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Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:01

Thursday Interview - Crunchy Farm Baby

Please welcome Leah for this week's Interview with a Mom.  Leah blogs at Crunchy Farm Baby, where she writes about life as a crunchy mama to her son, Charlie.  Some of the many topics she covers include natural/attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, DIY tips and tutorials, natural cleaners and bath products, vegetarian/vegan recipes, gardening, toddler activities, and more!

My Interview with Leah:

How many children do you have, and what are their ages?

    I have one son, Charlie, who will be 14 months next week.

How would you describe yourself as a parent, or your parenting style, in a few sentences? 

     I think that the attachment parenting style fits the way we are raising Charlie the best.  We believe in respecting his emotional needs, so breastfeeding and cosleeping are very important to us.  When Charlie is older and can understand consequences, we will have a responsible/respectful method of discipline in place for him.  We also believe in natural parenting - we did not circumcise, we do not vaccinate, we only go to the doctor if there is a sickness I cannot treat at home (which, thankfully, he's never needed), and we stay away from antibiotics and OTC meds unless absolutely necessary - relying first on what nature gives us to heal.

What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about being a parent?

     I think the toughest thing for me, personally, has been remembering that it is important to take time for myself every now and then.  I know it's a mother's nature to put everyone ahead of herself, so that when it comes time to do something for herself, she almost feels guilty for doing it.  This is self-destructive behavior, and I'm working very hard to allow myself some "me" time.  For me, it's running - at least three days a week, I lace up my shoes and go for a jog.  It's a great time to reflect and relax and really focus on me.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest thing about being a parent?

     The unconditional love that is felt among my husband, son, and I is indescribable.  Even on days when things aren't "perfect," when we go to bed at night and we're all cuddled in together.... it's just the greatest feeling there is.

Tell me about one of the scariest incidents you can remember involving your son.

     Thankfully we haven't had any really serious injuries or illnesses with Charlie (knock on wood).  He's had a few falls that have been scary for a few seconds, but nothing significant.  The situation surrounding his birth was a bit scary though.  We had a homebirth planned, but I ended up with severe preeclampsia, so we had to deliver a month early in the hospital.  We were fortunate to have a very healthy baby, but it was scary nonetheless.

What have you learned about yourself from being a parent?

     Becoming a parent has really shown me what characteristics I share with each of my parents.  I have the patience of my father (or lack thereof) and the nurturing instincts of my mother.  It's funny the little things that I've noticed too - like when Charlie gets hurt, I grab him and run away from anyone else that may be in the room.  My mother did the same thing when we were children and it drove my father crazy! 

What was/is your favourite lullaby to sing to your son?

    I'm really more of a hummer than a singer, but I've been singing songs from the Discovery Toys Sounds Like Fun CD since he was born, because those were the songs that I listened to when I was a baby.

What was/is your favourite book to read to your son? Or your son's favourite?

     Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion was the first book that we read to Charlie, so that will always be my favorite.  Charlie's current favorite book is Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming.  He especially loves the donkey page and constantly flips back to it.

Is there anything you do as a parent, that you thought you would never do?

     I always thought that I would go back to work soon after having a baby, but I am so thankful that we are financially stable (and frugal) enough that I don't have to work right now.  Being home with Charlie and being able to breastfeed him into his toddler years is very important to me.  I also didn't really expect to co-sleep, but it's been wonderful for us.  Charlie has a beautiful crib that my parents bought him that he's never once slept in.  Thankfully, it turns into a really nice toddler bed, so eventually he will be able to use it.  For now though, we're all happy having him in bed with us at night!

What is the most significant thing you learned about parenting from your own parents?

     As simple as it sounds, I think the idea that "family comes first" really drives a lot of the decisions that my husband and I make as parents, which is exactly how I was raised.  We have run into some negative responses from family and friends about some of our choices as parents (i.e. planning a homebirth, not vaccinating, extended breastfeeding, etc.), but being confident in our decisions and having that "our family comes first" mindset, we've been able to persevere and have changed a lot of minds by how healthy and happy Charlie has remained.  We actually parent Charlie a lot like my parents raised me and my siblings, so I suppose I learned a lot from them.

What is the most important thing you hope to teach your children before they leave your home?

     To find what makes you happy and not let anyone change your mind or deter you from that path.  Brian and I both wrote a list of 25 Lessons for Charlie on his first birthday; and I shared them on my blog.  Here they are:  Daddy's Lessons and Mommy's Lessons

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new parent?

     Go with your gut.  Every new mommy and daddy gets inundated with advice.  You have to take it all with a grain of salt and remember that your child is unique.  Just because amber necklaces helped your neighbor's baby with teething pain does not mean it will help your baby, and that's ok.  You know what's best for your little one.

Thank you, Leah! Check out her blog, Crunchy Farm Baby and her Etsy shop.


Published in Blog
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 21:43

Thursday Interview - My Friend Jodi

This week's interview is with a friend of mine - also a somewhat distant relative.  Oddly enough, Jodi and I were not close through our childhood, but have reconnected recently since a number of family funerals... the things that bring people together, hey? Anyway, Jodi and I discovered that we have daughters who are close in age and have been in the process of getting to know each other better in the past year - and here I am allowing you to get to know her a little bit too!

My Interview with Jodi:

How many children do you have, and what are their ages?

    I have one daughter who will be 2 on August 6th.

How would you describe yourself as a parent, or your parenting style, in a few sentences?

     I try my best to be the kind of Mom who says what I mean, and means what I say.  I also try to remember that there are times where I can give in, and times where I really need to be firm and mean business.  Laughing with and enjoying my time with my daughter is so, so important.

What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about being a parent?

     Making choices for your child is sometimes hard.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest thing about being a parent?

     That list is endless.  Every new thing that happens is the 'greatest'.  First smile, first step, when they finally say Mama after saying Dada for months, etc. Really the greatest thing about being a parent is BEING a parent to your child.

What, for you, was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

     The most surprising thing is that you don't really miss your pre-baby life.  You remember it, but you don't wish for it back.  Oh and the sleep.  I was surprised I could live on so little sleep and still be a functioning adult.

Tell me about one of the funniest incidents you can remember involving your daughter.

     I try to keep the bathroom door open as often as possible so that my daughter will start to understand how to use the potty... after watching what goes on, she now takes Kleenex or toilet paper and tries to wipe the butt of anyone around... ANYONE!

Tell me about one of the scariest incidents you can remember involving your daughter.

     My daughter is a choker; ever since she started solids, she would choke on it.  The scariest moment was when she choked on a small piece of banana.  This wasn't her run of the mill 'she'll sputter for a few seconds and be ok' - there was no air going in or out and patting her back didn't help.  I ended up having to stick my finger down her throat , and was able to dislodge the banana.  I think we both pooped a little over that one.

What have you learned about yourself from being a parent?

     I have learned to eat my words, and to be a lot more patient with others.  It's NOT as simple as 'just leave the store if your kid is having a fit,' and sometimes giving your kid candy just to sit still is the only trick.  I think I'm a lot more flexible with my time and schedule than I ever used to be.

What is your favourite lullaby to sing to your daughter?

   'Our' song is 'You Are My Sunshine', and her recent favourite is 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' - even if all she sings is row row row row row.

Is there anything you do as a parent that you thought you would never do?

     I thought I would NEVER eat something that had been in someone's mouth, but when a toddler hands you a soggy cracker to share, you eat it.

Do you have any regrets so far as a parent? Is there anything you would choose to do differently now?

     I regret not being as 'in the moment' as I should be, I want to enjoy my daughter at each stage, and not constantly be planning supper, or worrying about work, etc.

What dreams do you have for your daughter?

     I just want her to know that life is meant for living, whether that means being a Mom herself, a doctor, or working at McDonalds, whatever makes her happy to get up in the morning.  The world really is her oyster, and there are so many possibilities.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new parent?

     I wish someone had told me that it's ok sometimes to just not KNOW what to do.  Everyone says trust your instincts, but even then sometimes I couldn't decide.  As long as your baby is safe, it's okay to make some mistakes, because you'll learn, and they'll still love you.  Also, when people offer to babysit or come hold your baby - let them! You won't look lazy, or bad for leaving your baby, taking time to take care of yourself makes you a better parent.

I just want to say that after reading these answers - I've decided that if Jodi had a blog, it would be super-interesting and I'd totally want to read it! Thanks for taking the time to do this for me!

I'm still looking for more people to interview - if you're interested in being interviewed and you like my blog enough to hang around here, please comment on this post, or email me at

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 21:57

Thursday Interview - Domestically Seasoned

As announced last week, here begins my weekly Thursday interviews - starting with Janelle from Domestically Seasoned.  I found her blog a couple of weeks ago and discovered we had cloth diapering and a passion for teaching in common - and I also like stealing her weekly meal plans!

My Interview with Janelle:

How many children do you have, and what are their ages?

    I have one child named Calvin.  He will be 2 in October.

How would you describe yourself as a parent, or your parenting style, in a few sentences?

     I find that I am very verbal in giving directions to Calvin.  A lot of my own parenting style came from my knowledge of child development    and working directly with children ages 2-5.  I guess you can say I have had practice before I had my own.  I tend to not let things slide, as I know first hand how frustrating it is to get things back on course.  I enjoy being silly and singing songs with my boy.

What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about being a parent?

     Making choices for your child is sometimes hard.

What, for you, was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

     I was very surprised with the amount of love and support my family and friends have been to us.

Tell me about one of the saddest/scariest incidents you can remember involving your kid?

     I noticed that my son had a thumb that didn't completely straighten about a month ago.  We thought at first that it was just a cute deformity and did not feel the need to pursue the issue.  We actually joke that crooked fingers runs in the family.  But this really is no joke.  It wasn't until recently, Calvin started experiencing (what looked like) pain in one of his thumbs. I scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician who immediately made us go get x-rays to make sure it wasn't broken.  Her diagnosis was a 'Trigger Thumb'.  So our next step was to meet with an orthopeadic specialist.  He recommends surgery before his 2nd birthday.  This is really scary to think about.

How did you choose a name for Calvin?

     So when you find out (if you find out what you're having) the sex of your baby, you either think of a name, have a name picked out, or you wait to see the bundle of joy to name it.  We we had a name about 6 weeks into knowing I was pregnant.  It was super easy.  I was scrolling through this book of names and found a couple we liked.  And no we are not telling you them! You will have to wait until another baby is made.

     I stumbled across a name and I said it out loud to Hubby.  He was like 'I like that name too' and never said a word to me after that.  Well, a few weeks later, when it was confirmed that we were carrying a baby we decided to let his family know.  We (I) couldn't really contain the excitement of being preggo. So we spilled the beans.  We announced that if it was a boy we would name him Calvin and we announced a girl name. 

     Lo and behold, my mother in law was super excited about the name.  And she has many many reasons as to why.  Comes to find out her father's name is Calvin.  This is where I say to my husband 'you never told me this'.  He thought I knew.  Well, I didn't.  So it was even better than I had expected, and that is how he was named.

Is there anything you do as a parent, that you thought you would never do?

     I would NEVER.... Have a kid who watched TV.

     Um yeah.  We watch TV in my house.  And yes, he has his own shows he likes to watch.  Dinosaur train, Backyardigans, just to name a few.  We usually snuggle up on the couch together and watch your show right before your afternoon nap.  I thought I would never let you watch tv.  Really, it hasn't rotted your brain yet and it seems to be very relaxing for you.  So what, right?

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new parent?

     THIS TOO SHALL PASS - sleepless nights, crying, tantrums, picky eaters, potty training... it will all pass, but enjoy the love and laughter along the way.  These are the best days of their life.


Published in Blog
Thursday, 01 March 2012 11:44

Interview With A Mom - My Grandmother

I decided to start a series of interviews with Moms I know and respect, and decided to start the process with the woman who was my 'Mom' for the first seven years of my life... My Lovely Grandmother.

1. Do you remember what it felt like when you first saw your babies?

It was a very moving experience.  Very touching.  To me they were perfect little gifts of God.

2. What did you like most about being a Mom?

There are great rewards in being a parent.  Even though there are a lot of heartaches, I would never not want to be a parent because of that.  When you take a chance to love, you also take the chance to be hurt.

3. What were the hardest moments you had when your kids were growing up?

When they were in their teenage years and starting not to listen or be obedient.  [It happened] when they turned about 16.

4. What is one thing you would have done differently as a Mom? 

I sometimes thought I should have been more patient.   One time I forced one of the boys to sit at the table to eat his food, because he was such a picky eater, and I think I maybe shouldn't have done that.

5. Do you think it's easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising your family?

Harder, I think.  There is so much media input, so much technology - we didn't hear about all of the things you're supposed to be doing with your children.  There is more influence now, and pressure.
Also, kids today don't seem to have to do any chores, or work - they seem to be more spoiled. 
When I was a kid, my homework was my last priority - first I had to help with chores, then supper and dishes, and then in the evening I would do my homework often after everyone else was in bed.  I don't know if this is the best way to do things, but I had a lot of responsibilities.
Kids need to have responsibility, and they need follow-through from their parents if they aren't doing what they are responsible for.

6. What advice would you give me about raising my own kids?

Do a lot of praying, and seize every moment that you can to encourage your children and show them love.  Take time to listen to your kids, and talk through things with them.

Thank you, Grandma - for taking time to do this interview with me.  You have been and still are a great influence on my life - I appreciate you so much!





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