubious phrase on its head with a little self-loving slam poetry.
  • Stop Think of Love with Your Body – Amy of Peace 4 Parents shares an exercise to gradually transition from hating to loving your body - stretch marks, sags, imperfections, and all.
  • I Love Me! – Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy shares the things that she loves about herself!
  • First, I'm Superwoman. Later, I'm SupperwomanPatti @ Jazzy Mama explains how she loves taking care of her amazing body. It birthed 4 children, after all!
  • Baby Strikes A Pose – Emma from Your Fonder Heart writes about her family's decision not to let their 7 month old model, and uses the opportunity to think more deeply about girls (young and old) and how they determine their self-worth.
  • Love Your Tree – How do you picture the ways your body and mind change? Amy at Anktangle writes about how trees help her have perspective about her own growth over time.
  • Pumpkin Butt – Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes about how birth and pumpkins are the way to accepting her body
  • I do love me – Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the lessons about loving herself she wants to pass along to her daughter.
  • Appreciating Who I Am – Linni at An Unschooling Adventure describes the things she likes about herself and the way she appreciates who she is as a person.
  • I love me! : A journey – Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her journey on arriving at the point where she can say: I love me!
  • My Daughter Doesn't Care So Why Should I? – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama calls herself on the carpet for the image of self love and beauty she portrays in front of her toddler.
  • Finding out who I am – Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares an exercise that helped her identify positive qualities she possesses, and how that has helped her learn to love herself.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday Surf

A few things I found interesting this week (and last week too).
A Fuller Understanding of the Light, toddlers are rough when playing, but only because they are trying to understand the world, not because they are mean.
What can Happen When we use the Word Fat, insulting your body is damaging to you, your kids, everyone. Please stop.
A Google calendar of Caspar Babypants shows which Walker put together with the information from his website. If you are local and have kids, you can pretty much go see a Caspar show any day of the week, most weeks.
Why are Adults Allowed to say Shit but Kids Aren't? I've always planned on allowing any language as long as it's being used in the right context, and not thoughtlessly.
A Lanolizing Tutorial by Amy at Anktangle, just in time as I was trying to explain this process to Walker and not doing a super great job.

The only thing missing here is a jarred squid.

I have been bemoaning the fact that I can't rustle up the energy to sew, and that among my currently neglected projects is a quilt for the baby, with blocks already sewn by members of the quilting bee I was most recently in.
This Monday was my quilt group meeting, and they presented me with this lovely quilt! They decided to make jars of things, because I was deep in canning season when they planned it. I'm overwhelmed by their generosity. Also in the works is a quilt made with squares decorated at my baby shower, so really, I'm totally off the hook on quilting for this kid for at least 10 years.
I have to say that while we had local friends when I was pregnant with Moira, I've found much more of a community up here. All the support and help and amazingly thoughtful gifts has helped this be a much happier pregnancy then my first. Even through all the exhaustion and not being able to eat. Thank you to everyone who has helped me or thought of me in the last few months.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moira helped draw the noses.

Moira has always had a basically negative outlook on life. One we've tried to be accepting of, but not draw her attention to. I've heard of kids who were happier in the car as soon as they could have a conversation with their parents in car, for instance, but for Moira, that just increased the things to complain about. If I point out a fire truck, for instance, the response is almost always crying and asking for "more firetrucks!"
She is also still struggling with sleep. We have convinced her that if she wakes up at night, she can come into our room and go back to sleep with us, but she is usually waking up at 6am and not able to go back to sleep. The rule is that if you can't be still and quiet in Mommy & Daddy's room, she can play in her room until the light turns green at 7, which hasn't been a problem for a long time.
It's obvious to us that there is something bothering her. She's been much more clingy to both of us, and less inclined to let me out of her sight, or let go of my hand in public. She can't tell us what's wrong, so we are trying to meet her increased need for us. I have a really hard time being patient and happy during the day if the first hour of it is her kicking me in bed though.
This morning, rather then go play in her room, she decided to just cry, first on the floor of our bedroom, then in the hallway between our rooms so she could check every minute to see if the light turned green. I told her that as soon as the light was green we could have wiggly snuggles in our bed for as long as she wanted. This was all about 8 minutes of waiting, and by the time she crawled into bed with us she was pretty upset. So we snuggled and tried to talk. But this lead to the another thing that happens a lot when she's upset where she starts thinking of more and more things to be upset about. We kept talking and snuggling, and she eventually asked if we could have a lesson about emotions.
Emotions lesson
This is what I managed to come up with in the hour she was having breakfast and watching TV. Please excuse my odd phrasing, I'm really not my best in the AM right now. Oddly, the internet was not so helpful with ideas for this. Apparently preschoolers are still learning to identify emotions, but that's really not something she has trouble with. What she needs help with is realizing that when you are sad it's not forever. (Did I mention that if one thing she doesn't like happens at an otherwise pleasant experience, then she had a horrible time the whole time? She didn't want to look in the microscope at the vet's yesterday, so she told Walker she didn't like any of it, which isn't actually true if I ask about the individual activities.)
She was in a good mood when we did this, but I was still pleasantly surprised that her happy list is so much longer then her sad list. I also like that her list of things that make the baby happy (her idea) is pretty good, although I mentioned the milk. Everything on the Stewie list is actually something that makes him nervous (that would be everything) and makes Moira happy, but whatever. My biggest hope is that we can refer back to the list of things to do when she is sad the next time she is upset and give her a little more agency in feeling better.
I have so many conflicting emotions about how to help her with this. On the one hand, I don't want her to feel like she's bad because she has a negative outlook on life (or because she's wiggly), but on the other, I don't her to be struggling to think positive about anything into her late 20's like I was. I have been trying to validate her happy feelings, but it is somehow so much easier to say "Moira is feeling very sad," while she's crying then it is to point out how happy she is. I feel like I will jinx it and she will be pulled out of her happiness because I've drawn attention to it.
I would love suggestions on helping her with this. Leave her alone? Continue to draw attention to the things she enjoyed when she says she didn't have fun somewhere? Something genius I haven't though of?

Yet another aside, I tried to use photos of her for the happy and sad faces, but she was very upset at the idea of taking pictures out of the photo album we never look at and not putting them back. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The hours of time I've sunk into Pinterest have already paid off!

Our homeschool preschool was cancelled this morning, but I figured Moira and I should do a lesson anyway, as she always wakes up excited for school on Wednesdays. I pinned this Does It Dissolve? from The Picky Apple just last night, and it seemed perfect. We did xantham gum, coffee, tea, corn meal, corn starch, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Of those, three half dissolved, two dissolved all the way, and the didn't dissolve at all.
After, I suggested we write down our observations, and she enjoyed that for about 5 minutes and then got really upset that I had written in her notebook. I made the suggestion that we could buy a special notebook for school, to write about what we did, and she liked that idea for about 5 minutes and then decided that would be upsetting too, and maybe we should buy her a new school notebook and NOT write in it. I suggested that if she didn't want me to write in a new notebook, we just wouldn't buy one.
What I have learned from this lesson is that hands on activities are always welcome, but we may have to wait until she can write to make any notes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hello oxytocin!

Through an accident of scheduling, I only spent about 4 hours with Moira yesterday, and by the end of the day, I was really missing her. We made up for it today, as Walker was gone racing, so we had a whole extra day together. These days have been really hard for me while pregnant because I was pretty much spending the weekends napping and staring into space so that I can be present during the week. This time, it was a joy, partly because I'm feeling so much better lately, and partly because I missed her. Also partly because we slept in until 8:30 this morning.
Hay ride
There was also a get together with friends at a local pumpkin patch, and having a thing to do, and people to talk to always makes the day better. I even had the presence of mind to request that someone take a picture of us together, which hasn't happened in awhile. Especially a photo where I don't look like a zombie.
Shelling beans
All the kids who tried shelling beans were really into it. We literally had to bribe them with pony rides to get them to be willing to move on. These were Christmas beans, which I'd never heard of , but there were three distinct colors that could be in the bean, so it was a little surprise each time.
Moira was even willing to touch the dirty pumpkins in the field this time, although not enough to actually find one she could carry back to the wagon. Maybe next year, when she has more upper body strength. I promised her she could go out with Walker later and he would help her get a pumpkin, since lifting the one I picked out was way too hard for me.
Holding hands
This was my favorite part. Most of the time we were going anywhere, she was holding hands with one or two other kids. I love watching her relationships with the kids we know grow and expand. Sometimes knowing that we are going to see one of her "Very bestest friends ever" (a list that usually includes anyone we've seen in the last week) is enough to turn a cranky morning into a happy one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I should be writing a post about the amazing time I had this weekend with these amazing women (photo lovingly photoshopped by Lauren of Hobo Mama (photos taken by her husband Sam) so that we are all present and looking at the same camera. Marvel at her skills.), but I'm a overwhelmed and can't think of what to say. I had a wonderful time, and I'm so thankful for the gift and baby blessings they gave me.
HalloweenInstead I'll just show you a picture of my Halloween costume and leave it at that. And look, two pictures of me in the same post. It's like a Halloween miracle.

*Edited to add. I'm caving to extremely gentle peer pressure. If you want to read about what went down this weekend, here is the linky with who was there and who actually wrote about it. (They caught me last night, so now I'm on the links to. I need to learn to be more sneaky.)

To learn more about all the members of the Natural Parents Network team, visit our about page. To become a volunteer for NPN, first please check out what we're in need of, then contact us if you're interested in helping out. Here's information about some of our lovely volunteers, including all of those who are writing about the gathering today:

In The First Annual Natural Parents Network Cross-Country Get Together, Natural Parents Network thanks the many volunteers who made our first annual get-together a success, and the awesome companies who donated to fill "welcome bags" for the Midwest group.

Northwest Gathering Attendees:

Lauren at Hobo Mama writes Meeting My NPN Friends.  Also find Lauren on Twitter and Facebook!

Amy at Anktangle writes Meeting the NPN Family.  Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

Arpita at Up, Down & Natural writes Me And My Ladies ~ First Annual NPN Team Gathering.  Also find Arpita on Twitter and Facebook.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings writes Seattle Bloggy Meetup & Gluten-free Shortbread! Also find Kristin on Twitter and Facebook!

Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes Meeting Those People.... Also find Jennifer on Twitter.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes writes Thanks.

Moorea at MamaLady: Adventures in Lesbian Parenting writes The Natural Parents Are Coming! Hide the Stroller!

Midwest Gathering Attendees:

Dionna at Code Name: Mama writes Wanted: More NPN Volunteers in Kansas City! Also find Dionna on Twitter and Facebook!

Jorje at Momma Jorje writes Vacation Weekend with Volunteers.  Also find Jorje on Facebook!

Amy at Peace 4 Parents writes The Value of Parent-to-Parent Support, Truth, Love, and Healing.  Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes The Gathering.  Also find Amanda on Facebook.

Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch writes The One Where I Go to the NPN Gathering.  Also find Joni Rae on Twitter and Facebook

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children writes First Natural Parents Network Get Together.

Rebekah & Chris at Liberated Family.  Also find Rebekah & Chris on Twitter.

Fabulous NPN Volunteers who were unable to attend:

Melissa at The New Mommy Files writes Building a Modern Day Village.  Find Melissa on Twitter and Facebook.

Rachael at The Variegated Life.  Find Rachel on Twitter and Facebook.

Luschka at Diary of a First Child writes Dear Screen Name, Are You Really My Friend? Find Luschka on Twitter and Facebook.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way writes The Natural Parents Network Gathering I Couldn't Attend.  Find Darcel on Twitter and Facebook.

Sarah at Parenting God's Children. Find Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It. Find Julia on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Things that are awesome right now

Moira and Walker brought back Pie for me. The peach/cherry was super fantastic.

My laptop is fixed and we can pick it up tomorrow!

Warm outfit.
Moira's outfits are getting better and better. She wouldn't let me take a picture of her after nap outfit (red polka dot leggings, floral corduroy jumper, inside out and backwards striped sweater dress, frog boots). In the picture above she is wearing a baby sweater (maybe size 9m?) knit by my great grandmother that has been used as doll clothes since I was a kid. Over a sweatshirt. Why? Because Ithaqua had been wearing it earlier, and she is pregnant so she needs to wear her husband's clothes now.
She got that idea from one book, and despite her hopes, I haven't started doing it. Probable because Walker and I wear roughly the same sized clothing, so I'm outgrowing his at the same rate as mine. Also, I bought, you know, actual maternity clothes.

Tomorrow I get to meet some of these fabulous people! I am of course anxious and made too much food for my potluck contribution. We've been exchanging nervous secrets in preparation for the get together, which I guess means a game of "I never" is right out.

I'm finally taking a combination of supplements that mean I feel slightly less miserable. Now if I would just look a little more pregnant. My dentist asked me if I'd already had the baby. I managed not to kick him.

Moira is full of fabulous ideas lately. She is dead set on us having a lesson where we make watercolors and bake them in the oven. Maybe this is what we will do for Christmas presents this year. She also likes to tell me sad stories now. My favorite so far is "My best friends Eve and L are dead. It's very sad that they are dead. Now they can't play and I have to find new ones."

She also listed off about 6 kids we see regularly as her "Extra super special bestest friends ever!"

Her anger at boys seems to have been cured, after one incident with a friend's very sensitive boy whose feelings were hurt when she didn't want to play with him. She's even decided that Jahleel, (the boy she blames for everything any boy does) is okay and has started happily inviting him into her games.

She would really like our house to burn down so she can meet firefighters. I keep telling her that we can meet them without losing our home, but she doesn't believe me.

What is this?
She is into Halloween this year! She fell in love with this haunted house foamy kit and has been playing with it ever since we put it together. We can walk near the Halloween section of any store without complaint! She's still not sure trick or treating is a good idea, but I'm sure once she sees the candy, she'll change her mind.

The baby is big enough to start pushing against my ribs. That's more uncomfortable then awesome, but! It means the baby is also old enough to roll to the middle of my belly when I take a bath. Moira did this too and the triangle belly always amused me. This kid doesn't have the stamina that she did, as it usually gives up after a few seconds and slumps back into it's preferred spot on the right. Moira would stay there until I got out of the water.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preschool is fun

Despite starting the day off on completely the wrong foot (Totally my fault, I am apparently skilled at taking a happy, bouncy morning and turning it into sadness and anxiety. Go me?) and Moira being worried about having to share her toys with her friends during school day, the lesson I planned was a big hit.
Pasting on pictures
We made direct ancestor family trees (I premade the layouts for each kid, as everyone had a slightly different family configuration.) and pasted pictures of our loved ones on them. I'd have loved to include aunts and uncles, but unless everyone only had one sibling with no kids, that wouldn't fit on a single posterboard. The older kids were interested in putting the pictures on and talking about when and where people were born. The youngest participant didn't quite get it, but he was excited to take his "Grandma picture" home with him, after his Dad did the work.
Where we were born
We also drew circles around the places people in our families were born. We pretty much should have just drawn a giant circle around the Seattle area to encompass all the different cities in a 20 mile radius where people were born. (Not shown, the circle in Germany where my Dad was born, he was the only one born off this continent.)
I have to say, I think our little home based preschool is going well. There was a bunch of screaming today (mostly created by Moira), and someone had to leave early due to not listening, but this is the fifth get together and I was surprised at how well everyone was getting along before. Hopefully next week will be calmer. I'll certainly try to start our day next Wednesday with significantly less nagging. Moira is loving the lessons every week, and has now twice fallen asleep after a class, I think because she's concentrating so hard on what she's learning.