Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Idea

As we've been road tripping, Hubby and I have come up with another way to save the world:

Boycott golf.
It's not ecologically sound. Planting massive tracts of grass, then cutting it really short (leading it to turn brown), then watering it a ton (leading to more growing, thus more cutting).
Also, it's boring.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shhh, They're Sleeping


I know it's a dark picture, but I didn't want to wake them (I used the 'low light' setting on the camera, it was actually darker than it looks!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Impossible Dream

This song has moved me ever since I first heard it.
You can see/hear it here (but of course it's better live--all musical theatre is).

Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh
from "The Man of La Mancha"


To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest, to follow that star --
no matter how hopeless, no matter how far.

To fight for the right without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.

And I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest
that my heart will be peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To reach the unreachable stars.



I find it very inspiring...and very motivating.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Exfoliating

by way of clarification...
We live in Alaska, and no, we're not moving from there. We traveled back down to Utah this summer to clean out all the stuff we had in storage...we sold off most of it, and now will return to Alaska (sans stuff) feeling much freer.
(We will replace a number of items--beds, table, chairs, etc...they were just too expensive to transport. But we also leaned out a lot of books, movies, music, and clothing, and we will not be replacing those. Let's hear it for the simple life!)
Hubby said it's like exfoliating your life. It's true! It is a little rough to let go of some of these things, but once they are gone, it feels GREAT!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Whoa!

We had a massive yard sale today, and sold about 80% of what we own.
It's amazingly freeing.
We'll have to replace a few things (things that just weren't worth the expense to move), but we intend to refurnish with a lot less than what we had before.
Less really is more.

Henna Belly and my Mother's Blessing

So here's a little blast from the past...I kept meaning to share this before, and kept forgetting...but recently I was having a discussion about Blessingways/Mother's Blessings and decided to post about mine.
A blessingway is a sacred ceremony among the Navajo. There are several, used to celebrate (and bless the way) of certain life transitions--notably birth. However, out of respect to the Navajo People, those of us who are not Navajo typically use another name for similar celebrations--and call it a "Mother's Blessing."

I had a Mother's Blessing before Bear's birth.
It was late December, so we filled the room inside with candles and lit the fireplace, making the room warm and bright.
We began by introducing ourselves in the context of our mothers, sisters, and friends "I am J__, daughter of C__, who is the daughter of A___. I am sister to K___, and sister-in-law to L___, S___, and H___" and so on (naming our mothers and maternal grandmothers, whether present or not, and also whoever was present).
Each of the attendees brought a nice (metal, glass, or wood) bead which symbolized some part of birth or motherhood, and presented them to me. (I put the beads on a bracelet to wear/hold in labor, and then later re-strung them onto a nursing necklace.)
We took a long piece of red yarn, and looped it around each of our wrists in one long web, representing the interconnectedness of all women and all mothers, and how we all support one another.
I had henna done on my belly a few days before the event. The center portion is a simple celtic knot, in remembrance of my ancestry. The flowering vines represent the growing life to come. (In the photo you can see the red string tied around my wrist.)
We shared (positive) stories about birth and motherhood--mostly from our own experiences.
We talked about the tigers in life (the things we fear) and we each wrote a personal tiger on a piece of paper and then burned it in the fire, symbolically destroying that fear.
We snacked on muffins and warm apple cider, and rather than bringing baby stuff (since I didn't need any) everyone brought items for a Nurture Basket, for my pregnancy, labor, or post-partum pampering.
At the end I presented each attendee with a little handmade angel. I had sewn them from sparkly white fabric, tied a hanging ribbon loop to each, and sprinkled lavender in them. Each was embroidered with a word such as love, joy, hope, peace, faith, strength, courage, and pray--no two were alike. I had them in a little basket, and drew them out at random to give to my guests. I suppose words like that could apply to anyone, but I know at least a few of my guests felt that the word on their angel was very fitting for them at the time.

I really enjoyed my Mother's Blessing. I would love to have them for future babies as well, although I think I would do some things differently...I would love to have one in the spring or summer, and meet outside, among the flowers. I would love to weave herb sachets and braid flowers into our hair. I think every Blessing is as unique as the mother--and the pregnancy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Use Cloth for WHAT?!

This was my initial reaction when I heard of cloth menstrual pads. I mean, blood, on fabric, on purpose? Ewww, right?
Then I started thinking.
  1. I'm ok with cloth diapers, and poop is grosser than blood.
  2. If I get some blood (menstrual or otherwise) on my clothing, I wash them...no big deal. It comes out pretty easily in fact.
  3. Disposable pads chafe (this is painfully evident when you have to use them postpartum for several consecutive weeks).
So I finally took the plunge and tried out cloth pads.
Oh wow!
Yes, they are a little bulkier than the disposables you are probably used to. They are also much softer and easier to get used to (wouldn't you prefer something a bit bulky that just feels like regular soft underwear over something thin that feels like plastic?). I have applied cloth diaper technology to my pads and they are very absorbent, extremely soft, leak-proof, and even wick moisture inside so that I'm not left feeling wet.
There are other advantages too. Cloth is eco-friendly of course, but if that were the only reason I would not have bothered with the switch. Besides the actual feel of the materials, the chemicals in disposable pads cause irritation for many girls/women. Most women report having shorter periods when using cloth pads. Many women say they have fewer or milder cramps (or none at all) when they use cloth. Cloth is respectful of yourself and your menstrual flow (menstrual blood is not a dirty thing that must be thrown away, it's just a part of yourself and who you are as a woman!).

If you've ever thought about trying cloth pads, I heartily recommend this site for all kinds of information about different styles, brands, and options. Personally, after looking through dozens of types of pads, I couldn't find anything I loved, so I made my own, which of course I now sell at LilBees. I have never found a style I like quite as well, but of course not everyone likes the same thing, so like I said, it's worth a visit to the Cloth Pad Reviews forum. (Yup, I just linked the same thing twice. It's worth a visit!)

If you have questions about the care/washing of cloth pads, let me know in the comments and I will post about that soon.

By the way, I know a few of my dear readers use my pattern (or my pads!) If you do so, would you be willing to leave feedback on it here. There are a lot of sellers listed there, and while I've had good feedback on etsy, I haven't gotten any feedback on this Cloth Pad Reviews forum and I'm feeling a little sad about it. You do have to register an account to post there, but it's free and it's not like you have to visit regularly...and I would sure appreciate having a little recognition there if you like my things!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vaccines--Chicken Pox (Varicella)

The varicella vaccine is recommended at 12m and/or 24m (not everyone agrees on the second dose). It is supposed to protect your children from that horrible scary disease the chicken pox! [cue scary music...]

Alright, who remembers having had the chicken pox? Go ahead, raise your hands.
Was it really that bad? I mean, yeah, it was itchy, and for a week or so you probably felt lousy...but think about it, now you're immune for life! That's not too terrible a trade is it? I know, a few of us got little scars from the pox-marks, but do you know of anyone who made it through childhood without a scar or two? I was 10 when I got the chicken pox--so older than most kids--and my memories of it are pretty clear. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't horrible. Actually, I'd take the itching over a make-you-barf stomach bug any day!

It is true that chicken pox can be dangerous for an infant under 1 year, or for people who don't catch it until they are in their teens or adult years. So, for decades mothers have taken their kids to 'pox parties' with other kids who were infected, to insure that everybody got it while they were in those perfect middle years. Now these mothers are just getting their kids a vaccine.
But the vaccine is far scarier than the disease ever was.

First of all, it's not available until the child is over a year, so infants are still at risk. Secondly, the 'immunity' bestowed by the vaccine lasts for 10 years at most, so around the age of 11 or 12 (ie, just when catching chicken pox would begin to be dangerous again) the vaxed child is now again at risk. Who is the dummy that thought this was a good idea?! "Protect" them for exactly the years when catching it would be no big deal?! C'mon people!!!

Oh, and it gets better. You know shingles? Well, having chicken pox (and getting that immunity) also gives immunity to shingles. Having the chicken pox vaccine (varicella) appears to cause shingles. Oh yeah, it quite often causes chicken pox too. Um, why are we giving this shot again?!

For those who don't know, shingles is related to chicken pox. Basically some people get a little stuck in them like a chronic case of CP. It doesn't break out unless their immune system is lowered...exposure to others with active cases of CP re-boosts their system and prolongs the immunity (postpones/prevents outbreaks). Now that we're preventing CP in the first place, shingles is showing up more than ever before. In fact, many doctors are now recommending a shingles shot for anyone over age 50. Yay, another shot. Oh, and there are boosters too...more shots, more shots!

Or we could start holding pox parties again. I suspect that any kid you ask will tell you he'd rather be spotty and itchy than have a whole bunch of shots. I suspect most adults feel the same way. I know your immune system does.

This article is full of references and helpful information about the varicella vaccine, and has lots more details on the shingles connection.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I typically don't share my personal decisions on vaccination--I think it's important for each family to make their own decisions based on the research. BUT, in this case, I think it's pretty obvious what the thoughtful choice is. STAY AWAY!!!
I would consider this vaccine only for a young teen who had not managed to catch the actual disease, and I would have said teen be part of the decision-making process about whether or not to get the shot.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

QT--Cold Feet

I always have cold feet. No, not the wimping-out kind you dork, the my-feet-have-the-shivers kind of cold feet. The I-need-wool-socks kind of cold feet. Even when the rest of me is warm, I get cold feet.
OK, that's not totally true. I also get cold hands, cold nose, and a cold, um, tooshie. Yeah. All the parts of me that stick out get cold.
Anyway, so my feet are cold a lot. One of my friends, knowing this, asked why on earth I would want to move to Alaska. Well, it's simple really, being too cold is better than being too hot.
After all, you can always put on another layer, but there is a point at which you simply cannot take anything else off.
And I'll take cold feet over a sunburn any day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
NILMDTS is an organization of volunteer photographers who offer their services for families whose infants die before, at, or near birth. Their goal is to help preserve what precious moments these families have with their little ones. (here is their photo gallery)

Following one of my posts about miscarriage, someone left me this link. I looked at the site but didn't have time to really look through it. Recently I was reminded of it, and now want to share it here.

From their website:

This is the place where the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.

I think this is just such a heartwarming program. They accept donations of course (doesn't everybody?!) But more than that, I just want to get their message out--to let people know that they exist. We took a couple of photos of our precious little Thomas and I treasure them. I am sure every mother of an angel feels the same way.
(I've said it before, but I have so many more readers now that I'll say it again: if you wanted to see Thomas' photos, just leave me a note and I will email them to you.)

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