Friday, March 29, 2013

In Crowd or Outcast, March to Your Own Beat


Welcome to the March 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self-Expression and Conformity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through self-expression. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Peaceful Parenting Applied.

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I moved about once per year as a kid. I didn't move to new towns, just new neighborhoods and schools. I made friends fast or I wouldn't have made friends at all. That said, and I'm not sure what it was about my childhood or if it was perhaps just my personality, but I always strove to be different. I was never popular and rarely made efforts to conform.

Actually, I think I occasionally did things to conform to my own clique of friends. I remember my year at Monte Cassino Catholic School that it was cool to wear your socks scrunched down. At All Saints Diocesan School we wore Keds, but they could not be new white! I remember kicking dirt onto new shoes. Man, we do some weird stuff as kids to fit in, don't we? My mom was so mad at me for messing up my new shoes!


Photo Credit: alessandra luvisotto

Thursday, March 28, 2013

No Pressure


Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

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I really like the ideas behind child led introduction to solids. I give Spencer some of whatever we're eating. He may or may not manage to chew and swallow much, that depends on what we have and how much he likes it. This gives me another reason to appreciate child led weaning. Some days, especially if Spencer naps through a mealtime, he doesn't get offered much food. Since Spencer is still getting most of his nutrition from breastmilk, I'm not pressured to worry over what, how much, and in what balance of food he actually ingests. I know Spencer is getting what he needs, regardless of what and how much he eats.


Sasha loves cantaloupe! (at 7mo and still at 3½yo)
Spencer just tried cantaloupe last night, wish I'd taken pics!

When Spencer has been sick, breastmilk is the easiest thing to keep down. It is nutrition and hydration, all in one. It can't be beat! I once asked a doctor if I needed to give my sick baby a pediatric electrolyte drink. He said that it couldn't beat breastmilk and to just keep doing what I was doing!


Spencer, waiting to see the Endocrinologist

The comfort of child led weaning is also important to me. Spencer has several extra medical appointments for health problems. Sometimes the procedures are unpleasant or Spencer just doesn't like people messing with him. I always have the most comfort-providing activity / comfort food available to him. Sometimes I even nurse him while a doctor checks him. It keeps him still and content. Nothing else would be as soothing, not even being held by me.

I am so thankful that I've been able to nurse all of my children. I am thankful for their health. And I am thankful for the bond provided by nursing my babies.


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This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, with which we all have great concern. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat. Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.

The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. Let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!

We will have a complete list of all the blog posts published today (as part of this Blog Party) in a separate post on Sunday, March 31st. We welcome you to join this blog party by linking up your own new and previously published posts which focus on any positive aspect of breastfeeding and breast milk. Please enter using the Linky Tool which can be found at Hybrid Rasta Mama, Cooking Traditional Foods, Whole New Mom, Alternative Parenting, or African Babies Don’t Cry. (All links will be subject to moderation. Any link not following the spirit of the Blog Party will be removed.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 12

Day 76 - March 17



Tyler brought a watermelon home from volunteering Friday.
She carved it into this rose!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Six Final Thoughts

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: What are your final thoughts and reflections as we wrap up this challenge? Do you have any new-found wisdom to share?

You can see all the responses to this question on the link-up post.

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Ha! I really managed to come up with 6 thoughts to list. I loved the title and was determined to make it work.

  1. I really found that when my life is in turmoil (such as a child with a new restlessness problem that keeps me up many a night) is not the time to successfully make lifestyle changes, even fairly small ones.
  2. I was reminded that stress leads to crappy eating habits which leads to feeling even crappier. Healthy eating seems to be that much more important when you don't feel up to cooking healthy meals.
  3. I learned that I really can find a middle ground with my family. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Our favorite marinade has more than 6 ingredients and one of them is High Fructose Corn Syrup. I think I can live with this.
  4. I found I have minimal will power when it comes to food given to us. Tyler volunteers handing out food to residents up the street and she always brings goodies home. She usually brings lots of breads, sweets and then maybe some fresh food, too.
  5. I learned not to assume my husband is unwilling to make some small changes. Sometimes he was agreeable!
  6. I learned ingredient limits as possibly a better way to improve our diets. I was trying to cut out one ingredient (HFCS) at a time. Ingredient limits seems like a small enough step to manage with faster results.

Elmo still eats lots of cookies, but I make them fresh from scratch now.
I know it still isn't the healthiest snack choice, but I see it as an improvement.

What bite sized changes have you been able to make to your household diet?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Naked Yoga: Gaining Body Acceptance

Today I'm sharing a guest post from a friend on Naked Yoga. (Please scroll to the bottom for a bio.) I hadn't really heard of it before as a "thing," but totally support anything that can improve women's self image!



Here's a shocker: I don't have a perfect body. Crazy, right? Who'd have thought that at age 34, after birthing 4 kids, my body might not be fit for a fashion runway or swimsuit modeling?

Watching my body age and stretch, sag and dimple has been disheartening. In my twenties I enjoyed a certain “status” as a genuinely skinny person. Even though I had some stretch marks from my pregnancies and a wee bit of cellulite, I could run around in a bikini in front of others and be perfectly comfortable with my status as a hottie.

When I reached my 30's I also gave up smoking and a funny thing happens when you start eating your breakfast instead of lighting it up: you put on weight. Another shocker. I have been in a yo-yo pattern ever since, and the padding and shrinking is only increasing the sag in my belly and the cottage cheese on my backside.

It has been an emotional struggle getting used to my new size. I like my hips, the fact that I finally have a trunk to have junk in, my large boobies. But seeing thin women held up in the media as the physical elite, I still feel a pang of nostalgia and an unshakable notion that I'm supposed to be one of them.

Worse, is looking at myself in front of a mirror. It's not only society's impression on my psyche telling me that I've no longer “got it,” it's what I see. It's what I feel when I glimpse myself stepping out of the shower, affected by my own ideas of what I find aesthetically pleasing.

The spidery parallel lines arching from the top of my thighs downward; the fact that my now gigantic nipples point towards my toes; the darkened veins of my breasts. My belly droops like a flesh colored fanny pack and while I'm happy to finally have a tush it has already begun it's determined decent towards the middle of my thighs. I am not that old, but motherhood and weight fluctuation have done things to my body that age alone would take decades longer to accomplish.

Redefining parameters of beauty has been a goal of mine for some time. I strive to look past the definition that the media hands us, into the withered faces of the very old and see the miracle of age. I celebrate the differences in skin tone, from alabaster to ebony; admire textures of all hair; appreciate the gentle curves of a large set of hips, as well as the form of the very thin. I created a board on Pinterest dubbed “Best Beauty,” in which I compile images of both men and women who I find have an intriguing form of beauty. But redirecting that acceptance towards myself has been hard.


Photo Credit: Jason Jones

When I first saw images of naked yoga, I was fascinated. Of course, this model is gorgeous but that's not the point. I imagined it would be a liberating experience and so I tried it. One day after my morning run in the privacy of my own bedroom, I stripped off my clothes to prepare for a quick shower. My bones were stiff that day, and I felt like a quick yoga session. Yoga is something I turn to when I ache as I find it alleviates my joint pain. Not wanting to put on clean clothes when I was hot and sweaty and minutes away from a refreshing cool shower, I did some yoga poses in the buff.

The feeling was as free as I suspected, and much more intimate than I had imagined. In yoga, you bend and contort and parts of you meet other parts of you that don't generally align. Imagine this when you're nude and becoming familiar with bits of yourself to which you may not have been properly introduced!

I began practicing naked yoga every day thereafter and looked forward to it while out on my runs. I realized I was being more attentive to myself as I became increasingly aware of my physical nature. I also began feeling more comfortable with myself as a naked individual the more I became familiar with my form.

One day I was feeling a little brave. I had been avoiding the mirror in the corner of the bedroom. I didn't need to see myself so compromised while fully exposed. But I was curious. I was filled with apprehension, but compelled nonetheless – and determined to find something in that mirror to feel good about. I slowly walked to the mirror and struck a pose. The dancer pose, it was. And I wasn't revolted.


Finally! An excuse to use this gorgeous image!
Photo Credit: Daughter of the Sun

I was surprised by my reaction, to tell the truth. My body was still my body. It hadn't mysteriously appeared smoother or slimmer or perkier. It was just me. Naturally, perfectly me. Me with rolls and rumples, puckers and droops. I stared at my form in curiosity and wonder. I assumed the inverted triangle and marveled at the way my breasts slid to one side and the new shape they took on. I smiled inwardly at the fact that my belly followed suit. I entered the Warrior III pose and was pleasantly surprised to see some muscle definition peeking through the fat.

The more postures I assumed, the more I noted my muscles beneath the skin and the padding, working and performing. I began to feel a sense of pride that had been missing for some time. I felt a surge of gratitude suddenly for what my bones, my guts, my skin and my flesh could do. It was raw, ethereal and deeply spiritual. It was also oddly scientific as I observed myself with casual reverence, with wonder and a renewed appreciation.

This was my body. It didn't suddenly become beautiful, it didn't change at all. I also didn't redefine my idea of beauty in terms of myself in that moment. The difference was that in doing yoga, I wasn't subconsciously assuming positions to try and see myself in a more flattering angle. I wasn't looking at it in comparison to any presumed standard. I wasn't looking at it in shame or remorse, either.

Assuming yoga positions, in the nude, in front of a mirror allowed me to see my body from a different perspective than I ever had before, and one where I had no traditional model of comparison. It was a very honest and unabashed look at myself and probably the first time I had ever done so objectively. With the purpose of discovery and learning more about myself physically, there was no room for criticism. What was previously “gross” and “embarrassing” was now simply interesting and even amusing. I felt more natural in my own skin than I have in a very long time. As I continue to familiarize myself with... myself, I find I am growing more comfortable and even a bit impressed.



Destany is an artist who works from home while raising her four kids, who range in age from teens to littles. A self proclaimed cheapskate and “maker-queen,” her do-it-yourself attitude compels her to promote self-education, frugality, and taking responsibility for our global community. She is attentive to her children and works to foster and maintain a deep connection with each one, while finding harmony within herself and remembering to take time for her husband. When she is not painting, cooking, gardening, knitting or playing with her kids – even the big ones, she is blogging about her life at They Are All of Me, where she shares crafts, recipes, and crazy mama mishaps that are bound to crop up when living with pets, teenagers and little ones.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Down Syndrome Day

Down syndrome means 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. And so, 3/21 is the perfect day for World Down Syndrome Day. I started just before midnight last night, posting photos of Spencer to my Facebook fan page with the caption "I love someone with Down syndrome." I've posted nearly 30 photos so far and there are more scheduled to post all evening.

I have been amazed by the outpouring of love and support. Friends, families, fans and even strangers have been passing our posts along. My goal is/was to spread one message: babies with DS are loved - not a burden. Photos of Spencer are not sad or depressing or weird or freakish or whatever. Spencer is an adorable baby. His smile is absolutely contagious, even in still life. Here is the #1 most shared photo so far:



Please feel free to share this post or come on over to Momma Jorje on Facebook to pick out your own favorite. There were plenty of popular ones! I work toward awareness and acceptance on a daily basis.

Do you love Spencer? How could ya not?!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 11

Day 69 - March 10



I try to keep the cabinets baby-friendly.
He loves to play with the bags and water jugs under the sink.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Clutter Minimized

Welcome to the March edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - Clearing the Clutter cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month our participants wrote about de-cluttering and cleaning up. Please check out the links to their thoughts at the end of this post.

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I've always been a sentimental sort. I held on to items for the emotional attachment. I'm still disappointed that my year books are missing. Once when I was a kid, I kept all my bandages from a particularly bad scrape. I guess I wanted to see how many it would take by the time I healed? I think this goes to show that I'd be a prime candidate for hoarding.

I lived in the the same house with my ex-husband for... 11 years? The longer you're in one place, the easier it is to accumulate more and more clutter. But when I left, I took almost nothing. I had to start from scratch. It can be easy to go crazy with that (shopping for a new home), though, too. And then I discovered minimalism. I want to live on the road and I surely can't take everything with me! And keep stuff in storage... to what end? So I knew I needed to downsize.


Where is the "Living" space?
Photo Credit: nilexuk

After our first major downsizing of stuff and cutting back on "extra" bills, we realized we could fit into a smaller apartment. With those smaller bills, including rent, we figured out that we could afford for me to switch from full time to part time work. Each step along the way has meant more time together, whether it meant more money or less.

After minimizing down to a 200 square foot travel trailer and now back up to a 1300 square foot home, I think there is a little backlash. I find I'm hoarding extra jars for possible projects... just because I can. I'm still making an effort not to collect things we don't need, though. More stuff requires more time; time that I'd prefer to spend with my family.

Have you ever cut back on your stuff, your bills or your commitments to have more time?


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Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living into their lives by clearing out the clutter. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Going Green!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cloth Diaper Sunning

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper Spencer before he was even born. Some friends even threw me a Surprise Cloth Diaper Shower. Spencer was born December 26th and between his week in NICU and just feeling intimidated, I didn't start cloth diapering until mid-January 2012. At first, I was having to machine-wash every day.

The next step was to line dry my prefolds rather than just the covers. We moved into our travel trailer in March and they don't allow drying lines. I did, however, find a cheapy ($10) drying rack I could set up.

It was costing me $1 per load to wash and $1 per load to dry. The prefolds were thick enough that 1 drying session wasn't getting them completely dry, but I couldn't see spending an extra dollar to get them a little more dry. This was a good solution.

I also dug out more prefolds so that I could wait to wash every other day.

Here is 1 poop-stained diaper, hung to dry and photographed at 9:40. I figured that sunning diapers to remove stains required several repeat sunning sessions, but was curious to see how much difference might be evident after the first attempt.

Imagine my surprise, when 2 short hours later:
This is the same poop-stained diaper, photographed at 11:50!

Not everything comes out perfect after each sunning session, but there is definitely a marked improvement! The sun has natural antibacterial properties, so it isn't just the color of the stain that is being lifted. I also feel good about saving energy. I might like to dry more clothes eventually, especially family cloth and cloth baby wipes.

I don't sun every prefold every time I wash right now. I usually do all of these white ones, then the next time I line dry all of my pink ones. They're a different style.

I will say that my diapers are a bit stiff after sunning. There are a couple of ways I fix this: Grab the end of a diaper and smack a corner with it, beating it back into submission softness. Using vinegar in your rinse cycle can help, too. (Be sure your particular diapers/covers don't say not to wash wash with vinegar.) Sometimes I just grab both ends of the diaper and wind it around. It is just a matter of moving the fabric around.

There is one problem with this particular drying rack.
It catches the wind. Keeping it on top of the table was not my smartest moment, but it was easy to reach all the levels. I've had it blow over when sitting on the ground, too. I have to wedge it between the table and the fence. We've moved now and I still have a rack like this, but I'll soon be installing a drying line on our back porch.

Do you sun your diapers? Do you have any pointers to share?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Learn Much?

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: What are you learning about your body through this challenge? Your family's rhythms and routines? Your feelings about food?

You can see all the responses to this question on March 14 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!

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Wellll, I'm having a hard time learning much because I'm dealing with sleep deprivation due to medical issues. Spencer has severe restlessness associated with his thyroid. I have noted, however, that when we're run down and not at our best - those are the times when we're that much more likely to grab convenience and comfort foods. We're too tired to take proper care of ourselves. Comfort foods make us feel better... in the moment.


I know I'd feel so much better if I ate real food (a term we used in our household when I was a kid - it meant non-sweets). And yet... on a particularly bad day I found myself having Boston Cream Cake for breakfast. Then I had another slice for a snack. I later had a slice of cheesecake. This is not a healthy diet!

I managed to cook breakfast and dinner today and not only do I feel better, I feel accomplished! I prefer to eat meals I've cooked myself, when I can muster the energy and brain power to do so.

How do you resist the urge to indulge when you're running on empty? Or do you cave, too?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 10

Day 62 - March 3



I scarfed down leftover cupcakes the day after my party!
I learned this particular method from Cake Boss.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tough Conversations


Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations


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 spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


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I'd like to just offer some pointers from my experience on some particular tough topics.


Photo Credit: Hobo Mama

Friday, March 8, 2013

Politically Correct Natural Parenting

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is RESPONDING TO THE NATURAL PARENTING COMMUNITY! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on criticism of the natural parenting community both from those parents outside of it’s perceived borders as well as those inside the community itself. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


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While I agree that there are individuals within the natural parenting community whom are too lackadaisical or too militant, I think my larger issue is the very "politically correct" speech often offered, "to each their own." I agree that no one way of parenting is right for every child, not even within the same household. However, there are books/philosophies out there that have literally been deemed dangerous to babies! Every parent has a need to feel that they are doing it right, but more than that I think there are lots of parents out there doing it wrong! Are we not supposed to help them? And if we do try, are we merely seen like a fundamentalist trying to convert a heathen?

Momma Jorje, Natural Parent
One tenet of NP: Wear your babies, keep them close

And so we write. And we talk. Just be open about your parenting choices and believe in them. Be approachable, without being too judgy. Be proud of your choices. But be honest, as well. Recognize that even the most "natural" of parents isn't perfect 24/7, so don't try to act like you are - within the community or without.


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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!

  • Politically Correct Natural Parenting — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't want parents practicing Natural Parenting to walk on eggshells with other parents.

  • Keep Your Labels — ANonyMous @Radical Ramblings discusses why she isn't comfortable with the label "natural parent" and urges us all to be a little more respectful and accepting.

  • Finding a Happy Parent Place — A "circumstantial loner," Mercedes at Project Procrastinot enjoys her forays in to the Natural Parenting community while learning the ropes of mothering twins.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Expense of Change

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: How's your budget? What money-saving strategies have you been employing?

You can see all the responses to this question on March 7 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!

***


I really like to support local business, so I tend to buy Griffin's brand whenever I can. We used to buy the big jug of syrup and refill a container. Only... they use High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sigh. I was really bummed to learn this once I decided to cut HFCS out of our diets.

Have you looked at syrup? Yeah, a lot of it is made with HFCS! However, someone recommended Log Cabin Syrup. Log Cabin touts, "All of our products are made with no high fructose corn syrup - the only national brand of table syrup to do so!" I snagged up their little jug of all natural syrup and even my husband loved it! (He is a hard sell on all these changes.) But we go through a lot of syrup. We eat pancakes or french toast nearly every day! And these little jugs are more than $4 each. I don't actually budget, but I could see this was too much money going to one thing.

And so we tried Log Cabin's Original syrup. It isn't "all natural" (so its cheaper!), but it still doesn't have HFCS. It isn't as good as I'd like to feed my family, but its still an improvement over what we've had in the past.

How has eating healthier hit your budget?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 9

Day 55 - February 24



For my upcoming birthday, Elmo got me an appointment
with Rockstar Dreads for dreadlock maintenance!
This was my day for 6-7 hours Sunday.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Compartmentalized Life

You have kids and find that you lose a lot of friends. Single people that like to hang out at bars have little in common with couples with children. Add a "special needs" child and you've alienated yourself even further. There are groups... My FB Group list has gotten far too long, but I'm not ready to leave any of the groups yet...

  • Natural Parents Network Volunteer Group - My largest group of closest friends with whom I truly feel I can share anything. I may or may not be understood, but I trust I will not be judged. None of these people are local to me.
  • Local DS Association - Ranging from very experienced to very new parents of children with Down syndrome. This is an invaluable resource for questions about DS and local resources.
  • Casual DS Moms - a FB group started by a local mom for other moms of children with DS. This is a good place to brag on our children and ask questions.
  • Team B - A Solavei page, good for questions and resources associated with Solavei.
  • Midtown Produce Coop - I'm new here, but its a good place to keep up with the various local coops. Volunteers are requested here. I could also use this group to find someone to pick up my Bountiful Baskets, if need be.
  • N's Updates - Updates on a friend recovering from West Nile Virus. This has been going on about 9 months or so and he is finally making great strides!
  • Mamatography 2013 - I co-host this project this year, so this group is obviously important!
  • DiaperFreeBaby - long-running community of moms practicing Elimination Communication. This is a great place to brag on our babies, share funny pee/poop stories and ask for advice when we're having trouble.
  • Local CD Group - Local group of cloth diapering moms, obviously. This group is VERY busy, supportive but also manages to harbor a lot of drama. I rarely read the group, but do occasionally connect (online) with people there. I have also attended a few events in person!
  • Holistic DS Parents - Decent place to get ideas for natural treatments to common (and uncommon) problems associated with Down syndrome. I have natural parenting groups and DS parenting groups, but this is the only place that they seem to cross over a bit. There is lots of talk here about vitamins and organic foods.
  • DS Playgroup for Babies - I've been to a couple of events with these local parents. I had high hopes for this group, but can't seem to make most of their events OR plan one myself that fits anyone's schedule.
  • Parenting Bloggers - This one is a great place to ask technical questions or ask for some support sharing a post or giveaway.
  • Town Cooks - I was just recently added to this casual little group. It is new and intended for sharing recipes, tips and ideas. I'm trying to get more into cooking, so it seems a good place to be. Plus, plenty of these folks are getting Bountiful Baskets, so sometimes a lot of people are working with the same ingredients.
  • DS Moms - a larger, national, casual group of moms that have kids with DS. There used to be fun photo contests each month. I'm not even sure if they're doing those, but I haven't caught one in a while. Another place to brag / ask questions associated with Down syndrome.
  • Non-religious Parents in OK - It is kind of amazing to connect with other parents that might be atheists. A lot of people are in the closet about their lack of religion, especially here in the buckle of the bible belt. Most of the posts her are just funny or WTF kind of posts. They do host play dates, but I have not yet attended one.
  • Blogger Help - technical help, requesting comments or attention or sharing for a special post or giveaway, that sort of thing. Its a good place to share carnivals and to connect for guest posts / guest posting.
  • DS Writers - this group is international! I'm new here, but it seems it is mostly people posting links to the blog posts that have to do with Down syndrome. I made a new friend there and think she is amazing.
  • Local Unschooling Help - I'm still torn about unschooling, but just can not get behind the way or state handles school. Our students only study to pass tests now, even with the online charter schools. Its quite sad, really.
  • Village Garden - I think this is a purely local group. They connect with ideas on how to do gardening locally. I'm having my first ever garden this year, so this may turn out to be a great resource!
  • Urban Farming Guild - meant to meet once per month, this is a local group. Folks share links and even connect to share seeds.
  • Local Granola Moms - This group merges the natural parenting and the local aspects, but without the DS aspect. Still, I was excited to have even found that combo!
  • Local Babywearers - I'm impressed. This group has meetings and a lending library. I've only stopped by a meeting, but they are a helpful bunch. There is a lot of membership crossover with the Local CD Group.
  • Local Gentle Parents - I've not yet made it to a play date with these people. I don't frequent their page much anymore. I can always use reminders on gentle parenting. It can be hard to keep your cool sometimes.
  • EC Tulsa - I was amazed to find that there is a local group for Elimination Communication. They even have meetings! The main leader is moving on, though, so I don't know what will happen there.
  • Team A - My other Solavei page, good for questions and resources associated with Solavei.
  • Unschooler Interests - a place to ask a topic and get resource suggestions. An awesome resource once you are on your U/S path.
  • Southeast Food Coop - I guess its similar to the midtown group above, except I'm Northwest so I never check this group.


This doesn't even cover all the compartments of my life. I haven't found a community that fits my "adult" interest, local or otherwise. And now I've had two DS communities start trying to censor what we say. It makes me want to run for the hills, so to speak. It brings back the painful pinch that I lost my best friend. I didn't lose her to accident or disease, no. She didn't move away. She just stopped talking to me. She was my best friend for over two decades, despite going through times when she was single and I was a married parent.

How do you replace that?? Other than my husband, I don't feel like I have a single local friend that has time for me and is interested in all aspects of my life. It is heartbreaking. It is so hard to make friends as a mother. As a member of so many communities, why do we often feel so very alone?

Do you have a local bestie? How do you do it?

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Mama"

Spencer had a lot of fluid in his ears and after a couple of rounds of testing (several weeks apart), it was finally decided that he needed ear tubes. Of course the fluid made it harder for him to hear us and so his speech is delayed. He would only babble vowel sounds back then. Once he got his ear tubes placed, he quickly started picking up consonant sounds.

I took Spencer for an evaluation with a Speech Therapist earlier this week. She tried several communication tests with him, but also asked me stuff. For instance, we occasionally think Spencer knows "mama" and "dada," but we haven't been sure. It hasn't been consistent enough and he won't copy us, little stinker.


I've heard Spencer saying "mama" a few times near my feet lately and this morning I'm convinced! Spencer crawled over to my feet and said "mama!" He knows my name! I am more excited than I expected to be. I think... I think this is officially his first word!! With Tyler, my mom got her to say "Tigger" as her first word. (I was less than thrilled.) Sasha's first word was definitely "Dada," and I encouraged that. But I am so excited to hear my baby communicate vocally and for his first communication to be... for me! I'm sure he'll be rattling like crazy in no time!

What was your child(ren)'s first word? Were you excited or disappointed?
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