Friday, January 30, 2009

Occasionally I Write Something Brilliant

This post will be updated periodically so as to reflect a current list of my best or most popular posts.

When Someone Miscarries (this gets more hits from google searches than anything else here)
(please also visit my link "concerning miscarriage" on the sidebar)

Interfering with Nature and Bringing Down Women

Life in Pelican, Alaska (my lifestyle in a town with 70 people, no roads, and lots of grizzly bears)

Why is Modern Society so Backwards? (or, why I practice attachment parenting)

Humorous Posts (because laughing is good for you)
Chocolate Cake
Fire Insurance

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tips for Gentle Weaning

I must preface this post with the CLEAR statement that these tips are geared to a child who is at least 12 months old. I don't believe in pushing weaning before a year of age (with the rare exception of extreme medical situations), and I feel it is preferable for a child to nurse at least 18-24 months.

First of all, I ask you to evaluate why you are trying to wean--is it because you want to, or because you feel pressure from others? I encourage you to review the reasons you have chosen to breastfeed in the first place, and to keep it up for as long as you and your child are both happy with the status quo. With that said, if one of you is genuinely not happy, making changes can be healthy and good.

Whether you're night-weaning, fully-weaning, or just cutting back a bit on your nursing routine, hopefully some of these will be helpful. By no means should you feel the need to try them all! But hopefully something here will work for you.
  • Stop offering the breast. This might seem obvious, but some kids don't really ask for it, they just take it when offered. If you stop offering it all the time that could greatly reduce their nursing.
  • Nurse whenever they ask, but only for a short time--for example count to 10 and then say 'all done' and stop. They can ask again as often as they want, and never be turned away...but each nursing episode is very brief. With time the child will likely adjust to short-duration nursing, and it then becomes easier to cut back the frequency. (I posted about my experience with this here.)
  • When the child asks to nurse, offer a drink or other snack. (If they are asking out of hunger, then find other ways to meet the need.)
  • When they ask to nurse, distract them with a book, toy, or other activity (Little Bear often will ask to nurse simply because he just remembered that the milk is there--via seeing me changing or whatever. In these situations it is easy to distract him.)
  • Cuddle, sing, rock in the all the things you do when nursing, but don't get out the breast.
  • Get pregnant. No, I'm not being facetious. Many children self-wean because the milk either dries up or changes in taste during pregnancy...of course, many women experience acute breast tenderness when pregnant and have to push weaning because of the take the idea with a grain of salt. If you've been thinking about getting pregnant though, know that yes, you can nurse while pregnant, and it may help your older child to wean (or it may not, and you may get to tandem nurse... ☺)
  • Here is KellyMom's list of articles on weaning (including information about whether or not a medical situation warrents weaning--most do not--and more ideas on how to do it gently)
  • Here is an index of all Dr Sears' articles on breastfeeding (including weaning).
  • Many women have said that they handled night-weaning by telling the child that the breast/milk went to sleep at night (this is best after 18months, as they may not understand the logic before then). This is the tack we've taken and while Bear is frustrated over it, he accepts that the nanu sleeps just like everybody else.
  • Put the breast away--this can be done during the day too, but is especially applicable at night, when many of us just leave it hanging out...easy access usually means lots of nursing. Toddlers rarely even wake up in these cases--they just latch on and keep on sleeping. If there is nothing to latch on to, they may just sleep!
  • Scoot over or roll away. If the child is co-sleeping, they may be nursing simply because it's there...even with your shirt pulled down the persistent child can feel the breast and knows that it's right there. The determined ones may pull up your shirt and go after it! However, if you roll onto your back, or scoot away from the child a bit, then the breast is not right there, access is not so easy, and they are more likely to forget about it.
  • For night-weaning, consider Dr Jay Gordon's program (it is geared to the over 12months co-sleeping crowd)
  • Here are 12 ideas from Dr Sears for gentle night weaning.

Please take into account that when a child is sick, or learning a new skill (walking, talking, potty-learning, etc) they will probably not handle other changes (ie, weaning) very well. It is best to just do one thing at a time.

Please let me know if you have other gentle weaning tips and I'll add them to the list.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WFMW--pancakes and waffles anyday

I love waffles, and my Hubby loves pancakes. It's the same batter really, so I'll often just mix up one batter and then cook some of each.

Of course, the best pancakes and waffles are made from scratch, and mixing up a batch takes a few minutes...a few minutes that can be hard to find on a weekday morning when everyone is hurrying around trying to get ready to leave for school (Hubby is a teacher, so everybody goes to school here!)
So here is my secret for from-scratch pancakes/waffles in a hurry: make a big batch of batter, then put it in a jar (or pitcher) in the fridge. It keeps well for a week or so, and when you want breakfast just pour t straight onto the hot griddle/waffle iron and voila, healthy, wholesome, yummy, from-scratch breakfast in a hurry, on any day of the week!
Click the icon above to see other WFMW posts.

By the way, I'm holding a giveaway right now as part of One World ♥ One Heart, so if you're interested in winning free stuff, go check it out!

Oh My!

Bear (just turned 2) was playing behind me as I wrote that last post. He is not wearing pants but I have not worried about that because he's been very independent in his toilet-usage lately. But just now, as he was behind the curtains looking out the sliding-glass door, I heard a little noise...I thought hoped that it was just an upturned sippy cup. Then Bear pulled aside the curtain, grinned, and announced "I make peepee!"
Aww gee.
So I sat down with him and reviewed what are good places to make peepee--in the toilet and in the potty. "We do not make peepee on windows," I said. He looked at me very seriously. "No peepee door," he agreed, pointing.
Yes, we do not make peepee on windows or doors.

(oh yeah, you can go see more TinyTalkTuesdays here!)

Crying vs Crying-It-Out

Last night Bear cried a lot. We've been working on night-weaning, and he doesn't like the idea. However a nursing relationship needs to be working for both mother and child, and waking multiple times a night to nurse a wiggly 2year old is not working for me. I need to sleep in longer periods than he does, and I would really like to go through a night without having all the blankets kicked off or getting a foot in my ear or being pushed off the edge of the bed. I'd like for Hubby to be able to sleep a little better--after all, he has a job where he can't fake it as a zombie--he has to be up and coherent (teaching) every day.
So we are night-weaning in an effort to get Bear to sleep through the night and learn to sleep in his own bed (which is a whopping 4 feet away from ours).
Bear doesn't like this, and let me know about it with great volume for about an hour last night. He did not want to be cuddled or comforted for much of this time, and I ended up doing a lot of thinking about the difference between crying, and crying-it-out (CIO).

Some so-called experts advocate CIO, or putting the child in their bed and then leaving them alone to just "cry it out" until eventually they give up and go to sleep. Um, think about that for a minute--I should leave my baby alone, comfortless, and scared (because depending on his age he may not even be aware that I still exist once I'm out of his sight)...and that is good parenting?! How on earth is that good parenting?! Aren't we supposed to raise children with love and compassion? Teaching them to trust? Helping them feel secure? Isn't the role of a parent to be as Christ is--a gentle teacher who is always there when called upon? An example to the child, so that faith comes easily because they have already seen and know and trust the earthly parent, and are therefore able to know and trust the Heavenly One?! No! I cannot believe that there is anything Christlike (or acceptable) about CIO.

On the other hand, not all crying is crying-it-out.
When a child is learning to walk and he falls down, he may cry in surprise, disappointment, or even pain.
When a child reaches for the stove and mother holds him back he may cry in frustration.
When a child is unable to reach that exciting (but unsafe) do-dad on the top shelf he may cry in annoyance and anger.
The tender-hearted child may cry at the simple word 'no' regardless of how gently it is spoken.
Crying is not unhealthy in and of itself--in many instances it could be considered just a natural part of the learning process--even in older people! I have known teens who came to tears over particularly difficult math problems; we all know adults who have cried over a broken relationship. And so I will repeat myself--crying is not bad. It is the abandonment part of CIO that is the problem.

A few weeks ago I wrote of a night when Bear went to sleep on his own in his crib. Well, that didn't last even two nights. For 4 months now I've been trying to figure out the best way to help him do those three things--sleep through the night, night wean, and sleep in his own bed--and I've tried tackling each one independently, with the thought that the others would follow naturally. Keeping him in his bed did not go over well, so I decided to let him cuddle all he wanted but work on weaning. For 4 nights it went really well, and then he got sick and clearly needed the extra comfort (and antibodies!) for a week. Last night I resumed telling him that the nanu was sleeping, and boy did he lose it. I remember that last time we did this (a whopping 10 days ago), he cried a lot the first night, but the second night was easier, and the third was easier still, so I am optimistic. With that said, I also do not feel guilty about letting him cry a bit last night, and here is why:
1--I never left him alone
2--I continuously offered him comfort in the form of cuddles, singing, patting his back, etc. I listened to what he asked for and got him everything except nanu (getting a drink, getting a blankie, sitting in the chair as opposed to staying in the bed, etc). Was he upset and frustrated? Yes. Was his bawl-fest warrented? In his mind, clearly so. Was he ever left alone? No. Comfortless? No. So was he crying it out? Absolutely not. He was crying, but he was not crying it out.
I think the difference is an important one. I remember a wise mother once told me that in a healthy relationship the status quo needs to be working for both of you. If I bend to his every whim (but am unhappy with it) then it is not a healthy relationship. A newborn needs to eat throughout the night, but 2 year old child is old enough that night-nursing is neither a physical or emotional need; it is only a want, and it is ok to say 'no' to a want.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why Henna?

OK, you've been waiting patiently...and here it finally is: the post about why anyone would want to put henna in their hair (aside from the color, of course!)
The color was actually the thing that kept me from trying it for as long as I did, because it is permanent, and I wasn't' sure if I was ready to commit to being a henna-head for the long term!
The red--at least in my case--is really bright at first but fades a bit with time. Of course the brightness of the red varies by your natural color and also how much henna powder you use and how long you leave it in, and some people with particularly dark hair do not get any color change, although they can still reap the other benfits of henna. If you'd like to see a gallery of before/after pictures, go visit this page!

So why do henna?

Short version: henna seals the hair shaft (totally coats it). If you recall the picture I posted of a hair shaft, you'll see why sealing it can be so helpful for fragile hair.

♥ Some people find it to have a drying effect, but I have not (although I live in a rainforest, so your results may vary).
♥ Some people feel their hair is less dry (because each hair is protected).
♥ Many people find that they get fewer split ends (I sure have--I've only found a dozen in the last year--and trust me I look!).
♥ Many people report their hair feeling/seeming thicker (because if each individual hair is coated, then each one is slightly thicker, and that adds up to the whole mass feeling thicker). I have definitely found that in my case.
♥ Pretty much everyone (so far as I know) agrees that it's strengthening.
♥ Many people report loss of curl--I haven't noticed that in particular, although my first time doing henna ended up being less than a month before we moved to Pelican, and the transition from Utah desert to Alaska rainforest drastically changed my curl situation anyway, so I don't know what might have happened if I'd been staying in one you can see though, my curl is not gone (and in my opinion it's about the same as it has been my entire life--UT or WA or AK)
♥ Some people do it just for the color.

I have had healthier, smoother, shinier, less-tangly, stronger and (of course) redder hair in the year and a half I've been using henna than I ever did before. It seems to be growing faster, and it's now gotten longer than it has ever been in my life--I honestly believe the henna has made it strong enough to do those things. I am delighted! ☺ Hubby seems to find it sexy--when I first did it he called me 'Red' for two weeks, and when I mentioned last fall that I was thinking about doing another henna treatment and he said "ooo, let me get it for you for christmas, ok?! I like the henna!"

There is a lot of henna info on LongHairCommunity, but I actually first learned about it from my friend Laminathegreat on a NaturalLDSMoms yahoo group. She recommended HennaforHair and I just poked around there for a while and kinda figured things out myself.
One of the things I really like about H4H is that it has the before & after gallery (which I linked above). The photos there were submitted by dozens of people who have henna'ed their hair, and they each include info about how much they used and how long they let it sit... So you can find someone with a similar natural color to yours and get somewhat of an idea of what your hair would be likely to do (what color it would turn) if you do henna.
H4H also has a list of links for good places to get henna for your hair. They recommend using body-art quality henna (which is more expensive, but the best quality). The particular place where I bought mine (HennaCaravan) has body-art quality henna that is a couple of years old--older than ideal for body-art use, but sufficient for hair. It's still the high quality henna, it's just past its prime, and thus the price is reduced.

So, if you're thinking about doing it yourself, you probably want the info about how much to use and how long to leave it in, right?
I can't tell you. It's different for everyone.
The general guideline I read was 100 grams for every 10 inches of hair. I have thin hair, and have used only 50 grams per application. The first time I chose the smaller amount because I was nervous about how much it would affect my color, the second time I only had 50 grams left (I had purchased a 100 gm box). This last time I prepared 50 grams out of habit, but I did notice that while there was plenty for the top of my head, there was not much left for the length of my hair, so next time I may try 100 grams.
As for how long to leave it in, again, a general guideline is 30-60 minutes. The longer you leave it, the more color you'll get. The first time I was nervous and did just 30 minutes. The second time I was bolder and did 60. Last month I'm not sure I even timed it very well, I just left it in for around an hour. Or, if you're feeling really scientific, choose a lock of hair from somewhere discreet (such as along your neck) or *gasp* cut off a lock of hair (or gather the trimmings after a haircut), and actually treat that lock with henna, keeping track of how long you treat it for, and noting what color it turns. I was too impatient to do that and just jumped in with both feet, (making guesses based off the information on the gallery page). My results matched my expectations based on what I'd read/seen at H4H. This is why I recommend visiting the gallery page--you can read what others did, how much they used, how long they let it sit, and see what colors resulted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's big and historic, and I don't really have anything to say that has not already been said, so I'll just post some links...

RasJane made a great post a couple of days ago. If you don't know her, she has a multi-racial family, and has (I think) a better perspective than I do on the significance of today's events.

I also read this article on a British blog (only the first half is relevent). I thought it was well-written and makes some good points.

FYI, the most memorable inauguration of my life prior to today was when Bill Clinton took the oath in 1993. We were watching it on tv when the power went out, and it stayed out all day. At the time we made jokes about Bill being so bad that he blew the power...I had a very simplistic view of politics at the time, obviously! ☺ It also happened to be my little brother's first birthday, and so he (who is 17 today, good grief!) was confused that we had candles around all day, but then that night we wanted him to blow some out, but then we got upset when he continued to try to blow out all the other candles...

In personal news, little Bear is sick. We'd been doing so well on night-weaning--I think we had five (maybe only 4?) nights without nursing, but last night he clearly needed it, and he nursed like a maniac all night. This morning one of the first things he did was to sneeze, shooting out one of those long snot strings that just dangles until someone gets it....he was throroughly distressed over that, and has been asking me to get the 'snuggerts' all day. Poor kiddo. I hate it when my little ones are stuffed up and they're not old enough to know how to blow their nose.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Other Miscarriage

I don't talk about this miscarriage as often, and there are several reasons for that.
At the time I had a strong feeling that the spirit waiting to join our family was not meant to be born at that time, but that he would come to us later. I did not grieve in the same was as I had with my previous losses, because I felt sure that he'd be back soon...and he was: Bear was born a year and a half later. So I did not name the lost baby as I had with my others, because he was not really so 'lost', he was just waiting a while. Now he is here, and I need not grieve him at all.

But that is getting ahead of myself...first I want to tell the story of my third miscarriage.


Following my Valentine's Day miscarriage I was heartbroken. I had been extremely careful during that pregnancy: I'd put myself on a strict diet, taken my vitamins religiously, and used progesterone. I had done everything I knew of to protect my baby, and still she died.
A few weeks later, on Mother's Day, Hubby gave me a card that said "good for one baby"...
A few weeks after that, on Father's Day, I was thrilled to be able to give him a card that said "that baby you promised me should be here in February..."

We decided to see if medical science could help this time around, so I signed up with the doctor who had done my previous D&C, was prescribed a different form of progesterone, and when I was 5 weeks pregnant we had an ultrasound. Our baby was only the size of a grain of rice, but we could see a beating heart (I had never seen or heard my other children's heartbeats).
On my birthday, when I was 8 weeks pregnant, we had another ultrasound. This time we could not see a heartbeat, nor any movement, and the measurements they took showed a 12 day discrepancy from the prior ultrasound's dates. The doctor kindly offered to do a D&C right away, but I wanted to go home to think about it. The emotional torture of never getting to see or hold my second baby was still too fresh, and I had felt so optimistic about this pregnancy that I didn't really believe that it could be over. (By the way, that is without question the worst birthday I've ever had.)

When I got home I asked the Lord what I should do, and in my head I heard words as clearly as if someone in the room had spoken them: "Be Still, and Know that I Am God." So I concluded to watch and wait. The waiting was extraordinarily hard on Hubby--he felt like the facts were clear and we should get the D&C and get it overwith, but I had been told to be still, and so I was. With a nut-sized baby it all felt inconclusive to me--maybe we had just missed seeing the heartbeat. Furthermore, although the measurements from the two ultrasounds disagreed about my gestational dates, my own charting had given me a date halfway between them, so I thought it best to wait a week and have another ultrasound.

Five days later we had an ultrasound which revealed that the baby had not grown in the elapsed time. Two doctors, a midwife, Hubby, and finally even I agreed that this baby was not alive. The options then were to have a D&C or to wait for the miscarriage to occur naturally, which they assured me would probably happen within 1-2 weeks.
I went home and thought about my options. I prayed and cried and prayed some more, and still heard only one message "Be Still."
So I was still, I stayed home and prepared for the physical process of letting go of yet another child. It occurred to me that I was nearing the due date from my previous pregnancy (August 17), and I had the odd feeling that the date was still significant somehow.
A week passed, then another.
When it had been almost three weeks, with nary a cramp or drop of blood to indicate that I was beginning to miscarry, I called the doctor's office and asked if they would consider another ultrasound to see what was going on. They seemed shocked that I had still not miscarried--they said it was unheard of to continue to carry a baby for this long after such a diagnosis. The ultrasound was scheduled for August 16th, and I confess that part of me wondered if it would reveal a miraculously living baby.

Of course the ultrasound showed the same thing as the prior two--a baby that had long since ceased to live and grow. The standard procedure at that point was to have me meet with the doctor on call to discuss my options (even though I already knew them).
It happened that the doctor on call was the one in the practice that I had never met before. I told him of my desire to miscarry naturally, and he said I was in the minority to choose that, but that there was no danger in it, and that if I changed my mind the D&C option was always there. He then happened to recommend that I see Dr Ware Branch, one of the world's leading researchers in recurrent miscarriage who just happened to work at the University of Utah, a mere hour from where I lived.
You see, I do not believe in coincidences, I believe in what my friend J calls "God-incidences."

The next morning, the anticipated August 17th, I began to spot just slightly. And so the date was significant after all.
That same morning I called Dr Branch's office and spoke with them about getting a work-up done. When the nurse learned that I was just beginning to miscarry, she suggested that if I had a D&C, the tissues could be brought up to Dr Branch's lab for examination, and they might be able to learn something from them. So that night I had my second D&C: it was not the way I had wanted to miscarry, but it seemed like the right choice under the circumstances. It also reaffirmed to me that I had been right to wait.


So we did all the testing. And, as Dr Branch had told me it probably would, all the results came back 'normal,' meaning that nobody has any idea why I miscarried so many times, nor whether I was likely to continue to do so. On the other hand, my medical information has now been added to a database and they are able to use it (along with the information from thousands of others) to look for patterns and try to find answers to the mysteries of recurrent miscarriage. Even if we cannot prevent them, there is some comfort in at least knowing what is causing them.


I said before that I did not name or grieve for this baby as I had my others because I believe it was Bear, and that he was not meant to be born at that time. So why did I even get pregnant if it was not yet his time? I believe that he 'previewed' with us specifically so that I could have a third miscarriage. Whether God asked him to, or whether he asked God to let him, I believe it was intentional. You see, it is not until the third consecutive miscarriage that the medical establishment will designate a woman as a "recurrent aborter" and that insurance will pay for her to have any sort of diagnostic testing done. I needed a third miscarriage in order to set everyones minds at rest over causes (or potential solutions) for my miscarriages.
I also believe that the whole process of being guided through this miscarriage taught me to "let go, and let God" in a way that I may not have learned otherwise. It was that mantra that took me though Bear's pregnancy--seeking God's guidence rather than trying to make my own decisions and control everything. They are mottos that guide me still:

Be Still
Let Go & Let God

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Gifts Can YOU Give?

My former roommate Nicole wrote a piece for Women Doing More this last week (I almost said "my old roommate" but she's only 6months older than I am, so I guess I shouldn't call her old!) She talked about non-monetary ways that she and her husband have found to give--through donating blood, hair, and even a kidney. You should go read her article right now--go on, it's not very long.

Did you read it yet?

Get over there now! I'll wait.

It's not that long...

So did you read it now?


When I read that article it got me thinking about the ways that I am able to give... as you may know, my Hubby is a school teacher. It means that he has a great schedule (summers off!), but it's not a huge paycheck, so I rarely have money that I'm able to give. However there are many things that I can give:
  • I make things for people (cloth diapers, baby blankets, hats). This isn't free, but supplies are cheaper than finished products, and since these creative skills are able to bring me an income, I feel that it's appropriate that I should use the same skills to help as well. "Unto whom much is given, much is required"
  • I teach skills--I've taught friends how to make bread, sew diapers, and sew their own pads. I've posted a few tutorials on my shop blog, and am always willing to show somebody how to do something.
  • I share knowledge--I hope this blog is educational! I also share recipes and cooking tips on my cooking blog, and I hope they are helpful (and yummy) for some of you too! I tend to offer lots of information when someone asks me a question--it doesn't matter if it took me a long time to acquire all that knowledge for myself, I figure that knowledge is a good thing, and should be shared freely. Who am I to hoard it?
  • Throughout college I gave blood regularly. I'm no longer able to do this (because Hubby lived in England for 3 years so now we're both on the 'no' list for blood donation because of fear over mad cow disease), but I definitely encourage others to do this simple service--it really does save lives! Actually, if you donate before Feb 28, you can join in the virtual blood drive and be entered to win some pretty cool stuff...but that's not why you're doing it, right?
  • I do my part to save the world by living a pretty green lifestyle, being a good steward of what I have, and teaching my children (and hopefully others) how to do the same. Never doubt the power of a good example!
  • And the last one I want to tell about is sharing my breastmilk.
I wrote once about my friend who was not able to lactate. It's a very rare thing, but occasionally it does happen. Her baby was born in November, and mine was born the following January. In the early weeks, as she was struggling to try to get her milk to come in, many friends donated breastmilk to her, but by the time my milk came in she had only one person still sharing milk. I was blessed with an abundant supply of milk, so I started pumping and freezing it. Over the next 7 months I probably gave her a couple of gallons of my milk...not as much as I wish I could have given, but that is a lot of milk that she was able to give her baby which she would not have been able to otherwise. (She used formula to make up the difference, but I've commented before that formula makers are always discovering some new thing to add that breastmilk has had all along, so I'll always maintain my stance that breastmilk is the ideal.) Sharing my milk didn't cost me a thing, and it meant the world to her. (If you don't personally know someone in need, there are milkshare programs that help connect mothers with milk to mothers in need--just search "share breastmilk" or "donate breastmilk".)

So what about you? What non-monetary ways can you give?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Ai-pane" & "Hey-cock-er"

That's how Bear pronounces the names of the toys I got him for his birthday.
I found these darling wooden toys at Banished on etsy. (His name is because his wife banished him to the garage when he kept taking up her kitchen table to make the toys!) He started by making these things for his own five children (so they've had real-world testing!), and now he makes them for others. Both are plain wood, and polished with a mild, food-safe, mineral oil.

These are safe and wonderful toys, but both of these items are endangered by CPSIA. If you want to be able to get items like this for your children, contact your legislators--this battle is far from over!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Bear celebrated his birthday by keeping me up a lot of the night (our ongoing night-weaning took a turn for the rougher last night), and then by pooping in the big toilet BY HIMSELF today! He usually comes to me and says "I go toilet, I go toilet" as he jumps around, and I go with him and help him sit on the toilet. He prefers the toilet to the potty, I think because he likes to flush, but he can't get up there by himself very well. Well, this morning I guess he dragged the step-stool in, climbed up, and I knew nothing until I heard a flush and then he came running to me and said "I go toilet, I poop!" and sure enough, he needed wiping!!!!
He's had a couple of close calls, but that would be the first time he's successfully made a poop in the designated receptacle on his own (early EC experiences not counted of course). He's been very self-driven in all of this--I've left him diaperless, and he's indicated that he wants to use the toilet rather than have a new diaper on. Well, power to him! It's making my life easier, even if I spend a disproportionate amount of the day sitting on the bathroom floor while he makes another three drops of peepee! ☺

Wow, I need a baby, cuz this boy is not a baby anymore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Importance of Feet

The other night Hubby and I were talking, and the subject turned to a particular relative of ours whom I'll call Marge (because that is not her name). ☺ She's the spouse of one of his cousins, so we don't see her terribly often, but sometimes at extended family gatherings she's there. She has a daughter near Wolf's age, and a son just a couple of months older than Bear, and she seems to have concluded that she and I clearly have a lot in common.
The first time I met her was right before Bear was born, (when she had a newborn), she was asking me how the pregnancy was going, and I said it was great--because it was. She told me about she hated being pregnant but it was nice to have the kids, although she was definitely done because three was her MAX (here was me who had been praying to be able to have a baby at all but hey, she didn't know that), and then she concluded "I have just one thing to say about birth: drugs drugs DRUGS!"
Um, I don't feel that way. ☺
But it was one of those casual social situations and she was getting ready to go so I said nothing.
A few months later she was again present at the gathering when we announced that we were looking at taking a job in rural Alaska. She rolled her eyes at Hubby and then turned to me and said "you're ok with that? If my husband took a job like that he would be going alone!" Her tone left no doubt about the finality of her feeling.
This summer we saw her again. She asked how my etsy shop was going, and announced that she had a fabulous idea for a product I could sell "they're super easy to make and sell for, like, $20!" Suffice it to say that the item she described was something I can only define as 'froo-froo,' something I do not have (or want) the supplies for, something I would never use myself, and good grief why would I put it in my store, you know? Again, I smiled and nodded and said well, that's not really my thing and went to find someone else to talk to.
She-who-is-not-really-named-Marge is a very nice woman, but she just makes me a little crazy, you know? So it was this craziness that Hubby and I were discussing...
I said "I really have nothing in common with her," to which Hubby replied "sure you do, you both have feet."
Clearly, this is an important point upon which to base a friendship.

Friday, January 9, 2009

FOs (Finished Objects!)

Here are some things I've sewn and knitted over the last month or so (or, rather, things that I've FINISHED in the last while!)

A pair of fleece hats (given to a pair of little brothers via Holiday Helpers) Wolf assures me that both are 'very cool' designs.

Some knitted hats (for the daddy and baby sister of the aforementioned brothers)
Felted, um, came out kinda wide. I don't know where I went wrong in my figuring, but obviously I went very wrong... so I sliced the thing in half and made two hats with it (each just has a seam up the back). ☺

Hubby's bamboo velour pillowcase which I made for him for Christmas (seriously, you cannot fathom just how soft this stuff is unless you've felt it)
A couple of sweet new things for my etsy shop (guess who got a snap press for Christmas?!) ☺

And the item I'm most proud of: a sweater for the little Bear! (I'm already swatching for Wolf's sweater...)

Can you tell that he loves it! (He really loves the pocket!)

Bear Island

Last night on PBS Hubby and I saw a documentary called "Bear Island" which is, of course, about Chichagof Island. (That's the island we live on folks.) I knew this island had the highest population of costal brown bears (aka grizzly bears) per square mile of anywhere in North America. Well, now I can give you numbers.
Square miles on Chichagof: about 2000
People on Chichagof: 1100
Freakin Huge Bears on Chichagof: 1600

Now see, don't you feel educated?
And aren't you glad that you don't have to wear a bear bell every time you go outside? (naw, we don't really do that either...just after dark, or outside of downtown, or if you didn't clip a bell to the dog, or if you didn't bring your rifle on the hike with you...)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm a Henna Head! (pic heavy)

I got henna for Christmas, and put it in my hair that evening...and how I have been trying for three weeks for decent sunlight so I could get the 'after' photo for this post...but I finally got it, so here is the photographic story of putting henna in my hair!

(very soon I'll do the post about why I put henna in my hair, but I didn't want to wait on the pictures!)

Along with my 'before' and 'after' pictures, I'm also showing the process.
Henna comes in a green powder (it's a ground root, after all). Mix it with really warm water until it's well dissolved into a thick paste (about the texture of pudding). Let it sit for around two hours before use.
Get your hair wet. Squeeze or pat (never wring) to get out excess moisture. Then start goomping the henna into your hair.
Yes, it looks like mud, but it has a wonderful fresh, wild, weedy scent.
Once it's all in, gently pile your hair up on top of your head--I just use a claw clip or two to hold it up, but some people recommend wrapping your hair in plastic wrap and then a warm towel...
Let it sit for a while (20-60 min) then take a shower and wash it all out, shampoo as normal, and voila!
Take care to not get henna on your skin, because it will dye your skin as well as your hair... I recommend wearing plastic gloves, or else wash your hands really well as soon as you're done. Henna won't hurt you, but it will turn you orange. Henna WILL stain your clothing too, so put an old towel around your collar, and wear a button-up shirt that you can take off without it touching your hair. As soon as you've got your henna in, take a damp cloth and wipe off any bits that got on your hairline/ears/arms. If you henna your eyebrows (which I did), I recommend a damp q-tip.
I'll have more details about how much to use and how long to let it sit in the other henna post.

Here are the indoor before and after pictures taken that night--you can sortof see that it's redder...the ends are not that different, but the top really is (my last henna treatment was Nov 2007, so I had 5-6inch of the great things about henna is that it doesn't change your hair color so much as enhance it, so there was never a harsh line between the colored and un-colored hair).

and finally (this is what you waited three weeks for) pictures of henna-head in sunlight.

(yes, I was on the phone with my sister--who has a birthday today. Happy Birthday K!)

And here are before and after pictures in direct morning sunlight (seriously, that is so hard to get here!) In the 'before' shot you can see some hints of the old henna...but obviously a fresh treatment brings a whole new glow!

before (sep 08) / after (jan 09)

Hubby is calling me "Red" again. ☺

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Aww gee

blog readability test

One might have thought that a college grad could write at graduate level...
oh well!

Light into the World

This post is my first "Word-filled Wednesday" photo + the word of God.

We took this photo this past Christmas morning, right out our bedroom window. We may not get a lot of light here at this time of year, but when it does come it sure is glorious!

In case you can't read the small print on the photo...

And God said let there be light, and there was light. Genesis 1:3
♥ ♥
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46

(yes, I cheated, I did two verses. It seemed appropriate.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Which eggnog were YOU drinking?!

Our family does not drink (religious prohibition), so while my 8yo son Wolf knows what alcohol is, he's not familiar with the difference between, say, a glass of wine after dinner and getting thoroughly drunk.
Enter the eggnog:

On Christmas Eve we joined most of the town for the annual party. It runs all afternoon with lots of food and chatting, and is a family-friendly event. We got there on the early side, and the hostess was just finishing up making the eggnog, so we helped her set it out in two huge bowls on separate tables--one batch with booze in it and one without. I made sure to let Wolf know which bowl he should get his eggnog from, and throughout the afternoon we periodically informed newcomers of which bowl was which. At one point, my sweet innocent son explained to someone "this is the plain eggnog, and that one is for alcoholics."

See more kids saying the darndest things at Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Few Goals

This weekend I crunched all the numbers on my etsy shops--how much I spent on materials, and how much I brought in via sales. I'm thrilled to report that I netted nearly $500, so etsy is finally more than just a hobby! ☺ I bought a lot of materials in bulk this year, so I won't be needing to buy much at all in the coming months, which means the profits for the coming year should be better still. So, with that to inspire me, I have some goals for this year:
  • List 2 new items per week (exceptions allowed for vacation/moving). Of course that means I'll also have to
  • Sew at least 2 things per week...hopefully more, but I'm trying to set something that's easily achievable.
  • Introduce at least 6 new products this year (I already have a few things in mind, but just need to bring them to fruition...)
I also have a few non-etsy goals:
  • Pay off credit card
  • Knit a sweater for Wolf (I just finished one for Bear--photos coming soon!)
  • Get pregnant ☺
  • Spend less time on the internet (this shouldn't be too hard, as I'll be spending more time sewing...but you, my adoring fans, may have to learn to cope with not-so-daily posting...can you handle it?)
  • Get Bear night-weaned and sleeping through the night
  • Be supportive of my Hubby in his goal by providing appropriate and helpful foods (and not too many unhelpful ones!)
OK, that is quite long enough for one year!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Self Breast Exam Day!!

A commenter asked me a couple of months ago about mammograms--many of you may be aware that there are mixed reviews about their effectiveness and safety. On the one hand mainstream medicine says that all women over a certain age should have annual mammograms; on the other hand some people are saying that the mammograms themselves are increasing the rates of breast cancer.
When I started googling around to see what I could learn, I quickly discovered two things: Everybody has a strong opinion on this, and there seems to be evidence on both sides. Rather than try to determine the 'truth' on this, I'm going to just provide you a lot of links. I am only including links to pages that had references--there were lots of pages that threw around numbers and statements but did not give references for them. I just can't take anybody seriously if they don't have stats to back up their 'facts.'
Also, while this post focuses specifically on mammograms (since they are the most common), it's also important to note that there are quite a few new screening methods on the horizon, including ultrasound and MRI scans. These new methods cost more, and are not yet widely available, but if you're worried about mammograms, they are worth looking into. Incidentally, current research indicates that these new options are far more effective than mammograms for correctly identifying breast tumors (fewer missed tumors, fewer false positives). benefits, risks, and what you should know about mammograms (they consider mammograms safe)
OurBodiesOurBlog: When to start routine mammograms (addresses the controversy over safety vs early diagnoses via screenings, includes lots of links--they recommend starting at a later age and having the mammograms less often if you are low risk) (personal note--this recommendation makes a lot of sense to me)
SafetyIssues Magazine: brings up some critical thoughts about what the data really means (for example: are women actually living longer, or just being diagnosed earlier?!) (personal note--I was not able to find resourses on this one, but read their articles on some topics that I know more about, and they seem to be accurate and objective) is a health site which many of the naturopathic/homeopathic (ie, not allopathic) health folks prefer. Every article I found there was anti-mammogram.
"The fact is, most women detect their cancers themselves, in the shower or in the bedroom. Regular self-exams help women learn the landscapes of their own bodies so that they notice the slightest change. BSEs send women to the doctor, and thus help detect breast cancers that mammograms miss." [link]
Here is a first-timer's story of her experience of getting a mammogram "A Very Squishy Public Service Announcement." She reported that it's not actually all that bad. Sure you have to take your top off, but she said it was not painful and was over quite quickly. (And really, if you've given birth, well, it's all been hung out there anyway...what's 10 minutes without a top, right?)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend.
~~Abba "Happy New Year"

(click the image to see the world peace prayer society, it's a very cool site)

This morning I put together this peace treasury on my etsy blog, and I simply cannot think of a better message for a new year than that of peace. I have plenty of thoughts about the past year and the new one, but there will be other days for posting those. Today I choose to focus on peace.
There are several people who have written my sentiments for me, so rather than try to say it all myself, I will just quote them...

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

from "Imagine" by John Lennon
(this song has it's anti-religion flaws, but there are good messages in there too...)


Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.
. . .
So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there."
. . .
Now the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses! Draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

"One Tin Soldier" (I can't find the actual writer--a lot of people have sung this one. It looks like it first came out in a movie in 1971, and the one tin soldier may be referring to a character in that story...but there is also a book by CS Lewis which speaks of One Tin Soldier who is a representation of Christ...)
This song gave me chills the first time I heard it, and still does every time--even just now, just reading the words, I have chills.


How many roads must a man walk down
Before they call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
How many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

"Blowin in the Wind" by Bob Dylan
(although I prefer it as sung by Peter Paul & Mary)


Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism
Isn't it the most
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talking about
Ministers, Sinisters, Banisters and canisters,
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Pop eyes,
And bye bye, bye byes.
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, Mastication, Flagelolation, Regulations.
Integrations, Meditations, United Nations, Congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Oh Let's stick to it
Ev'rybody's talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary, Tommy smothers, Bob Dylan,
Tommy Cooper, Derek Tayor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,
Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

"Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon


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