Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Greetings from MA

Just a quick post to say we're having a lovely, relaxing time out East.

Unfortunately, we seem to be a couple weeks early for the fall foliage, which is a HUGE bummer to me, but what can ya do? The website I visited while planning this trip said peak was around Oct. 1. The woman we spoke with today on our drive to the "mountains" in Vermont said that they don't really start changing til around Oct. 12 or so. Arg! (BTW, I say "mountains" because they are so much smaller than what we're used to in CO. In fact, the highest peaks in MA and VT are lower than the elevation we live at. hehe.)

Anyway, we have had a couple days of rain, but today was beautiful. Tomorrow is also supposed to be nice so we plan to hit the Appalachian Trail for some hiking. :)

Ava has been an awesome traveller, both on the 2 flights to get here and with all the driving we've been doing. She is having a blast (despite cracking her head into the coffee table in our condo on Sunday - poor thing). She's being very friendly with Grandma and Grandpa (who are staying across the hall from us) as well as anyone and everyone we encounter in stores, etc. She sure is a friendly girl! And she's starting to say more and more actual words (not just signs). It's pretty exciting. :)

OK, I'm off to go soak in our jacuzzi tub. I'll post again later in the week or when we're back home.

Cheers! :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

SPF - Cookin' in the kitchen

Katy has declared this week's SPF (Self Portrait Friday) theme to be cooking in your kitchen. These pics of me and Ava were taken last week while we made zucchini bread from the TONS of zucchinis we got from our garden this year. Ava loved to help mama stir the batter. She was a very good lil helper. She just needs a lil apron and she'd be all set. ;)
Go check out everybody else cooking over on Dirty Days.

OK, now I'm off for a week. Take care and be well! :)

P.S. Don't forget Metaphoric Monday - Shiver Me Timbers!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Packin' up and headin' out

I haven't felt very verbose lately. I've got things in my head that I've contemplated writing about, but have decided not to get into it, not in detail anyway.

I will say that the guilty parties who had been "trolling" my site have come forward and apologized. I'm not sure whether we (I?) will be able move past this or not. They are women I've known for more than half of my life, and were my best friends in high school. We've taken different paths in life, we disagree on many issues, but I don't know how to get over this. It doesn't seem like our differences justify what they did. Time will tell. It's an odd situation. I'll leave it at that.

I got my hair cut yesterday and then went over to a friend's house where I enjoyed a nice glass of wine. I need to do that more often - both hang out with other women AND have a glass of wine. ;) It was very much needed.

We're getting ready to head out of town - to Western Massachusetts primarily (though we hope to also spend a day in Boston) - for a week. We leave on Saturday, Sept. 24, and will be meeting my parents there. I hope to see lots of beautiful fall foliage. The yellow aspen are pretty here in CO, but it's just not the same as all the vibrant colors out east. I've never been to MA before, Ava's never seen an ocean, and Jody's never been that far east, so it should be memorable for all. :)

If I don't get a chance to write tomorrow (because I will be frantically packing), I hope you all stay safe and well and have a good week. And I hope and pray that Rita somehow slows down and doesn't cause much damage. It's so scary that it's happening again.

I may blog from the road - Jody will have his laptop - but I think a vacation from the blog might be good for me as well. ;)

HNT # 3 - Hair!

Happy HNT (Half-Nekkid Thursday)! :-)

I got my hair cut yesterday and it is this week's HNT pic. Not quite as short as I wanted to go, but I am still happy with how it turned out. As part of the haircut, I got a scalp and shoulder massage and - oh my gawd - it couldn't have come at a better time. After the crappy headache Tuesday and some other stuff that's been stressing me out, it was sooooo much needed. I thought I was going to melt right into the chair. In fact, it made it easy for me to practice some grounding meditation, which I was also in DESPERATE need of.

Here's my attempt at some creativity for HNT. Like the pseudo elf ear? ;)

Not familiar with HNT? Check out the guidelines here. And then go see who else is half nekkid today over at Osbasso's, where it all started.

Here's one more hair pic (for those interested) taken from the front.

Cheers! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

oh, my f'ing head

I woke up with a headache today which has gotten worse as the day progressed. Ever want to put your head in a vice and squeeze it til it pops? That's how I feel right now. Arg. At least I'm not puking too as I have in the past with my migraines. Gotta be thankful for small favors, right?
::groan:: Wake me up when it's over.

Collection of Katrina sites, stories, articles

It has now been nearly four weeks since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I had not yet posted on this topic because I felt ill-equipped to comment on it. I don't live near any of the affected areas, I don't personally know anyone who was there. I only know what I see on the news or read on the internet, which I have to admit, hasn't been a lot because I rarely watch the news and I haven't been seeking it out on the internet until recently.

Immediately after the devastation, there was talk on several of my message boards - people wanting to help in any way that they could. Many organized relief efforts in their own small ways. One woman volunteered to accept clothing donations and notified others in her area of where trucks accepting donations could be located. Another woman asked for donations and tried to find jobs for a displaced family who would be staying in her city. Another asked for donations for a family that was staying with her sister. A coworker of Jody's promised to match any donations people make to him before passing the money on to a charity. Another coworker, a dog lover, is making plans to travel to Louisiana to assist with the animal rescue efforts. It's heartwarming to see people doing whatever they can to help with the efforts.

I can't imagine being in the situation that so many are. Many lost everything in the storm, including pets, family and friends. My heart goes out to those who were affected.

I can't imagine being stranded on a rooftop for days, without food or water, while helicopters flew overhead. I couldn't believe that several days after the hurricane, there were still people stuck in situations like that. How many survived the storm only to die waiting for help? It's incomprehensible.

I decided a few days ago to start a small collection of informative links regarding Hurricane Katrina. Yes, it's been nearly a month since the disaster took place, but we can't forget that these people will continue to need help for quite some time. If you have a link that you feel should be included here (especially regarding any families you know in need of help or donations), please leave me a comment with it. Thank you.

I read today that many people who've finally been allowed back into New Orleans are now being evacuated again as Hurricane Rita approaches. I can only hope this hurricane weakens as it approaches land and doesn't cause any more damage or fatalities.

A very brief collection of Katrina sites/stories.

Want to help?
-- A Mom in the Swamp - A blogging mama displaced by Katrina
-- Red Cross - Includes Family Links Registry, online donations, volunteer opportunities
-- Charity Navigator - How You Can Help The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina
-- Donate to the United Way

-- Hurricane Katrina Timeline on Widipedia
-- Hurricane Katrina and holocaust: Slow response or deliberate extermination?
-- Pres. Bush admits failure on hurricane response
-- Barbara Bush says things are working out "very well" for the poor refugees

Local stories:
-- Locally, three Great Harvest Bread Company stores donated 100% of bread sales on Sunday, Sept. 11, to Katrina Relief. The stores are usually closed on Sundays, but they opened for several hours on Sept. 11 to sell their two most popular types of bread for $5/loaf to raise money. They made $26,000.
-- Jody's work matched any contributions made by employees. The company was able to send $10,000 to relief efforts.
-- Out of harm'’s way - Family finds open arms in Longmont after fleeing devastation

Help for children (information from the American Academy of Pediatrics):
-- Resources to Help Cope with Natural and Other Disasters - For children, parents and pediatricians
-- An Open Letter to Health Care Providers Attending to Families Affected by Hurricane Katrina: The Role of Human Milk and Breastfeeding - Why it's so important that women who are able to breastfeed do so, especially during disasters. "Human milk is a valuable resource that can not only protect the vulnerable infant from disease, but can also promote psychological health and comfort during stressful times. Human milk reduces pain and promotes more rapid healing after injuries and infections. While maternal health is of great importance, it should be recognized that even the malnourished mother will produce milk of good quality for her infant." Also worth noting that when there isn't clean water to mix with formula, breastmilk is always readily available.

Help for animals:
-- Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue
-- Pet Finder: Hurricane Katrina Updates and Links of Interest

People/companies helping with relief efforts:
-- Lance Armstrong gives $500,000 to relief efforts
-- Celebs donate to Hurricane Katrina relief
-- More celebs donate
-- Roundup of companies donating to Katrina victims
-- Companies pitch in for Katrina relief

Also, human milk banks are "available to provide milk to Katrina Hurricane victim babies/children with a medically indicated need for human milk and who do not have their own mother's milk available." As a result, there is an increased need for donor mothers. If you have a large amount of breastmilk stored and don't see an immediate need for it, please consider donating.
HMBANA (Human Milk Bank Association of North America).
Our hearts are with the people whose lives have been directly affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Please help us spread the word that HMBANA milk banks are available to provide milk to Katrina Hurricane victim babies/children with a medically indicated need for human milk and who do not have their own mother's milk available. This will also require an increase in donor mothers. Help us inform interested lactating mothers, especially those in states with milk banks to call their nearest donor milk bank for further information.

Approval as a donor involves a triple screening process beginning with an initial phone screening for medical, dietary and lifestyle factors which might make the donor ineligible, followed by written documentation of their medical history and a signed medical release to be sent to both mom and baby's health care providers, and last would be the willingess to have blood work drawn. Our screening process is similar to those used when one donates blood. I am most grateful for your assistance in this matter.

Georgia Morrow
Program Director
Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio

For more information visit: Human Milk Bank Association of North America (w/ milk bank locations)

Thank you for reading. And thank you to everyone who has done their part (big or small) to help the victims of Katrina. It's wonderful to see the goodness in people when they band together for a common cause. Peace.

Monday, September 19, 2005

New study on extended nursing

According to a recent article published on Forbes.com, "The longer a mother breast-feeds, the higher the fat and energy content of her breast milk."

"This is the first study to analyze the fat and energy content of breast milk of mothers who breast-feed for longer than a year," said study co-author Dr. Ronit Lubetzky, who is with the department of pediatrics at Dana Children's Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel. "There are more and more women who choose to breast-feed for longer time periods, and not many studies about the nutritional value of their milk during this prolonged lactation."

"This is a nicely done study which looked at a question that really needed to be answered," added Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and a member of the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on breast-feeding. "I think many people's general impression is if you continue to breast-feed beyond a year, probably the nutrient value drops, and this is quite different information and very important."

Read the entire article here.

It's very exciting to see that there are FINALLY studies being done on nursing past 12 months. I know many cultures have been practicing extended nursing for ages, but perhaps as more and more women do so in the Western world, we'll see more studies of this sort.

I think it's especially valuable because many people (including doctors - I know from personal experience) think that after 12 months, there's no or little nutritional value to breastfeeding and this study proves otherwise.

More from the study:
It's not clear what the effects of this higher energy and fat content are on a child's health.

"We showed that the milk of mothers who breast-fed more than a year had a very high fat content," Lubetzky said. "That contradicts the claim that breast-feeding at this stage has no nutritional contribution. On the other hand, the long-term effect of such a high-fat intake has not been studied."

"The constituents of fat and human milk are very different than what we provide in formula today. One of the most important constituents of human milk is cholesterol. Formula does not," Lawrence said. "There are many people who think that probably one of the problems with cholesterol today occurs because infants have not had any cholesterol in the first few months of life; perhaps the body doesn't learn to deal with it. There are studies that show that young adults have much lower cholesterol levels if they were breast-fed than if they were bottle-fed."

Still, Lawrence added, this is an area that needs to be researched further.

Lubetzky agreed. "Further studies should analyze this milk fat qualitatively, and try to sort out the influence of prolonged breast-feeding on cardiovascular issues," she said.

Obviously, since extended nursing is a big part of my and Ava's lives, this kind of stuff is fascinating to me.

I hope we continue to see more studies and more findings on the results of prolonged breastfeeding, especially in relation to immunities, the avoidance of allergies and the psychological effects. I think there is a lot to be learned.

Here's another interesting article on extended nursing - Nursing Beyond One Year.

Metaphoric Monday #1

Jody has designated Monday to be "Metaphoric Monday." This week's theme is: Eat one's words.
I have to confess I was thinking it was "eat *YOUR* words" which is why I have "your words" spelled out instead of "one's words." It's just as well though. I didn't have an apostrophe block anyway. ;)

Happy MM! Go see who else played (or join in yourself) over at brain droppings. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ava, the friendly shoe dictator

I think I mentioned before that Ava has taken to being affectionate with just about everything. She kisses walls, the bed, toys, Jody and me, and just about everything else really. A few weeks ago in a Verizon store, she was walking around kissing phone cases. She often gives Maggie (the dog) kisses on her back. Yesterday at the garden she was kissing the green bean plants (perhaps showing her thanks for the food?), and last night at dinner she kissed the table and then the kiwi she was eating. I guess she figures everything could use a little loving. ;)

And it seems I am not allowed to go without shoes in our house anymore. Anytime Ava sees me barefoot, she brings me my Birks or slippers or BOTH to put on. She's started doing it to Jody too. Everyone must wear shoes, except for her of course. She is free to roam the house barefoot. I can't complain about that though - her feet are too darn cute to resist. :)

P.S. Just a reminder that Monday is Metaphoric Monday over on brain droppings. Take a pic, draw something in MS Paint, sculpt out of Playdoh, etc., something to illustrate the theme: "Eat one's words." Then leave Jody a comment and he'll link back to your site. :)

Friday, September 16, 2005

SPF - Funny and creative??

The theme for this week's SPF (Self Portrait Friday) involves doing something funny. Katy says, "Be creative. Use something in or around your house."
I tried to come up with something good, but I just wasn't feeling very creative tonight. (I was actually pretty close to taking a break from the whole picture day thing. I really need to choose a couple and stick w/ just them or rotate every week or something. I've got picture burnout. LOL) Please excuse the lil miss and me being in our PJs. We were getting ready for bed. And I had to take the pics myself cuz the old man was out playing D&D with his buddies. (OMG, did I just admit that publicly??)

Check out the artwork we've got on our walls. Watch out or the little one will reach out and grab ya! ;)

Go see what the rest of the bunch came up with over at The Dirty Days.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

There really IS something in the water

There MUST be something in the water. Another friend announced today that she's also pregnant with baby #2! That makes four of my close friends (in this area) all pregnant with their second child. We're all on the advisory committee for our AP group too. Sheesh, I didn't know being pregnant was a prerequisite for the committee. I'll have to check my "job description" again. J/K No pressure for me though, huh? ;-)

It would almost make me wonder if I was pregnant too except that I recently received confirmation that I'm not. How do I know? No, not 'cuz I got my period - I *still* haven't had a period since Ava was born. It's been two lovely years of no pads or tampons (or the Diva Cup - which I plan to order whenever my cycles return. It's really amazing how many women I know who are using the Diva these days - both crunchies and non-crunchies alike!). Anyway, back to my story and why I know I'm not pg...When I was at the doctor a couple weeks ago for my annual exam, she commented that my cervix had a blue-ish tint to it and that commonly happens with pregnancy. So she ordered a pg test and I peed in a cup. It came back negative. *insert both sigh of relief and slight disappointment here* Not sure why my cervix is blue (maybe it's sad), but it ain't cuz I'm gestating. ;-)

So now I must extend my congratulations to Heather as well! I'm looking forward to watching all of your bellies grow and learning from you as you all continue to breastfeed while pregnant and then go on to tandem nurse (provided your first nurslings don't self-wean before then). Belly rubs to all. ;)

This seems like a good time for a friendly reminder and shameless plug that I sell "I'm going to be a big brother" and "I'm going to be a big sister" shirts! Newly redesigned too! ;)

HNT #2 and a plug for Metaphoric Monday

This is a pretty cheesy (pun intended) pic for HNT (Half-Nekkid Thursday), but after a woman told me yesterday that I have the "nicest teeth she's ever seen," I figured why not! ;-)

Get the HNT guidelines by clicking on the button below and don't forget to check out all the other half-nekkid folks! Happy HNT!

Also, my hubby is trying to start up a new "take a picture" day that he has dubbed Metaphoric Monday. Check it out over on brain droppings. The topic for Monday, Sept. 19 is "Eat one's words." :-) Play along, won't ya?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Good news x 2

Hooray! We had a great first meeting of our local chaper of Attachment Parenting International this morning. There were about 16 moms (and 1 dad), as well as lots of babies and toddlers. Not a bad turnout for our very first meeting!

We had a lactation consultant as our featured speaker and she discussed extended nursing (nursing past 12 months), nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing (nursing two children, generally a toddler and an infant).

Everyone seemed to interact well and the kids got along well too. Ava was all over the place playing with everyone, saying "hi" to everyone, trying to drink out of everybody's water bottles. LOL One of the ladies who is pregnant with her first child even commented on how independent she is. I am pretty sure I could've left her for the two hours and she never would've missed me, she was having such a good time. In fact, we split up into groups for part of the meeting so I went to a different part of the room. Since she was playing happily at the little toy kitchen, I decided to leave her be, expecting to hear her cry after a few minutes wondering where I was. Nope. She was happy as a clam. She's always amazing me. (Speaking of amazing, she peed in the potty again yesterday.)

I think we (the advisory committee) are all relieved that the first meeting is over with and was well-received. We have meetings and speakers planned for October and November, and will do a holiday social event in December (which is the next big thing we have to plan). And we also have to start thinking about what topics we will feature and who we will have as speakers for our meetings next year.

The other good news is that I found out two (more) of my friends are pregnant with their second child! They are due within a week of each other. There must be something in the water lately. ;o) Anyway, I'm very happy for them (and will live vicariously through them and another pg friend in the group) since Jody and I don't plan to start trying again anytime soon. Congratulations Brandy and Julie!! :-)

WBW #1

Here's my first attempt at Way Back Wednesday. The Kept Woman says this week's theme is "Your Best Worst outfit." Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), my mom still has most of my photos from my youth so I didn't have the full gamut to pick through. Had I had full access, I'm sure I could've found something absolutely awful from my middle school years.
Anyway, here's what I came up with:
Definitely not the worst outfit I wore I am sure, but still pretty bad. In high school, my four friends and I would wear sweatshirts (that one of the girl's mom's painted for us) for our holiday get-togethers (as well as to school! gasp!), like Halloween, Christmas and I think there might have been an Easter one too. Anyway, they would have five things on them (pumpkins or in this case, presents) - one for each of us. And have our names on them as well as "Fab Five" (which is what we dubbed ourselves). So here I am at our Fab Five Christmas party, modeling a pair of panties from our "pretty panty exchange." Sexy! The green turtle neck adds such a nice touch, don't you think? As well as the bows in my hair (which weren't really party of the original outfit - they were added while opening our presents). And I don't think those acid-washed jeans couldn't have been much tighter. Of course, I guarantee they were "tight-rolled" at the bottom too and I probably had on white socks with black shoes. Groovy baby!!
It's too bad I couldn't find a pic from Halloween, because in addition to the special sweatshirts, we also wore Halloween boxer shorts and long underwear! Yes, even to school! ;oP
Now go check out the other bad outfits over on The Kept Woman. I'll bet there are some doozies. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dorky Tuesday

Just a girl decided to start up another round of Dorky Tuesday (previously done by Osbasso last week).
So in the spirit of dorkiness, here I am back in July 1983. Love the glasses and even better, love the cards! Lookin' good there, Ame! :-)

Blog rules

Thank you to everyone who's been respectful to myself and others over my past 7 months in the blogosphere. I appreciate it! :-)

However, it's high time for some basic rules on this here blog. Why? Because I don't like to be attacked and disrespected (first, for what I said, and now for what I haven't said). I would never go to someone else's blog and disrespect them and I expect the same kind of courtesy extended to me. If you want to share my reality, you must acknowledge and abide by my rules.

That said, if you cannot post respectfully, your posts will be deleted. If you have to question whether or not your post is respectful, it most likely is not. Take a moment, think about how you'd like to be treated, reword it and try again. If you are typing something that you wouldn't say to someone's face, then it's not appropriate for my blog either.

(Update: I was going to change my settings to no longer allow unregistered users to post, but after giving it some more thought, I've decided not to. Unregistered users may still post, but I do reserve the right to delete posts that aren't respectful.)

And now for some basic (and fun) rules from "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten." I've always loved this list and think it's appropriate here on my blog today. :-)


(a guide for Global Leadership)

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:

* Share everything.
* Play fair.
* Don't hit people.
* Put things back where you found them.
* Clean up your own mess.
* Don't take things that aren't yours.
* Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
* Wash your hands before you eat.
* Flush.
* Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
* Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
* Take a nap every afternoon.
* When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
* Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
* Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
* And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his website at http://www.robertfulghum.com/]

Monday, September 12, 2005

Reflections on 9/11/01

I remember that day well. Jody had gotten up before me and was getting ready for work when the phone rang. It was a co-worker of mine (with a Chicken Little history) who greeted Jody with the words "We're going to war." He was obviously confused and figured she was over-exaggerating something (again). She told him to turn on the tv.

I was getting up around that time and he told me of the phone call and we went downstairs to watch TV. At that point both World Trade Center towers had already fallen.

I remember bawling my eyes out and having a general sense of hysteria. What was going on? What did all of this mean? Do I go take a shower and go to work business as usual? What?

The first thing I did was go downstairs to wake up my sister who had recently moved in with us. I think I was still crying when I told her the World Trade Center was gone. She came upstairs to watch the TV with us.

I know I got into work late that morning, but the place was swarming. I worked at a newspaper. Not a large one, but the only one in my city with a circulation of 20,000 or so. It had already been decided that we would put out a special edition that morning.

I was an editorial assistant at the time, meaning I wrote briefs, calendar items and obituaries. Not glamorous, but somebody's got to do it. Everyone was so busy trying to get interviews, information, etc., and I remember feeling ridiculous typing about upcoming events, etc., when who knows how many people had died that day and even what the world would be like in the next few days.

My dad called me sometime that morning just to make sure I was ok. I was relieved to hear from him and hear that both he and my mom were fine too. I recall thinking what if we lose phone connections around the country, etc.? What if we can't get in touch with our loved ones? So I was glad that he called.

One of the reporters in my office had an aunt who worked at the WTC (I believe on one of the upper floors). She wrote an article about her concern for her aunt that ran on our front page. Her aunt was one of the thousands who lost their lives that day.

I didn't personally know anyone who died but I was acquainted with a man who worked in one of the WTC buildings - #5 I think - who shared with me his experience that day. So frightening.

In the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, I became glued to the TV. I wanted to know everything. I was obsessed and it wasn't healthy. There came a point when I had to stop watching. I was overcome with the images being shown over and over again and I was so scared about the future of our country and world.

Jody and I talked about it and he helped me realize that it did no good for me to live in fear. If something else was going to happen, it would, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. And to get us to live in fear was what the terrorists wanted. It wasn't healthy for me. I remember thinking that I didn't want to bring children into a world like this because it seemed so scary and how could I protect them? Well, thankfully I got over that - though I certainly still do my fair share of worrying about my daughter. But imagine if I didn't get over it? I'd be missing out on one of the greatest joys of my life!

Bringing us back to the present, Jody and I watched "9/11" last night - the documentary made by two French brothers who had set out to make a documentary about a rookie firefighter becoming a man and ended up with the only known footage inside the World Trade Center that day. It's amazing footage and very sensitively edited. I'm very glad that I watched it for the perspective of the firefighters and those inside the towers that day, but I'm also glad that I waited several years after 9/11 to watch it. I think I would've been way too emotional to watch it right when it came out.

While we cannot and should not live in fear, September 11, 2001 is a day that should never be forgotten. It is a day that changed the lives of so many people and the world forever. My heart goes out to all who lost loved-ones that day.

Time for reflection - 9/11

I want to take some time (hopefully) today to reflect upon the events of 9/11/01, since I didn't get a chance to yesterday. I certainly didn't forget that yesterday was the anniversary.
Jody and I finally watched 9/11. It had been sitting on our entertainment center (rented from Netflix) watiting to be seen for the past few weeks. It seemed only appropriate that we chose last night to sit down and watch it.
Anyway, hopefully I can steal away and blog a bit later while Ava is napping.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A few happy things

Happy thing #1 - Ava peed in her potty for the first time Friday! :-)

No, I haven't started potty training/learning in earnest with her yet, but we got her a potty and I set her on it whenever she seems interested.

On Friday I was getting her ready for a bath and she was enjoying some naked time while the tub filled. She came into the bathroom with me and I set her on the potty for kicks. (I've done this in the past and she's never gone to the bathroom on it.) She started signing "poop" and I thought for a moment that was going to poop right there, but she didn't. Then she signed "apple" or so I thought (it is really similar to the sign for "toilet" or "potty"). When she stood up, there it was! No, not an apple. ;) Pee in the potty! I got so excited. I ran for my camera and took a couple pics of her sitting on the potty afterwards. Hee, hee.

Happy thing #2
- Garage sales!

On Saturday I discovered what so many people have long-since known - garage sales can be a wonderful place to find the things you need for very little money. (Thanks to my mother-in-law who picked up a few cute outfits for Ava at garage sales recently and inspired me to do some bargain hunting myself.)

Since we are going to Massachusetts at the end of the month (holy crap, that's only 2 weeks away!), I have been wanting to get Ava some fall clothes for the trip and, of course, she'll be able to use them here as well once the weather cools down. Not having much money for my spending spree, I decided to pick up a newspaper on Friday, check out the classifieds and map out some garage sales in my area. I got up yesterday morning and headed out, hopeful that I could find a few things for my sweet pea. Not only did I find a few things, I found an ass-load!!

11 toddler shirts (some Gymboree, Osh Kosh and Old Navy)
2 dresses (one is Baby Crew)
3 pairs of overalls (all Osh Kosh)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of pants
1 matching top/bottom outfit
a ladybug Halloween costume (super cute!!)
and a little push/popper toy

3 t-shirts
a copper bracelet
a purse

4 Tupperware bowls and lids

How much did I pay for my crap-ton of loot you ask?
$18, that's right, $18!!! :-)

Yes, I'm quite pleased with how my first garage saling adventure went. While shopping brings a high all its own, walking away with a ton of sah-weeeeet deals makes it all the better. I'm still giddy from bargain-finding endorphins. (Ask Jody. He'll tell you what a good mood I've been in all weekend.) :-)

And lastly, Happy thing #3 - Jody's been taking care of a lot of things around the house this weekend - fixing the gate, making breakfast this morning, doing dishes, vacuuming, and mowing the grass. I'm always appreciative when the honey-dos turn into honey-dones. Yay for helpful honeys. :)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Pet peeves

I decided to bow out of Self Portrait Friday this week. The theme is "show us your war face" and since I'm not really into war and consider myself more of a pacifist, it didn't make sense for me to play. However, there are some crazy faces goin' on over there, so feel free to check them out if that's your bag, baby. ;)

Instead I was thinking about some pet peeves of mine lately and figured I'd share them.

1.) When people misuse the words "your" and "you're." As an English major (I know, you'd never know it by how poorly I write sometimes), this drives me batty.

From Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: your
Pronunciation: y&r, 'yur, 'yOr, 'yor
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English Eower; akin to Old English Eow you -- more at YOU
1 : of or relating to you or yourself or yourselves especially as possessor or possessors , agent or agents , or object or objects of an action
2 : of or relating to one or oneself
3 -- used with little or no meaning almost as an equivalent to the definite article the [a trait... that sets him apart from your average professor -- James Breckenridge]

Main Entry: you're
Pronunciation: y&r, 'yur, 'yOr, 'yor, "yü-&r
: you are

2.) When people try to type a commonly-used expression, but don't know how to spell it and it comes out all wrong. I have a couple good examples of this from some message boards.

--- a.) The expression is "Granted," like "taken for granted." Example: "Granted they haven't arrived yet, but it's just a matter of time."
My pet peeve is when people instead type "Grant it." Grant? Grant who? What's that all about?

--- b.) This second one just floored me. Ok, the expression is "bound and determined," as in "My child is so bound and determined to talk."
The misuse of this was the person typed "bounden terminded" and then "bound in termin." Bound in what?! What exactly is termin anyway?

OK, so I didn't have as many as I thought (or I've forgotten them). I guess that's a good thing. ;)

Now it's your turn. What are your pet peeves? Share them here or on your own blog. :)


Hey, I remembered my other pet peeve. It's when people assume that "gentle discipline" means you let your kids run wild and don't discipline at all. It's a pet peeve of mine when people make assumptions about things without really knowing anything about it. Ok, that's all for now. ;)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My very first HNT

The closet exhibitionist in me has decided to join Osbasso and over 100 other bloggin' folks for Half-Nekkid Thursday (HNT).
What's HNT you ask? Here are some "guidelines" according to Osbasso to give you an idea of what it's all about (and more importantly, what it's NOT about):
* The purpose of "Half-Nekkid Thursday" is not to see sex acts! It is the celebration of exposure. Of your big toe. Of your breastbone. Of your knuckles. Of your uvula. Whatever. Of course, sex acts can qualify, so if you want to post those.....
* "Nekkid" is not the same as nude! Again, nude qualifies, but it is not a requirement!
* Pictures should be taken of you or by you.
* Use some originality with your shots. Facial shots should be limited. Artsy body landscapes, conversely, are highly encouraged.
* Props can help you with creativity, and their use is encouraged, but not necessary.
* Tattoos are certainly an acceptable subject, regardless of location. Scars are also acceptable, but please respect the others who visit "Half-Nekkid Thursday" on a regular basis.
If you are interested in learning more, here are the complete guidelines for Half-Nekkid Thursday.

And now, without further ado, my inaugural HNT installment is my left bicep.

My left bicep (as well as my right come to think of it) is the result of carrying around a 100th weight percentile baby for the past 14 months. ;) Who needs dumbells when you've got a baby who's been just shy of 20 lbs. since she was 4 months old? (She weighed in at 27 lbs., 6 oz. at the ER this weekend.)

Anyway, that's enough chit-chat. Time for me to pack up and head to the gun show. (Oh no I didn't!) :oP

Happy HNT. Here's to many more ahead. :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Crisis of my "super-sized" conscience

While my in-laws were visiting this weekend, they got up early one morning and went to McDonald's to pick up breakfast for us all. They said to Jody, "Do you think Amy will eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich?" To which Jody replied, "Sure."

Later that morning as I got out of the shower, Jody told me there was a breakfast sandwich waiting for me downstairs. I immediately asked him where it was from, suspecting it was from McD's. He confirmed it. I said sheepishly to him, "Uh, you know I can't eat that," which immediately reminded him of the fact that I've been boycotting McD's for over a year now (ever since I saw "Super Size Me"). It's not like I ate there often before then, but watching that movie and reading up on the history of McD's was enough for me to decide not to patronize them anymore.

So he went downstairs to tell his folks that - oh yeah, Amy's boycotting McD's and probably won't eat it.

That left me feeling badly. Here they were, guests in my home just trying to do something nice for me by buying me breakfast. And here I was saying "thanks, but no thanks."

I thought for a few minutes about just eating it to avoid hard feelings, but I decided to stand by my principles and tell them I appreciated the offer, but I couldn't eat it. (Jody ate it anyway, so it didn't exactly go to waste.) I tried to explain a little bit to them about why I'm boycotting the golden arches, but I'm always bad at arguing a case that I'm not prepared for.

Anyway (to my in-laws), I really did appreciate the thought, so thank you. :) Hope there are no hard feelings.

And to those of you wondering why I didn't just eat the darn thing, I decided that I need to stand by my convictions, both for my sake and for Ava's sake. I know she isn't aware of whether or not I ate the sandwich now, but someday she will be and I want to be a good role model for her. When I say I'm boycotting something, I want to mean it.

On a related note (and something I probably shouldn't even be admitting), I bought Ava a couple fall/winter outfits today from a consignment store. I didn't bother to see what brand they were - just verified that they were sufficiently cute, checked the size and held them up against her to make sure they would fit. Once we got home and I tried them on her I found that one of the overalls is "McKids" brand!! Doh! I feel like such a hypocrite.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Lil update and weekend recap (pics)

I'm happy to say that Miss Ava is doing very well. Her fever has been gone since Friday (the night we went to the ER) and she hasn't had any more blood in her urine since Friday night. The culture came back negative for a UTI (urinary tract infection) so we aren't exactly sure what the deal was. Her doc is confused as well since there was definitely blood in her urine. Anyway, she wants Ava to continue with the antibiotics for 7 days and we have a follow-up appt. to see her tomorrow. Thanks again for all of your positive thoughts for Ava. :)
Couple pics from the ER (Ava got to wear a cute lil gown again.):

The visit with the in-laws this weekend went really well. They brought Ava's birthday present - a dollhouse bookshelf (which Jody had a helluva time assembling, hee hee) - with them and some cute outfits. Ava really likes the bookshelf. I have a feeling it will be more of a toy than a place to store her books. ;) They got to see our community garden and helped us pick a bunch of veggies. (My father-in-law is a master gardener.) Jody and my FIL tackled a couple projects around the house - namely fixing our front gutter so that it actually drains now (hooray!!) and cutting down a couple dead aspen in our backyard. We spent some time on Sunday driving around in the mountains and my MIL made dinner dinner for us Sunday night, complete with fresh green beans from our garden. They left Monday morning, headed for Mount Rushmore.
Couple pics from our drive into the mountains:
Ava in the stream with Daddy.

Ava with Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa.

Yesterday, Jody, Ava and I went for about a 5 1/2 mile hike up to a reservoir. The weather was perfect for it and Ava did very well in the Ergo (and conked out on the walk back). It was really nice to get out in nature and do something as a family. :)
Pics from our hike:

How could you? - A dog's story

My husband and I have been struggling lately with what to do with our two dogs. I know I am opening myself up to being flamed for even thinking about finding a new home for them, but we just can't give them the love and attention they need and deserve and we really can't afford them. :( We haven't figured out what to do yet (and we may very well keep them), but Jody ran across this "story" from an anonymous author on Craigslist - where many people try to find new homes for their dogs. I cried when I read it. :( It's very powerful and hits a little too close to home.

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was bad, you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" -- still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them,too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears,
and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No,Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first,whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream ... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.
The End


If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.

Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ava's 2nd visit to the ER

Our ER visit last night went remarkably well. (We found blood in her urine last night and, after talking to the doctor on-call, we decided to take her in to be evaluated.)

First of all, we went to a different hospital (in a neighboring city about 20 min. away) instead of the one we went to last time (which is less than 5 min. away), after the doctor on-call that I spoke with last night said if it were her child, she'd make the drive and go there. She said they have a lot of experience treating children. So after knowing that Ava was in for a catheter, I wanted the experience to be a positive as possible and decided it was well worth it to go someplace where they were good with kids.

It was a slow night there so we were able to get right in. Yay! The whole ER experience from start to finish lasted about two hours. Not bad at all. We were home by midnight. Ava didn't want to go to bed til 1:30, so I'm still pooped, but at least we didn't have to spend the night in the ER.

The nurses and doctor were SOOOO GOOD. I was really impressed. They were very engaging with Ava and totally took their time to make sure she was comfy with them. The private room they put us in even had toys - some of which Jody and I were enjoying more than Ava. ;) Her catheterization went really well too. She only cried because they were holding her down, but it didn't seem like it hurt her to insert the cath and it was done within a matter of seconds. I was sooo relieved about that.

The results from her urine test were inconclusive - the dipstick showed blood and white blood cells, the lab couldn't see either cells (they said that might be because she was so well hydrated - thanks to nursing). So they are doing a culture and in the meantime prescribed antibiotics (which makes sense cuz there definitely was blood in her urine). We get the results from the culture in 48 hrs., and will determine then if we should continue w/ the antibiotics. Then they want us to see our regular doctor on Tuesday to follow up and make sure that she's getting better and there isn't a larger issue.

So all-in-all, it was a very positive experience. What a relief.

Thanks for keeping Ava in your thoughts. :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Off to the ER

After discovering blood in Ava's diaper tonight and talking to the on-call doctor, we're pretty sure the fever is from a urinary tract infection. So we're headed off to the ER. This makes our second time in 2 months. I don't like this record.

Please think healing thoughts for my little pumpkin.

Thank you. :)

Still sick after all

My sweetie's fever went up to 104.7 again last night. Guess we aren't done with it yet. Oy. :( I am HOPING that last night was the worst and it will finally break. Jody called dr. today - they said it can last several days and didn't seem very concerned since a fever is the only symptom. Guess if it persists over the weekend, I will get more concerned and have her seen again next week. Blah.

SPF - Watchin' the boob tube

Katy says: "Self Portrait Friday. Let's see you where you hang out and watch your TV. Show me your lovely furniture and how you get comfy on it."

Here are a couple pics taken a week or two ago of me and Miss Ava chillin' in the livingroom. Not sure if the tv was on or not, but we can pretend it was. ;)

This last one is from tonight - the whole fam damily. ;)

See how everyone else gets comfy watching tv over on The Dirty Days.

Happy Friday! And Happy Labor Day Weekend! :)

P.S. Good news! After running a fever of over 104 for the past 4 days, it looks like Ava might be in the clear. Keeping my fingers crossed that this stinkin' virus is gone.