Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

A new year of learning, growing, thriving… especially now that I have TWO boys!

What do you want to do differently this year as a parent?
Be more active. Ok, I have to give myself some slack in this area. Last year I had hyperemsis, a subchorionic bleed, and symphysis pubis dysfunction. Was on bedrest the entire pregnancy, then recovery from the emergency repeat c-section (failed VBAC). Still. Our awesome friend Jennifer, gave us a Brookfield Zoo Membership that I can’t WAIT to take full advantage of.

I also want us to focus on more of a schedule. As it stands now we are all naturally nocturnal, which is fine for the Winter, but when the warmer Spring starts to happen I want us to have a semi-set bedtime so we can spend our days outside in the fresh air, exploring.

We also, especially with our oldest son, will give even more support and guidance. He came back from living with his bio-dad and bio-dad’s girlfriend sickly, unhealthy, afraid, and with night terrors. After only 5 months with them. It’s been a long year of slow healing for him emotionally and physically.

We will be working on stronger reading skills (we homeschool/unschool), more math skills, and anything else he wants to learn! Already we’ve noticed a huge leap in his language since being back home, especially in the past few months, and we really want to encourage him to speak properly, eloquently, etc. I always have a tendency to get a bit upset in general with people who “dumb” themselves down.

With the baby, there isn’t too much I need to do differently. Naturally this year is a big one for development so I do want to expose him to different music, photography, and textures early on.

What do you want to be the same?
With my oldest son, the love and desire to be a family. So many children I know can’t stand to be around their parents and my son loves nothing more than “family time”. Just on Monday night, he sat on the floor in our bedroom and sang to all of us (the boyfriend aka “real daddy” as my son calls him, the baby, and myself) about how much he loved us individually. His little brother LOVED it. Huge smiles, laughs, and squeals!

With the baby, just his enthusiasm. He is always so excited to see me when he wakes up (yay for co-sleeping) and overall is super chill.

What went exceptionally well in 2009?
Having Danny move back home into a safe, secure, well-loved environment. Giving birth to Tristan. Seeing the love between brothers who are almost eight years apart.

What could you use a do-over?
Well obviously, not have Dan live with his bio-dad heh. I also would have started homeschooling him right away instead of having more damage done by the local public school.

So to recap:
Create more of a structure for not only myself but for my oldest son. Make an effort this year to create some amazing experiences.

Carnival of Natural Parenting Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


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Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com commented 1 times at OSN!

Wow, what a year for you! You’ve done brilliantly despite some big challenges. I wish you luck for your goals of finding structure for you and your son; it really makes a difference to my life too :)
.-= {shared blog entry – Natural parenting resolutions} =-.

Jenn tweets at  & has commented 86 times at OSN!

Great questions, and great answers! I know how committed you are to being a great parent to Danny and Tristan, so I have no doubt that you’ll be able to follow through with your goals.

P.S. Let’s see more photos of your sons, woman! I want to see how they’ve grown. ;)
.-= {shared blog entry – Video Blog Challenge: 01} =-.

Sarah tweets at  & has commented 3875 times at OSN!

@Mrs. Green, thank you so much! I have high hopes for this year (2010) especially once it warms up outside and we aren’t trapped inside so much. Cabin fever!

@Jenn, I just wish I could take back those five months he spent with Matt and his girlfriend. The damage Daniel incurred from that is immeasurable. My biggest life regret right there.

I am going to upload a video of Tristan in a few of him giggling, I think Daniel made some videos with the Kodak zi6 that I need to view/maybe upload.

Samantha tweets at  & has commented 130 times at OSN!

Your children are incredibly lucky to have a mother who is so dedicated to their health, happiness and education. I know a lot of parents who should never have had children because they lacked the fundamental skills that you possess and express to your children every day.

I hope you forgive yourself for having Danny live with his BioDad, though. It was a learning experience, and although it had negative side effects on Danny, your love and attention will reverse them and now there are no “what ifs” left. You can move on, move foreward and continue to make him the luckiest kid I’ve ever seen :)

.-= {shared blog entry – I’m back for a reason} =-.

Dionna commented 17 times at OSN!

How it must have hurt your heart to have your son returned harmed :( I know he will heal and be a stronger little person with your family’s love there to cradle him. You are amazing, mama!

.-= {shared blog entry – January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Resolutions} =-.

Melodie commented 36 times at OSN!

Okay, I just have to say how cool your list of the other submissions looks. I know this is off topic but I keep on loving how awesome your blog looks. As for being on-topic, I think it sounds like you have a great foundation for a very happy new year!

.-= {shared blog entry – Mindfully Loving My Children} =-.

Jeanette commented 11 times at OSN!

We are unschoolers too! For years I felt bad that I should be “doing more”, it took me awhile to get it. I finally realized that my kids pick up so much stuff on their own and by asking me about things they don’t know and are interested in. Example: I thought I should be doing some kind of structured vocab work with my 12yo. But she reads a lot and if she reads or hears a word she doesn’t know she asks me or looks it up herself. So why should I be doing boring vocab work with her? I think she will be just fine! LOL! I try to encourage reading and math skills and the rest is pretty open and spontaneous. It is amazing what they know at their ages though! We do have a lot of textbooks/workbooks. My kids will get on a kick and want to work on them and we do. But when they get tired of it we put them away indefinitely and I am ok with that. Took me awhile to grasp the idea of unschooling, but now that I do I think it’s a great fit. Esp with a baby in the house! :)

Good luck with all of your parenting resolutions! You have inspired me to make some myself! :)

BluebirdMama commented 1 times at OSN!

I just discovered you through the carnival. I really love the simple beauty of your blog – you’ve done a fabulous job.

May 2010 be a year of healing for all of you!

Paige commented 4 times at OSN!

I also had pubis symphysis dysfunction during my pregnancy. I was on bed rest for the last 4 months. How awful! I couldn’t even roll over in bed without being in tears. Luckily it cleared up within a week of delivery save for a little pain now and then.

It sounds like your older son loves having a baby brother! Good luck with your resolutions!

Sybil commented 1 times at OSN!

More structure sounds like it will be great for your family! I hope you all have a blast homeschooling and enjoy that zoo membership :)

Darcel commented 8 times at OSN!

Love your blog! It’s so tranquil. Makes me want to spend lots of time here just going from post to post. I will probably come back and do that :)

Another unschooler here! I love it. This journey has been so amazing for our family. I love seeing how my girls learn from everything.

I am so sorry your son has had a difficult time after coming back from his dad’s. It sounds like he is thriving since being back home with you.

I also want to be more active this year.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama commented 26 times at OSN!

Thanks so much for sharing your story of the past year. It sounds like it was really tough physically and emotionally, but I’m so happy for you that you have both boys together now and can continue your recovery together.

I love your layout and coding, too! You’ll have to teach me how to do things all neat-o like this. :)
.-= {shared blog entry – Wordless Wednesday: Drunken photo meme} =-.

Ruth Moss commented 1 times at OSN!

How awful that your child came back from his bio dad’s house so upset. I really feel for you. Good that you are putting so much energy into healing him though. I wish you every success. :-)
.-= {shared blog entry – This year, I will mostly…} =-.

Jessica - This is Worthwhile commented 3 times at OSN!

I second everyone’s sentiments: love the blog layout, love your determination to get through a trying year, and I also love your sensitivity to your younger son’s situation. A lot of parents these days seem to miss the nuance of a child struggling and punish the behavior instead of looking beyond. You should definitely give yourself a big pat on the back for that.

I look forward to reading more :)
.-= {shared blog entry – Wordless Wednesday – Exhausted aunt on baby-duty} =-.

Kate @ Momopoly commented 1 times at OSN!

Great resolutions.

I want to be more active, too. Just today I went on a brisk walk and it boosted my mood tremendously. I need to make more of an effort to to be outside in the sunshine even when it’s cold outside.

I also am working on more structure, not rigid, militant routines, but a flow to our days. Since baby number three arrived last April, we’ve been struggling to find our rhythm. I’m going to work on it.

Blessings.
.-= {shared blog entry – Empty Yourself} =-.

Sarah tweets at  & has commented 3875 times at OSN!

@Samantha thank you! I know I tend to punish myself a lot for letting Daniel go through that experience with his father. A good friend of mine told me, “at least now he knows who his bio-dad REALLY is”, and I suppose she’s right. My boyfriend really stepped up to the role as “father” and now Danny calls him “real-daddy”. Still, it’s crazy to me that almost a year after the fact, he still has night terrors if he hears bio-dads voice (old videos) or sees his photo.

@Dionna it absolutely killed me and STILL kills me daily. Just the first week we had to deal with his teeth (they turned brown while up there, now back to a healthy white), his hair/nails hadn’t been trimmed, we had to wash EVERYTHING because they contained some weird odor. However as I said many times, the night terrors are the worst. We moved Daniel’s bed into our bedroom because of them and even now he has a hard time being say, in the activity room if we are in the living room. He HATES being by himself now.

@Melodie thank you! I needed it to be as close to XHTML compliant as possible and well… I wanted it to be pretty lol.

@Jeanette I think the most annoying about homeschooling/unschooling is how my family wants to quiz Daniel or try to get him to conform into their ideal of what he “should” know. Since pulling him out of public school his vocabulary has improved tremendously and his urge to really create has started to come back as well!

@BluebirdMama thank you so much!

@ Paige oh I really feel for you. I didn’t have SPD with my first so I had NO idea what I was in for. Same as you, it pretty much went away after the baby was born and I only feel it slightly every once in a while.

@ Sybil thank you! I am excited because Brookfield Zoo is one of the best!!

@Darcel thank you so much!! I pretty much had a ton of time to work on my site since I do it while the baby nurses lol. It’s so hard as an unschooler to get my family to respect that and NOT try to pressure Dan to fit into their idea of what an 8yr old should know/do/act/etc. Danny really is doing SO much better, not only emotionally/mentally but physically as well.

@Lauren lol I always say I am the worst teacher, Keith has been after me forever to teach him XHTML/CSS but I always feel lost because I pick it up SO easily I don’t know how to make it easy for another person. Yeah 2008/2009 was just… life changing really for everyone involved.

@Ruth Moss thank you, it kills me daily. I don’t understand how his biological father and bio-dad’s girlfriend could do the crap they did to my son. All the while they have a baby daughter who (from what bio-dad told me over the summer) wasn’t even being fed properly! I will NEVER understand it.

@Jessica thank you! I find it interesting sometimes that I parent the way I do considering the way I was raised (VERY mainstream and VERY abusive). The weather is really warming up in the next week so I have high hopes for some park time/zoo time! Get out of the house finally lol.

@Kate oh yes, it’s amazing how rejuvenating fresh air can be! I was never one for schedules and even less so now that Tristan is here. I am just not that organized lol.

Recovering Procrastinator commented 3 times at OSN!

How heartbreaking for your son to come home unwell. I look forward to following his progress. (I found you through the carnival and really like what I’ve read so far.) We also really need to work on schedules and structure around here. Days, like today, when we have nothing planned quickly turn to chaos and unhappiness all around. Not good.
.-= {shared blog entry – 38 is the magic number} =-.

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