whole parenting

Vintage Shopping Tips from My Girlfriend

October 28, 2015

I took a little field trip with my two great girlfriends (and one babe) over to Rewind, a vintage boutique with two locations in Minneapolis. (They were kind enough to let us snap pics inside!) Mary has a flair for hunting out the best styles and deals. She’s a believer that you don’t have to shop the mall to find high quality deals, in fact you probably won’t find them there. Treasures abound in vintage shops! Cynthia & her babe, Mary & her baby belly, and I set off to find some of those treasures together. We entered the shop and I was pretty overwhelmed. So much everywhere!! Good thing Mary reviewed her quick list for vintage shopping rules with me that are so helpful for the mom on a budget who wants to still look fashionable. 1) Look beyond the size of the article of clothing. Buy “off sizes” for deals.  Use a belt to turn an extra large tunic into a flowing shirt dress with leggings. Don’t rule out petites or longs. Tailoring is always an option. Tunics and sleeves that flow: always a chic look (regardless of how bloated you feel that day;). If you are pregnant or nursing, you can avoid many of the costly maternity items by simply finding a larger size that’s flowing. Buy fewer items, but buy smarter. A quality wardrobe is best built one item at a time.  Go for that “gem.” 2) Rock the pattern. Look for patterns that draw the eye in different directions. Confidently wear zigzag…

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On Encouraging My Husband to Run a Marathon

October 1, 2015

Watching my beloved train for a marathon that is THIS WEEKEND! since April? May? means I’ve cheered, encouraged, cried in frustration, jumped up and down for joy, and been schooled in stamina and sacrifice. It also means I’ve learned to make space. Make space for him to do something he’d love, even though it’s not always been convenient or fun for me. Where’s the sacrifice and growth for me if it were easy for me to encourage and support him in his training? If it’s easy, I’m probably not learning much. And this past 5 months or so have not been easy for either of us, but we’ve both learned sooooooo much. AA has been a serious runner forever. As a middle schooler & high schooler, he broke and set all records for his long distances. He was asked to run for a fabulous college. He lived, slept, ate, breathed running for a very long time. In the decade between his peak collegiate running and us having kids, he ran regularly. Add kid. Add long hours high stress job. Add more kids. Running had fallen to the wayside. Despite the wife encouraging and nagging, it took him finding his own visceral need for it again to bring forth: marathon training! I listened as he gauged and researched and poured over his laptop for races near by and far from the Twin Cities before he landed on the big TC Marathon. When he announced he thought he’d sign up to run…

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Parenting Hack: the bribery point system that works

August 24, 2015

Before I had kids, I thought bribing your child to do something was akin to derelict parenting. In fact, I thought it was derelict parenting. I thought children should be treated like mini-adults, such that once they hit about 4 years old, they would understand the causal relationship between action & consequence and sorry, pal, you blew it, try again, would work. Bribing them with baseball cards, ice cream, trips to the train store, opportunities to get out of bed earlier and go to bed later, I mean, who would do such things? ME! ME! I used to say, Don’t do this or that or you won’t get this or that. And then I’d have to make good on my threats. And it always felt like a threat. I do bribes with glee, but threats–I end up feeling like a curmudgeon. And then have to constantly dole out a unique or (worse) oft-repeated punishment when they inevitably do not listen and obey. But beyond just saying it aloud (which goes in one adorable ear and out the awful one), I’ve finally landed on a tried & true method of pure incentivizing that actually works and has durability. It has lasted over a month. The subjective and indiscriminate point system. Here’s how it works: They start out at zero. The five year old has to hit 15 before the promised action//gift//treat. The three year old has to hit 10. And anything and everything can give and taketh away points. You hit your…

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5 Mothering Mistakes with My Firstborn

June 10, 2015

You know what they say . . . wisdom comes with age? You learn through experience? Your first child suffers from all your experimental parenting? Oh, maybe they don’t say the third. Maybe it’s just me. When people see the baby and I running errands, he is highly complimented on his blue eyes and sweet clutching chubby hands. I get knowing looks from older women, the look of oh, to have a baby again–so simple, so sweet. I want to assure them all that I’m no spring-chick mother. I have two older kids. I know all the unsolicited advice they’re wishing they could mombard me with because it’s along the same lines of what I’d harbor in my head seeing a new mom. What I’d really want to tell her, though, isn’t to make sure to air dry if he has a diaper rash before you slather all that stuff on his bottom. What I’d really want to tell her, in a clutching her shoulders, crazed sort of way, is to not repeat the mistakes I made when I was a first time mom. She’s probably smarter and wiser than I was, so perhaps she’s graduated to her own level of errors. 1) I was afraid to look like a first-time mom. Wiping toys and pacifiers that fell on the floor? Should I? I don’t want to look like a germaphobe, or worse, a first-time mom. Insistent he receive reassurance the second his toddler padded cloth diaper bum hit the ground after…

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5 Ways to Stop the Habit of Shouting at Your Kids

May 25, 2015

The other night we were praying night prayers. I asked my oldest what he wanted to tell God, or ask of God. He began, “Dear God. Please help me to be a better boy.” I choked up. I actually felt the sting of a tear swell up in my dry eye socket. He was really getting this whole prayer thing. He continued, “And God, please make my mom a better mom. Please make her stop shouting at me so much. Thank you very much. The end.” Indignation replaced sentimentality. I bit my tongue and almost gasped out, Speak for yourself, buddy!!! When I realized it. I had become a habitual shouter. The kids knew it and now I knew it too. I remembered the great book I read last year about habits (The Power of Habit) and started to make a plan for breaking this habit. 1) Accept that you’re a shouter. It has taken me a long time to acknowledge this isn’t just one bad day, or one bad instance that really set me off. I now have the habit of letting my frustration get the better of me, and am a habitual shouter. It’s not everyday, but it is definitely a lose-my-temper-a-few-times-a-week. And immediate remorse. And apologies. And feeling like I will never let myself do it again. Until I do. 2) Replace the undesired shouting with a different activity instead of quitting cold turkey. I’m replacing shouting with a deep overly dramatic exhale and digging my fingernails into my…

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9 Favorite Baby Toys for the First Year

May 14, 2015

As I’ve been going through like the mad woman that I am and purging out toys, books, clothing we aren’t using regularly or frankly, that I loathe, I’m realizing there are a few staples from the first years of my older children’s now long-past childhoods that the baby loves. That I love. That really, after three kids, I would buy, full-price. At the snap of a credit card against the counter. That fast. Over on my baby registry post I list out the must-haves for babies in general, but these are my real workhorse toys that I am going to put my stamp of approval on. Big stamp. Me. Right there. 1) Silicone teething ring It has different textures along its ridges. It can be clung and clutched. It can be easily wiped off after rolling away from you on an airplane. We have it in in yellow & I bought in on a whim at the coop one day many years ago. Love it! I think this link sells a two pack. Worth it! 2) Wooden rolling wheel We bought one similar to this when I was first pregnant with SuperBoy. One of those “oh, look, it’s wooden and I’m feeling nesty” buys. It has rolled its weight in gold. Yes, my children also bang it on their faces, but it rolls and jingles and the insides do NOT come out. That’s right. No fetching on the parents part. 3) Indestructible books: Baby Faces The avid teether loves these and the older…

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