The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

new for 2013: RIE parenting

The new year has me thinking about goals and perhaps changes for the big green parenting experiment. As a new-ish blogger, it can be challenging to find that perfect niche.

I love writing about sustainable living and parenting in a green way. These are both very important to me and I plan to continue to include those topics. I have plenty more ideas, information and fresh Friday recipes to share when CSA season starts back up again.

For 2013, however, I plan to dive into a parenting concept that is relatively new to me. It’s called RIE (resources for infant educarers). The approach is based on ‘honoring infants and young children as equal members in relationships.’ (RIE.org)

I was introduced to the concept by a friend who recommended that I follow Janet Lansbury on Facebook. After reading some of Janet’s work, I am ready to dive in and put these ideas into action. When my daughter was born I hadn’t really considered what ‘type’ of parent I would be. I stumbled upon attachment parenting after we discovered that Schy had reflux and was sleeping in our bed, on one of our chests at night. From there I started researching co-sleeping and naturally, discovered attachment parenting. This parenting style seemed natural for us and we agreed with most of the prominent ideals involved: co-sleeping, breastfeeding, not wanting her to cry and generally meeting her every need in order to create a loving, trusting bond.

I do still believe in certain aspects of attachment parenting but am coming to resent others. Perhaps it’s just because the principles aren’t working anymore. And maybe they never truly worked and we are just realizing this now that Schy is old enough to start expressing herself. I am falling in love with this RIE approach and am excited to shift my focus from being a slave to my baby to meeting both of our needs.

I’ve just ordered the book ‘Dear Parent: Caring For Infants with Respect’ by Magda Gerber, founder of RIE. I am so looking forward to further understanding her concepts and putting them to use. I feel this is exactly what the big green parenting experiment needs and I am SO excited to share what I learn, what works and what doesn’t. I’ll be starting off with an outline and some basics of RIE so you can familiarize yourself with the principles involved. As always, feedback, advice and experiences are welcomed as I embark on this new parenting journey!

Stay tuned for this exciting addition!

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bring it on 2013! my resolutions

Unbelievable. Here I am, on New Year’s Eve, wondering where 2012 went. This has been a remarkable year for my family and I and I am confident that 2013 will be even better. I am totally one of those people who is looking back, reflecting on the year and thinking of the changes that I want to make for 2013.

Yes, I make resolutions. I do believe that a new year is great motivation to make fresh starts and set goals. Some succeed, some fail. For 2013 I’m going all out and focusing on something that I have been neglecting: ME. These resolutions are important goals that I have set to help me feel like me again, more like a human. As a first time mom, I’ve been completely focused on the happiness and well being of my baby. And while I understand that this is completely normal, I also understand that my mood and energy affects hers also. By focusing a bit more on myself, I can be better for her and for my husband.

So, here they are:

1. Eat clean. (again). I feel so incredible when I am eating a totally clean diet. My biggest challenge is going to be conquering my sugar addiction. My plan is to go cold turkey and try to replace refined sugar with more fruits and clean substitutes. I plan to log what I’m eating and drinking, focusing on fresh, whole foods and plenty of water. I used to do this and I know I can. Also, contuining our crusade to rid our house of GMOs.

2. Scheduled exercise. I used to be fit. I so want to get back there. I used to weight train 4-5 times a week, run 9-10 miles 3 times a week and do yoga every day possible. My goal is to schedule 20-30 minutes of “me time” a day to do an intense workout. My body is really craving it and I know it’ll be the boost I need to gain my self confidence and energy back. I can’t wait to have that “hurts in a good way” feeling again. I am also running the Saratoga half marathon this year so I WILL be ready!

3. Work on time management. Routines work. It can be tough with a teething toddler who may or may not resist a nap and require my undivided attention. But much like she thrives on a routine, I think I will too. Allot time for housework, exercise, meditation, play, husband, blogging (of course) and rest. I would love to try and devote time to all of these things that are so important to me. All of the things that make me ME.

These are some pretty tall orders, I know. But I’ve done them all before and I CAN do them again. The better I am, the better I will be for my family and that is my motivation.

Better me = better us.

Let’s get this New Year started!

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top 10 parenting lessons of 2012

I began 2012 with a tiny, helpless 4 month old who has since become a brilliant, silly and passionate individual. I have learned more from her in the past 12 months than I ever could have dreamed. I wanted to share the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned as a parent, the ones that have helped us grow both individually and as a team. These aren’t the only lessons I’ve learned, just what I feel are the ten most important.

Here goes:

1. When she thoughtfully shares a soggy Cheerio from her mouth, you open up, eat it and smile. End of story. Oh, and say thank you.

2. Toddlers understand. Everything. Choose your words wisely.

3. Flexibility is a necessity. If something isn’t working, be flexible. Try something else until you figure out what works for you & yours.

4. Every child is vastly different. Mine is “passionate” and that does NOT make her bad.

5. Respect for your little one goes a loooong way. If you’re going to invade her space (ie- wipe her face, snatch her up), just let her know. You’ll be amazed how well it is received.

6. Be available to help without taking control. She learns so much more when allowed to accomplish things herself. It may be difficult to stand by and watch her struggle at times, but the reward is worth it, for both of you.

7. Put down your devices. Trust me, she would rather all of your attention for some of the time than some of your attention all of the time. This can be difficult, but also extremely rewarding. The difference in behavior is astounding.

8. Hug, hug, hug. Sometimes you’ll get pushed away, but hug anyway. Let her know how much you love her and that it’s ok to show it. Any time, any place.

9. Let her have her feelings. Feelings are meant to be felt, not bottled up. Let her feel, experience and work through her emotions in her own way. It’s healthier for everyone.

10. Have patience. These precious days are few and gone all too quickly. Take a deep breath. Enjoy and appreciate each moment. Someday you’ll long to have it back.

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day 15: 30 days of thanks

Today I am thankful for my education. My ever-changing, ongoing education. I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn, change my mind and learn again. Although I’m still not completely sure what I want to be in this life (except a good wife & mom), I know that I can truly be whatever I want. I think the problem is that there are just so many choices. I want to be everything at one point or another. I want to go everywhere. I want to see everything. So much of where we go in life depends on our education. I’m thankful that I have been able to continuously pursue an education. And I’m thankful for each and every experience that life has handed me, for in each is an opportunity to learn something new. I am thankful to never stop learning.

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