Friday, December 21, 2012

love is christmas

Loving this song...

Love Is Christmas
(Sara Bareilles)

I don’t care if the house is packed,
Or the strings of light are broken.
I don’t care if the gifts are wrapped,
Or there’s nothing here to open.

Love is not a toy, and no paper will conceal it.
Love is simply joy that I’m home.

I don’t care if the carpet's stained; we've got food upon our table.
I don’t care if it’s gonna rain, our little room is warm and stable.

Love is who we are, and no season can contain it.
Love would never fall for that.

Let love lead us, love is Christmas.

Why so scared that you’ll mess it up? When perfection keeps you haunted.
All we need is your best my love, that’s all anyone ever wanted.

Love is how we do, let no judgment overrule it.
Love I look to you, and I sing.

Let love lead us, love is Christmas.
Let love lead us, love is Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Best of 2012: Natural Parents Network Blog Blitz!

I am proud and honored to be a volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired. When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more! Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight several wonderful posts from 20 volunteers with the Natural Parents Network. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of the Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of the best of 2012. We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!

Jenn from Monkey Butt Junction

Most Viewed Post: Why I want to Homeschool / Why I Don't Want to Homeschool Personal Favorite Post: Hello Mornings Post I Wish More People Saw: Eating Healthy on the Road

Visit Code Name: Mama



Dionna from Code Name: Mama

Most Viewed Post: 32 Natural Remedies for Colds, Congestion, Coughs, and Fevers in Infants (Newborn to 6 Months) Personal Favorite Post: Crying Does Not Equal Manipulation Post I Wish More People Saw: Why Nurse A 4 Year Old?

Laura from WaldenMommy:Life Behind the Red Front Door

Most viewed post: Ten Reasons to Revoke my Natural Parent Card Personal Favorite Post: The AP'd Child Speaks Out The Post I Wish More People Would Read: Having A Child With Special Needs...

Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama

Most Viewed Post: 333 Uses for Coconut Oil Personal Favorite Post: You Will Understand When You Are A Mother Post I Wish More People Saw: Constipation In Children and What You Can Do To Help

Lyndsay from ourfeminist{play}school

Most Viewed Post: Potty Learning the Gentle Way Personal Favourite Post:Gentle Weaning and Play Post I Wish More People Saw: Rape and Attachment Parenting

Abbie from Farmer's Daughter

Most Viewed Post: Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread Personal Favorite Post: The Birth Story of David Joseph Post I Wish More People Saw: A Farm of My Own

Gretchen from That Mama Gretchen

Most Viewed Post: Crockpot Yogurt Personal Favorite Post: 100 Days Old Post I Wish More People Saw: A Fresh Perspective | Jemma's Beautiful Birth



Christine from African Babies Don't Cry

Most Viewed Post: I Breastfeed My Toddler For The Nutritional Benefits Personal Favorite Post: From Full-Time Formula To Exclusively Breastfed Post I Wish More People Saw: How To Minimise The Chance Of A (Genetically Prone) Child Being Diagnosed With ADHD

Charise from I Thought I Knew Mama

Most Viewed Post: My Misdiagnosed Miscarriage Story Personal Favorite Post: A Poem for My Baby Girl Post I Wish More People Saw: How Does Attachment Parenting Foster Independence?

Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children

Most Viewed Post: Attachment Parenting: the Renewed Face of Feminism Personal Favorite Post: Different Rules for Different Families Post I Wish More People Saw: Introducing: Attachment Parents Get Real!

Amy from Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work

Most Viewed Post: Censored at the Beauty School Personal Favorite Post: Let Them Have the Last Word: Demonstrating Peace For Children Post I Wish More People Saw: Talents of the Heart

Angela from Earth Mamas World

Most Viewed Post: The No 'Poo Method: Homemade Shampoo And Conditioner Personal Favorite Post: It's Okay...I Actually Enjoy Spending Time With My Kids! Post I Wish More People Saw: Gentle Discipline And Our Family

Cynthia from The Hippie Housewife

Most Viewed Post: Winding Down at Bedtime: Three calming games Personal Favorite Post: While the nights are still precious Post I Wish More People Saw: Those days don't define you

Fine and Fair Joella from Fine and Fair

Most Viewed Post: Teen Pregnancy: Not Caused by Makeup Personal Favorite Post: A Letter to my Son: The First of Many Post I Wish More People Saw: 25 Lessons for my Children

Megan at The Boho Mama

Most Viewed Post: Coconut Oil: Nature's Baby Magic Personal Favorite Post: When They're One Post I Wish More People Saw: Using Relaxation and Visualization to Support Breast Milk Supply

Julia from A Little Bit of All of It

Most Viewed Post: 10 Things I'd Like New Moms to Know Personal Favorite Post: My Mother Blessing Post I Wish More People Saw: Why Should You Wear Your Baby?

Amy from Anktangle

Most Viewed Post: Growing Sprouted Onions Personal Favorite Post: Dear Daniel, (On Discipline and Love) Post I Wish More People Saw: Garden (Time Out) Meditation

 Lauren from Hobo Mama

Most Viewed Post: Where to find cute maternity clothes Personal Favorite Post: Getting used to having kids Post I Wish More People Saw: On having two kids & not playing fair


Isil from Smiling like Sunshine

Most Viewed Post: DIY Alphabet Boxes Personal Favorite Post: Children's Books About Breastfeeding Post I Wish More People Saw: 7 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Jorje from Momma Jorje

Most Viewed Post: Family Cloth... Really?? Personal Favorite Post: I did not Birth a Syndrome Post I Wish More People Saw: "Good Baby" 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

just write: this is the season of bittersweet


This is the season of the Bittersweet.

In the late darkness of last night, an image of a starving child came up in my reader as I caught up on the blog happenings of the week. Much like the picture of Umi. I'd seen the particular picture before, like most have, but the reality of what I was looking at hit me like a punch in stomach. A baby, lying in the desert sand, slowly starving to death and all alone. It was just too much. The sheer gravity of this world and its brokenness and depravity crashed heavy onto my shoulders and I felt the tears start to fall.

Then I heard my girls stir in the room for their late night nurse. I got out of bed and walked in the dark, crying, to their room. I sat, nursing, blubbering, asking God why and at the same time thanking him for the sweet little heads cuddled on my lap.  

It's not fair, that my children should be warm and well-fed and that poor baby sat in the desert sand waiting to die. Where is his mama? Who can help? My tears dripped onto their heads as I tucked them back into their beds and stroked their soft baby skin. The last words I remember thinking before falling asleep were why, God, why? 

A week ago, our good friends' former foster son ended his life. So much hope, so much promise for this quiet and kind young man. He was innocent, doing his best, but something drove him to despair and he just couldn't do life anymore. And then today, a crazy person walked into one of our local malls and started shooting. Two people lost their lives and a young teen still fights for hers. It's not fair.

Ever since I was a young girl, I've been especially sensitive around the Christmas season. Now that I'm a mother? Ten-fold. A hundred-fold. The darker and softer parts of me surface in their tear-stained glory and the slightest thought of someone feeling alone, or mistreated, or unloved leaves me completely undone. I feel like I'm walking around with my heart in shreds, exposed and raw and flapping in the wind. 

And then I remember that it is Advent - the Arrival. Of what?

Hope. Not the little plastic baby in the manger with a painted-on-halo kind of hope, but the Emmanuel - God With Us - who came down to restore - is restoring - this world to rights. Oh, the tears still come strong. I still ask and cry out for answers and demand that He work faster in one breath and sing Joy to the World in another, but amidst the staggering paradox of this kind of faith, I find a moment's peace.

In this moment I realize I might be thankful for the tears, for the overwhelming heartache, because they're my call to action. They mean that I am fully human and I'm here and I've experienced life-changing love and I'm connected and that my life can - will - mean something more, all of me and this tattered heart. The glory of God is man fully alive (said St. Iranaeus), not just in joy, but in all our grief and brokenness, too.

Just Write. 

What is moving you this Advent season? 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

our first family pictures {16 months later}

I can't believe we didn't have any professional family pictures taken for 16 MONTHS!

I had the girls' pictures done - not newborn, sadly wasn't that organized, when they were three months old. But after that, it was grab a shot here or there whenever family or friends were around to take one for us.

Finally, our local twins club had the opportunity to schedule mini-shoots with a great local photographer named Jenni Price. She does amazing newborn photography, especially of twins, so I'm kicking myself that I didn't coordinate that way before I had the girls.

So I signed up, we met at a local park, and now we finally have some pictures to frame! The bottom photo of the girls is our Christmas/New Years card. Yay!

Here's a few of our favorites:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

just write: when it rains.

I went to sleep last night to the sound of rain and awoke to the same sound this morning. It is soothing, something so familiar as an Oregonian, it is a part of who we are and our routines and traditions surrounding the torrents are strong and different.

The rain means it's green here, spongy and mossy and soggy and the smell is damp and rich. Driving along the Columbia Gorge highways, waterfalls spring out of nowhere and cascade down the ridges and cliffs with abandon, misting and singing Glory and the sight brings a sense of peace to the weary traveler.

If they could bottle this smell into a cologne, it would sell everywhere but here, because the fragrance is burned into our homes, cars, and clothes.

My girls stand at the patio door and pound on the glass. Sorry loves, I say, no going outside today. I make the mental note to shop for little rain boots, and soon.

The forecaster on television cries, "Enough already! When will the rain stop?" and this is the song of our people, but the funny thing is it's this way every-single-year. But it's tradition. We all exclaim, "When will it end?" and lament its presence, offering tips for Seasonal Affective Disorder and searching "things to do with kids when it rains" on the web, but those of us who are Pacific Northwesterners in our hearts wouldn't have it any other way.

Just Write.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Perfect Snickerdoodle Recipe

I've found one recipe that Martha did so, so right.

Sometimes it's a hit and a miss, you know? More often than not, stuff I make out of Living belongs on Craftfail or even PYAD.

But we could not stop eating these.

The best thing about this recipe is there is no cream of tartar. I normally don't keep any on hand, because I can't remember even one recipe that I've needed it for, and it feels like a waste to keep it in my tiny kitchen for that one time per year I might make snickerdoodles, just in case. But really, these cookies are so good that I don't even know what cream of tartar really added to them, anyways. My pastry chef friend could likely tell me.

Andy and I may or may not have been eating the dough right out of the bowl...and he may or may not have later snuck back into the fridge to tuck into the leftover dough, too. It's OK, it's the holidays!

Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodles
(from her Cookies book)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
2. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Mix in eggs.
4. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture.
5. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl.
6. Shape dough into 20 (1 3/4-inch) balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets.
7. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
8. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Linking up with the Christmas Cookie Swap at Farmer's Daughter - come join the fun!

Monday, November 19, 2012

umi sling giveaway winner!

Kara E., you're the winner of the Umi Sling! Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone for the enthusiastic responses and positive feedback. I've already had slings donated by you and Adriel's generous readers, and I look forward to growing this business and supporting Project Baby Bilum.

Just your support and awareness is already making a difference - thank you. We may be small, but we're doing big things.

Also...Christmas, Hanukkah, and the holidays are around the corner! 

If you're looking for a creative gift to give to a mama friend or a loved one, consider gifting a ring sling to Project Baby Bilum in their name! I will send you a notecard by mail that you can mail or give to them, too! Visit and click the "give a sling" listing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

just write: to build an altar

Today I had one of those "stand still and remember" moments - you know that moment in time when all your senses come together in a rush and the world feels like the beautiful and wondrous place it is, even if only for a moment?

There's that time of day, usually right before the sun sets and the darkness descends, when it feels like life and everything in it for a brief moment becomes four-dimensional: length, breadth, and depth + time. You can hear and see the littlest details, like the flock of migrating birds free-falling and free-wheeling over the 405 bridge, the lights turning on in the apartment on the fourteenth floor, and the smells of restaurant dinners, car exhaust, and decaying leaves all mingling together to become a symphony of sensation, August Rush-style.

This moment caught me while we were on our daily walk. When it's not raining, we run outside for an hour or more of fresh air. We make our way northwest, over to the library on 23rd or the park at Chapman school, or south, up in the Pearl to roll into Whole Foods for a loaf of fresh sourdough or some item left off the grocery list.

Today we were out later than usual, and it was fully dusk at 4:30 pm. The girls sat snug in their stroller, their layers are growing thicker as winter makes its way into the Northwest, and most people on the street coo, "Twins!" and Ruthie waves with her tiny gloved hand. Today they have their new mittens and hats on, found in a second-hand clothing shop that is so good that it makes me swear to never buy brand new again.

My mind wanders in the grandness of this moment, as I sense change coming for us in so many areas. A new business is launching for the both of us, the girls are full-blown toddlers and walking (well, one is, but her sister won't be far behind), and there is a possible move to a house! on the horizon. All good things. But these things, happening right now, will never be exactly the same again, they will never be just like this moment.

I pause to take in the view of the park that has been our "backyard" for the past year and a half. It's built on a piece of reclaimed wasteland and used to be an old tannery, back in the days of early pioneering Portland, in the time of the shanghai tunnels and fur trading and the gold rush.

I think that's why I love this little place, find history fascinating - it cultivates a spirit of remembrance, of those who came before me and their hustling and bustling lives that mirror my own in only a few small ways, yet inwardly we are probably all the same. I take my place as a tiny cog in this Divine machine, acknowledge my place as a quick brushstroke in the Master's painting, called Beautiful.

I snap out of it and we move on, my pace picks up to get us home before dark and to start the dinner-bath-bed routine. The feeling leaves quicker than it came, but I sit down tonight, when all is quiet, to honor that moment, to build an altar with my words and remember.

Just write. Join in!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Umi Sling Giveaway!

 Remember Umi?

Women all over the world are coming together to help her and others like her. She touches something in us that makes us feel the injustice of this broken world - and there is nothing more striking than seeing it affect children. Every time I see her face, I just think about her and what if it were my own daughters who were slowly starving to death?

It's a heavy topic, but it's one that my heart can't afford to shy away from.

That's why I started the Umi Sling project, and for every sling that I sell, I also give one to Project Baby Bilum. Adriel Booker of The Mommyhood Memos completely inspires me, and through her efforts and the gifts of all her other wonderful readers who are donating slings, we're hoping to help these women and children in rural Papua New Guinea by giving them a simple and practical way to improve the health of their families.

Will it work? We don't know. But we're willing to try.

So, Adriel and I are hosting our first giveaway to raise awareness AND to give a sling to one you, just in time for Christmas!

Visit Adriel's blog, then the Umi Sling shop and let us know what sling patten you'd choose by leaving a comment here or at The Mommyhood Memos. Then, enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Something else I'm excited about: You can also give an Umi Sling in the name of a loved on this holiday season! For $25, we'll make an extra sling and send it with the others bound for the Spring 2013 Papua New Guinea trip. I'll also send the recipient a pretty card letting them know you gave this practical gift in their name!

Visit the Umi Sling Shop to find out more! 


Friday, November 9, 2012

breastfeeding interview @ leave the laundry for later


I know you've been troopers and hung in there with me while I did the 31 Days of Making More Milk, and I'm so happy you did.

But, you WON'T want to miss this interview over at Jenni's blog, Leave the Laundry for Later. I did the interview before the 31 Days series, and it's all about our story and the challenges and successes the three of us faced in our (continuing) breastfeeding relationship. You'll especially find it helpful it you have twins...or preemies...or used nipple shields...

I haven't done a personal breastfeeding update in a while, so this will serve as a good replacement.

I'm also giving away a copy of More Milk, Naturally!

Check it out! 

Oh, and check out Jenni's other amazing blog, A Well-Crafted Party. She is an IRL friend and I admire her and the amount of work she gets done on a daily basis, plus being an awesome mama to her son, Xander. I want to be Jenni when I grow up! :)