Friday, November 30, 2007

Where I'm From

I started the month out with a post about who I am, and it seems right to end likewise. So I recently found this writing exercise in a random browse online, and decided I'd do it. (It originally comes from the author George Ella Lyon, and although I probably didn't do it justice, it was fun to try.)

I have really enjoyed blogging every day this month, and I promise to keep up the frequent posting. So keep reading, and keep commenting! Thanks.

Where I'm From

I am from bookshelves stacked three deep, from Barnes and Noble and the county library.

I am from houses someone else owns, from towns without stoplights, from casseroles brought over by new neighbors.

I am from the rose rock, the wide open plains, the rumble of thunder on a hot June afternoon.

I am from Sunday pot roast, from being always right, from Lin and Stephanie and Sylvester and Burns.

I am from the always fifteen minutes early, the spelling gene and the sweaty palms. From the blonde and blue-eyed, from the easily burned.

From an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and babies and fruit only spoil if you leave them on the shelf too long. From it only takes a spark and this little light of mine. From a pink-purple-polka-dotted Christmas, and from I knew this would happen.

I am from small-town Protestant churches. From friendly competition with the Southern Baptists, from the fellowship hall and the narthex and the pew and the nursery, from folding bulletins by hand. I'm from acceptance of differences and a sense of spirituality greater than humans can quantify. From I'll do my thing and you do yours.

I'm from Oklahoma, from Germany and Sweden, from liver and onions, from Grandma's oatmeal cookies. From Kansas corn and German accents, from pale northern climes and comforting nasal tones.

From the wandering preacher, son of the insurance salesman, who loves to tell stories and make music. From the Latin teacher, daughter of the deaf lady who married the math genius at 18, who never has time to read but has always had time for a bedtime song.

I am from a box full of memories beneath my couch, a phone call from a thousand miles away, a family reunion somewhere in the mountains. I am from compassion, understanding, and love.

No matter where I lay my head, I will always remember where I'm from.

Because I have had nightmares about this....

...I am going to go ahead and post. Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo!

Later tonight I will come back and update with a *real* post, but for now, at least I won't break into a cold sweat at the thought of somehow accidentally forgetting to post today.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

And here I thought sprinkles were for ice cream.

James had a pretty rough day today. He hasn't had trouble taking a nap in a very long time, but today, he did. He got so upset at the fact that he was so tired but couldn't sleep that he actually threw up a little bit. It was a rough day for us all.

Upchuck has been on the mind a lot lately, what with Megan's recent post about Ana's initiation into the Land of the Stomach Virus and Ask Moxie's post called "Vomit for Beginners."
Still, when the deliveryman came with my mother's sleep remedy (yes, Mom, we got it, thank you very much...everyone pray that it works!), I wasn't prepared to come across this item in the Fall 2007 catalog that was included in the package.

Seriously. Who got the brilliant idea to name their product "KiddieVom Sprinkles?"

Some other less-than-clear names I discovered:
Mens-Reduce (apparently it doesn't shrink your husband)
AntiCan (Wouldn't that be...Can't? note: I can't find this one on the website. Maybe they anti-could sell it.)
Natural Moves (You can probably guess what this one is for...let me just say that it's not going to make you a better dancer.)

Even though today was one of those days, the days where the edges of the world seem about to give way because you just can't hold them up any more, even though I'm exhausted and beaten, this gave me a great laugh. And laughter is supposed to be healing.

What I want to know is, what would Native Remedies call THAT medication?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: The Tables Have Turned

(Feeding Daddy some yogurt. Now he wants to feed us all our meals. Crap!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not feeling very bloggy...

...but still posting because there are only a few days left of NaBloPoMo!

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words about James' sleep troubles. I heard back from Ask Moxie today, and we're going to try to night-wean for the beginning of the night. Perhaps magically this will mean that a nursing when he has the crazy wake-up might actually get him back to sleep. Or at the very least, I might get a little extra rest at the beginning of the night to make up for the horrendous lack of sleep the rest of the night.

Elin, thanks for the long email. I promise I'll write back soon. And Mom, we're waiting anxiously for the sleep remedy to see if that helps!

Tomorrow I have a very cute picture for you. And Thursday, I'll probably have time for a real blog post. Sorry about the lack of substance tonight. What can I say--I'm sleepy as usual. Therefore, I am going to go to bed now.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Having Faith

Hello, Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers!

(Note to everyone else: I am doing a book review today because I love to share good books with people, and because it is related to the topic of the November Carnival of Breastfeeding over at Motherwear. Because I think this book is an important one. And because it's NaBloPoMo and I need as many ideas for posts as I can get. But that's it. This is not a paid endorsement or anything crazy like that. Just FYI.)

As an avid reader, a doula, an anthropologist, and as a mother out to make the world a better place, I often get asked for book recommendations. Sometimes people want something funny to read. Sometimes they want to know what parenting books I like. Sometimes they want something that I found intellectually stimulating, or something I felt was important for people to know. Some people want a thriller, an attention-getter, a scary story. Some people want to know if I've read any good memoirs lately. Having Faith, by Sandra Steingraber, is all of the above.

This is one of my favorite books of all time, period. It is also one of the scariest.

This book is about one woman's personal journey through pregnancy and new-motherhood. It is about the miracles that unfold within all women's bodies during this season of our lives. It is also about the "environmental threats to the bodies of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers." In short, it is the author's experiences as an ecologist brought to bear on her experiences as a pregnant and breastfeeding woman.

I love that it is so personal, that after reading it I felt like I knew the author, because of the way she shares these very intimate experiences of her life in such a candid voice. I also love the way her writing flows effortlessly between the personal and the global, how she moves seamlessly from the experience of having her milk come in to crucial functions of breast milk such as establishing a healthy intestinal system and promoting brain growth, from the world history of nursing and American cultural patterns that inhibit breastfeeding to PCBs, POPs, and other toxic chemicals in breast milk, and then back to her own experience of nursing and raising her daughter. And that's just in the two chapters devoted to breastfeeding. Tucked in between her personal memories, the book is full of important facts and figures about pregnancy, breastfeeding, fetal and early childhood development, and how certain toxic chemicals in our environments are affecting these crucial periods of life.

I'm not an ecologist myself, so I won't try to explain the details about the dangerous levels of chemicals we are all exposed to, nor the medical and scientific ramifications for our health. But I did learn that these toxins have much stronger effects on developing babies than on adults. And I learned that not nearly enough is being done to combat the problem, that we are in a society-wide denial of how serious these effects are. I learned that if the average pregnant woman hears about these issues, she will simply be told to avoid certain foods and areas that we know are highly contaminated, when really this is not a personal issue so much as a global one. We need to be honest with ourselves about the risks, to counteract contamination rather than personally avoiding an ever-growing list of dangerous items.

I loved the afterword on the Precautionary Principle. It is a simple idea which can apply to anything from making children's toy's with phthalates to global warming. It is a compelling, common-sense idea to me, and I think we all need to fight for it here in America. As a mother, this aspect of the book, the call to action to fight for a safe world for ourselves and for our children, is compelling, riveting. It made me get up off the sofa and go find ways to advocate change.

But back to breastfeeding for a minute. The penultimate chapter, called The View From the Top, is all about how nursing babies should be seen in their rightful place at the top of the food chain, where toxin levels are most highly concentrated. Remember how we're not supposed to eat a lot of predatory fish that are high on the food chain, such as shark and swordfish, because of the highly concentrated levels of mercury they contain? Well, the same holds true for human babies and toxins in human milk. Humans are at the top of our food chain, which concentrates toxins more and more at each level, and then the toxins are concentrated one more time as we pass them on to our children.

Scary, huh? But the author perfectly walks the line between describing the true dangers we can't help but expose our children to and reminding people how important breastfeeding is to promoting healthy babies. She explains that nursing is still far superior to other forms of feeding such as formula-feeding. She reminds us that, as contaminated as breast milk may be, our environment is contaminated in many ways, and bottle-feeding is not safe from toxins either. She reminds us of all the virtues of breastfeeding that can't be duplicated any other way. And she also reminds us that, ultimately, we can't escape what we're doing to our world and to our children's bodies. Instead, we must stop polluting our world for our children to be safe.

Ms. Steingraber's writing galvanized me to go out and try to solve the world's problems by making it personal, by showing me the damages that can be done while showing me her personal journey of discovery and her journey towards motherhood. Her wish for the world is beautiful, and after reading this book, it has become my own: "May the world's feast be made safe for women and children. May mothers' milk run clean again. May denial give way to courageous action. May I always have faith."

May these wishes and hopes become yours too.

And if you want to read more great breastfeeding and parenting book reviews, here are links to other carnival participants' entries:

On School Street (reviews Blindsided by a Diaper)
Breastfeeding Mums (reviews a smorgasbord of great parenting-related books)
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog (also linked above; reviews "a shopping list for many moms on your [holiday gift] list")
International Breastfeeding Symbol (reviews The Baby Book and Unconditional Parenting)
Hobo Mama (reviews Our Babies, Ourselves)
Mama Knows Breast (reviews bOObs: a guide to your girls)
Tales of Life With a Girl on the Go (reviews The Best Gifts)
The True Face of Birth (reviews Mama Knows Breast)
Breastfeeding1-2-3 (reviews Baby Matters)
Crunchy Domestic Goddess (reviews the DVD What Babies Want--An Exploration of the Consciousness of Infants)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Waking Nightmare

I’ve finally decided to get some help with the sleep problems we’ve been having with James. There seems to be no medical cause for his sleeplessness, which is good, but at the same time, we are so tired during the day that I know all our lives are being negatively affected by it. (Also proof: it took me at least two minutes of staring blankly at the screen to remember the word ‘negatively.’)

So I’m going to go to one of my favorite sources for parenting advice and information: Ask Moxie. Here is the letter I am sending her, so that you, dear reader, can see a glimpse of what our lives are like right now, and perhaps forgive me for my somewhat-less-than-lyrical writing of late. I’m just too tired to write this and come up with another post right now.

Dear Moxie,

I know you get a million questions about sleep, but if you’ve answered mine, I can’t find it anywhere. Then again, perhaps that’s because the sleep deprivation has dulled my senses to the point where I can’t see the computer screen so well, much less find pertinent information. So please bear with me.

My seventeen-month-old son has never been an easy sleeper. He has always needed a LOT of help to fall asleep and sometimes to stay asleep. We co-sleep, and we still night nurse. Every night and for every nap, I have to nurse him and/or my husband has to walk him around in a sling. We have tried many other ways of getting him to sleep, and none of them has worked. This is the way our child is, and we have learned to accept that. We don’t even really feel like it’s that big of a deal nowadays. In the grand scheme of things, it could be worse.

So in the last couple of years we’ve missed a lot of sleep. But for the last two weeks, our life has been basically a living hell. My son has been going to bed at his normal time, around 7:45, with either nursing or walking around in a sling to put him to bed, or both. And then, between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., he wakes up, and is up for at least two hours, sometimes three. No matter what we do or don’t do. Every night except for one. For the last two weeks. (And no, we don’t think we did anything different the one night that he did sleep.) And this prolonged middle-of-the-night waking has happened before, I’d say about once a month for the past 5 or 6 months, so it’s not completely new, either. (Oh, and I should mention that the 2:00 thing is not the first time he stirs. He nurses once or twice before that, but doesn't really "wake up" and can just roll over and sleep when he's done.)

I know there are tons of people out there who would be more than willing to criticize all the things we’re doing to help our child get to sleep, who would tell me to night-wean him immediately, let him cry it out, whatever. But the point is…even if we did that, which wouldn’t work for our child…we still have this problem where he can’t fall back asleep in the middle of the night no matter what we do. From what I’ve read, that is not the normal problem. What I’ve read suggests that when kids have trouble sleeping through the night, it is because they’re not getting the “sleep aids” that they got when they fell asleep the first time, or something similar. But that’s not the problem with us. We DO all the same things that we do at his bedtime. And it never works.

And I’m going to go crazy if I don’t get some sleep. I can't even tell you how out-of-my-mind the lack of sleep is making me feel. And sadly, we don’t have family nearby to give us a break, and we can’t afford a babysitter. I am willing to try almost anything, but I don’t even know what to try any more. I would try to night-wean him or wean him from walking to fall asleep or whatever if that seemed like it would help with the middle-of-the-night madness…but I’m worried it will just add to our problems and give us an even more stressed-out baby and family. I also know that CIO is not for my son. He would just keep crying all night long. He needs to be near us to sleep. But we need to find a way to get him to stay asleep so we can sleep too! I don’t feel like I have any energy reserves left to figure this out on my own.

So what do we do?

I feel like if anyone can help, it will be you. Thanks for taking the time to help so many other parents! I can't wait to hear your take on our situation.

(And to anyone else reading this blog: if you have any suggestions, please, advise! Just be gentle and remember that what worked for you might not work for us...but we're probably willing to give it a try!)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Riding in cars with boys.

Have I ever mentioned how much James loves driving?

He takes every possible opportunity to drive, anything and everything he possibly can, whenever and wherever he happens to be.

For example, he likes driving with his friend Olivia*...

...or outside with Grandpa Clint, playing with a junk car that someone else tried to throw away because it only has two wheels...

... or pretending to drive our car before he allows us to put him into his car seat...

...and even driving non-car objects, such as this box...

...or the boat ride at the park, where he bawls whenever the ride ends.

My wish for a personal chauffeur is slowly but surely coming to fruition.

Sort of like how, whenever I tell people that we don't have a dishwasher, Ben says, "Well, we do...he's just not old enough yet."

(*picture taken by Olivia's mom, Gwen)

Friday, November 23, 2007

So THAT'S What They're For!

This Thanksgiving, my dad got to come visit us. He hadn't seen James since we were in Oklahoma in June, and back then, James was still pretty content to stick very close to me and Ben and just watch everyone else from the safe harbor of our arms.

However, a couple of weekends ago, Grandpa Clint and Grandma Jane came out to visit, and James had such a good time with them, he thought maybe he'd drag this Grandpa out to play too.

I think it's safe to say James has figured out the grandparents thing. Maybe he doesn't realize that these people are actually the parents of his parents. But he does know that grandparents? Those are the cool people who hang on his every word, who play with him endlessly, who think everything he does is amazing and fun.

I think he likes the idea.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Every Day.

Through the laughter and the tears, the good times and the bad, the CrankyPants Dance and the warm fuzzy morning cuddles. Through the runny noses and the sleepless nights, the endless hours of sandcastle making, the long walks and the babble talks, this family is everything I ever dreamed it would be. I love my husband and my son more than words can say.

Sometimes lately I feel like all I do is complain. But I know how good I have it. I am tired. I worry about money. I have allergies and I get really tired of the pollen here. I miss my far-away family and friends. But am I thankful for this life?

You bet I am. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second.

Wherever you are, I hope you can say you feel the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


That last picture that I just posted is one that I took recently on campus. It makes me laugh a lot.

I just wanted to remind you that you are not allowed to use any pictures that we post here without our explicit permission. This means you, Andy, in regards to taking this picture from my St. Patrick's Day post last year and submitting it to a funny website. I agree, it should be on there, but in the future, everyone must ask first.

This does not include if you want to take and print out pictures and show them to your friends because you are a proud grandparent or other relative. It does include anything you can make money off Andy.


Wordless Wednesday: Priceless?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Seven Weird Facts

This has been a rough day. Last night was the 6th out of the last 7 nights that James was up in the middle of the night, from around 2 to 5 a.m. I am completely muddled, and had no idea how I was going to write anything coherent here today, but...

I've been tagged for a meme! Thanks, Donna!

So here are the rules of this meme:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And here are seven weird facts about me:

1. I hate hate HATE it when shoes touch the surface of my bed. It gives me the creepy-crawlies. My husband says this makes me OCD or at least a little crazy. I say, what's the harm in being thoughtfully sanitary, people? Do you KNOW what you have on the bottom of your shoes?

2. I read books faster than anyone I know. I also read multiple books at once. This really isn't surprising to people who know me well, but even they don't generally comprehend how fast I really read or how extensively I read. Right now I'm reading two romance novels, one Jodi Picoult, one book about AIDS prevention in Africa, one parenting book, and one book about a hospital ethics committee. That's all I can remember at the time. I read while I'm eating, I read while I nurse James, I read whenever I get the chance. If there's not a book around to read, I'll read the back of a cereal box. While I type this, I'm reading a "Breakfast with Bernie" blurb on the back of my Annie's Cheddar Bunnies box.

3. When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be an architect, and I collected house plans like mad. I drew my own house plans a million times, as well as designing museums and play spaces for kids. I'm not sure why I gave up on that, because I still like that kind of stuff. And I REALLY don't think most people know that.

4. I rub my feet together when I'm in bed at night, and it helps relax me. When I was in college, I found out through an informal survey of friends that many of my female friends did this, and none of my male friends had any clue what I was talking about.

5. There are quite a few "classic" books/authors that I really don't like. Examples? All Edith Wharton. Animal Farm.The Scarlet Letter. Moby Dick. Wuthering Heights.

6. I'm obsessed with germs, microbes, diseases. It gives me an odd kinship with my husband, who's obsessed with tornadoes, lightning, and hail. I'm also fascinated by genetics, which my husband simply doesn't relate to.

7. I have had "episodes" of low blood sugar in the night where I don't fully wake up and I'm in an awake-dreaming state until my blood sugar comes up. It is very strange. When it happens, I only remember it as you remember a dream, vaguely, without full comprehension. Luckily, my body knows what to do, and I get up and eat on autopilot.

And now I'm supposed to tag 7 people who also have to do this....So I choose:
Megan and Manda, because they might appreciate NaBloPoMo fodder;
Laura, because I'd love to hear seven weird things about her pregnancy;
Elin, because I want to know what passes for "weird" in Iceland;
Sandra, because she needs to blog more so I can read more;
Jerilyn, because she's just plain weird (just kidding); and
Jimmie, in the hopes that this will wake her up from her blogging coma.

Go forth and blog!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Life in Diabetic Moments

Age 1: I am nursing. I will be breastfed for what counts here in the U.S. as an "extended" period of time. Theoretically, this offers a degree of protection against developing diabetes. Someday I will become one of the unlucky ones who gets it anyway. And then I will nurse my own son and hope that it works for him. But for now, I am just a healthy, average, nursing one year old without a care in the world.

Age 6: I'm reading a book from my favorite series, The Babysitters Club. It's called The Truth About Stacey, and it's all about a girl who has diabetes telling her friends about it. I know what diabetes is because my grandmother calls herself a "borderline diabetic." I am sitting in her living room, which is littered with bright pink Sweet'N Low packages, among other things.

Age 8: I'm sitting in the hospital, watching Dirty Dancing for the 8th time, still not catching on to the "unwanted pregnancy/abortion" plotline in that movie. (As a teenager, I will watch the movie again and receive quite a surprise when this time I "get it.") I'm reading Get Well Soon cards from my classmates, and feeling frustrated that my nurse seems to think she has to explain diabetes to me yet again. Hello! I've read The Babysitters Club. I know all about this disease. But still, she makes me practice giving oranges and baby dolls shots. This is slightly disturbing and not the least bit like giving myself a shot, as I'll discover for the first time in a few days.

Age 8, part two: I'm back in school. My blood sugar is high--200. I have to jump rope for 5 minutes in the principal's office to bring it down. If it doesn't go down, or if it gets too low, they'll call my parents again and make them drive the 30 minutes to come get me, again, because the school staff can't handle it on their own, and I'm not old enough to take care of myself yet. By the end of the year, I'll be homeschooling.

Age 10: I'm playing on the trampoline in my back yard with a friend. My mom calls me in because it's time to check my blood sugar. It's normal. I run back outside and keep playing.

Age 11: I wake up in the middle of the night to discover medical personnel in my bedroom. I've been having a low-blood-sugar-related seizure. This will only happen 3 or 4 times, ever, but it makes me feel weird, like my body is not my own if it can do things that I don't even remember.

Age 14: I'm in my cabin at diabetes camp, listening to Abba CDs, when my friend Alice has a low-blood-sugar-induced seizure. I feel relief not only that everyone knows what to do, but that here, it's not such a big deal, that no one will freak out and make her go home. That I'm normal when I'm with these people.

Age 19: I'm at college. It's 2 a.m. and my friends want to order a pizza. We sit around in our pajamas in the lounge (In PUBLIC! In our PAJAMAS! So LIBERATING!) and laugh and talk until we're exhausted. But I don't eat the pizza because I'm worried what it will do to my blood sugar. When I wake up in the morning, I'm low, and I regret my self-control.

Age 23: It's my wedding day. I'm in the "bride's room" about 30 minutes before the ceremony is set to begin, and I have low blood sugar. I eat some Disney Princess Fruit Snacks, and my photographer takes a picture. Then I go get married!

Age 23, part two: It's November and I'm sitting with my husband in the office of an OB I've never met, the first OB I could get an appointment with, because I'm unexpectedly pregnant after years of being told it might be hard for me to conceive because of my diabetes. My latest A1c was 6.5, within the "normal" range. The doctor walks in and her manner is all astonishment, because, well, don't I realize that I'm diabetic, so it's really dangerous for me to be pregnant at all, and what was I thinking, being so careless? She wants to schedule my cesarean for the following June. I'm only 6 weeks pregnant. I find another doctor.

Age 23, part 3: I've just found out that we're going to have a son. I call my sister and say, "Guess what, Sandra? You're going to be an uncle!" We laugh as I realize I'm low, and I eat something while we chat. This will become a lasting "inside joke" that will undoubtedly confuse my son's friends when they hear he has an Uncle Sandra.

Age 24: I am in labor. My blood sugar is low, in the 40s. I can't eat anything, so we ask the nurses to give me some IV sugar. It takes them almost an hour to get the ball rolling, so I have to force myself to eat in the meantime. I have some string cheese with crackers. It doesn't help. My mother or my doula finally tracks down some Sierra Mist. It will be a long time before I can look at string cheese without feeling vaguely nauseous, but I will always have fond memories of Sierra Mist.

Age 25: It's October. I have had crazy ups and lows for the past few days, so I do a Google search. I discover a million diabetes blogs and an entire diabetes online community. I realize that I need to connect with the d-world again. It's like coming home to discover all I have in common with these people, and to remember how wonderful it is to know someone who really knows what an "afterlow hangover" is like or how it feels to be a diabetic parent. To remember that with these people, I'm normal.

(Note: I got the idea for this post indirectly from Maggie Mason's book, No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. Indirectly because I've never read the book, but she wrote a post called #42 Make Your Timeline on her blog, which I did read.)

(Also note: I posted this on my other blog too.)

(Additionally: I should mention that of course, all moments since I was diagnosed are in some way "diabetic moments" for me. Those presented here are simply moments that I remember vividly, that show the way diabetes has shaped my life a little more specifically.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baby steps.

So much for posting earlier in the day.

Oh well. Today has flown by, and here I sit, facing another Monday. I am not a fan of Mondays. But at least this week is short, and we have a holiday and more family coming at the end of the week to look forward to.

I had a really fun and interesting blog post half-written in my head as I was falling asleep last night. You would have loved it. Unfortunately, I can't remember a word of it now. I can't even remember the subject matter.

So instead, I'm here to tell you the news I got today...we'll have a new baby with us in February!

NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT. I did not miss 7 months of pregnancy and this is not an announcement of my own impending labor. Rather, I am going to be taking care of a friend's baby when she goes back to work in February. And I am so excited!

That's like getting to have another baby...without having to go through pregnancy again...and without the early sleepless nights and crazy hormone tides...and with the ability to give the baby back when you need to. With nights and weekends and even some weekdays OFF! Woo hoo!

So that's my news. In a little over 2 months, I will have 2 kiddos to take care of, most days. It should be a great adventure. Maybe it's my own version of baby steps toward the still far-distant future when we're ready to have James' little brother or sister.

I just hope the new one sleeps better than James. His sleep troubles are breaking my heart.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just another day

Editor's note: This is going to be an incoherent post. I can almost guarantee it. Also, I'll be posting earlier in the day tomorrow than I have been lately, so hopefully you'll just skip over this one completely, or maybe look at the pictures and then move on. If not....just remember, I warned you.

Last night was rough. James was up from 2 to 5. And then he woke up at 8. Ugh. This teething thing, combined with perhaps growing pains, maybe some leftover gas, and some congestion from the weather change and the sudden incredible dryness in the air, has made our lives pretty insane lately.

Ben took James this morning so I could try to recover from our middle-of-the-night travails. They went to the beautiful Lake Johnson, where Ben took lots of pictures of the foliage that I could post, if I weren't too tired out to resize them, rotate them, etc. to get them into posting shape.

James was apparently tired as well, because Ben said he found this tree stump and actually laid down on it for a bit.

My poor kid. When is he going to NOT be tired?

We also went to a Thanksgiving dinner event tonight with our friends Gwen and Brian and the well-known and well-loved Olivia. Don'tcha love their cute little tracksuits?

We had fun with our friends, but we didn't get to eat dinner until at least 7:15, when the event was supposed to be at 6:30. Since it was an international event, Gwen postulated that they're trying to eat late since people from other countries often have their last meal much later than in the U.S. Good thought...but since it was also an event for families...I think they should consider that most kids go to bed between 7 and 8 p.m.! And also that it's cruel to make kids wait for their dinner that is sitting out on the tables. It makes the adults cranky too, but we're tough. I felt bad for the kids.

Okay, that's all, I can't wring anything else out of my brain tonight. More fun and more actual writing rather than brain-spew tomorrow. Good night and for the love of all that's holy, sleep well while you can!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stereotyping that makes me laugh

As an anthropologist, I tend to be really irritated by traditional labels, categories and stereotypes. The whole idea of Western Dualism is just depressing and weird to me. I have never understood the "this or that" mentality, since I can see so many different possibilities. I also rarely fit into accepted categories. Right-brained or left-brained? Both sides of my brain work just fine, thank you, and this dancer spins both ways, if you ask me. (Specifically, she spins one way, and I look away, and when I look back, she's spinning the other.) Mind or body? Don't give me that, they're completely connected, and thinking of them as two distinct entities is beyond me.

I could go on, but I'll spare you the rant and get right to my point.

Another thing I can't get behind is that whole labeling of groups of people with specific traits thing. You know, all white men can't dance, or all black guys are good at basketball, or whatever. Anyway...I found this website called New and Improved Stereotypes the other day, and almost died laughing. THIS is the kind of stereotyping we should all do. My favorite "new and improved stereotype to teach your kids" is this one. Perhaps because I'm from the south and we happen to be aware of certain stereotypes that people not from the south have about us. And because, in this case, there might be just a smidgen of truth behind the stereotype.

My other new favorite stereotypes include "Islamic Fundamentalists Really Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and "Eskimos Never Invented Sitting (that's why you never see chairs in an igloo)."

If you're going to stereotype, please, at least be creative about it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Feels like home.

If November wasn't NaBloPoMo, I might just forget what month it is. Yesterday, we had a high of almost 80 degrees. We recently got new sand in our playground, and were thinking that would have been nice to have that in the SUMMER, but then we had this gorgeous November day and spent almost the whole day outside and really enjoyed it. Here is a pic of James as he saw his friend Olivia coming up to play. Do you think he likes playing with Olivia? I'm not sure.

Whoever said kids this age don't share when they play doesn't know my kid.

So we had a really beautiful day yesterday. But the trees look like this:

Very fall-like, no? We are so lucky to have such beautiful foliage right outside our house.

This morning we woke up to rain and a day of falling temps and freeziness. This is what James wore today...You'll notice we stayed inside a lot more.

And tonight, when it is very cold here, even though yesterday felt like summer? Tonight James wore his new footy pajamas.

They fit, Grandma Jane! Thanks so much!

I'd say it feels like winter's here already, but I know that that could change at any moment. Ah. Just like Oklahoma. Good thing I'm used to this seasonal roller coaster thing.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tribute to my mother and my diabetes.

Mom, most of the time I don't even think of you and my diabetes in the same mental sphere. You are two very different parts of my life. I am blessed to have you, and I can't say I always feel the same about my diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the one major part of my life that I could really do without, while you are a wonderful mother and grandmother, and a cherished part of my life.

But today is World Diabetes Day as well as your birthday. So I was forced to think of you both together. Thus I present you with...

Some Things You Two Have in Common:

You have been central to my life for as long as I can remember.
You have shaped my character, made me strong and compassionate.
You frequently influence my decision-making.
You and I have shared our good times and our bad times. The highs and lows alike are unforgettable.
You gave me a sense of responsibility that most of my peers achieved much later in life than I did.
It was especially hard for me to deal with you during my teen years.
I may not always have liked the things you do, but I respect you greatly.
You have taught me how to find answers for myself, how to trust my intuition and knowledge of myself more than checklists and formulae and well-intentioned advice.
At times, you make me laugh hysterically.
The older I get, the more I appreciate how very different my life would have been without your influence.
I am thankful for all you have taught me about life and about myself.
You may not always be with me, but you will always be a part of me.

Happy Birthday, Mom. And Happy World Diabetes Day. May there be many more happy birthdays, and may WDD be unnecessary because we find a cure!

P.S. For those of you who are curious, I found this list of "19 essential facts about diabetes" over at What Is Diabetes. Thought it was very helpful for those who don't know these things. It's short and to the point, which is also helpful.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oops, almost missed the day!

Tomorrow I'm giving a talk about birth in America for the international moms' club. I've had to prepare a short speech that is easily understandable to people who don't necessarily know a lot of English that spurs conversation about birth in their cultures as well. Oh, and then we're having a baby shower, and I have to prepare the games and such.

All day today and yesterday James and I have been very, and let me stress that again, VERY congested and just ucky. And Ben doesn't feel good either. The other day, I went to put James to bed at 7:00 and fell asleep with him. What is with everyone being sick? I've spoken to people all over the country this week who have this nasty thing. And I haven't had a good night's sleep in 5 nights.

So the days, they are a bit crazy and blurred around here lately...and I almost forgot to post today. Tomorrow will be much better, I promise. It's World Diabetes Day, so do something for a diabetic you know, or do something to prevent your own diabetes, or do something diabetic-y...or something.

Sorry about the off day. See you tomorrow. G'night.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Word in My Hand

I can't even tell you how awesome I think this is. Check it out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A pithy statement on parenting

James fell down today. To be specific, he walked off of a chair. It was one of those combinations of each of us thought the other was watching him/we thought he was more capable than he really was/he was having an unusually daring moment.

Luckily, we managed not to blame each other, and he really wasn't hurt, just scared.

But it got me thinking about parenting. And the delicate balance between not holding them back and not pushing them too hard. So I think perhaps I'll post some reviews of parenting books very soon...but at the same time, I should also mention that part of my personal philosophy is that we all have the right instincts when it comes to raising our own children. It's just hard to figure out how to listen to them and not let all the rest (our own doubts, fears, insecurities, as well as social norms and expectations, etc etc) get in the way. So we ultimately shouldn't need parenting books, if we could just get through all the junk that's keeping us from following our hearts...but they end up being very helpful in our society today. That is, depending on their content, since parenting books also have the potential to make us question our own ability to know what's best for our kids. What a conundrum!

On Friday I was talking with someone who asked me to define my parental philosophy. My answer? "Know your children, know your options, choose wisely. Generally, go with your gut."

Anyone want to share yours?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Christmas wishes, continued.

All we really want for Christmas is to be able to see our family and friends. However...we have a son who needs a predictable schedule and regular napping to be happy. We also have no money for plane tickets. So I highly doubt we'll be going anywhere this Christmas.

Thus, in light of my post yesterday, I thought I'd let you know some other things we WOULD appreciate, since you're probably unable to come out to NC and celebrate with us. There is a great site called Cool Mom Picks that had a whole post about great safe toys, from which many of my own "picks" have come. You can find that here.

First of all, James still doesn't really have a "lovey." And since he's recently started cuddling everything under the sun, I think he's ready for one. This goose and this monkey are two of my favorites.

We also don't have any building blocks yet. Here is a classic set that I love. Here is a cool block tower you can pretend with. And here are some amazing fantasy play sets (rodeo set, zoo set, etc...I'm lovin' the African safari) that I think would last for a long, long time around here. In fact...Ben and I would probably play with them too.

James is really into choo-choos right now. And he would do just about anything for a pull toy like this elephant. Or you could just get him a rocking horse.

I mentioned earlier that he is really into music, and musical instruments are great gifts. For his birthday, we got the clatterpillar and maracas from Music Together that I asked for. Thank you Rachel! We could also use a drum like this one or these cool animal shaped instruments.

Also, the musical instruments are the only thing we got from our last wishlist, so you could check that out for ideas as well. We still need Goodnight Opus, my favorite bedtime book ever.

But if you decide not to get us anything, that's okay too. We don't mind. Just trying to make life a little easier for everyone. And we still wish you could just all come visit!

It's really too sad that you can't be here to watch this little guy grow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

All I want for Christmas toys.

If you're a parent, you most likely know about the crazy-making number of children's product recalls that have happened in the last couple of months. Seems like every time you turn around, there's another toy being pulled from the market because it has dangerous lead levels or even date-rape drugs in it. There's also bisphenol-A and phthalates to worry about. It's enough to make a parent want to swear off toys completely.

The reality is, even if we were to stop buying things for our children, they would still get plenty of scary chemicals in the air they breathe, food they eat, and the water they drink, so I think the first step is to take action to stop or reduce harmful pollution. (Check out Sandra Steingraber's great list of resources here.)

Barring that ENORMOUS first step...what are we supposed to do in the meantime? Specifically, as Christmas gets closer, how are we supposed to balance our need to protect our child with our wish to entertain him, to make him happy, to help him grow, and to let other people give him gifts?

Good question. The best answer I can come up with is to ask you not to buy a bunch of plastic-y commercial goodies this year. Books are always appreciated, and among the least toxic. CDs are great too. Or musical instruments.

The League of Maternal Justice has helpful hints, including looking for products with some of these distinctions: nontoxic, fair trade, sustainable material, vegetable-based, natural, organic, water-soluble dyes and paints. From my own reading, it seems that European-made products are pretty highly regulated and likely to have safer paints and dyes.

But maybe we should simply remember that the best toys are rarely the ones that need AAA batteries, and simply not worry so much about providing kids with so many toys.

I think, somehow, that they'll make do.

(P.S. I got the idea from this post from the League of Maternal Justice mentioned above, which also said I should link to The Parent Bloggers Network and the Consumers Union. That might be a good place to start your search for safe toys. You can go check out what other people think of this topic there also, if you so choose.)

(N.B. And if you are still worried about what Santa should bring James this year...have no fear. Tomorrow I will post our Christmas 2007 list of goodies that I think are awesome and might even be safe! Just in case. But feel free just to send more boxes. Or come visit!)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good-bye to a Good Friend

About 13 months ago, I arrived in Raleigh, exhausted from the last six weeks: I had had a baby, gone back to work two weeks later, quit work and moved out of my house (and in with my mother, and away from my husband while he moved here ahead of us) two weeks after that, and then, finally, another two weeks later, driven cross-country with my 6-week-old son. We moved from a 3-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment, I went from "primary wage-earner" to "stay-at-home mom," and a million other changes that made me feel like my world had melted away and left me stranded on a foreign planet.

So I went to a La Leche League meeting, desperately hoping for some kind of human contact, hoping to meet someone who might be a little friendly, someone who I could talk to during the long days when my husband was at work and I was all alone with my tiny infant, the rest of my world being at least a thousand miles away in Oklahoma.

And there I met Megan. Thank God! She noticed my feverish need for a "mom-friend" and invited me to lunch with the girls. We made plans to get together once a week for much-needed postpartum exercise, lunch, and conversation. And I began to look forward to Mondays for the first time in my life!

Seriously...Her act of kindness saved me from becoming that old lady who never gets out of her ratty old housecoat and slippers, hears voices inside her head, and has a bag of Doritos as her constant companion.

Or something like that.

Anyway, Megan is moving to Texas. We are heartbroken...for more than one reason.

Remember that shirt that says "I make milk, what's your superpower?" Well, Megan definitely has that power, but she also has the power of her winning personality, which I know will make her move much easier. Texas is lucky to have her (and Eric, and Ana, and Emery....but what will happen to Asul?!?).

Megan, I know we haven't seen much of each other in the last few months, but you have been a great friend and we are going to miss you terribly! I look forward to watching Ana and Emery grow up via your blog, and I can't wait for that phone call to talk about your vaccine seminar. We'll be thinking about you as you have to move around with not one but TWO small children...let me change that to we'll be praying for you!

Keep on bloggin'.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Genetic Expression?

(And just to give credit where credit is due...I got the idea for Wordless Wednesday from Tanya at Motherwear, who told me she believes it came from Five Minutes for Mom.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Day in the Life

As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to write about my diabetes on Mondays.

Then I got to thinking about how much I need some diabetes support, how much I think talking about the different things that are going on with my diabetes would help me, and how I just found all these really cool diabetes blogs on the Internet and it made me feel so much better.

So I started one.

But still, I'm going to write a bit about diabetes here today as well. (Just forget for a moment that it's not Monday, okay? It's been a little crazy around here lately.)

I'm not sure exactly what I'll write about either here or on my other blog, but I figured I'd start today with a recap of my blood glucose tests yesterday, and what medications I took and all that other stuff that can affect how my day goes. Yesterday was a somewhat crazy b.s. day, all ups and downs. It's been like that several days within the last month or so, where I am suddenly higher or lower than I think the situation warrants, even though I can track why my blood sugar went up or down. Let me see if I can explain...

I woke up yesterday morning and at 7:30 my b.s. was 85. That's a pretty good fasting score, and I usually am right about there, anywhere from 75 to 100, but of course if I get a cold or am especially stressed or sleep late or whatever, then it can go up or down and cause trouble. So anyway, I took my morning Lantus and a Humalog dose of 13, which seems to be the norm for breakfast.

The last couple of months, my sugar peaks after breakfast; not really sure of the cause but it will head up toward the 150-180 range. If I take insulin to bring it down, then it crashes really low, and it usually doesn't go higher than about 180. If it does, then I can take insulin, and in fact, I need to, but this peak thing just seems to be normal. Not sure how to feel about that, and sometimes it worries me, but there it is.

I've been walking Ben to work in the mornings, so I can get some exercise to bring it down as well as to get James some good morning exercise so he sleeps well. Not sure what to do now that it's going to be getting steadily colder around here...we'll have to find something, though, since exercise is really the only thing that works for that blood sugar rise.

Anyway, midway through the 45-minute walk, I check my sugar to see what's up. This time, at 9:10 it was 159. But by the time we got home changed, and watered, etc, at 9:45 it was 137. Perfect. But then...10:30 56, so I had some banana bread. 11:00 72, so I had another slice with my lunch of lentil soup. James was frantically tired by the time we got done with lunch (since it felt like an hour later to him...oh, how I loathe Falling Back), so I put him to bed, then came out and checked b.g.=150 at 11:45. So I took my lunch shot then. Only took 6H because usually I get an after-lunch dip, and have recently figured out that it's easier to monitor closely and take a little extra insulin than get so low and have to eat my way back up. I am so sick of eating.

But then, at the time I expected James to be waking up, he wasn't. Stupid, evil, horrid Falling Back....did I mention I hate Falling Back? Anyway, at 1:45 it was 184. I waited too long to check on it, should've checked around 12:45 instead. But I was blogging! So anyway, I took only 2H...but *magically*, by 3:45 it was 64. Actually, I know it got low because we went outside and ran around playing with our friend Olivia....but still, ONLY 2 UNITS! Plus, if I hadn't taken any? It would've been high. Frustrating. So I had some yogurt with James. And a couple of crackers that he didn't want to eat....Very typical mom habit, eating what your kid leaves behind.

By dinnertime at 5:30, it was back up to 175. I honestly don't know why. I can think of some potential reasons, but truthfully, I don't really know. But there you have it. Yo-yo. So I took 10H because that's slightly more than the usual 8H I'd been taking at dinner...but the past couple of days I'd taken 12H because I was getting an after-dinner high.

I didn't take the 12 because I ate only about 2/3 of what I normally do for dinner...we had stuffed baked potatoes and I only had 1/2 a potato instead of my usual one. I know, I probably shouldn't normally eat the whole thing....which is why I didn't this time. But man, those tatoes are tasty. Anyway.

7:00 p.m. 200. Crap! Should've taken the 12....but then if I did? Probably would've been low. So I took 2H again. Again, conservative estimate, since sometimes it can take much more than that to lower.

8:15 p.m. 80. Okay. Must've fixed it. Feelin' good about that. Ate some snapea crisps because I was a teeny bit hungry. Put James to bed, which involved riding in the car for awhile amongst other things...This new teething issue is kickin' our butts. I was feeling a little shaky, so took ANOTHER piece of banana bread because hey, that's what we've got to eat. Ate it on the way home, felt better but still kinda hungry. But, determined not to eat, because I need to lose that weight! And because I know I'll just feel yucky and full from having to eat earlier.

9:40 p.m. 55. Oh. That's why I was hungry. Crap. Ate only a few more crackers. Refuse to eat more banana bread at this point. Am no longer hungry anyway. Oh, and take my evening Lantus, because it's actually way past time. But I was too busy getting James to bed to take it earlier.

10:00 p.m. 77. Am exhausted and go to bed. Worry a little that I might still be low later, but oh well. Also, blood sugar could ricochet and be high when I wake up. But probably it will be fine...

So there you have it. A day in the life of of this diabetic. Maybe a lot of it doesn't make sense to those of you who haven't lived with diabetes. Probably at some point I'll post about common terms and concepts and misconceptions concerning diabetes. At this point I'd just like to say this:

I am of two minds about getting advice about my diabetes. On the one hand, no one knows and understands my particular situation better than I do. I'm the one living it. So sometimes suggestions are just plain irritating. For example...."You should just get more exercise" or "Go see a nutritionist RIGHT NOW!" because....I am getting as much exercise as I can at this point (remember that whole thing where I have to take care of my one-year-old? Full of chances for exercise...but not for Pilates or a marathon jog) and I don't exactly have the money to run to the nutritionist...IF that would even help. Anyway.You know...there's always "behind the scenes" stuff that only we know about or understand or whatever.

On the other hand, sometimes I get so mired down in the details of keeping my life running that I don't notice the patterns that might help me do something better, etc. This is why I listen very carefully when my husband suggests I try something new or different with my diabetes care. He's almost always right, even when I don't like to admit that I didn't notice it myself.

But ultimately, I didn't put this post up to get advice. I did it to look at it myself, and to let you know what my experiences are. To begin to find a way to open up about my diabetes and BE open to suggestions from you as well as explaining things to you.

Oh, and also to fulfill that whole NaBloPoMo "post every day" requirement. ;)

Have a Happy Tuesday! More kid pics tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Weekend with Grandma and Grandpa B

Monday is well-known as the most depressing day of the week. I was actually planning on writing about my diabetes every Monday, as both diabetes and Mondays are something no one really enjoys that much. However...this week, we are especially depressed, as Grandma and Grandpa B left yesterday afternoon. I know we always wish we could be closer to family, but we never realize how much more fun life could be until they come visit. Then we wish they never had to leave!

We had the BEST time with G-ma and G-pa this weekend. I have so many pictures, I can't even upload one shot of each fun thing we did. And that doesn't even include the pics of the museum trip that I already posted!

So I'm going to let J-man recap our weekend for you, just a little bit, and do a d-post tomorrow instead.

James says:

First, we awoke each morning eager for them to come over and play with us.

Then we'd go outside and play. Grandma gave us a Frisbee lesson...

And Grandpa got dirty in the sandbox with us.

Grandma and Grandpa both played well in the yard. They knew a really fun game called "toss the pine needles up in the air."

Then we came inside, and they both read me books.

Grandpa reads that story a little differently than my mommy and daddy do...But he knows how to play a mean game of trucks. I even got to play using my feet!

Grandpa also showed me a fun and silly thing to do with one of my favorite toys...the clothespins!

I thought it was pretty funny, if you can't tell!

And then I got to snuggle with Grandma. Check out my pink cheeks!

I was pretty tired out after all that, so Daddy let me snuggle him while I rested. I love having fun with Grandma and Grandpa, but I gotta give my Mama and Dada their lovin' too.

Grandma, Grandpa, come back soon!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Midnight Visitor

After an approximate 6-month detente with teething pain, war has been declared on our poor Jamesy's mouth again. He must be getting some important teeth, because for the last 3 days or so, he has had the copious amounts of drool that I remember from his 7th and 8th month, when he was cutting his very first teeth. Also,the fussiness and the inability to sleep well? They're back too, to our great delight. Poor kid.

So the other night, we put him to bed, which took us just a tad longer than usual because of his discomfort. (Yes, teething remedy was used, have no fear.)

And then, about an hour later...this guy wandered out into the living room.

This is the first time that he's ever just woken up completely that early after falling asleep at bedtime. Sure, he'll wake up at 3:00 sometimes and want to play in the middle of the night, but this was unusual for him. And since we were still up, we used the opportunity of his sleepy delicious babyface presentation to take pictures.

We had to have the obligatory "reaching for the camera" shot as well.

So Jamesy was pretty happy even though his poor little teefs were so sore. But the Daddy...he wasn't doing so well.

And, as usual, James had a great time being silly with Dada. Even in the midnight hour, we somehow manage to have a good time with this little dude.

Hopefully the toothiness has passed somewhat. If not, you'll be hearing a lot more about that particular facet of our lives, I'm sure!

Here's to teeth coming in and the accompanying sleep-full nights for Mama and Dada.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Leaving our mark

Yesterday, we went to the Natural Sciences Museum with James' Grandma and Grandpa B. James' favorite thing was one of the dinosaur exhibits. He just couldn't stop staring at the pterodactyls (or whatever the large birdy-dinosaury-things hanging from the ceiling were).

And of course, we had to play peekaboo behind the dino leg. (He was still a little bit scared of Grandpa at times....)

And then...we had to climb on the rocks. Right by the sign that said Do Not Climb on the Rocks. But boy, am I glad he did it anyway!

This boy is going to leave a big footprint on our world. I'd like to think it will be a positive-impact rather than a consumerist, CO2-type mark.

Here's to the future. I have high hopes.