My husband and I practice attachment parenting in all its baby-wearing glory. (I think he looks hot with a baby strapped to his chest!) I share my thoughts and reflections on this journey of raising two small humans entrusted to my care. Many of my parenting intentions flow from these thoughts on how I pray for my daughter.

7 Ways to Get Kids Their Movement Nutrients

7 Kids Movement Nutrients

Movement is as vital to our health and well being as food. But, just like there’s junk food, there’s also junk movement. Here are seven ways to get your kids the movement nutrients they need.

1. Move to improve how you feel not how you look. Our culture has an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Most fitness programs use before and after pictures to extol their benefits. If our exercise is giving us the appearance we want, we ignore signals from our body (aches and pains, insomnia, incontinence, constant stress etc.) that there might be something missing from our movement diet.

Let’s raise a generation of kids that act from somewhere deep within their body and soul. Teach them to have eyes to see that beauty, health and vitality flow from the inside out. Show them that we can evaluate our health by listening to our body not by looking at it in a mirror. Mamas, let’s stop talking about our own results in terms of a scale or a dress size.

2. Weave movement into the fabric of your days. We can’t get all of our movement nutrients in one 30-minute exercise session a day. We have to move all day long. Kids are naturally good at this. They don’t like chairs and are happy to sit on the floor. They run, skip, hop and twirl all day long.

Follow their lead. Be careful not stifle their natural inclinations to move. In fact, try to join them. We can all use more twirling in our life.

3. Work on your own alignment. Healthy alignment is a very precise thing. Our body functions optimally when our bones are in a specific relationship to each other. And, children learn alignment habits from their parents!

Learn how to evaluate your own alignment, then constantly work to improve it. (If you need an alignment primer, sign up for my FREE Barefoot Movement Camp!)

4. Go barefoot. Shoes weaken the intrinsic foot muscles and hinder the development of a healthy gait pattern. Encourage your kids to spend as much time in bare feet as possible.

5. Squat…a lot. Deep squatting in healthy alignment (vertical shins and untucked tailbone!) is essential to the health of our knees, hips and pelvic floor. While most adults rarely squat, toddlers do it all the time. Restore your own ability to squat. (Start by stretching your tight calves.) And, encourage your kids to squat several times a day.

6. Walk…a couple miles a day. There are few things that will improve the health of the body, mind and spirit like a good walk. And family walks are an excellent bonding opportunity. As soon as your baby begins to walk, take them outside for a stroll. Then, slowly lengthen the distance of your walks. Encourage your older kids to walk by playing music or games as you go.

7. Play on the monkey bars. We should all be strong enough to hold our own body weight from the arms. Encourage your children to develop this strength. And why not, hang with them. As you hang, try to keep the shoulders away from your ears, the ribs from thrusting forward and the legs in line with the torso.

With just a little more mindfulness, you and your kids can easily get the movement nutrients your bodies crave!

Move In The Direction Of



Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Natural New Year’s Resolutions. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.
Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to write for next month’s carnival.

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I have always been a person of resolve. I’ve been setting and chasing goals for as long as I can remember. (Nerd Alert: I read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when it was first published – I was 12!) But, over the last few years I’ve made a major shift in the way I set goals, and it has dramatically improved my success rate.

For so long, my goals were all about what I didn’t want. Weight. Anger. Stress. Pain. Tension. Waste. Debt. They were “healthy” goals, but they were all focused on the wrong thing. Instead of mentally moving toward something, my goals had me running away.

With every step forward, I had one eye looking ahead while the other was watching the monster chasing me. That scattered focus limited my progress.

Now, I’ve learned that a good goal has gravity. Like a mother waiting with open arms for a hug from her child, they draw you in. Good goals empower and encourage.

Today, when I set goals, I focus on what I’m moving in the direction of. Almost magically, the stuff I’m moving away from becomes a distant memory.

Natural Birth Stories {A Giveaway}

Natural-Birth-Stories-Book-CoverWhen describing my labor before my son’s birth, I often say, “I was in the zone.” My mind and body where working in perfect harmony. My focus was laser sharp. It was amazing.

But, that wasn’t just a happy accident. I prepared for that process both physically and mentally. My sweet friend, Shannon Brown of GrowingSlower, has just released an amazing new book that is sure to help women mentally prepare for natural childbirth.

Natural Birth Stories is a beautiful and encouraging read. With 32 positive natural birth stories (including my own VBAC!) and loads of tips from real mamas, I would love to see a copy of this book in the hand of every pregnant woman!

Shannon has a copy for one lucky reader! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win. She is also offering all Every Breath I Take readers a 20% discount! Simply use coupon code EVERYBIRTH (expires 11/26/13) when purchasing your copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Yes, I was given an advance copy of this book for review. But I also paid for a print copy when it was released – I love it that much! 

Holiday Slow


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Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.
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Hurry doesn’t only chase me in November and December, but it does seem relentless in the final months of the year. If I’m not careful, I find myself saying, “hurry up” to my kids more frequently than “I love you.” Not the mama I want to be.

So, of course I’m intentional about what things we choose to add to our schedule, but I’m trying something new this year to go one step further. My theme for this Holiday Season is “do everything ten percent slower.”

When we are baking banana bread, I know hurry will tell me, “Just crack the eggs for your 4-year-old, it will be faster!” But, I will slowly pick up each egg, handing them off as if they are a treasure I need to be slow and meticulous with. I will tell her she can take her time as hurry rushes on by.

When my 15-month old needs a diaper change in the middle of a gift-wrapping session, I will walk slowly to the changing table. I will sing Little Drummer Boy at a tempo ten percent slower than usual. I will smile, bond and connect through each step of this familiar routine, as hurry leaves us in its wake.

When my daughter and I are driving to our special Nutcracker date, I will savor the slow lane. I will watch the lights as cars speed by at 10 or even 20 miles over the speed limit. I won’t believe hurry, or honking horns, when they shout that the speed limit is too slow.

Yes, I’m inviting slow to take up residence in our home this holiday season. And maybe, by January, she’ll just be another member of the family.

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month’s carnival.

Celebration & Giveaway

Photo of Byron Bay - one of Australia's best beaches!

Welcome to the Natural Bump & Baby Giveaway Hop! This event is hosted by my amazing friend, Shannon at GrowingSlower. In celebration of the launch of her Natural Birth Stories book, all of the prizes in the hop are pregnancy and baby themed!

If you’re expecting or a new mom this event is for you! Be sure to enter to win the grand prize valued at over $385. It includes cloth diapers and accessories, essential oils, mama cloth, and more!

Then stop by and enter all 20+ giveaways linked at the bottom of this post.


Natural Bump & Baby Giveaway Grand Prize $385+ ARV
I’m thrilled to be giving away a one-year premium Stay-at-Home Yoga membership (valued at $79.99)! Every Stay-at-Home Yoga class offers modifications for expecting moms. In fact, you’ll notice I was pregnant for the filming of many of the classes!
Giveaway
Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. (It might take a second to load, but it should eventually show up below this paragraph. RSS and email subscribers may need to click through to the site to see it.) This giveaway is available to anyone! (If you already have a Stay-at-Home Yoga Premium Membership, and your entry is selected, I’ll give you a 1-hour private Skype session!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November Carnival of Natural Mothering

Carnival of Natural MotheringWe had a great time reading all about your Natural Birth Choices in the October carnival! We hope you will write again for the November Carnival of Natural Mothering. Keep reading to find out how to sign up!

November 2013 Carnival

Carnival Theme: Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays

As we approach the holiday season, it is easy to get swept up in preparations and anticipation. How do you bring your natural lifestyle into the holidays with you? Whether it’s eco-friendly party prep, special treats that are also healthy, traditions that involve aspects of nature, or the natural techniques you use to stay calm and focused during the busy months ahead, we would love to read your stories and suggestions that focus on all that relates to a natural lifestyle during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Signup Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To participate, just add your blog to the linky below.

Carnival Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A couple of days before the carnival, we’ll send you an email with the html code to include in your post. Please schedule your post for November 5, 2013 before 9 am Pacific. Be sure to visit and comment on the other participants’ posts on carnival day!

Sign up for October’s Carnival!

Add your blog name, blog url, your name, and email address to the linky below. We’ll email you with instructions for posting a couple of days before the Carnival goes live. (We reserve the right to remove posts that are off topic or don’t follow the natural values of the carnival.)

A Prequel to the Birth Story

 


Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

 

I love birth stories. They make me cry those big, fat, happy life-affirming tears. I think it is absolutely wonderful that more women are sharing their birth stories. However, there is another story I think we need to tell, particularly if we are to be better advocates for natural birth. This story takes place long before a baby’s birth and even before conception. This story is the prequel to the birth story. It is the story of how a woman comes to view birth, before she has ever experienced it. A story that a woman’s family of origin, her friends, movies, TV and the media all influence.

When I was fighting for my VBAC with my son, I struggled to adequately articulate my motivation. It felt like people either got it or they didn’t. Sometimes I didn’t need to explain at all, they simply understood my intentions. Other times, no amount of explaining could convince someone that all my efforts were justified. I realize now that was because they had already written and closed the book on their prequel.

So, today, I’m sharing my own prequel. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never given birth or if you’re a mother of ten. Your prequel is likely already drafted somewhere in your subconscious. I’m inviting you to pull it out. Take a look at it. Make sure it’s the story you want in there.

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I can’t remember the first time my mom told me my own birth story. It was a narrative woven into our days in such a way that I feel like I always knew that my mom thought childbirth was easy. She had completely natural, fast, hospital births with both my sister and me.

Somewhere along the way, I learned that my dad had made relaxation tapes for her to practice with throughout her pregnancies. She talked about the important role he played in our births, something that wasn’t as common in the mid to late 70s as it is today.

I have vivid memories of my mom having a very visceral response when we would watch a TV show or movie where a woman was screaming and yelling as she gave birth. “That’s not how I experienced it,” she would always assert.

When I was in my early 20s, my sister gave birth to my beautiful niece. She had a labor longer than either of my mom’s but also unmedicated. She never used the words “pain-free” like my mom had, but her experience further instilled in me a belief that natural childbirth was “easy” for women in my family.

When I started practicing and later teaching yoga, I quickly became an anatomy nerd. I grew fascinated with restoring healthy physical alignment in order to help all the systems of the body function optimally. The more I studied, the deeper my awe and respect for the human body became. I also began to grow leery of excessive and unnecessary intervention in the body’s natural processes and rhythms. When I did my prenatal yoga certification, years before I had my own pregnancy, the required readings all contributed to a belief in the female body to typically birth without medical intervention.

I was in my early thirties when I got pregnant for the first time. I had over three decades of prequel written into my story, but the devastation I experienced after losing my first baby added one final chapter, “The Researcher.” I found comfort and solace in facts, knowledge and understanding.

I am profoundly grateful for my prequel. It laid the foundation for me to easily make the choice for a cesarean birth when my daughter was footling breech. But, it was also the reason I was able to overcome so many obstacles and experience the amazing VBAC birth of my son.

What does your prequel say? How has or will it inform your birth stories?

 

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month’s carnival.

No More Tuesday Baby Link Up

Well, all that fresh start energy I talked about last week has really inspired, Shannon, Charise, Christine, Melissa and I. We have so loved connecting with our Tuesday Baby Link Up Community, but we are ready for a bit of a change. So, last week was the last link up. But, something new is on the horizon. Announcing…

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October 2013 Carnival

Carnival Theme: Natural Birth Choices

After the recent rumored natural birth of the future King of England, lots of people have been talking about the reasons a mother may pursue this type of birth. What does a “natural birth” mean to you? Why did (or do) you want a natural birth? What “natural” choices were you able to have, even in a birth that required medical intervention?

Signup Deadline: Sunday, September 29, 2013

To participate, just add your blog to the linky below.

Carnival Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A couple of days before the carnival, we’ll send you an email with the html code to include in your post. Please schedule your post for October 1, 2013 before 9 am Pacific.

Sign up for October’s Carnival!

Add your blog name, blog url, your name, and email address to the linky below. We’ll email you with instructions for posting a couple of days before the Carnival goes live. We reserve the right to remove posts that are off topic or don’t follow the natural values of the carnival.

Tuesday Baby Link Up {Week 46}

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Can you feel all the fresh start energy? I have some exciting announcements to share later this week, but it’s Tuesday, so let’s start the week by hearing about all things kiddo!

The Tuesday Baby Link Up

 

Grab the Badge

 

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Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take
Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama
Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry
Melissa at Adventures of Captain Destructo

Featured Post

My little man is in that into EVERYTHING phase. So, I’m always looking for good ways to direct his curiosity. Loved this posted from Life Alaskan Style full of ideas for entertaining toddlers.

Follow our Oh Baby Baby Pinterest board for even more featured posts. We are also looking for contributors to join this board, if you are interested, email Shannon at info [at] growingslower.com.

Tuesday Baby Link Up {Week 45}

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Can’t wait to see what everyone is up to this week! I’ve been spending nap times this week mapping out a rough set of goals for our homeschool preschool year. And, I’ll be pouring over the resources in the Mindful Learning e-bundle* as I do! (If you haven’t already, you want to check this out – over $50 of awesome learning resources for only $12.50. Hurry, though. It ends tomorrow! Click here to visit Mindful Nurturing.*)

*Affiliate link

The Tuesday Baby Link Up

 

Grab the Badge

 

BabyLinkUp500px

Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take
Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama
Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry
Melissa at Adventures of Captain Destructo

Featured Post

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings wants you to give a knife to your baby! And, I love her ideas! Check it out!

Follow our Oh Baby Baby Pinterest board for even more featured posts. We are also looking for contributors to join this board, if you are interested, email Shannon at info [at] growingslower.com.