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Minimalist Parenting Downloadable Ebook Giveaway!

Minimalist Parenting Co-Authors Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest

Happy Wednesday! I know I promised a free printable for today (which I promise to have tomorrow!), but we ended up going to a last minute birthday dinner for a family friend and I didn’t have time to pull it all together properly. You understand, right? I love writing for this blog, but sometimes life throws some surprises to which I just have to say yes. 🙂

However, I have some wonderful news to share! I got an email yesterday from the lovely Mrs. Asha Dornfest. She is providing one lucky Paperseed reader with a free downloadable e-copy of her brand new book Minimalist Parenting! If you read what I wrote here, or read her blog Parent Hacks, then you know that I am a big fan and that this book is filled with quality information and tactics on modern parenting without all the fuss and bother (well, at least ways to minimize the fuss and bother!). I am really enjoying my copy and I know that you would, too!

Just leave a comment here on this post before Friday at 5pm PST. The lucky winner will be chosen using random.org and notified via email (so be sure to provide one). Since the prize is digital, this giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. Best of luck!

Update: Charlotte is the Minimalist Parenting Ebook giveaway winner! I will be emailing you shortly with the code. Congratulations!!!

 


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Minimalist Parenting Book Launch Party

Minimalist Parenting Signed Book

Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely weekend! I did something a little out of the ordinary this weekend, and decided to attend the launch party for a book called Minimalist Parenting. Have you heard of it? Since I recently began using twitter again, I was seeing links from one of the people I follow, who happens to be co-author Asha Dornfest of Parenthacks. I love the idea of minimalist parenting. There is so much information overload these days – books, experts, web sites, opinions, self-tests, studies… how can a parent who wants the best for his or her children not get overwhelmed?

Anyway, my husband was off fishing on Saturday so I had to take the kids with me. I admit I almost didn’t go. It was held so close to bedtime, but I knew it was a book I’d want to read, plus I wanted to support my fellow Portlander. And I’m glad I did! I got to meet Asha (who was so friendly, and completely gracious about my kids jumping off the stage while she was giving her talk) and got a signed, personalized copy! I’ve only just started the book, but I am already looking forward to the chapters on “Minimalizing your Home” and “Meal Planning for Real Life.” I truly think that anyone who comes to read here at Paperseed would find Minimalist Parenting an easy, thoughtful guide that focuses on whats important to us as individuals and parents.


Want to learn more? You can check out the Minimalist Parenting web page here, or join me in doing MinCamp, a free companion workshop which includes a different daily task each day for 14 days.  I signed up on Saturday and got my first email today. The task took only a few minutes and included an exercise in narrowing down what my personal priorities are as a parent. It seems simple, but we all know writing things down helps to keep us focused, even if we’re off track (as I know I get. A lot!). If you do end up reading the book, I’d love to know what you think of it!

P.S. Good news! Asha has provided a downloadable copy of Minimalist Parenting for one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this giveaway post before Friday at 5pm PST to enter!

P.S.S This post is not a paid review, just my own personal opinion and experience.


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Night Waking

Last night, as I was getting ready to shower before bed, I heard the telltale patter of little feet in the hall and then our room. I peeked out the bathroom door to find Chloe climbing into bed beside daddy, mumbling sleepily about something scary.

This was a surprise. Though she has woken up from bad dreams before,  she usually just called to us from her room. This was the first time she’d ever come into ours.

I hesitated. Part of me wanted to see what was wrong. To snuggle beside her and David. But part of me also knew that night wakings are delicate situations. I had been warned by other parents, and didn’t want to encourage a nightly recurrence.

My pause gave me the time I needed to conclude that Daddy’s got this one. I continued my shower, feeling a little guilty and also curious. I reminded myself that I was giving David an “opportunity” to parent.

Of course, I love my kids and know it’s my job to Mother. But I admit that sometimes I step in for other reasons – maybe because I want to handle a situation my way, or maybe just to to “spare” David the task (don’t get me wrong, there are PLENTY of times I’ve been just as happy letting him deal with a situation). But my kids have two parents. Just as I do them a disservice when I don’t let them try figuring things out on their own, its the same if I don’t allow them to benefit from both parents.

By the time I finished brushing my teeth, daddy had quietly helped Chloe back to bed and all was peaceful in the house.

But I doubt it will be the last we’ll see of Chloe in our bedroom at night. I have a feeling this could be the start of another chapter of parenting.

PS. The photo above is Chloe hanging from her Ikea Kura Bed that we painted white. The wall mural was painted by her Grandma Sandy when Chloe was a baby. You can see a color photo here. We talk about painting her room, but I can’t bear to see it go just yet.

 


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The neglected toddler

These photos were taken at Rainbow Trout Farm a few weeks ago where Chloe got her first “real” fishing experience. David insists that Chloe will be a champion fly-fisher one day, so he is starting her down the path to success. Leo was only 2 weeks old then. He mostly slept through the whole experience.

***

In the case of a toddler versus newborn scenario, it is almost certain to be the toddler who gets shafted. I feel like I’m always asking Chloe to “hold on” while I see to Leo’s needs first (feeding, diaper changing, whatever) before I can get Chloe what she wants (anything from setting her up with a project, getting her a snack or putting on a video). Very rarely do I let Leo really cry while I see to Chloe’s needs, although sometimes there has been no choice in the matter.

One of the reasons I am grateful for David’s paternity leave is the time he’s been able to devote to Chloe. Yes, I’ve needed a little help with the newborn, but at this point I have the skills to take care of him on my own. Knowing Chloe is getting attention from Daddy (and grandma while she was here) really helps assuage the guilt I feel for not spending more quality time with her. It also leaves me more free time to focus on Leo. This newborn period flies by, and I am trying to savor it the best I can, knowing it will be gone all too soon.


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Despite the best intentions

Chloe had an unusually accident prone day today. It started with a bloody split lip on a picnic bench at the park, with further little mishaps throughout the day, ending with a scraped cheek on one of the short bamboo poles that surround our smallest garden plot.

After the early split lip, I tried to be careful of the foods I offered her afterwards – banana, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese – but after lunch I forgot and gave her kiwi. I felt so bad after she cried out that in a mild panic I offered her vanilla ice cream, hoping to soothe the swelling and sting. David gave me a brief hard time for the kiwi, but then during dinner he gave her ketchup, which, from her reaction, must have been worse. Uh-huh. Despite the depth of our love for our daughter and our willingness to protect her, both of us accidentally caused her just a little more pain due to simple forgetfulness. I don’t know why, but it surprises me. We’re only human? We make mistakes? But they’re careless mistakes, despite our best intentions.

After our al fresco dinner, we stayed in the backyard for a while longer, soaking up the beautiful blue skies and temperate weather. David and Chloe were playing together, so I started clearing the table, but them came back out to sit and watch. It was weird though, because I kept feeling pulled to do something else – get on the computer, play with my iphone (did you know you can watch netflix movies now?), read through a catalog that came in the mail, anything but just sit there, enjoying a beautiful evening with my family. That didn’t seem right either. Summer will be over in less than a month, and I could barely seem to quiet my mind long enough to appreciate it. I shared these thoughts aloud to David, and he replied that I’ve always been like that. That my mind is always going, and I often seem to be somewhere else. He continued to tease me (I think) with some exaggerations, but there was some truth to what he was saying. Anyway, eventually we lay there on the grass in each others arms, with Chloe and Barkley playing close by, and I was able to focus in on the moment, for which I am grateful. It seems that it shouldn’t be so hard, to be in the present, but sometimes it is. I, in particular, have to work at it. Maybe that is why I enjoy reading so much, because I like to “get away” for a while. But it is nice, and important, to come back, too.

Oh, and two more things: 1) I finally got a decent shot of one of the elusive white butterflies (above) that I mentioned here.  2) The article on how Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime (NYTimes) is worth a read. Goodnight!


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Dear Chloe, 7 months


Barkley and Chloe in the backyard

Dear Chloe,

Happy 7 months old sweetie! Is it possible for me to love you more and more each day? You’re still my baby, but I see signs of you becoming your own person, developing your own preferences. You are certainly ready to move, pushing your current motor skills to the limit. You have this funny habit of pumping your arms and legs, sort of like swimming, but more floppy, like a fish out of water, when you are tired of laying on your stomach and want us to sit you up. Sometimes it freaks me out when I set you down for a moment and come back to find that you are not where I left you. You’re not scooting yet, but you are becoming a champ at pivoting, pushing off objects (like me) with your feet, or pushing yourself backwards with your hands – that combined with a roll or two really gets you going places. Places beyond my current comfort level. You are also really into tags. Tags on your soft books, stuffed animals, toys, and play gym all go straight into your mouth.


Stylin’ with your new sunglasses

Physically, you seem pretty similar. You’re still petite for your age, with tiny feet and tiny toes, but you might be lengthening out and putting on a bit more weight. Last month we noticed that the cute, fuzzy hair at the tip of your ears has disappeared.  Your eyes are still dark grey, but there is a little patch of brown creeping out around your pupils. Sometimes they look hazel depending on the light. It is unusual because your eyes are darker than mine, and mine are brown. Every month your hands and fingers seem to grow more precise and nimble. Even when I think something is out of your reach, you manage to stretch out just far enough and quick enough to surprise me.


Chloe hanging out with Lorenzo and Ania

You are now eating several solid foods. In order, you’ve been introduced to rice cereal, banana, sweet potato, pear, peas, apple, avocado, prunes and squash. You prefer banana and sweet potato, and don’t particularly care for avocado or prunes. I have to hide the prunes in some banana to make it more appealing to you. We are also having more success in getting you to drink water or watered down apple juice from your sippy cup.


With your Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Alan in Colorado, and playing in your room

This past month we flew to Colorado for the first time to visit your Dad’s side of the family. I know you had a great time (as did your dad and I). We also went on your first trip to the zoo. I don’t know that you saw very much this time, but I’m sure we’ll visit again soon.

And then there is sleeping (sigh). We moved you out of our room and into your room, and adopted a bedtime routine, hoping you’d sleep more and wake less. There have been a few days of longer sleep stretches, but also many, many days where you’d wake up a lot more than before. Sometimes I doubt whether we’re doing the right thing. I also sometimes wish we had gotten a video monitor, even though you are only one room over. On the flip side, nap times have gotten much easier. Sometimes you’ll go down right away, or just fuss briefly before drifting off. I am grateful for that.

Looking forward to another wonderful month with my darling baby girl,
Your mama


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Challenges


Unexpected flowers flourishing in a crack on the Feldkamp’s front porch.

Ugh. We’ve only been back for a few days and already I feel so BORED! Now I know why new mothers tend to have shopping disorders – it’s simply an easy, safe, and entertaining thing to do with a baby. It gets you both out of the house, and if you happen to find something cute or useful, then it gives you a sense of accomplishment, too. The thing is, after two back-to-back trips to each set of grandparents, Chloe has almost everything she needs until winter. Plus, I really don’t want to become that kind of mother…

So, what else is there to do? I could start a craft or sewing project, but I don’t really have anything in mind, nor do I look forward to being interrupted every two minutes. Plus, our house is so small that the sound of the sewing machine wakes up the baby. We could go on a day trip, maybe to the coast or to the Oregon Garden, except that Chloe really doesn’t like her car seat right now. She’ll probably just cry until she falls asleep, but by then I’d get a headache and the fun would drain right out of the adventure. Hiking is out of the question, even though I enjoy it. I’m one of those mothers who doesn’t really feel safe in the woods all alone with her baby. Chloe hasn’t liked going for walks in her stroller lately, either, which makes walking the dog a bigger chore than it needs to be, which sucks.

So, what to do? Yes, we still do the baby time at the library, but that is only 30 minutes, one day a week. Gymboree and baby pool classes are another option, but they are just so expensive. I’d love to take a class on my own, maybe on web design or photography, but finding a sitter is a whole ‘nother can of worms. Mom?! Sandy?! I miss you guys SO much!


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Baby Carrier Recommendation – Beco vs. Ergo

During our recent trip we decided to leave the stroller at home, making our Beco baby carrier a constant companion. Carriers are an indispensable parenting tool, keeping baby safe and close while conveniently allowing the hands free to do other things.

Before our daughter was born, my husband found a local store that carried both Moby Wraps and Ergo Carriers, so that we could try them out. This is where we were introduced to the Beco. I was hesitant at first, because A) I had never heard of the Beco, B) it was more expensive, and C) I already felt sold on the Ergo from all the good things my friends had to say. However, the sales lady was very knowledgeable, and clearly stated the differences so that we could decide for ourselves. In the end, we decided on both a Moby (which I also highly recommend) and a Beco (which David preferred over the Ergo).

Since I don’t own an Ergo, I can’t speak from experience of having both, but they have a very good reputation. However, there are several features which set the Beco apart. The feature my husband liked best (besides the fact that the Beco fit us both equally well) was that the Beco sits baby in a pouch, so that even if the waist belt somehow came undone, the baby would not fall through. This makes transferring the baby from person to person, which I have done, very easy. On the Ergo, a person to person transfer is impossible without taking the baby out completely and then re-settling her into the carrier. The Ergo’s waist belt forms the pouch, so the baby is only secure if the waist belt is fastened.

The initial cost of a Beco is more than the initial cost of an Ergo, however the Beco comes with the infant insert, and the Ergo’s must be purchased separately for an extra $25-$38. The Beco insert attaches to a large velcro strip on the inside of the pouch creating a raised seat, suitable for newborns and infants. The Ergo insert looks like a small, thick quilt, in which you wrap the baby (much like a hot dog bun) before inserting her into the carrier. Both carriers come with an adjustable hood. The Beco hood is removable and tucks into the front of the waistbelt. Tthe Ergo’s is permanently attached and tucks into the front pouch.

Another appealing feature of the Beco is it’s thinner profile and the multiple available patterns. I am stopped surprisingly often by curious and admiring mothers and grandmothers asking what brand it is. We have the River print (shown above). The one feature that the Ergo has that I’d love on the Beco is a zipper pocket.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion, there is no way of knowing which bag is right for you and your baby until you try them on yourself. We purchased ours before the baby came, so we wouldn’t have to bother with it afterward. Honestly, I highly recommend either one, especially if you’re into attachment parenting or just want the convenience of a safe and alternative mode of transportation, other than a stroller.

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