Monday, November 1, 2010

Cloth Diapering - Please Help!

If you have experience with CD-ing, please let me know what you love!

We've been cd-ing with Emma since she was about 5 weeks old.  I love it, but hate the diapers we use.  I bought an entire set of BG3s,which were amazing until they started leaking - every single diaper.  I've stripped them (obviously), changed detergents, changed how I put them on her, etc, but Emma's a tall, skinny, heavy-wetter and they just don't work.  I've even resorted to disposables at night!  I'm looking into new types of diapers for Sophia - and Emma too if I can convince Matt to spend the extra money.

So far we've tried the BumGenius Flip pre-fold (with two kinds of inserts), FuzziBunz one-sized, and the Gro-Via.  My sister-in-law uses prefolds (Flip, Thirsties, and another brand I don't remember) with her son (2 1/2) and will be continuing with her daughter (due Nov. 19).  For Emma I don't like the Flip with the regular prefold because
it's too bulky or with the BG insert because it doesn't absorb (which makes sense because it's pretty much the same thing as the insert for the BG3).  I love the FuzziBunz because I can adjust the elastic, but Em's so squirmy that putting on anything with snaps is next to impossible.  But I do use the one I have at night when it's clean
because it doesn't leak.  As for the Gro-Via, we only have one, but so far it's what I'm leaning toward for Sophia.  (I've asked for 3 or 4 more for Christmas.)  We've never had a leak in them day or night, and they aren't snaps.  I've been told (after I bought this one) that Gro-Via work particularly well with skinny babies.  Seems to be the case for us.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you guys use and where you get them. I'm considering doing the Jillian's Drawers trial for both Emma and Sophia.  I've talked to them and they'll sub out the diapers we already have experience with for anything else I'd like to try.  And although the deposit is expensive, it's only $10 for the 21-day trial.

My friend just bought some Sloomb Sustainable Babyish fitted diapers for her heavy-wetting son for night time.  (They also use BG3s.)  She loves them.  I'm considering trying some of those too... 

At this point, I'll try anything!  I love cd-ing, but the BG3s just are doing it for us. 

Night time diaper possibility

I'm interested in these diapers for night time.  Arwen says they work!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The only thing that will stop me is the size of my freezer

Emma, Matt & I went to our first Saturday farmers market of the season last weekend.  I promptly spent $55 on local carrots (10 bunches, don't know how many pounds that is), beans (4 pounds), broccoli (2 pounds), and corn (15 ears, how many pounds is that?).  So over the weekend Matt and the Monster helped me wash, snap, shuck, cut, blanch, and freeze everything.

In the freezer, we will have local beef from November and local pork from this spring.  We've been out of local veggies (except the zucchini, squash, and tomato puree) since probably February.  Ditto for local fruit.

(How did I completely miss strawberry season here?  There are NO strawberries in my freezer and it makes me sad!  We didn't even get local strawberry shortcake!  Silly vacations...)

I also mostly missed pea season, which really makes me sad.  I only have probably four or five pounds of peas in the freezer, which may sound like a lot, but I promise you it's nothing.

Today Noah, Emma, and I took a field trip to the farmers market so I could spend more money.  Noah had fun, but he did ask about the chickens, tractors, and dirt.  Sorry, kiddo.  A farmers market is different from a farm.  (I now have to find a good local farm for him to go to... Eat Local Kalamazoo will tell me where to go, I'm sure.)  He did enjoy picking out my green pepper, but he refused to touch it.  And some nice vendorlady gave us tiny red plums to try.  Emma and I immediately ate ours, but Noah carried it around saying, "Apple."  Once I showed him it wasn't an apple, he wasn't interested.

I spent all the cash I had on me - I think it was $50.  We have 4 more pounds of broccoli in the freezer, SIX pounds of beans, and EIGHTEEN ears of corn waiting for me.  I also got some tomatoes for the chili I'm making tonight, because who wants to use canned tomatoes.  (The correct answer here is NO ONE, because canned tomatoes are not good.  The tomatoes are so acidic that it eats away the can, which then leaches into the tomatoes.  You DO NO want to eat that.)

If I can get this all finished by tomorrow at 3:30, we're going to the Richland market for more!  If not, there's the Bank Street market again on Thursday, and then on Saturday the big one.  I promise I'll be buying more and more and more corn, beans, carrots, broccoli, and everything else that looks delicious.

The only thing that will stop me is the size of my freezer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Breaking all my own rules

I remember when I told Grandma Mary that I wasn't going to co-sleep.  I was pregnant and didn't know that my baby was going to be irresistable and that co-sleeping was so fun and that my husband loves to wake up next to my girl and I snuggling together.  So, it's true that for at least part of every single night she's with us.  And we all sleep better for it.

I remember when I said "No berries" and especially "No strawberries."  But she loves strawberries and is so cute when she eats them.  Even with only two teeth, she knows she can bite off the end and have summer-time yumminess.

And I remember when I thought people who EC'd were crazy hippies, but I've decided I'm also a crazy hippy.  And it's not like she goes diaper-free (maybe when she can walk, if it's warm enough).  But I do try to have her sit on the "pot" so I don't have to wash as many poopy diapers.  So the girl's pooped on the potty twice.  And I've tried twice with her today, but each time she's decided that the excitement of being on the potty is too much and she stops.  So now I have a poopy diaper to change because I know the girl can't sleep if she has to poop.

Also, we had a great Up North Fourth.  Which maybe I'll blog about.  Or maybe I'll leave it at that.  Life is so good and busy and wonderful.  I'm definitely happy.  :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

For my girl (a rough draft)

(For Emma, 9 months)

Tonight, you would not sleep.
I shushed, rocked, and comforted as you tossed and turned.
Your vacant eyes stared into space, refusing to sleep.
Each time you felt them grow heavy and close, you shook your head: no.

Tonight, I kissed each of your fingers.
I held your hand, wrapped around my thumb.
I felt your body close to mine, growing heavy with age and sleep.
I stroked your downy hair and your tan legs until you twitched  woke again.

Tonight, each time I tried to put you down, you started with the knowledge that I was gone.
Your eyes poured into mine, imploring me to stay.
I was completely aware that someday soon you will no longer need me.
You will be a big girl, a beautiful teenager, a strong woman.

So tonight was not the night you would not sleep, but the night we snuggled for hours.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So long, already?

I can't believe it's been 6 weeks since I posted something.  I hope you weren't holding your breath.  Or waiting for a happier post to cheer you up.  Or something.

So much has happened in these 6 weeks, but that's what life does, right?

School ended and was looking forward to having a couple months off of thinking.  I planned on getting the reading done for my next class (which starts in July), but I got sidetracked by Anne of Green Gables, which was one of the books on the list.  And that led me down the whole Anne series path, until I got sidetracked again partway into the sixth (of eight) book(s).  At one point I was reading two or three books, all for this class.

And then Allen emailed me with the offer I couldn't refuse.  So now I'm taking another 3 credits (for free), being his research assistant for his book on teaching Middle Eastern literature.  My job is to read Israeli literature and tell him whether or not it is teachable, and if so how.  (See my education blog for some posts.)  I highly suggest A Woman in Jerusalem.  It's so good.  :)

Right now I'm reading The Smile of the Lamb, and I think I could have given him the info he wanted about 100 or 200 pages ago, but once I start a book, I find it next to impossible to stop reading (except for The Book of Intimate Grammar, but it lost me with the bestiality reference).  I constantly worry that I'm not reading enough, not giving him enough feedback, not doing it quick enough.  But I have to remember that I read in all my spare time (except right now) (and except when I'm watching TV with Matt).

Emma's been sleeping better (thankfully) and so that's helpful.  I even read while working out (every day!), which makes me feel like I'm accomplishing a lot, when really I'm not technically doing anything.  (Except working out.  Only in my head, with the ridiculous amounts of perfectionism, does working out equal "not technically doing anything.")

We had an amazing time at Nana & Papa's last week (or was it the week before?).  Emma turned into quite a little fish.  I've already posted most of the photos and vidoes on FB, but here I go again:

Ok, well I just tried to upload like 5 photos, but this is the only one that worked, so I'm not going to fight with it right now.  It's a good picture, and pretty much sums up the entire trip for me: Emma and Daddy, together and smiling, looking happy and relaxed and I LOVE THEM.

So tonight we'll hopefully watch another DVRed episode of SG-U, eat local pig brats, and relax.  (We just finished a pound of cherries between the two of us - it must be summer!) Tomorrow we clean, create yummy ribs, mow, and hang out with Joe & Nina.  (Ribs on the grill!  Smores!  Camp fire! Hobo Pies!)  I will do my best to NOT spend my entire day counting the minutes until Tami et al get here (sometime around 1:30 am).

Then we have other great things: Volinia Graduation (YAY!), Tami meeting Emma (I cannot believe she hasn't met the best thing in my world), and another night of the Majszak (did I spell that right?) family.

Plus nothing planned for Monday.  And Matt will be home.

(I didn't mention how sad and mopey Emma was after Matt went back to work - she definitely missed him...)

And then he has a 4 day week before we leave again.  Wait.  We leave again in 7 days.  This is crazy.

Vegas, here we come!

But first I will enjoy every day between here and there.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Slight Rant. Because I Needed This Off My Chest.

Lately it feels like I'm being criticized by people I love and respect.  People who normally support me 100%.  I know that they're probably just trying to be helpful, but it's not helping.  Today I feel the need to respond.  I know that some of these people read this blog.   Know now that I am not upset, I just had to get this off of my chest.  But first, the criticisms.

My Parenting Style
My baby does not self-soothe.  She does not sleep through the night.  She does not take long naps.  She is still breastfeeding almost every 2 hours, but lengthens that to 3-5 hours at night.  I do not let her "cry it out" and we co-sleep a lot more than either of the parents in the house would like.  She doesn't last more than 2 hours during the day before getting sleepy and needing to go back to bed.  She is a "snacker" at the breast and eats for less than five minutes.  She rarely takes both sides.  I want her to self-wean, and I also want another little one soon (assuming we can get this one sleeping a little better).  We do vaccinate, but I've been bullied into doing it on the doctor's schedule instead of my own.  We will not circumcise our boy.  We buy organic as much as possible.  I was against rice cereal until I was for it.  And I'm still not actually for it.  I don't want her to have juice, processed foods, or unnatural sugars in her diet.  I'm not even (currently) ok with giving her a cake for her first birthday.  I don't really want her to play with Barbie dolls, although I don't really see a way around this.  I'd prefer if she never watched TV, but I do turn on the TV when she's in the room.  She wakes up when she wants to in the morning.  Lately I've tweaked that to somewhere between 6-7 am.  She's ready for her first nap by 8:30.

My Wifely Duties
The house is a mess.  The laundry doesn't get put away.  We're lucky if it gets upstairs.  Half-finished projects are everywhere.  The lawn needs to be mowed, and last years' leaves are STILL out back.  It's true that I have no sex drive, that my hair is cut short, that I don't put on sexy clothing in order to take care of the baby, and that I'm still carrying about 8 pounds of baby-weight.  It's true that I'm more "mother" than "wife" these days.

Yes, I am a perfectionist.  My five-page papers are usually more like 10-pagers.  And it is important to me to four-point the one class I'm taking.

Response, Backwards
I've always been a perfectionist, and I'm just now learning how to let things slide.  But it has recently felt like the moment I do give up a little on being perfect, that's the moment people make negative comments about how I'm letting things slide.  And remember that paper I wrote that was a half-page too short?  Well I have to rewrite it because he didn't give me a grade because it wasn't "finished" yet.  So that's why I prefer to do things correctly the first time.

My hair looks good short, and it may not be sexy right now, but I honestly don't try to look sexy for my daughter, or my nephew when he comes over to play, or for the people at the grocery store, or for the other moms I get to hang out with from time to time, or for my family.  I figure that these people love me for who I am on the inside and they don't need to see the gelled hair and the makeup and the big ol' boobies popping out.  For your information, when Matt & I have time alone, we cuddle on the couch.  And when we have a babysitter I do attempt to look pretty and sexy, and I can pull off pretty-sexy pretty well.  I mean, I do have these big ol' boobies.  And by-the-way, have you ever tried having longer hair that needs to be blow-dried, moussed, curled, etc in a bathroom this small?  Dear most-recent-person-to-criticize-my-looks: I happen to know that you once said that you could never date a woman who put lotion on.  So why in the world are you bringing up the fact that I don't go all-out every single day?  Also, I'm lucky if I get a shower before the girl wakes up or becomes sick of playing in her high chair.  Forget doing the hair and makeup.

Speaking of the baby waking up and the things I can't do because she doesn't nap: I know I have an elliptical machine in my basement.  No I haven't used it in a couple of weeks.  But I'm still losing weight, so suck it.  I've lost 20 pounds of baby-weight since the girl was born.  (Yes, some of that was the girl, but it still counts.)  It's not like I can go put her in daycare and work out for a couple hours every day.  It's not like I'd want to. When she's asleep, I have to figure out how to balance my time.  It usually goes like this: food, sleep, homework, housework, workout.  Or, depending on my motivation, the last two are switched.  And if I have a deadline looming, I usually do homework before I take a nap.  In reality, I'm lucky if I make it to sleep before she wakes up.  The other day it went like this: put baby down, start laundry, have lunch, go get screaming baby.  That was a 25-minute nap.  So, no, I don't work out.  And yes, I am still carrying baby-weight.  I think it's really unrealistic of  people to expect that moms lose the weight in less than a year.  Because you also expect us to take care of our children, work outside the home, work inside the home, cook meals for the family, do the grocery shopping, and have a personal life.

As for our parenting.  First of all, it's not like I have a ton of experience doing this.  And it's not like I had any two-parent role models growing up.  So I'm - we're - doing the best we can.  It's important for us that the baby doesn't cry.  For those of you who say that it's the only way a baby can communicate, I say bullshit.  You've obviously never spent much time with a happy baby.  They communicate just fine without crying.  And then when they cry, you know something's wrong and you deal with it.  And yes, I've spoiled her by holding her and sleeping with her and I'm reaping what I've sown there.  But I honestly don't believe you can spoil a baby.  So really, I've just dug myself a hole and now I'm working on filling it back in.  And since we don't believe in crying it out, it is a slow process.  Some days I feel like we/I/she makes a lot of progress.  Other days I feel that we've taken about ten steps back.  When we visit other people, or when people visit us, or when she's a someone else's house being watched, her whole life is out of whack.  So those days are the worst.  And that's what you see.  And then the next couple of days are difficult too because babies take a while to get back into a routine.

Here's the thing: All the fixes stem from all the other fixes.  So you can either do one thing at a time or a bunch of things at once, but either way, it's taken 7 months for us to create this girl and her issues, and it certainly will take longer than one night to alter them.  I understand that most of the time.  And as I said, we're making progress.  (For example, she's currently been sleeping for 2 hours.  This is magical.)  There are a lot of things (codeword for problems/issues/habits) that I/we/I have created.  And there are a lot of things that are just my girl's personality.  She is a distracted eater and will always be a snacker.  We have started introducing solids but sometimes her tummy can't handle all that extra stuff and she gets constipated and pissy.  So sometimes we need to slow down on that, which means yes she's still waking up at night.  I am ok with this.  And what I'm not ok with, we're working on.

Basically, what I'm saying is: Unless I specifically ask you for parenting advice, please do not offer any, or criticize how we're raising Emma.  You and I both know that aside from the sleeping thing, she's an amazing little girl.  And if we're being honest, I'd say about 99% of babies have sleeping issues.  That's because they're babies.  So I think she's perfect.  And we're doing just fine.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I’ve Been At Home for 10 Months – Still Not Bored

Here are some odds & ends for the beginning of April:
April 001
Turning my girl into a bookworm already.
April 003She loves going to Baby LapSit at the library.
April 011Sleepy stroller-nap-time girl.
April 012And super-cute toes poking through the blanket.
April 016  
April 018

Grandma’s new hobby is keeping my girl in adorable hats!
April 019She  LOVES playing with her toes… it makes me wonder at what point did it become impossible for me to suck on my toes?  Wait.  Is it impossible to suck on my toes?  At what point did I stop caring?
April 021Happy sunshine girl.
April 026 
April 027

Grandmas are good at Easter baskets. 
April 032
April 033

Mom can be good at Easter too – even if Emma didn’t get out of her jammies all day…
April 038And finally a picture of the SpinachMonster wearing her Halloween bib the day after Easter.
Easter weekend was wonderful.  Dad was here, we all went to Mike & Barb’s for dinner on Saturday. 

[redacted until further notice]

Back to Easter weekend.  Saturday night was fun – Joe’s birthday.  Emma with the grandparents.  Dinner and a movie.  Very nice.
Then Sunday was oh so sleepy and relaxing and difficult with the cranky baby all at the same time.  But it was a good day.
Having cancelled all my plans for the week, Emma and I started Monday with some sleep training.  (hahahahaha)  I’m trying to get her on a schedule.  I wish I had… another three or four days without plans to keep consistently reinforcing things.  It’s gotten better, but the tooth that’s coming in isn’t helping anything.  (I predict she’ll have a top tooth by the end of April.  I also predict I’ll be wrong.  Now I’ll be right either way!  …And wrong either way…)  The best part (also the most difficult) is the quiet/snuggly time when she decides to cut naptime short.  Also, the awake and cranky time when she’s ready for the next nap but it’s not time yet. 
Today we went shopping and spent money that we shouldn’t have.  I come from a long line of people who do that.  But don’t we all?
I finished my presentation!  YES!!!!!  So on Saturday, I will go up to MSU and present “Integrating Native Literatures into the Secondary Classroom” at the Michigan Council of Teachers of English.  People will look to me as an expert.  I will trick them into believing that I’m qualified.  It will be wonderful.  It’s a great beginning into my career as an academe.  That’s me.  Sarah Jayne Davis, Academe.  LOL.
Tomorrow I will finish my essay.  At least, I hope I will.  I mean, that’s the plan.  Mostly because the essay is due tomorrow.  I also need to revise the last one since I didn’t get a grade on it.  Sadface.
So hopefully this is what will happen tomorrow: Emma will sleep from 1-3 likeagoodgirl.  I will take her over to Ashley’s.  Matt will pick her up at 6 and take her to bed.  In the meantime, I will finish my essay and go to class.  Yes.  Sounds great.
Then Friday we go to Mason for a great day and Saturday is my presentation.
Wait for the update.  And wish me luck.  And send good thoughts.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Because This is Important

Washington Post Op. Ed. -- Friday, April 2, 2010
By Diane Ravitch

I used to be a strong supporter of school accountability and choice.But in recent years, it became clear to me that these strategies were not working. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program enacted in 2002 did not produce large gains in reading and math. The gains in math were larger before the law was implemented, and the most recent national tests showed that eighth-grade students have made no improvement in reading since 1998. By mandating a utopian goal of 100 percent proficiency, the law encouraged states to lower their standards and make false claims of progress. Worse, the law stigmatized schools that could not meet its unrealistic expectation. 

Choice, too, has been disappointing. We now know that choice is no panacea. The districts with the most choice for the longest period -- Cleveland and Milwaukee -- have seen no improvement in their public schools nor in their choice schools. Charter schools have been compared to regular public schools on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, and have never outperformed them. Nationally, only 3 percent of public school students are enrolled in charters, and no one is giving much thought to improving the system that enrolls the other 97 percent.
It is time to change course. 

To begin with, let's agree that a good education encompasses far more than just basic skills. A good education involves learning history, geography, civics, the arts, science, literature and foreign language. Schools should be expected to teach these subjects even if students are not tested on them.

Everyone agrees that good education requires good teachers. To get good teachers, states should insist -- and the federal government should demand -- that all new teachers have a major in the subject they expect to teach or preferably a strong educational background in two subjects, such as mathematics and music or history and literature. Every state should expect teachers to pass a rigorous examination in the subjects they will teach, as well as a general examination to demonstrate their literacy and numeracy.

We need principals who are master teachers, not inexperienced teachers who took a course called "How to Be a Leader." The principal is expected to evaluate teachers, to decide who deserves tenure and to help those who are struggling and trying to improve. If the principal is not a master teacher, he or she will not be able to perform the most crucial functions of the job.

We need superintendents who are experienced educators because their decisions about personnel, curriculum and instruction affect the entire school system. If they lack experience, they will not be qualified to select the best principals or the best curricula for their districts.

We need assessments that gauge students' understanding and require them to demonstrate what they know, not tests that allow students to rely solely on guessing and picking one among four canned answers. 

We should stop using the term "failing schools" to describe schools where test scores are low. Usually, a school has low test scores because it enrolls a disproportionately large number of low-performing students. Among its students may be many who do not speak or read English, who live in poverty, who miss school frequently because they must baby-sit while their parents look for work, or who have disabilities that interfere with their learning. These are not excuses for their low scores but facts about their lives.
Instead of closing such schools and firing their staffs, every state should have inspection teams that spend time in every low-performing school and diagnose its problems. Some may be mitigated with extra teachers, extra bilingual staff, an after-school program or other resources. The inspection team may find that the school was turned into a dumping ground by district officials to make other schools look better. It may find a heroic staff that is doing well under adverse circumstances and needs help. Whatever the cause of low performance, the inspection team should create a plan to improve the school.

Only in rare circumstances should a school be closed. In many poor communities, schools are the most stable institution. Closing them destroys the fabric of the community.

We must break free of the NCLB mind-set that makes accountability synonymous with punishment. As we seek to rebuild our education system, we must improve the schools where performance is poor, not punish them.

If we are serious about school reform, we will look for long-term solutions, not quick fixes.

We wasted eight years with the "measure and punish" strategy of NCLB. Let's not waste the next eight years.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ahhhh…. Warmth (and Memory Loss)

We’ve been having so much fun that I haven’t had time to even think about posting.  It’s kinda sad.  And so I don’t even know where to start.

Our life since my last post:

Monday: Maybe I had Noah?  And we played outside.  Or was that Tuesday?  Wish I hadn’t deleted all my calendar info on my phone to make room for new stuff.  If I hadn’t done that, I’d know what I did last week.

Tuesday: We had fun?  Or we played with Noah outside?  Or both?

Wednesday: Still don’t remember.  Oops.

Thursday: I had class.  And Emma and I did stuff.  I’m sure we did. 

Friday: Emma pushed herself to sitting for the first time.  I remember that.  Don’t know what else we did.

Saturday: Weekend.  Matt was home.  I’m sure we did wonderful things.  (Is it terrible that I don’t remember any of this at all?)

Sunday: Matt went golfing for the first time this season.  It was very cold.  Emma & I took a good long nap, I do remember that!  After golf, we dropped Emma off at Grandma & Grandpa’s and went out to dinner with Joe, Nina, Anna and Michael.  The new BW’s is not so good.  Also, it was silly of us to go to a bar during the MSU game. 

March 391March 393 






  Monday: Butterflies!  Emma and I drove up to GR and had lunch with Matt.  Then we all went to the Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies.  It was wonderful.  I love it every time we go.  Emma was so cute, watching the butterflies and trying to touch/eat the plants.  Next year will be so much fun with her walking around and trying to catch them.  March 398March 417March 407

March 410

March 418March 419

March 423 March 427 March 428 Tuesday: I don’t really know what Emma and I did yesterday.  Oh!  Noah was over and we colored eggs.  Emma’s first egg coloring was fun.  Noah had a lot of fun and Emma kinda just relaxed in her high chair.  I love coloring eggs.  I really wanted to hide them and have Noah look for them, but he’s not quite old enough for that yet.  Next year, of course!  The kids were wonderful – we all took a nap, which really helped my mood.  It’s so interesting watching Noah develop.  He’s at the point where he’s just starting to use his imagination.  He was talking to a toy fish and having it talk back – so cute!  Plus we found out that Emma loves bananas.  Yum!  And I started to teach Noah the “Apples and Bananas” song.  :)

March 429Today: Matt & I had dentist appointments this morning.  We went together and took the Monster.  He watched her while I had my cleaning and then the sleepy girl and I came home while he had his.  Then I convinced him to “work from home,” so he was here all day.  Wonderful!  Emma & I almost had a picnic with Aunt Jessie, but she didn’t feel well so that didn’t happen.  Instead I got a lot done around the house, we played with Daddy and even went outside.  It was a good day.  Plus we had (local pork) brats on the grill.  And then Matt said “Okie-dokie Artichokie” while he was playing his computer game.  Which is worth posting in my bliggity-blog.  Plus we’ve had the windows open all day and it’s warmer in my house than it’s been since October!  I love it.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Baby LapSit at the library and I’ll take Emma over to Aunt Ashley’s before class so I can get started on my next paper (four weeks left of class!).  Also, Dad is going to get into Michigan tomorrow at some point.  I can’t wait to see him again.  I’m sure he’ll have great stories.

So that’s what we’ve been doing.  I wish I could remember more of it. 

And in case you didn’t see it on my FB page, here’s the video of our trip to see the butterflies:

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to know how many of the food items in my house had the dreaded HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in them.  Because I didn’t want to know.  Normally, when I don’t want to know the answer, I don’t ask the question.  It’s a good way to live.  But lately, my food choices have plagued me.  I eat terribly for the most part – I crave fast food, candy, sweets and carbs.  But for Emma I want the best.  So really I should only put the best into me.  And I buy organic.  A lot.  As much as possible.  I mean, if there’s an organic option, I buy it. 

And after ranting last night about the high amounts of HFCS in school lunch and having a general understanding that HFCS is everywhere and impossible to get away from, plus reading that there are people out there who remove it from their diet completely, I decided that it’s time to ask the question.

March 388So how much HFCS food do I have in my house?  The answer surprised me.  In a good way.  Here it is.  Everything in my house that has HFCS or just plain corn syrup.  Not that much.  And even better, this is all stuff I don’t eat that much.  I’m proud of myself.  Apparently I’m a pretty good shopper.  And we’re healthier for it. 

Now.  If only I could kick that fast food habit.  I’ll keep the candy for now.  ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is what I’ve been doing for most of my day: reading Fed Up with Lunch.  It’s amazing.  It’s (obviously) taken off since January 1st when she started the project.  And it’s about it.  So here’s the deal: Mrs. Q has decided to eat school lunch every (school)day for a year.  (Poor woman.) And then she posts it.  And now she has guest bloggers who talk about school lunches around the country and around the world, nutrition information, and school lunch news.  This is all related to something that’s really interested me lately.

Here it is: We all have anecdotes that prove to us that sugar makes kids impossible to deal with.  So why so much high fructose corn syrup in their meals?  And we all know that good nutrition helps students succeed in school – why else would we preach to them that it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal before the Test?


So here’s a way you can help: Email your Representatives & Congressmen in one (or a couple) clicks.  It’s easy.  Do it here.  And then do it here to send a fax!

Revamping the School Lunch Program works really well with Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.  As does making sure that your schools don’t get rid of recess.  (Because they’re doing that now!)

This Farm-to-School Improvement Act sounds like a great thing too.  Did I tell you about Jamie Oliver’s TED speech?  Have you watched his new show on ABC?

Well, I know there’s more to say, but I’m trying to watch Survivor (yes, that’s right) and my daughter is banging around in her crib even though it’s 9:42 pm.  (Thank God for DVR!)


PS – We had a great day today and even went for a walk in the park.  Emma has proven that she loves to try to eat grass and leaves.  She also played on the swings for the first time (big smiles!) and almost fell down a slide.  More on that some other time.  :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

37 (or 40) Things That Make Me Happy

March 1551. Emma took three naps today.  THREE.  And they were all over 45 minutes long.

2. Emma’s cloth diapers drying in the sunshine.

3. (While we’re on the subject of pretty, colorful things) Fiestaware in my cupboards.IMG_2279



4. Talking to my best friend.

5. Knowing that my best friend and her family will be here in May and she’ll finally get to meet my girl!

6. Spending time with my family (Mom, Jason, Matt & Emma) up north.

7. Emma letting me sleep in (7:30!) and still getting to see the sunrise over the Bay. 

March 3118. Flowers blooming in my backyard: crocus (lots of them!), violets, and the pretty purple flowers that cover the lawn.

9. The teaser photos from Emma’s shoot last Friday. (My favorite is the black & white one – she’s sucking her thumb while holding HoneyBunny.  She doesn’t get much cuter than that!)Valerie Ott Photography

10. The fact that Emma can nom on a celery stick for over 45 minutes and still be excited by it.

11. Happy babies who talk to themselves in the backseat.

12. Bath time.  More specifically, my daughter, bath toys, and splashing. Valerie Ott Photography

13. Kitties in the sunshine.  How cute!  Wish I could join them or be them.

14. Jamie Oliver.  Glad I found his TV show.  You should watch it.

15. Getting my essay done even if it’s shorter than the page minimum.  So many of my essays have been over the page minimum that it should all even out.  Right?


Valerie Ott Photography 16. My high score on Mahjong Dimensions: 2,635,650.  Beat it.  I dare you.  (Ha!  You’re too scared to even try!)

17. Working out, washing the dishes, and straightening the house while the baby is sleeping.

18. My copy of Rethinking Schools.

19. Matt texting me to say he’s “omw".”

20. Saying out loud, while Emma’s asleep, “Daddy’s such a good daddy” because Matt helped me with laundry the night before.

21. Remembering (again) to do laundry.  And then putting it off for later (again).

22. Going out with Emma to Applebee’s for lunch and ordering the 2 for $20 so I could have leftovers for dinner.

23. “Around here almost = good enough” (thanks Dawn!)

24. Co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and breast-feeding – even when my daughter thinks I’m a pacifier.

25. Having play dates.

26. Having play dates rescheduled – I didn’t have to do ANYTHING today!

27. Blogs I follow: Enjoying the Small Things, Fuck Yeah, Motherhood!, and The Bloggess (among others).

28. My life.  Yep.  That’s a big one.  But really, I’m a stay-at-home mom with an awesome baby and an amazing husband.  I’m busy and sometimes I feel like going crazy, but this is where it’s at.  Honestly.

March 32429. LLL meetings. 

30. Sunny days. 

31. Happy, playful little boy cats (Dylan & RP to be exact).

32. Deciding I’m buying a new breast pump.  Because technically it should help me.  And it’s not like I won’t use it.

33. Ending this list on a weird number like 33.  Even though I know I’m forgetting something…  (Ok.  A lot of somethings.)

March 332 34. Remembering what I was forgetting: Playing outside with Emma and Noah.

35. Emma’s face when she eats puréed carrots and/or applesauce, especially when I switch between the two.

36. Emma rocking on her hands and knees as she gets ready to crawl.  She’s not there yet, but it won’t be long.  And I’ll be Ok with that.  Sooner or later.  :)

37. Ending on 37 instead of 33.  But keeping 33 the way it is.  Because I can.

(38. The fact that 21 of my 37 things have to do with my Monster.)

(39. And the fact that she’s my Monster.)

(40. Oh!  And Girl Scout cookies!!!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And a Good Time was Had By All

I feel like I’ve just had a vacation.  And it’s nice. 

Friday:  Emma had her first professional photo shoot.  I tried to reschedule it because she decided against napping and I thought she’d be too cranky, but it worked out really well.  Valerie, the photographer, was great.  She took a ton of photos in Em’s room (in the crib, on the floor, on the dresser, in the dormer, of us together in the glider) with the Monster in two or three outfits.  Then we went downstairs and took some in the sunroom and then some more outside.  Emma decided to have her meltdown then, but Valerie took it in stride.  She started packing herself up while I fed Em.  Then she came upstairs and took some photos of Emma nursing and then sleeping.  Yay for sleeping baby photos.  :)  The photos will hopefully be on her website on Tuesday – I’ll be sure to include a link and the password so everyone (all three of you) can look through them.

March 283 After that, Em took a short nap and then we went outside to play.  She really only wanted to play immediately next to me – the moment I moved to take a picture or something she freaked out.  So we went back inside and she helped me get ready to go up north.  Matt was at the Toyota dealership taking care of his car and so we drove over with his laptop and spent some time with him there.  Emma took another short nap and then once we were all packed, the three of us piled into the car and March 276drove up north.  We stopped in Big Rapids to have dinner (yummy bacon & avocado bison burger and strawberry lemonade).

It was great to see Mom, Bill, and Jason.  It took a little while for Emma to warm up to the new location and “new” people, but she had a great weekend. 

Saturday: Emma woke up early-ish and spent some time with her grandma while Matt & I slept in.  My brother made Matt & I eggs, bacon, and hash browns for breakfast!!! Emma got to have some applesauce, which she liked, I think… Then we all just relaxed around the house – Grandma showed Em the new toys she bought for her and Em & I showed Grandma the hats we just got in the mail for the little girl.  After a nap for the Monster, Grandma, Em and I dropped Matt off so he could get some work done, and then we went to go visit my fifth-grade teacher.  :)  I love small towns.  It was great to show off my baby and talk to her and Jeff.  Very nice.

March 294 When we got back Em got to see her uncle for a bit and then played some more.  I wrote half my paper too!  Not quite sure where the day went but pretty soon it was dinner time.  HOMEMADE LASAGNA!  Wonderful.  Delicious.  Amazing. 

Once Emma finally fell asleep, we watched the most recent Star Trek, which was good until I started getting queasy from the headache I had that wasn’t going away.  So I went downstairs and fell asleep while everyone else (Mom, Matt & Bill) finished the movie.

Sunday: Emma and I woke up by 7:30 – actually, I woke up before she did.  Then we went upstairs and played.  Mom made a lot of progress on Emma’s new hat!  I can’t wait to see what happens with those.  She bought this amazing little book on how to knit and crochet flowers which will be perfect for the hats.  After breakfast (waffles, French toast, and bacon!) we got ready to leave and were out the door by 10:30.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Jon – Saturday slipped by so quickly and he didn’t answer when I called Sunday morning.  But anyway, Emma was asleep by TC and I was asleep before Buckley.  We both woke up after Big Rapids when she decided she was starving.

So we stopped at the next exit.  FYI – do not stop in Morley, MI.  I think that was what it was called… anyway, the gas station was 2 miles down the road, was a combination gas station/hardware store/grocery and didn’t have a changing table in the unisex bathroom.  So Emma & I made do with the car… Then it was time to continue on, but not before the Monster demanded that I sit in the back seat with her.  Luckily Matt understands.  :)

So we got home, unpacked, relaxed, Emma took a quick nap, we had pizza and watched the last movie (Whip It, which was really good).  And now Emma’s finally asleep and Matt’s playing his new game.

In the future: Emma started doing that rocking thing that’s the immediate precursor to crawling.  Look for a post on how amazing and crazy that will be.  :)

I realize now that I didn’t take enough pictures this weekend.  Hopefully Grandma will post some on FB so I can steal them.  *HINT HINT*  So I’ll leave you with Emma & her horse, who needs a name:

March 302

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Don’t Mothers Get Mental Health Days?

It’s hard for me to admit when I can’t do it anymore.  I’m a perfectionist and my standards are impossible.  Intellectually I know this.  Emotionally, I feel like a failure when things don’t go smoothly.

Em’s been nursing every 45 minutes to an hour for over a week.  I don’t mind it really, except when we’re late for a doctor’s appointment and have to reschedule because they’re jerks.  But ever since she had her shots on Tuesday, she’s been very cranky.  Impossible to please.  Impossible to get along with. 

March 267 She hates sleeping.  She barely likes playing.  She doesn’t want to be left alone for more than two seconds.  I haven’t gotten anything done since Tuesday.  It’s killing me.

Sadly, this is taking its toll on me.  Yesterday I had a mini breakdown.  I put Emma in her crib, screaming, and went outside.  Then I was scared to go inside because what if she was still crying?  (She was.)  It took over three hours to get her to go to sleep last night.  And then she woke up two hours later and it took another 45 minutes to an hour to get her back down again.  It has just taken 45 minutes to an hour of her crying to get her to go down for a nap.  This is not working.

I finally broke down and gave her a bottle after nursing her three times in an hour.  There goes the milk I’d set aside for tonight.  Never mind the fact that I don’t have any milk reserved for our trip this weekend.  We’ll just have to stop and nurse.  Or maybe it’ll be late enough at night that she’ll sleep through the four-hour trip.  I doubt it.  I’m trying to pump enough for my Thursday classes, plus the eight-hour stretch on the 10th when I’ll be away from her, plus have a back-up supply in case heaven-forbid Matt & I want to go out on a date or something.  Or in case I want to runaway for a while.

Which I do.March 257

Luckily, I can forget all my troubles when she’s happy.  Because she’s cute and amazing.  I just want my old Monster back, the one who’s happy more than she’s cranky.  The one who eats every 2 hours and lets me pump.

Tonight I have class.  Matt’s going to try to come home early, but if he can't, we’ll see if the grandparents can take her for me.  Tomorrow we're going up north where there’s a grandma who’s more than happy to snuggle a happy Emma or a cranky Monster.  And some day I’ll stop feeling like I’m having a breakdown.   March 251March 254









Of course, during the happy times I take pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  269, to be exact, for the month of March alone.  That’s almost 16 pictures a day.  I should probably take more.  :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gardens. I love them.

March 240 Well, aside from the problems this morning with the doctor’s office, we had a great day today.  Actually, I should probably say that I had a great day today because I doubt Emma would agree with me.  The poor girl got four shots and an oral vaccine.  Mostly because the doctor knows how to put the fear of God into me about vaccinations.  I was trying to refuse the flu shots – she doesn’t need them: we stay at home, we have a cart cover for shopping carts and high chairs, Daddy washes his hands when he comes home, its the end of the flu season – but when the doctor started saying stuff like “she could die or become brain damaged” I caved.  Also, the little girl is remaining little.  She’s growing, but not at the pace the doctor recommends.  I’ve been reminded that she’s solely a breast-fed baby and the growth charts are for formula-fed babies.  I’m trying not to worry.  At any rate, she continues to be a tall, skinny baby with a not-huge head.  I love her and she’s wonderful.

(PS – I’m searching for a more like-minded doctor.)

After the doctor’s appointment, I took Emma to campus so I could go meet with my advisor.  It looks like I’m closer to my Masters degree than I thought: four or five classes left.  I’m taking one right now, and have plans to take one in July/August and another in the fall.  That means that I’m so close to being finished.  It’s crazy.  (By “so close” I probably mean 2012 or 2013.  More likely 2013 or 2014 when Em’s sibling comes around…)

And then it’s on to my Doctorate.  Go team.March 241

The rest of the day with Emma was great.  She got tired and cranky quickly, so I fed her more carrots, took a bath with her, and then we nursed again.  By 5:30 she was asleep and I got to do stuff for me.

That included working out, playing in my gardens, and painting my March 247toenails.  (I was going to post a photo of my pink toes, but after looking at it, I realized that toes are ugly.)  Here’s the proof that I accomplished great things in the garden.  Also, after spending an entire summer and fall away from my gardens, I now see the results of the neglect.  I need to power wash the fence and reclaim my side garden from the ivy.   But it was great to be outside this evening, getting my hands dirty.  I love my flowers and can’t wait for the daffodils to bloom.  They’re my March 246favorite.  I’m also considering transplanting some of the 29 crocuses that I counted.  That way they’ll surprise me when they come up next spring.  I love it when that happens. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s Been 6 Months (You’d Think I’d Have Learned By Now)

Emma and I took a great long nap after Noah left this morning.  Actually, it ended up being over two hours.  Very wonderful.

One slight problem, though.  I’d forgotten to change her diaper first.  So she leaked through.  Like C R A Z Y.

Oops.  My fault.  (This is why we sleep on top of a waterproof pad.  That and the spit-up.  And the drool.)

So the bed was saved, and all I had to do when we woke up was carry the waterproof pad with the baby on top of it into her bedroom and change her.  She was still in jammies, so it wasn’t like I was upset that her clean clothes were dirty.

I think I mentioned that lately I’ve been letting her pick out her clothes?  So after I got the soaked jammies and diaper off and washed her down with some wipes, I carried her over to the closet and let her grab whatever she wanted to wear.

And then there was a warmth on my side, and I realized that she’d peed on me.  Yep.  Well that one’s my fault too.  I mean, she was naked.  I deserved it.

March 210So I grabbed some clothes for her, took her back to the changing table and stripped.  Then I ran into the bedroom to change and back downstairs to grab the camera so I could take this photo.  The whole plan was to blog about the experience and say something like, “But you can’t get upset with this face.”  Because you can’t.  Also, it wasn’t her fault.  I’m the stupid one who had her on my hip without a diaper on.

I took some photos, playing with flash v. no flash and then I realized that, well...  She'd peed again.  Yep.  Again.

I wiped her up, picked her up, took the changing pad cover off the changing pad, wiped down the pad, and put Emma on the floor so I could put a new cover on.  But before I did that, I put her diaper on.  Because I didn’t want her peeing on her carpet.

Honestly, though.  A leaky diaper, a soaked shirt, and the changing pad too?  I thought I was better than this. 

Apparently I’m still an amateur.  Of course, it’s only been six months.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today Emma Grows Up

Last night, on the eve of Emma's half-birthday, I got all teary-eyed and said it out loud: "Emma's growing up tomorrow."  Matt laughed, and then said the best thing he could have said, ever.  "She will still need you for other things."

We've waited to introduce solids until today.  And what I was mourning yesterday - what I'm mourning today - is the fact that she will no longer get all of her sustenance from me and me alone.  Of course, we'll still nurse.  We'll nurse as long as she wants to - or as long as I can stand it.  (I know that it'll be impossible for me to let her nurse while I'm pregnant because I'm so sensitive about pressure on my pregnant belly.)  But introducing solids seems like such a big step for me.  She's no longer an infant - she hasn't been an infant for a long time.  Today that hits me hard.

Ever since I started thinking about babies, nursing, and feeding, I knew we were going to wait to introduce solids until the baby was 6 months old.  For the most part this has worked (except for the vanilla wafer Matt let her suck on and the green bean my mom tried to give her).  But when she turned five months old, I wanted to prolong baby-hood for as long as possible.  So I asked Matt if we could wait until she's older - much older.  He humored me, knowing I'd come to my senses sooner or later.

And I did.  Emma is so interested in our food, in us eating, in playing with spoons and sitting at the dining room table with us.  And this last week, she has transformed from an every 2-3 hour nurser to an every 45 minutes nurser.  So I was ready for today.  For the most part.

IMG_2246On Wednesday I made Emma her first baby food.  Following the directions of who-knows-how-many baby food recipe books that I own, the advice of one or two good breastfeeding books, and my instincts, we started basic.  I steamed and pureed the carrots I found last week at the farmers' market.  I froze everything using the two containers we have (going to figure out which I like best and buy more of that one).  And then I went out and bought her some good spoons and a splat mat for the floor.  We were ready.

March 166



And boy, was Matt ready.  He was excited - got the carrots out of the freezer, defrosted them, put them in her bowl.  





March 161



I made sure he took a picture of the last official breastfeeding-only session.  (I did my best to savor it, even though she wasn’t that hungry and Daddy was distracting her by taking pictures.)



March 167


And then I got out a bib and brought her downstairs to the dining room.

It was fun.  Emma was not impressed.  She wanted to play with the spoon and the bowl and the mushed carrots that ended up on the highchair tray. 



March 179



She spit more out than she kept in.  She learned to push the spoon away and turn her head.  She made an absolute mess, including somehow getting carrots on my jeans. 



And I survived. 


March 194


My baby is still a baby.  She didn't sprout into a toddler, despite my fears.  She barely ate anything, which is exactly what I knew would happen.  I'm ready to try again... tomorrow.




Too bad Matt can't be around when the diaper happens.  I'll let you know how much I love my BG3.0s now that they contain more than water-soluble breastmilk. 

I cannot believe she's already six months old.  I cannot believe how quickly this happens, even though I knew it would happen oh-so-quickly.

Happy half-birthday, Emma Jayne.  I love you.

Don't grow up too fast.