Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Falsie Awards

Check this link and read number four... heck read the whole thing but definately read number four. This world need watch dogs - watch cats, watch birds , etc...


Monday, November 05, 2007

Christmas instead of Chinamas

In light of all the hugely bad press about toys from China I thought I would share a couple of links I found to a online toy company that has divided its toy stock up by country so you may shop "Made in the USA" if you like.

Certainly it is helpful to know that you can shop local in lis global ecomony. I can certainly see a lot of future growth happening for some small US toy companies - and that is just wonderful. Visualize big Christmas bonuses going into some woodsmiths pocket. While you are at it, try and buy lots of locally made baked goods and locally grown foods this holiday season - and visit a local farmer.

Willow Tree Toys - Made in the USA

Willow Tree Toy - Shop by Country

A Farming Friend of Mine in PA

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ucky Trans Fats

While shopping with my husband I have been puzzling over new food labels all over the store shelves these days. We've all heard about the dangers of trans fats. So it would seem great that foods we loved are now free off it. Hold on to you hats but this "zero" thing in a lie.

Partially Hydrogenated soybean/cotton seed/vegetable oils will still be listed in the ingredients and these things are trans fats. Thanks to the FDA, as of January 1 of 2007 food manufacturers can declare a food trans fat free as long as the serving sizes have less than 0.5 grams of Trans fats (or partially hydrogenated *insert oil here*).

Feeling down? Wanna binge? The tricky label isn't meant to protect you from bad snack food, it is intended to protect the manufacture of the "food". Though I can't prove it I wonder just how many cracker adn cookie makers changed the number of treats in a serving just to get that little number under 0.5 grams. How hard to you think it was on their conscious to say maybe make a serving two cookies instead of three just so they could tell you it was "Tran Fat Free" and sell you the box of tainted treats?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Infant Potty training in the Media

Personally I feel the recent articles I have encountered regarding infant potty traing to be acurate and fair. Lets see if the link will work, and you can read and see them for yourself.



For anyone who finds this concept crazy you simply have to understand that if you have not seen or experienced a young child under the age of 12 month exhibit celf control you can not declare that it does not exist. How many of us believe in a God, or the Australia really is there?

My own son, now 12 months old, while unable to keep himself dry all the time does exhibit potty control, even during long car trips. He is aware that sitting on the potty is a special place to attempt to release urine and poo and often will pass gas there while "giving it a go". As many kids his age who have learned infant potty training he wets himself frenquently during the day because he is preoccupied with climbing, walking and running. Should I make the mistake of mentioning the potty without actually taking him to it we will have wet pants.

However he keeps his bedding dry at night most nights and now regularly wakes me up simply to have me carry him to his potty at 3 or 5 in the morning so that he can pee there. If he had no control over his bodily functions this would not be possible. Certainly a child with no control would simply live in the world with wet pants, urinating in a constant dribble. That is just not the case, their bladders and bowels are capable of holding onto waste until they feel a fullness and an urge to push it out.

An aware parent can help the child undress when it senses the child is uncomfortable, full or by knowing the pattterns of their childs elimination. Practicing this form of "potty training" in our home has given me great insights into teething, allergies and sense of non-wellbeing in my son. For example early teething is often accompanied by diarreah.

If you have not seen this in action you can not be so sure the control does not exist. The next time you see an infant pee the moment it's diaper is removed ponder this question - was it the cold air on their genitiles the gave them the urge to pee, or did the cold air simply let them know that their elimination was being tended to and that the given monent was a good time to ensure relief and comfort by having the waste attended to in that monent?

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Quick History of La Leche League

Seven women who brought breastfeeding back from extinction. When they founded their organization in 1956 only 21% of all infants in the "Medically Advanced" United States were breast fed at all. Now breastfeeding rates are at 71%. All it takes is open conversation between women to keep this going, to help truth persevere over "comfort proteins". Did you know about the Nestle boycott?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life is Powerful and Precious

I might be lucky to be alive today. Last night I had a very close experience with the mystery of nature and the awesome powers it contains. Certainly, this little tale can be taken as a warning to anyone who wants to believe it.

Yesterday evening we experienced several thunderstorms, the last of which hit very near bed time. The lightning strikes were close enough that we unplugged our computers. A few minutes into the down pour that accompanied the lightning my husband remembered the garage door was still open. He lay helpless on the couch smoothered by our eleven month old son. I volunteered to run out and close it.

I paused a moment at the door trying to decided which garage light to turn on, inner or outer. I settled on both so that I could really see the raindrops. When I stepped out I saw is was raining really hard and it was wonderful to see since we have been experiencing a drought.

I walked around the back end of my car to see that the rain was splashing considerably far into the garage, maybe three feet. I pulled the door down and slowed it down with my hand. I was in bare feet so I took three or four quick large steps towards the lock on the door. There I was in wet bare feet, turning the lock when I saw (not so much on the “heard”) a huge flash of light and I knew it was bad. I felt it go up my leg! Up the right side of my body! Ahhh! AAHHHHH!

I dodged back between the cars where it was dry. I couldn’t decide what to do, if I was alive, if I was ok. My leg hurt, my right arm felt funny. My skin looked blueish. My heart, I don’t know, it felt funny. I’m not sure it was racing but I was certainly freaked out. I climbed over the hood of my car and up the garage steps. No one could have paid me to go back around the cars through the wet concrete.

When I opened the door, there stood my husband and baby wondering if I was ok. Very dramatically I start up with “I’ve been stuck by lightning”. Well yes maybe I had been but obviously I was ok. My right leg still feels a little weird today, one day after and it ached last night, but mostly I’m just fine. What really amazes me is I don’t really remember hearing it. Hubby started telling me how it hit our backyard and that it was so loud the glasses in the kitchen cabinet rattled. Maybe there was a half second delay between the strike and the thunder. I don’t remember hearing it. However I won’t soon forget it either!

Lightning Strikes

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Breast Milk Donation

Great Link here

Doggie Gets a Hair Cut

So why would anyone shave such a beautiful dog? Because as he has aged his hair has become thicker and his ability to manage the heat seems to have lessened. The flea and tick drops from the vet also have failed to prevent him from picking up ticks in the backyard. MY guess is that his fur was too thick to get full protection. The last straw was finding a bloated and popped tick in the kitchen that my baby had stepped on and tracked all over the floor.

I swore years ago I would never cut his hair because he was so beautiful but between the previously stated problems and the amount of hair that has litterally clogged the vacumm cleaner I decided it was best. This way The baby has almost no where to grab onto Bluew and pull his hair. I call that a bonus.

It's all just one more sign of my changing priorities, and the limits of my time. I could have put more energy into brushing out Bluew but my back hurts, and my back hurts, and Grady needs me, and well... my back hurts. I still love the dog a lot, but there is more on my plate.

As to why the haircut is so ugly, I did it my self with a dull clipper set. It took way too long but Bluew was a really good sport. Now Mark he calls Bluew the "Ack Ack Dog" after the characters in Mars Attacks. When the neighbor saw him the first thing he said was "I thought that dog was fat, but he's not." I told you guys...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Death Among Us

It has been a while since I have had to go to a funeral, so this last weekend I was very saddened to accompany my husband as he said good bye to a good friend, Mike. I have burried aquaintences and grandparents, but I've never seen someone have to burry a buddy. Watching sobbing, and fighting my own tears I hope we don't have to do this again for a long long time.

My husbands friend was like a brother to him, someone who laughed with him and challenged, even aggrevated him. Mike was the center of a whole world of good friends who played poker, watched sports and traveled together. My husband even stood up for Mike when he married, briefly, in the eighties.

We traveled 8 hours to attend his funeral that didn't do justice to "The Mike" and left all of his friends yearning for a fuller experience and a deeper grieving venue. How could a funeral ever do justice to someone who was so very present and alive? Certainly not a funeral full of preaching. No one was able to get up and eulogize him properly, and it seems many fought the urge to walk out.

I find myself weeping at times for my husbands loss. I have been facing my own futility this last week, because try as I might with hugs and kisses I could never really make this better for him. My husband is going to have to process this sudden and premature loss all by himself. Not only do I want to make it better for him but I am struggling to process the loss too. How does someone so vital sit down on his couch and die alone at the age of 50? How vulnerable are we all? What thread keeps us all going, yet takes someone so special.

This is not something we will ever really understand, and like the other deaths I have experienced it haunts us in the strangest of moments. It seems unreal. Despite the open casket and the empty shell inside it this will seem unreal for a very long time. My husband has lived so far away from Mike and his large group of firends for a few years now. This will take some time yet to believe it is true. For them it is immediate and horrible. What do you do when you can't go see Mike two or three times a week?

Mike left without an official will, so as his passing is shocking enough, the familys impending struggle to settle his affairs leaves us all sickened and reeling. It has me wondering - are my affairs in order? Are we going to be ready when death comes for us? Can I spare my family unnecessary and prolonged pain?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Power of Language

Here is a link to an amazingly well thought out and poinient article about the over cautious use of language by the health professionals who wish to promote breast feeding. In in they artfully point out that "special", as is "breast feeding promotes a special relationship between mother and child", is sometimes too complicated and that "best" gives way for a lower standard to slip in. It leaves the reader asking if "Breast is Best" is the most effective way to communicate the truth about the importance of breast feeding.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech

I attended Virginia Tech for seven semesters starting in the fall of 1993 and left for personal reasons in 1997. During my time living in Blacksburg I came to really love the community and I absolutely mourned when I had to leave to find work. Blacksburg is a small town with a very strong "hippy", politically aware community. More than that, as a student who ventured into town I felt immeasureably safe. I was cautious at night, as common sense would dictate, but I was very free to relax and be myself. There was always something very isolating about the campus. I loved the arcitecture, but I had more than one acquaintence point out that it felt like a prison. Knowing I was only one of tems of thousands of student was very isolating in many ways. Had I been stronger in spirit I think I would not have suffered that quite so much. Certainly I had professors who were warm, approachable and despite my being one of 500 or 150 students in a class they knew who I was.
It is this memory that makes the stories comming from the tradgedy in Blacksburg that much harder to hear. Professors, even at this big school, love the students and the high ideals of their institutions. Though they feel free to criticize the compensation packages, they relish turning there 20 year old students "On".

What a horrid sacrifice was made by the professor who blocked the door with his body so that his stuidents might escape. How gut renching to see the halls of learning turn into a blood bath. I can't begin to comprehend the emotional chaos this is playing on Virginia Techs professors.

Norris Hall, as I remember was a really cool building, where the walls are covered with the accomplishment and project synopsises of it's brightest. The hand rail on the stairwells where in some places just painted piping. I never studied there, never learned there, but I walked its halls with friends. I can't imagine how they will move forward when the walls are now covered with lifeless blood.

West Ambler Johnston was my second dormatory during my freshman year at Tech. My room was by the elevators, noisy and isolated. I lived on the third floor, if I remember correctly. Many of my friends, in the VT Band lived on the second floor. I imagine that hall is a naturally good place to house the band because of it's proximity to the playing feilds. The dorms become large families too, with doors left open and socializing a common way to avoid homework. I know that these events in one part of the dorm, the fourth floor, will rock the lives of the 890 some residents who have lived there. Roomates may not always get along but dorm identity is a strong part of who you are and who you know on a campus as large as Virginia Techs.

I want to know so much more about what has happened and yet I am deeply impacted by the news. To see the campus that I ultimately loved propped up on the screen so CNN can have various pundits and students in shock ramble on about the events is heart breaking. The revelation that this angry student had sent warning signs out and that at least one teacher was disturbed by his writing, and attempted to alert the administration is alarming. That nothing was done about it is not suprising to me. Virginia Tech, it always seemed was a bit of an arrogant machine. Having had my own encounters with a neglectful mental health facility (granted 10 years ago) I can see how this students was not directed to help fast enough, or perhaps not directed at all. Without getting into my personal details let me tell you that when I asked for assitance and told the staff I was having a "crisis" they scheduled me an appointment for three full weeks later and sent me out the door with my little reminder. In my distress I forgot the appointment, and went back, still in crisis to ask for another and again was given an appoinment for 3 weeks later. Repeat this cycle yet one more time and I was ready to withdraw from school. It was when I told this to staff that I was pulled into a quick meeting where I was criticised for not seeking help sooner. I can only imagine what this student encountered if he sought help at all, or if anyone tried to seek it for him.
Here is a link to a list of the victims and their stories.

Friday, March 30, 2007

There was Poop on the Rug

I am having a crazy love hate relationship with my diaper free life style. Grady isn't sure if he hates the toilet all together or not. Every morning he is fine with using the "toilet", but to be honest he is peeing into the shower and it runs down my leg as he sits on my lap. So it's a yea and a nay. It certainly feels better for him, he relaxes afterwards. It's all those other pees and poos throughout the day that I seem to miss so often. The logic behind pursing this Elimination Communication is very solid.(Check out the book below)

What I find most challenging is getting over what other people will think of me scrubbing poop out of my rug. I've been up to my elbows in poop many times, I could really care less. Heck - I know it all came from me in the beginning anyway
Some days are good, some are bad. I think the reward is knowing that Grady really is starting to get it - he is just very determined to either be in constant motion or sound asleep, which makes it pretty hard to get him to sit on the pot even when I "know" he needs to.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Baby Food

Check out your reaction to this photo. Are you shocked? Offended? I'm nursing my son, and think it is pretty wonderful. Some people still confuse this scene with porn and would label me obscene. What do you think and why?

I saw something wonderful in Boarders book store yesterday. Another mother was sitting cross legged on the floor of the childrens book section nursing her third child, a six month old daughter. I was so proud of her. I wanted to say so... but I also wanted to act as though what she was doing was perfectly normal so I said nothing to her about nursing. Her curious daughter looked up as I walked by. I hope she realized as I said hello and pointed to Grady and Mark that I was not blushing. I was glad to know I wasn't blushing. I know I used to be a little confused about it myself. Now I understand it's just baby food and mother love.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Change is Inevitable

I have the bad habit of sitting on the couch. I watch too much TV and I let a lot of time pass by. I don't get much done. A to-do list on my fridge gets ignored and I try to get comfortable with the pangs of procrastination. I pretend they are not there and I have an extra cookie.
Admit it, we all do it. I am learning however that I can not hold time still. Try as I might the things I need to do must still get done. I suppose I put it off because I know more to-dos will come along. Despite the illusion I live, all these things are piling up.
I could get philosophical and reflect on "what I really need" which is always nothing. Then have another cookie. The problem with that is that my son keeps changing. Just a few weeks ago he was learning to roll over. Shortly after that he was "crawling" and now "the little engine that could" is trying to stand and walk.
I can not stop this progression. There simply are not enough cookies or TV channels. Even Girl Scout Cookies are powerless.
Of course I want to see my son grow and change and become one day a handsom man who takes his mother to dinner. Along with those dreams for him comes the inevitable reminder that time stands still for no one.

My waist line may actually be changing too. The lawn will start to grow soon and all the procrastination in the world will not keep my son from learning how to turn over the dogs, water bowl.
I just wish he was still 'still' and cuddley a little longer.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Idiopathic Urticaries

I went to the doctor three days ago because my cold wasn't just a cold anymore. I was swelling and itching all over. This doctor had never met me before so I think he wasn't sure I was for real. He looked at my swollen lips and swollen hands. He seemed to be trying to believe me that they were swollen. I showed him my red blotchy skin, I told him it itched. He was wide eyed, studious and perplexed. He told me not to take the Dayquil(R) or Nyquil(R) again, maybe that was causing the reaction. Then instead of a perscription for an antibiotic he wanted a blood sample. (Wow) He wanted a sputum sample (Cool) and then he sent me home with a perscription for an Epi-Pen.

Wow, I thought, he believes me. Maybe this is serious. Neither of us could figure out why I was having an apparent allergic reaction. Being the skeptic that I am, and being that I never take very good care of myself I didn't fill out the perscription.

Late that night I woke up to burning, itching skin, and swollen uncomfortable hands. The only thing I could think about was how tight my wedding band was. After an ice cold soaking in our tap water and some soap I finally got my ring off. I took a dose and a half of an antihistamine and went back to bed worried. My eyes and face had looked puffy in the bathroom mirror.

In the morning the skin around my eyes looked bloodshot and scary. I was still swollen and uncomfortable even with all that benedryl. I was so worried that I headed back to the doctor. After a grueling wait of about 45 minutes (with an appointment) the doctor finally saw me. I told him I waited all that time to show him my eyes. Interesting. He mentioned that he thought I had idiopathic urticaries. Wow, I thought, this guy has been working on this case. We discussed it a bit, he called for the blood results. Half of them were ready. I gave him that sputum sample from the morning. He had me pee in a cup. Not pregnant. Nothing wrong so far, not bacterial.

He told me that the problem with idiopathic urticaries is that 99% of the time no explanation is ever found. He wrote down urticaries on tissue paper for me. My baby tried to then eat it. He was then done with me. He said he would call with the results of the rest of the blood work. Oh, by the way, I asked, is this perminatnt. Not usually.

Like anyone would I came home and punched urticaries into Wikipedia. I think my new doctor (I haven't had one for over two years)was afraid to tell me I had hives. Not only did I have hives but they are of unexplained origin (the idiopathic part). I kind of laugh now because even though I'm itching like crazy I get the joke. If something is labeled idiopatic it logically follows that 99% of the time the cause goes undetected.

I woke up this morning with swollen hands and lips and itchy skin. Ha - the joke is on me!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Great Thought On Molding Children

quote by A.S.Neill:
"No one is wise enough or good enough to mould the character of any child. What is wrong with our sick, neurotic world is that we have been moulded, and an adult generation that has seen two great wars and seems about to launch a third should not be trusted to mould the character of a rat"