Its not our house without a dog!

Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets.

***


“It’s not our house without a dog”

Abbey and Raven 2009Those were the words my children sang to me a few weeks after we arrived in our most recent home at the Coast Guard base in Kodiak, Alaska. I had previously met their “when will we get another dog?” with a simple “maybe soon- we’ll see.” I told them that getting a new dog and training him or her was a lot of work, and that mommy was kind of enjoying not having to clean so often and that our family was still getting used to being in a new home. . . I explained that our housing unit did not have a fence around the yard, and that we already have a dog (just “on vacation” with the in-laws for our tour in Alaska). . . I tried all of the adult logic that I could, and then with one line they convinced me to take yet another trip to the shelter like Hubs and I had done early on in our marriage and see if there was a helpless canine that struck our fancy that needed a nice place to live.

“Mommy, it’s not our house without a dog.”

It’s true, in the most literal sense, and in an emotional way. We have had a dog in the family (at times 2) since I was 5 months pregnant with Abbey. Raven (our now 8 year old lab) lived with us from before Abbey was born until we moved to Alaska last summer. She is now spending time with her dog-grandparents in Wisconsin – we weren’t sure how a move all the way to Alaska would affect her. The kids have never known a house without a dog. And obviously, having a dog in some way meant something to them. . . so we went to the shelter.

We came home with Mya, a pitt mix with a lovable personality, that had sadly been roughed up by the other dogs in her former home. You could see relatively new scars where she had been scratched and bitten, and she was energetic, to a fault. The poor thing really did need a loving home and some exercise and discipline. So, she became mine.

Our dog Mya

Mya is extremely strong, so I needed a little help training her to walk and obey. A neighbor gave me a pinch training collar and blessed me immensely by showing me how to safely use it to curb Mya’s pulling and teach her that I’m in charge. It was a real necessity in the beginning, but now, after consistent training, she walks and obeys without it for the most part. We got a yard and park training collar for her as well – it shocks if she needs a serious reminder like if she tries to dart out in front of a truck or jump on a child, but mostly, all Mya needs to hear are the positive and negative tones of the collar and she remembers what she ought to and ought not to do. I spend a lot of time training her to obey, and all of our neighbors remark at what a different dog she is now than when we first brought her home from the shelter.

The kids (now 3 and 5 1/2) assist with feeding and watering Mya and they love to pet, love, and play with her. Sometimes, they accompany us on walks, but Mya and I are pretty brisk walkers, so sometimes I walk Mya in laps around the park while the children play. Even though Mya is all muscle, she is very gentle with the children, and I am so happy for it.

IMG_6130

IMG_4572

In the past 10 months, Mya has come a long way from the neglected and super-hyper puppy that we adopted into a gentle, silly, and loving canine part of our family. It’s hard to imagine what kind of life our sweet dog would have if we had not decided to give her a second chance in our home. I’ll get on a soap box for a second and say that I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Barker: “please spay and neuter your pets!” because there are SO MANY unloved and unwanted pets in shelters all over the world that wouldn’t have been there if their parents had been spayed and neutered.

10426576_10103742821662281_4687028894505643436_nSome would wonder why I “gave in” to the pleas of the children and got “another dog” to take care of when I could have just stayed dog-less and avoided the cost, stress, cleaning (can you say shedding?), and extra responsibility that comes with being a dog owner. My answer to that question is that it’s not a dog or cat’s fault that they’ve come into the world. It’s not fair for them to be mistreated or to live in a shelter (no matter how humane). Abandoned, neglected, and abused pets don’t deserve to waste away with no one to love and discipline them. If I can help one have a comfortable and useful life, I will. In our married life, Hubs and I have fostered 2 puppies that we found on the street, and fully adopted 2 dogs that bring love, energy, joy and a sense of discipline and responsibility to our home.

So, I guess the kiddos were right when they said in their way-too-grown-up-tone: “But mommy: Our house is not our house without a dog.” Both Mya and Raven have challenged us to give attention, love, and discipline to something other than ourselves – and I think that in a nutshell, that’s a main positive of having a pet.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she’s learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are “Woof” — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn’t yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are “woof.” Here’s the proof.
  • Dude, where’s my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn’t. However, Adora’s longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge–Learning from Animals–running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn’t catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura’s family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook is mostly vegetarian…not 100%, and not because of animal rights…yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It’s not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus

    Kids, dog, haikus, at

    Dionna (Code Name: Mama).

    Pet-centric poems.

  • Beanie’s BunniesOur Mindful Life‘s Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • How to Nurture Your Child’s Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of SpiralElixir.com. Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn’t sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!

Milestone Moments: I gave away my cloth diapers!

Joseph has not been wearing diapers for a few weeks now. He still has trouble remembering to go potty when he wakes up in the morning – hence the night time pull-up – but as of two months before his 3rd birthday, he has been wearing big-boy underwear full time during the day, with accidents few and far between.

At a certain point in these past few weeks, I had to decide what to do with my stash of cloth diapers.

Sweet Ride Diaper

Most of them were sewn by me: Mama made, Silly Bear Handmade fleece diapers made up about 90% of the stash. I couldn’t fathom trying to sell them on a swap site, since my WAHM diaper brand is not well known, aaaaand I’m pretty attached to some of them. . . not gonna lie. But I wasn’t sure if or how to give them away. . . because I spent so much of my time (nearly) perfecting the art or sewing cloth diapers, and all the memories of Joseph with his fleecy little bum are still so fresh in my mind.

But they had to go. I wasn’t using them anymore, and someone else could. But who?

Finally, I wandered into the perfect conversation: A friend of mine in the Kodiak community that has a large family (talking, kids from college-age to diapers) was talking about her youngest boy, who is a friend of Joe’s. He is nearly two, but she wants to hold off on doing any potty learning or training with him until they get back from a family vacation to the lower 48 this summer. Smart. However, she said, lately, J. had been pooping in several diapers per day, and she said that she just felt so wasteful throwing out diaper after diaper. I offered my stash of fleece cloth diapers, and she accepted – she asked if she could buy them off of me, but I told her NO.

“Enjoy them, take good care of them, and pay it forward to another family once you are finished with them” I said.

And then I packed them all up, handed them to her at the next play date, and that whole two-year period of Joseph’s life was absolutely over. No more diapers.

IMG_5971

What a milestone moment.

I have a second preschooler now, wearing underwear and the nightly pull-up. Not a baby, not a toddler: a kid. Nearly three. And I gave away my cloth diapers. Wow. Amazing how life just bulldozes forward and we all grow and grow and grow.

I was very pleased to have found a family to gift with my diaper stash. And I hope that they are pleased with their gift. And I am incredibly proud of my big boy Joe that just keeps growing as if there is no stopping.

IMG_1339

What did you do with your cloth diaper stash after your littlest was finished using it?

 

What kind of emotions did you experience as your children learned to potty independently?

Friday Focus: Love and Discipline

www.amywilla.com: Busy Mom

These two can keep a mama busy and create some stress! Self-control is so important in parenting with love and respect.

I often get questions from personal friends and from online followers on why (and how) we choose not to punish by spanking. I will be totally honest and say that both my husband and I have failed in this and have laid hurtful hands on the kids in moments of weakness and helpless anger. But mostly, if we feel angry and unable to handle things calmly, we try to take a parent time out util we can deal with the problem and/or behavior with calm and consistency with our house rules.

Modeling and consistency are key.  Discipline is showing a child the way to live. They’re following in our footsteps. So, spanking makes absolutely no sense. It’s telling a child, “I don’t like what you did, and I’m bigger than you, so I can exert my power over you and hit you” it also says “you’re bad!” to the child. So I try not to do it. I don’t want to create more stress in hour house than there already is!

 

Modeling and Consistency

www.amywilla.com: Compassionate Time-Outs

I usually carefully police my OWN behavior in order to make sure that I am showing my babies the kind of person I want them to look up to. I do use time outs, but only when one of the kids really needs a break from the situation at hand – and the time outs are not punishments, they are time to stop and think about the rule that they are disregarding. So, I sit WITH them, we watch the clock, and take deep breaths for one minute (or three minutes, sometimes, for Abbey). Then we recite the rule that the child broke, talk about what happened to lead to the destructive or disrespectful behavior, and think of something we can do differently next time.

Time outs aren’t shame-based when they’re used with compassion. . . and they’re not useless when used with consistency and presence. It helps the child think about what they’re doing and the actions that they’re taking. And lets them know that mommy (or daddy) cares about them. Responding with sensitivity can be so useful in consistently supporting house rules and respectful behavior without shaming.

In Their Shoes

Of course, this example uses breastfeeding as an example for an adult to get “in children’s shoes” . . . the topic is so central in my life as a LLL Leader and student of Public Health. So, here we go: lets get into a situation in which we are upset and someone is trying to change our behavior with words.

Suppose you are a mom (or maybe you are a mom) who tried awfully hard to breastfeed, but ended up weaning from the breast early and using formula. Would you feel empowered to try again if someone said “shame on you for not making it work the first time! You need to be punished for the way you behaved! Babies deserve breastmilk! What’s wrong with you!?” or if someone said instead, “I’m sorry it didn’t work out the first time. That must make you feel sad. I can help you try again. We can talk about this, and next time you try, I know you can succeed!”

I’m pretty sure that in both of the situations above, you would prefer the gentle, supportive, sensitive approach. It’s human to be self-preserving, and being yelled at or shamed is scary. We respond better to positive language and perform tasks (including learning how to calm down when upset) better when positive, supportive language is used.

Obviously, we as adults don’t want to be shamed and ridiculed for our behaviors – It feels awful, even just thinking about it, doesn’t it!? So why would we want to put that same heavy, awful feeling on our little ones?

Do you try to parent with compassion?

What do you think your discipline tactics say to your child?

Fume all about it . . . or not. Researching Anger to Deal with Stress

5085242776_454151d7eb_b*Uuuuuuuuuggggghhhhh*

Do you know the feeling?

There are many times a day in which I feel overwhelmed with a sense of annoyance. Sometimes it escalates to genuine anger, and I’ve been trying to do some meditation, prayer, and research on how to alleviate that feeling, while still acknowledging the reasons that I’m feeling stressed. I used to have real issues with anxiety, so I know that paying attention to my feelings, physical and emotional, and seeking information about how to manage them healthfully, is important in being able to overcome emotional barriers in my life.

In my introspection and research, I’ve found that it is not usually worth it to fume over things. Apparently, I used to fume quite often. . . hoping that “making a scene” would encourage those annoying me to come to my aide and apologize or offer help. I have found through introspection and experience that not only does this not work. . . but it really just makes things worse. When anger is “suppressed, and then converted or redirected,” it can easily end up “turned inward, and can cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression” 1

The American Psychological Association explains that the three main approaches of dealing with anger are “expressing, suppressing, and calming” 2. Calming is the most effective and healthiest option, because expressing and suppressing anger can cause emotional, physical, and social health issues if used exclusively, and without self-observation and self-control.

I find that I personally use the first two methods (expression and suppression), and only a small amount of calming. Usually, I do some expressing of my anger, and then I think of something positive to distract myself and remember that “it’s not that bad” and “this too shall pass.” I’ll call a trusted friend, or one of my parents, and talk about what has frustrated me. Sometimes, I’ll talk to whoever is around about it. This tends to be the kids, so I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Maybe I am modeling a positive anger management technique for them. . . as long as I keep my words loving and not too full of candor!

Sometimes, if I have a moment to do so, I pray. I ask God to lift the feelings of anger from my heart and that I can use the energy I would direct toward being angry to accomplish acts of love instead. Sometimes, I put on the Indie Singer/Songwriter station or Christian Rock station on Pandora (if one of the two are not already on). Those genres of music really tend to calm me down.

What I definitely want to avoid is to develop a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. This can happen when someone suppresses anger, without calming down in the moment, and then ends up “constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments.” 3

So, what helps?

After doing my introspection and research into anger, I have constructed this plan of action to soothe and calm my anger in moments of *uuuuuuugggggggghhhh* . . .

  • Fuming doesn’t help. Expressing my anger in a harmless way, like venting to a trusted friend or praying can be beneficial in helping me calm down initially. But obsessing over the moment or issue that has made me angry creates an environment in which letting go of the negative aspects of anger is impossible. So, I’ve decided that I’m only allowing myself one expression of anger per anger-inducing moment. I won’t allow myself to fume over it.
  • Calming my body by breathing can be very helpful. Physiologically calming ones body by breathing deeply and slowly, picturing air flowing into the gut and out, can really help in calming down anger.
  • Calming mantras and meditation can be effective in treating anger as it happens, and to prevent anger from affecting me. One of my favorites is using water imagery and a water-inspired mantra that was introduced to me by a fellow blogger and natural parent.

AmyWilla.com: Researching Anger to Deal with Stress

What do you find effective in dealing with anger and stress?

Do you find that researching and taking action to understand something helps you to cope?

Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

  1. American Psychology Association. Controlling Anger-Before it Controls You. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx?item=2#
  2. American Psychology Association. Controlling Anger-Before it Controls You. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx?item=2#
  3. American Psychology Association. Controlling Anger-Before it Controls You. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx?item=2#

ThankFULL Weeks 2 & 3

ThankFULL

Wow – the rest of November really got the best of me! I am finally finishing this post . . . the day after Thanksgiving.

But, really, every day should be a day of giving thanks. So, I’m not late. No. . . totally not. *wink*

Every day, I fill my tank FULL with the blessings that I have! And it makes my outlook so much more free and anticipatory.

These past two weeks, I have been thankful for:

9. My Health

While I’m still trying to lose weight that I gained throughout my two pregnancies, I am thankfully able to cook healthfully for my family, understand how to snack wisely, and keep my weight and overall health at a good point. There are so many in this world that are either underweight or overweight, under-nourished or gluttonous . . . and I am glad that neither I nor any of my family members are in those places. Because no matter how you get there, by choice or by chance, being unhealthy is a giant burden to overcome. So this week, I am so glad and full of thanks for my health and my ability to attain knowledge and skills to keep myself and my family healthy.

10. My Kids’ Development

My kids are so smart and funny and well adjusted, and I am so grateful for that. No, this does not mean that we don’t have disciplinary issues, or tantrums, or bedtime struggles. . . we have all of those in the Willa house. But when I interact with them, I can tell that they are healthy and growing and that their brains are full of curiosity and brightness. When Joe babbles on about helicopters and fire engines and steamrollers and concrete trucks. . . and Abbey – oh, Abbey. That bright little girl keeps me on my toes constantly. From practicing penmanship to making up stories and games, to having a strong curiosity regarding Jesus and his sacrifice for us. . . she keeps me on my toes and I am so grateful for her cheerful (well, sometimes not so cheerful) zest for life and learning!

11. My Embroidery Machine.

Seriously, I can get so crafty with this thing. It brings my creativity to the next level.

12. My friend Melly for teaching me how to knit.

Because knitting is so awesome and productive and satisfying. It mellows me, and I’m glad that Melly took the time to sit by me while I tried and tried and tried again when I was learning!!!!!

13. New Friends

Because wherever you go (or wherever life takes you) you need friends. Real ones.

14. Old Friends

Because friends that you leave behind should never be forgotten!

15. Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Without a NICU, our sweet Abbey might not be here today, and the staff that works in the NICUs of this world are extraordinary people. I hope to be one of them someday!

8. The Internet

For the way that it connects people, especially the way that it opens doors for knowledge, learning, and collaboration.

9. Coupons

Because seriously, a dollar (or even $0.40!) is something saved. Especially when added up.

10. Meal Planning

Because it limits my impulse buys at the grocery store or commissary, and it allows me to make a detailed list and know exactly how much of our grocery budget will be spent!

11. Compassion

Feeling for another and actually doing something about the needs and pains of others is so rewarding. Sometimes, just by looking at another’s struggle and really listening, we can unearth hidden strengths and weaknesses that benefit us and those around us. Compassion is totally cool.

12. Natural Parents Network

What’s not to like about a group of like-minded (and yet totally diverse!) group of parents actively participating in the spread of fact-based, compassionate information to grow healthy families and inspire a commitment (small or large!) to a brighter and more informed generation of families! LOVE.

13. Parent Coaches and Social Workers

Without whom Hubs and I probably would have been lost in the grief and helplessness of having our two-day old sweet firstborn go under for major surgery in 2008. . . and the parent coaches with whom I have crossed paths that have imparted such simple wisdoms to me that, shared with my Hubs, have brought us closer to success in this really really trying parenting gig ;P

14. Charity

I love introducing Abbey and Joe to the idea of doing something for someone out of love for our neighbors, not for any other reason. It was hard for Abbey when we first introduced the idea that there are people that have literally NOTHING in this world. But she cheered up a lot when we explained that everyone in the world has the opportunity to be charitable and help out those in need, no matter what the need might be, and without expecting anything in return but the joy of giving.
15. Hot baths

16. The amount of laundry chores I have. . .

Because that means that we are blessed with enough clothing to wear in all seasons, for all the days of the week. Some people cannot say that (see #14 for what we try to do as a family about that injustice).

17. The dishes in my sink

Because, again, this means that I had the food to prepare for a meal, the utensils and appliances to cook it healthfully, and the plates and cups to serve food and drink to my family for the entire day! How blessed we are to have that!

18. The magic of the Christmas season

Doesn’t need an explanation.

19. The anticipation of the birth of Christ!

Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you! It’s so thrilling to look forward to celebrating the birth of our amazing savior Jesus Christ!

20. My extended family

Because they care so much about us, and are always thinking of us and caring for us by sending love and prayers, taking phone calls whenever I call, and sending lovely little care packages that just warm my days and encourage me always!

21. Snail Mail

It’s always fun to get a REAL letter.

22. Student Grants and Federal Loans

They allow me to pursue my education, and apparently they boosted my credit as well.

23. My IRA fund, and our monthly contributions to it.

Someone (eghem, Mom?) taught me that you need to start one of these sooner rather than later, and it feels stellar that my retirement account grows every month. It’s one more thing not to worry about!

24. Military life

Because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

25. Integrity

Because real and honest people are the best.

26. La Leche League

An amazing organization that not only bolstered my family, but now gives me the opportunity to bolster the families of others – through leading La Leche League group meetings and spreading fact-based information and compassionate support for breastfeeding and expectant moms. Whoot!

27. Tradition

Amen.

28. Forgiveness

Amen.

29. Collaboration

Amen. Just thank you Lord for all of these blessings in my life! Some of them seem like challenges at first glance, but I always am drawn to see the good because I know that you have plans for me, and I am blessed to be on the path you have drawn out for me!

What are you thankful for this month?

How was your Thanksgiving Day?

NPN Holiday Gift Guide! Review&Giveaway of Redmond Clay Bath Salt and Facial Mud {ARV $16}

Second Annual NPN Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway (12/6, 24 winners, US only ARV $2587.26)
This review is part of the Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!
If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what’s even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses.

The 55 companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of work-at-home shops or companies that are dedicated to supporting eco-conscious choices. I’m featuring one of those companies in my review below. When you get done reading my review, please click on over to the full Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide, where you’ll find information on 58 products. In total, we’re giving away goodies worth more than $2500!

Even if you don’t win one of our fabulous prize packages, please consider spending part of your gift-giving budget at one of these small businesses. By supporting small businesses, you are helping families, boosting local economies, and supporting ethical practices of manufacturing, production and selling. Take advantage of coupon codes provided by many of the companies, you can find them at the full Gift Guide at NPN. To make browsing easier, we’ve split the Gift Guide into sections with products that are Perfect for Kids and Perfect for Families. And you can find all 6 Rafflecopter widgets there, too.
Without further ado, here is my review – thank you for reading and entering!

 This is a Joint Review and Giveaway of the Real Bath Salts and Facial Mud from Redmond Clay between Natural Parents Network and Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work.

About Redmond Clay Real Bath Salts and Facial Mud

benefits_home

Redmond Clay prides itself on using real natural elements from the earth to create its healing products.  The Redmond Trading Company has natural remedies and enjoyable products from bath salts to edible clay to toothpastes! Having had a mud facial before, I was excited to try out Redmond Clay’s facial mud at home.  All in all, I really enjoyed the experience! Especially for the price, the products I tested definitely made me feel like I was having a mini spa experience!  I tried out both Redmond Clay’s Real Bath Salts and Redmond Clay’s Facial Mud, and loved both of them.  Put together, and add in a little essential oils and candles, you can really give yourself a mini spa day in the comfort of your own home!

My Experience

facialmud-400x400The quality of Redmond Clay’s products is fantastic.  The bath salt and mud facial products that I have bought at the drugstore before haven’t been the best. Facial pastes that you can buy at the drug store are usually sticky, not very effective, and they aren’t always actually made of all natural ingredients.  But Redmond Clay’s bath salts and facial mud are 100% natural, and have a high quality feel to them. The Facial Mud went on smoothly, and came off with no residue.  My face felt very clean and refreshed.  The bath salts are high quality as well. Adding in some essential oil (I used rosemary, but lavender would have been nice, too), I felt as if I was lounging in clean, warm, ocean water.  It was lovely!  Both of the products are useful for relaxation as well as self-care.  We mamas need to remember to take time out to relax and rejuvenate our spirits, and Redmond Clay’s products definitely helped me do that, without worrying that I was submerging myself or my face in something that might make me break out or cause a skin reaction because it was all 100% natural.

Redmond Clay’s bath salts and facial mud would be a great gift for anyone from family members, to friends, and even for teacher gifts for your little ones to bring to school or extra curricular activities.  And the price is not very steep, compared to relatively similar non-natural products.  So you can afford to order a few of each for gifts.  Redmond Clay’s online ordering website, Redmond Trading Company, even offers free shipping for orders over $40 (excluding bulk items)!

Other Natural Products from Redmond

If bath salts and facial mud is not quite your thing, Redmond also makes natural electrolyte replacement capsules called Re-Lyte Capsules that look like an interesting and healthful substitute for sugary electrolyte drinks. And I already mentioned they make toothpaste from the Redmond Clay, too! The natural ingredients plus the flavors that they advertise make me want to try it for sure! They have positive user ratings and reviews on all of their products, and I can tell that their items are a great fit for someone looking to live a healthful, natural lifestyle.

Buy it!

You can purchase your own Redmond Clay Bath Salts and Facial Mud at Redmond Trading Company starting at $7.99 and $9.99, respectively. But remember, natural spa products are not the only products Redmond has for a natural lifestyle: Re-Lyte capsules are $11.99 for a 60 ct. bottle and they also have multiple gift packages to choose from.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win bath salts and a facial mask from Redmond Clay, or one of the 26 huge prize packages we’re giving away, come back to this post on November 6th when our Rafflecopter widgets will go live for your chance to enter! The Redmond Clay products I reviewed will be in a prize package with some great knitted mitts reviewed by a fellow NPN volunteer! You can also visit Natural Parents Network on November 6th to see and enter to win all of our fantastic prize packages at once!

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product for review purposes.
Amazon links are affiliate links.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If we don’t like a product, we won’t be recommending it to you.
See our full disclosure policy here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Word of Mom: Guest Posting About Housekeeping and Mothering

IMG_3885I am thrilled to be writing this year for the WhattoExpect.com section Word of Mom.  It’s a section of the popular website devoted to sharing words from witty mom and dad bloggers around the web – My friend and fellow blogger Gretchen was a featured writer for Word of Mom earlier this summer.

Writing for What To Expect was fun, and a little different than my regular authoring spot at Natural Parents Network. I wanted to make sure that I wrote in a way that would entice and encourage moms and dads to balance housework with little ones – and not make them worry that clean houses are some sort of competition!

As you read the article, you might think: why in the world is housekeeping so important to her!? The simple truth is that my Hubs gets anxious when things are messy and dirty, so a little extra effort to make sure that cleanliness and organization are prioritized pays off in a big way by lessening his anxiousness and improving his mood. He can come home from work and dive into playing with the kids if he doesn’t see a thousand things that need doing around the house.

This is the main reason that cleanliness and housekeeping are important in our house – but no matter what the level of cleanliness your aim for, it’s a great way to have teachable moments with your kids about taking care of their blessings and it can be fun, too!

This time around on my first time sharing with Word of Mom, I shared some ideas about how being a housekeeper and a nurturing mother are not mutually exclusive. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Creating a Positive Relationship with Your Child

Today, I’m posting at Natural Parents Network, and it’s so fitting, as Abbey turned five yesterday, and the tips I’ve written about in this article for NPN have helped us through the last year immensely! Check it out at 5 Tricks to Help Create a Positive Relationship With Your Child

IMG_3658

Natural Parents Network: 5 Tricks to Help Create a Positive Relationship With Your Child

Our daughter has always been spirited and strong-willed, and as we entered her fifth year of life, my philosophy of parenting authentically and gently was met with a very strong punch to the gut. Here are a few things that have been very helpful to me in responding to my growing child in a loving and nurturing way.

Today on Natural Parents Network I’m sharing several ideas that help me connect with Abbey and parent intentionally. Read them and leave your own ideas at 5 Tricks to Help Create a Positive Relationship With Your Child.

Wordless Wednesday- Nursing, nursing. . . Everywhere!

Though I have definitely nursed both of my children in numerous places, including church, on a hike, on airplanes, and whenever needed. . . these are the only photographs that I can scrounge up today for our picture post to raise up all nursing mamas during Breastfeeding Week, 2013. All of them are of Joseph nursing. Abbey recently weaned (I think) naturally at the age of 4 1/2.

BreastfeedingYork, Maine after Joseph’s birth.

Asleep after nursing - dec 2011A milky slumber at a Christmas Party in Kittery, Maine

Nursing Joseph as a toddlerPortsmouth, New Hampshire

Wearing Joe, safe, snuggly, and dry, on a walk during which it started pouring down rain!Nursing in the Ergo, in the rain, on a walk from the library with Abbey and Joe. Kittery, ME

IMG_2892Newington, New Hampshire (at the Fox Run Mall)

IMG_1955Kittery, Maine. Recovering from a tummy bug.

IMG_3333Kodiak, Alaska! Nursing in our new home

IMG_2135Here’s Lookin’ at YOU, nursing mama!

You rock!

Where have YOU nursed your baby or child?

Nursing Openly and Honestly


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***

I feel that the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a human being is to live life working hard and being kind.

And I feel strongly that the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a mother in our society is to normalize nursing by nursing and nurturing my child wherever and whenever it is needed.

I understand the feelings of those who are uncomfortable with seeing mothers nurse their children. I can put myself in the perspective of someone worried about seeing a breast, because our world is so very sexualized, and I, too, have been concerned with “covering up” in the past.

But putting myself in the shoes of those who would rather have me nurse my children under a blanket or in the restroom only serves to make it clearer to me that nursing my child openly and honestly – - – nurturing my children with respect for their needs – - -  is the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a mother in our society.

Because what I see through the eyes of those who want to hide nursing away is the stark reality that our world is misguided and confused. If we don’t know that nursing is normal, then we will always be uncomfortable with it, and we will always sabotage healthy children’s nursing relationships by demanding that moms “be discreet”. If we don’t learn about the normal course of human lactation and child nursing and weaning by seeing it, then we are stuck in a confused reality in which we poison our own future generations by withholding from them the knowledge and respect for normal, necessary, nurturing nursing.

And that my friends is why I feel that the most responsible thing I can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture my children openly, honestly, and with pride. So that I can be a living example of normalcy to this and the future generations of our society.

***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to’s to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn’t get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old’s case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think “A-B-C-D-E”Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby’s arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as “A-B-C-D-E”: Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding – the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding – what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.