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The Parenting Muscle

The Parenting Muscle is born when we begin to think as a parent. It is with us long before though, that being fed and exercised whenever we make a complex decision where both options might be “right”, when we follow our curiosity or instincts, when we question authority and our own assumptions.

The muscle awakens to its fullest potential when we begin parenting with questions like “what food can I eat to nourish my baby”, “where should I give birth”, “what kind of care do I want”, “what’s all the hubbub about vaccinations?” and we find that a multitude of sources seem to have opposing views.

When the parenting muscle is strong and well supported one can examine options without losing touch with ones own inner compass. It can seem daunting to begin questioning for the first time because if you find you disagree with whatever authority you have been following you may find yourself questioning what ELSE they could be wrong about.

A strong parenting muscle means that a parent can take responsibility for their own health decisions an that can feel overwhelming at first – its a heavy burden! But after lots of exercise you may begin to feel a shift from following blindly without question to the forming of partnerships with trusted health allies.

With a healthy parenting muscle you find that no one knows you or your child better than you do. Health authorities and experts have great resources, ideas, protocols and treatments but only you can decide if they apply to your unique circumstances.

So the next time you are faced with a health decision think about this well known acronym…
Alternatives (there are ALWAYS alternatives)
Intuition (what do I think will work the best for me right now)
Nothing (as in What would happen if did nothing at all)


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Soft Pretzels of my childhood

When I was the age my daughter is now I remember making these fun pretzels with my mom. They are really quick – no rising time – and little hands can help to roll out and/or shape.
Today’s theme was love with Xs an Os and hearts along with the standard shape. We also tried pretzel bites and mini pizza shapes for lunches tomorrow. In the past we’ve made animal shapes, letters, circles, squares, triangles…you get the picture. Its pretty forgiving dough.

Here’s the recipe I use
Soft Baked Pretzles
1 pkg yeast
1.5 C warm water
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP salt
4+ Cups flour
1 egg, beaten (optional to brush over the top)
Optional Toppings: coarse salt, or cinnamon and sugar.

Mix yeast, water and sugar and gently stir. Let It sit for a few minutes to get cloudy or foamy. Mix in salt and flour. Stir until you can’t anymore then mix with your hands. Knead it just a bit adding more flour as needed so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
Form the dough into a log and cut slices about an inch thick. Roll out into a long, thin rope and shape into a pretzel. Sometimes I cut each rope in half to make smaller shapes.
Place on a baking sheet and paint each one with the egg wash. Sprinkle each with a little coarse salt or leave plain if you are going the cinnamon sugar route.
Bake at 425* for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Cool then paint with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar of you’re so inclined.



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Conception is not just a physical experience…


I love this photo and all the information that goes along with it in this amazing you tube video about the effects of emotions on water molecules (remember that human bodies are mostly water) that was featured in the What the Bleep Do We Know documentary.

After so many cycles of disappointment and three miscarriages I found it so difficult to keep my mind from sinking into despair, fear, desperation….  until a truly magical moment in changing my mindset came through some words of solace from my dad.  I had no answer for why I was experiencing trouble conceiving and carrying a pregnancy and that unknown is nearly unbearable.  He explained that maybe some souls come into this world with a life purpose to experience unconditional love and when that purpose is fulfilled they can pass on.  This mind shift allowed me to see my experience as part of something greater and that whether my baby was with me for 6 weeks or 6 decades I could express the same kind of love and welcoming.

Others find solace in the cycles of nature, a spiritual practice, rituals and ceremonies or the support of a caring friend.  The point is that when the fear, sadness and desperation can move to hope, love and compassion there are positive physical results within our bodies and minds.  Even if this mindset had nothing to do with me finally conceiving (though I believe it did) it certainly kept me sane while we continued to try.

Whatever your fertility journey I encourage you find at least a few moments of peace each day to refuel and restore your mind and body and create a space where you would enjoy gestating for 9+ months.  And even if your mind can’t go there (I know there were days where I just felt too angry at the world) you can write something on your skin in marker/pen/henna and “absorb” the word like the water bottles in What the Bleep 🙂 


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Tips: Slow Cookers


Getting fed, preferably healthy foods, is one of the primary challenges of the Fourth Trimester.  Slow Cookers are one possible solution.

1.  Freeze Ahead: You can start freezing slow cooker meals during pregnancy or on a weekend day when you might have extra hands around.  Prep everything but the “sensitive” veggies that get too mushy after freezing or cooking all day.  Throw all the raw ingredients into a gallon freezer bag, and lay it flat in your freezer.  When you are ready to cook just run hot water over the bag, pop out the food and turn on the slow cooker, adding any liquids or extras.

2.  Morning Prep: Energy reserves are often just a little higher mid to late morning.  You can throw together a stew or throw a roast in the slow cooker so its ready during the higher stress evening time.

3.  Helpers:  Partners can throw a meal in the slow cooker in the morning before leaving for work and visitors can do the same.  Partners and visitors can also round out the meal with a loaf of bread or grocery store salad.

Some Links for inspiration

Make a bunch of meat-based freeze-ahead meals at once. 

More freeze ahead meals

All recipes “Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker recipes”

Whole page of slow cooker recipes

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Tuning In – Birth Roots News

We have another month of summer but Birth Roots is actively planning the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  We have some changes and additions to tell you about.

  • We hope to see you all sculpting sand at Sandsations on September 9th.  Team registration is open!  Visit to register your team and begin fundraising to support Birth Roots.  We’re looking forward to the addition of the fabulous tunes of WCLZ as an event sponsor!
  • Birthing From Within will be offered EVERY month beginning in January!  Spread the word!  Leah will teach her last 6 week series beginning in September and ending in October and will return (from MATERNITY LEAVE!) on January 9th to begin the new year and new routine.
  • We are excited to welcome two new teachers to Blossoming Newborns.  Sarah Burt and Jamie Worster are Birth Roots alumnae who are completing their training in our model of Community Supported Parenting.  Sarah will be the permanent teacher for Sprouts and Jamie will be the substitute for Leah while she is on maternity leave and will be on deck to take on more classes as we grow.
  • Emily has nearly completed a certification with Hand in Hand Parenting.  This model of parenting support is well aligned with everything we teach at Birth Roots and she will begin teaching Parenting Recharge classes and facilitating support groups in the fall.
  • Jodi will begin offering weekend intensive childbirth classes Birth Basics. Parents will get a little taste of all the essentials from our series classes and leave the class breathing a little deeper and feeling a lot more confident about labor and birth.
  • Our little boutique of new parent essentials was just remodeled by a lovely Birth Roots family.  We now offer Boba Carriers, Boba Wraps, Aden and Anais cotton and bamboo swaddling blankets, Luna Lullaby Soothing Blankets, Amber Teething Necklaces, Nikki McClure Journals, and Putumayo Kids CDs.
  • We are still looking for someone to take on coordinating alumni ambassadors who want to provide event and project support, guidance to help us stay true to our mission, and word of mouth campaigns to spread the word about Birth Roots and the Community Supported Parenting model.   Do you have a few hours a month to make sure Birth Roots is around for the next generation of new parents?

Wishing you self-care, sleep and community!

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