Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Minimalism

I have already committed to buying no new yarn in 2011. I am going to use up my stash, finding projects that really appeal to me and the yarn I already have.

And then I found this: Minimalist Knitter. It's like it was meant to be. Now I have somewhere to turn when I get discouraged, or distracted by all that yummy, shiny, squishy soft yarn!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What I Want For 2011

Less stuff.

I started with 2010 being my year to get organized. I got there...sort of. I really purged my closet, though I admit it needs another visit whereby I have a serious talk with myself about how much clothing I really need. I joined Paperbackswap and have purged a lot of my books. And even though I have requested some in return, not only do I have fewer books, I have saved money on buying those books. I somewhat organized the spare bedroom, got my yarn organized, labeled and in storage bins and hubby got the garage in shape but I still feel like I can do so much better.

In many ways I already have a minimalist outlook: I rarely wear makeup and have very little of that in my drawer. As a family, we use primarily castile soap for all our body and hair washing needs. With my short hair I don't need brushes or hairdriers or styling tools. I only carry one purse/diaper bag combo for myself and my toddler. It's an everyday bag. From the moment he was born I refused to be that woman that carried not only her purse, her child on her hip, but also a bag as large as her car trunk full of more stuff. Only one time can I think where that was an issue and we were saved because in the car was a sweater my son could wear after blowing out his diaper in public.

I have found a couple of website to help me take the next steps, to keep me inspired and to lift me up when I lose my way: miss minimalist and the minimalist mom and frugal babe. They all have gone through this, they all have different outlooks, needs and takes on the subject and I think I will find my own way with a combination of their advice.

Everyone has to define what they need. And that is where I can get stumped. I know, I know, start small and work from there.

I know that I don't need as many books as I have. But I really love to read. It's a stress reliever and a hobby and ebooks just don't do it for me. They don't. So, keep the books I really really really love, swap the rest, borrow some and do without others. How many books is that though?

And yarn. Oh, the yarn. I'm a knitter and I have too much yarn. I have already committed to not purchasing any yarn in 2011. I am going to use up as much of my stash as I can. I felt a little bit of panic when I made this decision but now it feels really good. I know I have way more yarn than I need to keep me busy for the year and I have a large variety of yarn so I know I won't get bored with it. Ok then, so when I whittle down the stash, what is the appropriate amount to keep on hand? One medium rubbermaid tub of yarn and needles? (I currently have about 5-6 tubs of the same size full of yarn.)

And what about the random items? Meaning, I have a torn meniscus. I have a doctor prescribed fancy knee brace and an everyday one that stays in my purse. To me, those are necessary. I think we have way too many towels but I don't think the hubby will agree to getting rid of a lot of them. My camera. I must have it. Not because I have to fill paper albums full of pictures, but because I will record my son as he grows up. Most of those photos end up on Facebook for out of town family to watch him grow as well. The picnic backpack: we haven't used it, will we really?

As I sit here and think about stuff, much comes to mind that I can toss: the whole junk drawer with the exception of the Sharpie marker. The extra wine openers that we hate and never use. So many juice and drinking glasses we never touch. The boxes of stuff in the attic that have gone through two moves and never been opened.

I want less stuff because I really do think it will make my life easier. Can I do without a car and the TV? Not right now. But there is plenty of stuff I can live without right now that needs to go. Then I can focus on the weightier issues.

I'm off to look at the calendar to find a day in January I can take off of work and get started.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Owning My Choices

The Own Your Beauty movement has really gotten me thinking lately. Owning my choices is a complimentary concept. Everyone makes them, everyone has them, and we all try to choose what we think is best for our own development, happiness, comfort, health, etc. Just because someone chooses a different path than we do does not make them any less valuable or interesting.

Long ago I realized that the choices that I have made --good or bad, right or wrong-- have molded me into the person I am today. Most of the time I like that person. Therefore, those choices were the ones that needed to made. Had a made a different choice, I might not be the same me. I know that there are always going to be people who do not agree with the choices that I make, and I have made peace with that.

I encourage every woman to own her choices. There is a freedom in owning the choices that you have made. It settles the skin a little more solidly on the bones.

Many times I feel the need to justify a decision I made to strangers or acquaintances. That needs to stop. No one has the full story except me. And as long as I made the decision as best I could for myself, I don't need to let anyone judge me for it.

So go ahead; own that choice you just made. I sure did when I hit the publish post button.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Own Your Beauty: Through His Eyes

I try to accept myself for the way I look. I try to see myself as unique and beautiful in my own way. Sometimes I fail.

Then I remember: in his eyes I am beautiful.

In his eyes, I sing the best songs ever. I can make magical things appear out of my bag. I can turn any activity - like taking off clothes - into a silly song and game.

In his eyes I am there to carry him when he is tired and kiss him when he hurts. I make food magically appear when he needs it and join him in dancing to the ring of a cell phone.

When he looks at me, he sees no flaws, no marks that don't belong there, nothing that makes me less than whole.

I try to see myself through his eyes. And I know that I am beautiful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Her Hands Are Now My Hands

I can look at my hands and see my mother. Hers are often arthritic and swollen, knobbly and housework roughened. However, as I bathe my young son in the bathtub, I can perfectly picture my mother doing the same thing to her son 50 years ago. My hands become hers; my love, the same she felt.

Her hands tell her story. Every time I look at her hands I can see her past and my future.

I can see the children she tended and the dishes she washed.

The sheets she folded and the scraped knees she bandaged.

The items she slings across the register as a nighttime cashier and the grandchildren she cuddles in close for hugs.

She was born in 1939. Her life hasn't always been an easy one.  She's seen several wars and lived on more than one continent. She's rasied four children. She's had to learn when to hold on and when to let go.

She isn't traditionally or classically pretty as society would define. I would offer a picture but she hates to have hers taken even more than I do. But she is my mom and she is beautiful to me as mothers are to their children.

Her hair may be gray and her body saggier than it used to be, yet she still wrestles in the floor with her grandchildren and is quick to spout off a sassy one liner.

I see beauty and grace in every one of the knobs and lines on her hands. I see her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adventures in Parenting

Recently my husband decided he needed a new/new-to-him car. Not just any new car, he really wants a Land Rover. Oooh. Aahh. Yeah whatever.

So, I indulge this little fantasy and off we go to the dealership a few weekends ago. Child is up from his nap, snacks loaded in my bag, and we are off.

Originally we go there to look at one specific vehicle; it has been sold but not removed from the website. I tell him to look at a few others I knew he was interested in. I am feeding my child, singing to him, talking with him, all the while keeping him in his carseat thinking we would be leaving rather quickly. Next thing I know, husband is pulling off in a Range Rover for a test drive.

Hello? Fine. So out of the car we both go to enjoy the 78 ish degree day. My son recently learned to enjoy grass, he used to hate the very sight of it and would not step onto it even in shoes. Husband comes back and wants me to review said car he just drove. So while he and the sales guy continue to look at vehicles and I interject pointed questions, I also run around after my child to make sure he does not run down the hill and into traffic.

Sales guy goes inside to get information. By this time I am getting to be a grumpy, sweaty mess and the child isn't really happy either. I ask if we can go inside to get some air conditioning. I get cooler air but continue to run around after the child by myself as husband is in a euphoric coma-like state while surrounded by Land Rover vehicles.

Finally we all decide to go look at a few other vehicles. As my husband and the sales guy turn and head to the door what does my child say:

"Mama. Poo-poo diaper."

And proceeds to flop down onto the dealership floor and roll around while he tells me we need to "clack-clack" (slang in our house for diaper change) rather loudly. Husband and sales guy are more than halfway to the door, two older salesmen are nearby and staring at me and my child rolling around in their fancy dealership floor.

So what do I do...I double over in laughter. What else can I do? When teaching potty training, one must be open to embarassment of any kind.

Oh, and no, husband ultimately did not purchase the Land Rover, or Range Rover...out of price range. (Coulda told you that!!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Panera Manager,

Thank you for asking before acting. We ate at your fine establishment last night and as we were leaving my exuberant 21 month old was running along to the front doors and decided that the door stops were the most exciting toy of the evening. One of your cashiers called out to us how sweet and adorable he was and we all stopped to chat as he banged happily away on the front doors and greeted those individuals coming in for their dinner or evening dessert.

Then you asked me if it was ok for him to have a cookie. Apparently your store had inadvertently baked an overabundance of cookies and you were giving some away for free.

Not only do I appreciate the gesture of a free cookie, I appreciate you asking if it was ok for him to have one first. He may have had allergies or I may not want him to eat sweets. So thank you for your generosity and your thoughfulness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November - Own Your Beauty - BONUS - Pic of the Day

This is me. Bored at my desk. No makeup on. Face is dry from the cooler weather change. Taken with my phone as most of my pictures these days are.

November: There Are No Flaws

Wow, Own Your Beauty, this could be a tough one.

You want me to take a picture every day of me, or at least part of me. Hmm, I'll admit up front that isn't going to happen. Not just because I don't like to have my picture taken (which is incredibly true) but I also know I will forget and then I will get grumpy at myself for forgetting and feel as if I have ruined my own experiment. So, I will take them when I remember, when I find that moment of being centered.

I use the word odd to describe myself. Why? Because I think I am. I don't say it as a way to put myself down or make excuses for who I am. That word simply resonates with me. I think I will add to that description. I am not perfect, and yet I have no flaws. People will really think I'm odd if I say that.

I have chicken pox scars on my face because the case I had when I was 18 months old was very strong. I see them and yet no one else ever mentions them. Not people who know me, not strangers. I guess they are just part who I am.

I have stretch marks. I have a large c-section scar. I have short and muscular legs. I have a tiny Irish mouth. I rarely wear makeup. I prefer jeans and tshirts to any other clothing. I cry when I get angry. I like to be alone. I tend to give a lecture on what is really tea and what is not when people ask about it. I have very little modesty. I get impatient. My desk is organized chaos and I function well that way. I will not eat cauliflower. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a mom. My ultimate dream in life is to be a writer. I hate loathe math. I raise my child with some alternative parenting methods. I'm a cut-rate housekeeper at best.

I guess what I'm saying is that's I'm odd. And I like me that way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Authenticity: Oops I Missed October's Homework

Over at BlogHer they are pioneering a year-long movement called Own Your Beauty. The idea is to create change, at the individual level, so that each woman learns to see herself as beautiful. We often see the beauty in others and forget that others see us as beautiful.

The focus for October is/was Authenticity. The assigment is to list all of the things you do that fill you with joy and/or grace. I thought creating this list would be easy. It wasn't, at least not for me. Here is what I have so far, I hope to find things to add to it. In no particular order:
  • sipping good wine
  • knitting
  • having my son run up to me at the end of the day calling out "Mama" and giving me a big hug
  • long, hot baths
  • books
  • getting a difficult deal done at work
  • realizing that work was not the end all be all of my life and that the world would not crash down on me if I didn't get it all done
  • looking at the professional maternity pictures I had done and realizing how amazing and beautiful and sensual I was then
  • sharing my love for breastfeeding and natural birthing with others
  • letting out loud, unrestrained laughter when something strikes me
  • getting organized
  • spin class (how I miss thee)
  • yoga. balances my body, soul and emotions
  • using sign language with my son. he isn't deaf but I love how we are learning to communicate in a variety of ways
  • standing up for myself, even when I find it difficult to do so
I feel that I am missing the little things in my list. I am sure they will pop up sooner or later. When I am doing them and find the joy, I am going to remind myself to stop and savor that moment.

My moments of clarity came when I was pregnant. I realized that there was no reason not to be the person I really was. I didn't need to care what "others" thought of me. I started to stand up more for myself; started to do even the little things that before would have scared me. I realized that work was not my life and didn't need to be.

Here's to authenticity. I hope to learn more about myself on this journey.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This past weekend I spent mostly alone. Truly alone. This was the first time I had been alone for more than a few hours since the birth of my son.

I like to be alone. I find it peaceful. Restful. Restorative.

Many people don't understand that. I have always been this way and I see nothing wrong with it. In order to recharge some people workout; others like to play computer games; some people garden; me, I like to be alone.

I have to say that I come by it honestly. My mother is the same way. It must be genetic.

Having finally refound this lost friend, this lost piece of me, I think it is a place I will have to visit often. I feel less stressed, less stretched thin by life. I feel quiet inside in places I haven't felt quiet in a long time. Welcome back my friend Solitude.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Whip 'Em Out Wednesday

Thanks to Bellies and Babies for this one. It totally rocks.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Dear Ian,

You have been a challenge to me this week. Not for anything particular, just in general. Perhaps the stars are out of alignment or the world is tilted wrong on its axis. I guess it happens to all of us now and again.

You are now 18 months old. Your vocabulary is vast and you talk all the time. You are starting to put together short sentences: Where Dada go? Sit down Pawpaw. Dada at home. You comprehend even more than you can say.

One of my favorite things in the world is coming to pick you up at the end of the day. Especially when I walk in the door to your classroom and it takes you several moments to realize I am there. I get to observe you as your own being, separate and apart from me in the world. And then when you see me, you light up and call out Mama, or more recently Mommy, and hurry over for a hug. You know we need to get your cup and your sheet before we can leave.

You aren't ready to potty train but you are getting close. You are becoming very self-aware in this area. I admit that I would love for you to be ready for this but I certainly don't want to rush you. I know that would end in disaster.

I really like that you are finally sitting down with me long enough to actual read a book. You like to sit next to me on the couch and go through the book with me slowly. You even have some of the words down in the pattern to Sandra Boynton's The Barnyard Dance. I can almost say that one perfectly without the book in front of me.

Keep growing and learning, little boy. You teach me so much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Negativity Must Stop

I know I talk a lot about birth and c-sections here. It's my forum; I can do what I want. I generally do it with a purpose. Before I get on my soapbox I am going to say a few things: I believe in and support natural birth, I do think there are too many c-section being performed and I do know that we need better education for pregnant women through peer support, doulas, midwives and open minded OB/GYNs.

Now time for my soapbox: why must we be so negative about c-sections?

Stop right there and close your mouth and let's listen for a moment, shall we all? My post here came about from a posting on facebook. It took me to an article about birthing and the health of both mother and baby. See it for yourself here: at-least-i-have-healthy-baby-and-birth.

Please understand that I am not trying to attack the very valid points in this article. I agree with almost all of them. What I am trying to say is this: put yourself in my shoes, in the shoes of a woman who had a c-section. Do you realize how hurtful some of the things you say are? Maybe you don't mean it that way, but sometimes a woman who has a c-section feels a bit smaller when you talk only the benefits of a vaginal birth and only about the negatives of a c-section. Aren't you natural birth supporters/advocates supposed to be the most empathetic to a woman no matter what type of birth she had?

Because there are too many unnecessary c-sections performed in this day and age, I cannot tell you how many times I have felt the need to slap a patient smile on my face and explain my own situation. If a woman says "I had a vaginal birth in water at home with no drugs" you can see everyone's face light up with joy. If a woman says "I had to have a c-section" the whole atmosphere in the room is deflated.

Maybe it is our own negativity, our own judgemental assumptions, that add fuel to the problem. I think the author of this atricle has it exactly right: we need to change the way we think about the whole birth experience. We need to focus on the health of the mother and the baby and the overall experience for both.

Just realize that some of us would not have a baby without the c-section experience. And some of us weren't traumatized. And some of us actively participated in our own care and what happened to our bodies. So let's all change our focus. The next time a woman mentions having had a c-section, perhaps instead of immediately consoling her and launching into how the system is broken, first find out why. The good stories, the necessary ones, often get swept under the rug because we focus on the traumatic ones. We have the wrong focus.

There are always going to have to be c-sections. Otherwise some mothers and babies would die. Mamas and babies both are the key focus here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tell Me Your Strange

Courtesy of:

1. unusual, extraordinary, or curious; odd; queer: a strange remark to make.
2. estranged, alienated, etc., as a result of being out of one's natural environment: In Bombay I felt strange.
3. situated, belonging, or coming from outside of one's own locality; foreign: to move to a strange place; strange religions.
4. outside of one's previous experience; hitherto unknown; unfamiliar: strange faces; strange customs.
5. unaccustomed to or inexperienced in; unacquainted (usually fol. by to ): I'm strange to this part of the job.
6. distant or reserved; shy.

The strangest thing I have ever done is name another human being. Granted, I had a boy's name picked out from the time I was 5.5 weeks pregnant, probably sooner. A girl's name took much, much longer. Perhaps I knew deep down I was having a boy.

Then he arrived. And he had a name. A name I had chosen. What if I looked at him and the name didn't fit? What if when I called him that name it seemed wrong? What if he hated it? What if I hated it?

Sometimes I think I repeated his name so often in my head that it just sounded funny in general. Luckily, his name does suit him. I can't imagine him being named anything else.

What is the strangest thing you have ever done?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Everything I Really Need To Know About Parenting I Learned From My Cat

My darling son, at 17 months, is in the I WANT TO GET MY WAY stage. He says "no" a lot but not always meaning no. A yes no sounds different than a no no.

Occassionally he has decided that the proper method for expressing his displeasure is to push his sippy cup onto its side or to throw down onto the floor whatever he has in his hands. Every now and again he will even plop himself down onto the floor and throw himself backwards. That has resulted in a few bruises when it happened on tile and not on the carpet. Lesson learned.

Now he is taking it one step farther. He will now reach out and try and slap or scratch me. Not fun. I sternly tell him no, to stop and that what he is doing is not nice. When this doesn't work, I make sure to stand up and make it a point to move very far away from him. He is not going to get to play with mommy if he slaps.

I don't know about you, but sometimes being a parent means you are tired. You have repeated the same song, the same book and the same game more times than you can count. All you want is a little quiet and then your child decides to act out.

So one evening I am sitting on the floor playing with Ian when he decides he doesn't like something I did or said and decides to slap at me. I tell him no. Then he proceeds to try and bite me, with his whole 4 teeth. Not thinking, I reached out and popped him on the head while saying "no". Just like a mother cat would do to her kitten. Just like I have done to teach my cats not to bite.

I think I was just as surprised as he was. We both just looked at each other and blinked a few times. At least it worked.

So the next time you aren't sure what to do with your child, remember the things you have learned from your pets.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yes, because a food thermometer is a vital purse item

As the mother of a toddler I admit to carrying strange items in my purse at any given moment. This can run the gamut from food, to toys, clothing, toothbrushes, spoons, to who knows what. A mommy's purse is a magical thing and contain unsuspecting items that will quiet a screaming child.

However, I never thought to carry a food thermometer in my purse. Apparenlty the microwave food industry did not prepare us well enough for life as busy adults working in an office.

The picture quuality is very poor (silly cell phone) but I will caption the words below for your reading enjoyment:

CHECK that product is cooked throughly.
Internal temperature needs to reach 165 F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots.
Has anyone ever been anal enough to do this? Check their microwave meal with a thermometer?

So before you leave the house, make sure you have all the items that you need for daily life:
food thermometer.....che---what!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh my knee, my knee

Well, I won't be running in that half marathon in September after all. As some of you may know, I have a torn meniscus in my left knee and I dislocated my knee. It happened while doing yard work. It was the reward for all my hard work.

Anyway, saw the doctor this week. Four more weeks of wearing the knee brace:

For quite some time the brusing was rather spectacular and I felt like a piece of abstract art:

And now the buising and swelling is mostly gone. I can finally sleep without the brace. I can do my physical therapy at home now. My exercise is restricted to activities such as walking, cycling or the elliptical. No running and no yoga yet.

It only really hurts if I pivot wrong or if I use it too much without my brace. Luckily I am healing quickly and will hopefully continue to do so.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mmm, mmm good

Dear lady who gave me the entertainment coupon for Salsaritas on Saturday: thank you! We were standing in line looking over the menu since it was our first time there. I had Ian on my hip and was talking to him as well to keep him entertained. You came up to us and handed us the coupon with a smile.

That coupon saved us $5. Thank you very much.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dance and Sing and Torture the Cat

Dear Ian,

You are growing up so fast and wanting to be independent. Every day it seems that you add new words to your vocabulary: socks, cereal, circle, bag, snack, more, shot, mine, row-row, itsy, open, close, up are just a few of the most recent.

At first you hated moving up to the toddler room at school and now you are loving it. You want to walk yourself in at the beginning of the day and walk out to the car by yourself at the end of the day.

We have a new game that we play. You invented it. It's the night-night game. You will go and get one of your blankets and hand it to one of us. Then you will say night-night and go lay down on a blanket, stuffed toy, or even the cat (!) and we are to come and cover you with the blanket. The cat often looks scared now when he sees you heading directly at him.

You love to dance. To the music your toys play or to the songs that you ask us to sing. Row Row Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider are current favorites. You try and make all the hand motions along with the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

When someone says "adios" you reply with bye-bye. They are trying to teach words and phrases in different languages at school. You know where your toes, nose, hair and mouth are. You struggle a little with ears still.

The other day you told grandma's cat "no, no kitty-cat" when you thought he was going to eat your blueberries.

I love that giddly little feeling I get in my stomach when you say a new word. They are so cute and sweet and I know that I will miss these first little milestones as you get older.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sometimes things break. If we are lucky, they are small things that are insignificant in the larger scheme of things. Like the handle on a favorite coffee mug.

Before things break they often crack. Sometimes those cracks are tiny and need no assistance. Sometimes they require a band-aid, like tape, and things are better. Turn the vase a quarter of a turn this way and no one will see the little taped crack.

Occassionally something with get a big crack in it, maybe even a small piece falls out, but you can rubber cement it back into place. If you are lucky the break was a clean one and the rubber cement can cleanly seal the wound and it's almost as if it had never happened. Most people would have to look very, very closely to even notice it.

Then there is that special piece. Something you always hope you will have. Something that you never want to get injured even in the slightest little way. Sometimes I think we are too careful with these items. We want so badly to keep them pristine and perfect that we never truly appreciate them for what they are.

What happens when the vase has hundreds of tiny little cracks? There is only so much rubber cement that can be applied. Sometimes that piece is going to shatter and there is nothing else that can be done.

Friday, June 25, 2010


It's the nature of the human heart, the human soul, to want to hold on to that which it has known. It doesn't want to let go because there is pently of room. The more it cares, the more there is the capacity to care for.

When do we know when it is time to Let Go? To Move On?

Should I wait... more minute? more hour? more day?

At some point we are really only fooling the person within.

And because the heart can continue to expand, it's not as if we have to Let Go forever. We can hold onto the string of the balloon while it flies high above our head and get glimpses at it plays among the clouds.

That doesn't answer the original question though, does it? When it is time to Let Go or Move On? How do we know? I guess that place, that fork in the road, is different for every person, every situation.

I wish I knew how to draw a better map.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Compared What to What?!?

So I'm listening to the radio on the way into work. Yes, I am one of those geeks that still listens to the radio and does not use my iPod nor have I invested in satellite radio. So for the 3 of you that still know what I am talking about, here goes:

The little radio hostess comes on and starts a spiel about the BP oil spill and all the harm it has done and how we have all this technology of placing men on the moon and yet we cannot stop this leak. In my mind I am sure she is about to plug a charity or conservation group trying to help the wildlife that has been devastated by this. I can respect that. The poor animals are truly innocent in all this.

But wait -- oh no she didn't. Yes, she did. She compared finding the right weigh loss pill to the BP oil spill. One is obviously minor, trivial and vain the other is, well, it's devastating.

I will not name that pill here or the radio station as that is giving them too much credit and too much advertisement. I guess that little radio hostess isn't so little after all if she needs a weight loss pill.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear Ian

Dear Ian,

You are still obsessed with blueberries. You do not like it when the bowl is empty. I must say that lots of blueberries make for an interesting diaper. Bunny grahams and cereal bars are other favorites. You don't really like meat but will eat bread and fruit all day long.

You can say "school" and "shoe", or at least mostly say them. I know what you mean and so does your daddy. The ladies at school tell me that you can say "outside" but you have yet to repeat that one for me. "Clack-clack" is code for diaper changes and/or when you are going to the bathroom. I think that you are beginning that association.

You still don't like shoes. You have started to stay up later at night, but still get up at the same time in the morning. Mommy doesn't like that.

You know where your belly button is (that's a great game we with play with you) and you know where your nose is. You are hit or miss on eyes, ears and mouth, but you get them mostly right.

You still only have 3 teeth. 2 bottom and one fang on the top. You are starting to give kisses that aren't just bites though not always.

You slipped into helpless giggles last night when I said "whoa" after you pooted on my hand as you were trying to get out of the bathtub. Then all I had to do was say "whoa" and you would dissolve into giggles.

You love to be outside and play. You are wanting to walk more than be carried when we are out and about so we end up chasing you around, which is a wonderful game to you.

You love to open and close to the cabinets in the kitchens and bathrooms so we have had to rearrange some things and keep you from getting into them. You also like to help us close the refrigerator door and turn off the lights.

You even, sometimes, walk yourself into your room when we ask you if it is time for night-night and you are ready to sleep.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Why is it easier to relax for the gynecologist than for the dentist?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Team Building Exercise or decide

Our property managers are doing their part to help conserve water due to the flooding in Nashville. This means that those of us on the 8th floor have to travel down to at least the 4th floor in order to use the restroom. We have turned this into a mini-team game and when one of us goes, we ask the others and often travel down to the bathroom in a twosome or a pod of three.

Today, as we head down for a late morning break together, one of my team members asks how much toilet paper we use on a given day. Most amusing is the fact that that someone else is already in the bathroom when we walk in and she asks this question anyway.

She mentions recently having this conversation with friends and that she and her partner (both female) go through about a roll every day to day and a half. I live with two males so my usage will be different. A, the other team member, lives with her husband and 11 year old daughter.
So, since we are in the bathroom all together, I suggest we each take from the roll what we use each time we go, using number 1 as a reference. We will leave number 2 for some other random day. We then share our wad with each other. Two of us have a small wad, roughly 4-6 squares of toilet paper. The original question asker has a strand of toilet paper as long as her arm span.

What amazes me even more, and I pointed this out to her, is that both of them are out of the house for at least 8 hours with working and commute and yet they still go through that much tiolet paper a day.

So, how much toilet paper do you use?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Asleep In Arms

Dear Ian,

Today I watched you fall asleep in your grandmother's arms. You had refused to take a nap at school today. When you do that you try to stay as busy as possible to stay awake. You had a large banana and 3 mandarin oranges for dinner!

It's a tradition that we go over to grandma's house every Friday after I pick you up from school. Often your Aunt Rebecca joins us and we all have dinner and catch up on the week. We went outside so grandma and aunt Becca could smoke and so you could have some fresh air as you really like to be outside.

You became fussy and clumsy, sure signs you are getting sleepy. I bounced you on my knees for some time and then grandma took over. I watched your eyes slowly close. I watched your little red cheeks soften and flush, not only with heat, but with the softness of baby sleep.

I looked at my mother holding you and realized the fragility of life, of family relations. My mother, your grandma, is 70 years old. It is possible that she will not see you graduate high school. It is possible that you may not remember much of her. That makes me sad to think. I hope that she will be around, and cognizant, to see you grow into a young man.

Because you may not remember, and because I want to remember, I took a few pictures. I only had my cell phone with me and your grandma hates to have her picture taken so these aren't the best pictures, but at least I have them. I know that I can look back at the photo and remember the moment, remember how full my heart was looking at the two of you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Power of People

I love my photographer with all my heart. He has been there with me for my engagement, wedding, maternity photos and now to capture the ever changing joy that is my son. I also dislike to have my photograph taken and yet I am always happy with the photos he takes.

I also love to support local businesses when I can.

Yesterday this was their facebook status:
Tucker Photography: Our hearts go out to everyone who lost their homes in this weekend's flood. Do not worry about your portraits, we will gladly replace any prints at no charge to our customers. God bless.

This is why they have my business. This is why I will always support them. They are generous, caring, honest and hardworking people. These are the type of people you want to know in good times and bad.

I challenge you to think about this kind of thing when you next choose to purchase any kind of service from a company.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dear Man Sitting Next To Me At Lunch

It was a beautiful day outside. Sunny, enough of a breeze to be comfortable, and good food. You and your wife were eating lunch with your friend. I had noticed your friend had lots of healing slashes on his leg. Appeared to be from a bypass operation and that was confirmed with hearing your conversation.

That didn't bother me at all. It's good that you had been through that before and could be there for your friend. You talked about how long parts of you hurt or tingled and how long it took you to heal. And your cell phone rang about every 2 minutes.

That didn't bother me at all.

However, I did not need to see your hairy 3rd trimester belly (and more) when you lifted your shirt to show your friend how well your scar had healed.

That I did bother me. Did you think before you lifted your shirt? I'm really a liberal person, but I would not feel the need to lower my pants in public and show another woman how well my c-section scar was healing. Though I bet that most men would not mind that so much.

Please, men with pot bellies, please do not lift your shirts in public.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wonderful Jewelry Giveaway that Celebrates Women & Mothers

Check it out:

Wonderfully Made Bellies and Babies. She is highlighting an incredible artist and doula with a drawing for her jewelry. Visit her on Facebook and Etsy as well.

Celebrate womanhood and International Doula Month  in May.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

C-Section: A Father's Perspective

As C-Section Awareness Month 2010 comes to a close, I thought I would offer a spin on this topic. Though the mother is the one that has the c-section, it took both parents to create the child and both parents (hopefully) are present for the birth. Both parents have emotions, rememberances and thoughts about that day. Very few people stop to ask the man how he feels about the birth of his child. I asked my husband to write up his side of our c-section birth story. In his own words:

As we started through the birth process, there were only a couple of things that I really felt strongly about. First, I did not want to know the gender of the child until delivery, and second I did not want to have a c-section. Why you ask? Not because I felt it would change the way I felt about the child or because I felt it was wrong in any way. It boiled down to a couple of things. First, I had heard from other fathers that from the dad’s perspective, there is just something that doesn’t feel natural about a c-section baby vs. a non-c-section baby. But second, and more importantly, this requires surgery and more healing time for the mom and I always try, at great length, to avoid sharp objects cutting skin.

But as the birth rolled around, and it began to linger, and nothing was really happening, it became apparent that options were running very slim. Poor Ian just was not going to come out without some type of outside help. The doctor sat down and ran through the options, and it surprised me how quickly the response “Cut me open” came out. In hind sight, this was the right decision, and the only option that would save both mother and child, but the fact that without even really getting into specifics on what could be done, it was as though there was a cheering squad for c-section.

For me, that was an upsetting decision at the time. I did not want to see a surgery when there could have been other options. But time was a critical factor and a quick decision was probably best. As we headed down to the operating room, they all went in and started prepping mom while I scrubbed up and donned the gown. I sat and peeked through the window as everything was prepared for the doctor to come in and do his thing. The time came, I walked in and found my stool to sit on, camera phone in hand.

As the surgery went on (and this one was a tough one), it quickly became apparent that this was a necessary surgery and it began to ease my tension on the decision as a whole. But then when Ian was born and I was able to see him for the first time, look face to face at the person I created, the person who would immediately be called my clone, I no longer cared how he was born. The fathers who said the moment wasn’t as magic were dead wrong!! That moment could not have been more magic!! Regardless of the original intentions of birth plans and preconceptions, the end goal was achieved in that mother and child were both healthy and on their way to recovering.

Now, there is a child and a scar that will forever commemorate that day, that decision. And at first, the scar was very nasty!! I never looked at it with disdain or contempt and I never will. I did look at it and it turned my stomach only because it was bloody and stapled and all around not pleasant to see for someone who does not do so well with medical things. But as the months go by, the scar continues to heal. My only hope is that it will one day no longer protrude from the body and will flatten out. But even if it doesn’t, who cares?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Am A Runner

Gulp. Or at least, I hope to be. I am trying to start out with the right attitude about this.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. Unlike my husband, who really seems to enjoy it, I never seem to get a running high or even a running tingle. I do love what it does for my body and that it's good exercise and allows me to eat more desserts without gaining weight.

Here's the plan. I am going to run the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville, TN on Saturday, September 25, 2010. That means, as of today, I have 149 days or just over 21 weeks in order to prepare. All of the training schedules I have looked at are 12 weeks long. Since it's been a very long time since I did any real exercise, much less any running, I know that I will need a couple of weeks to get to the first week of training.

I'm trying to get some friends, family and colleagues to jump on this wagon with me. Stay tuned for updates on my successes, my setbacks and all the in-betweens as I embark on this running journey.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Little Woman In A Big City

Dear New York City,

I used to be very frightened of you. Too many people, too large a city, too much crime. I visited you for the third time a few days ago. This trip was by myself. The other trips before had been with at least one other person.

I spent almost two full days in your arms. I walked your streets by myself. I took notice of the older couples walking peacefully and the mothers with their children. I took the subway by myself. I saw old men reading and young boys I would not have expected to see riding comfortably by themselves. I walked the streets again, back to my hotel from Carnegie Hall at 10:30 pm. At least 12 blocks in the dark. That was more daunting than in the daylight and I was amazed at how awake the world was on your streets at that time.

I came to no harm. I feel stronger. I feel a little silly saying that but I am proud of myself for doing things that made me uncomfortable.

New York City, you still intimidate me, you always will, but now I think I will feel less trepidation if I return.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get a Grip People!

Alright, so sex on tv is ok. The general masses swarm all over oops pictures of celebrity body parts. Mmm-hmm. Girls walks around with skirts up to their beavers and see through shirts. Not a problem.

So why does a woman breastfeeding in public make people uncomfortable? Most of the time you aren't even seeing the woman's breast. I honestly think it is much more disgusting when someone blows their nose at the table in a public restaurant. (Insert shiver with revulsion as I even type those words.)

And why would a picture of a child with breast milk on his chin gross people out? How is it different than if he had cow's milk on his face or pudding or popsicle?

Baby Drools Breast Milk Ohio Residents Freak Out

Seriously people. Let's focus on things that are important in life. I'd much rather see a baby breastfeeding in public than to see a picture of Britney Spears' girly parts. Honestly, which really is the more disgusting?

*Thanks to my friend over at Musings for using her trusty Google reader to bring this article to my attention. You may thank her or throw rotten veggies at her as is your preference. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today I Don't Want To Be a Mom

Today my son is trying my patience. Really he has been trying it all week long. He has been clinging to my leg for dear life in the mornings and I can barely get a shower, get dressed, get him ready for school.

Today I have 3 new books calling my name. I can feel their words, their laughter, their very real paper dimenstons beneath my fingers. I can feel the woody paper sucking the oil from my skin as I rapidly turn the pages as I devour someone else's story.

Today I want to ignore the fact there is a little person that wants me and needs me. I want to close the door, pour a glass of wine and read. I want to get lost in someone else's words. I want to lose myself in their thoughts, their whimsy and their lust.

I want to feel alive for some other reason than baby soft skin, wet kisses and raspberries. I want to be a woman this evening and read and drink wine and have raunchy thoughts.

I want to be me tonight. A complete me. Tomorrow I can be someone's mother and someone's wife. Tonight, I just want to be, for me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Support C-Section Awareness Month

C-sections happen. Yes, too many happen but some are needed. Many women have negative stories to tell, and there are some, like me, who have good stories. C-sections don't have to be scary, or horrific or damaging. If yours was, seek help. Express those thoughts so that you can heal. Here are some places that can help.

Cesarean Scar by the NavelGazing Midwife
She is highlighting the scars and their stories. I have submitted mine.

The Shape of a Mother
Real women have real bodies. Stretch marks. C-section scars. Here you will find women of all shapes and sizes and with all sorts of stories you can relate to.

Nine Months and Beyond
If you are in the Nashville area, check these women out. They are wonderful and supportive during and after birth. They offer doulas, birthing classes, birthing tubs, lactation consultants, pump rental and more.

No matter if you had a c-section or not, you are still a mother. You are still a strong and brave woman. Why? Because you created a person, you gave birth. Don't forget that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My C-Section Scar

My c-section scar doesn't really bother me. It's low, near my pubic bone and very few people are every likely to see it. I don't think it bothers my husband. It simply joins the three smaller appendectomy scars that I have on my abdomen as well.

Every now and again I wonder what some stranger would think of it. Would it make me less attractive in their eyes? Would they find it off putting? Does it make me less sexy?

My c-section scar is 5.5 inches long. To think, an ENTIRE human being came out of that one spot. An entire human being that weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 19.5 inches long. Knowing where nature intended for him to emerge, it shouldn't be that amazing to me, but it still is.

I often think of the bumper sticker I once saw: Scars are tattoos with better stories.

I don't think my scar mars me or makes me less beautiful. It reminds me that I am alive, that my son is alive. I will forever carry the mark of my love for him on my body. Different than stretch marks, this one is deliberate, is more precise than the movement of my body stretching around the existence of a human being.

Sometimes my scar catches my eye and makes me worry. I think that is the nature of a woman. I also know that years from now it will catch my eye, when my son has long moved out of my house and is living his life, and that scar will cause me to smile and trace it gently, with love in my heart and a smile on my face.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Did I Say That?

We took Ian to Mass for the first time on Saturday night. I took juice, snacks, toys, etc to try and entertain him. He has not learned inside voice yet.

We feed him these organic puffs and they have saved our sanity more than once. So it's about 10 minutes before Mass starts. He decides to reach into the container and root around with his hand in the puffs.

"Don't eat all the popcorn before the movie starts." I find coming out of my mouth.

My husband laughs and shakes his head.

I think I need a keeper.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear Ian:

Your baby skin is so soft. Yesterday, as I was feeding you breakfast, I stroked your little cheek and was struck at how soft and smooth your skin is. You had just woken up and your cheeks were still flushed from sleep. Then I had to look at and touch your fat little wrists and your fat litte feet. Even your cute little baby butt is dimply but so soft to the touch.
As you grow, I will miss your chubby little baby parts and cuddling your soft baby skin. I wish I could capture the feeling of touch in a jar so that I can relive the softness of your baby self even when you are twenty.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Isn't He Sweet?

My husband, not known for his romantic gestures, did really well this year. We had our 6 year anniversary in March.

The present came last night. He knows I love subtlety and symbolism. The sixth year anniversary gift is iron. And the sixth year anniversary flower is the calla lily. Here's what he found:

It's a tea light candle holder made of iron and the flowers are calla lillies!! See how awesome he was with this gift?

And if you count, there are 6 large calla lily blooms!!!

Great job, baby!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Breastfeeding Rocks!

Fact based article about the cost savings and most importantly the health benefits of breastfeeding babies for longer than six months.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April is Cesaran Awareness Month

This post may be a little on the long side, for which I will apologize upfront, however this is a subject which I find myself to be very passionate about.

I had a c-section in February 2009. Traditional: I chose an OB and planned to birth in a hospital. Nontraditional: I had a doula and chose Hypnobabies as my birthing class/method. I did plan to birth at home as long as possible and only arrive at the hospital when it was time to push. I had a written birth plan with minimal intervention that had been thoroughly discussed with my doctor.

My birthing waves started in the evening on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning we called in our doula Sarah and thought we were going to have a baby. Birthing waves slowed down and stopped by 3 pm. Sarah went home and JP and I settled down to wait out the night. Thursday he went to work and I stayed at home napping and keeping hydrated.

Friday morning and I wanted to see my OB. We called his office and they told us to go straight to the hospital. By this point I had been in my birthing time off and on for 2.5 days. It was all back labor too. I was getting tired. Hypnobabies had served me well but I was worn down and decided on the epidural.

Nurses came in to ask questions and strap me to the fetal monitor. Baby is fine, I'm fine; my blood pressure is slightly elevated and up until this point my blood pressure had stayed at a cool 110/70 throughout my pregnancy.

Nurse checks me and is surprised. I am 8 cm and 100% effaced!! I was so surprised. She was even more surprised. We called Sarah to tell her this was the real thing. Nurses scrambled to get the epidural in me since I was getting to the point of no return. They gave me the initial shot but didn't hook me up to the pump. Which was fine with me. I really just needed something to take the edge off.

Doctor comes, checks me and says it's time to start pushing. With my husband, my mother and my doula at my side, I push for close to 2 hours. Doctor comes to check me. He is not a small man and he shows me how far inside my baby's head still is based on how far inside he has to reach. I had already been offered pitocin twice, which I declined and the nurses accepted without argument or pressure otherwise.

The doctor sits down and starts to discuss my options. He tells me I can continue to push. He tells me we can try the vacuum, though the baby's head is was a little farther in than he likes to use with a vacuum. He tells me I can have a c-section.

I look at my husband. I look at my doula. No judgements, simply acceptance of my choice on their faces. I knew the choice was mine and mine alone in that moment. I looked at my doctor. "Cut me open," I said.

My husband and doula came into the OR room with me. I got to listen to my Hypnobabies relaxation music as my son was brought forth from my body.

My son emerged covered in meconium and with difficulty breathing. He was exhausted from the birthing process as well. He had to be taken to the NICU and intubated. Luckily that was removed less than an hour later and he was fine.

Did I make the right choice? Yes, I did. No doubts, no questions, no regrets.

The next day my doctor told me that I had been his toughest birth in 3 weeks and he had birthed calves. (Yes,as in what cows give birth to.) My son and I both tried our damnedest to get him out vaginally. So much so that his head was wedged into my pelvic bone and the doctor (once again, who is not a small man and is built like a football linebacker) was leaning into my shoulder through the drape as he freed my son from my body.

One hundred years ago, and perhaps even as few as fifty years ago, my son and I would both likely have been dead without the intervention of a c-section.

I know that there are a lot of women who feel discouraged, depressed, disgruntled, damaged, minimalized, angry and hurt that they were not able to give birth vaginally. I do not want to demean, dismiss or diminish the feelings of those women, only tell my story from my eyes and my situation.

I DID NOT FAIL. It irritates me that women feel that to have a c-section is to fail to give birth. I did give birth to my child. I grew him, I labored with him, I brought him forth from the fruit of my womb. I did not fail.

I don't want to debate about the topic, however, honest discussion is fine. I do agree that there are too many c-sections being performed than are medically necessary. I simply do not feel that a c-section has to equal negativity, dissatisfaction with the birthing process, or a feeling of having lost something.

I did not fail. I gave birth. I had a c-section.

(more to follow on this topic during the month)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Things My Child Eats

I am blessed with a child that likes to eat. Other than a bread and butter pickle, I don't think he has rejected anything we have ever fed him. Avocados, beans, bread, mangos, green beans, fish, meat....he likes it all.

Last night as I was preparing dinner, I had opened a can of sliced black olives to add to the meal. He looks over interestingly as I drained the juice from the can and made his "mmmm" noise to let me know he wanted some. I shrugged and then popped one in his mouth.

He continued to demand more. I think he could have eaten the whole can if I let him!

Eventually I did add the olives to what I was cooking and we both then ate quinoa with green peas and black olives for dinner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Man Trance

How cute. Men really can't seem to help themselves. And it's good to know they too bond almost instantly with a baby when their wife is pregnant.


Girl's Weekend

Woot Woot! Going away for a girl's weekend. Driving down to Alabama to see D with J & A. We've all been friends since grade school.

This will be the first time I have been away from baby boy overnight since he was born 13 months ago. Daddy hasn't yet had to watch him overnight by himself. I'm sure we will all survive just fine.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Blog?

Another blog? Yep. Why? Why not? You don't know me yet so let's wait and see what happens. Even I don't know what is going to happen.