Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Google's got it goin' on

Dissatisfied with your (or your husband's) company's benefits (or lack thereof)?
Check out what Google offers their employees (and get yourself really pissed off):
Google's benefits

Some of the perks include:
* 12 weeks of maternity leave at 75% pay
* 6 weeks of parental leave at 75% pay
* $500 take-out food allowance to families with new babies
* adoption assistance up to $5000
* free healthy lunches and dinners on-site
* childcare
* tuition reimbursement up to $8000 per year
* on-site oil change, car wash, dry cleaning, massage therapy, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and bike repair
* employee referral program ($2000 bonus)
* plus all the basics - medical, dental and vision (not to mention doctors are available on-site)

Can you say holy crap?? Go ahead. Say it. HOLY CRAP! Now that is a company that knows how to treat it's employees. I bet their retention rate is extremely high. Who would want to leave a company that will bend over backwards for you?

Where do I sign up?? ;)

I should probably add that the reason I was even looking at Google's perks is because my husband was day-dreaming that his current company would get bought out by Google. ::sigh:: We've all got our dreams.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Free Tibet

I've seen the bumper stickers and heard the expression "Free Tibet" for years now, but I never really understood what was going on over there or took the time to learn about their plight.

So last night Jody and I sat down to watch "Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion."
Ten years in the making, this feature-length documentary was filmed during nine remarkable journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Taking viewers to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an unprecedented richness of imagery, the film powerfully chronicles the dark secrets of Tibet's recent past through interviews, personal stories and archival images.
It was such an eye-opener and so very sad to see how the Chinese have and continue to repress the Tibetans. I can understand this kind of treatment happening in the past, but here we are, in the year 2005. What is wrong with the rest of the world that we allow this genocide to continue?

If anyone is interested, there's a good history of the Chinese rule over Tibet over on Wikipedia. I'd try to explain it myself, but that site does a far better job than I could do.

One of the things that's really frustrating to me is that in 1989 the Chinese government likely kidnapped the new Panchen Lama (a six-year-old boy who was chosen by the current Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama). They then named their own Panchen Lama, thereby acknowledging Buddhism, but trying to keep it under their control. The Panchen Lama will be responsible for naming the reincarnated Dalai Lama after the current one dies. I don't know if the Chinese really think the Tibetans and Buddhists are going to acknowledge the person they made their puppet Panchen Lama chose, but I can't see that happening. But what will happen to Buddhism?

Watching that movie and hearing the stories of the horrible things the Chinese have done to the Buddhist monks and nuns is heart-breaking and incredibly frustrating. Here are a people who don't seem to have a violent bone in their body, yet they are being imprisoned, tortured beyond belief and often killed. How can this happen? How can they continue to get away with it?

It made me very upset over the current state of affairs. I want to do something, but I don't know what. Part of me thinks a large-scale organized boycott of all products made in China is necessary, but that seems so extreme. And would it even matter? Ugh.

I want to raise awareness at the very least. I am sure so many people have no idea this is going on. I mean, I didn't! I knew Tibet wanted to be freed, but I had no idea why or from what! A "Free Tibet" bumper sticker seems so cliche. Will anyone even care to find out why Tibet needs to be freed?

I decided to look up "Free Tibet" stickers to see what is out there and I came across a website that reports some very different findings than what is portrayed in the movie. Of course, there are two sides to every story and while I still think that a lot of what the Chinese did and does is absolutely wrong and extreme, I'm wondering if some good didn't come out of their occupying Tibet in the first place. Hmmm. (Scratching my head.) Guess I have more reading to do.

Playing catch-up

I know, I know. I've been a total blogging slacker lately. Not only have I been remiss in blogging myself, but I haven't been checking in on my blogroll very much either. (Hanging my head in shame.)

It seems like this past week has been and September especially is going to be busier than the rest of the summer. It could be because some of my friends are back in town now so we have things planned. Could be that my in-laws will be driving up from OK and staying with us for a few days this weekend. Could be that our first official API meeting will be held mid-September. Could be that we are going on vacation at the end of September to Massachusetts (and meeting my parents there). Plus Ava is sick again with a virus. I had my annual physical today (whoopee), and I'm on gardening duty this week. Oy. So much going on. Not that I'm complaining, I like having things to do (well, I could do without Ava being sick, but at least we aren't on vacation!). :)

I've got lots of things mulling around in my head that I hope to blog about in the near future, starting with the movie Jody and I watched last night - "Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion." But I will start another entry for that. ;)

In the meantime, I will do my best to be a good blogger (leaving comments and the like), but please don't hold it against me if I don't leave comments on every entry. I try, I really do. ;)

Friday, August 26, 2005

SPF - Me and a friend

It's that time again - time for another round of Self Portrait Friday!

This week's theme is "me and a friend." I am feeling lazy and tired so I'm only posting two pics. :oP

This first one is of my sister (and good friend) Carrie and me taken in May 2005. (My God, we actually look kind of alike in that picture. Gasp!)

The second one is me (and Ava) and my friend Brandy (and her son Creed) taken in March 2005.

Go see who else has friends over at Katy's blog. ;-)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Random thoughts

I feel like I haven't been posting anything of substance lately except pics, money woes and rants about my stinkin' refrigerator.

Here it is, almost Friday again (where did the week go?) which means we are gearing up for another SPF (Self Portrait Friday). Katy hasn't announced the theme yet though.

And do I have anything of substance to write about today? Eh, not really. :oP

Ava is sleeping on me with a boob in her mouth at the moment. I'd go lay her down but she really needs to get a good nap in today because we're heading out to a meeting (for the advisory committee of that new attachment parenting group I'm involved in) in a litle bit and I want her to be well-rested. So I'll just keep her here with me. :) The group's first meeting is less than a month away! I'm excited but also a bit concerned as I wonder what kind of turnout we'll have. Guess we shall see.

I cut Ava's hair last night. She was in desperate need of a trim. Surprisingly, it didn't turn out as bad as I thought it might. Maybe I'll post a pic. I just took one of her earlier because besides the new haircut, she's also wearing a new dress today - one that Aunt Carrie bought her in India. She got her a couple punjabi suits too, but they are too small for my large Western baby. ;-)

I do want to give a shout out to Brad over at Greystone Inn. He was nice enough to put up a link to my AP store on his site. :) Thanks, Brad. One of the storylines Brad's comic strip follows is the adventures of Mac and Samantha - new parents who are practicing attachment parenting. He now has a book for sale with a collection of his AP strips called Prodromal Teeth. "The best of the Greystone strips about pregnancy and parenthood, reformatted into a graphic novel layout. Positive themes of attachment parenting such as breastfeeding and natural childbirth make this a terrific gift for parents-to-be."

Well, the lil chica has arisen, so I'm off. :)

Tagged again - a new meme

1. Name as it appears on birth certificate: AKG
2. Nicknames: Ame, Amus the Maevis
3. Place of Birth: Michigan
4. Favorite food: Mexican, Vietnamese or Indian.
5. Ever been to Africa: No
6. Love someone so much it hurts: Yes.
7. Been in a car accident: Just a fender-bender
8. Croutons or bacon bits: Neither.
9. Favorite day of the week: Saturday
10. Favorite restaurant: Efrain's (yummy, cheap Mexican food!)
11. Favorite sport to watch: Hockey
12. Favorite drink for summer: Water
13. Favorite ice cream: Moose Tracks or Mint Choco Chip
14. Disney or Warner Bros.: Eh, I guess Disney though I think there's some reason I should be boycotting them. LOL Carrie? Refresh my memory.
15. Favorite fast food restaurant: Chipotle.
16. What Color is your bedroom carpet: I have no idea what you call this color. Dirty?
17. How many times did you fail your driver's test: 0
18. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: Heather
19. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: Hmm, probably some home decorating store.
20. What do you do most often when you are bored: Blog, write, cook/bake
21. What time is Bedtime: 12 or 1 a.m.
24. Favorite TV shows: Nothing right now. I've been watching Rock Star INXS a little bit here and there, but that's about it.
25. Last person/s you went to dinner with: Jody and Ava
26. Ford or Chevy: Neither. Honda.
27. What are you listening to right now: the computer whirring
28. What is your favorite color: Green (but not to wear)
29. Lake, ocean or river: Ocean
30. How many tattoos do you have? None
31. Have you ever run out of gas: No, but WAY TOO CLOSE CALL on a deserted road while driving to Oklahoma with our two dogs (before Ava was born). Thankfully, we came across a gas station that was about to close for the night.

Tagging Halloweenlover, Laura and Tiffiny.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Good news, good news and bad news

The good news is the Whirlpool repairman was able to come today instead of Wednesday as originally scheduled.

The other good news is that he had the part it needed and the fridge is fixed!!! Yahooooooo! :-)

The bad news is the part that needed to be replaced was electrical and therefore, NOT covered by the warranty after all, so we're out $180. [insert jaw hitting the floor here]

As Charlie Brown would say, "Uuuuuuuuuugh!"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Lil update on the fridge situation

The good news is that repairing our fridge - which died on Friday - (barring any unforeseen circumstances) will be covered under our warranty which expires on Oct. 4. Hooray!!! :) (Couldn't have cut that too much closer now, could we??)

The bad news is that we can't get it repaired until probably Thursday. Groan!!! :(

This morning I cooked 14 chicken breasts that had all thawed when the fridge/freezer died. I plan to refreeze them in a friend's freezer until ours is repaired. I've also baked 4 loaves of zucchini bread from a monster zucchini picked from our garden a while back.

I'm not really enjoying living out of coolers on our kitchen floor (I never was very big on camping), but it sure is making me plan well in advance what we are going to eat for dinner this week.

Anyway, I'm very relieved that we won't have to shell out the money for a costly repair or a new fridge, though I did get a handful of replies off my posting on Freecycle and Craigslist from people giving away a fridge or selling one at a reduced rate. It's nice to see that people (strangers to me even) are ready to jump in and help out if needed. :) Yay for the kindness of strangers! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What REALLY stresses me out

Ugh! What a day! I started off yesterday feeling in a funk and it just didn't get any better as the day progressed. Around 5:30, I discovered water all over our kitchen floor. I opened the freezer only to find that everything in there had thawed!! Neither the freezer nor the fridge was cooling anymore. OMG!

When Jody got home from work, he cleaned off the back and vacuumed out underneath it, hoping that would fix the problem. But it seems he was too late. It looks like our compressor has bit the dust. :(

The Whirlpool repairman Jody talked to on the phone said it would cost a bare minimum of $350 to replace the compressor, but it could definitely be more. UGH!

Our fridge was only 5 years old. I thought they lasted forever!

We have 0 extra money right now. There's no money to buy a compressor. There's no money to buy a new fridge.

I'm asking around to see if anyone we know has a fridge they are no longer using (to sell or give away). It's a long shot, but I even posted on Freecycle. Can't hurt to try.

Lesson learned - be sure to vacuum off the back of your fridge and underneath your fridge on a semi-regular basis to avoid compressor burn-out. I hate such expensive lessons.

So anyway, this fridge thing usurps all other things I posted about as "stressing me out" yesterday. Yes, it takes the cake.

Update: Well, it turns out the compressor SHOULD be covered under our 5-year warranty (which will expire in October - eep!!). Hallelujah! (Keep your fingers crossed.) So now Jody is on the phone trying to schedule a repair and get it all straightened out. We'll be living out of coolers packed with ice in the meantime. It's like camping right in our own kitchen. ;) Ah, what an adventure.

Friday, August 19, 2005

SPF - "Worked up, stressed out, and worn out"

Katy says this week's theme is:
"Let's see what gets you worked up, stressed out, and worn out."

I've got a few things up my sleeve that fit that theme quite nicely.

1) My dogs
My dogs have been stressing me out like crazy lately. They tear up our semi-new sod in the backyard and have been running away every chance they get. Note the hole they've chewed into the gate! Arg!

2) Doing laundry
It's neverending! Whew! :oP

3)Lack of time
It seems like there's never enough time to do everything I want/need to do. I'd have a picture to illustrate this, but uh...I'm out of time!!

4)Lack of money
Just like time, there never seems to be enough $$ money $$.
(I cheated on this pic.)

4) Last, but certainly not least - EverQuest II
EQ (aka EverCrack!) gets me very worked up. - My dh hasn't been playing it much lately (thank you, Jody), but I still can't stand this game. Did you know there have been real life suicides linked to the game? And one woman's 3-year-old daughter died while she played EQ. See this story and this story and sadly still this story.
Anyway, you get the point.
This ... game ... infuriates ... me.

Update: I feel the need to clarify that I am not a gamer and I do NOT play EQ - not now, not ever. I just have no desire to play games. It's my husband's obsession er, I mean hobby, ;) not mine. And yes, he's played more than just EQ1 and EQ2. It was World of Warcraft for a while and also that Star Wars game. Blah. Not a fan of games here.

See what gets the rest of the bunch stressed out over at Katy's blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

15 minutes

Just a Girl asks in her blog today - Have you experienced your 15 minutes of fame yet?

I would say that I have.

I was in a Peugeot (French car) magazine about six years ago when they ran an article about people with webcam sites. Yes, I used to have a cam site. (No, it didn't have nudity or anything, just my day-to-day life). Don't ask me why a car magazine was running an article about cam sites, but they did!

I was in a segment Fox news did about HypnoBirthing when I was pregnant with Ava. They were interviewing a friend of mine who is a HB instructor and they showed some footage of her practicing some relaxation techniques with me. I looked like a big dork, especially because I wore a bright green maternity shirt with my big ol' belly. What was I thinking?

Hmm, that's all that comes to mind.

So, what about you? Have you had *your* 15 minutes of fame? Feel free to answer in comments below or on your own blog. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Announcing my new store! :)

I'm happy to announce my new store (through CafePress) - Attached At The Hip - is NOW online!

Attached At The Hip sells primarily advocacy clothing, stickers, buttons, etc. with logos that promote attachment parenting ideals such as breastfeeding, baby wearing, gentle discipline, natural birthing and more.

I also offer some non-AP logos for announcing an expected baby (I'm going to be a big brother/sister shirts) and crunchy/granola attire for mamas and the whole tree-hugging family. In addition, there are shirts for domestic "divas" and "goddesses."

I'm very excited to get this off the ground and, while I am hoping it will be a profitable venture for me, I am also just glad to be spreading the word about attachment parenting.

The awesome thing is that most everything is handled through CafePress. They take the orders, they print the shirts/merchandise, they collect the money, they ship the product, they handle returns, etc. The bad thing about that is that they make most of the money. ;) But every little bit I make will help. :)

I'm currently offering a special of $5 off any purchase of $50 or more. Use coupon code: B2SALE when you check out.

Please feel free to give it a look-see and let me know what you think. If you have any ideas on how I can improve upon it, I am all ears. :)

Also, CafePress is planning on starting an affiliate program in September so if anyone is interested in linking to my store and making some money off any sales you generate, let me know. :)

Thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I've been a blogging slacker the past couple days. Reason being I've been hard at work on my new business venture which I hope to announce VERY soon! :)

So I have nothing to write about at the moment other than to say I'm around, just not blogging much (though I did manage to get through my blogroll yesterday). Hopefully I can launch this thing soon and then have a little bit more free time.

Talk at y'all soon. ;)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Self Portrait Friday

Ah, what the hell. I decided to join in with Katy and the gang over at The Grass Isn't Greener for SPF - aka Self Portrait Friday. :)

This week's theme is "what do you do to relax" so here are some of the things I like to do to relax.

Mess around on the computer in my pjs:

Take a long hot shower (doesn't happen often with a toddler in the house):

Watch tv (uh, except it's usually on when I'm watching it):

Read (again, doesn't happen very often):

I'm not much of a drinker, but I don't mind kicking back with some ice cream to help me unwind, so...
Eat ice cream:

Be sure to check out the rest of the kids to see how everyone else likes to relax. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

When did nursing in public become a crime?

It's been a while since I've written about any breastfeeding injustices in the world (not for lack of material, just lack of time). But a few things have surfaced recently in my very own state that have me shaking my head and wondering "what the hell."

In the Rocky Mountain News:
Five-month-old Nicholas Monroe got hungry Friday while touring the state Capitol with his parents.

His mom, 27-year-old Stephanie Monroe, of Rifle, decided that two comfortable-looking couches in the reception area of the governor's office would be a good place to breast-feed him.

An office receptionist, she says, told her to go somewhere else, suggesting the basement of the building.
The entire article can be found here.

While the receptionist may have been uncomfortable with the woman nursing (though I can't imagine why since the baby was even covered with a blanket), she had no right to ask the mother to move elsewhere. You see, Colorado passed a state law last year that says a woman is allowed to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

How is it that this woman - a receptionist in the governor's office - isn't aware that? Beats the heck out of me.

Elsewhere in the state...
In July, a woman breastfeeding her son at Carter Lake was ticketed for "knowingly (exposing) one's genitals in a public place." Read the article here.

Since when did breasts become genitals I ask you?! Somebody (the female ranger who issued the ticket) needs an anatomy lesson as well as to brush up on Colorado laws. The ticket has since been dismissed.

One of the things that gets me is that in both instances, it was a woman finding fault with the mother nursing in public (both whom, according to the articles, were doing it quite discreetly). Why are these women to quick to jump on nursing mothers' cases?

And in national news...
On NBC's Today Show this week, Dr. Judith Reichman discussed why "breast is best" when it comes to the health of baby and mom.

Dr. Reichman states, "It’s clear that these experts (American Academy of Pediatrics) feel that infants should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life. And they also recommend that breast-feeding be continued for 12 months with the addition of complementary food. Finally, breast-feeding for the first two years of life is encouraged."

Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it was a WONDERFUL segment (Kudos to NBC for supporting breastfeeding!!) UNTIL Katie Couric opened her big mouth and said that "But when they can ask for it, they are too old, right?" Chuckle, chuckle. And then said something about thinking it's "creepy" when children ask to nurse.

Why is it that when children are able to communicate their wants and needs, it suddenly becomes "creepy" to give them what they desire? When kids are old enough to ask for a hug, should we refuse them that? When they are old enough to ask for a drink of water, should we say no? What the hell is the difference?

Wise up, Katie. Do some research and stop interjecting your opinion into stories. It makes for lousy journalism.

By the way, the worldwide weaning average is somewhere between 4 and 6 years.

Too close for comfort

We're cutting it just a little too close for comfort with our bills this month. So close that I'm trying to time the mailing of certain bills just perfectly so they are received after Jody gets paid again on the 15th, but before they are technically considered late. Actually some are getting sent late - the ones that don't have any penalties for being received a couple days past due.

Like our mortgage was due on the 1st, but we have a grace period until the 16th. I mailed it today and hope that it gets there on Monday or Tuesday so the money is definitely there and we can avoid any late fees.

Ugh. How did we get to this point?

Seriously, I don't think we've ever had a month this bad before. Usually there's no worry about bills getting paid on time or having the money to cover checks. We've even been able to afford to send extra money to pay down our one credit card. But it's back to minimum payments on that for a while.

I'm not sure exactly what happened to get us to where we are now. We did have a few larger purchases recently (a grill and a Dyson vacuum), but we paid for them using our tax return from last year. I think it may be as simple as living on one salary has finally caught up to us. Eep. (Although going over a year has certainly been a good run and I feel fortunate for that.)

Anyway, I'm carefully monitoring our funds and we'll be living even more frugally for a while as we try to play catch up.

Jody is up for a raise in another month. I've got a small business venture in the works to help us make some extra money. And I need to continue to focus on a photography business, but I really am having a hard time with spending money on a new camera that we can't afford.

I know it will all work out ok, but I hate feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place. Maybe I should start playing the lottery. :oP

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Just one more reason

My OB/GYN's office just gave me one more reason why I am so glad to be leaving their practice.

Here's a little history on why I decided to find a new doctor.
1. Dr. Lame (as I like to call her) never volunteered any information to me while I was in the hospital for 5 days recovering from HELLP syndrome. If I didn't know the questions to ask, I got nothing.
2. Despite my clear birthing plan that I would be "breathing my baby down," (as is taught in HypnoBirthing) NOT pushing on command while holding my breath, Dr. Lane instructed me, "Hold your breath while you push!" I refused. (Small victory for Amy.)
3. Despite my best efforts to avoid an episiotomy, Dr. Lame convinced me I was going to tear horribly if I didn't have one, and in the throes of labor I agreed to be cut.
4. Dr. Lame had no bedside manner what-so-ever.
5. (This is the one that really put me over the edge.) The morning after AVA was born, Dr. Lame asked me how my SON was doing!!! If she couldn't remember the sex of my child from the night before, she needed to consult my chart (which should have it in there for God's sake!)!

Anyway, all of these reasons and more made me decide that I never wanted to see the woman again. So when it came time for my annual physical this year, I decided to go elsewhere and request my records from Dr. Lame's office for my new physician.

That brings me to my story...

I sent in a signed request for my medical records about 5 weeks ago. After not receiving the records in the mail or getting a call asking me to pick them up, I called the office last week to find out if they even received the the request in the first place. "Oh yes, we have it. Can you come in Tuesday morning to pick them up?" "Sure, not a problem."

Tuesday afternoon (because we got a late start on the day), Ava and I drove to the office to pick up my records. "Oooh, it looks like Dr. Lame hasn't signed off on them yet. It should be later today or tomorrow. Can I give you a call and let you know?" "Sure, that will be fine."

Tuesday evening I get a call saying the records are ready. "Come by "anytime." I interpret "anytime" to mean any time during business hours. Seems straight-forward enough, right?

So today, Wednesday afternoon, Ava and I drive up there AGAIN. We take the elevator to the 2nd floor and walk up to the office. The lights are off inside and there's a note on the locked door that says "Please leave the mail with the Land Title Office."

You gotta be kidding me! Where are they?? Strike two!!

So I get out my pen and write on the note:
"Name of Practice,
Please call Amy ________ at 123-456-7890 re: medical records. This is the 2nd time I've been by to pick them up. Thank you, Amy ________"

Just a little while ago they called and left a message (I had a sleeping child on me and couldn't answer the phone) to say "I'm so sorry we weren't here. We're back now and will be in the office until 5:30/6."

Did they offer to put them in the mail for me so I don't have to make a THIRD trip up there? No.

Jody said I should call them back and tell them I have a child (though they probably don't have that in their records!) and I can't make five trips up there a day. It'd be funnier if it weren't so likely.

I just want my stinkin' records so I can wash my hands of them. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Shower me with kisses

I was working on the computer upstairs in our office tonight while Jody played with Ava in the living room. After about 30 minutes, I heard her chattering as she came up the stairs. She walked up to me looking cute as a bug in her lil yellow jammies. I picked her up into my lap where she immediately began showering me with kisses. 21 kisses to be exact. Yes, I counted them aloud as she kissed me. ;)

In the middle of this, Jody came upstairs to get her. She started signing "milk please" to me (well, really just "please" - she's dropped the "milk" part of it over the past couple days - guess it was slowing her down) as she continued to give me kisses.

When Jody tried to lean in to steal a kiss, she gave him the stink eye and said "bye-bye." A few seconds later he leaned in trying for one more and got pushed away along with another "bye-bye." Aww, poor daddy. He walked away feeling dejected.

Apparently all my kisses were her way of sucking up to me (doh, quite literally) so that she could nurse. ;) I'm not complaining. It was one of the sweetest things she's ever done (and that's saying a lot).

I got a few more kisses when she was finished nursing and then off she went toddling happily back to daddy to play some more.

Daddy was happy. Mama was happy. Ava was happy.

*Sigh* :) I'm a lucky woman.

Monday, August 08, 2005

An ode to my smoking neighbors

An ode to my smoking neighbors

When you feel an urge for a smoke
and the weather is hot,
if our attic fan is churning,
I beg you please do not
go out of your door
and like up your ciggy
for it makes our home
smell some sort of wiggy.
We gag and we choke
as our lungs fill with smoke.
I tell you we'd rather
you not make us croak.
For we have no A/C
to help keep us cool
so our windows stay open.
Do you hear me, you fool?
Go back in your house
and give smoking a whirl
just please don't do it
downwind from my lil girl.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The napping house

After writing my last post, I made my way downstairs to get something to eat. Here's what I saw in...

the bedroom:

the living room:

the dining room:

the kitchen:

Sheesh! How did I miss the nap memo? ;o)

World Breastfeeding Week comes to a close

I was feeling a bit down on myself yesterday for not doing anything to support World Breastfeeding Week. Our local LLL chapters held a walk and picnic yesterday morning but I just didn't feel motivated to go.

After having such a crazy weekend a week ago (with Ava being in the hospital), I didn't feel much like going to any organized events. I just wanted to spend time chilling with my family (which I realize I could've done at the walk/picnic, but blah, I just didn't feel like going).

Instead the fam and I decided to go to the last day of our county fair. We went to the pancake breakfast* supporting the local Optimist chapter and then watched some dog sheep-herding trials. After that we walked around and looked at the animals and exhibits and went in a little petting zoo. Ava enjoyed petting the goats, sheep, cow, horse and pigs for a little while and then was perfectly content to pick up pieces of hay and hand them to mama while the animals hustled around her flocking to the kids who's parents purchased baggies of feed. :) Sigh. She's such a sweet girl.

Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. My big concern was not going to the walk and then I didn't even nurse in public at the fair. What kind of lactivist am I anyway? (I would have nursed her if she would've asked [she signs "milk please" really well now - super cute], but she was too busy with the animals - pardon me - the hay, to care.)

Then I remembered that a mama on MotheringDotCommune recently asked for pictures of mamas nursing their babes for a WBW display she was assembling and I had sent her two pictures of me and Ava. She posted the finished product the other day and it turned out really nice! I believe it was supposed to be on display at a health fair at her mall, but then she was turned down because her display was about breastfeeding. (WHAT??!) So then she took the display to Walmart instead where she handed out a bunch of literature from LLL regarding breastfeeding and also received some local media coverage.
I drew the arrows on the display to the pictures of me and Ava. :) We're famous. ;)

I'm glad I got to be a part of her breastfeeding display and feel like I helped spread the word in some small way.

I also realized that just because last week was World Breastfeeding Week doesn't mean that was my only chance to do something to promote breastfeeding. We all need to continue to raise awareness on a daily basis and I can do my part little by little. :)

*I've apparently been typing the word "breast" far too often lately. ;) (Wait, is that possible?? hehe.) Every time I try to type another word that begins with "brea" like "breakfast" or "bread" (before this I was writing an email asking some friends if they had any good zucchini bread recipes), it comes out as "breast." LOL :) Mmmmm, pancake breastfast and zucchini breast.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Stretching my wings

I've been playing with my camera the past couple days, trying to really get a feel for it's capabilities. Just in time for me to go out and buy a new, much more expensive (that I certainly cannot afford) one.

Ya see, I'm thinking of doing some part-time photography work and can't begin to think of charging anywhere near professional photographer prices with my 4.0 Mega pixel Kodak EasyShare camera. ;oP Maybe I can write it off as a business expense if I truly go ahead with this (which I want to do, but I'm afraid of self-sabotaging myself - something I've done in the past - gulp).

Anyway, here are a few shots of what I took today during a walk around the neighborhood with Ava.
There's a bee on the first flower. It looks really cool full-sized, you can see it's wings and everything.
And the bottom one is my favorite. It was a tiny flower, but I'm really happy with how it came out. :)

The need for speed

My loving husband has a need for speed. I know this because in the time we've been together (7 years), he's received around 7 speeding tickets (give or take a few).

Seven tickets might not seem like a lot to some people, but it's seven more than I've had, EVER. I know, I know he drives a lot more than I do, so he's at an increased risk of getting one (provided that he speeds, which he does). But that's roughly one ticket per year (and I'm sure I'm being lenient on the number he's actually received).

The latest ticket came last night for going 73 in a 55 mph zone. The fee schedule is like this:
Penalty is, $60 for No convictions on a point traffic offense
within the prior 36 months, from date of current offense. The
Points shall be reduced by two (2).
Penalty is, $80 for One conviction on a point traffic offense within
the prior 36 months, from date of current offense. The points shall
be reduced by one (1).
Penalty is, $100 for Two convictions on point traffic offenses within
the prior 36 months, from date of current offense. The points shall
Remain as originally charged.

I don't think he's had any point traffic offenses in the last 36 months, but I don't really remember. (They tend to come in waves.) I know he's recently had a couple of those speeding tickets where they take your picture and - surprise! - the ticket arrives in the mail a week or two later (no points with those). So it will likely be either $60 or $80 and 2 or 3 points. Ugh. It's the points that really get me because I know it's going to drive our insurance rates up.

He is frustrated with the whole thing because the speed limit was 55 mph on this straight five-lane highway where he received the ticket. While on another highway he frequently travels, which is two lanes, hilly and windy, the speed limit is 60 mph. How does that make any sense? So he believes the five-laner was made to be a speed trap. (And noted that there were four cop cars driving up and down patrolling it last night.)

So if you know it's a speed trap, why speed? I understand he wasn't trying to speed (I don't think most people are). But it just "didn't feel right going 55." "Felt too slow," he said.

I know my pissing and moaning isn't going to make the ticket go away. But I figure if I get out my frustrations here, I'll be less likely to brood all day and take them out on Jody when he comes home tonight. Believe me, he already knows I'm pissed, and harping on him further won't help matters either.

So here goes, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-
There, I feel better already.

Thanks for letting me vent. ;)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

1 year olds and plaster don't mix

Have you ever tried to get a plaster handprint of a 13 month old? If not, let me tell you it's damn near impossible. If you did, you have my deepest sympathies.

When Ava was born, my friend's mom sent us a box from Pottery Barn Kids containing plaster and five plastic molds and tins of varying sizes to make handprints of your child from age 1 to 5.

I thought - what great keepsakes! How cute they will look hanging in her bedroom! What a wonderful idea! Oh, how very wrong I was.

Great keepsake? Maybe (if you can ever get a handprint in it). Cute hanging on the walls? If you like messy, globby-looking artwork that resembles nothing. Wonderful idea?? NO! NO! NO!

Actually in theory it's an excellent idea, but I challenge you to find a 1 year old who will allow you to put her hand in plaster without squishing it between her little fingers.

I've tried doing her handprint four times now. Twice while it was obviously too wet and squishy. Once after I'd waited too long and it was nearly set up so I could barely press her hand into it (which in retrospect is the one I should've kept!). And once after I broke apart the mold, ground it back down into a powder (for the most part), rewetted and mixed it and tried all over again. At which time it was, once again, too wet and she grabbed a handful of plaster. Turns out that when they say, "PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. DO NOT DEVIATE" they really mean it. Apparently plaster cannot be reworked once it's started to dry. ;oP

By this time the girl had had enough and was ready for a nap. As if to illustrate the point, before I could grab the wash cloth to wipe her off, she reached up and rubbed her eyes with her plaster-coated hand. Oy vey!

(Who invented this blasted kit??!)

Leaving the kitchen and dining room covered in spatters of plaster, I took the sleepy girl upstairs for her nap.

After I got over my initial frustration at the whole ordeal, the wheels began to spin in my little noggin. Perhaps I could get a decent handprint while she slept! At that point I was nearly resigned to letting the mold dry as it was (without a handprint, that is if it would even dry after all my reworking it, etc.), and tracing her hand on it with a Sharpie! The Pottery Barn people would surely tut tut disapprovingly at the very idea.

So my last ditch effort was to try to make the impression while she slept. It certainly couldn't be any worse than what I already did. Right? Right?? ;)

I went back to the Pottery Barn Kids box to retrieve tin #2 - "My handprint when I was 2..." for it's plaster contents. (Shhhh, don't tell.) I prepared the plaster and then, considering myself an expert by this point, waited until it had set up enough so that it wouldn't stick to her, but not too much that it wouldn't be pliable. The timing had to be perfect if this was going to work (and not leave a plastery mess all over the bed).

And so I sat and waited, watching plaster dry, which is, I believe, more interesting than watching paint dry.

The time had come. Off to the bedroom I crept, plastic mold of plaster in hand.

Foiled again! The pesky plaster was still too wet. (Can you say pain in the ass??) Thankfully, Ava only stirred ever so slightly before going back to sleep.

I decided to give it one more try and then call it quits no matter what. I pressed her hand into the plaster and she woke up, unhappy to have been disturbed.

After all of that I guess you could say that I got a handprint. It sort of resembles one anyway (or a dinosaur footprint). :oP
I just might have to go buy my own bag of plaster and play with it. Then maybe with enough practice and determination, by the time she's 5 years old we'll have something that actually looks like a hand!

Monday, August 01, 2005

World Breastfeeding Week - Aug. 1 - 7

World Breastfeeding Week is being celebrated Aug. 1 to 7 this year! Hats off to all the moms who have breastfed their children! :) May many more women continue to realize the benefits of breastmilk.

What's World Breastfeeding Week all about?
According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action:
The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, being celebrated in over 120 countries. Officially it is celebrated from 1–7 August.

This year’s WBW aims to:
* Draw attention to the value of continuing to breastfeed children to 2 years or beyond.
* Raise awareness of the risks and costs of introducing other foods and drinks to breastfed babies before 6 months, thereby strengthening support for 6 months exclusive breastfeeding.
* Up-date information and ideas about the kinds of other foods and drinks needed by older breastfed babies and young children after 6 months.
* Share ideas for making complementary feeding easier, healthier and a time for learning and love.

In honor of Breastfeeding Week, La Leche League chapters worldwide are hosting walks to support breastfeeding awareness and advocacy. To find a walk in your area, click here.

Here are some great resources for breastfeeding information:

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
La Leche League
Kelly Mom
007 Breasts
AAP's Revised Breastfeeding Recommendations
World Health Organization's Recommendations
FDA: Breast-feeding Best Bet for Babies
Mothers Milk Bank locations

I will leave you with an excellent quote I saw today on Beckie's blog.
"While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby." --Amy Spangler