Meeting Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker

A few weeks ago I received an exciting phone call from my co-leader Ivana Lombardo for our Northern Virginia chapter of Attachment Parenting International. Her news? Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, founders of API and authors of the new book Attached at the Heart, were coming into town. Barbara and Lysa planned to promote their new book and meet with the U.S. Department of Health to discuss the  attachment parenting lifestyle. Our group had been called on to host them while they were in town; I was psyched to meet API’s founders and was able to help out by making a strawberry and almond salad for an intimate dinner with them. Below are a few photos that I took during our dinner (with alotta help from my half pint assistants Diego and Annabelle).

API founder Barbara Nicholson, who is a mom of four and a wonderful lady. She is so excited that theU.S. Dept. of Health literature is promoting AP principles like breastfeeding, responding with sensitivity to our children, and much more. I have to say that I was a little surprised at her news but am super excited to see that our government is acknowledging that AP parenting works.

You’ll notice that in this photograph of Barbara, there is a bottle. I have to admit that I felt a bit strange meeting the founders of API while bottle feeding my son Levi.  While I know that feeding with love and respect (which I am doing with a bottle) is an AP principle, I remember that once upon a time, this principle was called “breastfeeding.”  I so badly wanted to breastfeed my son Levi and I did for the first month of his life.  I shared my story of experiencing severe postpartum depression and how breastfeeding was something that I needed to let go of for sake of my mental health.  I tell myself, whenever I am feeling bad about not breastfeeding Levi, that at least I am here, functioning and loving him.

Let me tell you: Barbara and Lysa didn’t judge me for how I am feeding my baby and I thank them for that.  Moms need other moms to support them, especially when hard decisions are made.

Lysa Parker cozied up with all of our kids.  Here she is with leader Krystal MacDonald’s son Diego. Both Lysa and Barbara were so warm to our children and to us mammas too. I felt like I had known them both for a long time.

Annabelle took this photograph of Lysa. Isn’t she a beautiful lady?

The infamous Diego, who is a budding violinist and (I think) photographer.  His mamma is homeschooling him.  He is just the sweetest, smartest kid ever.

I let the kids play with Nikon.  Let’s just say that they had a great time having their own photo session:

Annabelle photographed Diego “taking a nap” while they played together upstairs in his room.

and I think she took this photo of Diego’s train mat.

This photograph belongs to either Diego or Annabelle. I loved that they immediately wanted to photograph the toys.

My co-leader Ivana Lombardo and her baby Philip.  Ivana and I gave birth around the same time.  Ivana is such a positive role model and support for our local group.  I look to her for advice since her older son Alec is almost 2 years older than my daughter Annabelle.  I have to say, having our AP support group has made such a difference in my life . . . in how I parent and how I love others too.

At dinner, we invited everyone who could come, including Diego’s tadpoles.

Krystal McDonald opened her home and her heart to all of us.  She is an amazing mom, a La Leche League leader, an API leader, and a good friend too.  I learned everything I know about cloth diapering from her, 🙂

and this beautiful window is nestled in on a stairwell in Krystal’s home.  Just gorgeous, isn’t it?  I think it really speaks to who Krystal and her family are: a connected and loving family.

Meeting Lysa and Barbara was an amazing opportunity to spend the evening with wise, loving women and our children too. I certainly felt honored and learned a lot just from listening to everyone talk about parenting, life, and making changes in the world. Definitely a night I won’t forget.


Jessica Monte is a budding photographer and author of the blog Days of You and Me (once upon known as Green Mamma).  To see what Jessica is up to these days, visit

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