Sunday, May 27, 2012

breastfeeding update: tongue tie part two



Part two. Read part one here first!

The ENT visit

After being told the girls had tongue-ties, I went online to find an ENT or some other provider in the Portland area who specialized in treating the condition.  We were able to get in with Dr. Hertler on a late afternoon cancellation.

We checked into the office and waited for almost an hour before finally being called back into the exam room. The doctor was a pleasant, soft-spoken man who apologized for taking so long, and that he had been cleaning out ear wax. I don't think it was a joke. We all sat down and he asked me questions about my concerns and the girls' breastfeeding habits. He explained the different types of ties and the complications that went along with them.

After our interview, Ruthie was the first to be examined. He lowered the exam chair into a tabletop position and had Andy hold down both her arms, while the nurse held her head, and the doctor checked her nose, palate, tongue, and lips. He confirmed that yes, she had a significant posterior tie, explained what he would like to do, and asked if we'd like to go ahead with the procedure. He took a pair of sterile scissors, and, according to Andy (I was holding Afton in the other chair) made three little clips in the skin under her tongue.

Ruthie was already uncomfortable having her arms held down, and Andy said he could see the moment the pain registered in her eyes. Not a happy girl, so not a happy mama. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as she cried, but Andy picked her up right away and comforted her while holding a paper sheet against his shoulder to catch the blood. He handed her to me to nurse right away, and it was Afton's turn.

Same story with her, although she didn't bleed as much. I hated to see her so sad, but knew it was for the best. Andy comforted her while I finished with Ruthie, and the nurse led us into a separate room with a rocking chair so I could nurse Afton more comfortably. Andy cuddled Ruthie while I nursed, and all the teary girls (including me) felt better.

That was it! 

Our post-op instructions were to swipe under the tongue 4-6 times per day to prevent the tissue from re-fusing. The scissor method doesn't remove the tissue (although the laser method does) and so there is the possibility of it growing back as it was before, and we'd need to do the whole thing over again.  There was a small red diamond shape under their tongue where the tissue was cut, and it has since turned a grey-white color as it heals. The doctor also recommended that we follow up with an LC to check their latch and do any problem solving.

After the procedure, the girls had a rough night and next day. They were uncomfortable and fussy, and I didn't blame them! I think about when I bite my lip or tongue hard, or cut it with something and it is painful! I've been giving them some Hyland's teething tablets and some Arnica for the pain, as well as some Rescue Remedy, all on the suggestions of knowledgeable and caring friends.

As far as comfort while breastfeeding, I could tell a difference with Afton almost immediately. While nursing her it feels like slight tugging instead of uncomfortable pulling. I haven't been able to tell a noticeable difference with Ruthie, but I think that might be because I need to heal.

We're seeing the Melissa from Luna Lactation on Wednesday for a post-op visit, in the meantime, we're doing the finger swiping AND the stretches she recommended. She can also do some craniosacral work to help the healing process and realign their "pull" while nursing. Some babies do need to be retrained to suck. I have a feeling this might be Ruthie.

How can you tell if your baby is tongue-tied?

This is a quick self-diagnostic article.
How to spot tongue/lip ties from the Mommypotamus
Breastfeeding a Baby with Tongue Tie from KellyMom
Why Our Mothers Shouldn't Have Listened to Theirs (about tongue tie) from the Mommypotamus
Find an ENT in your state who specializes in TT on lowmilksupply.org
Complications of Tongue-Tie on Tongue-Tie.net 
More resources listed on the "part one" post

Possible complications of tongue-tie:

- Low milk supply (depending on the severity of the tie)
- Painful nursing
- Early weaning
- Tooth decay due to improper tongue mobility, milk sits in their mouth causing decay
- Colic, reflux, gassiness due to swallowing extra air
- Problems with introducing solids
- Sleep apnea
- Abnormal sleep patterns due to baby's inability to fully drain the breast, so he's always hungry!
- Speech difficulties
- Gap between teeth and/or jaw issues due to tightness

Baby's Symptoms: 

- Difficulty latching or inability to stay latched
- Fussiness at the breast
- Gumming or chewing nipple while nursing
- Gassy
- Poor weight gain, "failure to thrive"
- Excessive drooling
- Unable to hold pacifier or bottle

Mama's Symptoms: 

- Creased/blanched/flat nipples after nursing
- Cracked/blistered/bleeding nipples
- Discomfort while nursing
- Plugged ducts
- Mastitis
- Thrush
- Low milk supply
- Depression or a sense of failure

(from the Mommypotamus & TongueTie.net)

Part three after our lactation visit on Wednesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

giving up on good: baby style {I don't have any}


The internet is FILLED with reminders of the things I'm not doing, making, creating, cooking or baking, and it's easy to get discouraged by the beautiful blogs and the perfect homes and smartly-dressed kids captured in a creative photo shoot.

That is what I both love and don't love about blog world: I put my strengths on display and hide my weaknesses, hoping to put my best face forward. I do this to "be an inspiration" to people, but I also do it because I'm scared of judgment from strangers who don't know me and what they will think if they see what my small kitchen looks like (I try, really I do!), or the clothes floating around the house, or that I still have boxes of unpacked "home decor" stuff, or that our guest room does not look like a refreshing oasis but an odds and ends dump site. 

Last week, I read the first "Giving Up On Good" links on Jessi's blog, and thought it was a really interesting idea. She writes:

"Instead of perpetuating the lie that you have to do it all well, all early, all efficient - what if we spoke life to one another and imparted grace to one another by waving our white flags and admitting the good things we've walked away from to pursue the better things. The things that are right for us? "

So today, I give up on baby style.

First of all, if you have a cute blog with your Outfit-of-the-Day post, I am reading it with a genuine smile and an "Oh, cute!" 

I admire you.
 
But I feel a twinge of envy because I've never been one for putting together outfits. I try, and I get friends to help me, or my mom, but it just does not come naturally to me, at all. The most accessorizing I can do is to put on a pair of dangly earrings. I don't wear things in my hair, or braid it all cute, or wear scarves outside of winter, or bangles or brooches. I really wish I could, it just doesn't come together, and if it does, I feel uncomfortable and take it all off and end up back to square one: earrings.
 
I don't know why I thought it would be any different when I had daughters.


 (Yeah, these outfits really happened and I didn't notice until taking their photo)

I thought for sure I would be dressing them in adorable outfits with matching headbands, and that it would come naturally to me. But it doesn't! I made a bunch of sweet little headbands for the girls, but mostly I just forget about them, or it isn't worth the hassle to put them on. The day's outfit consists of their pj's, a onesie and some leggings, or a romper if the weather is nice. They don't own many dresses. Tights rarely happen. 

 Sometimes I'll walk out the door with them, and then really look at what they're wearing, and I'll think to myself:

At least I could have tried to match their shirts to their pants...and shoot, I forgot their headbands! Hm, does Ruthie look cuter than Afton? Yeah, I couldn't find matching socks, so...whoops. 

These poor little girls. I know they'll be looking back at their pictures in 15 years and be horrified.

I think it could happen with practice,
and it may change in the future, but that is what I'm giving up right now.

And like Jessi says, this is about freedom, not judgment, and is about imparting grace and embracing the things which are "our things" - if you and your baby look super cute all the time, I am excited for you that you can even do it - yay! It's a good thing. But for me, it's better to let this one go.

Phew!

That felt good. 

What "good" thing can you give up? Share below and/or link up at The Naptime Diaries!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giveaway: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil! {CLOSED}

If you haven't noticed, we love our coconut oil around here. We use it for everything - sauteing, frying, scrambling eggs, baking cookies and making chocolate sauce, a spoonful in my smoothie, skin moisturizer for the whole family, eye makeup remover, and babycare everything! It's one of the most versatile oils and the health benefits are unparalleled.

After my post for the Carnival of Natural Parenting on using coconut oil for baby care, Tropical Traditions asked me if I wanted to try a jar AND give one away to my readers. YES, I would!

Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Win 1 quart of  Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!  

Tropical Traditions is America's source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
 
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the  advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.






This giveaway is sponsored by Tropical Traditions and is open to residents of the US and Canada. Winner will be contacted by e-mail within 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If you do not respond within 3 days, I will choose another winner.  

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tropical Traditions also carries two other lines of high-quality coconut oils for all types of budgets: Green Label Coconut Oil and Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil. You can buy them by the jar OR you can save a ton by buying by the gallon! It costs more upfront, but it lasts a really long time and is a better deal if you consume a lot coconut oil like our household!

*If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. 

*CONGRATS to winner Kylie! Thanks to everyone who entered!


Friday, May 18, 2012

breastfeeding update: tongue-tie part one.

Earlier this week, I was the guest in a breastfeeding class at our local midwifery school. I was there to talk about our experience, from birth until now, and the challenges we've faced along the way.

Mid-way through class, I started feeding Ruthie in the rocking chair. When I finished, the lactation consultant facilitating the class asked if we'd had any problems with tongue-tie. If you've read some of my earlier bf'ing updates, I mentioned that I am dealing with nearly-constant nipple soreness. It's not enough to make me wean, but it is uncomfortable and I know that it shouldn't be like this.

I have read so much about tongue-tie and thought that it was the issue, but none of the LCs I've met with and mentioned it to followed up or acknowledged that it was a possibility, so I thought that it was something else, like vasospasms or Reynaud's, or even thrush. But I knew it had to be something else, because no matter what I did, the soreness didn't get any better.

This consultant, though, could tell that Ruthie had a tongue-tie just by watching her eat. Her side (each girl has a "side") is constantly sore and inflamed, and I said as much. I also said that she "clicks" while she eats, which is a classic flag for tongue-tie. I told her that I had mentioned it at previous LC visits but they didn't pursue it any further, so I've just been waiting it out. 

 (That little "heart" shaped tongue = tongue-tie!)

The teacher put on a pair of exam gloves and while Ruthie sat on my lap, she showed the class how to do a check. She showed them that she most definitely had one and that it was a significant "speed bump", and she also had a tight labial frenulum (the skin between the upper gums and the lips). Then she said, "See, even babies with rolls can have tongue-tie!" She told the class (and me) that for some babies, tongue-tie doesn't keep them from taking in milk and gaining weight, but the mother ends up bearing the brunt of the abuse. That is definitely our story!

She sent me some articles and resources after class, and today, I made an appointment with an ENT in our area that specializes in treating tongue-tie.  He is also going to check Afton and see if hers is significant enough to treat. After the visit, I am going to schedule an appointment with the girls' chiropractor who specializes in gentle cranio-sacral work, which apparently can help with dysfunctional sucking. There are also some oral exercises that we can do after the tie is repaired to help "rehab" her sucking and to keep the frenulum from re-fusing.

I am frustrated that my concerns weren't taken seriously before, and that it has been 10 months of near-constant soreness on my end, but I am so thankful that I volunteered to make the trip out to the school so that someone could confirm my suspicions and help us move forward!  I will definitely do a follow-up post after our appointment next week.

Here are some excellent articles that helped me, first by alerting me to the possibility of Ruthie's problem, then by helping us plan a solution:

Why does it hurt me when I breastfeed? an EXCELLENT pdf handout on tongue-tie. 
Suck Dysfunction: Tongue-Tie on LowMilkSupply.org
Is My Baby Tongue-Tied? with pictures.
Frenetomy Surgeons and Practitioners
TongueTie.net
More great articles from Luna Lactation, scroll down to "Tongue-Tie" section. 

Tongue-tie is not an unusual or uncommon problem. Are you having problems with unexplainable nipple pain and soreness? Is your baby fussy at the breast, or have reflux-like symptoms? Do you have low milk supply that doesn't seem to be getting better? It might be tongue-tie!

Has anyone else had their older babies treated? I am nervous about how Ruthie will do...I've read that they hardly feel it at all when they're little, but that after six months they give general anesthesia...I'm nervous!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

building your baby's library: guest post from courtney @ (she always loved) larking.

Today's guest is Courtney from (she always loved) larking, and I'm so excited to share this post with you.

I think most of us in the blogging community profess our undying love for books. We're readers, we're writers, we are lovers-of-words, so a love for books comes naturally. What about our kids? We want them to love the art of the written word as much as we do. But children's books can be spendy, and working them into the budget can be hard to do. Not only that, but the selection seems endless - how do you choose?

Luckily, we've got a literacy expert on our side! Courtney is here to tell us what to look for when choosing books and ways to save money while building a library that stimulates a little reader's growing mind.

Be sure to visit Courtney's blog, she has so many wonderful things going on: her "adventures in motherhood" series, book reviews, a Monday morning mix-tape, and more. You'll probably be hooked after one post just as I was. She also just opened up her Etsy shop with fantastic accessories based on - what else - vintage books and papers!

- - - - - - - - 

I'm Courtney from (she always loved) larking -- a blog I started 5 years ago to review the dozens of books I read each year and that has now morphed into a motherhood and lifestyle blog with a heavy dose of all things literary :) I have an almost-one-year-old (eep!) and recently quit my job as an English teacher and high school literacy interventionist to stay home full time with her. 

I'm so happy to be guest posting here on Boho Mama today!  Megan asked me to write about building a library for your baby or young toddler, and I can't think of a topic I'm more passionate about. Helping to shape and guide our children to become lifelong readers -- and subsequently passionate learners and explorers of the world around them -- is one of our most important tasks as parents!


At this pre-literate stage, the most important thing is to get your child interacting with books. Choose board books or ones with thick pages so your baby can turn them easily herself. Touch-and-feel books or books with lift-the-flap features are also wonderful, though you must let go of the idea that the book is "precious" and should be protected from damage. (This is sooooo hard for me -- I don't even open paperbacks all the way to prevent breaking the binding!) You want to encourage your child to be excited to pick up a book and see what's inside.

Storylines at the baby stage aren't as important -- especially because your child will probably want to turn the pages faster than you can read the print! Instead, choose stories with colorful, simple pictures that you can talk about with your child to encourage language development. Point out objects he knows and help him to recognize specific words and phrases as associated with the images you see together.


As your baby becomes a toddler, books that have predictable refrains (repeated phrases) and infectious rhyming patterns will be particularly important. These types of books foster memory skills, text interaction, and language development. It's great if you can pick titles that emphasize letter or simple word recognition, too. Expect that your toddler will ask you to read some of these books over and over and over again -- your patience will pay off big dividends later, I promise!



Above all else, however, is the importance of choosing books you love. Children "read" the reactions of their parents and caretakers, so if you truly love a book, your child will be drawn to it, too. The single most important factor for early literacy is a child seeing her parents enjoying the reading experience!

To balance the books that are developmentally appropriate with the books we love, my husband and I have come up with a routine that works for us: we encourage our daughter to play with interactive baby books all day, but we choose a special book each night for bedtime that is more "adult friendly." She's come to love the quiet time in Daddy's lap, snuggled up in her pajamas with a pacifier in, almost as much as she loves turning the pages of her board books as fast as possible and squealing when she finds a picture of a bird!

If you're looking for some titles for your baby's library, here are some ideas to start with; I tried to include a variety of titles you might not already have in your collection with a few classics thrown in, too.

Interactive Books for Babies and Young Toddlers

In My Nest
Where's Spot?
Ten Wiggly, Wriggly Caterpillars
That's Not My Dragon
Where's Baby's Belly Button?

Predictable and Rhyming Books for Older Toddlers
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Hop on Pop
Is Your Mama a Llama?
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Home for a Bunny
Jump, Frog, Jump!

Bedtime Books a Parent Can Love (our current favorites!)

Owl Moon
I Love You, Mouse
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
Symphony City
My Rhinoceros

Finding good used books is always a challenge, but here's an idea from a friend of mine: organize a book swap with the other parents in your playgroup. Every week (or on some schedule you come up with), each family brings five books along to the playdate to exchange for five different ones. (If you're worried about getting your own books back, you can always slap a label inside.) This way, you're always getting some new titles to share with your child but you don't have to worry about paying library fines if she decides she loves one so much she just has to take a bite out of it! And don't be afraid to ask your local library or elementary school about cast-offs -- books they might consider to be outdated or too "used" to keep on the shelf would be perfect for your little one to play with.



To learn more about early childhood literacy and what you can do to support your child's development as a reader, check out this pamphlet from the U.S. Department of Education with dozens of ideas! And I'd love for you to stop back to my blog with book suggestions of your own -- I'm always looking for new titles to read with my daughter and share with blog readers, too.
--
http://shealwayslovedlarking.blogspot.com
http://larking.etsy.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

pool time!

I had the most perfect first Mother's Day. 

At the semi-last minute, we decided to spend the weekend down in Southern Oregon with our families. Sunshine, a lunch and pedicure with mom and sister, BBQ and tacos on the patio, beautiful church service in an outdoor amphitheater, and the girls' first kiddie pool rounded out the 48 hour trip. The four of us were battling a cold (first in 5 months!) the whole time, but these little girlies did phenomenally!




Their cuteness was beyond imaginable. Afton submerged herself almost immediately and would put her tongue in the water; Ruthie was a tad more reserved, preferring only to splash. But it was a total success, and I want to get a little blowup pool for our patio!




I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

links: the Time magazine "controversy".

I'm sure you've read about the "controversy" surrounding the recent Time magazine cover photo and accompanying article. There is a lot of talk, positive and negative, surrounding this issue. I'm not usually one to weigh in on current events, but since we do tend to have an "attachment" parenting style, I thought I probably should...even though I think anything the media chomps its teeth into turns into a shadow of its former self when thrust into the public eye, including "attachment parenting."

However, I'm still so new to this motherhood thing, and at this point, I think that any response I write wouldn't really be adding anything constructive to the conversation. There is still so much I have to learn.

I think I can help best by providing links to these articles I've read written by women who better express what I have been feeling and thinking, and a short excerpt so you can decide if you want to read the whole article (You should, they're short!)


 The major gist of them is to support each other, not tear each other down! That may be one of the drawbacks to having a wide and diverse group of mothers right at your fingertips - we all think we have a right to comment on each other's business. Yes, we do choose to put it out there, but the defensiveness, the borderline-cruel comments, and outright bullying aren't helping anyone at all.

Mother Nature Network: Why can't we all just get along?

"If you love your kids, and are doing what you can to help them become healthy, happy adults, you are 'mom enough.' And really, that's all that really matters. If there is one thing that women are good at, it is support. We support our kids, our spouses, and our friends all of the time. This Mother's Day, shouldn't we stand united as mothers by supporting each other rather than fighting with each other?"

Holistic Moms Network: Motherhood under attack. 

"Motherhood is a universal experience. All mothers are exhausted. All mothers make sacrifices for their children, put some of their own desires on hold, and want to raise happy and healthy children. We all want to keep our children safe and protect them. We will stand by them and nurse them back to health when they sick. We will fight for them, move mountains for them, give every ounce of energy for them no matter what parenting model we follow."

Q&A with Jamie Lynne Grumet: A conversation with the woman on TIME's May 21 cover. 

"There seems to be a war going on between conventional parenting and attachment parenting, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want everyone to be encouraging. We’re not on opposing teams. We all need to be encouraging to each other, and I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that."

Mothering: TIME's take on toddler nursing: A madonna, her child...and a chair?  

"The nursling on a chair and the mean spirited title on TIME’s cover are certainly contrived, but they do carry an important message. They remind us that somewhere along the way, we have elevated a natural act (whether you chose to do it or not) to an act of perversion in America. We have decided that it’s ok to be naked but not to nurse. How have we done this? And, is it time for us Moms to say that enough is enough?"

I hope this encourages you today! Have you read anything about the so-called "Mommy Wars" that hit home for you? If so, please share!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

how to [successfully] visit your family with young babies.

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
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 how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

My twin daughters were born while my husband was in grad school. It was a challenge: he was busy writing papers, lesson plans, and student teaching, and I was trying to adjust to my new life as a stay at home mom with two bitty babies.

There were days when I felt down and lonely, especially during the winter. Pacific Northwest winters, while usually mild in temperature, are wet and dreary!

We decided from early on that while Andy was teaching full time, I would spend one week out of the month with my parents, who live four and a half hours south of Portland. It would be a way for him to get some major work done and catch up on his sleep, and a way for me to get help, support, and pampering in the comfort of my home and presence of my family.

Every month, Andy would drive me halfway down, and my parents or his parents would drive up halfway, and we'd make the transfer. These trips started when the girls were three months old, and we continued until they were nine months old. Andy graduated this month, so it looks like my monthly sojourns are over for now. It's bittersweet; I love being with my family and a few blocks from his parents. I'll miss it.

Here's a few tips we've learned after six months of visits:

1) When the girls were very small and not going long without nursing, I would bring a bottle of expressed milk to feed them en-route. It would always seem like they were hungry an hour into the journey, regardless of when I had fed them. Having some milk ready for them meant we didn't have to stop multiple times and turn a five-hour drive into an eight-hour drive. It also meant I didn't have to keep taking them in and out of their seats to nurse while on the road (I confess to doing this occasionally).

  (enjoying some quality family time in California!)

2) I always brought my pump with me, even if I didn't know if I'd need it. There were a few times I was able to go out with friends unexpectedly, and being able to pump meant I could leave them with the grandparents. It also meant that my family could help out at night by taking charge and letting me sleep through a feeding. Even if I only did it once or twice, it helped.

3) When they are small and swaddled, if there is a big enough bed, plan to cosleep. When it was just me and the girls, we all slept in the guest bed. It meant less to pack (no pack n' play!) and with them swaddled it meant no rolling around. Plus, cosleeping when there is one of you and two of them makes night feeds much easier. They slept in the middle of the bed and I'd switch sides throughout the night.


4) If you're visiting family, you can plan on leaving most of your toys, teethers, and gadgets at home. Last time we visited my parents, the girls were riveted by the measuring cups, spoons, and spatulas. An iPhone or iPod can double as a white noise machine. There are great free apps, like WhiteNoise or Sleep Pillow.

5) Make room for your carriers! My parents or friends were more than happy to wear the girls when we didn't want to lug around the big double stroller. Even if they haven't done it before, it's a great way for them to bond with your child and become a babywearing advocate!

 
 (helping auntie with her homework)

6) Prep yourself for well-meaning relatives' questions about your parenting style and unsolicited advice. I am fortunate to have family members who are incredibly supportive. They offer their advice if I ask for it, but mostly they let me dictate how the girls are cared for. I know some people are not that lucky. Stand firm in your decisions, practice in front of the mirror beforehand if needed! At the same time, don't feel like you have to contradict everyone who gives you advice you know you're not going to follow. Smile, nod your head, and move on. Sometimes, though, you'll be given a gem of advice you never expected. For example, one particularly long night, my mom said, "why don't you just lay down and nurse?" and it changed my life. Thanks Mom!

7) Most of all, enjoy your family visits! Be the attentive and diligent mother you are but at the same time loosen your grip, accept help, and focus on creating good memories instead of getting hung up on the little things. 

(Ruthie enjoying Grammy's nose)

***
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:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)
  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last night, as happens about once a month, my husband requested cookies with "A LOT" of chocolate chips. A cookie sounded mighty good to me, so I was happy to oblige.

I'm getting better at this baking thing. I guess practice makes perfect...or at least practice makes edible! This morphed from your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe into a banana-bread-coconut- chocolate chip cookie, and although I was nervous about Andy's reaction to my ingredient tweaking (I don't blame him, given past results, I bake with my fingers crossed) he loooved these. He even said to make sure that you all know that these were the best cookies I'd ever made. Yahoo!



Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
(very loosely adapted from the back of a Trader Joe's chocolate chip bag)

2 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 large or 1 small mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
1 10 oz. package chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Combine softened butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add in mashed banana and coconut, combine. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Chill in fridge for 15+ minutes for cookies that set up better. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on your oven).

Notes: These don't contain eggs, so they'll be a flatter than your average cookie. I found that by chilling the dough, even for 15 minutes, they didn't flatten as much. You could even add oats to turn this into a "breakfast" cookie. Yum!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

satisfy the craving...

Finding daily encouragement in the "trenches" of motherhood can make the difference between a good day and a hide-my-head-under-the-pillow day. When I read about Carey Bailey's new devotional, I knew I had found a kindred spirit who had found an easy way to offer daily encouragement straight from one of my favorite books - the Psalms.

"When I became a mom I lost my God time," says Carey Bailey. "I couldn't figure out how to fit it in, since everything but that time was a priority. So I made note cards that I set around my house with scriptures written on them. Even when my arms were too full of babies, laundry, and diapers to pick up a Bible, I could easily read God's words of encouragement that I was starving for."

And Cravings--The Devotional was born.

I set up my little cupcake on our kitchen counter near the pen cup, my vitamins, and the toaster; it's a place I find myself standing often. Daily, I would read a short and simple encouragement about finding joy, resisting fear and doubt, sparking creativity, and praying continually.

Most of all, I was reminded to include my Father as I go about my day and remember that these littles are both a gift and a calling. 

About Cravings (from the publisher): 

Cravings is a collection of card-size devotionals based on the Psalms. They are written to help mothers develop their relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.
     Each card contains a scripture for the day, a “thoughtlet,” and an action idea. As moms crave the sweet morsels from God’s Word, they can draw a card from a delectable Cravings holder that also displays the daily card for hands-free viewing. Versatile enough to fit with any feminine d├ęcor in a dining nook, a prayer closet, a kitchen--wherever you‘d want Scripture at your fingertips. If you find you need Cravings around the home, just one may not be enough!
    Cravings can be a mom’s daily devotional, a supplement to her regular quiet time, or even doubled up during the day. The set of 40 cards offers over a month’s worth of Cravings in whatever way serves the spiritual needs of individual moms.

About the Author:

Carey Bailey is a recovering perfectionist, wife, proud mama and Family Life director for her church in Surprise, Ariz. On the side she loves party planning, crafting, and pursuing her dream of writing. She has a degree in religion from Westminster College and writes at her blog at www.carebaileyonline.com.  

Celebrate with Carey by entering her Minute-for-Mom Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • $50 gift card to Erin Condren Shop (Your one-stop-shop for all things awesome!)
  • $50 gift card to Victoria's Secret® (For something pretty.)
  • $25 gift card to Bath & Body Works® (For a little spa treatment.)
  • 2 Sets of Cravings - The Devotional (For you and a friend.)
  • Scentsy Plug In and 2 Bars (A lovely scent for your space.)


The giveaway ends on 5/12/12. The winner will be announced 5/14/12 on Carey’s blog!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Carey's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Thanks to LitFuse for providing the devotional. 
Read other reviews by visiting the LitFuse Cravings blog tour page!
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