Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today I took my five kids, plus one of their friends, to Burger King. It was busy with families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. While I waited for my order I noticed an unusually large stack of newspapers with the photo of the great Martin Luther King Jr. across the top. Ah yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Day… this is why Burger King was so busy; schools are out.

I took a newspaper, my food, and all the cups and went to find my kids in the “mad house” (the designated play area that consists of an enclosed room filled with a network of tunnels and slides). While all the kids played, chased, and screamed together I skimmed through my newly acquired Atlanta Journal Constitution. Opening the pages was like opening a time capsule. The AJC had compiled copies of their own words from the 1960’s, highlighting Dr. King’s activism and the change he helped produce. The pages were moving, to say the least; and if I were being completely honest I would admit they brought me to tears.

What a magical thing… seeing the actual copies of a newspaper from some 50-odd years ago, well before I was born, and reading about happenings I cannot even imagine. I learned that when outsiders marched for equality in Selma, Alabama there was an outcry of rage among the locals to the tune of “Get out of our business!”. Even when priests, nuns, and other church clergy and members from varying denominations marched side by side for peace there was spitting, shouting, and general chaos amongst the crowd. Selma’s own sheriff was said to have paraded around with a button that read “Never”, as in “We’ll never give in to changing segregation”.

Looking around the Burger King today, where all types of families sat in close proximity, talking, sharing, and eating, it was hard for me to comprehend that only 50 years ago this scene was vastly different. All the children busily played with each other and were seemingly blind to their differences of color. It was beautiful. “This… this is so much closer to how it’s supposed to be” I thought as I finally put my paper down.

There was one moment when I felt like we had a long way to go yet, and that’s when my daughter brought my (handicapped) five-year-old son to me and told me that a boy in the tunnel looked at him, pointed, and said “he’s weird”. She seemed to be more offended than he was by this and told me that her response was “No he’s not! He’s just got different arms and legs.” He said “whatever”.  She replied “Well, don’t judge people!”, to which he retorted “I’m telling.” Haha… and I hope he did.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a magnificent, strong, just, and overall beautiful man. He’s now my answer to the question “If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” Besides Jesus, I believe that MLK has probably changed more lives and hearts of people than any other person could have, and we still need him.

Inequality is still around, but sometimes we can’t see it.  It’s in races, ages, sexes… even something as “normal” as America’s infant circumcision is a huge human rights violation.  But who sees it? Who battles these daily fights against society’s standard?

I can say with fervency that I know where I would have been in March of 1963. Anyone who really knows me would know I’d have been there, right in the front, holding my signs, getting arrested… Would my friends? I’m proud to say that I know many of my friends would have been there with me; however, a few of them I doubt would have been on the right side, and that’s not to say they’re prejudice, but that they tend to follow whatever they were originally taught, and not hear new information concerning human rights or justice. It’s a tragedy, but I still accept them as friends.  As the great Dr. King said “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”.  Perhaps, in time, they will come to realize “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”, and “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.

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So here’s to the beautiful man who helped create our present! Here’s to the many people who marched those miles, held those signs, and looked the ugly face of injustice in the eyes and wouldn’t budge! Here’s to the modern-day freedom fighters, patriots, activists, unschoolers,‬ attachment parents, ‎intactivists‬, ‎lactivists‬, ‎libertarians‬, ‎voluntaryists‬… and anyone else who peacefully but actively fights the status quo in order to bring about a better future for others!

Indeed “the time is always right to do what’s right”.

Adding Fuel to Their Learning

by Shanna

I unschool my kids… no, that’s not right…  My kids unschool themselves.

What is unschooling?  If you don’t know you may want to click the link to find out:  Unschooling, what the heck is that?!  

If you already know what it is you also know that it’s MY job to nurture them, support their efforts, and facilitate their learning.  I know I’m doing a good job if my kids are always happy and engaged in an activity of some kind (but it doesn’t really matter what kind, as long as they aren’t hurting themselves or property). Even playing Minecraft or watching TV can be learning, as long as they are engaged.  Yeah, I hear your brain-gears turning… you’re wondering “well, how do you know if they aren’t engaged?”   Ah… the golden question.  Well, they’ll tell you. Listen for the clues (usually in the form of irritating whining): “Mama, I’m bored.” “Mama, I need something to do.”  “Mommy,… *sigh*… I’m tired of playing…”  (?!)  Also, you may experience their behavior reflecting anxiety or irritation, especially with each other.  If your kids are getting aggravated and not playing nicely this could be because they aren’t engaged in learning any more.  Children who are in the middle of discovery are excited, happy creatures!  They want to share the knowledge with each other and, believe me, they want to play.  Learning is like fuel to kids; you will recognize if they’re running on “empty”.

 

Anyway, I realised that my kids were getting bored when they became fussy with each other. Usually it’s time for a field trip when this happens.  I like to take them out into a new environment and expose them to new things that spark new interests for them to delve into for days, weeks, months…  Alas, I’m broke.   😦   Woe is me!!  What’s a learning facilitator to do?! 

 

Hmm… what’s free and full of new information?  The library!  We have an awesome library, not because it’s huge, but because it isn’t.  It’s actually the size of a small apartment. Why’s that good? Because no matter where I am in the library I can keep an eye on my littlest kids, they aren’t out of earshot, and I can always see the door.  But I digress…

 

We went to the library and I discovered that they had the entire collection of Magic Tree House books!  Did you know there are over 50 of them now?!  My oldest one just turned 12 and has finished the Lord of The Ring series, so the stories aren’t really as gripping as they once were, but she still enjoys being read to.  Who doesn’t, really? I saw that the first book was about dinosaurs and the Cretaceous period.  Excellent.  There were plenty of dinosaur books of all reading levels, so I grabbed Magic Tree House #1 and two arms full of dinotastic learning and we headed home to begin our own journey into the wonderful (albeit frightening) world of the Cretaceous period!  I read to all five of them.  They soaked it up.  When I emptied out the library book bag it was as if I rang the dinner bell.  Those little carnivores grabbed at the books like oviraptors at their prey.  I was so proud. 

 

You can really do so much with so little.  All it takes is a bit of inspiration.  While two of my kids could go on learning more and more about dinosaurs, the other three have already had their fill.  I’m going to start the next book tonight; it’s about knights and castles.  I’ll make another library trip tomorrow to see what I can dig up on the middle ages and medieval times. If you have any suggestions for crafts, games, activities, food, or books to go with that I’m all ears!  🙂  I’ll keep you posted.

See How I Made “Not-So-Paper” Towels

by Shanna

These are my new favorite things in my kitchen.  I’m too lazy to do the math, but I estimate that for the cost of a few snaps and a cheap multicolored pack of washcloths I’m saving… well… lots of money on paper towels.  🙂  Plus, there’s the added bonus of bragging about my crunchiness. Lol

Set aside an hour or two for this project and Enjoy!  Believe me, it is worth it!

Shaming

By Kallen

I’m a skinny mom. It’s true. You wouldn’t believe the amount of shame those words bring out in me. Although everyone wants to be thin, I somehow feel that it’s unacceptable to admit. I’m not allowed to point out the obvious, that it’s bragging. I know I’m not alone in these feelings, recently I’ve noticed that other skinny moms are starting to fight against the hate that people spew at us.
Fat shaming is frequently talked about. We fight against the mainstream version of beauty, and argue that photo shop is the magazine equivalent of athletes using steroids. This is a fight worth fighting, don’t get me wrong. The message we need to be focusing on though, is loving yourself and being the healthiest you can be, no matter the size. Frequently, in the effort to empower heavier women, we shame the skinny ones. Most people are familiar with the meme that reads “real men like curves, only dogs go for bones.” Yes, great! Curvy women are beautiful! But why does that need to be followed up by the skinny slam? And what about the men who like thinner women? They’re automatically “dogs”? Suddenly, both thin women, and the men attracted to them are deemed wrong or bad when the original intent (I assume) was to comment on how attractive women can be at a larger size.
I can’t even tell you how often I’ve heard things like “I hate you, you’re so skinny.” It’s always said in a “loving” way, and that makes it even worse. What if I were to go around saying “I hate you, you’re so fat”? That’s somehow unacceptable. Everyone wants to complain about being fat, but no one wants to hear about you being thin. My clothes not fitting because I can’t stop losing weight because of breastfeeding is just as annoying as it is when you gain weight and nothing fits. I hate being five pounds away from being underweight, my bones stick out at weird angles. I’d love to have some mama cushion for my daughter to sit on while I hold her instead of feeling like I’m impaling her with my hip bone. The worst thing about comments like that is the total lack of acceptable responses. I end up stuttering over something about good genetics, when in reality that’s not all there is to it. It definitely helps, it’s set me up with a good start, but I eat well and take care of myself. My genetics actually work against me, because I need to put on weight and I can’t. I know, I know, poor me right? But it’s hard, and annoying! Being unheathily skinny is no better than being unhealthily fat.
I know most people who read this well write me off. “It’s not that bad”, you think I’m complaining just to complain, or that I want reassurance on how beautiful I am. That’s not it at all. There shouldn’t be any reason why I’d need to be ashamed to be thin. I know I’m not alone in that. I guess the point is, instead of building yourself up by hating on other people, let’s focus on everyone’s beauty, and being your healthiest, happiest you.

My goal as a parent

by Kallen

My goal as a parent is to raise a kind, well adjusted adult. Just like lots of parents. I think it’s so important to be a good example, because you are. Always. I’m hyper conscious of the fact that my daughter is always watching me. This has been illustrated most recently by her attempts to pinch my chin after watching me pop a zit. Gross right? Also really painful to be continuously punched by tiny fingers. I try to set a good example in everything I do, emulating the qualities I want to see in her. I try to focus on the fact that I’m raising an adult not raising a child. I want her to do the right thing because it is right, not for fear of pain or punishment; it’s why we’re a punishment free household. No spanking, yelling, or other forms of discipline. I’m not perfect, I yell on a rare occasion. It’s hard to rewire your brain. Our society touts spanking as the only way to “control” your kids. But I don’t want to control her. I want to foster her wonder and joy in life. I frequently think of something Adam Sandler says in Big Daddy (I know, excellent parenting resource right?) Anyway, he says something like do whatever you want, and I’ll show you some cool stuff along the way. While I definitely don’t let her do whatever she wants, I let her do probably 85% of whatever she wants. As long as it isn’t overly dangerous or disruptive, I don’t mind, and I show her lots of cool stuff along the way!
To me, this is what parenting is supposed to be. I must be doing something right because at 16 months, my daughter is kind, gentle, says thank you without promoting (sometimes), is helpful, outgoing, cleans up after herself, etc etc. I’m a very proud mom, both of her and of myself.

Taking out my IUD

by Kallen

 

First off, let me give credit to this blog post. I read it pre removal, and my story is extremely similar in the end.
If you’re not comfortable with your body, I suggest you don’t read any further. I’m going to use terms like vagina, and cervix *gasp*. Also, I’m not a doctor and this shouldn’t be viewed as medical advice.

My husband and I have been discussing having another baby. My daughter is 16 months old now, and I’ve been craving another little squish to cuddle. While in my quest for advice, a friend told me “if you feel a little soul tugging on your heart, asking for a space in your belly, listen. ” that was it for me, decision made. The only problem was that I had an iud. I’d had the Paraguard placed last August, and had no issues. But after making the decision to take it out, I NEEDED it out. Like now. Suddenly the thought of the foreign object in my body made my skin crawl. It wasn’t about deciding to try for #2, it was about the iud itself.
I contacted my midwife and asked if she could remove it for me. As a side note, I see my midwife for everything I can. If I never had to see another doctor, I’d be thrilled. Anyway, she told me she could do it. For various reasons, I didn’t know when I’d be able to make it in to her office. As my desperation to have it out rose, I asked if it was something I could do myself. She said yes but it was difficult. I also consulted Google (hence the aforementioned blog) and found that lots of women remove them at home. The difficulty seemed to be in holding onto the strings since they’re slippery with *cough* fluid *cough*. I thought it was probably easier to see if I could get my husband to do it. He was really unsure at first, not wanting to cause any damage by removing it ourselves. In the end he agreed to give it a go.
My cervix sits really low at this point in my cycle, so that was helpful. He reached in and felt around for the strings. My husband really enjoys learning new things, and was fascinated by how my cervix felt. I was cracking up, both from the absurdity of the situation and his face while he concentrated. Our daughter in the meantime, was sitting next to me overseeing closely. She was there when it was placed too, so I suppose it’s fitting.
After a while, my husband managed to grab it and I could feel it sliding down. But he had trouble getting it out so he went to see if he could come up with a new plan. He thought tweezers might help, but I was uncomfortable with that possibility. I gave it a try, and pulled it out on the first go. It was so easy! I didn’t feel any pain, and haven’t had any spotting.
It was so weird to see this little piece of metal and plastic that had been inside me for so long. It looks so innocuous it’s hard to believe something that small could prevent pregnancy. So we threw it away, and have officially removed the only barrier to adding to our family.
We haven’t told anyone that we took it out, or that we’re letting fate make the decision. It could be next month or a year from now. As of right now, we’re not actively trying, more just not preventing it.

Sorry for the tmi post. I hope it helps if you’re trying to decide if you can remove your own IUD. I also hope you check in to follow my baby journey. Eventually there will be a homebirth post, and a bunch of equally hippie esque things like placenta encapsulation. Fun!