Friday, May 31, 2013

More on the Locks...

I went to DreadHeadHQ and ordered their Lock Sculpta (like was used on my dreads in my last post) and Loose Hair Tool. I wish I had watched each of the videos first, I might have realized that the Loose Hair Tool is too big for my locks. I may wind up ordering the Small Loose Hair Tool, but for now the Lock Sculpta is kicking butt.

I can't explain the "How To" any better than their own videos, so...


Another about how to use the Lock Sculpta to pull loose hairs back into the dreadlock:


But how well is it working for me? Well I started out thinking I might get 1 lock done per day. Then I got about 5 done while we drove around on Mother's Day! The tool will definitely make your thumb sore and I saw how it tore right through the skin on my Loctician's thumb. Still, here is a before / after shot of my own:

Momma Jorje: Loose DreadlockMomma Jorje: Tightened up Dreadlock
← Before ... ... After →

Yes, my roots still need work. And yes, that is a nasty bruise on my forehead. It is unrelated, I assure you.

I carry the Lock Sculpta with me in my bag. I work on my locks when I'm watching videos or movies at home. I work on them in line at the grocery store and even at traffic lights! It actually got kind of addictive! I should take some pics to show the tips, too. The Loose Hair Tool is supposed to be good for blunting tips, but since it was too big I've been using the Lock Sculpta for that job, too. It is totally working, but I bet it would be easier with the Small Loose Hair Tool. I've also discovered another dreadlock site and they make an Extended Microneedle. Its cheaper and looks like it would work, too!

Do you have a favorite hair tool? Did you have any idea dreadlocks could be so much work? Some choose to take a neglect route to dread their hair. That route is probably less work, but definitely requires more patience!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 21

Day 139 - May 19



My first French Braid on Sasha!
She will finally be still enough for it... barely.
(I accidentally posted this last week.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Everyone Misses Sleep

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is “I Miss My Life!” 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 life before and after motherhood and “missing” some of the aspects of life without children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


*******************************


Ask 100 (or hundreds) of parents (especially moms) what they miss most about pre-baby days and the #1 answer is going to be sleep. It isn't just sleep I miss, though. I miss being able to roll around and lay on this side or that side or on my belly whenever I want. See, if I sleep with my back to my baby I don't wake as fast. Then I have to spend more time getting him settled back to sleep. And the other sleep thing that I miss a lot, that seems so ridiculous and yet I think of it often, is sleeping with the covers pulled up over my ears. I like to have the comforter pulled up almost over my head. I can't cover my ears to sleep now because I have littles I need to hear.

Another common answer has to do with the time we had with our partners pre-baby. Yep, I miss that, too. I miss being able to go get on the Harley and take my husband boyfriend for a ride whenever we wanted to go. We fondly recall those times when we happen upon an old favorite path. I miss being able to drop anything and have sex in any room at any time of day. We really have to work at finding the time and space as well as seizing opportunities when they arise.

Momma Jorje's Harley Davidson

I don't resent my children for it. It isn't like its their fault! I wouldn't change the choices I made. I love my children. I even love them when I wake with a crick in my neck or shoulder from sleeping in an awkward position. I even love them when I'm chasing them at the zoo on a beautiful day instead of feeling the wind in my hair. But that doesn't change the "missing it" feeling...

I don't usually share these feelings with friends because I'm afraid that 1) they'll misunderstand and 2) they don't understand our choice (and not-so-choice) not to use sitters. I have friends that leave their kids and go out, even AP friends! We don't have that option, really, which I know is part personal choice.

What do you miss from your pre-baby life?



***

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!


  • 10 Drastic Differences Between Life Before and After Becoming A Mother — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama compares her life before and after becoming a mother and muses on why it is pretty incredible despite never having a moment alone.

  • Sometimes — ANonyMous @ Radical Ramblings reflects on the things she misses about being childless, despite the fact she wouldn't change her decision to become a mother for anything.

  • The Baby Moon is Over — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot remembers her babymoon and misses the simplicity of being a wife before children.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Overdue Dreadlock Update!

Oh my, I am seriously overdue for this one! My last update was in September! And I was in sad shape then. By February, my husband had decided to pay for a Professional "Rockstar Loc Lovin Maintenance session" with Rockstar Dreads for me as a birthday gift. We actually made payments in advance to make sure it would be completely paid before the appointment. My "Loctician" even threw in a couple extra hours!

Meanwhile, I stopped using wax at her request.1 I also kept ripping dreads apart from each other. Rae advised the ripping was good. Then I discovered... 2-3 dreadlocks on the right side of my head that had merged so far together I could not separate them! Aww crap. Rae came to our home shortly before my 40th birthday in February. This is how she found my hair:

Momma Jorje's Neglected Dreadlocks

She split my hair into sections and got started. The main tool she used was a DreadHead HQ Lock Sculpta. She had one other tool she used plus a pair of scissors. Yes, scissors.

I had no idea just how bad my hair was! Despite ripping the dreadlocks apart, the roots were badly matted!

Momma Jorje's Matted RootsMomma Jorje's Fixed Roots
← Before ... ... After →

She had to cut some of the locks to separate them. She said if she'd created them, she wouldn't have done them so thin. I like them, though, and specifically wanted thinner dreadlocks. Here is a very specific example of the difference she was making.

Momma Jorje: Rockstar Dreads

Rae spent close to 7 hours here! We discussed blunted tips. She argued that she'd only blunted tips on a few women and they wanted them undone a week later. She said whispy tips look more feminine.2 It was a bit of a moot point since we didn't have enough time for that anyway. In fact, she started at the back and wasn't able to completely finish the front. She was supposed to stop by one day after work in the following week or two, but never seemed to be available. That bit was rather disappointing. I think she is quitting her day job, though, to do dreadlocks full time!

Momma Jorje's Neglected DreadlocksMomma Jorje's Fixed Dreadlocks
← Before ... ... After →

Rae had several pointers for me, too! She suggested washing in hot and rinsing in cold. This is contrary to everything I've read, but I can attest to it: it makes dreadlocks lock up faster! She explained how to tie my hair up, which previously I could not seem to figure out. (You have to loop the hair at least twice, not just a basic knot.) She said not to palm roll, going so far as to say that doing so keeps the roots from dreading up on their own. Wait... what? You want me to do less work? Awesome!

As for keeping my dreadlocks separate, she showed me how to run my fingers through my hair (something you wouldn't expect to do in dreadlocks). If the fingers catch in some hair, rip it out (of the dread it is in). This seems easy enough to do daily. I can do it anywhere and its less work than the other upkeep I had been trying to do.


A week later, showing off my freshly maintained and colored
dreadlocks in a crazy up-do at my 40th Birthday Party

I do love how the whispy bits at the bottoms of my dreadlocks look when I'm wearing a crazy up-do. The rest of the time, though, I feel like my hair just looks clumpy (like when hair gets greasy) because the whispy bits are deceiving. I still want blunted tips.

I originally had 64 dreadlocks. I now have 60. I still love my dreadlocks! A relative has recently been griping about how awful they look every time I see her. She is quite rude about it, actually. I've also purchased my own Lock Sculpta, but that is a topic for another post... which hopefully won't take 8 months to write!




1 Some people LOVE waxing dreadlocks, others HATE it. There seems to be no middle ground, though I have no problem with either method.

2 Um... because I'm sooo feminine? I haven't even worn makeup in years!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Transformative Parenting

Today I'm bringing you a guest post from a genius friend of mine all about a new kind of parenting course. Please welcome Paige! Scroll to the bottom for a short bio. The links below are my affiliate links, but I wouldn't share this information with you if I didn't support the program myself.



I don’t remember the exact moment I realized that gentle parenting was for me. The idea that “children are our future” touted in public didn’t seem to be practiced in reality.

In reality, putting children on the “naughty step” and letting them cry out for comfort without any emotional response from their parent seemed to be the best advice for living with children.

I just knew that felt wrong to me. Finding a community of other parents that believed the radical idea that children are people was so comforting. Here were other parents who were letting go of power and control and parenting from a place of love.

I’ve been very blessed to be part of this movement through Parenting Gently and the annual Carnival of Gentle Discipline. Getting the word out that there is another way to parent and that it works has been very rewarding.

I’ve also been humbled by the parents who come to me for advice on how to handle situations with their children in a gentle manner. I know how much these parents love their kids so to be trusted with helping them is really an honor.

Do you remember the first time you tried a gentle discipline technique and it worked? Did you have that aha moment?

Gentle parenting is kind of like a drug. That first hit is like “wow! I had no idea parenting could be this fun!” and then you’re hooked.

But, do you sometimes feel like you are still speaking a foreign language? That your initial reaction is always punitive and you have to translate or shift gears into “gentle” mode to react like you want?

Maybe in moments of stress you revert back to your old parenting paradigm and later you feel upset about they way you handled a situation?

Plus you might be getting naysayers from all sides telling you “you’re doing it wrong!”

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the gentle response be the first response that pops into your mind? So that without even thinking about it you can handle any issue in a peaceful manner? So that regardless of the opinion of others you feel confident in your choices?

The thing I realized about gentle parenting is that it isn’t just about gentle alternatives to punishment like spanking and time out.

Instead, it is a fundamental shift in how you relate to your kids. A fundamental shift in how you relate to everyone.

And a shift like that doesn’t come from constantly having to translate every situation into a gentle alternative. Sometimes, that can be even more stressful!

When you can find your own authentic voice and drive your parenting from the inside out, suddenly you’re not struggling to translate each situation into a gentle framework.

You find yourself connecting with your kids more and connecting with yourself more. You smile more and feel stressed out less.

Parenting is fun. Life is fun.

It is just pure awesomeness! I want everyone to experience this personal transformation!

What if I could help you look inside and find your own authentic parenting voice and use that to make your parenting choices?

I mean most of us aren’t parenting from deep inside of us. We are parenting on the fly as situations arise. Struggling with subconscious assumptions built on our own upbringing, our own personality and fears, and the silent societal messages about what parenting should be.

You can use alternatives to time out, spanking, or other punishment everyday and never find that comfortable, joyful parenting groove.

That groove that comes from parenting that is rooted in your own values and goals. After all the best parenting is your own authentic parenting.

This is why I’m so excited to be partnering with Everyday Feminism to offer the first ever Transformative Parenting: Finding Your Authentic Parenting Voice online course.

Everyday Feminism is all about transforming your life through feminism and that fits just perfectly with this idea that through self-transformation we can become the best parents we can be.

This online course won’t be hitting you on the head with feminist theory or with gentle parenting doctrine. You don’t need more external lists of do’s and don'ts.

Instead I will walk you through a process of self-exploration that will help you align your parenting choices with your deepest core values.

We’ll look at:
  • The cultural messages we receive and internalize about parenthood
  • How our upbringing and personality shape our parenting
  • How to break out of the cycle of parenting from a place of fear
  • Finding your own core values and goals for your children and translate them into daily action
  • How to communicate with compassion even in times of conflict
  • How to work with your feelings and needs and help your children do the same
  • And more!

All in a supportive community of fellow parents who want to break the old habits of parenting we see in our society and forge new, connected bonds with our kids.

I know that parenting is a busy task. I’ll use several different methods of delivery so you can find what works best for you. Each lesson should only take 1-2 hours a week and not all at once!

So you can break it up to fit your schedule.

I hope you’ll join me! You won’t regret the time spent on your own self-improvement and you will notice a profound change in your daily life with your kids.


Paige Lucas-Stannard blogs about infertility, parenting, and women’s issues at Baby Dust Diaries as well as being the founder of the gentle discipline site Parenting Gently and co-founder of the breastfeeding rights site Nursing Freedom. She likes to cook and sew and has, in general, become her mother. Happily. Follow her on Twitter @babydust.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 19

Day 125 - May 5



Sasha loves when we have company.
Despite not knowing Tami, she greeted her with a hug and an "I love you!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Prepared... or not?

Welcome to the May 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Emergency Preparedness

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 plans to keep their families safe. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

We live in Oklahoma; Tornado Alley. We've had floods (including flash floods), tornadoes, earthquakes and snow / ice storms. We get some advanced warning (or "watch") for some of these. We know when a storm is coming that is likely to bring on tornadoes. We know when a nasty snow storm is coming. And people GO. NUTS. If you go to the store, you will find them sold out of water, bread, canned goods... you get the idea. "Its the apocalypse!"

Us... not so much. We are very fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of people. We even hesitate to commit to social gatherings. And so cometh the weather.


The red truck is us. You see the car next to us? Completely covered in snow drift!

See the car in front of the truck (above)?


It was propped up like this for several days, blocking us from leaving.



We walked to the nearest convenience store, the only thing close-by at all. We were terribly lucky that they were even open! Maybe I'm just lucky? I never buy canned goods or water in advance to prepare for anything! I suppose I set a really bad example here, but we just don't plan ahead like that.

I do want to buy a storm radio, since we don't have television service. Do you prepare for bad weather?

***

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:



Monday, May 13, 2013

May Taboo Carnival Call for Submissions

Jorje from Momma Jorje and Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama are pleased to announce The Taboo Carnival. This Carnival will be held four times yearly (February, May, August, and November). The topics will be wide and varied but focused on subjects that are typically not discussed in the natural parenting/mindful living world of bloggers.

The May Taboo Carnival topic is: “I Miss My Life”


Any parent will tell you that life after children is much, much different than life before children. As well it should be. After all, you are entrusted with the life of another human being and are no longer making decisions based on your own personal whims and desires. There are millions of little details to take into account for even the simplest of tasks…like going grocery shopping. And gone are the days of dropping everything, packing an overnight bag, and taking a girl’s trip to the City!

This month’s Carnival was created to liberate you and to allow you to openly discuss your true feelings about how motherhood has flipped your world upside down. While this topic might seem rather broad, we would like to offer some suggestions for post topics:

  • What do you miss most about your life before having children? Anything in particular or is it broader than one or two things?
  • Do you regret not doing something in particular before having children?
  • Do you ever get jealous of your single, childless friends? Why? What makes their life so much more attractive to you?
  • How do you FEEL about missing parts of your life pre-children? Do you feel guilt over it? Do you embrace it as normal? How do you cope with your feelings around this?
  • Have you ever admitted that you miss your pre-child life or that you are jealous of your non-mama friends? What reaction did you receive?

Remember, these are just our thoughts and idea to get your creative juices flowing. You are welcome to write about anything related to not always liking your child.

We understand that some of these topics might be sensitive or too personal to share on your own blog. Therefore, we will have a “post swap” option where another blogger will host your post anonymously and you in turn will host another blogger’s post. We will handle all of the details of the post trade once we receive your submission. The host blogger will never know who wrote the post.

Submissions Deadline: Thursday, May 23, 2013.


Fill out the webform (at the bottom of this post) and email your submission to jorje {at} mommajorje{dot}com AND jennifer {at} hybridrastamama {dot}com by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

Carnival date: Tuesday, May 28, 2012.


Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on May 28th before 8am PST and email us the link if you haven’t done so already. Once everyone’s posts are published, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants’ links to generate lots of link love for your site. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

A few housekeeping items:

• Please write a new, previously unpublished post for the carnival.
• We will email you with specific instructions on posting before carnival day.
• Please do not post your article until the carnival date.
• We reserve the right to accept submissions based on relevance to the topic and quality of writing.
• Please refrain from using profanity, poor spelling and grammar, and vicious personal attacks.
• We will NOT be editing your post so please proofread and run a spelling and grammar check.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email!


Copy the Taboo Carnival badge and add it to your sidebar:


To stay connected:


We are so looking forward to reading all the contributions for the Carnival!

~ Jorje and Jennifer



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giveaway: Organic Boba Carrier 3G – $160 ARV {5.25; US}

This is a joint giveaway with Momma Jorje and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.
This is a giveaway from Boba, a baby carrier company which is offering our readers a giveaway of an Organic Boba Carrier 3G, a value of $160.

The Boba Carrier may be converted to a newborn carrier without an infant insert or any additional items and used well into toddlerhood. This carrier can be used for children ranging in size from 7-45 pounds!

DSCF2240

My Organic Boba Carrier 3G arrived, neatly folded in a pretty box with a full color instruction manual including step-by-step photographs (also available online). This photo does not do the colors justice.

It is a beautiful carrier.

DSCF2247
The carrier has several different adjustments you can make, but it wasn't overwhelming. It only took a few minutes to have it on and ready to load with a child. You'll want help the first few times you load a baby on your back, but with practice I mastered loading a back carry alone.

Spencer was cozy back there. He could get his hands up and out to play with my hair, have them go through the straps or just tuck them in close to his body. The carrier totally supports his body. His legs were higher than his bum (it is not a "crotch dangler.")

DSCF2263
Spencer is about 20 pounds and is fairly easy to load onto my back. Sasha gets a bit jealous of him, though. On this day, she was sad and needing some reconnect time with me. She is 3½ years old and about 30 pounds, but I managed to load her on my back by myself after having practiced with Spencer. As you can see, she was thrilled to be on my back. She gets to sit on the counter and cook with me, but this was miles better!

pine_1
This photo from the Boba site shows the colors better as well as a front carry. According to their manual, this carry is fine from 15-30 pounds. You see how these two are face-to-face? I found that even carrying Spencer (20 pounds, remember), he was too tall. I had to look around his head and would also hit my chin on him.

The back carry is for children from 20-45 pounds. I love that there is overlap there, so you can use it with whichever carry is right for you.

The Boba will also work as a Newborn Carrier (7-15 pounds) by snapping the bottom (no attachments or inserts necessary). It works great as a newborn carrier, but I don't like the snap placement when I carry Spencer because he winds up with these little circle indentations on his legs. This may not be an issue if you keep your baby clothed, but I tend to give him lots of naked time. (Wearing a naked baby is a great way to hone your Elimination Communication skills.)

I've used hiking backpacks, ring slings, mei tais and other carriers. This is absolutely my favorite carrier. I loved my wrap for Spencer when he was a newborn, but the Boba 3G is so versatile, holding babies from 7-45 pounds!
Boba Inc. is a group of dedicated people all working together to support babywearing, family travel, alternative learning, natural parenting, and other practices of secure bonding and attachment so that every parent can deepen their conscious understanding and appreciation of their relationship with their children. We recognize that there is no single formula to meet each particular child’s individual challenges and respect a mother’s innate ability to trust and know what is right for her own.
If that doesn't sound like a very "Natural Parents Network" kind of company, I don't know what does! The company supports a lot of organizations that support natural parenting ideals (including Attachment Parenting International, among others).

BUY IT!

You can purchase your own Organic Boba Carrier 3G at Boba for $160. There are 3 different organic fabric combinations or you can choose from adorable prints if you don't choose organic. Boba's other soft structured carriers range in price from $120 to $125, and they have wraps from $38 to $60. You can also find Boba carriers on Amazon.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win an Organic Boba Carrier 3G, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below.

The winner will receive an Organic Boba Carrier 3G. Contest is open to residents of the US only.
MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Boba and tell us one thing you have learned about the company! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.
Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

This is a joint giveaway with Momma Jorje and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Monster Smoothie

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. This month, we celebrate foods with kid-appeal!  Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you're welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you'd like to share, add it to the linky below.



This is my variation on a recipe my mother originally found in the local paper. I think children can help with most recipes if we just let them. I often have a hard time with the patience for it, but it is so worth the effort! This one is easy because its just a matter of throwing ingredients into the bowl (or blender pitcher) and the amounts are really flexible.


2-3 Cups of spinach
I don't know about you, but I have no idea how much to cram spinach into a cup to measure it. So... I just use a LOT of spinach!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 18

Day 118 - April 28



My baby brother, basically sleep eating birthday cake while
holding his sleepy daughter and his lovely baby mama in his lap.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Visitation Rights

Every once in a while, I share photos of my husband's daughter. The reason it is rare: we don't have very many photos of her. Elmo gets to visit her for maybe 2 hours once per week, in a grocery store. This is all the time that Sasha gets to spend with her sister, too. They're very close in age, so they usually get along quite well. His daughter has seen Spencer... once? twice? ever. We joke about loading up the entire family to go to Walmart Visitation.

Image short descriptionThursdays are visitation days. Sasha is quite smitten with her half-sister and misses her between visits. (Yes, they are in a Walmart.)

Anyway, "Baby Mama" seems to think this is fair. Meanwhile, he is kept in the dark about a lot of things... things that, by law, he has a right to know. He once got a text message that his daughter was in the ER, but then he couldn't get an answer about which one or why.

I could go on and on, truly I could. But let me try to get to my point. We had plans to use a large chunk ($1,500) of this year's tax return to retain a lawyer. Then the state took $5,000 of his tax return and gave it to her (eventually... I think she is still waiting due to an audit). We've had a couple weeks of visitation cancellations, but he actually got to take Sasha to see her sister yesterday. Elmo is a good daddy and deserves more time with his daughter. He deserves to get that time without being chaperoned by an ex-girlfriend and without the aid of a shopping cart.

Sasha & Samantha in Grocery BasketVisitation Day & Sasha got to go!

We've been pushed and pushed and pushed and I hate to see him have to wait until next tax season. I created a Fundly Campaign to get Elmo his Visitation Rights. I'm sorry that some of the info there is recap from here, but I'm hoping we can raise enough money to retain the attorney in time for Father's Day. How wonderful would that be? What better gift? I did ask his permission before setting up the campaign. Six months ago, he didn't even want an attorney. He didn't want to confront her or rock the boat, he just wants to be a part of his daughter's life. Then she backed out of bringing his daughter over for Christmas. That was the last straw for him.

Sasha & Samantha bonding. Again.Sasha & sister Samantha bonding. Again.
Back then they only saw each other at Giftmas.

Elmo's legal rights in our state are not being met. He is going to need a court order to get them. If you can spare even a few dollars toward this goal, it would mean a great deal to him and our entire family. Please click over to see more of the story (and photos of him with his girls).

What would you do if your Visitation Rights weren't being met?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 17

Day 111 - April 21



I can not recall what these are called, but basically its composting planting pots! I've put leaves (instructions said sticks) topped with kitchen scraps and then added my mix of potting soil, top soil and humus. These 4 pots are for flowers on the front porch.

EDIT: They're called Hugelpots, short for Hugelkultur.

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