Friday, June 7, 2013

"But You Went to Public School and You Turned Out Just Fine."

I know it's been a while since I posted.  I've been super busy between just being a mom (especially a homeschooling one :) ), LLL, my babywearing group, becoming a Certified Babywearing Educator, knitting, etc, etc.  So bare with me.  I'll post when I can :).  Today I'd like to start a series of FAQs about homeschooling.  These are FAQs that often come up and what my responses are to those.  Among these are "Every homeschooler I've ever met has been anti-social."  "You went to public school and you turned out just fine."  "How will your kids make friends?"  "What do you do all day?  Sit in a stuffy room and read to your kids?"  "How do you teach over all the grade levels?"  "You aren't a certified teacher, why do you think you're qualified to teach your children?"  "Why the heck are you homeschooling your 4 year old/5 year old already?"  "Homeschooling isn't something I could ever do (for x, y, z reason)."  Some of these sound really blunt and rude and I've been asked all of those at one point or another phrased in this way and some of course put a lot nicer.  We're still learning of course. 

I guess I should start out by saying we used to think homeschooling was weird.  We didn't ever see doing it and I used to actually be against homeschooling.  I received a feeling one day that we should look in to it.  I thought about tuning that out but just felt like it was really important to start looking at.  My husband had received a similar feeling.  I determined this was more than just a feeling but a prompting and something we should take seriously.  I started checking out books from the library on homeschooling.  I really like the Everything series so that was the first one I ended up reading-The Everything Homeschooling Book.




We had a lot of the same fears a lot of people do but especially the social aspect.  This book REALLY opened my eyes.  It was simple but full of a lot of information that really helped me on my homeschooling journey.  After reading the book I started looking in to local homeschooling groups even though Monkey wasn't even a year old yet.  I wanted to learn what I could learn and find out more about homeschooling so we had a solid foundation of information.  My husband and I are planners.  We like to have a general idea of what's going on and what our budget is.  We like to plan years down the road of where we'd like to be, what types of trips (including where) we'd like to go on, where we'll be living, and so on.  We have always had discussions about this even before we got married (which I think is the absolute key to a good marriage!).  We had planned that I would be a stay at home mom and that kids were really important as well as finishing education.  Education is very important to both of us and when I started doing research I found that the public school system isn't what it used to be which leads to the question I'm going to answer in this post today.


"But you went to public school and you turned out just fine."

As a homeschooler I like to just smile at this statement.  It's really becoming much easier by the month for me to handle this criticism or the simple question of WHY do you homeschool because for us these are almost one and the same.

My public school days were years ago.  Not MANY years ago because I did graduate high school in 2005 but enough years ago that things have changed even with the graduating class a year behind me.  I remember taking a stupid test in high school that was supposed to decide if I was allowed to graduate or not and I was very very anxious about this test as I don't do well on standardized tests.  I had good grades, was smart, did very well picking up new concepts but only scored a 23 on my ACT test which was super disappointing as I would have had a full-ride scholarship my first year with 1 point higher.  Test time came and I was SO anxious.  The day after we finished the testing (I believe it was a full week of taking the stupid thing) we found out that it didn't count for graduation but would for sure the next graduating year.  EVERYONE had passed the test because the two years prior they had informed the students that the test didn't mean anything to their graduation status so most students just filled in bubbles and handed it in.  The standards were set way too low and our class was the one that set the standards for the next graduating class.  I believe this was just a Utah thing but I don't know.  The point I'm making here is that standards are often set way too low and they just get set lower and lower especially with Common Core.  I won't go in to Common Core here but it is something that you should be aware of and when I read actual information from the government on Common Core I was horrified.  I have read a lot of interpretations as well but I knew from my experience with the standard test for graduation in Utah that standards are just plain set way low and when you're looking at students all across the country of course they're going to set them to the point that intercity kids can pass and graduate rather than where the Ivy League bound students are. 

I was super bored in public school, especially elementary school, and saw way more crap than I needed to see while at school.  Most of my subjects were too easy.  I could have gone ahead in math but because I didn't have that foundation in elementary school it was too hard to just skip a level when I got to the point I could chose a math class.  Honors math was a total joke because my teacher got up in front of the class to teach, a kid in the back was too social, he'd sit down and say do the homework on the syllabus with absolutely no instruction.  I got my first C.  I was HORRIFIED.  I had math nightmares.  I spent ALL of my free time in the class room trying to get help on homework that I never was taught at all how to do because the teacher didn't want to compete with a social kid that sat in the back.  I dropped that class and went in to regular math and was again bored after a month of catching up.  I also saw way more crap and heard way more crap than I ever should have heard.  In 4th or 5th grade a boy wrote the F word on my paint shirt.  I didn't know what it meant, I'd never heard it, I knew it was bad.  That same boy groped me on the playground.  I didn't understand but I knew I didn't like it.  I heard WAY too much information about sex in Junior High in the hallways, bus, lunchroom, etc.  There was no need for me to hear that garbage.  It's getting worse too as more and more elementary students are offered condoms and having sexual relationships across the country (I read these headlines and about pregnant 12 and 13 year olds often).  Call me a prude or too overprotective but I don't think my kids need to hear a lot of graphic details as a young teen or elementary student they also don't need to be exposed to the foul language I heard all the time.

Public schools could never cater to the level I could have been at.  I can encourage my kids to do better in subjects they struggle with, allow them to move ahead in subjects they do well at, and have plenty of extra time that they can learn more about the subjects they really want to learn more about.  I was invited to join a special program for gifted and talented students but it cost too much for my parents and after learning more about it it was just full of busy work and that I wouldn't really be able to work ahead of where I was working in normal public school and eventually I'd be dropped right back in to my grade with everyone else.  Monkey is a super smart 5 year old.  I know every parent thinks their child is bright but Monkey really pushed me to teach him how to read at 3.  He started to learn to count and add and subtract items.  I realized a year ago that he was already doing everything a preschooler needed to learn before entering Kindergarten so I decided to start our Kindergarten work.  He picked everything up super quick.  He has done 1st grade work this year and turned 5 in April.  I don't say this at all to brag but I do use it as an example because I know he would be incredibly bored going back to Kindergarten level materials even if I hadn't worked with him like I have this upcoming fall.  Socially though I don't know if he is completely ready for Kindergarten though he may be by September.  I am able to cater curriculum to what HE needs rather than what the average student needs.  I'm able to spend longer on topics that he needs extra help with or skip ones that he has a firm grasp on rather than reviewing for a couple of weeks.  I'm able to specially pick out things he would like.  He's really in to space right now so we will be doing Apologia's Astronomy curriculum this next school year.  I'm also able to use curriculum to get my 2 year old interested in learning because he likes to "join in" in our school (for him that usually means coloring while his brother writes, playing with linking cubes while brother adds and subtracts, "helping" me set words up for reading and spelling, etc) and knows that it's fun and important to me.  Kangaroo has already learned the value of books and knows that they're important to us.



Public school isn't all bad.  I don't think my parents are horrible for sending me or anything like that.  I also don't think that any parents now are horrible for sending their kids to public schools.  I'm in a position I can do better though and as the world gets further and further away from having any morals I'm going to take advantage of my right to homeschool my children and prepare them to have an even brighter future.  I can help them be even more prepared to do what they want to do with their future.


What do you say when someone says "But you went to public school and you turned out just fine" to you?

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Am a Mormon

You may have noticed my link on the side of my blog that says that I Am a Mormon with a link to the LDS church's website Mormon.org. It used to be a pretty button but now it just says "I am a Mormon" and links to my profile on Mormon.org. I have always been hesitant to post about why I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a few reasons-I don't like to toot my own horn or try to look self-righteous and I have had people treat me differently because I am LDS and have different beliefs including being told I'm not welcome in several moms' groups or even treated differently by people I know. Being a member of the LDS church is a huge huge part of my life though and I decided to write a post about what my beliefs are and another post about my feelings about the Savior Jesus Christ. I ask that you please be kind in your comments-if you don't have anything nice to say don't say it at all. As a child I learned about the Articles of Faith which were written by the Prophet Joseph Smith just a couple of years before he died to a news reporter who wanted to know more about what members of the church believed. I am going to copy those here:

 13 Articles of Faith
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.


Along with these I would like to share my experience as well as my testimony. The LDS church is very pro-family. As a child I sang a song called "Families Can Be Together Forever." I also sang a song called "I Love to See the Temple."  Both talk about how a family can be together forever.  I wanted to be with my future family forever.  I wanted that blessing in our life.  I knew I wanted to marry a great guy who would take me to the temple to be married to him for eternity.  I am grateful to know that I will be able to be with him forever and my children and my future posterity.  I am also grateful to know that my three angels who I never had the opportunity to meet will be with us forever.  I learned this because I prayed when I was going through my miscarriages for comfort and instead of just comfort I had a voice whisper to me that I would be able to raise my children someday after this life.

I am so grateful for Joseph Smith who as a teenager, 14 years old, read in the Bible James 1:5: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  He went to the Bible when he didn't know which church was the true church that he should join.  He decided to go to a beautiful grove of trees to kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father which church to join.  He was visited by God and Jesus Christ who spoke to him and said that none of the churches were true and that he would be key to restoring the Gospel as it was in Christ's time on the Earth. 

I recently learned that one of my ancestors was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost to be her constant companion to help her recognize right from wrong and to receive spiritual inspiration by the prophet Joseph Smith.  She was very close to Heavenly Father and had very strong faith.  She could have ran away when the mobs were burning down her neighbors' homes.  She could have given up when she actually died from lightning striking her home as a teenager as could her father who gave her a priesthood blessing which brought her back.  She could have not crossed the plains to get away from the persecution to a new home.  She didn't.  She knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true as did many of my other ancestors who crossed the plains to Utah.

I don't know everything about the Gospel.  I do know that it is true.  I have prayed about it and I believe Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  I knew in my heart when I prayed if the Book of Mormon was true that it was as promised through the last chapter of the book of Moroni:


3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your chearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.

I was only a teenager in the seminary program when I did this but I felt a burning warmth in my chest that the Book of Mormon and the Gospel was true.  I know without a doubt in my mind that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only church with the full truth.  All other churches have pieces and fragments but I know that the LDS church is true.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and my family and knows ME as an individual. 

I am a Mormon and I'm proud of it!

If you would like to learn more about my church I would recommend visiting the Church's website found here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 11: My Mothering Decisions

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Motherhood Views. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

I went in to pregnancy pretty open and ready to do research to determine what I needed and wanted to do for my kids.  I had NO idea when I first became pregnant with our first baby (that I miscarried at 8 weeks of pregnant) what I was going to do other than breastfeed and make my own baby food.  When I became pregnant the second time (with Monkey) I started the research.  I was part of an awesome online community on iVillage.  I learned about all sorts of things like how parents didn't let baby cry it out (CIO) (I was always told it was necessary to help them "self sooth"-after research I found the complete opposite!), parents that babywear, etc.  I was totally closed off to the idea of cloth diapers at first, then it became maybe I'll try them once we're doing solid foods, then there was a horrible time of having multiple blowouts in a row and my little man having to be naked because he'd burned through the few outfits we had in the diaper bag.  I started in my intense research and decided to make the switch to cloth diapers. 

I've always wanted to be a mom.  When I was growing up and people would ask me at school what I wanted to be I remember ALWAYS saying I wanted to be a mom.  My husband knew how important it was to me before we even got married that I wanted to be home with my kids all the time and not work.  I think it's very important for a mother to be home with her kids.  We agreed before we were married that we would make that happen. 

To my great surprise I became pregnant and wasn't done with school yet.  I actually found out before school was out for the summer just before our 1 year anniversary.  I lost that baby just a couple days after our anniversary.  At that point I started to look in to how I could finish school faster so I could be done in about a year and a half or so.  THEN much to our surprise I got pregnant with Monkey just a couple months later and started scheduling appointments with counselors so I could get a whole minor and the rest of my major done while pregnant.  My due date was during finals week but I knew I could do it.  I was in 20 and 21 credit hours my last two semesters while battling hyperemesis (and not being able to go to class A LOT because I was either in the hospital or couldn't leave the side of the toilet) and then battling preterm labor and bedrest.  I did it though and walked with my Bachelor's degree when Monkey was 2 weeks old (he arrived about a week before his due date).  I had 3 incompletes-one that I needed to do in the summer, one that I just needed to finish a test, and one that I needed to write a paper.  The class in the summer didn't work out so I ended up having to do an online course through another University to fulfill the requirement and transfer the credits.  It was so so so hard to do the course with a newborn but I knew I HAD to finish school.  The paper was also super hard to write because it was an in-depth paper about the research and readings I did the semester I was on bedrest.  I did it though and was able to be a stay at home mom while doing so. 

I also started a business while Monkey was tiny and was finishing my courses.  I knew it would help give me something that was MINE that I could look forward to (changing diapers and being a housewife are not my favorite things in the world in all honesty) while being able to be with my baby and take care of his needs all the time.  My business has changed from strictly sewing to strictly knitting over the 4 years I've been in business but it's still my passion besides being a mom.

When I became pregnant with Monkey I knew I needed to eat healthier.  It was really hard for me because I was SO sick about the only thing I could hold down was Ramen Noodles.  My habits couldn't change a lot while I was pregnant so I made a new goal to do my best and once he was born to change the way I ate.  I would say that helped a lot and I still eat pretty healthy though I still like treats and to have what many would say is unhealthy sometimes.  We eat a lot of fruit though and I pay a lot more attention to our fruit and vegetable intake and eat organic as much as possible.

I learned a lot through my pregnancy and still learn a lot.  I think it's really important to try to be open minded and do research for everything you do raising kids.  I am trying to remain open to new things and in doing so we decided we'd homeschool (and we used to be pretty closed off to it), rear face the carseat past the standard age of 1 (Monkey was 18 months, Kangaroo will be at least 2), etc.  My idea of motherhood does change quite a bit but my main goal to breastfeed has always remained the highest priority.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 10: Wordless Wednesday Babywearing Style!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Babywearing. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

Monkey

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Kangaroo


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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge

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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge

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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge

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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge

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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge

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From a Facebook Picture posted following the Babywearing Flash Mob August 2011

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Photo Credit: Lynn Bettridge
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rockin Green Soap Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered!  Congrats to Chelsea M. for winning a bag of Rockin Green Soap!  To everyone else be sure to like Rockin Green on Facebook for special discount codes, giveaways, and to keep up to date on Rockin Green News!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 8: Pearls of Wisdom

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Pearls of Wisdom. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

July 23rd Prompt: Wisdom may be passed down to us from prior generations or just from friends who have already been there. Did you receive any “sage” wisdom from a mother in your life, prior to becoming one yourself? Not all people are so bold as to share their wisdom, what INFLUENCES in your life lead to your decision to breastfeed your child/ren? Was breastfeeding something you saw in your family? What were your feelings about breastfeeding before nursing your own babies?

I kind of touched on the topic of mothering influences to me last year in this post.   I will quote the part I'm referring to:

The first time someone nursed in public near me was at church.  Honestly I felt a little uncomfortable just because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to move to give her and her baby space or what I was supposed to do.  She put a blanket over her and her baby but I just felt weird like I should do something but I didn't know what.  I didn't want to make her uncomfortable so I tried to ignore it.  She continued to nurse her baby whenever she was hungry and I grew to realize that nothing was expected of me and it felt ok.  I've always felt strongly about nursing just didn't know what to feel about nursing in public.  After having a baby I realize that when baby is hungry it's best just to feed them... 

My friend has been an awesome example to me.  I've watched her raise her 4 kids that are all about 18 months apart and they are all so happy and sweet children.  She has always been a mother that I've admired and looked up to.  Shae-if you're reading-you're totally awesome!  Keep up the good work!  You're totally an inspiration to me being the awesome mom you are!!!  Your confidence nursing your little ones inspired me to be confident while nursing my boys. 

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 7: PAST breastfeeding

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Breastfeeding of the Past. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

(I'm a couple days late with this post-sorry!!!) 

I was breastfed as a child as was my husband (and his siblings).  My mother was not.  My grandmother said that she wasn't able to but never was comfortable telling me more than that.  My mother nursed me until I was about 6 months and bit her.  She immediately weaned me because I drew blood (YOUCH!).  She was saying to me before Monkey was born that that was about the norm.  They highly encouraged breastfeeding but most people would until 6 months and wean to formula.  Nursing wasn't common when my mother was a baby.

My mother was a big support to me when I was nursing Monkey.  She was my biggest ally when we were struggling so much in the early days.  She did everything she could to encourage me to keep going when everyone else was so negative.  The fact that she breastfed me and everyone around me breastfed their babies made me feel like it was a normal and comfortable thing.  

When it comes to length of time I have had a lot of negative comments.  My family acts supportive however I've heard negative comments about other people's babies that have nursed to 18 months +.  When we were visiting family a couple months ago we were able to go to dinner with my grandparents.  I was nervous about the reaction I would get when my grandma asked if I was still nursing Kangaroo.  She said she was proud of me and said she knew that was the best thing for them.  My husband has also been supportive when his family had negative reactions to Kangaroo nursing saying that it doesn't effect them and that he is a happy baby, weighs what he should (or more), etc.  His response to everything we do that they have a negative reaction to is "Look at the way our kids have turned out so far.  They're very bright, they are happy, they are sociable."  I'm very glad that he is so supportive because I didn't feel a lot of support in the beginning and when I've decided to do things out of the norm (cloth diapers, babywearing a lot, extended rear facing, etc).  He's always been hesitant and often quite defensive that that's not how he was raised but for the most part he becomes supportive of what I do which I appreciate greatly.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 6: Weaning

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Weaning and the family. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

I will talk about Monkey more than Kangaroo in this post because Kangaroo hasn't fully weaned yet :). 

The weaning process begins when you introduce solid foods.  We have had to do so cautiously because we knew there was a risk of food allergies in my kiddos due to my food allergies.  Monkey had some severe carrot and peanut allergies and was originally allergic to peas, bananas, cinnamon, apricots, and several other things the first time he had them (we think barley was among them because he would throw up every time he had some organic animal crackers and that was the only new ingredient in them).  We started feeding him homemade baby food when he was 6 months but didn't really push it.  He started out by just having tastes once a day and I tried a second time a day when he was about 8 months but he wasn't really interested.  We didn't start trying too hard until he was about 10.5 months and was more interested in having meals with us at the table (about the time he started really feeding himself).  

Monkey continued the weaning process and at about 14 months started dropping feedings and just wasn't interested in nursing at times that he used to be.  By about 14.5 months he determined he was done and dropped his last couple feedings over a few days.  I was very upset because I wasn't quite ready for him to be done but he wanted nothing to do with it and never looked back.

I've done the same things with Kangaroo.  Kangaroo COULDN'T keep solids down until he was about 9ish months and still wasn't super interested in having more than a few bites here and there (that he had to feed to himself) until he was about 11ish months.  Kangaroo loves solids now and eats every meal with us.  He still nurses a lot too.  I keep feeding him on demand (except of course if it's super inconvenient or if he's been nursing for a couple hours straight and I simply need a break or to go to the bathroom or whatever.  I don't believe in letting a toddler COMPLETELY demand everything because I think he needs to start learning boundaries a bit and understand that it's a relationship not one sided.  That being said normally when he asks me I will nurse him and if it has been a while and he hasn't asked I'll ask him if he wants to nurse (usually the answer is signing milk to say yes or he'll run right over to me). 

With both kids I've set smaller goals.  With Monkey it started out at 6 months which was the age I was weaned because I bit my mom.  I determined that biting wasn't going to keep me from nursing him since that's all he COULD do for the first few weeks and I had to train him not to bite me to nurse but to suck instead.  Once we came closer to 6 months I said I wanted to nurse him AT LEAST a year and then take it from there.  When Kangaroo arrived I said that I really really wanted him to nurse until at least 18 months but 2 if possible and we are now at just over 18 months and going strong.  I don't know if I see myself going much past 2 but if he still needs it I'm not going to stop him.  I don't have a date set on a calendar of when I will wean him and I'm already ignoring a lot of pressure to wean him.  I plan on just taking it a day at a time!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Breastfeeding Blog Day 5: Night Time Parenting

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Nightime Parenting. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st! 

When both boys arrived they started out by sleeping in our room in a bassinet.  I've never been comfortable with having my tiny babies in our bed and when I've even laid down to nurse them I haven't been able to fall asleep because I've just been too afraid of squishing them or something happening to them.  I've always wanted to keep them close though so I could respond to the first signs of them waking up and being hungry.

Monkey wasn't able to sleep for more than a couple months in our room because his daddy snored too loud and would wake him up.  We moved him into his room which was down the hall with a monitor and he slept much better but I was able to respond to him at the first signs of him waking up like I was with him in our room.  Kangaroo was different.  He was able to sleep through the snoring for quite a while and we had his crib set up in our room when he grew out of his bassinet (besides I was afraid of Monkey hurting him by accident if he tried to climb in the crib to cuddle his brother-he's always been VERY lovey towards Kangaroo).  When Kangaroo was 7 months we packed up to move to Oregon (from Utah).  In our "new" house Kangaroo needed to sleep in Monkey's room.  It all worked out and they have been sharing a room for almost a year now.  Kangaroo wasn't sleeping through the night still (and I've always had a monitor in his room) and didn't until he was about 14 months.  Sleeping through the night is technically a 6 hour stretch.  Kangaroo would rarely go more than a 1-2 4 hour stretches.  He would often be brought in to bed with me to snuggle and nurse though that became a problem as he became more mobile.  Hubby decided eventually he needed to leave our bed if Kangaroo sleeps with me.

Kangaroo got to a point that he wouldn't nurse laying down.  That was at about 10-11 months.  I would have to sit on the couch with the Boppy to nurse him 1-4 times during the night.  He's 18 months and will still come to snuggle with me in bed often (while Hubby pouts and runs out to the couch).   A few nights ago he fell out for the first time and I felt HORRIBLE.  I don't know what to do now.  He was able to stay in bed if he'd run in to a pillow and now that doesn't even stop him.  Fortunately he hasn't got up since that night but I honestly don't know what to do now.  We ended up snuggling to nurse on the couch after that and I sat clutching him for the last few hours of sleep.

Since I was an only child I don't remember what the arrangements were when I was a baby but my mom tells me that the arrangements were similar to that which we did with Monkey.  We really haven't taken a lot of outside advice on our sleeping arrangements and just have done what we felt best.  When I've been concerned about the amount of sleep that each boy was getting and when we were trying to wean from Monkey HAVING to fall asleep either in the car or his swing I looked to these books (disclaimer-these are affiliate links.  Your purchase helps us buy homeschooling books and supplies-Thanks!)




I feel like my kids know that we are there for them if they need us during the night.  We respond promptly when they need us and I feel like that's a very important thing to help them feel safe and secure in our home and attached to us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 4: Babywearing (also a guest blogger today :) )

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Babywearing and Breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!  

You can also find this post as a guest blogger on the Cafe Blog!  Make sure to comment there and here :)!


Ashley Barrett is a wife of a graduate student working towards a PhD in Nuclear Chemistry and a mother of two busy little boys (ages 4 years and 18 months) and three angel babies who she never got the opportunity to meet.  She is also homeschooler,  a WAHM (owner of Monkey Bunns), LLL leader in Oregon, and founder and leader of Corvallis Babywearers.  She got in to babywearing because of an online birth board and had a few carriers when her first son, nicknamed Monkey, was born April 2008.  She has become an addict and has a wide variety of different types of carriers.  She wants to become an official certified Babywearing Educator in the next year or two. 

I got in to babywearing because of an online birth board (a support group through pregnancy and later for our growing baby, infant, toddler, etc).  I became very curious about it and started researching it.  I ended up purchasing a couple of sized pouch slings and a stretchy wrap (but not a very good one).  I planned to start wearing Monkey from the beginning.  I tried but he wasn't a fan at first and I eventually figured out neither of us liked sized slings.  I eventually got a stretchy wrap and my love grew from there after it cured his colic.

Kangaroo in a Sleepy Wrap (now known as Boba Wrap)
I have since gained quite the collection but I also gave some away to my friend that didn't work so great on me but I knew they would on her since she's quite a bit thinner than me :).

Monkey was never really able to nurse in any baby carrier due to being on a nipple shield through our whole nursing relationship.  I was able to work it a couple of times in a ring sling when I needed to have a hand free.  Kangaroo on the other hand has nursed several times in different carriers but I think the easiest to nurse in is the Boba for me.

Kangaroo in the Boba-obviously not nursing :)
All I have to do to nurse him in it is loosen the waist and pull it down lower to lower him, loosen the shoulders a bit and scootch him down a bit.  This is my favorite tutorial of how to do it

Even though I wasn't able to nurse Monkey in a carrier it really helped our breastfeeding relationship to keep him close.  I remember wrapping, unwrapping, rewrapping the Sleepy Wrap a billion times a day so I could nurse him and then snuggle him.  Keeping him close helped me see his hunger cues a lot faster than if he were laying somewhere or tucked away in a carseat (I ALWAYS use a carseat in the car when the car is moving-please practice safe babywearing).  When we would go out somewhere it was much easier to put him in a carrier than to lug a big bucket seat around.

I started wearing Kangaroo earlier because I had more options.

Kangaroo, 3 days old

My favorite was a ring sling in those early days.  I was able to spend more time with Monkey and while I didn't nurse in a sling for the first little bit I was able to watch his hunger cues and be able to keep him close and safe (Monkey was a normal rough 2 1/2 year old that REALLY loves his brother!).

Even at 18 months I still believe babywearing helps our breastfeeding relationship because it's all about trust and him knowing that I'm here for him when he needs me.  It's also very handy to get through a grocery store because my boys LOVE to run two different directions!






And just one more for fun!



When my wrap arrived Monkey really wanted to try it out.  He was only in it for a few minutes but is 35 lbs and was super comfy in it.  This is a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid wrap and I did the double hammock carry.  It's my very favorite toddler carry.