Friday, August 31, 2012

Slowly introducing No Screen Day

A couple of weeks ago, we embarked on an experiment where we have one screen free day per week. Moira is doing great at it, and after double and triple checking that today is indeed "screen free day," she doesn't ask to watch anything or play any video games for the rest of the day.
I, however, fail miserably. I start the day by checking email while hiding in the bedroom as Walker gets the kids ready for bed. I fiddle with my phone while putting Davis down for naps. I check it while we are out for the day. I also hide in the bedroom during quiet time, and then again after Walker gets home.
I may have a problem.
Straw painting
So instead, we are keeping no screen day for Moira, and I am trying to stay off the internet when I'm around her. I'm also trying to make sure that the time between Davis' naps is a time where my phone is put away, and the laptop is closed. And lastly, I'm trying to make sure that she and I do an activity together during Davis' afternoon nap.
Moira's splatter
Some of the activities, like the straw painting above, Moira loves and wants to do long after I have to get up and do other things. Somethings, like the splatter painting above, or the color mixing we did, she loves to watch me, but do her own thing while I work.
Chalk obstacle course
Unsurprisingly, the games we have been playing have been the biggest hit. I spent the first few no screen days reading some books of art and activities to do with preschoolers, and have been whipping those ideas out. It's been a revelation to me too that even when I have a migraine, it doesn't take that much effort to play "Simon Says."
Some of the new games Moira and I have been playing are:
"That's Silly!" Each person in turn says something silly. "Today for breakfast, I had fish in chocolate sauce." "Tonight, I'm sleeping on a bed made of dogs."
"Simon Says" It's a different game with just one person. Moira's not really competing against anyone when we play, and I can have her run all over the house, and do minor chores. I even had Simon Say she should clean her room one time, but she decided she was done playing.
"Sneak up on Mommy" I sit with my eyes closed and a book next to me. She has to walk quietly and pick up the book, and then I read it to her. Right now, she is trying to move approximately 2 feet, and it's so hard for her to be quiet.
"I went to..." The classic car game, where you list things you have packed in your imaginary suitcase in alphabetical order. I'm not requiring her to say all the words in order yet, but she does it on her own for the first few rounds.
"The Rhyming Game" One person (usually Moira right now) thinks of a word, and then the other player rhymes it. Sometimes we can go back and forth for a little, especially with "at" words.

I need to look at the books again and be reminded of some of the other ideas there were. I love having a few more tools in my parenting tool belt.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This was going to be for Wordless Wednesday

But it took too long to get these uploaded, so you get pictures AND words. Lucky you!
My good friend Sika came and used my camera to take family pictures. We had fun, and after doing posed stuff in the yard, we came inside and got silly. I'm saving the good ones for Christmas presents, but these are my favorite out takes.
Serious faces
They look so much alike!
Both kids were being a little pouty, and I was trying to silly them into a good mood.
Wedding time!
Moira had lots of photo ideas. Like that she and Daddy should get married and walk down the aisle. I get to marry Davis, apparently.
Tasty die!
Walker has a couple of very large 6 sided dice that Davis just LOVES. If he knows where they are, he heads straight over to pop one in his mouth. It fills up his whole mouth, but the corners are rounded, so I guess it's not uncomfortable.
This is serious
We decided to stage some gaming. Except then we all started taking it very seriously. Moira was totally going to win.
PS3 time!
Shortly after this photo, Walker pointed out that people would know we were pretending, because the lights weren't on on our controllers. So we turned the PS3 on, but left the TV off so as not to repeat our mistake.
Obligatory baby throwing photo!
Also obligatory nursing shot. Awww.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The ugly side of favoritism

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This guest post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I had a whole thing I wanted to write for this carnival, but lack of time got the best of me, so I offered to host this anonymous post. For obvious reasons the author didn't want this attached to her name. I do hope she can find some peace about how she was treated moving forward in her life.

The Ugly Side of Favoritism

I will start this post saying, do not favor one child(ren) over the other(s). The ugly side of favoritism is, well... ugly.
I come from a family of 7 children, with me being the second oldest; my step brother is 1 month older than me. He is an "outcast" and always has been. Although I love him dearly and have tried to mend our relationship, he is too far gone in a sea of sadness to ever recover.
My mom had me when she was 14 years old, met the only father I know and married him when I was 2. Before she met and married him I was raised by my deeply missed grandmother and my honorable grandfather. Honestly, I think my mother never really put forth the effort to gain a bond between us.
I have always loved my mother, and I still do.. she is my Mom. But over the years, things have happened. Some say that family is family and everyone should forgive family. I say that family or not, eventually, all small things are just that.. small things. Small grains of sand, that pile and pile until all you can see are grains of sand, buried to your throat in choking sand.
Children are not stupid. I knew for the longest time that my father was not my real father, but it was hidden from me until I was 18, and I did not find out from my parents, but from a stranger. My parents had many arguments that were about me, even though to this day my mother will deny it. The most memorable argument was that I didn't have enough discipline.
I was a good kid, I never complained about the crummy clothes I had to wear or what dinner was on the table and went to bed on my own at 8. Never got in trouble and brought home great report cards. The discipline I "needed" stemmed from a lazy mother who didn't want to do anything. She didn't even want to raise her youngest daughter at the time, so I was taken out of school in the 6th grade. I had had "enough schooling". Which is funny because I have two other sisters who have went to college and are in the medical field. Anyways, so at 12, I came home and for 3 years I ran an entire house, took care of my siblings, cooked dinner every night, did all the laundry. It was an odd sight to wake up in the morning and see my mother awake.. and if she cleaned anything it meant that people were coming over. "Discipline" really meant, I need somebody to do everything for me. At 15 I got a job and moved out.
I know I am kind of trailing, but it is important for you to know the kind of person my mom is. This woman tried to hit me when I was 2 weeks from delivering my son and still denies it. She claims she paid for my wedding (32k). She would hit me with belts, but none of my other siblings got hit. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere, but everybody else got to go visit friends. I was called a liar, and my siblings word was taken over mine. My siblings were encouraged to finish school, but I was taken out in 6th grade.
It might seem like something trivial, but that was life. The first time I was truly hurt is when I was talking to my sister about finding a positive pregnancy test. I said, "Sister! I found a positive test!" She said, "Yeah it's moms, she told me but I am not supposed to tell anyone." That hurt. I am my mothers oldest daughter, and my little sister and her were keeping a secret together about her pregnancy. Why wasn't I invited? I asked my mom the next day what was up with the test and she flipped out. Angry with me for finding out.
This long story ends with, do not favor one child over the other. It will ultimately lead to pain for the child through their entire life. I haven't talked to my mother in a very long time. I let her back into my life and immediately I was hurt. Secret dinners with her "golden children", zoo trips, ice skating, engagement parties. I would see posts on social networks and find out about events later. They have no reason to not invite me except for the fact I am me, and they treat me the way she has always treated me. When you are little you treat people the way you see your parents treat them, so it becomes normal to make somebody an outcast, which is why I was trying to mend my relationship with my stepbrother. He was also an outcast and to this day I feel bad about it and try to make it better, but I can't. I was so mean to him and called him many names (stupid, retarded) because it was normal in our house to do that sort of thing, so that is what I learned.
Favoritism sticks with people their entire lives. Even if they seem fine now, I promise you they think about it daily. It is not about you and now, It is about them and the future.

There are two versions of the bottom code available. The code below is a straight, bulleted list. If your blog template is wide enough, you can also try a two-column format. The two-column format (as well as the top code and straight list code) is only available from this Google Doc:


Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.

  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?

  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.

  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.

  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.

  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.

  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.

  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guest hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?

  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.

  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.

  • The Ugly Side of Favoritism — Shannon of Pineapples and Artichokes shares a guest post with a warning: Don't favor one child over the other.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kid update

So, remember how I was despairing of Moira's princess phase? And trying to gracefully accept it and let her be who she is?
Well I did that. Mostly. I still roll my eyes a little, but I've also made her a dress in the style of this Etsy seller (Belle, pics later) and have two more planned out. A friend also gave us a handmedown Cinderella dress. We are calling her Cinderella, and princess.
And now, suddenly she is starting to get into superheroes!
I'm Wind Girl!
She is Wind Girl! With the power of the wind! I am Wind Mommy, and Davis is Wind Baby, although we are occasionally allowed to pick our own powers. She is also suddenly, after months of screaming refusal and changing the second we get home when she HAD to, wearing pants of her own volition. I really have no idea how that happened.

Davis loves tea parties
Davis is still his happy self. He has no teeth, but he loves to cruise around on furniture, and crawl at top speed towards major hazards like stairs, open doors, and open dishwashers. He loves toys, especially Moira's toys.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Olympia Farmer's Market (and a giveaway!)

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.


We go to Farmer's Markets a lot. And there is an abundance of chances to do so where we live. You can go to one or two any day of the week (between May and October) but there are also ones that run year round. You can go to a Farmer's Market on a boat, along the waterfront, in an old school, in a fair ground, and many other things. So what could do that was a new experience with Farmer's Markets?
That's why we decided to drive two hours south and visit the Olympia Farmer's Market. The Olympia market is smaller then our big public Market (the Pike Place Market), and it's open less. But the amazing Nikki McClure wrote a beautiful book about it. She makes it sound so wonderful, that as soon as we were done reading it, Moira asked if we could go. So we did, and here's what we found.
Let's go!
Skipping in to the market.
Balloon animals! Moira bought herself a unicorn.
The band
Jazz band!
Fresh fruit.
Delicious pastries.
Thanks for helping
Snow cones.
Moose tracks
Also, ice cream.
After we had poked around, and had all the treats we could handle, we went for a walk along the waterfront to a really cool playground. There was a public sculpture contest happening, and I noticed this cool statue of a mother.
Mother and child
I like to imagine the baby is nursing in a carrier.

Market book
Would you like to win a copy of Nikki McClure's To Market, to Market? It's a great book about Farmer's Markets for a wide range of kids. Right now, we usually read every other page, and skip the part that talks about how the goods get made and to the market. Simply leave a comment (with your email) and tell me your favorite thing about Farmer's Markets. One entry per person please, I'll ship to anywhere in the world. You have until
August 24th to enter.
(We bought this book at the Olympia market, where the entire purchase price goes to help maintain the facilities. This is NOT a sponsered giveaway.)


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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 live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • 10 Simple Ways to Make the Farmer's Market More Fun for Kids — Lorie at Reading Confetti shares ideas and books to help kids get the most from the farmers market experience.

  • 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares the ten lessons she hopes to impart to her daughter about the importance of shopping at local farmers markets.

  • Charmed by Two Small Town Markets — Shannon at GrowingSlower was charmed by two small-town farmers markets while on vacation.

  • The Olympia Farmer's Market (and a giveaway!) — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes and family took a trip to their state capitol to experience a new market. See what they saw, and enter to win a book written about that very market.

  • On the Hunt . . . At the Farmer’s Market! — Exploring the farmers market by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writing at Natural Parents Network — with a scavenger hunt!

  • Exploring the Market ... Alphabet StyleThat Mama Gretchen is in the midst of creating a learning tool for her toddler and it's all about the market!

  • Unschooling at the Farmers Market — Megz at Aspen Mama loves building memories as a vendor at the Market.

  • Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares links to Montessori-inspired vegetable printables and activities to help your family get the most out of a trip to the farmer’s market.

  • Markets — How sustainable mum has fitted a monthly farmers market into a weekly food shop.

  • The Farmers Market In Under An Hour ("Carl Style") — Andrea and family at Tales of Goodness adapt their farmers marketing approach to make everyone happy.

  • Tales Of a Troubled Gardener — Sam at Love Parenting writes about her dream of self-sufficiency and her lack of gardening skills!

  • A Few {Of The Many} Reasons Why I Love Our Farmer’s Market — Even though the experience can sometimes be less than peaceful, MomeeeZen shares why she enjoys taking her family to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.

  • Experiencing the Farmer's Market from a Different Perspective — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM had a great time letting her toddler lead the way at the farmer's market...

  • Ask A Farmer's Daughter — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter answers questions about her life growing up on a small family farm in New England.

  • Giving Up the Grocery Store — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her family's summertime challenge to eliminate trips to the grocery store and rely almost exclusively on local, farm-fresh foods.

  • Urban farming and fresh food in the city — Lauren at Hobo Mama takes trips to farms, gardens, and markets within reach of a big city.

  • Market Tip: Get to Know Your Farmers — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finally gets up the guts to talk to her farmers and learns she is among ardent food lovers.

  • New Farmer's Market Find — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is excited to make a new find at her new farmers market.

  • "The Real World" Grassroots Edition — jessica at instead of institution takes some time out to write a love note.

  • 9 Insider Tips for Farmer's Market Newbies — Dionna at Code Name: Mama chatted with a few farmers to bring you some insider information on how to get the most out of your local farmer's market.

  • The Place Where I Can Say "Yes!" — Erica at ChildOrganics gives you a tour of her favorite vendors at her local farmers market and discusses the benefits of creating community through the market.

  • Raw Local Milk — Jorje shares her family's field trip to a local dairy. Learn what you can appreciate from a small town farm at Momma

  • Italian Secret Vegetable Soup Recipe — Alinka at Baby Web convinces an Italian Farmer & Cook to reveal a precious minestrone recipe and shares it with her readers.

  • Where do our eggs come from? A visit to Sucellus Farms. — Carli at One Fit Mom takes her family to meet the chickens that have been providing their daily eggs.

  • Beyond the Farm — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her family enjoy looking beyond the food at the local farmer's market to see the wares of the over vendors.

  • Magic at the Market — Do you ever take time to really look at the food you eat? Amy at Anktangle enjoys marveling at the beauty (and the utility) of the foods and goods available at the farmers' market.

  • Farmer's Market Discoveries — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen reminisces about the discoveries she's made at the Farmer's Market throughout the years.

  • Are You Getting the Most out of Your Farmers' Market? (My List of Not-So-Common "Musts") — Sheila at A Living Family shares some uncommon ways to squeeze even more joy and connection (and yumminess!) from your local farmers' market experience.

  • Pick Your Own And Eat It — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares their trip to a PYO farm and the journey from picking to eating her favourite food

  • Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Sunday Surf: Depression and Anger

    That sounds much more angsty then it actually is. I've read two great posts lately about the negative feelings that really resonated with me, so I wanted to share.

    Radical Mental Self Acceptance, by Issa at "Live, Love, Grow" articulated something I've been mulling over for awhile now. Who are we to say that a negatively focused personality needs to be changed? And while I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking, "Maybe if I accept that I'm an anxious person, I will be less anxious!" I do wonder how much easier I would find life if I just accepted that this is part of who I am.

    And while this doesn't directly speak to my experience, there are a lot of parallels between Parenting an Angry Child, and my experience parenting a sad child. In fact, struggling to figure out what the balance needs to be between helping Moira learn to deal with and move past her sad feelings, and honoring and acknowledging her truth is what has inspired my introspection about my own feelings. She has always been sad, and while that has colored my relationship with her, I don't think I CAUSED it (except maybe at the genetic level). I have noticed that since I've stopped trying to force her to be happy all the time, we have a lot fewer extended sadness moments.

    If you are interested in either of the above links, I HIGHLY recommend reading the comments. There is a lot of wisdom and just general encouragement that we are not alone in our struggles there.

    Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

    For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

    Happy Surfing!