Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quinn365-- DONE!

Quinn's 365Project is officially done! I'm quite proud to have stuck to it. People laughed when I said I wanted to do a 365 of D's first year, and then laughed some more when I wanted to do it again for Q. And yet, here it is. I've accomplished little else in the past year-- the house is almost always a mess, the dirty clothes pile almost always larger than the number of clean ones, etc. But I now have this record of my kids' first year, which I figure I'll care about more than how clean our house was during that time.  So, yay. Now I need to get to work on finishing the photobook with these pictures... that will hopefully happen before his second birthday. ; )

BTW that sleep fairy? Total tease. We got two random, great nights and since them it's been back to the usual. And so life continues through the sleep deprived fog. One day I'll be able to think clearly....right?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Birthday Boy!

One year ago this morning baby Quinn came into the world, in a tub of water in my bedroom.  Exactly how I'd imagined it.  Yet also like nothing I could have expected.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the past year has been the hardest of my life.  That baby has tested me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  And now here we are.  Every day keeps getting better, every day I adore him more.

Here's to a very happy birthday for my darling baby toddler boy Quinn.
Music: Lullaby by The Dixie Chicks

Thursday, December 08, 2011

So the sleep fairy visited us last night

Quinn pulled one of his magic sleep tricks last night, and slept from 9:30pm-5:30am. I slept about 6 of those hours and OH MY LORD WHAT A DIFFERENCE. For comparison, the night before that my sleep looked like this: 1hr + 1hr + 3hrs + maybe another 20-30mins of dozing.

One thing I've realized this past year: when I'm used to sleeping less than 3hrs at a time, getting a longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep feels AMAZING. It is utterly astounding what a huge difference it makes in how I feel. If I've been sleeping 3-4hr blocks, though, getting more sleep feels nice but many times it's hard to notice much of a difference the next day.

The timing of last night's great sleep is particularly wonderful, as I'm trying to prep things for Quinn's first birthday which is TOMORROW. Yes, really. I'm currently sitting in the car, Q asleep, after picking up the ingredients to make his birthday cake (chocolate with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles, as mandated by Donovan). Another thing I'm realizing: the boxed cake mixes are not only more convenient, but a good deal cheaper to make, too...tho that might be my own fault for going for the fancy vanilla extract and cocoa powder. Hopefully it will be delicious, though.

So yeah, I also still need to write birthday posts for tomorrow and do a few other things, all of which are much easier to do with my head not in a sleep-deprived haze. So thank you, Quinn, for allowing Mama to sleep. It's like you knew you'd benefit from it in the end. ; )

Sunday, December 04, 2011

rantings of a sleep deprived mom

A few weeks ago I night-weaned Quinn to see if it would help with his sleep.  It actually went pretty easily, so I guess he wasn't really that hungry at night anyway.  His sleep had gotten better in some ways.... ironically, however, it's meant that my sleep is actually worse.

He's been sleeping a longer stretch from about bedtime (7-8pm) through till anytime between midnight and 3am.  Which is GREAT.  Unfortunately I can't seem to get myself to bed before 10 or 11pm.  And, he's also now taking longer to get back to sleep when he wakes up.  For a little while he seemed to be getting into a "schedule" of waking up around 2am and then sleeping again till 5 (when both kids would be awake for the day), which worked ok.  It still means I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep, but at least getting 3-4hour stretches makes a whole world of difference over 1-2 hours at a time.

But this week has been kinda hellacious.  He's been waking earlier, more often, and taking longer to fall asleep.  Two nights this week he was up from about 2-4am-- would fall asleep easily in my arms while rocking him, but if I tried to set him down or even move at all he'd wake up and start crying.  At least the mornings have started improving a bit, too-- D's sleeping in a little longer and staying in his room playing for a bit after waking up, and in turn I've been able to get Quinn to try going back to sleep when he wakes at 5am.  It usually means 30mins-1hr of rocking after which he might sleep another 20 minutes in his bed, but I'm hoping it might help "reset" his waking schedule and maybe eventually he'll sleep through till 6 or 6:30 rather than 5am every morning.

But, yeah. End result-- I'm getting very, very little sleep these days.  Or at least this past week.  To the point where it almost physically hurts.  It's also frustrating and a bit scary, as a few times while driving I've been so tired that I can tell my attention isn't as good as it needs to be, and it feels as if I'm at the equivalent of driving drunk.

And what sucks the most is feeling like there's nothing I can do to change any of this.  I just have to wait around for Quinn to figure it out and start sleeping better on his own.  Sure, I try all sorts of things-- rocking in the chair, nursing lying down to sleep, co-sleeping, not co-sleeping, using a nightlight, leaving the room brighter/darker, using white noise, keeping the room quiet, etc etc etc.  At this point I'd be all for trying to do sleep training, except I honestly don't think it'd even work (since the sleep disruptions are closer to morning when the body isn't as tired anyway, so he'd probably just cry for hours and waking D up as well).

Nothing ever stays one way for long, so I'm hopeful that next week will be better.  That he might sleep a little longer at a time, that maybe I'll get myself to bed earlier in the evenings.  But yeah, it just sucks to be so tired, to feel so frustrated especially in the middle of the night, wondering why in the hell this baby has so much trouble sleeping, having no idea when it will end (D started sleeping through the night at around 1 year, but I've also heard many stories of kids waking frequently well into their second or even third year), and not being able to do a damn thing about it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Canine visitors

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  It was so nice to have Zach home for 4 whole days in a row.  Also, his parents have been in town, along with his brother and brother's girlfriend who drove in from San Francisco.  So the boys have been having a ball playing with all the family, especially D.  The older he gets the more his love of his grandparents shines through, and it's really amazing and heart-warming to watch.

We also had some canine visitors this week.  Our friend Sasha was dog-sitting 2 dogs all last week, and both got to visit our house a few times.  The boys LOVED the dogs, seriously head over heels.  It was one of the first times that I felt a really strong tug at my heartstrings and desire to get a dog ourselves (which was then quickly squelched by remembering about our tiny yard, our unstable lifestyle, and the fact that I already have 1 kid who just left toddlerhood and another who's just entering, I do not need to bring another highly-dependent creature into our home anytime soon).

Anyway, it was very fun to get to hang out with the dogs, and watch the kids enjoy them so much.

Isn't he gorgeous?

  He also totally thinks he's a lap dog.

  Donovan walking Fox the dog 
One of the most precious things I think I've ever seen.

Along with this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(almost) One year

Quinn's first birthday is just over two weeks away.

It is with only a twinge of guilt that I confess that I've been looking forward to this milestone for the entire past year. It's a strange thing to see all the parents around you lamenting the passing of time and begging for it to slow down, while you yourself are cheering it on and hurrying it along. It's not that I haven't enjoyed this first year with Quinn at all-- I have. There have been many amazing moments with him, and watching he and Donovan learn to be brothers.

But this year has also been probably the hardest of my life. I don't know if it was the shock of caring for two souls instead of just one; me not exactly being a "baby person";  Quinn being a bit of a "high needs" baby; or experiencing what might have been mild depression...or a combination of all these. But this year chewed me up and spit me out. I have never felt worse about myself, as a mother, as a human, than I have in so many moments this past year, often questioning why I even decided to have children to begin with and why in the world did it have to be so damn hard.

As many of you probably remember from all the whining I've done here and on twitter.

I knew it would get better as time went on. As Quinn became more able and independent, as he began to crawl, to walk, to talk, able to entertain himself, etc. And it has. That light at the end of the tunnel has been shining and visible, especially lately, and it's coming closer. Already many things have gotten easier, and I enjoy him and my time with him so much more.  I know the years ahead will be filled with other, different challenges, some I can foresee and many I probably can't yet fathom, but in my limited experience so far as a mother I feel that I deal so much better with the challenges of a toddler than those of a baby. At least I think so. I don't know.

I realize I'm not alone here, and that many parents face far greater challenges than I, and with much less support, too. I'm not trying to get pity and I don't mean this as a "woe is me" post. I also don't feel shame in admitting that I am probably a less capable, less resourceful, less patient mother than many others out there.  I am trying my best, and for better or worse this is the mother my children have. I'm ok admitting my limitations, maybe because I know (or, at least, hope) that my strengths will be enough to carry me, and them, through.

(As an aside, I am suddenly reminded of all the times I've heard my mother lament how she made this or that mistake with us, how she wished she'd done better. I always thought she was so silly so thinking those things as clearly she was a great mom to us growing up.  Like with so many things, now that I have my own kids... I think I get it.)

I am glad to have all the pictures, the letters, my writings from the past year so I can remember and cherish the good parts- the sweetness, the triumphs, the love. And I am more than happy to hold them while closing this chapter and saying "Good riddance!" Here's to what's ahead.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a brief love post

For some reason we never made note of the exact date, but it was around this time of year nine years ago that Zach and I sat together at Matt's El Rancho restaurant in Austin.  We already had 3 years of dating experience under our belts, along with two more years of fairly tumultuous on-and-off status.  And there we sat, over tex-mex food and margaritas, and decided to give our relationship another go.

I didn't realize it at the time, but he already knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  At the young age of 22 that may seem odd to many people, but he knew.  I was still unsure myself, but quickly realized what I wanted, too.  That was sometime in November.  In March, he asked for my hand in marriage.  In May, we graduated college, soon moved to California, and married that following January.  We have not looked back since.

This January we will celebrate 8 years of marriage.  Still young, I know, but eight years is still something to be proud of.  I know many, many more will come.

I adore my husband.  He may infuriate me at times, but there's no one I'd rather spend my life with, parent my children with.  This past year has easily been the most challenging one for us as a couple, as a family-- new baby, job stress, uncertainty, etc.  But we have held strong.  We have been angry, frustrated, yelled and cried-- but always with each other, supporting each other.  He is my strongest ally, and I am so grateful for that.

Love you, babe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what we've been doing lately

Killing some time before school this morning. 
Quinn is: walking, babbling, starting to say words (swear he said "no, Mama!" today when stopped him from getting in the shower), signing ("eat" and "all done"), playing, loving the outdoors, incredibly awesome when in a good mood, impossible when in a bad one, still sleeping like crap.

Donovan is: enjoying school, making friends, missing his dad, needing Mama lots these days, very into dancing and music and singing, imitating signs that Quinn makes, continuing to be such an awesome and sweet big brother.

I am: doing ok.  Still tired, still wishing for better sleep, still frustrated at times... but those moments of kinda hating life and feeling so utterly frustrated by situations and things I have no control over, are getting to be fewer and fewer.  This past weekend I had one of those, and it was shocking to get thrown back into that place again, and realizing how much better the past few weeks have started to feel in comparison.  It helps that Q's mood has been better overall lately. That saying that you're only as happy as your least happy child is? SO TRUE.

It's Wednesday.  Wednesdays mean only one more night till Zach gets home.  Then we get our weekend, and then next week is Thanksgiving with all the good things that holiday brings.  It's also 9:45pm, which means I desperately need to get to bed since I have, at best, about 7 hours before I have to be up tomorrow, not counting midnight wakings with the babe.  So, good night!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

three bears on the bed

It's been a rough day with lots of whining and crabby moods on all our parts.  But I love these pictures of Zach and the boys reading comics on the bed yesterday afternoon, so I'll focus on them instead.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

{Guest Post} Don't Get Shucked; A Rant Against Corn Based Ethanol

My buddy Cyrus posted this on his Facebook page today, and I asked his permission to post it here since he (as a chemical engineer with much deeper knowledge of these things than I possess) did a much better job than I could have. I've been hearing a similar rant from Zach for a while, as well.  For my part I just think it's silly to burn corn as fuel when starving people could it it, instead. 

Those that know me know that I am very passionate and informed about the energy needs of the world and the state of our current fossil fuel driven economy.  I am deeply concerned that this is not sustainable on many levels.  Also those that know me know that nothing irritates me more than corn ethanol and the government subsides we waste on it.  I think we need to end these subsides, put our investment into efficiency and nuclear research, and face facts : we are squandering the fossil fuel inheritance in ~1 century that took 500 million years to accumulate and possibly irrecoverably damaging the biosphere.

It seems there is a pretty big range in the thermodynamic estimates of how much energy we put into making a liter of corn based ethanol but the energy you get out in a car is undisputed.  The realistic estimates for energy in put the total balance at very negative.  You would be better off just burning the natural gas we spent making the corn based ethanol.  This is a huge waste of our tax dollars and wastes are extremely valuable fossil inheritance.  Insult to injury, the agriculture ends up damaging the biosphere and driving up global food prices, something the poorest people on earth can ill afford.

Get informed – read this excellent blog :

Also if you want to check out the thermodynamics and do a bit of a “deep dive” on corn farming energetics, read this :

Even the congress knows the corn subsides are a joke :

Don’t get shucked, fight back against the corn ethanol subsides.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

sunday stroll

Zach and I got experience a rare event today-- a DATE.  Yes, really.  Can you believe these things still exist?  A fabulously wonderful friend of ours watched the kiddoes while Zach and I went to lunch and then took a little stroll down by the Capitol grounds.  It was pretty nice.  Mental note: do this more often.  (also: go back to the Capitol sometime with my DSLR)

Sunday at the Capitol grounds. Palm trees against blue sky. Water fountain. 
 Finished off the date with an eggnog latte. =) Red cup, red coat.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

goodbye, golden curls...

My sweet boy got his first MAJOR haircut today.  He's had trims before, but this was a massive style change, one he's been asking for for weeks now.  I'm having a hard time adjusting, to be honest.  All day long, every time I looked at him I felt shock all over again.

See these sweet curls? The California-boy waves?  The just-plain-awesome shaggy 'do?  


And he suddenly aged, like, 5 years in the process.

He is of course still adorable and quite handsome.  He loves it, is so happy with short.  It's another sign of me losing my influence on him as his mother-- up to recently he's been fine just going along with my hairstyle suggestions, but now he wants it short like one of the older boys in his class.  This is not in itself a sad or bad thing-- I love watching him grow into his own person with his own opinions and desires, likes and dislikes, and I will support his wants and independence every way I can.

But I still miss his long hair.

(I'm sure in a few days/weeks/months I'll get used to the short hair, and it will seem just as intrinsically "Donovan" as the longer hair has been for me.... It's just been a shock to the emotional system for this mama!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

craving creativity

A few days ago I found this article with before & after examples of 15 photographs that had been processed in Lightroom, along with brief descriptions of what had been adjusted for each one.  I haven't spent much time processing my photos in the past, well, 10-11 months, and reading that articles and looking through the pictures reminded me of how I've been missing it.  It got me thinking about how I may want to finally upgrade to Lightroom 3 (I keep hearing how awesome the noise reduction tool is.... would be so nice to have); how I want to photograph subjects other than my children (I love taking pictures of my kids, and if I may say so myself I think I take damn good pictures of them... but still, it'd be nice to experiment with other subjects from time to time); and I want to explore and experiment more with post-processing (for example, learning more about and becoming more comfortable with Develop panels like Split Toning and sharpening tools).
The main problem here, of course, is finding the time for all this.  These days it's all I can do to offload pictures from the camera and add keywords before sharing them on flickr.  But I miss taking time to play with a photo and create something beautiful with it. And, the only way to improve my photography & processing skills is to practice them.

So.  Not entirely sure how I'm going to do this, but I want to make a point of making time for photography again.  I figured that by now, by the time Q was close to a year, I'd have more time for myself.  Unfortunately that does not seem to be turning out that way.  His overnight sleep is basically about the same as a newborn right now, in that I never know how much time I'll get in the evening before he wakes again (this past week it was often at 9 or 10pm, after finally getting both kids down by 8pm).  Yet he barely ever takes daytime naps anymore, or if he does they're short (30mins).  Having the nanny helps, but most of her time here is taken up by both of us getting the kids fed and then to bed.  It's really frustrating having so little time for, well, anything.  But I think I need to make this more of a priority, maybe making time on the weekends.
These pictures were taken months ago.  I found them this morning and snagged a few minutes to play with them a bit while Zach wrangled the kids.  It felt kinda nice to do.  Hopefully I can keep it up.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Pictures and Camera Lust

D's costume this year was Super Grover.  This is his first year to choose his own costume. About a month or 2 ago he decided he wanted to be Super Grover, and has actually stuck to it the entire time.  Our nanny got into sewing over the summer, and volunteered to make a cape and sew the Super grover logo onto a shirt for us.  I then made his helmet following an idea I found on Pinterest, to take a kids play helmet and cover it in duck tape.  The end result, I have to say, was pretty awesome.
His school had a festival on Friday night where the kids wore their costumes, and they all recognized D's immediately. He was quite popular.  We also went trick or treating here in our neighborhood today, and again heard many kids calling, "Hey, it's Super Grover!"  D was a bit shy about it, but smiled each time.

Q had 2 costumes-- Zach insisted that he go as Quinn the Eskimo (from the song), so we tried that... although he wasn't a huge fan of the coat.
Today was a bit warmer so I opted for a lighter costume of a mini-Mack Brown.  I wish I'd thought about it sooner than this morning, or I might've been able to figure out a headset or clipboard or playbook or something else as a prop to kinda help the costume along.  But, hey, he still looked pretty adorable in his UT gear.

In other news, I had a bit of a photography-related epiphany this weekend... I don't think I like zoom lenses.  Most of my daily shooting is with prime lenses, but I use my 17-85mm for things like, well, the festival on Friday night, or parties, or other times when I figure I need the convenience of zooming in and out.  Except, zoom lenses are big.  And heavy.  And I'm never as happy with my pictures with the 17-85mm as I am with ones taken with any of my primes.  My dream zoom lens is the 24-70mmL lens which is even heavier than my current one.  Last year I bought a Canon 35mm f/2 lens and have been using it a lot lately, and I'm realizing that when I use it I don't miss the ability to zoom in and out as much as I thought I would.  And it's much lighter, faster, and better quality in my opinion.

I'm almost tempted to just get rid of the 17-85mm now, though it's still nice to have for the wide angle.  But, I'll be sticking to my prime lenses even more now, and have officially erased the 24-70mm off my wish list.  Interestingly, this means that now my next "dream" purchase has shifted to wanting a full-frame DSLR camera body (ahem).   I really like the 35mm field on my 30D which is approximately equivalent to what my 50mm lenses (Canon 50mm f/1.8 and Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro, aka my top 2 favorite lenses) would look like on a full-frame camera.

And yes, I do realize how ridiculous it is to want a $2,500 camera for a $80 lens (ok, so the better noise handling, HD video, live mode, etc would also be quite appreciated).  I have no idea if/when I'll ever upgrade to that nice of a camera-- it'd be quite a few birthdays and christmases put together.  But, hey, a girl can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

list blogging: 10.19

One more of D running through the leaves...

Listening: to the sweet sound of silence.  The kids both woke up by 4:30am.  Then they both fell asleep again around 6. I don't expect it to last, so here I am in the dark, enjoying the silence and solitude.

Eating: nothing at the moment.

Drinking: pumpkin spice flavored coffee. 

Wearing: a pair of jeans I just re-discovered hidden in my closet, t-shirt.

Feeling: tired. annoyed. frustrated. and yet, grateful-- for the small village we have around us that helps make so many things a bit easier.

Weather: after a teaser week of fall temps, it's been back up in the high 80's the past week or 2. Looking forward to fall and cardigans.

Wanting: for my 10 month old baby to stop fighting sleep so much. It's been a particularly bad week for sleep, one that makes me start thinking about night weaning and sleep training.  Except his sleep patterns and habits change and fluctuate so much, that even if I spent all that time and energy trying to change them I doubt any changes would even "stick."  

Needing: more patience.  With myself, with my children.  To learn how not to lose my temper, and how not to feel angry at them for being normal kids.  

Thinking: of trying out yoga classes at a studio nearby.  Perhaps exercise can help with my mood, and yoga's one of the few kinds of exercise I can see myself actually sticking to.  

Enjoying: this momentary stillness while the kids sleep.  

Wondering: when I will ever feel rested again, or will have any significant amount of time for myself again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

evening thoughts

I had the kids solo tonight, which meant staggered bedtimes, which meant D didn't hit the sack till around 9pm.  Spent an hour on the computer trying to take care of a few things, though somehow most of my to-do list still remains.  Ate dinner (forgot to earlier), unloaded & reloaded dishwasher.  Now it's suddenly 10:30 and I'm once again asking myself if I will bother to take a shower, as I promised myself I would tonight, or skip it for that extra bit of precious, precious sleep.

I don't know how often or when Q will wake tonight, though I can guess they'll both be up sometime between 5-6am tomorrow.  And then the day will begin anew.

It's frightening how much it feels like I'm kinda just treading water, and that's with immense support and help like our nanny and amazing friends.  I shudder to think of what all this would be like without them.

This too shall pass.  This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Babywearing Collection: Update

A few months ago I wrote about my babywearing collection, aka the many contraptions that made it possible for me to survive the first several months of Q's babyhood.  Well, soon after that I bought two more carriers: a Sakura Bloom Hana ring sling and a Boba soft-structured carrier.

As it turns out, these two are my hands-down favorite carriers now. ; )

I bought the Sakura Bloom sling specifically for a friend's wedding.  I wanted a more elegant way to wear Q, and so justified the splurge.  As expected, the sling is gorgeous, and the fabric is really amazing.  I love the linen, it's really comfortable and easy to adjust, while still having enough "grip" to feel really secure on.  It took me a while to really get the hang of ring slings, but they are now my first recommendation for any new mom as I feel they're one of the most versatile baby carriers-- easy on/off, small and compact for storage, and can easily accomodate newborns up to toddlers.  I switch back and forth between my SB sling and my BabyEtte superwide sling for running errands with Q (going to the post office, school drop-off/pick-up for D, or just a way to hold Q on our way to and from the car).
Quinn asleep in the sling during a friend's party.
Waiting to board a flight this past summer.
I did use my SB sling at that wedding, and wore Q in it for a good hour or two... and then he just got too heavy to keep using it.  So that's when I switched to my back-up, the Boba.  The Boba has almost the same shape as the more popular Ergo, but with a few small differences (the waist strap is slightly different, and the body of the Boba is an inch or 2 taller).  I worried that I wouldn't like the straps as much bc they don't cross in the back. As it turns out, once you have everything adjusted right it's actually really comfortable.  The Boba quickly became my go-to carrier, even being preferred over my beloved mei tai.
Now that Q's 22lbs front carries are getting tougher (or maybe I need to re-adjust something again?) but I can still wear him on my back for long periods of time.  I've even worn D (33lbs) in the Boba a few times when necessary and it's been surprisingly comfortable.
Walking back to the car. @Boba #bobafamily #happybwing
Walking back to the car from a beach in Tahoe.  I think he liked getting a ride like his brother. ; )
Zach also uses the Boba often, usually when he's having trouble getting Quinn to fall asleep so he'll put him on his back.  I don't care what anyone says, dads "wearing" babies are awesome. =P

Sunday, October 09, 2011

On the 13th day the strike ended. And there was much rejoicing.

***KNOCK ON WOOD***  The nursing strike is over!! (read here and here for the backstory)

Friday night at bedtime (after having the 2nd chiro adjustment that morning, this time a bit more aggressive of one using the activator) Q nursed, but only once he was already mostly asleep.  This was the same as he'd done twice before, so while I was happy I did not expect it to mean anything.  Again, twice before he'd nursed like this one isolated time, and then not again for 4-5 days.

Then Saturday morning he nursed again (still only in his sleep).  And again during his nap at 11am.  And a third time during another nap, at 3pm.  That third time he even opened his eyes and seemed semi-awake through part of it.  Could this be?  I didn't want to get my hopes up, as so many times over the past 2 weeks I've become hopeful and then had those hopes coem crashing back down when the little progress we'd made completely reversed itself.

And then that night, last night, I got him ready for bed and went to our rocking chair.  And he latched on. Happily, easily, willingly.  And nursed to sleep.  And he did that again this morning, and has been happily breastfeeding all day today, as if nothing ever happened.

Part of me is anxiously waiting for him to start refusing again.  part of me is so very happy and relieved that this is finally over.  And part of me wants to shake him and yell, "What the hell was all that about?!" Which, clearly, I won't do.  I'll just be happy that he's come around, and I can say good-bye to that infernal pump.

(As an aside, I've always admired moms who pump, either at work or who exclusively pump for their babies at home.  Then after 2 weeks of this, my admiration for those moms is about 1,000x greater.  You truly deserve a medal.)

What makes me laugh is that he broke the strike on the 13th day...  which is a number I've always kinda had a soft spot for, being born on a 13th.  Is this his little trick on me? Who knows.  I'm just glad I did keep trying.  I don't think I could've done it without the support and encouragement of the lactation consultant I've been working with.  Seriously, if anyone in the Sacramento area ever needs breastfeeding help, call Jaye Simpson.  She's an IBCLC, and is completely amazing and really knows her stuff.  

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

tongue tied no more

You know how sometimes you look back on something and all of a sudden it seems so obvious?

I just happened upon a picture of D as a baby sticking his tongue out:
Holly Lake/day148

That's when I realized that I've never seen Q able to stick his out anywhere close to that.  This is about his limit:

Quinn had his frenectomy today.  I didn't expect to get scheduled in that fast, but was nice to just get it done.  The dentist and office staff were great, though they did look a bit, um, taken aback by Q being such a big baby.  I guess the vast majority of their clients for this procedure are newborns just days or maybe weeks old.  I swear I saw fear in one woman's eyes as she realized she'd have to help hold this wiggly, STRONG 22lb baby still while the doctor clipped the frenulum.

As predicted, Q was NOT a fan of the procedure.  I had a moment of regret at doing this right when he's not nursing, as usually moms breastfeed their baby right afterwards to help them calm down and stop the bleeding.  As it was, he bled a little, and after spending about 5 minutes in a darkened room in their office he calmed down and was happy again.

When we got home I gave him a dose of Motrin (wish I'd remembered to do that beforehand), and then sat him down to eat as I figured he was hungry.  He'd been fussy up to then, but I think a lot of it was the hunger as he cheered right up.  I'm supposed to massage him under the tongue a few times a day for a few days to help prevent reattachment.  The first time I tried it he actually let me, which was a shock, and it didn't seem to bother him in the slightest.  Unfortunately, the second time he was a bit less happy about it and jerked his head, which caused my finger to jam right into the base of the underside of his tongue, and he was upset about THAT for a good 10 minutes.

I've been trying to watch his tongue all day to notice any differences, and finally in the evening I saw him play with it and seem to have a much wider range of motion than he had before.

Tomorrow we have another adventure.  I made an appointment for the massage therapist that Jaye recommended, but it's not for two weeks.  So, after hearing two separate stories of babies who went on long nursing strikes that then ended after getting a chiropractic adjustment, I figured it's worth a shot and found a nearby practice that'll see us tomorrow.  Don't quite know what to expect, I've always had mixed feelings about chiropractic (not ever knowing much about it at all, to be honest).  I did get to witness a friend get adjusted a few months ago, she swears it's changed her life.  I'm not sure what to expect, guess we'll just see what happens.

Monday, October 03, 2011

On Strike: Day 8

That's right, we have completed day EIGHT of our nursing strike.  "Two to four days" my ass.  By now I've heard enough stories of extended nursing strikes (with about equal amounts of happy endings, and weaned-forever endings) to know that maybe a lot of nursing strikes do end after just a couple of days, but an awful lot of them can last for weeks.

That said, today was the first day that I've felt truly hopeful in a while.

Last week as a whole was pretty rough.  It's surprising how upsetting this whole thing has been, and how physically exhausting worrying is.  My main concern is hydration.  Up until the past day or two, Quinn was hardly drinking ANY fluids at all.  He was still having about 5 "wet" (cloth) diapers over 24 hours, but they were definitely NOT "sopping wet" as they should be, and I think on Saturday he gave me a big scare by going 5 hours in the day without peeing (six continuous dry hours is a sign of dehydration).  So basically, all last week I was waiting to have to make the call to take Quinn in to the hospital for an IV, and all the horrors and annoyances involved.  Not a very happy place to be, emotionally.

Also, pumping sucks ass.  It's hard to find the time when I can sit down for 15 continuous minutes and not have Quinn need me for something.  Not to mention the pain of washing pump parts and bottles, and the various drinking containers I kept trying to get him to use.  Oh, and the mess of cleaning up after eating solids every few hours, to make up for the nutrition and liquids he wasn't taking in via breastmilk.

And, while it's not as big a priority (especially compared to keeping him hydrated, my #1 concern) I also missed just the act of breastfeeding.  Not just for the ease of it (nothing to wash, easy way to soothe him, even get him to sleep some of the time....) but also the act in and of itself.  I miss breastfeeding him.

So, anxious and worried, we kept trying different things, kept offering him solids to eat every couple hours, kept track of his diapers in a notebook, etc.  On Thursday he nursed once, in his sleep, as I held and rocked him for a nap around noon... then went back to refusing as usual.  Over the weekend he thankfully started drinking a little bit more-- would accept up to 2oz of water or breastmilk at a time from one particular cup.  This was maybe getting 2-4oz over the whole day.  But, it was something, more than he'd been taking before.

Yesterday he had his first honest-to-god wet diaper.  Last night I took a bath with him and while he was too distracted to really focus on my boobs much, he did latch on twice for about a second each time.  Today, he even had one that was soaked, along with several others that were more wet than they'd been all last week.  Today he even nursed during his nap at noon, and then during dinner and bedtime drank 6.5 whole ounces of breastmilk from the cup.  This is all very, very encouraging.  Throughout the afternoon and evening he still refused to nurse again, but seemed more tolerant of being offered-- like he was actually almost entertaining the idea rather than being immediately offended by the very notion, as he has been up to today.  Just the fact that he's drinking more and his diapers are wetter, and thus I don't have to be as worried about him getting dehydrated, is a huge relief off my shoulders.  HUGE.

I'm trying to prepare for all this progress to be gone tomorrow.  It feels like there's been a lot of "one step forward, two steps back."  But the random nursings on Thursday and today are encouraging, signs that hope is not all lost.  That he may still decide to come back to breastfeeding.  That might just be a tiny light at the end of the tunnel up ahead.  (I also don't want to get my hopes up...)

This morning I also met with Jaye Simpson, a local IBCLC.  She had a few encouraging things to say and tips to try out.  She also noticed immediately that Quinn actually has a tongue tie-- something that we were obviously able to work around, but knowing it makes sense of some things we went through in his early weeks, and also may have been a partial reason for why he nursed so often his first 6ish months.  She also noticed that he seems really tight and tense-- muscles in the back on his head feel unusually tight, and as she was checking the range of motion of his arms she noticed that he really resists letting you push his arm up near his head, etc.  He's always been this way, just super tight and strong-- and she thinks it may have contributed to his general crankiness.  Also, he may have a slight misalignment (his shoulder blades don't quite match up, his shoulders seem raised a bit high, etc).  Who knows if these things have anything to do with the strike at all, but she recommended having the tongue tie clipped and referred me to an infant massage therapist (who does Bowen therapy, if that makes sense to anyone reading) to help relax him a bit.

Interestingly, right after this I went to a playgroup meetup at a park, and one of the other moms there has also worked with Jaye and gone to this same massage therapist and raved about what a difference it made for her daughter.

So I'm now working on making appointments for those referrals, and continuing to work with Quinn to try to get him back to the breast.  I don't really know what to expect, really.  I don't know when or if he'll ever go back to nursing.  We'll just keep on trying what we're doing and see where that gets us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Strike

Quinn is on a nursing strike.  It's been 3 days now.
If he's gonna refuse to nurse, guess I'll just try to get as much other food in him as I can.... #nursingstrike #day1
It started Monday.  He nursed all through the night as usual, then when he woke up at 6:30 or so I tried nursing him and he just didn't seem interested.  Which was strange, but not unreasonable as he'd just fed at 5:30.  So we played a while, got D ready for school, and before leaving I tried to nurse him again... nothing.

He nursed at 9am, but then refused the whole rest of the day.  It was so weird... this baby who nursed about every hour his whole first 6 months, who almost never refuses the boob, suddenly wanted nothing to do with it.  Anytime I tried he pushed away and fussed.  I got a bit worried, but I made sure to offer lots of solid foods and figured he'd just nurse a bunch at night to make up for it.  He nursed without issue at bedtime (though only taking one side, refusing the other), and I prepared for a long night of many wakeups.

He woke up around 11pm, I think. I went into his room, picked him up, and sat down to nurse him as usual.  And he refused.  And he kept on crying.  Actually, he was screaming, with a bit more urgency than is usual.  And it was at this point that I had a moment of sheer terror and panic, because there I was in the middle of the night with a screaming baby who wouldn't nurse, I didn't know if I could calm him down, Zach was away, and it also suddenly hit me that my baby hardly drank anything all day and now he's not gonna drink anything at night either and ohmygod he's gonna get dehydrated and I'll have to take him to the hospital.

I did get him calmed down, and back to sleep.  He woke up once more that night (which is actually kind of amazing as he normally wakes up 3-4 times or more) and he again refused, and managed to calm down and go back to sleep after a while.

And he hasn't nursed at all since.  Here's what I've been doing:
  • Pumping to try to keep up my supply, though I'm not doing it nearly as often as I should (managing maybe 3-4 times in 24hrs, it's really really hard to find time to pump with a baby underfoot) and I know I'm not pumping nearly as much as he usually gets from me.  
  • Offering the boob throughout the day, trying different positions and levels of sleepiness.  He'll let me hold him as normal (even in cradle hold), snuggle, etc, but as soon as he sees a naked nipple he struggles and pushes away.  
  • Offering Quinn lots of solid foods, trying to go for both high calorie/fat foods like avocado and cheese, and high water-content foods like strawberries and applesauce.  He's eating a decent amount of food, so there's that.
  • Offering water and pumped milk by bottle, cup, sippy cup, and/or straw. However, he just doesn't seem interested.  He'll play with them, take a sip or two, but that's it.  Today he drank a little bit more water than yesterday, but we're still talking a few ounces at most.  
  • Keeping track of diaper output.  Yesterday he had 5 medium-wet diapers.  Today's looking about the same so far, along with 2 big, soft poops.  Not great, but not terrible, either.  The poops were encouraging to see.  
  • Alternating between trusting that Q knows what he needs and will nurse/drink when he needs to, and completely freaking out because he's not drinking anything
For his part, Q's been fairly happy with occasional moments of seeming in pain over something.  I took him to the doctor today and his ears checked out fine, as did his throat.  He might be teething, but that's nothing new-- in the past 2 months he's sprouted SEVEN teeth, all before this strike started.  

Today I found a lactation consultant who works in the area and does free phone advice, so I talked to her some today and may call again if the strike continues tomorrow.  She invited me to the parent group meeting she holds every Friday at a park nearby.  It's right during the monthly parent picnic at D's school, but if Q's still not nursing by Friday morning I may have to go to the group meet instead to try to get some hands-on help.  

So that's what's going on over here.  Apparently most nursing strikes last between 2-4 days.  Tomorrow will be day 4.  So, um, I guess we'll just see what happens...


UPDATES: Day 8, and Day 13 (end of the strike!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Montessori Post-- The Three Year Commitment

I have another post up at, this one about the three-year cycle that is a key part of the Montessori classroom and why it's important:

The Montessori primary program is designed as a three-year cycle.  Much of the material and exercises in the first year or two not only help the child achieve a direct, immediate goal (such as dressing and cleaning after themselves, or learning the sounds of each letter of the alphabet), but also serve an indirect purpose of laying the foundation for future work and learning.  For example, the math material is a series of exercises that guides the child starting with the most concrete and basic introduction to numbers and quantity.  Over the following three years the lessons build upon themselves, adding layers of abstractness and an increasing understanding of mathematical concepts, until the child is eventually able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide -- with a deeply ingrained understanding of what those operations mean -- using only pencil, paper, and his or her head.  
Head on over to read the whole thing, along with an excellent post (and comments) on the Grace and Courtesy lessons (or how we teach the children to behave like civilized and respectful beings vs wild baboons).

In other news, we're going through a bit of a nursing strike over here.  I keep hearing that these things usually only last 2-3 days, and we're currently on Day #2 so here's hoping.  I keep going back and forth between feeling calm and secure in trusting that Q knows what he needs, and freaking out about how he's not drinking anything (other than a sip here and there of water or breastmilk) and will he get dehydrated?!  So, yeah.  Hopefully this ends soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back to School

Despite missing his entire second week at school, D's been doing really well this week.  Just jumped right back into the flow of things, even was super excited to stay the full day (till 2:30pm) and get to take a nap at school, which apparently really really exciting stuff.  When I dropped him off on Monday morning he seemed a bit nervous at first, until his teacher invited him to help her take their class bunny outside to the playground.  He then strode confidently away next to her, calling back to me, "I'm gonna go take the bunny outside, Mama."  Oh, my boy.  Just... swoon.
Donovan with his teacher & another classmate, about to take Buttons the bunny outside to the playground. #swoon #Montessori

By chance, I came across a video today of Trevor Eissler (author of Montessori Madness, which I just today started reading after having the copy by my bedside for months now) talking about Montessori and how it compares to traditional education.  I've passed the video around on Twitter and Facebook, but for those of you who haven't seen it I hope you'll take the 5 minutes to do so now.  I think this video is an excellent short summation of the benefits of a Montessori education.  It served as a reminder to me of why I feel so strongly about wanting my children to attend Montessori.  

Our education system is broken and in dire need of a complete overhaul.  It's unfortunate and ironic, considering its roots, that Montessori schools tend to be private and thus too expensive for most families to consider. I hope one day we can tear our current education system down properly, and build it back up using a model like the Montessori method which we know (thanks to much research both on Montessori students specifically, and also in general on the factors that foster learning in children) is so much more in line with how children learn than traditional education.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picture Post (bc what else do you do when you have no energy for a real post?)

Zach's new job is going well so far.  I love that most of his co-workers used to work at the place he worked at up till last year.  It's like a reunion in a start-up.

D's better and back at school (and doing awesomely there), Q goes back and forth on seeming like he might still be fighting this cold a bit.  I've had a sore throat and cough for I don't even know how long now and am really really ready for it to go away.  I couldn't even read D's bedtime story tonight bc I kept coughing every other word. It doesn't help knowing that with D starting school, we'll likely all be sick a lot this fall.

The good news is: I love our nanny, and I love our friends, who help make this challenging phase of life a lot easier.

Anyway. I should go to bed but here are a few cute pictures to share, just because.
Budding photographer? ; )

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life in a List: 9/16/11 (for lack of a more creative title)

It's been one hell of a week, what with D being sick and home from school all week, and Q being cranky and sleepless due to FOUR teeth all coming in at once, and Zach being gone for his business school visit/interview...  But, we've survived, and Zach comes home tomorrow (if only for 1.5 days before starting his commuter job on Monday) and figuring (hoping) that next week will be better.

I think I might try out doing short posts based on a list of prompts that I came across recently, as a way to write up a post that captures some of what I'm doing, thinking, feeling, without having to put as much mental energy into writing a full, cohesive post.  And  it reminds me of Jessica who likes writing lists and seems like it might be kinda fun. So, here goes.

Listening: to lots of Bon Iver, after being introduced to him by a friend a few weeks ago.

Eating: sweet potato fries that I made! My self! In the oven! I'm so not domestic, or a cook, or any of that, so this is pretty cool.  I figure I need to take more initiative with cooking since Zach will be gone 4 nights a week.

Drinking: yummy iced coffees, thanks to the Keurig Zach got me as a birthday gift.  It's so fabulous and wonderful. 

Wearing: same old, same old-- jeans + nursing tank top.

Feeling: tired. Oh so tired.

Weather: hot and sunny, though yesterday and today it's been cooling... can feel fall in the air.  Zach, meanwhile, is in New Hampshire right now where the evenings are already dipping into the 40's.  Um, yikes.

Wanting: Sleep.  What else is new?

Needing: Sleep.  And more patience.  And our lovely friends, who thankfully have been around a lot, and are oh so very helpful with the kids and just so very fun to be around.  So, that need is being met at least.

Thinking: Of the year ahead-- Zach's new job that will keep him away from us 60% of the time, and of the decisions that lay ahead as he applies to business school and we eventually have to decide where to go.  There may be some very difficult conversations ahead of us as we weigh school ranking, cost, location, etc.

Enjoying: Q's infectious smile and giggles, and how entertaining it is to watch him feed himself; D's random thoughts and re-enactments of Top Gear episodes; new books on my Nook reader (another birthday gift, thanks to my dad); my iphone which I am so completely in love with it's not even funny.

Wondering: why I'm not in bed already, at 9:30pm.  Good night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

gains and losses and siblings

One of my biggest surprises as a mother of two is this feeling of almost mourning my time as a mother of one.  I miss my time with just Donovan.  More specifically, I miss having time with Donovan where I'm not already dead tired (there must have been a time for that before I got pregnant with Quinn, right? Right?).

A lot of this is due to Quinn being such a high-needs baby.  If I had a nickel for every time I've had to say, "I'm sorry, sweetie, but I can't [race cars/read a story/sit with you/etc] right now" over the past 9 months, Donovan's college tuition would be paid for.  Babywearing helped a lot, indeed was a lifesaver, but still-- anything that required me sitting?  No way.  Or shall we say, I couldn't do it without Quinn getting very upset.  And I don't fault him-- he's a baby, he has needs, and that's not at all his fault.  It's just life.  But Donovan has most definitely gotten the short end of the stick as far as "Mommy Time" goes.  Quinn has been a very squeaky wheel, and D much more silent, so guess which one gets more grease?

I am at least starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In the past few months Quinn's disposition has become much sunnier, in large part thanks to becoming mobile.  This brings on a whole other set of challenges, such as trying to keep Quinn from messing with whatever Donovan is playing with at the time (being the classic younger brother, Quinn of course wants to do whatever big brother is doing. Sometimes this is ok with big brother, sometimes... not).  But Quinn is better able to entertain himself now, which means I get to play a few race car games with D every once in a while.

Also, Quinn's become more receptive to other people, and lately I've been able to leave him with the nanny or friends and know he won't scream at them the whole time (you think I'm joking, but I think we kinda scarred the nanny one time when Quinn was a few months old and she watched him while I took Donovan to Starbucks just the two of us. It... did not go well).  Last week she watched Quinn while I took D to meet up with Zach at work and then go to lunch together, and I had one of those moments where I remember what an amazingly awesome kid Donovan is when I get a chance to just be with him.

Isn't that sad?  That that was a realization.  I mean, I know Donovan is beyond awesome, but when the vast majority of my time with him is divided between the two kids, and my mind occupied with how to keep one of them happy without the other melting down, and also try to get anything else done, it's easy to not pay attention.  To even forget.  To get so distracted by the stress and hassles of daily life, and forget to stop and enjoy.

A couple of months ago I had one night when I cried on Zach's shoulder out of sadness that I was missing out on so much of Donovan's current state of being.  I've viewed Quinn's first 6-12 months as a period of time that I try to enjoy, but mostly try to get through.  It's getting a lot more fun now, but the first 6 months, certainly, were so much work, so difficult, so draining, that I was counting each day as it passed and glad to have survived it.  Part of that was Quinn himself, part of it was simply the logistics of trying to care for and fulfill the needs of two very different children.  And, mentally and emotionally, I'm at peace with feeling this way about these early months, because I know how much I'm going to enjoy the toddler years and beyond, starting from about now on.  But, focusing so much on Quinn, that night I had the realization that while I was letting Quinn's early months pass by, Donovan's current stage of two- and three-year-oldness was also passing.  And that, I did want to enjoy and savor.  I want to take all of that in, because this stage he's in is so fascinating.  His thoughts, the things he says, the games he plays, the way he relates to the world and discovers new things in it...  it's so amazing, so wonderful, and it makes me so sad sometimes to know that I'm missing out on really drinking him in right now because he also has a younger brother that needs a lot of my attention.

And of course, I love Quinn.  I adore having my two boys, I wouldn't take anything back about the decision to have him, about the timing, about any of it.  I know having a sibling will be, is, worth all this, and is already paying off as I watch them play and wrestle together (even as my heart jumps to my throat as D bodyslams Quinn on the bed, waiting for the time Quinn breaks something instead of dissolving into giggles as he always does. I swear he's even started trying tackle D in return) and enjoy each other's company so very much.  It's truly heartwarming how much they adore each other.

But, I still mourn the sort of attention I could pay to my older son, before I had a younger one as well.  Our family gained so much in having Quinn, but this is still a loss, and it still weighs on my heart.

My goal from here on out is to spend more one-on-one time with each of them.  I know it will be difficult to do, but worth it.  I am a much better mother-- more relaxed, more fun, more patient, calm, understanding-- when I'm caring for just one of the boys individually rather than both together.  That may simply be a truth about me, that I do so much better as a mother of one-child-at-a-time.

I also am trying to work every day to be more patient and more present with them.  Because they really are such wonderfully amazing little people, these two.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

cautious optimism

Donovan's first week of school went extremely well.  He seemed really comfortable there from the beginning, just the slightest hesitation when we dropped him off the first day but that's it.  he was happy to go to school in the morning, and happy enough to be picked up at noon-- though he did keep asking to get to nap at school, which he will start doing this next week.  I wanted to give him a "breaking in" period first to make sure he felt comfortable there, but since he seems fine with it all I'd love for him to stay till the afternoon as getting him down for a nap at home while also minding Quinn has consistently been one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of my days.  It will be a welcome break to not have to feel so torn between my 2 kids at that time of day, every day.

D is right now (hopefully) sleeping in a yurt on a campground near Tahoe, along with Zach and 2 other friends.  This is his first true camping experience.  He's been SO excited about it, and from the bits I';ve heard from Zach it seems to be going really well.  Just as when Zach took D to the snow all those times this past winter, I'm a bit sad to miss out on this outdoors experience with him.  But, trying to take Q at this age (constant crawling, shoving everything in his mouth) would have been a highly frustrating experience for us all.  But, I am hopeful that by spring we can attempt a family trip.  D is so much fun when he's out in nature, he just enjoys it so much.  Takes after his father that way. ; )

So while they're away, Q and I are enjoying some solo time together.  We didn't do much of anything special most of today, though we did join in a group birthday dinner at a restaurant nearby with some friends.  I was apprehensive, as Q hasn't been the best restaurant guest historically.  Tonight, however, he did incredibly well.  Being able to sit in a high chair and occupy himself with food has made all the difference.  He happily munched away on bread, and later on salmon, risotto, and artichoke along with the rest of us.  We did leave a bit early when it became clear his calm mood was not gonna last much longer and it was getting past bedtime anyway, but overall I was so impressed with how well he did.  Highly encouraging.

The whole past week has actually been a pretty good one (despite wednesday).  D starting school made a big difference-- for one, he did great using the toilets at school, which has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders (we'll see how that continues with a longer day).  Having mornings with just Q has felt amazing.  He's so much happier now, so much more enjoyable, playful, and just a joy to be around, and when it's just me and him I actually get to enjoy him.  Even when he's, say, fighting sleep, I can deal with it without feeling like I'm neglecting my other child.  It's made such a huge difference, already.

I want to say that it feels like this could be a pretty significant shift in how life feels, but I'm hesitant to make forward-looking assumptions based on one great week, and also Zach's about to start a job that will take him away from us 4 days of every week which I know will add a whole other strain to daily life.  But, we shall see.  I'm feeling more hopeful about it all than I was before.  So I'll just keep hoping for the best, and see what happens.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Oh by the way...

I cut my hair short again.

I started growing it out last summer, because I was feeling a bit bored of it (after having the same cut for 3 years) and figured I'd take advantage of the fact that hair grows faster during pregnancy.

Then I gave birth to Super Strong Grip Baby Who Loves To Pull Hair.  Last week I was at a playground talking with another mom, D was playing on the playscape and Q was on my back in the Boba.  As we chatted, Q reached up and grabbed a chunk of my ponytail and PULLED.  The mom looked at me with a bit of surprise and pity in her eyes as she pointed out that he'd managed to actually pull several hairs out of my scalp and was holding them in his fist.  So finally I said, "Screw it. I'm chopping it off again."  It goes in a ponytail every day anyway.

I'm now trying to remember why I ever wanted it long again. ; )  My scalp is much happier, now that it's not getting assaulted daily by baby hands.  And one of the any perks of this sort of a cut is that, as long as you have a good cut to begin with, it almost always looks put-together and stylish.  A big win when you have no time to deal with other-wise high-maintenance hair.

PS- the wrist brace is from a random injury I had last week, had to wear it for several days and now finally it's getting better.  Still hurts on occasion, but I don't need the brace anymore.  So yay for that, too.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I think I prefer the rabid raccoons

Today is shaping up to be The Day of Ridiculous Things Happening.

First, there's the Anonymous comments left on this post that I discovered first thing after waking up this morning.  Those were good for a laugh.

Second, there are reports of rabid skunks and raccoons in our neighborhood.  That's right.  There are RABID SKUNKS and RABID RACCOONS in downtown Sacramento.

As if all that's not enough, I then came across this little gem of an NPR story, about conservatives in congress trying to eliminate any coverage of birth control in health care plans.  The quotes are priceless, so I'll share a few here:

"They've called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on the House floor last month, shortly after the Obama administration adopted the recommendations of an expert panel and agreed to add contraceptives to a list of services insurance plans will be required to provide without a deductible or copayment. "Well, if you apply that preventative medicine universally, what you end up with is you've prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine."
Some opponents, like conservative commentator Sandy Rios, say subsidizing birth control is simply too expensive in an era of tight budgets. "We have $14 trillion in debt, and now we're going to cover birth control?" she said on Fox News, adding, "Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well? I think that would be a good idea."

Pardon me, I think my head just exploded...

Ok, I'm back.  Seriously? I mean, I'm not sure I can even get mad at this, it's too ridiculous.  Except for the fact that these are people who are running our country.  If they really believe this BS they are spewing, then God help us all.

I will be serious for a moment.  I have been pregnant twice in my life.  Both were planned, wanted pregnancies.  Both were also achieved easily, within the first 1-2 months of trying.  This gives me reason to believe that were it not for birth control, I'd be one of those women who ended up having 15 kids in my lifetime.  The past 9 months of parenthood have also taught me that I really think I would break, emotionally/mentally, if I had to parent more than two kids.  Most of the time I can barely manage to handle these two.

Needless to say, I am EXTREMELY thankful for birth control.

I currently have an IUD.  I am lucky in that my insurance paid for it in full.  I am also lucky in that, had they not covered it, I could afford to pay the $500 myself.  Many others are not so lucky.  And if you can't afford birth control, you sure as heck cannot afford a baby.

Access to birth control is one of the easiest, most effective ways to help improve women's health, education, career, and overall quality of life.  Allowing women the ability to choose and plan for children is a crucial step in any advanced/developed society.  Even if you don't care about helping women, you have to acknowledge that, even publicly, providing birth control is cheap compared to the expense of providing prenatal and pediatric care for those women and children.  Also, birth control = fewer unintended pregnancies = fewer abortions.

I should not have to point any of this out.  It is pretty bleepin' obvious, if you ask me.

So please, world.  Stop being so effin' ridiculous.

Monday, September 05, 2011


My boy starts at his Montessori school tomorrow.  We had originally hoped he would start sometime in March, so by now it's kind of more of a "FINALLY!" kind of feeling than anything else.  I'm so excited for him, because I know he is so ready for this.  So ready to learn everything he will learn, to make friends at school, for all of it.  I'm so excited about this school, too, it just blows me away.  It's such an amazing place.

The one thing that gives me pause and gives me that Wow This Is Momentous And A Really Really Big Deal is when I realize that this will be the first day of what will be about 15+ years of schooling ahead of him.

I mean, WHOA.  And that's not even counting college.

magic box/ day228

My baby's growing up, and I'm so excited about what's ahead for him.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

BLW update at 8.5 months

A few months ago I posted about starting Quinn on solids.  Since then he's really taken off with it.  Just tonight at dinner I think he ate about half an avocado along with several crackers and some mac and cheese.  He's definitely gotten past the point of just playing with his food and now seems to actually eat a lot of it.  He also really likes eating-- he gets mad if he sees me eating something and don't give him any.  And many times he'll actually sit quite happily for all of dinner time munching on his own food, letting us get a chance to actually sit and enjoy our own dinner, too.

I have to admit, the first weeks of baby-led weaning (BLW) were kind of... stressful.  Q gagged on his food a lot, and Zach and I would kinda freak out anxiously waiting to see if he'd be ok or start choking.  Thankfully, I'd read about how that's all part of the normal process.  Apparently babies have an over-active gag reflex, to help protect them against choking (they gag and move the food forward long before it's actually at the back of their throat).  After the first weeks he gained a lot more control, and then I realized that he almost never gagged anymore.  I still watch him carefully as he eats, but it's a lot more relaxed, as I trust him to be able to manage the food in his mouth and eat it successfully.

By now he's tried all sorts of food, like apples and pears, to avocado, beef (sucked the juices out), chicken and salmon, plums, blueberries (I break the skin on them so they squish easily when he chews), bread and crackers, squash, cucumbers, scrambled eggs... etc etc.  I'm mindful of things like sodium content, but otherwise try to give him some of whatever it is we're eating.  Almost everything he's tried, he has loved.  And what's amazing, is that even though he himself is usually a huge mess after he's done, very little food actually falls to the floor (other than when he's past the point of eating and starts purposely flinging).  He's even already experimented some with feeding himself with a spoon (pre-loaded with a bit of yogurt) and fork (with smaller bits of avocado or other foods that I know he can manage bites of but as he handles them get broken to pieces too small for him to pick up as easily).  It's pretty amazing to watch.

Um... squash, I think?
Yummy breakfast of cheerios and banana:
BLW buddies!  Quinn and his cousin enjoying cheerios, blueberries, grated cheese, and yogurt up in Tahoe.

So yeah.  I was a bit skeptical of BLW when we first started and I was so worried about him choking.  Now, this seems like the best thing ever.  He loves his food, is getting all sorts of great fine motor skills practice, and best of all-- since I don't have to feed him with a spoon, it means I get to actually eat my food at dinner, too!  That right there may be the biggest benefit of this whole thing.  Well, that, and not having to prepare purees.  I have no shame in admitting that laziness played a big role in deciding to try BLW.  ; )


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