Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You Are What You Eat

Check this out. It's talking about the "Doctrine of Signatures," or the idea that foods resemble the part(s) of the body which they serve. I'd heard about some of this before (and was sceptical), but this site has pictures and explanations about a dozen foods, and it's really quite fascinating. I'm not sure that I'm entirely sold on it yet, but the notion is growing on me...
I have always believed that food cravings were how my body tells me what I need (like how I wanted nothing but tomatoes and peaches when I was pregnant with S). In considering the Doctrine of Signatures, I'm inclined to think that paying attention to those cravings may also give us clues about which parts of our bodies are in particular need of nourishment or attention...don't you think? For example, I went through a period of craving avocado, (which I have never even liked). Avocado promotes female reproductive health, and wouldn't you know, those cravings were just before conceiving S...I'm willing to believe that it's related.

Now for the real question--which part of my body looks like an oreo?!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Candidate for Me...

So, I took another quiz
66% John Edwards
64% Hillary Clinton
60% Barack Obama
59% Tom Tancredo
58% Joe Biden
57% Chris Dodd
57% John McCain
56% Mike Huckabee
54% Bill Richardson
50% Mitt Romney
47% Dennis Kucinich
46% Mike Gravel
43% Fred Thompson
42% Rudy Giuliani
35% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Interesting that my top three should land like that, because I watched the democratic debate with the three of them last week, and that was NOT what I thought! I saw three people with almost identical platforms, but one kept changing the subject away from himself, and tried to make the others look bad; one seemed unable to look the camera in the eye, and also changed the subject a lot; and one answered questions straight up, looked me in the eye, and said a lot of things which I agree with. So my fingers are crossed for Obama.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Love in Color

I recently read a book to Wolf called “I love you the purplest.” It’s about a mother and her two sons, and as she tucks them into bed, each asks her who she loves best. She tells one son that she loves him the reddest, and the other that she loves him the bluest (thus the ‘purplest’ of the title). She elaborates to each son about why she chose the color that she did… Wolf really liked the story, and asked me to read it to him several times. Then he asked me what color I loved him…
I went with my gut, and said the color that came to me first. Then I told him why I loved him that color...and I wanted to share.

Wolf, I love you the greenest:
Green as the wild jungle
and the eyes of the panther as he slowly stalks his prey.
Green like the powerful sea and the gentle tidepools.
Green as the comfort of sweet smelling grass in the lawn. Green with life like new moss on a fallen log, or a fiddlehead
beginning to open into a fern.
Refreshing like green mint leaves in lemonade on a warm summer afternoon. Green as the last exultant moment of a sunset, right before the stars come out.

As Bear gets older, and his personality develops more, I will be able to tell him what color I love him. :-)

I really enjoyed doing this. Thinking about my child in terms of what color personifies him and why...I wouldn’t be so pushy as to suggest making a meme of this, but for all my fellow parents out there—give it a try! And if you enjoy yourselves as much as I did, maybe you’ll share, eh?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Snowy Pelican

A few photos of recent days...

Well, ok, from a couple of weeks ago. It has snowed so much in the last two days that the air is too full of snow to take a decent picture... small avalanches spill off my roof and knock my internet satellite dish off aim; the thunder of them waking my baby...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How We Met--Customs

Another 'how we met' story...

Hubby just told this story this week (to the mother of one of his high school friends...someone he hadn't talked to in years, and who would have no clue he was making it up as he went, heeheehee.)

Hubby was on his way home from a vacation in Vancouver, BC. He had bought some fruit while there, so got stopped at the border. (Whoops! Haven't we all done something like that though?!) He had never been stopped or searched before, so he was a little anxious about it all. I was working at the customs station, and we got to talking a little while they were inspecting his car...

Ok, so, this one is actually pretty plausible, in spite of being nowhere close to the truth. :-)


Zerbert: noun (though sometimes used as a verb as in "No Dad, don't zerbert me anymore!"). Where one person blows on the loose skin of another, causing an amusing noise. aka "raspberries"

This morning I wasn't really quite ready to wake up yet, but S was definitely awake, and wanting to play. He often likes to nurse a bit at this stage, so I rolled over, pulled out a breast for him, and attempted to get a few more minutes of sleep... He leaned in, but didn't latch on... instead I felt his warm breath and heard a half chuckle from him (yes, he chuckles). I was busily trying to sleep when I felt him make contact and THBBBBBB he gave me a world class zerbert. Then he collapsed in gales of laughter.
Then he did it again.
And again.
I gave up and got up.
I guess it was fair payback for all the zerberts I've put on his tummy.

Recent Movies

So, I'm watching movies are a few more quick reviews

The Water Horse
PG for some intense/scary scenes.
Drop everything and go. It's excellent! If you never believed in Nessy before, well, shame on you, but this film should help you believe! Also the little boy who stars is just so cute. :-) We figure to buy this one when it comes out.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets
PG for action violence, scary scenes, and maybe some language, I don't recall...
Um, just go see the first one again. This one isn't nearly as good. Borrow it from somebody, or at most rent it...but it's not worth spending much money on.

The Golden Compass
PG-13 for scary parts and an ice bear fight
Ice Bears rock. The rest of the movie was interesting enough to keep me awake...but mostly just ice bears are so cool. :-) I also enjoyed Nicole Kidman's costumes. The story is ok, and the movie is visually pleasing...but I could take it or leave it...all except the ice bears. I love them.

Man of the Year
PG-13 for language, sex-related humor, drug related material
Robin Williams runs for president... Funny (of course), and a nice political commentary on our system... Unfortunately there were a number of sexual jokes (Robin Williams) but, even still, very funny... I don't feel the need to watch it over and over, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Ocean's Thirteen
PG-13 for language and a chick with a really low-cut dress
Better than Twelve was...still not as good as Eleven... Glad I saw it, but next time I feel like watching this type of movie, I'll rent "The Sting" or maybe Eleven again...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Funny Doggies

This is Koira (right) with Sisu (KnittingFisher's doggie daughter). Koira stayed with Sisu while we were away for two weeks over the holidays, and Sisu will stay with us for a couple of weeks in the spring while her parents visit some of their family. Anyway, the two of them have decided to be best friends. Sisu shows up at our door fairly regularly, and Koira sometimes comes home to us, and sometimes just goes over's quite amusing. They clearly adore each other.
Today they were both here, happily playing together. KnittingFisher and I were going to walk to the store together (it's only open three days a week). As I bundled up the baby and prepared to leave, I moved the baby gate from the top of the stairs...both dogs immediately ran to the door, and then waited impatiently for me to catch was so cute I just had to take a picture.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Born From My Heart

I have been pondering recently over birth stories. Bear's birth story was one of the first things I posted on this blog, and so that got me thinking about Wolf. Wolf was not born from my body...but I am his mommy, he is my son, and he was born from my heart. I love him a great deal, and I wanted to tell the story of how he came to be my son. This story is very different from other birth stories—which usually cover a few hours or days. This story happened over several years.

I first met Wolf just a few days after he turned 3. His daddy and I had known each other for a while, but for the sake of Wolf’s tender emotions, we did not bring him into the picture until we knew we were going to marry. Hubby and I lived three states apart at the time, but my family was holding a reunion in the middle (eastern Idaho), and so I invited Hubby to come, and to bring Wolf. It was a warm evening at the end of June in 2003. The sun had begun to set, but was still warm and bright. W had been playing in the tent when I arrived, so when I came over to Hubby, I didn’t immediately see Wolf. Hubby stuck his head into the tent and said “Wolf, come out here, there is someone I want you to meet.” A round-faced, rosey-cheeked boy with blond hair and big blue eyes stuck his head out of the tent and said “Hi!”
“Wolf,” Hubby said, “this is Mommy.”
“Hi Wolf,” I began.
“Hi Mommy!” he said, and hugged my legs. Then he ran to play in some dirt.
Up to this point he had never really known a mother, so ‘mommy’ was not so much a title as a name. It was a name that I would begin living up to almost immediately.

A few weeks later I moved to Utah. Hubby was in school, and Wolf had been going to various babysitters. When I arrived, we decided that I should begin caring for Wolf immediately, rather than sending him to a sitter and my seeking work. After all, might as well start doing the mommy thing right away, right? We figured it would make the transition a little easier when we got married. A few incidents stand out from that time.
Wolf had recently discovered the fun of running anytime we were in a large space, so we were trying to teach him about what to do if he got lost. One afternoon I was reviewing with him.
“What is your name?
“Wolf S__ Brighton,” (he always used his full name—often still does!)
“What is your daddy’s name?”
“D__ Brighton.”
“And what is your mommy’s name”
He paused and thought for a few moments… “Mommy Brighton!”

Wolf was at the age of just beginning to notice gender identity. He had been around dad of course, and they had talked about their parts. He had been around a few women, but none of them were very when he met me, that was something new. One day he walked up to me, put his hands straight out, placed one on each of my breasts and said “Mommy, what are those?” So I explained that they were breasts. “How come Daddy doesn’t have them?” So I explained about boys being different from girls. “Oh, well, I’m a boy, like Dad.”
He was still piecing it all together a few weeks later. While on a plane ride to Ireland (8 hours across the Atlantic), he leaned over to me and asked in one of those loud toddler whispers “Mommy, do you have a scrotum?”

The adjustment to having a new parent was still hard for Wolf. He quickly found that I was not just another babysitter—I was there to stay, I had rules and consequences, and I wasn’t always fun. Wolf had spent most of his life with Dad to himself, and resented the attention that I now received (although we both made great efforts to still give Wolf lots of attention). Changes are hard, even when they are good. In those early months before and after our wedding, Wolf would accept me as a second-place comforter or care-giver...but if he could have the choice, he ALWAYS wanted Dad. If Dad was in the house, but I was attending to something, Wolf would ask me to go away and just get Dad. Sometimes he told me he hated me.
The adjustments were hard for me too. A newborn is so dependent that instinct drives affection. Wolf was 3, independent, mischievous, and said he didn’t like me. It took time for love to develop between us. I learned firsthand that serving someone brings love for them—as I cared for and taught Wolf, I came to love him—but I wasn’t always sure how he felt about me, or even if he really knew how I felt about him.

The first time I knew that Wolf knew that I loved him was in early February, 2004, shortly after we were married, when Wolf was 3 1/2. He had been playing in the basement playroom with his cousin, and they had been bouncing a basketball. One of them threw it at the ceiling, it hit the overhead light, and the glass cover shattered and fell, one piece cutting Wolf across the bridge of his nose. We adults had all been upstairs chatting, but when we heard the glass shatter and screams, we ran for the playroom. Wolf’s cousin was only scared, and his father was able to calm him, but Wolf obviously needed stitches. Hubby cradled him and talked to him as I found a cloth to hold to his head to slow the bleeding. As we piled into the car to go to the hospital (Hubby still holding him), Wolf asked where I was. He smiled when he realized that I was right there. He still preferred Dad for comfort, but he knew I cared, and wanted me around too.

The first time I really knew that Wolf loved me was a couple of months later, in early April of 2004, when I miscarried. I was 14 weeks pregnant, and when I miscarried I bled a great deal all at once. Hubby was in class at the time, so as I ran to the bathroom I asked Wolf to pull over a chair to reach down the phone for me. I called Hubby, who hurried home and took Wolf to the cousins (next door) and me to the hospital. I was able to come home later that night, but of course Wolf was already in bed. The next morning, Hubby brought him home, and as they came through the door I heard the following:
“Is Mommy home?”
“Yes, she’s in bed”
“Is she ok?”
“Yes, she is tired, and she will be in bed a lot, but she is fine.”
“I was scared about Mommy.”
He came in and crawled into the bed with me for a while, and I finally knew that he loved me too.

The story doesn’t change much for the next two years. We had always planned that I would legally adopt Wolf, but Utah law required that we wait until a year after our wedding to do so. Around our first anniversary, Hubby was just finishing school, but didn’t have a job yet. Since Wolf’s birthmom (Hubby’s ex) had indicated that she was supportive of the adoption, we didn’t feel a particular urgency about it, and decided to wait until Hubby had a job so that we could afford the adoption without going into debt. In August of 2005, Hubby began teaching, and we called birthmom to let her know we were starting paperwork. She, however, was now engaged to be married, and seemed less interested in letting go of her parental rights. So we enlisted a lawyer, in case she tried to make a fight of it. The lawyer wrote up the paperwork in September and submitted it to the District Court in early October. We expected to have the hearing by Thanksgiving and have everything signed and sealed before Christmas…but that was not to be. First the courts lost the filing fee check (someone neglected to attach it to the paperwork, so the ‘unpaid’ paperwork got set aside for over a month). Then, after several phone calls from our lawyer, they finally found everything and got it assigned to Juvenile Court (since Wolf was a minor). Juvenile Court also lost the paperwork for a month. So it was not until early January that we finally got a court date for our hearing—the first week of February. We appeared before the judge, and stated that I wanted to adopt Wolf, and that if birthmom was not willing to sign away her rights, we wanted the court to terminate them. (The situation surrounding the divorce was such that we, our family, and several psychologists all felt strongly that legal adoption was the most healthy thing for Wolf.) Birthmom (now married), stood up and said she didn’t see why things couldn’t just remain as they were. The judge ordered that we have a mediation meeting to try to figure things out, rather than him having to force something. We enlisted family and friends to fast and pray for us in the intervening weeks, and at mediation, after several hours of talking, we did finally reach an agreement.
Three weeks later, on March 28, 2006, after nearly three years of being his mommy, I finally became Wolf’s legal mother. Hubby wore the judge’s robe and W tried out the gavel.

And, like any birth story, that is just the beginning...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

When Someone Miscarries (updated)

I have created this list based on my own experiences, as well as asking other moms who have miscarried...obviously each person is a little different...several moms commented that it made a difference WHO was saying/doing the thing as to whether it was appropriate or not. For example, many moms felt awkward about a hug from someone they weren't close to, but craved hugs from family members or close friends. One mom said she appreciated when a close friend reminded her that miscarriage is nature's way of natural selection, but that she would have been really hurt if a mere aquaintence had said it...

What to say:
  • "I'm sorry"
  • "I love you"
  • "I've been thinking about you"
  • Acknowlege the baby ("I heard..." etc)
  • If you have ever miscarried, tell her so. She needs to feel not alone. Tell her the things that helped you--they are very likely to help her, and even if they don't, she will appreciate the sentiment.
  • Still talk about the pregnancy (symptoms, how you told people, etc) Just because the pregnancy ended in tragedy doesn't mean it was any less of a pregnancy.

What to NOT say:
  • "You can/will have other babies"
  • "At least you have other children"
  • "At least you know you can get pregnant"
  • "At least you were only __ weeks along/didn't go to full term"
  • "____ would have been harder/worse"
  • "At least you had an easy recovery"
  • "You are young enough to have lots more babies"
  • "It's nature/God's way of getting rid of an imperfect fetus"
  • "You know the doctrine/what the scriptures say..."
  • "He/She is in a better place"
  • "It wasn't a baby yet"
  • "You need to move on/get over it"
  • Nothing (when mom knows that you know, and you say nothing, it HURTS)
  • NEVER call it the medical term "spontanious abortion." That makes it sound like the baby wasn't wanted, and for a mom who wants children, especially if she's miscarried more than once, use of that term cuts deep. I don't care how technical it is (and would somebody tell the doctors this?! They don't seem to get it.)

What to do
  • Acknowledge the baby as a BABY
  • Bring over dinner--don't ask, just do it
  • Come over and clean the house--don't ask, just call and say you're coming
  • Come over and just about the baby if she wants to. Talk about anything BUT the baby if she wants to.
  • Listen
  • Give hugs
  • Help her find distractions if she wants them (movies, books, projects)
  • Don't distract her if she doesn't want it
  • Bring her a little gift--something for HER, such as a sweet-smelling candle, some cookies, or a soft little blanket. One friend brought me a 'hug' in the form of a snuggly fleece was the best thing anyone did for me.
  • Help care for other children (remember this is a post partum period, just as it would be had the baby been full term, and mom needs peace and rest)
  • Pray for her (and her family)
  • If you have been there, help her know what to expect physically (with natural miscarriage, D&C, or subsequent fertility)

What to NOT do
  • Pretend nothing ever happened.
  • Assume that mom (or dad) is feeling fine, just because they are taking care of business again.
  • Change the subject away from the baby (let HER do it if she wants to--she probably won't)
  • Don't assume that her family/close friends are handling everything...if you know her a little (just from church, for example), you can still help a lot. (The lady that brought me the 'hug' was someone I hardly knew, yet her thoughtfulness bonded us.)
  • Don't casually mention that so and so is pregnant with number 1, 2, 5, 10, whatever... it's not about pregnancy in a generic way, it's about HER baby that is gone.

Remember that dad is probably mourning often prefer to shut out the pain by seeking distraction, so they may seem chipper and normal...but that doesn't mean they actually feel that way.

In the following weeks and months, consider the following:
**Mom may not feel up to going to baby showers, or she may cling to invite her, but don't feel offended if she doesn't come, and don't question her about it either way. This is ESPECIALLY important for babies due around when her baby was due.
**Offer to let her hold may be healing for her...but do not pressure her to do it if she declines, because it may also just hurt too much.
**Don't hide your pregnancy from her to 'spare her feelings'. Tell her when you tell everyone else. It's hard to not be pregnant when others are, but it's even harder when a friend or neighbor is obviously pregnant, and yet never told you...
**When you DO tell her about your pregnancy, do so can help to start with something like "I'm not sure how to bring this up, but I didn't want you to hear it from someone else..."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years (updated on the 9th!)

So, we've just been thinking and talking a little about this past year and all the changes...
New baby! New job, new home in a new state...
And discussing some of the changes we want to make. Hubby wants to work on being a little more physically fit, and I think I'm going to take on that challenge with him. Our reasons and goals are different, but I'm going to shoot for exercise of some sort (yoga, a longer-than normal walk, etc) for 30 minutes at least 4 days a week.
I'm also going to try to post more on my recipe blog (I've added a lot recently, for those who are interested!) I find that finding new things to post there keeps my cooking more alive and interesting!
I've also decided to scrapbook at least 100 pages this year. I figure that's just under 2 pages a week, and since I usually do 4 or 5 or more pages when I actually sit down and do it, then I think that should be easily accomplishable. I brought all the photos since W's birth with us to Alaska, because I knew I would be able to have time to work on them here. I'm starting with our trip to Ireland in 2003...
Our whole family is going to work on praying more. We have struggled with holding family prayer regularly, so we want to work on that (we kicked it off last night!)

Coping With Miscarriage

For those who are likely to wonder, no, I have not recently had another miscarriage...but a friend of mine has, and that prompted me to write...

People say we need to 'move on' or, worse yet, 'get over it.' They try to be helpful with comments like 'at least you can get pregnant' or 'you can always have another baby.' That doesn't help! If my father died, would you suggest adopting a new one? Of course not. Having another child is a wonderful thing, but does NOT replace the one lost! This isn't like buying a new watch when the old one breaks or gets lost. This is a person, a beloved person...this is my child.
Others probably never knew the baby...rarely is a miscarriage late enough for anyone except the mother (and occasionally the father or siblings) to have begun to develop a relationship with the baby. But it is a baby nonetheless. A tiny, perfect person. And we miss that person who was part of us and now is gone.
There have been several things that helped me resume life after miscarriages.
1--Acknowlege it all. There was a child, the child is gone. But that doesn't make the child any less real... name the baby, record the birth day, do the things you would do for any other baby (I make a little cross-stitched birth announcement with the baby's name and birthdate, and we purchase a christmas tree ornament for each child...for our angel children, I have made angel cross-stitches, and we have angel ornaments).
2--Talk about it. Others may feel uncomfortable about it, but that is no reason to keep quiet. Miscarriage is a part of life, and affects vast numbers of the population. Miscarriage is inevitable, and nothing to be ashamed of. Others will never get over their awkward feelings about it unless we persist in talking about it. Don't contribute to the vicious cycle of silence!
3--Seek solace in the Lord. I found (and continue to find) great comfort in certain scriptures and hymns. I'll have to share them here at some point, but not this morning.
4--Associate with others who understand--other women who have lost their children (of whatever age). Find kindred spirits. Having other people who genuinely understand what you are going through is enormously helpful.
5--Seek grief counseling if you need/want it. This is valid grief!
6--Be willing to give it time.

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