Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Angel Babies

The online community can be a wonderful thing. But there are days when it gives me cold and heartbreaking glimpses of the world outside of my shiny happy bubble. There are days when I just want to grab my girls and curl up in a little ball around them and keep them safe and warm with me. 

These days started when I became a member of the March '09 Mommies board on the What to Expect website. Within a month, I read about several mothers who had lost their babies, whether to miscarriage, still-birth, or sickness after birth. Angel Babies, they call them. 

I read their stories and cried. I tried to stay in touch with the women I had made friends with, and I sent messages of condolences to the ones I hadn't yet met. 

And I prayed that I'd never read another heart wrenching story like theirs again. As hard as it is for me just reading it, I can't imagine how hard it is on the women who have to write them. 

Over time, I began making friends on Twitter and through my blog and other blogs and found myself reading more stories about these Angel Babies. A friend will post about someone she knows, someone whose blog she reads, and she says, "Go read her story - it could save your child's life."

So I go. And I read. And I cry. I think about how lucky I am to have happy, healthy children and I hug them tighter than I did before. 

I'm not a particularly religious person, but when I read these women's sad stories, I pray for them. I pray to whoever may or may not be listening that they find some sort of peace in their loss, even if it is a long time before it comes. 

I try to find reason in the stories, but is there any? Sure, there are new precautions I take now that I would have never thought about before. I ask all of my pregnant friends to be sure to ask for a pulse oximetry reading on their newborn at around 24 hours after birth. I diligently watch my children any time we are in a home with a pool. I am in the process of anchoring all of my heavy furniture to protect from tipping. My children are safer because of these stories, but I feel like it's at the cost of another child's life. 

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this post or why I'm even writing it. All I know is that I'm sitting here, my cheeks stinging from the tears left there to dry, and I need to get something out. 

I guess I just want to say to all the Angel Baby parents out there that your stories have affected me in a very deep way and I think about you and your little ones often. Thank you for sharing with me, even if it hurts.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What I'm Listening To: Bluegrass and Folk

Lately, I've been finding my musical tastes reverting back to those of my childhood, but a little more sophisticated (or at least I'd like to think so). As a kid I listened to a lot of country music, and while I'm not taking a full swing back to country, bluegrass and folk music is creeping its way back into my life.

It started with Lauren O'Connell...

...and My Terrible Friend...

...and has moved onto a band that I am completely and utterly obsessed with right now: Mumford and Sons.

(Caution - this video contains the F-Bomb. I personally don't mind it, but you might.)

Seriously. These guys are amazing. I downloaded their cd then went out and bought it and have been jamming out to it for the last week.

This song is among my favorites on the cd. It starts out small and quiet and slowly builds and builds and becomes just.... ah... I can't even describe it. I love it. Crank it when you listen to it. I get shivers when I hear it.

So - what kind of music are you guys into these days?  Leave me some links in the comments. I love most every type of music, so don't be afraid I won't like it. I probably will.

Update on comment problems: I am able to moderate my comments now but I am working on removing IntenseDebate from my page. I will be changing to a different moderation site soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giving the Masses What They Want: Kawaii Diaper Feedback

A few months ago, I began using a tracker on my blog. It allows me to gather information from you guys - where you're viewing my blog from (generally speaking, of course), how many of you are looking at what, which posts are most popular, etc. By far, my most popular post is my review of Kawaii cloth diapers that I wrote back in March. Believe it or not, this post is seriously popular - more than twice as popular as the second most popular post (which was the alternative breast cancer awareness Facebook game info).

Because of that, I thought I would come back to the topic and expand on my original review of Kawaii diapers, as well as ask for any questions or comments you might have about them.

When I first bought my Kawaiis, I was still fairly new to cloth diapering. The only cloth diapers I had prior to them were gently used, so this was my first purchase of new diapers. I am still very much in love with these diapers though. They have stood up against some pretty tough competitors and are still among the very first diapers I reach for when the laundry is done.

The lining, which was incredibly soft and fleecy when I first bought them is not so soft anymore - but like all fleece, it's bound to wear a little in the wash. It still works wonderfully as far as wicking away moisture and keeping Kairi's bottom dry and comfortable. It washes well and while I've had some issues with staining, the stains generally come out within a few uses and washes.

I spoke in my previous review of the absorbency of the inserts:

The diapers came with two inserts each, which I am very happy about. I had read in various review forums that the inserts weren't very absorbent, and it's true. There is no way I would be able to use these diapers with just one of the inserts given, and Kairi isn't a heavy wetter. The inserts are really thin, about half the thickness of the microfiber inserts I have for my other diapers. But doubled up, they work alright. Not GREAT, but alright. I haven't had TOO many leaks. I do intend on buying some different inserts though and just using these as back ups.

I never got around to ordering different inserts and have mostly just stuck to using both inserts at all times. In comparison to other cloth diapers, the absorbency this way is pretty decent. I'm able to leave Kairi in a diaper overnight without leaks - which seems to be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cloth diapering.

The fit on these diapers is still phenomenal as well. Kairi has definitely gotten bigger since I first bought them and they look like they will last us until she is potty trained.

I've really enjoyed using the Kawaiis and I think I will probably continue enjoying them for many more months to come. I certainly suggest them to anyone who is considering cloth diapering. They are the least expensive diapers I have seen on the market and their quality is great. And as I said before, when the laundry is finished, they are among the first in my stash that I reach for. (My other favorites? Flip covers with Flip Organic Inserts. ...AMAZING. But I'll leave that review for a different post.)

Disclosure: I have not been contacted by anyone to write this post. I am not receiving any sort of benefit from writing this review, nor do I anticipate any sort of payment. This is all just my personal opinion. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Also of similar interest, I wrote a post explaining why my family chooses to use cloth diapers. If you are interested in starting to use cloth diapers or are just curious as to reasons why someone would make this choice, please check out my post here. 

Floor Play

...And I bet by the name of the post you thought this would be dirty.

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Comment

So, I've recently discovered that the site that hosts my comment section has gone screwy. I don't know if they are fixing the problem or if they are even aware of the problem, but I have no way of accessing the comments section of my blog. I can't moderate the comments, although I can see what you folks are saying in my email notifications.

So for the time being, bear with me while I figure something else out. If you have a particular favorite comment hosting.... site... I guess? Let me know. I still am not particularly experienced with this stuff and I can use all the help I can get.

A few things to look forward to:

Now that the fall semester is over, I will be posting some of my essays from my comp class on here. Generally speaking, I wrote them in a rush, so hopefully I will have some time to clean them up, but I may just post them as-is. We'll just have to see.

Also, I have a lot of new pictures of the girls I will be posting. I am also in the process of taking lots and lots of pictures of my kids playing with my friend Sandra's kids - who we haven't seen in almost 2 years and are SO EXCITED to have back in Oklahoma for the Christmas break!!! I drove Sandra to Dallas to pick them up last night and they will be here until the beginning of next month. It's all very exciting and awesome.

Hopefully I'll have better topics to post on in the near future. I'm working on a post about shaving, actually... That one should be interesting, at the very least. I'm sure that someone else has said it all before though. Oh well. It's fun writing it.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great time with their friends and families who are hopefully popping up for the holidays. See you all again soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Know Who You Are (And So Do I)

So, I've had a lot going on lately. More than I feel even remotely comfortable sharing publicly, so just know that in ways things have been tough, but we're making it and probably better for it.

Rather than the scheduled post (that, I'm sorry to say, has been delayed) I have a few things to say. If you don't know what's been going on in my life recently, I'm incredibly sorry - because this is going to sound cryptic as all get out. But it has to be said, and if it's said face to face, I will come unglued. I have no idea if the intended audience will be reading, but although this is specifically to someone, I'm writing it more for my benefit than theirs.

So - to the people who brought about the recent changes in my life (you know who you are - AND SO DO I):

I realize that you think you were helping - and I appreciate the thought behind your efforts. However, the method you chose was NOT appropriate. Meddling is usually not a good idea. I would tell you that if you ever have a problem with me in the future to bring it to me personally, but at this point in time, I want nothing to do with you. Ever again. If you see me on the street, in the store, at any gatherings, wherever, we are all probably going to be better off if you pretend that we don't know one another. I want nothing to do with you and I honestly don't know if I will be able to control my anger if confronted with you speaking to me.

You really have NO idea the damage you potentially could have caused. All in your self-righteous method of "help." I'm not trying to be dramatic here, but you almost devastated several people and permanently disrupted several lives. Your method of help was backhanded and conniving. Not helpful. Sure, the results that I am sure - or at least hopeful - you were looking for came about, things could have gone drastically differently and would not have been good for anyone involved.

A couple things I will repeat one more time: I really mean this - Don't talk to me. I want nothing to do with you. If you want to help someone, offer help. Or at least talk to them about it. Don't meddle. ESPECIALLY considering the way that you have lived your life in the fairly recent past (well, one of you at least.) Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

To the friends and family I have that don't know what this is about - I REALLY don't want to talk about this. As of the end of this post, I want to just forget about all of these problems and move on. I realize this post is probably just an invitation for questions from you, but I don't want them. The important facts are that we are all fine, we are all going to be fine, and that the problems are all in the past - especially if these people pay heed to my words and stay the hell away from me.

I'm sorry to those I am close to that I haven't talked to you about these problems. But beyond my message to the people causing them is really all that needs to be said about it.

So now that that's over with, let's all not worry about it anymore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Evil Jungle Chicken Curry: Preface to an Attempt

Tonight I am stepping out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. I am attempting to make evil jungle chicken curry. The small town I live in doesn't have a market where I can get some of the ingredients, so I'm going to have to fudge some of it, but I'm pretty stoked about it.

When Sandra, Richard and I went to the Julia Nunes/Ben Kweller concert last month, we went to a Pad Thai restaurant and that's what I had. I don't know if the appetizers tainted my pallet or what, but it was gross. I brought it home anyway. The next day I was starving and not in the mood to cook, so I heated it up and reluctantly tried it again. And it was DELICIOUS. Kairi liked it too.

So I will be having Sandra over tonight to help me. She knows her way around the more obscure (to me) dishes much better than I do, so I am hoping this won't turn out to be a complete disaster.

I plan to update (possibly with pictures) later tonight or tomorrow. Keep watch for it. Whether it's delicious or a complete flop, it should, at the very least, be entertaining.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Down With the Sickness

The past 24 hours have been kind of hellish for me as a mom. Yesterday when Gracie came home from school, she complained of back pain. I called her to me and asked her to point out where it hurt. After that, I swept her bangs aside and kissed her forehead. Her hot forehead. Immediately I laid her down and gave her some ibuprofen... and got to worrying. 

I'm a bit of a hypochondriac. I say a bit because I realize that most of the time I'm wrong and that I'm probably just being paranoid. But the hypochondriac in me won this time as I began searching I searched for back pain and fevers in children and the results came back with spinal meningitis. 

Just a heads up to the people at (you know, because I'm SURE they're reading this.) - It is really not cool to immediately point the finger to deadly illnesses. Because a lot of times when people have fevers, they have muscle and joint pain, and sometimes that pain is in their back. It doesn't always mean they are going to die. In fact, it rarely means that. 

At any rate, I was worried. The realist in me knew that this web diagnosis was probably just as accurate as the one I got in the 9th grade that told me that I would, for sure, be marrying Leonardo DiCaprio. But that didn't matter. I was still worried. I managed my worry and didn't immediately rush to the ER, but I did spend several hours bugging the crap out of my kid by hovering. 

"You okay sweetie? Can I get you some water? Do you need another blanket? Eat something, please?"

As the night wore on, I was less and less worried, but the thought remained and so I put Gracie to sleep in my bed instead of hers. 

Gracie slept restlessly. She tossed and turned and ended up waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am. Luckily Jason was still up, so he handled her for about an hour until I got up and set her up to lay on the couch and watch movies. I told her if she needed anything to come and get us, but it was still really late, so we all needed to try to sleep. I am pretty sure she didn't end up back asleep though. 

I woke up periodically throughout the rest of the morning and came out to check on her. Each time she was lying quietly on the couch watching a different movie. Her only request was a glass of water. 

I woke up in time to call her in to school. She still had a fever at 7:30 this morning, so I gave her more ibuprofen and headed back to bed. Jason woke up a few times before I ended up getting back up and he checked on Gracie in the meantime. 

When I ended up getting up, I asked if Gracie was hungry. She said she thought she could eat, so I went and got McDonald's pancakes. (Her favorite.) We got home with them, but she wasn't hungry after all, so we just hung out and watched movies all day. 

I decided to call the doctor's office at about 11:30 to see if there were any viruses going around I should be aware of. Gracie's fever wasn't coming down, despite the round the clock regimine of ibuprofen. The receptionist passed Gracie's symptoms on to the doctor and I got a call back at 1 asking me to bring her in. Her appointment was set for 3:15. 

I decided to throw the kids in the tub, hoping it might make Gracie feel a little better. While in the tub though, Kairi decided it would be a fantastic time to clear her bowels. So I cleaned the tub and put the kids back in to re-clean them.

As 3:15 got closer, Gracie became more and more active and acted like she was feeling better. I felt her forehead and it was significantly cooler. Kairi, however, was growing pale, and she felt warm to the touch when I checked her at this point in time. I decided my best bet was to take them both in just to see. 

Gracie's temp at the doctor's office was 99.8 and the doctor said that it was probably just a virus that will pass in 3-5 days. Kairi wasn't really looked at, as it was assumed that if she's sick, she's got the same thing Gracie has. So we got our suckers and headed home. 

I pulled into the driveway and turned to make sure Gracie was getting unbuckled alright before I got out of the car. Just as Gracie got out, Kairi started throwing up. I got her as clean as I could with the napkins I had in the car before taking her inside where I proceeded to finish cleaning her up and making sure she wasn't too upset over what had just happened. Once she was taken care of, I set out to clean her car seat.

Let me tell you something, folks. Cleaning up poop out of a bathtub sucks. Cleaning up vomit out of a car seat, however? Sooooo not fun. I did the best I could with it for the time being, shoved a clean, folded towel in the seat and packed the kids back into the car so we could take Jason to work. 

On our way home, I had the pleasure of having to pull over to clean Kairi up again, as she got sick once more. Yet another cleanup added to my checklist. 

Finally home, I decided to put on a movie for the kids and try to relax. Both of the girls were in high spirits despite feeling crummy and were open to the idea of just relaxing. Kairi came out of the bedroom and wanted to snuggle, so I popped her up on my lap and set to writing this blog post when -- Guess what happened?! If you guessed that she threw up again, you'd be right. This time, all over the floor in front of us as well as my legs and my chair. 

As of right now, the kids are clean, my chair has cleaner soaking on it and I'm rocking a different chair. I'm praying that I have no more vomit to clean tonight, but I have a feeling that we're going to be down with this sickness for at least a short while longer. 

So tell me, guys, what do you do when your kids are sick? Is there any way to avoid the horrendous messes that come with having a small child who is sick? Do you have any tricks or tips on how to keep the kiddos comfortable? Help me out here! I'm really struggling with this one tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going to Tulsa

Thanksgiving is next week and I am so excited! This year is the first year that I will not be spending with my Gramma Charlotte and my Dad's side of the family. Instead, my family and I are driving to Tulsa to celebrate with my mom!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Gramma and my Dad's side of the family and I really enjoy spending holidays with them, but I have really missed my mom at the holidays. It's been a few years since I've gotten to eat her Thanksgiving dinner, so that is really exciting too! We're having turkey (duh), mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, broccoli and rice casserole (IT'S SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!!), Rhodes hot rolls.... and whatever else we decide to throw together. Last year I decided to make sweet potatoes to take to my Gramma's along with my broccoli cheese, so I may do that again this year too.

While we're in Tulsa, I have big plans to try to find an Asian market so that I can buy some Thai tea. We don't have a Thai restaurant here in my town and I really freaking love Thai tea, so if I ever want to drink any, I'm going to have to make my own. So, if any of you guys have made it before and have any tips or suggestions, please let me know. So far, I'm just going by what the internet says and getting the tea, steeping it in water and adding sugar and condensed milk to it. If that's wrong or if you know a better way to make it, I'd love to hear it.

Also, we're going to let my mom babysit the girls while we go see Harry Potter!! Typically, we try to hit up the midnight showings of these types of movies, but Jason works nights and doesn't get home in time to get there. Plus we have to think about who on earth would watch our kids at that time of night! So for now, we're going to wait. I would much rather watch the movie a week after it's come out in a less packed, stadium seated theater than trying to elbow my way into a seat that is just the plain old boring movie theater. Yes, we have to wait, and it's going to kill me - especially with all my online friends going to see it.... NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!!! - but I think I will make it.

Anyway, that's it for now. Sorry if this post has been more like a diary entry than an actual blog post... Just trying to get some thoughts out there. I'll be back with something more interesting next week, hopefully! Until then, enjoy your weekend, and if I'm not back before - Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Awakening

As I posted last week, I went to a concert last Monday night. I had a great time listening to the music and this past week I've been thinking a lot about how much I've strayed from music. All my life, music has been a huge part of my existence. Growing up, my dad played harmonica and percussion in several bands, most notably a band called the Zen Okies. I wish I could find a picture of their tee-shirts for you guys; they were so cool. It was the Oklahoma flag, but instead of the circular crest in the middle, it was a yin yang. Neat, huh?

Anyway, as a kid, my dad would always drag me and my mom (probably less "dragging" on the part of my mom) around to various gigs and festivals. Every year we would go camping for a weekend in Winfield, Kansas for the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival. I'd find ways to enjoy the shows and the festivals, and despite the boredom that came with being forced to listen to genres of music I wasn't particularly into at the time, the love of music has always been deep set in my blood.

As a teenager, part of how I defined myself and those I hung around was by music. Honestly, I kind of became a bit of a music snob, which is something I'm still trying to shake.

When I was 19, I bought my first guitar: a Martin Backpacker.

Isn't she pretty??
For those who might wonder, yes, this is a real guitar. It's been called many various things, like a ukelele for example, but all of them are wrong. It's a guitar. It has a slimmed down body and it is short 5 frets, but it is a guitar. And I love it. It was perfect to learn on. The fretboard is slightly slimmer than that of a regular, full bodied acoustic guitar and it's really easy to maneuver.

I spent hours upon hours upon HOURS fiddling around on this thing, learning to play. My friends who played guitar at the time all told me that I was learning at an incredibly fast pace and for someone who had played for such a short time, I was rather good. I was still a novice, but I was a good novice.

Then I got pregnant with Gracie. I gained almost 100 pounds during my pregnancy with her. I went from a tiny 114 lbs to a whopping 194 lbs (I say whopping for me. Because in comparison to 114, that IS whopping.) And let me tell you something: it is near impossible to play guitar around a ginormous, pregnant belly.

After having Gracie, I spent my time doing what most new mothers do: being a mom. I had already gotten out of the habit of practicing regularly and I didn't pick up my guitar very much in the first year of Gracie's life. And then I spent the second year of her life chasing her. Because that's what you do when your kid starts walking and running. I didn't set aside much time to play guitar, and over the past 5 years I've continued to pass over my guitar except in times of extreme boredom or random bursts of creative energy.

But hanging out at that concert last week, listening to the beautiful sounds that came out from the ukelele and the guitar on stage, these one person shows that were performed in front of me, my musical senses have been awakened. I've been spending more time practicing, and although I can say that I've got 8 years of playing guitar under my belt, I'm still only a novice. But I'm practicing, and I'm working hard. I don't ever intend on trying to become famous, but perhaps one day I'll be playing my guitar in front of someone and that sense of wonder that comes from the love of music will be awakened in them too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Julia Nunes and Ben Kweller

So. I went to a concert last night. The first one in a long time. Thinking back, the last concert I went to was in '06 -- my ex-roommate Sara bought Jason and I tickets to see Tool as a wedding gift. What a cool present, right?

Anyway, one of my best friends, Sandra, her boyfriend, Richard, and I took off for Norman, Oklahoma yesterday to celebrate Sandra's birthday with Julia Nunes and Ben Kweller at the first show of their tour. It was a freaking blast.

I love, love, LOVE Julia Nunes. I found her on YouTube about 6 months ago or so and have been obsessed ever since. To be 100% honest, before I heard about this tour, I had no idea who Ben Kweller was. I'm pretty sure I had heard a song or two of his, but not enough to recognize the name.

The show was amazing. Julia was so funny and charming and she sounded awesome. I was incredibly impressed with Ben Kweller's set too. I checked out a few of his songs on YouTube beforehand, but not a lot and I was incredibly surprised by what I heard last night. I am definitely going to be buying some of his stuff.

Anyway - this whole thing was supposed to be a photoblog, as I'm not really great at reviewing concerts. So here are some pics! Enjoy!

Sandra and I

Me, Sandra and Richard

The venue was really cool - small, intimate, and one wall devoted to large photos of cats.

Julia Nunes!!

Isn't she adorable?

Ben was awesome!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Civil Disobedience Through Boycott: A Review of Nestle's Unethical Marketing of Infant Formula

This is my first essay for my English Composition class this year. We were asked to write a short essay on civil disobedience, so naturally my first choice went to the Nestle boycott.

We weren't asked for any sources or anything; it's just a very basic essay assignment. I'm hoping in the future that I'll be able to provide a better, more thorough look at the boycott, but for now, here is simply one perspective on it.


Did you know that in some areas of the world, the difference between formula feeding and breastfeeding your baby can literally be the difference between life and death and that there is a company who is gaining financially from that difference? This is just one of many examples of why I am taking part in boycotting Nestle, the company holding as much as 40% of infant formula sales worldwide.

I want to take you on a trip for a moment. Think with me now: you are approached by a man who has a product that he says could make your life so much easier and he wants to give you a small supply of it for free. With this product you are going to be able to save yourself a great amount of time and effort and others are going to be able to benefit as well. The offer sounds pretty good doesn't it? Let's say you take the offer and you start using the product. It's a pretty nice product, so it seems. After a week or two of using the product, you're hooked and you go back and ask for more. But now the man wants you to pay for the product and guess what? It's not cheap. But since you're now hooked on this product, you are forced to pay the price to continue using it. You're stuck.

This scenario probably sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? You, like me, might let your first thoughts drift toward the drug trade. You'd be wrong. The product I'm talking about is baby formula. This practice is fairly standard: you give birth to a baby and you are given a bag at the hospital with a complimentary can of formula tucked neatly inside along with a few coupons for additional free cans of formula. You go home and use the formula as well as the coupons and by the time you're out of free product, your breast milk has dried up or your baby has no interest in learning to suckle when it's so much easier to drink from a bottle and you are now forced to use formula. You are also now forced to pay the hefty price that comes along with using formula.

In more developed countries, like the US or the countries in Europe, this practice, while not necessarily ethically sound, poses little danger, especially as most developed countries have adopted and signed onto the World Health Organization (WHO)'s International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes which places certain standards and protocol which must be adhered to when marketing infant formula. However, in more underdeveloped countries, especially those that have not adopted or do not strictly enforce this code, this tactic does present a considerable risk. You see, in these underdeveloped countries, the difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding and infant can literally be the difference between life and death for many reasons.

The first reason is that there is little, if any, access to clean water or sanitary feeding conditions required when using infant formula. Another of many reasons is that most parents in these areas of the world are not educated enough to properly read or understand the directions to preparing infant formula and thus use disproportionate amounts of formula to water, thereby affecting the amount of nutrition received. One more reason to address is the cost of formula versus that of breast milk. Some formula companies charge as much as $24 USD for one 25.07 ounce can of their product. Very few of the people populating these underdeveloped countries can afford the price of formula and will begin to ration the amount of formula given in each serving, sometimes diluting the product to only half the amount supposed to be given, thus reducing the nutritional value drastically.

As Nestle is the leading distributor of infant formula worldwide, holding a whopping 40% of the market, it is important to make an example of this company in hopes that other formula companies will follow suit when Nestle changes their business practices. I encourage everyone to help take part in this boycott by learning the list of products that Nestle makes and choosing to avoid them until Nestle changes their ways.


If you are interested in learning more about the boycott, I highly suggest checking out PhD in Parenting. She provides a fairly thorough look at the boycott and also gives a lot of sources for more information.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who's Got a Penny???

I've been browsing funny YouTube videos a lot lately, and although I keep finding really great stuff, I keep coming back to this:

...Just thought I'd share. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tiny Dancer

Kairi loves dance parties. We have them every so often around here and a lot of times they involve funny YouTube songs. Here are a couple good examples.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Facebook Breast Cancer/Breastfeeding Status Game

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there have been a lot of Facebook status games to try to help raise awareness. Last year it was posting what color your bra was in your status and not giving any explanation. This year the big one circulating asks where you keep your purse.

Here are my problems with that:

  • My purse has nothing to do with breast cancer, or even breasts. So how on earth is this going to raise awareness?
  • This game is trying to gain awareness of the early detection of breast cancer. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for that! But I think it's also really important to stress prevention! 
That being the case, some of my friends have come up with a new game, this one focusing on how breastfeeding reduces our risks of getting breast cancer.

Below is the email that we are trying to circulate. I would love it if you'd copy/paste this into an email and send it to all of your friends!

Did you know that October 1st marked day one of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Last year women posted the color of their bra which made headlines & was a mysterious yet successful way to raise awareness. This year I'd like to suggest that we promote breastfeeding in addition to raising awareness on breast cancer. Did you know that breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast cancer by 4.3 percent for every year you breastfeed and if you breastfeed your daughter then she will have a reduced risk of getting breast cancer too. It's a win, win situation. So, let us celebrate breastfeeding awareness with posting in your status how much you reduced the risk or by sharing one point from below to help encourage other mothers to breastfeed their babies.

"It's cheaper"
"It's healthier"
"It helps prevent obesity"
"It helps you get a better night's sleep"
"It is more convenient"
"It's on tap"
"It's natural"
"It helps you lose weight"
"It helps prevent breast cancer"
"It helps you bond"

Remember that it's better to PREVENT an illness, especially cancer, than it is to try to "cure" it. I hope you'll take a moment and participate in this Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Pictorial Update

A lot has been going on around here lately. The times I'm not busy with school is pretty much taken up by the kids.
Gracie is doing well in school. She's making friends as well as learning to deal with those who aren't worth her time. (I say this in a non-snobby way, I promise.) There are a couple kids in her class that she just doesn't get along with, so we're working on what to do and what to say if a conflict arises. So far, she seems to be handling herself pretty well.
I had mixed feelings when I heard that she was the only girl playing in a group of 5 boys though... They were playing Mario (as in Super Mario) and she was Princess Toadstool. On one hand, I'm very happy that she seems to be well liked, but on the other I can't help but think bad things about the boys intentions. I realize that these kids are 5 and 6 years old though, so I highly doubt their intentions are anything but pure.

Kairi is getting big, as typically happens when babies become toddlers. She's really starting to spit words out -- something my mother was worried she was behind on. (She's not.) Her newest phrases are:

"Take a bath?"
"Here ya go!"
"I'm okay!"

It's been a lot of fun realizing that her little rambles and babbles are turning into phrases... They're still in their early forms. Much like a sculptor molds his clay, Kairi's words and phrases are still really soft and not fully defined, but are beginning to take a recognizable shape.

As for me, I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I got new glasses! (Kairi and I worked together on breaking the old pair.) So far, I love them. I'm hoping these ones will last as long as the old ones did (almost 10 years!) because I think they're really cute. :)

I also got contacts and dyed/highlighted my hair. It's amazing how such a little thing can do so much for a person's self-esteem. I'm not typically one to care about my looks, but it feels good to know you look your best and as down in the dumps as I was at the beginning of last month, it was incredibly an incredibly healing pick-me-up.

Over the last month, we've gone a couple times to Tulsa to see the allergist for Kairi. I'm not sure if I posted about it, but a few months ago she broke out in a severe case of full body hives that got me a little paranoid about food allergies. We don't have a local allergist that will see kids as young as Kairi, so we got a referral and made our way to the Allergy Clinic. It was nice though, since we got to spend time each visit with my mom. The drive there is gorgeous and always lifts my spirits.

The pictures I tried to take of the rolling tree-covered hills didn't come out very well, but here's one part of the road that I really like.

And finally, one last pic to leave you all with. While washing the car and playing in the water, this somehow happened. So, I extend this heart to you, my friends and family. I will try to post more often, but until the next time, know I love you all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So THAT'S Why He Wrote It...

You know, I'm beginning to understand why Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song "Wake Me Up When September Ends."

This month has sucked. And we're only a week into it.

School is going well, but rest is not. Kairi is not wanting to go to bed at a reasonable time which makes waking up really hard for me. It also makes staying awake later in the day incredibly hard and I get very easily frustrated and flustered when I'm tired. (Not to be confused with "flusterated," which is an entire post in and of itself.)

On top of the general state of walking death, I've had to deal with some pretty devastating personal drama. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it's been incredibly stressful and I'm pretty sure that the damage done by it is irreparable.

And this morning I managed to break my glasses simply by picking them up. I went a good half of my day without glasses, giving myself a headache from eye strain, before I finally came to my senses and bought some super glue. It's a temporary fix but I've got an optometrist appointment tomorrow morning. I'm hoping that they will have my prescription of contacts on hand because although my glasses are currently operational, they are not comfortable as they are sitting a little wonky across my nose on top of the previous wonkiness that came from Kairi twisting on of the ear pieces almost all the way off.

I've had my glasses with the same prescription for almost 10 years. I had decided to get new ones with my grant money from school anyway, but this couldn't have come at a worse time. All of my bills for September are due right now and my grant money isn't coming until later in the month, possibly not until early October. Thankfully, my mother has graciously offered to loan me the money to get my glasses and contact situation under control (she's always saving my ass - you might notice a trend if you read my blog very often).

Oh! And I nearly forgot! On the 1st, I woke at 5 am to Kairi breathing really abnormally. Her breathing was shallow and extremely labored. She was having what the doctors called "retractions" which is where she was breathing so hard that her stomach (the outside, visible areas, that is) was being sucked up under her ribs with each breath.

Having dealt with upper respiratory issues with Gracie when she was young as well as our previous bouts of bronchialitis and pneumonia with Kairi last year I knew that she needed a breathing treatment so I got out of bed and pulled the nebulizer out of the closet - but there was no medicine with it. As it was still very early in the morning (about 6 by this point in time) I knew my only option was to hit up the ER.

Thankfully there was only one or two other people being treated in the ER at the time of our visit so it only took about an hour and a half. They let me give her a breathing treatment there and gave us some prescriptions for not only the medicine for the nebulizer but also some antibiotics and some steroids for any infection that may have been present in her lungs.

I got home at 9 after getting all the prescriptions and got Gracie to school but by the time I got home I myself was sick and I found Jason sick as well. I had baked cod the night before and although I was certain it was done, Jason didn't seem to be. I guess we'll never know, but I stand by my cooking.

So, this - in a nutshell - has been how the month of September has treated me thus far. Granted, it could be a lot worse, but I am really beginning to relate to Billie Joe's words even if I think he's become a little too politically minded and sappy.

For now, I'm heading to bed. And as much as I'd like to just sleep through this month, I've got lots of things to take care of (Jason's birthday is Sunday!) and I doubt if anyone would appreciate my extended snooze.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The New Students and the New Diapers

I haven't written in a while and I don't have one specific thing to write an entire post on, but I do have a lot of little things that I'd like to share.

First off, I want to tell you that I'm going back to school! I'm really excited about it. I'm taking 4 classes this semester that totals out to 12 hours. My classes include Ethics, Sociology, Comp II, and Intermediate Algebra.

For those of you who don't know, this will be my second college semester. My first semester was in fall of '08, but I was unable to attend the spring semester because Kairi was born in March that year. I decided to take Kairi's first year off to stay home with her and now that school is starting back up, I'll be glad to get back into it.

Originally, I started school to go into psychology. My plan was to go all the way through my masters in psychology to become a psychologist. Since having Kairi, my passions have switched a bit and I am thinking about applying what classes I've taken to a degree in nursing and moving on to eventually become a certified nurse midwife. The classes I'm taking this semester can be applied to either degree, so I'm giving myself just a little bit more time to decide which direction to take.

Also, Gracie has started school again! She's in Kindergarten this year and after her 3rd day in, she's loving it. There are several kids from her Pre-K class that are in her class this year, so she's already got friends to hang out with at recess.

Kairi is doing well. We had some problems with her diapers after our detergent was recalled and when we thought we were going to have to start all the way over, a wonderful friend of mine sent me a ton of gently used diapers that she was no longer using to replace what we might have lost. After several more attempts to salvage my original diapers, I was thankfully able to. But I'm grateful to my friend for what she's sent. I'm getting to try a lot of new things and I've got enough diapers at this point that I have no need to buy any more. And as much as I love buying the diapers (it's like clothes shopping - it's hard to stop even if you have enough!) we are doing it to save money, so I probably should keep my wallet put away. At least for a while.
My whole stash laid out. Pretty, huh?

Aside from that, we really haven't been up to much. Mostly just hanging out at the house, trying to escape the heat. I'll be excited when summer is over!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick Hit: The "I Did It and I'm Fine" Rant

I don't know about you, but I get SO tired of the "I did it and I'm fine" argument. It comes up everywhere you turn and in many different forms.

There's the one we use for our kids: "Well my mom did this for me, and I turned out fine, so why shouldn't I do the same for my kids?"

Then there's the don't fix what ain't broken version: "I've always done it this way and it's never caused any harm."

I'm sure there are a million different variations and to list them all would take all day, but I'm sure you get the idea.

What brings me to think about this is an encounter that I had yesterday at the gas station. As I was walking through the parking lot, I saw a man smoking a cigarette who was about to start pumping gas. He showed no sign that he was going to put out his cigarette.

Typically speaking, I tend not to approach smokers in public about their smoking. As an ex-smoker, I know how defensive people can be, especially when they're in the great outdoors among all the fresh air. But this guy was potentially putting myself, my kids, and everyone else at that gas station in danger.

"Don't you think you should put that out?" I asked the guy.

"Nah. I do this all the time," he shrugged as he placed the nozzle in his car. "Never hurt anyone."

I was amazed. "Yeah? Well I've never overdosed on heroin, but you don't see me out here shooting up, now do you?"  I made my way back to my car, pumped my gas as quickly as I could and sped off, furious.

I just don't understand how people can advocate and condone dangerous behavior simply because it's never hurt them personally.

How about you? Does this piss you off as much as it does me? What instances have you run into? Did you respond to them? If so, how?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Dream Interpreted

I had an awful dream last night. Lately, Gracie's attitude has gone even further downhill, and although I think I am finally figuring out ways to deal with it I can't say that it's not taking a toll on us. I'm much more irritable and tired when the day is through, as is she.

So my dream... I dreamed that because of Gracie's attitude problems, I decided to send her to a month long disciplinary camp - a place where I would only be able to talk to her once a day for 5 minutes over the phone. In my dream, I was so confident in my decision, then when the people came to pick her up I realized that I hadn't done any research at all. I didn't know what methods these people were planning on using to straighten my child out. I didn't find out until they got there that I'd only be able to talk to her once daily. Panic started setting in when I realized that I hadn't done anything to prepare Gracie for what was to come either. She had no idea that she was going to be gone from us for more than a night or two, or that they had planned on her sleeping in a tent (something she's never done). Tears streaked down my face as I watched her happily waving from the back of the bus as it drove off. I was sending my daughter to an ambush and she was absolutely gleeful about it.

I woke up with a feeling of dread, similar to how I feel after watching a post-apocalyptic movie. My heart feels heavy and I am literally seconds from crying. As I think more about what the dream could mean, I can't help but feeling like perhaps I've been treating Gracie too harshly when she starts acting out. Our tempers tend to flare pretty high and pretty quick in this family and I know I am my mother's child when I've hit my boiling point. I can hear the same shrill tone in my voice once I've had enough and after that, even the most mild irritants will send me through the roof.

Please don't misinterpret me here; my mother was and is wonderful. But everyone has their faults.

I remember making my mother angry as a child: I'd either do something really bad or I'd do a lot of little things that built up over time to wear down her patience. When she finally lost her temper, it was over. From then on out, like me, even the most mild irritants would push her back over the edge. I can't blame her - when you've had enough, you've had enough. It's not easy to explain this to a child though, and when she would erupt I remember thinking things like, "Well I just left my plate out after dinner for a few minutes.... I was gonna take it to the sink in a little while...."

Now as a mother myself, I see myself following in her shoes in a lot of ways, both good and bad. And one of those ways is that I tend to overreact once my buttons have been pushed a few too many times. It has no off switch either. If I lose it early in the day, my patience stays pretty thin the rest of the day.

I think that perhaps this is some of what my dream was trying to tell me. Maybe I need to calm the eff down when I'm dealing with Gracie. It's not fair to her that she has to deal with my anger issues and it's no fun for me feeling the guilt of overreacting over something small.

I hope that my decision to work through my anger differently will not only change the dynamic between my daughter and I, but maybe I'll sleep a little better at night too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I'm Into Right Now

I just wanted to share with you fine folks my new obsession.... This is some seriously good music. You should check out both of these lovely ladies' solo channels (Nataly's here and Lauren's here.) as well as Nataly's other collaboration channel, Pomplamoose. (It's amazing. I promise.)

Anyway, enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you have a new favorite that you wanna spread around? Link it up! I need some new music!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: When Breastmilk and Water Don't Mix

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


This post is also a guest post, written by a wonderful woman by the name of Heidi. Big thanks to Heidi for allowing me to publish her story!


I was approached at our local pool two times in less than two weeks for nursing my 11 month old there. The first time someone in the pool who saw me nursing her said something to the life guard. The life guard came over to me, after we were done nursing, and asked if I could breastfeed my baby in the locker room or family bathroom or cover up.

COVER UP?! I was in a swimsuit in the WATER!

Luckily I was with my Le Leche League leader and she jumped in and stated that it was against the law to ask any nursing mother to move or to cover up. I told her that I would not be moving into the bathroom and suggested that she learn the law, especially since it's a public facility!

After thinking about what happened, I sent a letter to the director of the pool and suggested that he teach his employees about the law so it doesn't happen again. Imagine if this happened to a mother who was unaware of her rights! The pool director was very apologetic and said they were having an employee meeting in a few days and that he would address the issue. He said that he knows the law and has taught his staff about it.

I think the person who reported me to the lifeguard must have been another mother because there were only a few other women and children in the pool at the time. How another mother could have a problem with this is beyond me!

The following is the email correspondence between myself and the pool director. 

To whom it may concern,

Today I took my two children to Fairmont to go swimming on this beautiful day from 10-11am. I love your pool and it's accommodations to the children. (We also attend Galaxy Gymnastic regularly) I also meet two other friends and their children, who I invited to join us. My 10 month old was getting tired and wanted to breastfeed and I would NEVER leave my 2.5 yo by herself in the pool so I nursed my child in the shallow end. After, we swam over behind the slide to let the children out to see the ducks. Just then, one of your young female staff members came over and politely asked me to cover up or go into the bathroom/locker room if I was going to breastfeed my child again. I said why? She said because someone complained about it. We (my other nursing friend and I) explained to her that it is against the law for anyone anywhere to ask a mother to cover up or move or stop breastfeeding her child in Utah. From her reaction I don't think she knew of this law. That is why I am writing. Both my friend and I thankfully know of our rights as nursing mothers in public. If it were an unknowing mother I think she may have felt very offended by this and compliant when she didn't need to be.

I have included the two UTAH codes for a mothers right to breastfeed in Utah so you can educate your staff about this subject, especially since you are a public city ran facility. I have MANY other friends that come to your pool that are breastfeeding mothers and will nurse their children at your facility. Please educate your staff so this doesn't happen to another mother. I will continue to be a patron and will also continue to breastfeed my child there if need be.
Please, feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Thank you,
Heidi L.

Their response:


I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused. We have covered this topic with all of our staff in previous in-service trainings. We had instructed all our staff that breastfeeding could be done anywhere in our facility. There is another staff training this Saturday and this topic will be added to the agenda. We have counseled the staff from this morning and corrected the information.

I am proud of our facility and hope that we continue to keep it kid-friendly. Thank you for continuing to use Fairmont Aquatic Center for you and your families' enjoyment. Again I am sorry for any inconvenience that this morning's situation may have caused.
Gene M.
Program Manager

The second incident happened at the same place. I was a bit reluctant to nurse there again and wanted to hold off until we got out of the pool. My discomfort was the result of being confronted for doing something so natural. My daughter was inconsolable, so I decided that I'd better nurse just before we left to change.

Before I had even letdown, a different life guard came running over and asked if I could get out of the pool to breastfeed.

I told her that I wouldn't move and that it was my right to nurse there. She told me that she wasn't asking me to cover up or nurse in the bathroom this time, but that she wanted me out of the pool so no milk would get in the water.

"How would my milk get in the pool when she's nursing?" I asked.

She claimed to know how letdown works and said that if the baby isn't latched on the milk keeps dripping out. She even compared it to eating Doritos in the water!

I explained that it's only for a brief time and that it won't effect the water but she continued to ask me to get out. Still refusing, I asked if this was her policy or the pool's policy and she said it was the pool's.

She finally gave up and decided to return to her post to watch over the pool.

Later I called the pool director who said that he had heard what happened and had tried to find me to apologize. He said that it was not their policy to ask nursing mothers to leave the water. He was sincerely apologetic and said that I can nurse wherever I need to. I suggested that he continue to educate his staff.

I stated my concern for the mother's who are unaware of their rights or who are already uncomfortable nursing in public. If they had to go through something like this, it could really jeopardize her nursing relationship! I also sent the director a link to the international nursing sign to put on the front doors of the pool, but in the months since these conversations I have yet to see it posted. I have been there and nursed there since and will continue to do so. The more it's seen the easier, I think, people will expect it as the norm!

On both occasions I had my 2 year old daughter with me as well. I wasn't going to leave her in the pool or make her get out and be cold as she waited for her sister to finish nursing. I wonder if they ever even considered that!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Confrontation vs. Censorship

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


As most of my friends and family know, I breastfeed Kairi and I am passionate about the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.  Some have even said that I've become a bit of a different person since having Kairi because of how immersed I've become in this and other aspects of attachment parenting.

For a while, I would post frequently on both Twitter and Facebook different articles about breastfeeding and my views on current events in breastfeeding news. One night, I shared a particularly funny link to a comic strip about breastfeeding and my Facebook page got lit up. Apparently people don't like hearing about breastfeeding.

After that day I decided to drastically reduce my amount of posts on Facebook regarding breastfeeding. It really did seem like a lot of the time that I posted about it, particularly breastfeeding in public, it would spark some pretty nasty debate. It always started out clean, but at some point or another someone would compare breastfeeding in public to lewd and disgusting acts or someone would call formula feeding parents lazy or ignorant and things just turn ugly at that point.

It truly bothers me when I have something to say but I feel the need to censor myself. I don't like confrontation but I hate tiptoeing around subjects even more. I don't often have the need to nurse in public but when I do, a twinge of the same need to censor myself hits me. I often wonder if I'm going to be approached and asked to leave or if some stranger is going to be Tweeting about how I shouldn't be nursing my child next to him while he's eating his gyro. I wonder if the people who get up to leave are leaving on their own accord or if the simple act of feeding my child has made them so uncomfortable that they feel the need to flee.

It just seems so strange to me that people are SO appalled by the way our bodies have given us the ability to feed our kids on demand, for free, a substance that is biologically perfect. It angers and saddens me that I can't feed my daughter wherever we happen to be and I can't talk about these issues that concern me without falling under fire. Someone recently said that breastfeeding is the ONLY biological norm that we are running away from more than running to - and I totally agree.

So, because of this, because hearing about and seeing breastfed children NEEDS to be an everyday NORMAL event, I will no longer censor myself or back down from an argument or debate for the sake of avoiding confrontation. I will not confine myself to the darkened corners and hallways to avoid the ever-watching public eye just because my child is hungry. All I want is to feed my child in peace. Is it really so wrong to ask for that?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheesy Pepper Chicken Tacos

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, so I thought I'd share. It's incredibly easy to make and super easy to modify to meet different needs.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 4 oz can fire roasted green chiles
1/4-1/2 C. finely chopped jalapenos (can be used in addition to or in place of the chiles)
Salt, pepper, cumin (to taste)
1-2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 C. Colby-Jack cheese
Corn tortillas, soft fried (the smaller size work really best, I think.) - Can be substituted with flour tortillas.

Cook and season the cubed chicken breast in the oil. When it's almost cooked through, reduce heat to low and add the green chiles/jalapenos . Let the liquid cook down a bit then add the cheese to the top and let it melt. Scoop mix into tortillas and eat taco style. Also tastes great with chunky salsa on top!

My Lightbulb Moment

My friend Toni over at Our Sentiments  wrote a wonderful post in response to PhD in Parenting's post entitled, "I Won't Ask Why You Didn't Breastfeed."

If you have a minute, I highly suggest reading both pieces. The following is my response (and actually, verbatim comment on) Toni's post. 

The first time I ever even considered that I could possibly breastfeed Kairi, my second child, happened because of a conversation that began, “Well, why didn’t you breastfeed Gracie?”

I was at a baby shower for my best friend and I was pregnant myself. The woman who asked is now someone who I am so happy to be getting to know – the Le Leche League leader for the group I go to.
I explained to her my reasons – none of which were very well founded, and all of which she very gently corrected my information. For instance, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be so natural that I wouldn’t have to do any reading or educate myself on it at all. I just assumed that I’d put my baby to my breast and she’d eat, easy as pie. Tori explained to me that nursing is a learned skill, something that both mother and child have to practice in order to master.

Since the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth to Gracie weren’t much help, I waited until we got home and in a more relaxed, comfortable setting to try nursing her again. By that time, however, I was incredibly engorged – and even after having nursed for 15 months, Kairi and I still have a little bit of a rough time getting latched if I’m engorged. I didn’t know that though, so I thought that there was something wrong with me. I figured that Gracie had gotten by well enough on formula by that time so I shrugged it off and reached for the can of Good Start the hospital so *ahem* generously handed me on my way out. Tori managed to explain to me that there was nothing wrong with me and that my body was completely capable of providing for my children.

Before that conversation, without a doubt in my mind I knew I was going to be formula feeding. But as soon as she started explaining things, it was like a light bulb turned on and my world was turned upside down (in the very best way possible!)

As soon as I got home, I broke out all the pregnancy books I owned and opened them to the breastfeeding chapters. I looked up breastfeeding information online. I educated myself and prepared myself as much as a woman who had never seen a baby nursing in person possibly could. And when I delivered my baby, we nursed like champs and we continue to do so 15 months later.

So do I agree that we should perhaps quit asking why people choose not to breastfeed? No, I don’t. I certainly see the reasons why some might not and I also choose to use my own personal discretion when it comes to who and how I ask, but from my own personal experience I KNOW that if not for that specific question, I would not, under any circumstances, even tried to nurse.

Thursday, July 1, 2010