Thursday, December 11, 2008

Take a Stand

(cross posted on family blog)
We try to have toys that are from reputable sources. We avoid products manufactured in China, if we cannot determine the company's standards and policies. We tend to buy from small companies that offer natural products (e.g. Bamboletta dolls, Nova Naturals, North Star Toys, Willow Toys, etc). We have given away/thrown away toys that come from disreputable sources.

thus we were pleased when it became a national issue and Congress wanted to help protect children. However, we feel that the current legislation passed in August 2008 and taking effect in February 2009 will hamper our ability to choose the toys we want. It will especially affect small artisans and handmade products. If you are not familiar with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, please take a minute to read about it. It will require everyone to test. On the surface this appears to be a sound decision, however it will drive independent toy makers and artisans out of business due to excessive cost.

Please visit Help Save Handmade for yourself and contact your Representatives and Senators if you feel as we do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is why

we don't want or have plastic toys, sippy cups, plates, cups, etc.

http://www.oregontoxics.org/plastics1.html


Children are more vulnerable to toxic harm than adults because they are smaller, consume more air, food, and water for each pound of body weight than adults, and they put more things into their mouths.

Accordingly, children are more susceptible to damage from environmental threats because their bodies, brains, organs, and central nervous system are undergoing extensive growth and development throughout infancy and early childhood.


NEW RESEARCH on Children’s Exposure from Toxics in the Environmental

Exposure to toxics can cause irreparable damage to a child’s health and cognitive abilities. New research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that chemicals in the environment are implicated in asthma, acute bronchitis and upper-respiratory infections, cancer, mental retardation and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Scientific conclusions about what might be a “safe” threshold of exposure have been continuously revised downward. What ten years ago was considered a “safe” level of mercury for human consumption is now known to be a harmful level. Lead and asbestos, once commonly used and promoted as safe, have proven to be harmful at any level of exposure.

REDUCING TOXICS IN YOUR HOME SHOULD BE A GOAL.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Knitting

I started these sockes while driving home from Ohio. I wish I wore a size 7 shoe, because I would be done by now. My problem is that I am never sure when to stop the cuff. Now? no, now? now? UGH! Pride Socks
Pattern: Jenny Wren Socks
Yarn: Regia Sock Yarn
(more info on Ravelry)

I really want to finish them by election day, since Arizona has a marriage proposition on the ballot.

Balls!

I received a gorgeous hank of Three Irish Girls Galenas Chunky yarn in the mail. I belong to the Stash Menagerie yarn of the month club (which was a fantastic use of some birthday money). It had my favorite colors in it, so I immediately cast on for a hat for me. Alas, I didn't bother checking my gauge. It was off, so I am short a few yards for my hat. I will have to frog and cast on with smaller needles. I did contact TIG to see if I could get another skein for a pair of mittens. Woo Hooo! Knitting for me.

Vacation Knitting

Here are the items completed on our cross-country travels last month. Details can be found on Ravelry.Anniversary Yarn Scarf
Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in CopperbeachMy Socks
Pattern: You're Putting Me On
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in DakotaFingerless Gloves
Pattern: Fetching
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Brownberries

Curls??

According to my stylist, my hair has wave and CURL. Amazing what a few pregnancies and nursing can do to your hair.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Costumes


A cape, withes socks, witches dress and bat wings were desired for the autumnal festivities. It took me a bit to get started, but everything was met with rave reviews. They wore the outfits all day. E exclaimed, "This is the best costume ever!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Children

As an American educator, I cannot help but be struck by certain paradoxes. In America we pride ourselves on being focused on children, and yet we do not pay sufficient attention to what they are actually expressing. We call for cooperative learning among children, and yet we rarely have sustained cooperation at the level of teacher and administrator. We call for artistic works, but we rarely fashion environments that can truly support and inspire them. We call for parental involvement, but are loathe to share ownership, responsibility, and credit with parents. We recognize the need for community, but we so often crystallize immediately into interest groups. We hail the discovery method, but we do not have the confidence to allow children to follow their own noses and hunches. We call for debate, but often spurn it; we call for listening, but we prefer to talk; we are affluent, but we do not safeguard those resources that can allow us to remain so and to foster the affluence of others. — Howard Gardner

Monday, October 06, 2008

Higher Education here they come

I finally made the plunge and started 529 plans for the kiddos. It has taken me 5.5 years! It seemed like such a daunting task. There are so many plans to consider. Luckily my state provides tax considerations regardless of the plan you choose. I decided after reading a few finance blogs and perusing Bankrate on the Ohio CollegeAdvantage plan. The biggest draw aside from low fees and solid investments was the fact that they are currently offering a $25 referral and sign-up bonus. The initial investment needed is only $25. E already has $75 from the start-up money and a referral from his sister. The same will be for A. B will have $50 just from the sign-up bonus. It seemed like an easy way to begin.

How to Earn Your Referral Bonus

  1. Open a new 529 account with $25.
  2. Enter the following referral code: 2429910.
  3. You will receive a $25 credit to your account within 7-10 business days after your account is established. (And E will get $25 for referring you.)
  4. You must establish an account on or before December 15, 2008 in order to be eligible to receive the referral bonus.
  5. Let me know if you decide on this plan.
So now for holidays, birthdays or any special occasion, you can always just add money to their 529 plans.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Loving Them

I finally got rid of my stinky Born Mary Jane shoes. They were so stinky I could smell them at my height of 5'10" while wearing them. I found a pair of Dansko Mary Janes online that are fantastic replacements. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Repurposing

I have very busy repurposing things around the house lately.

First, I pilfered an old shirt from Dave for a dress for A. It was a fairly straight-forward task. I followed this tutorial. She loved the dress. I have one more shirt waiting to be transformed.Next, I turned my attention to shirt of E's onto which I had spilled a drop of bleach. I decided to try reverse tie-dyeing. Voila a new look! E loves it.
Next up were some baby legwarmers for the wee folk. I grabbed two pairs of my knee highs and transformed them into legwarmers for the kiddos. Rave reviews for the third time!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Racing for the Cure

Although I wanted to run in the next one, I will only be walking. I am walking again for the fight against breast cancer. Please follow this link to add your support.

THANKS!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

This link sums it up for me nicely and leads you here. Like Molly Coddle, we don't watch much TV. We go in spurts, but my children know who Mr. Rogers is through some books and DVDs from the library. I fondl recall Mr. Rogers and have watched the program with my children. It is a heartening show in sharp contrast to the programming of today. I am off to write a letter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick Knits

I really like some of the patterns in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The Children's hat seemed like a perfect creation for A after the first hat debacle. I used some Malabrigo yarn in my stash.
It is worsted thick/thin yarn. A picked out the color and is eagerly awaiting mittens and a scarf too. More information on Ravelry.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Bags

This weekend, D went through his closet and selected items to donate to Goodwill. I noticed a pair of pocket jeans in the stack, so I asked him to keep those for crafting. I quickly set to work with the kiddos cutting them apart. After debating on which pockets to use, we settled on the cargo legs. Just a few seams and a strap added produced enviable bags. E has a sketch pad and colored pencils in his. A is trying to decide which of her treasures to put into hers. We plan to pair them with good spotter's guides and head out exploring.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Payson Retreat

The kiddos and I spent three nights up in Payson with friends. We had a grand time with 4 other mamas and 12 or so other kids. E & A ran around the cabin property, explored Tonto Creek and collected wildlife. We came back a day earlier than the others to see daddy and prep for morning swimming lessons. It was a good thing too as D has to go to Prescott for three days.

I was able to knit a hat and mittens for Baby B. I had grand plans of working on a hat for Aine also, but alas kiddo watching took the forefront. The hat/mittens are knit with Malabrigo in two complimentary colorways using size 9 needles. I used a pattern from Knitting for Baby. More information on Ravelry.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goin' Somewhere

I picked up two Samsonite suitcases at a yard sale yesterday. My friends and I had pooled resources for a garage sale to help fund our mama trip up north. I tried resisting the suitcases as M's friend A looked very good with them. However I succumbed as I thought they would be perfect for the kiddos in anticipation of our upcoming 4 wk trip to Michigan. I brought them home to very receptive children. Each immediately "packed" their cases. They have emptied most of their drawers in an attempt to prepare for a quick trip up north to Payson and then the eventual Michigan trip. Concerned that Baby B would not have a case, they filled the toy pet carrier with his clothes designating it his suitcase.

This morning this is what I saw by the garage door.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby Knitting

Here is a finished soaker made on the trip to California. It was followed by a sweater for Baby B finished last week.
And finally a hat for Tiny E finished last night. (He has been wearing it all day).More information and projects details on Ravelry.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Searching

In light of my recent reading of Affluenza and re-reading of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I am again searching and trying to define what I want from my life. This is an ongoing journey for me and one that D & I talk about quite a bit. How do I envision our lives as a family. What is important to me. I found the following list of "Priorities for American Consumers" in Affluenza (pg 195), and I think it hits on quite a few for me:

Transportation
  1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
  2. Think twice before purchasing a second or third car
  3. Chose a fuel efficient, low-polluting car.
  4. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel
  5. Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation
Food
  1. Eat less meat.
  2. Buy certified organic produce.
Household Operations
  1. Choose your home carefully.
  2. Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water.
  3. Install efficient lighting and appliances
  4. Choose and electricity supplied offering renewable energy.
I want to live somewhere close to family that has a diverse population, walkable/bikeable amenities nearby, solid public transportation, green spaces, university(ies) nearby, libraries, parks, museums, good local food. I want a home that is clean and orderly where stuff does not continue to invade every space of my being, where my family can play and enjoy one another, and where I have enough room in the yard for a garden which could sustain our family in produce. I want my husband to have a job that doesn't cause him sleepless nights, that he enjoys and looks forward to doing, that enhances our life but doesn't detract from it.

Affluenza

I belong to an amazing book group. It is comprised of a few of my friends. We meet monthly to discuss a book selected by a member on a rotating basis. The books run the gamut and have exposed me to different genres and books I would not have read otherwise. Last month, we read Affluenza: the All-Consuming Epidemic.

I admit that I did not want to read it at first. I felt that I just couldn't take another area in my life to work on. I already try to shop local, eat vegetarian, reduce my "stuff," consolidate trips in the car, shop only one day a week, aboid big box stores, etc. I told my sister that I just didn't need another person telling me how bad I was and that we are on a runaway train to oblivion.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is setup in two main parts - symptoms and remedies. The focus of the book is affluenza and the effects of consumerism on our culture and our lives. I found it to be a quick and engaging read. It is very similar to The Story of Stuff, which I also highly recommend. It made me further evaluate what we have and what we really need. It urged me to continue the self-analysis I am currently doing. What REALLY matters in my life? What do I REALLY want from my life?

The process for me has been ongoing, starting with a belief in simple living that I used to espouse to my friends in the mid-90s. It drove some of them nuts as I questioned why we "needed" certain things to prove our worth. At that time, I wondered what did I really need. Of course, I had a lot of "stuff" and spent quite a bit of money. I colored my hair, wore fashionable clothes, traveled internationally and went out a lot.

When D & I had our first child, I reduced my work hours and went back to work part-time. We were afraid to lose my income totally as I made significantly more than he did at the time. We decided part-time would be a gradual step in that direction without too much sacrifice. Our son would never have outside childcare, so we were all set. The cosmos had other plans as I was downsized when our son was 6 months old. It was a definite learning experience. We learned that we really didn't need much to live. We were able to enjoy our life on less than half of what the two of us made with me part-time. We laughed when people said they "had" to work (In fact, we still do).

Our income has gradually increased over time, but I recently realized that we still don't make what we did when I left the workforce. Yet somehow we survive. We spend more time together as a family just doing stuff. We have started camping. We take road trips to see our state and learn about our surroundings. We utilize Freecycle and Goodwill. We have belonged to several CSAs. We have our own garden. We don't have cable and never watch television (D & I do watch movies through Netflix occasionally). We have one vehicle. We really try to live a more simple life.

We have chosen voluntary simplicity, and we like it. Or so I think most days. Yet even with our changes in buying behavior, we have a lot of "stuff." I am continually donating or selling items we don't use or need. I recently discovered that one of my sons had 26 pairs of underwear. Granted some were slightly too small, but he had an overabundance. I was caught up in affluenza. I had found them on sale and bought several packs thinking we needed them. We don't. He now has 12 pairs and still has more underwear than any person needs. The kiddos also have too many clothes. Most has been thrifted, bought at the end of season on clearance or acquired through clothing swaps with friends. Most they don't need. My son doesn't "need" over 30 short-sleeved shirts (yes, I counted). I bought the items or accepted them from friends, because they were good deals - Gymbo, ON, Gap for $2/shirt who could resist??? This is where I have a bit of affluenza, and I am working on it. On some level, I still think we need stuff and I get some type of pleasure in securing the deal and acquiring more.

We really, truly don't. So, now I am trying to determine just what 3 children and two adults need clotheswise and possession-wise. I have some ideas, but I would love to get input on what you think a good wardrobe for a 5yo, 3yo, 3 month old, 36 yo and 37yo would be. What does a family truly need?

Some last thoughts/quotes on the book, since I missed our discussion:
  • I want to live "Consciously, deliverately and intentionally" (pg 182)
  • I want to remember and instill in my children the following when faced with a spending decision: "Do I really need it? Can I borrow it from someone else? Are the materials in it reusable and recyclable? How much time will I need to work to afford it?" (pg 213)
On to next month's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. This is another book I highly recommend.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Always on Guard

Some people wonder why I question so many things. They wonder why I make the decisions I do for our family and my kiddos. Well, it is hard to trust when every other day I am told of another area where our family can be harmed. No one else is looking out for our well-being (government, FDA, etc).

I have tried very hard to eliminate all plastics from our kitchen - no IKEA plasticware for the kiddos, glass storage, etc. The playroom has been analyzed and many toys given to new homes in an attempt to remain plastic free and use more natural toys (blocks, cloth dolls, playsilks, etc). The whole house is cleaned with vinegar and baking soda. We really try to make it a safe place.

Then, I read this: Pacifier Guide

I recently bought a pacifier for Baby B. I had been using my little finger when he needed some additional soothing and did not want to nurse. It seemed like perhaps a pacifier would be a better choice. So much for that thought. Even on my worst day, my finger will not cause him as much damage as what is packaged at my local Target...

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Banner

Like the new mosaic? You too can have one here

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More Recycling

My craft room (aka The Den) is a mess. I have WAY too many projects going with no completion in site. I decided to try to tackle the mess one stack at a time and not just move things around the room. I took a stack of sweaters I had set aside for baby soakers and longies. I cut into them and fashioned three pairs of longies for Baby B. He has wore two of the pairs at night and they work beautifully - no leaks!
(I think he is sad, because Dave called him an Ewok in these pants)

I plan on making a few pairs of shorties/soakers from the remaining sweater pieces. I wanted to do it all at one time, but I am reminding myself, "baby steps."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Selsun Blue

I am not an audiophile. I love music, but I often don't know the lyrics, artist or name of the song. Not too long ago, I asked D why Neil Diamond was singing about dandruff shampoo. He looked at me in disbelief as he told me the song is "Song Sung Blue."

I recently found a new song to like. I heard it on the radio while driving with D and the kiddos. I asked him what "menicuous" was. This is the song. I love it. The words are hilariously horrid, but oh the beat...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Double UGH!

http://jenniferblock.com/wordpress/?p=74

I am a lactivist. I think everyone should breastfeed. I see no reason why mothers shouldn't - truly. I know there are a VERY small few who medically cannot, but that number is not significant. The majority of women CAN breastfeed. They choose not to breastfeed or they are not provided with support to be successful at breastfeeding. It is appalling to me that U.S. hospitals can score a failing grade for breastfeeding. It doesn't surprise me as I hear of mothers pressured to give formula, told to only feed on a schedule and given samples of formula.

Appalling.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Delish

I have been making a lot of meals from Eat, Drink and be Vegan by Dreena Burton lately. Today I made the Chocolate Mint Melties. They are so good! I highly recommend trying them out.
So far everything I have made has been well received and quite good. We have had the Cocoa-Coconut Chili, Popcorn Fries and Chickpea Sensation Patties.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Being Born Is Important

~by Carl Sandburg

Being born is important
You who have stood at the bedposts
and seen a mother on her high harvest day,
the day of the most golden of harvest moons for her.

You who have seen the new wet child
dried behind the ears,
swaddled in soft fresh garments,
pursing its lips and sending a groping mouth
toward the nipples where white milk is ready

You who have seen this love’s payday
of wild toil and sweet agonizing

You know being born is important.
You know nothing else was ever so important to you.
You understand the payday of love is so old,
So involved, so traced with the circles of the moon,
So cunning with the secrets of the salts of the blood
It must be older than the moon, older than the salt.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Repurposing

A wanted a nightgown, so I set to work. I found two cute pillowcases at Goodwill . The first one I made adapting the shirt pattern from Simplicity 4206. It was super easy and a good fit. A loves it. She wore it for a week straight.The next one I made with seam binding. I followed the same general shape as the first one. I made the binding from some fat quarters I had. Voila nightgown #2. It is a bit wide, but she likes it. D asked me to cut a pair of his pj pants and convert them to shorts. After a quick measure, I cut off the legs and hemmed the new shorts while he prepped the kiddos for bed. He liked the results and wore them that night.

With the remaining pant leg, I fashioned a pair of pj shorts for E. He was thrilled to have pj garb that matched his poppa. I also shortened another pair of his pj pants, so he has two pairs of bottoms for the summer.

A

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stinky Feet

Award-winning Kid Rocker Mr. Stinky Feet
Asks Fans to Pick Price of New Album

Celebrating 10 Years with release of Upside Down on May 20

"Jim Cosgrove has perfected the language of kids."
-- Albuquerque Journal

NASHVILLE, TN - In celebration of 10 years performing as "Mr. Stinky Feet" and as a thank you to the steadfast support of his fans, award-winning kid rocker Jim Cosgrove will release his new album Upside Down on May 20 with a "You Pick the Price" promotion. At his website, fans can offer up what they want for the download by paying $15, $10, or $5, or they can download it for FREE! The "You Pick the Price" promotion will run for just two weeks -- May 20th through June 3rd.

Cosgrove has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe for more than a decade, including two performances at The White House. His six previous recordings have earned four national Parents' Choice Awards, a National Parenting Publications Award, and two Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Awards.

Upside Down, the seventh CD released by the Kansas City, Mo., native, celebrates the wondrous (and sometimes topsy-turvy) moments in a kid's life like discovering a Pizza Tree in the backyard, watching bugs party in the basement, swinging as high as the sky, and scribbling outside the lines. The collection of 13 songs includes "Let's Stick Together," a tune inspired by (and performed with) his 3 1/2 -year-old daughter Lyda and how she handled the harrowing experience when her then eight-week-old sister Willa suffered skull fractures and brain swelling after being hit by a line-drive foul ball at a professional baseball game.

Mr. Stinky Feet draws on his wealth of stories and experiences touring with his family to produce an exciting collection of music for today's kids. With this effort to reach out to his long time fans and bring new ones into the fold, Cosgrove has recorded his most entertaining, story driven, mom/dad savvy, and kid-friendly album to date.

Upside Down is available for download from www.mrstinkyfeet.com on May 20 and in stores June 3.

Watch Mr. Stinky Feet in Concert - http://youtube.com/watch?v=WpsKmn8L6MQ

For more information on Upside Down or Jim Cosgrove, contact GoodStuff PR Co. at 615.525.5303 or via email at info@goodstuffpr.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Breeder Bias

Apparently the pediatricians in the east valley only allow 2 well child checks per day per family. If you have 3 children, you have to come on two different days. It "takes longer" when a family comes in for more than two wcc. How do I with three kiddos take longer than three separate families?? Breeder Bias at its best.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Does Almost Count

I am trying to get back into shape. I really enjoyed this pregnancy - my last. I enjoyed it wholeheartedly as the scale indicates. I am needing to shed the extra baggage I am carrying, and it isn't happening. Yes, my baby is only 6 wks old, but I don't want to be signing the same song with a two year ("But, I just had a baby." "Uh, lady, he's two").

I figured I could walk early in the morning before D leaves for work. It seemed foolproof. Yeah, right. I started on Mother's Day. I walked without a hitch. Baby B was in the Moby wrap and Ava was on the leash. Easy Peasy. No walk yesterday - too tired after not sleeping due to stuffy baby. Then there is today.

Everyone was awake when I suited up at 5:30a to walk. A insisted she wanted to come along. I reminded her that we would walk at the zoo, and this is my walking ALONE/FAST time. She lost it crumbling into a heap of tears. After much talking, she agreed to walk with me tomorrow. So, off I headed down the street at 5:46. I suddenly hear E wailing after me. He wants to tell me that I forgot my iPod and B's diaper. I thank him for his help and urge him to run back home. He does and again I am off - 5:50. I walk with Baby B and Ava carelessly for 1.5 miles - it is all the time I have before D has to leave. I added a few lunges, squats, crunches and pushups when I came home.

I am pretty sure my heartrate didn't get into the right range and the mileage was low, but it sure does a lot for my mental health. Bring on the day...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Do I smell?

Okay, I probably did smell, but that is beside the point. I was doing yard work this morning with baby B in the wrap and the other kiddos running around the yard. I was trimming and cleaning up the place trying to up our curb apeal or at least stave off anymore HOA letters regarding weeds. I walked into the street to get a view of the yard and determine what replacement plants we need. A car approached and I waved them on not noting the car. The driver indicated she was going into the driveway across from our house. Ooops it was our neighbor. I moved out of the street onto the sidewalk in front of her house. I was going to let her know I didn't recognize her car and was working on the aesthetics of our home when I heard the whir of the garage door closing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To all the mamas...

Have a wonder filled day! Take some time and be appreciated by those around you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Tribe

I may have already said this, but I have good friends (of course, I have to say it because they read this blog - hi, guys!). They are there to support each other and me at every turn. We have had many things happen with our tribe, and we have always pulled together to help. The weird thing is that this group of women met on the internet.

When E was born, I felt really isolated. I went to La Leche League meetings, which was a great resource and support for me. I didn't find any friends there, and the meetings were a bit far away (settle down, C, this was the Glendale mtg). With an infant and a husband who worked nights, I knew I need to find more like minded mamas to keep my sanity. I found a group called AZMAMAS through Mothering magazine. It was weird meeting people for the first time. I had to tell my uber-cautious husband that I was taking our 6 month old to a Halloween party at a stranger's house. "Oh yeah, sweetie, did I tell you, I met this stranger online?" For the record, I did make sure I had met at least one of the attendees in real life in a public setting first (I am not crazy; I did read the newspaper).

I am so glad I went to those first book group meetings and the first annual Halloween party. I cannot imagine parenting or living for that matter without these women. Hell, one has even seen me naked - not once, but twice. She has witnessed the birth of my two younger children. I have even let a few of these women watch my beloved babies. They bring me food, talk me off my cliffs, let my children use their bathrooms unannounced, allow me to veg on their couches. I love 'em.

Thank you, ladies, for being a tremendous support to me and one another. Thanks, tribe.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

8 Years

Eight years ago D & I were married in the chapel of my high school's male counterpart. It was a beautiful day to start a beautiful life. I am so glad we are one and look forward to many more years together.

I love you!
SHMILY

I Succumbed

I really try to live without punishments/rewards with the kids. Most of the time, we are successful. This was until the screaming started. Well, truly it has been going on for awhile, but it has reached an impossible crescendo. I feel as if I am continually in a foxhole with the noise level in our home. With some prompting from EC, I decided yesterday to charge 25 cents for every time we yelled at one another or screamed for sport. It worked. We all were more careful about our tone, using our words and being more respectful. E even started self-reporting on his screaming. All was good until I realized E thought he would get more quarters not lose them. He told me at bedtime that he would get 40 million quarters. Hmmm...perhaps we have to rethink this.

E: $2.00
A: $1.75
H: $ .25

I did find it quite interesting to see what each person considered yelling/screaming.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Solo

D is out of town for the week. He left early this morning. We are doing quite well. We enjoyed a bike ride, some pool/sprinkler time and copious amounts of playing in the playroom. To top it off we ate Israeli Couscous with Green beans, Feta, and Pistachios for dinner. It is a recipe from this month's issue of Everyday Food magazine. It has cucumbers in it, which D despises. Sometimes having D gone means we get to partake in delicious stuff without discussing food aversions. We plan on having some Mexican food tomorrow and perhaps mushroom pizza with broccoli on the side later in the week.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eggs

When I am pregnant I CRAVE eggs. I can eat them daily with no problem. Sometimes I may even have them at two meals. I think they are delicious. It is especially true when I have been pregnant with my sons. I would often order an egg and sausage sandwich on an English Muffin for breakfast from the grill at work when pregnant with my oldest. However once those wee babies leave my womb, the egg love evaporates. Poof! Eggs disgust me. I mean, really, you are eating an EGG. BLECH!!!! The kids and I recently read An Egg is Quiet. It really made us all think about the eggs we eat. Add to that the fact that my sister has been having double yoke eggs, and I am about ready to chuck them out the proverbial window. (Apparently double yoked eggs come from teen or menopausal chickens - basically hormonal wacky fowl). So, here I sit with three quiches sitting in my freezer just mocking my former egg loving self.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tragic

A woman who was a member of my local AP group and community died suddenly on Thursday from a pulmonary embolism. She left a husband and two small children (3years and approx 18 months). She was pregnant with their third child. Her husband came home from work to his three old stating that "Mommy hasn't talked to me all day."

This is just so horribly tragic to me. A young family torn apart. The girls may never remember their mother. A husband has two small children to parent without his wife. How did he handle their night wakings last night. The youngest was still breastfed. How is she doing? How did they try to explain to the older child what had happened and why her mommy hadn't responded to her all day.

It just makes me reel. What would happen to my family? How would Dave cope? Who would help? How would be children remember me and adapt to life without me?

Although I am biased as a mother, I truly feel that the mother is often the cornerstone of the family. This is especially true with young children. What happens when that cornerstone is gone?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Knitting

I am intrigued by the idea of posting every day for a month. The drawback is maintaining two blogs and trying this. Can't posts on one count for both and the challenge? I think so. Well, I am going to try it anyway - Here goes for the first post in May...

I am currently working on a doll for my niece. It is turning out well, but is taking MUCH longer than I anticipated. The needls are small and the yarn is splitty. It should be done in the next week or so. I am also gearing up for soaker knitting as well as some socks. I purchased some beautiful sock yarn that is taunting me as I sit and muddle through the doll knitting.

I need to get cracking as the orders for holiday knitting are already coming.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finally some FOs...

With Dave home post birth, I have been able to get a few projects completed. Most have been accomplished while holding the baby, nursing or having the baby in the Moby wrap. The main projects were birthday gifts. The other two were based on found patterns and new ideas.

The first is a little shirt for my niece Kailana's 1st birthday. It is the Katja pattern from Knitty.com. It is the 12 month size knit with 2nd Time Around Cotton. I think it turned out cute. I wanted to sew some linen pants as a coordinate, but life got in the way.I found a cute hat pattern to use up some of my yarn stash. It is called the Amanda Hat. It was on Ravelry. I am loving that site right now. It is a great resource for knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, etc. I can search by pattern or yarn and see finished objects left and right. There are also forums to ask questions about anything fiber related. The hat is knit in Malabrigo worsted weight in the Brownberries colorway.When I bought the linen for Kai's pants that were never made, I saw some green and a cute print. I snatched them and turned them into an outfit for Aine. I used Simplicity 4206 for the shirt and pants. I kept fudging with the pattern, but it worked.


Realizing how cute Aine's outfit was, I decided to make one for the second birthday. It is for a friend who is turning four. I appliqued a 4 on the front (my sister's idea). I used some quilting cotton I had on hand. It is fraught with errors, but I did my best with a fussy babe in the wrap. He was tired of the sewing!
I hope everyone likes their gifts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ani Difranco & Birth

I came across a reference to this interview on a blog I read. The following excerpt sums up a lot of what I think about birth.

Ani Difranco -
I would definitely choose a homebirth again despite the fear mongering of this patriarchal society, which convinces women that they are incapable of having babies without the intervention of men and their machines. I look at societies where women are marginalized and oppressed their whole lives (even covered head to toe in tarps!) but are still in control of birthing practice, in a whole new way now. I mean, who is really more advanced? To take birthing out of women’s hands and deny us the continuum of eons of wisdom and experience is to eject us from the very seat of our power. I believe that women in hospitals are prevented from being able to have normal, healthy birthing experiences because of the intimidation of being on the clock, being pressured to take drugs to make it quicker, being inhibited in their movement and activities, and alienated by a sterile, fluorescent lit, feet-in-the-air type environment. You know the classic “performance anxiety” of not being able to pee or poo because somebody’s watching you? Multiply that by a million! A cervix is a sphincter after all! Then to add tragic insult to injury women are numbed through their great moment of revelation. I believe the act of giving birth to be the single most miraculous thing a human being can do and it is surely the moment when a lot of women finally understand the depth of their power and connection to all of nature. You think it can’t possibly be done, you think you can’t possibly take the pain, and then you do — and afterward you look at yourself in a whole new way. If you can do that, you can do anything. Check out the books on this subject by Ina May Gaskin. She’s one of my great heroes. [...] The memory of pain always recedes. The memory of triumph does not.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Attachment Parenting International

I have been a leader for our local Attachemnt Parenting Support group for several years. I enjoy talking to others about parenting and gaining support from them as well.
Today API has several important and exciting announcements to share:
  • API unveils its Parent Education Program
  • API launches new worldwide attachment parenting forums
  • API co-founders announce their new book about attachment parenting
  • API announces series of monthly web events with noted AP authors and parents, kicks off series in May
The website can be accessed at www.attachmentparenting.org . The forums are found here http://www.attachmentparenting.org/forums/

You should take a moment to check it out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Wonders of Technology

One of the coolest things about Benton's birth is that so many people were involved. Friends were texting each other or calling the notification phone tree. Dave sent out a text to his family, friends and coworkers with the baby's information.

Perhaps the coolest is that my sister and her family were able to "be" at the birth. She is such a very important part of my life; I feel honored that she could be "Skyped" into the birth. She and my nieces and nephew watched the last hour or so of the birth. They were with us cheering me on and crying remembering E's own recent homebirth. She stayed with us for several hours afterward talking about the new baby, the birth and miscellaneous things. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful sister. Thank you, E, for being at my first and my last birth!

40 weeks 1 day

I have had easy pregnancies. Each has been healthy without any real discomfort until the last two weeks. I developed a golf ball sized cyst that made sitting, standing, walking or lying down incredibly painful. My midwife and her backup OB advised sitz baths, warm compresses and rest. There was basically no way to drain it until after the birth. It was horrible. I started complaining a lot and crying. I was a bit afraid I would drown in my own self-pity.

I decided that this baby could not be born at 41 weeks or I would lose it. After crying Wednesday night over my pain, I begged the baby to come soon. Well, someone was listening.

I started having mild contractions intermittently on Tuesday night. The surges would start and stop never increasing in intensity. I went to Birth Circle on Thursday night with mild surges about 4 minutes apart. My midwives were there as well as a few friends. They told me they thought it would be soon. I went home with hopes of an overnight baby. Not so easy! The contractions stopped, so I went to bed around midnight. I awoke to stronger contractions around 2:15am. I laid there for an hour before deciding to get up to see if they would continue and increase intensity. Nope - they spaced out, so I decided to go back to bed. When Dave was getting ready for work, the contractions started again and I suggested he stay home as I thought we were close.

The morning went slowly. I kept apologizing to Dave for the false alarm. A very good friend of mine came over to help with the kids. I also apologized for the slow-going to her. The surges did not start to pickup in duration or intensity until 12:30-1pm. I tried lying down to nap as I had not had much sleep. The contractions came regularly and started to become more intense.

Around 2pm, I got into the bathtub. I remembered how great the tub was with my previous births. It was more difficult getting comfortable due to the cyst. It was painful. I asked Dave to call our midwife. He asked if it was close, because he wanted to make food run. I told him he had time, but to make it quick.

The midwives arrived around 2:40pm and things began to get intense. I went to the bathroom to pee and subsequently vomited. The same thing had happened with A, so I knew I was getting closer. I staggered back to the tub to be hit with really intense surges. I started losing a bit of control and really vocalizing. I was checked and cleared to push as my body told me. The surges hurt so much with the cyst. I felt as if the baby may split me in half. I started pushing and yelling about the pain. One of the midwifes applied counter pressure as I pushed on my knees. The head started to emerge and she asked me to flip over. The cyst was making things more difficult. I felt down and helped ease the baby's head out while supporting my tissue. The shoulders were next and a little sticky due to everything. I screamed, "Get it Out!" as I pushed a final push.

At 3:41pm, I felt my baby glide from my body and into the water. Dave & I saw immediately that it was a boy. We laid him on my chest and started talking to him. E & A welcomed their new baby brother enthusiastically. Neither wanted to cut the cord, so Dave did. He then took the baby skin to skin, while I got out of the bath and into bed. The placenta was soon delivered, and our new baby boy was checked out. He was perfect - 10lbs 13 oz and 22.5 inches long.

I had no tears and the cyst did not rupture. It had swelled a bit more (lemon/baseball size). My midwives were amazed at my strength and resolve with such an obstacle. Luckily it can now be resolved by the gynecologist and won't be a problem.

Thank you so much to all my friends for their support. It was a wonderful experience being at home welcoming our son.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Surrounded by Love; Supported by Friends

My friends planned a blessingway for me to celebrate my last pregnancy and prepare me for the birth. It was a beautiful evening surrounded by friends. One friend gave me a pedicure, which was a huge feat(no pun intended). Another painted my belly with henna creating a beautiful work of art. All gathered and showered me with kindness. Tibetan Prayer flags were created with each person writing a hope or wish for the birth and the baby. Seven prepared wishes were also included: May this baby’s life be filled with joy and happiness, may this baby’s life be filled with good friends and mutual respect, may this baby’s life be filled with the support and care of family, may this baby’s life be filled with health of body and spirit. may this baby’s life be filled with wisdom and insight, may this baby’s life be filled with laughter and humor, may this baby’s life be filled with warmth and love.

Candles were given out to be lit when I go into labor and as a means of letting everyone know when the baby was born.

Several blessings were given to complete the evening.

First Blessing

In every birth, blessed is the wonder.

In every creation, blessed is the new beginning.

In every child, blessed is the life.

In every hope, blessed is the potential.

In every transition, blessed is the beginning.

In every existence, blessed are the possibilities.

In every love, blessed are the tears.

In every life, blessed is the love.

And—blessed are our children and the renewal and fulfillment they give to our family circle.

Second Blessing:

Let us support Heather in her journey to raise children, who will be strong enough to know when they are weak, and brave enough to face themselves when afraid; ones who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, but humble and gentle in victory.

Let us support Heather in her journey to raise children whose hearts will be clear, whose goals will be high; children who will master themselves before they seek to master others; ones who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; ones who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past. Then their parents, will dare to whisper, “We, too, have been enriched.”


Monday, March 10, 2008

Productive Day

Today we spent outside in beautiful weather. I wanted to plant the garden on the east side of the house. With help from the kiddos, we prepped the area and planted a few things - tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, eggplant, corn, cantaloupe and squash. I am so very late on my garden. I don't have high hopes that it will be productive, but the seeds are at least planted.

After the gardening, I went inside to conquer the kid's room. I removed the animal prints and hung a few pictures that have been sitting on the dresser and bookcase (Aine's birth record and a painting of a teddy bear done by my Grandmother L). I also hung their initials with a corresponding photo underneath. I want to get most everything off the bookcase and dresser. It would look much cleaner, but I am at a loss as to where to put the other "stuff."

The closet was my last project. I moved E's clothes to a higher rung, replacing them with A's. Now A should be able to reach her clothing. I need to find a small stool for E to reach his clothes. This cleared the highest bar for the baby's clothes. I sorted out all the clothes which are too small or that are for the cold weather season. I also sorted out the baby clothes to wash. I am sure I washed them already, but I can't remember.

Phew - what a day!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day

One more birthday musing:

Did you know I share my birthday with International Women's Day? How cool is that? Take a moment to think about the amazing things women have done and accomplished as well as those things yet to come.

Children and Praise

I am a fan of Alfie Kohn and his work. He has written several books which I have read. I agree with his article Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good-Job!" Recently the same topic was discussed on a blog I read as a result of an article in New York magazine. I have noticed that my son has recently begun saying, "good Job" to his siter or anyone else for that matter. It is a bit unnerving as he just says it by rote. We don't say it to him in this manner, so I am wondering where he picked it up.

So here's to you...



My sister has informed me that Anne Bancroft in The Graduate was 36. We haven't determined the age of the woman she portrays (it is said to be mid-forties). Today is my birthday - the big 3-6. Perhaps I am someone's Mrs Robinson or perhaps not since I am 37 weeks pregnant :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

No 'poo

I decided after missing a few shampoos to try no 'poo again. Essentially you don't wash your hair with commercial shampoo or use conditioner. When my hair starts to feel a bit greasy, I "wash" it with baking soda and water. For a conditioner, I rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. It really works well on my hair. I haven't gotten greasy in almost two weeks. I just shower, rinse my hair and style as usual. Intriguing, eh?

I did use henna to color my hair during this time as well. It has a bit of a red hue to it now.

37 Weeks

Sunday, March 02, 2008

At Long Last

For our seventh anniversary last year, I decided to make Dave a pair of wool socks (the gift for 7 years can be wool). I finished one sock, but ran into some difficulties. I broke a few needles, and I caught "second sock syndrome." I was able to acquire new needles, but the sock languished. Finally with our 8th anniversary on the horizon I finished the pair. The socks have been given to the recipient and are FINISHED.
The socks are made from Colinette Jitterbug in the Copperbeach colorway. It is the basic pattern that came with the yarn.

PHEW! Anybody know what the gift for 8 years is?

Miniswap

I signed us up for a miniswap through this blog. It was quite a bit of stress to send out with visitors and D gone for a week. We are finally mailing it out. We were matched with two children ages 8 and almost 6. I did most of the work with input from the kiddos. We included an Arizona map and calendar, two Arizona postcards, two wrist cuffs, a jump rope, cowboy pants, a doll skirt, two Usborne books and two blank books for them.

Here is a picture of the goodies:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Quilt II

I made another baby quilt from the Bend the Rules book. It is such an easy blanket to make, so I decided our wee one needed one. I am not sure about it. I wanted gender neutral, since we do not know if the baby is a girl or a boy. The colors are a bit muted, so I may need to make another one. Everyone asked says it is gender neutral and nice, so I may give it to a friend who is also expecting her third.
Laying it out while the kiddos played with playdough
Finished Product

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Baby on the Brain

I have been busy with some sewing and knitting. I made a few baby bibs from Bend the Rules Sewing. These are a SUPER, EASY project. We even sent a few to cousin William.
I also knitted two pairs of baby socks from a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Watercolor. The pattern is super easy and is available for free at Interweave Knits.

Ruffle Rib
Braided Cable