And a very special picture. My mom. Her sister, Martha. My Grandma. My daughter. Would have been great if Jeff could have gotten a pic with me in it to show all the generations. But I didn't think of it at the time. But here are 3 of our 4 generations!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Description from Amazon:
Whether the snowfall is light or heavy or the day is just so blustery that indoors seems better than out, there is something for children to enjoy among the more than 70 suggestions in this book. Creative possibilities include building a Japanese snow cottage (kamakura), fashioning a snow sculpture, or painting on snow with food coloring. Basic science projects involve observing and studying snowflakes and tracking and measuring snow prints. "Arctic Adventures" explores Inuit culture. Party ideas range from a teddy-bear sleepover to activities for celebrating the Chinese New Year. Recipes are included as well. A potpourri of simple ideas to fill the long winter days.
The prize: 1 copy of the book
The contest: Leave a comment. Answer this question- "What is your favorite cold weather activity?"
I will use a random number generator to select the winner. Contest is open until Friday, 9:00 p.m. EST. Contest is open to anyone! Feel free to pass along the link to friends! If you post this on your own blog or share it on another website, post a second comment for a second entry!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I just wanted to take a moment to talk about breastfeeding.
It's hard work. It's worthwhile work. It's something I am passionate about.
I nursed my daughter until she was 25 months old. She weaned herself from her single daily feeding (bedtime) towards the end of my first trimester of my pregnancy with Zach. We had a rough start- cracked, bleeding nipples, plugged ducts, lack of confidence. But with the support of my mom and my husband, we fought through and ended up with a great nursing relationship. After a year, we came down with thrush. Again, thanks to my mother, we got through it. I was heartbroken and wracked with guilt when I became pregnant with Zach. I was concerned that I was taking away from Teagan with my pregnancy... but really, she was ready. It was just time. And she never looked back.
Zach started out more "matter of fact" about nursing. Where Teagan could have been at the breast for 24 solid hours, only pausing for a diaper change, Zach was more business like. Get the milk and go back to sleep. Get the milk and see the world. Get the milk. Period. We fought what we thought was thrush his first month. Ended up being a more general fungal infection and once the doc figured that out and changed the type of ointment, I healed quickly. About 3 months or so ago, Zach stopped taking milk during the day. I had been pumping, since I work full time, and he first stopped taking the pumped milk. Soon after, he stopped asking during the day when we were together. He still night nurses, though, so he gets plenty of breastmilk. He is 13 months old and nurses anywhere from 2-6 times each night. Thank heavens Jeff and I both believe in co-sleeping!!
What have I learned?
Do laundry every day if you really want to keep up with it. Or... be like me and let it pile up and wait for your husband or a friend to have pity and help you out.
Do dishes every day if you really want to keep up with it. Or... see above. Another option is to believe in carry out and tossable plates and cutlery for a while.
Latch basics can help at any age and any stage of breastfeeding. Once teeth start coming in, latch has to be re-taught. Unless you like teeth scraping your nipple.
I have something that only I can do for my babies. I can nurture, feed, comfort with a single boob. I'm pretty powerful that way.
Breastfeeding is hard work and brings struggles and challenges. In the process of getting through cracked nipples, fungal infections, thrush, plugged ducts, engorgement, and other potential problems, you learn a lot about yourself, your baby, your spouse, your friends.
At the same time, once you have confidence, breastfeeding is the easiest and fastest thing in the world. Once you overcome the struggles, it is almost surreal how easy it is to pick up baby, whip out your breast, latch them on, and continue on with what you were doing. Or sit and enjoy the quiet, nurturing comfort.
You might amaze yourself with everything you can do with one hand. Sometimes with the help of a sling but often completely on my own, I've cooked, typed, written, called, colored, and even peed while nursing.
There is a lot of support out there- you just have to seek it out, find the best sources, and stick with them.
Between that and your gut, which you have to learn to listen to and trust, breastfeeding will work. My favorite reliable and easy to use resources are:
Dr. Jack Newman
And finding other moms who breastfed, who faced struggles, who were committed to breastfeeding... those moms are the ones who can really help you through it. One of my blog readers has known me for a long time- since before my first pregnancy. And she was one my my greatest cheerleaders and advice givers with those early struggles (Lynn from Canada- you know who you are)!! I also participate on some message boards- a global board for pregnancy and motherhood, a local board for moms- and could identify the "crunchy, granola" moms who typically have that strong commitment to breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding.
I am also always happy to offer advice based on what I've learned and from my own experiences. It takes a village, after all.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
- Ground beef
- minced garlic (from the jar in the produce section)
- chopped onion (I cheat and buy the frozen kind- Jeff got me hooked)
- egg noodles
- frozen green beans
- a can of Red Gold petite diced tomatoes mexican fiesta
- a can of condensed tomato soup (campbell's)
- sour cream
- seasoned with: smidgens of chili powder, cumin, garlic & bell pepper, Tastefully Simple's "Si Si Cilantro" dip mix (very little smidgen of this)
So what should we name this dish??
Monday, November 24, 2008
Update on the 7 Day Step Challenge...
And for those who are unaware, this was first discussed last week.
Tues 10,242 steps
Weds 11,581 steps
Thurs 11,052 steps
Fri 10,285 steps
Sat 10,065 steps
Sun 10,143 steps
So 7 days of 10K steps could officially be over as of today. But I started the challenge last Thursday so I feel like I need to get 10K through Weds. And 9 days of 10,000 steps per day sounds better, yes? 10 days of 10K would be really awesome... but Thanksgiving Day would be that last day... I will try but I make no promises and will feel no disappointment if I don't achieve all 10K that day.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Found this on Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish" on The Atlantic's site. He found it on a site called "GraphJam" but I wasn't able to get on that site...
I just saw a clip where a straight couple are being interviewed and the man says that the reason he opposes same sex marriage is because it would threaten his First Amendment Right to freedom of religion. Huh?
Here's a little quote from the world's most reliable source on any subject... Wikipedia.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So I read that to say that the government can't establish a nationwide, mandated religion. The government can't make laws that restrict freedom of speech. Can't make laws that step on that whole freedom of the press bit. Can't limit people's right to gather together and peaceably disagree (or agree). Can't limit the people's right to have a voice against the government.
I really don't see how there is anything in that little summary that has anything to do with gay marriage. I really can't see how 2 men or 2 women getting legally married has anything to do with the establishment of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably gather, or formally complain.
So I'm back and forth between Huh? and Hahaha!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Santa Claus or St. Nicholas?
Last year, we talked about Santa. We saw him one time- at Jeff's company Christmas party. Teagan decided that all she wanted from Santa was a "big, big, big, big pillow and a big, big, big, big blanket." So Santa brought her a comforter for her bed and a king size pillow. But here is what I never imagined would be a child's reaction to the Santa story.
It's Christmas Eve. For weeks, we've been singing songs and reading books about Santa and Christmas. Bedtime comes and I give the standard parent line "Go to sleep as fast as you can! Santa can't bring your presents unless you are sound asleep!" A look of panic passed by her little face. Her big blues eyes looked up at me and said "Mommy, I don't want Santa to come in our house."
Oy. My logical and cautious daughter. Doesn't want a strange man to sneak into the house, doesn't like the idea that he's been watching her already. It is pretty creepy when you think about it from that perspective. I assured her that we could leave a note for Santa to just leave our presents on the front porch and we would bring them in that morning. Which we did. All of that is something of a distant memory for her. But it raised significant doubt about Santa Claus in my mind.
I gave up on Santa when I was 5. Through a series of egg events, I determined, on my own, that the Easter Bunny was a sham. I went to my mom and confronted her. She told me that I was right- there wasn't really an Easter Bunny. I left the room. I come back and ask... "No Santa, either? And no tooth fairy?" We still had stockings and teeth left under pillows, of course. And as we get closer to the holiday, I will share the story of my most magical Christmas. I still very much believe in Christmas magic and miracles.
I am leaning towards not pushing the "magic" of Santa Claus. I'm thinking, instead, teaching about Saint Nicholas and that the things he actually did are the things we celebrate by visiting with Santa and hanging stockings and so on. I've been researching websites and books on the subject. What I love about the idea is that it still allows plenty of stockings and gifts and sitting on Santa's lap. But it gives the legend some history, some explanation. Another way that I think about it is that I am already asking my children to stretch their imaginations when it comes to Christmas. I am asking them to believe that an angel came down from heaven and gave news to Mary and Joseph. That Mary got pregnant with God's baby. That she gave birth in a barn and that Jesus lay around in a feeding trough. That this was God's way of giving humanity His greatest gift- His son. That's a lot for a kid to take in when you think about it.
So if Christmas is about traditions... about celebrating something that happened a long, long, long time ago... about having belief in things that don't make a lot of logical sense...
But at the same time, I think of the time that Jeff dressed up as Santa for his company's Christmas party. This was before the party was hosted at the local country club- and the club requires that the company use their provided Santa. So Jeff had a huge advantage... he knew these kids and their parents. 2 little boys, probably around ages 7 or 8, kept hanging around Jeff's "throne" by the tree. Kept asking him questions, trying to determine if he was real or not. He passed every test and then he blew their minds when he mentioned each boys' father by name and said that he still remembers bringing presents to their dads when they were little. You should have seen their eyes get HUGE!
And then I flip flop again. We were strengthening lies to these boys... but at the same time, we were giving them an inkling of Christmas magic, I think. Because when they are adults and they are looking back, they will still have to kind of scratch their heads and wonder how that Santa knew the things he knew.
Saint Nicholas was a boy when his parents died. They left him a lot of money so he was a wealthy young man. Many of his friends were poor. So he would secretly sneak and drop bags of money or needed items in their homes in the dark of night. It is because of his secret, anonymous giving that the legend of Santa Claus was born. That is something I really like about focusing on Saint Nicholas. It really lends itself to the focus on charity, on compassion. Santa tends to feel more commercial. Santa tends to be about what I want. Saint Nicholas feels like more about what others need. Teaching my children charity and compassion is a main priority in my parenting goals. So do I lead with Saint Nicholas and bridge that to the legend of Santa? Or do I go with the masses and fill their heads with tales of a fat guy in a red suit who flies around in a sleigh with magic reindeer and gives presents to every boy and girl in the whole world in one night?
I'm gearing up for the holiday season. Be prepared for blogging about trips to the Children's Museum, the Zoo, and other holiday adventures. And also watch for entries about the charitable things that we do this season.
So leave me your memories of Santa Claus... your opinions on Saint Nicholas vs Santa Claus, how you handled it with your kids, how you handled the discovery that he isn't "real," and share if you've done something different altogether. Also share your favorite holiday compassion projects.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I'd heard of Keith Olbermann and my husband explained the Ben Affleck on SNL skit to me... I'd never seen the guy so what did I know?
And then someone sent me this link to MSNBC. Olbermann gave a statement about Prop 8 and gay marriage. And it is powerful and poetic and I couldn't agree more with all he has to say. I know I don't have huge readership... but I do hope you will read the transcript (either at the link, where you can also watch his statement, or below where I have copied and pasted it). Maybe this will say something to you to show you a different side of the issue. Maybe you will be inspired to pass this along to friends and family and message boards. Or maybe you will still harden your heart to love. All I ask is that you read or watch with as open a mind as you can give.
Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.
Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.
And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.
How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.
You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.
But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:
"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."