Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Suzi was playing when she got to the point where nothing was going to make her happy. For example, although she has her own little nativity set to play with, she was infuriated that I wouldn't let her play with our big one. We let her play with it last year and I spent hours searching for all the people and animals she'd squirreled away in various places around the house. This year she is allowed to play with hers, but only on the front table, and isn't allowed to touch the big Fontanini one. Anyway, she had a fit and started crying over not being allowed to hold the goat. Normally she would not throw a fit over something so small, so I knew she was tired.
"It's time for a nap," I said. A few weeks ago we would have gone upstairs to her bed at this point, and I would've tucked her in and kissed her. Much stomping and screaming would have followed. But now we've gotten a little smarter.
"Do you want to take a nap on the couch, or go upstairs to your bed?" I ask.
"Couch." Of course. And she goes right to sleep. We both get what we need, and without the power struggle which no one enjoys. It doesn't only work at naptime, though. If she is screaming for something she can't have, something dangerous like a pair of sharp scissors, I can usually say no and offer her a choice between two other fun things and she'll stop crying and pick one. If there's a food she won't eat, she'll frequently choose another healthy one if given a reasonable option.
Ahhh. It's so much easier to parent a kid you can reason with.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Why does this baby bear need a bottle and a pacifier at once? I know bottles and pacifiers have become cultural symbols of babyhood, but both of them? Really? I mentioned this to Jordan and he said "You're right. They should've put a breast on the ornament instead." Okay, point taken. But still.
Maybe I will make my own breastfeeding-friendly baby's first Christmas ornament. For us, breastfeeding has been an important part of Christmas in years past. It helps to calm babies and toddlers during an overwhelming and stressful day. Will post photos of the ornament if I am successful (and maybe even if I'm not).
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I finally figured out how to make pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin. We had one for the cornucopia anyway, and I'm not into buying the Libby canned pumpkin ever since I heard it was part of the Nestle boycott. The pie was pretty good, especially for a first try, and it was so much fun to make. Toasted pumpkin seeds = nice bonus.
Suzi had a good time with Uncle Paul (pictured above) and Uncle Bit and Mama Susie (my grandma) who were visiting.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A perfectly round head that looks good in any hat
(even when the hat isn't really a hat).
Bouncy little curls that always look good
(even though I can't do hair).
A big sister, helper, cuddle buddy
(even when her feet are cold and she warms them up on my leg).
I love Suzi.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I had learned my lesson and wanted things to be different this time. Instead of going back to the obstetrician who had delivered Suzi, I decided to go with a midwife. The one I chose had a deeper than usual respect for nature and the importance of allowing a woman to birth unobstructed. Ivey’s birth was a testament to the value of simplicity and trust in oneself. She was born in our bathtub on a rainy day in August. We climbed into bed and had our first blessedly uneventful nursing session—one of many. Her birth was the final deciding factor in exactly how I would breastfeed: Ivey has never used a pacifier or a bottle. This is a luxury to me, because I am now a stay-at-home mom. The difference it makes is astounding. My milk supply has been perfect—never too much or too little. I drank one cup of mother’s milk tea before I realized I didn’t need it.
We’ve found many benefits to going without the pacifier and bottle. We don’t have to worry, particularly during cold and flu season, whether or not the paci is clean. It’s less likely that we’ll contract thrush, which can be painful for moms. There are no bottles to sterilize either, and I am hoping to ward off ovulation for a few more months. We’ll never have to buy ten different bottles because she refused the first nine, nor will we have to go through the turmoil of taking the paci away when she is too old for it. I never have to wonder if Ivey is hungry or just wanting to suck; both scenarios end with her happily at my breast.
Of course, snubbing modern conveniences is always going to be met with a little resistance. We’ve heard from several relatives why it would be a good idea to give Ivey a paci. When she had her first portraits made, she cried a little and the photographer asked if she had a paci. “No,” my mother-in-law answered a little sadly. The pictures were adorable anyway; the photographer just had to get a little creative. Right now I am making a teensy sacrifice for her to remain a breast-only baby. My husband and I wanted to go to the midnight showing of
The only drawback of our situation is that I must take Ivey everywhere I go. However, the greatest benefit is that I get to take Ivey everywhere I go! Everyone knows Ivey is coming too if they invite me somewhere. After my too-early separation from Suzi, every moment I spend with my girls is precious. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from birthing and nursing these two girls, it’s to not mess with perfection.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Story #1: My mom is shocked to find out she has breast cancer
She was in her mid-fifties and healthy, and had just gone for her YEARLY mammogram. Meaning she'd had one the year before that was clear. This time, though, there was something on it. This something led to biopsies, several surgeries and chemotherapy to treat her Stage II breast cancer. If she'd waited another year to have a mammogram, as would be customary under these new recommendations, she may have never gotten to meet her grandchildren. I could've lost my mom. I talked to her about this earlier and she agrees with this conclusion wholeheartedly and also thinks the new recommendations are stupid.
Now, before I go on to story #2, let me add one little thing: According to the expert consulted for this USA Today Q&A article, you wouldn't want to go ahead and get a mammogram anyway just be safe because "many (women) find them stressful, painful, time-consuming and, depending on insurance, expensive." I know, right? Just a hassle. You probably don't have cancer anyway, so why worry?
Story #2: My first mammogram
I had my first mammogram at age 19 because of a BB-sized lump my gynecologist found. It wasn't fun, but not getting it done would have been a lot more "stressful" as I would have driven myself crazy worrying. Especially after just having seen my mom go through multiple surgeries and chemo, it sure was nice to have the peace of mind when tests confirmed the lump was nothing to worry about. However, the mammogram did nothing for me. This is another interesting facet of this argument. You see, in some women, especially young ones, the breast tissue is so dense that a mammogram is ineffective at detecting anything. I was told before the procedure that they'd almost definitely end up having to do an ultrasound instead, which they did, and they saw the lump quite clearly. So why didn't they just go ahead and do the ultrasound in the first place, saving me all the "stress, pain, time," and "expense," not to mention radiation of a mammogram? We were told that the only way our insurance would pay for the more expensive ultrasound is if they did the mammogram first to prove the second test was really necessary.
If that is true, it certainly does give this argument a black eye: "For every one woman whose life you save in that 40-year-old age group, you're irradiating 1900 others to find that one." Nancy Snyderman pointed this out this morning on the Today Show, but it's been a popular refrain of this debate. So it's okay for insurance companies to irradiate women unnecessarily to save money, but women shouldn't decide to be irradiated to save lives? Please tell me I'm confused!
If the ramifications of a little superfluous radiation is the issue here, which I seriously doubt, why not allow women under 50 to replace their yearly mammogram with a breast ultrasound, particularly if a lump is found during the manual breast exam performed by the gynecologist?
Also, you will never convince me that breast self-exams are not helpful. When I was in college, my honors thesis focused on courage in breast cancer patients and I got to read the stories of many women. This led me to my first job in a boutique that fitted women with breast prostheses and mastectomy bras. Two of my coworkers were breast cancer survivors, and some of the clients spoke at cancer awareness meetings I attended. I've heard my share of stories. One woman credits her little lapdog for saving her life. Happy to see her, he jumped on her chest and his foot landed on a lump, helping her to find it. Some of these women will tell you they had to beg their doctors for the life-saving tests they needed. Their own hands and their intuition told them something wasn't right, and it wasn't. I believe them.
I am just so unimpressed, to say the least, at some condescending researcher saying the equivalent of "it only saves about one life in one or two thousand and that's not worth it." It is worth it. This under-50 set consists of mothers raising young children, working, and living beautiful lives. I've met some of them. Every one of them matters and it is very much worth it to me to do whatever it takes to save them. Ladies, trust yourselves. Keep an eye out for any changes in your breasts. Do what you have to do to get diagnostic tests done, and hopefully there will be enough of an outcry over this that our insurance companies won't even think of denying coverage for them at any age.
Ivey was sincerely angry, and Suzi sincerely thought it was funny that no matter what I did (including making a fool of myself in various ways), I couldn't make Ivey feel any better about the situation. And they both sincerely hated the hat parts of these costumes.
I wasn't going to put these on here, but my brother told me he wanted to see more pictures of the girls. I told him I didn't have that many, except for a couple of really crappy ones in their Halloween costumes.
"You want to see that?"
"But Ivey's screaming."
"That's okay, put it on there."
I know it may seem bad that I took these, but I thought, when they are 20 years old they are going to want a picture of themselves dressed up as pumpkins together. So I took the pictures real quick and then we took the costumes right off.
Ivey is not one to put on a big smile for the camera. Not like Suzi, who always has been, even as an infant.
Not a sign of hypocrisy anywhere.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
When Jordan and I were both working, it would have been impractical to have only one car; we went off in opposite directions each morning. But now I am staying home with the girls and loving it. I wasn't sure what would happen when I started staying home, but I haven't gone nuts from boredom or loneliness. Since I'd never in my life stayed home as a regular thing, I didn't know how much I like being alone. (Except for the two little girls. You know what I mean.) Anyway, being "stuck" at home all day without a car is not a big issue for me. There are certain days when I do need a car, and on those few days I can drive Jordan to work and then pick him up at the end of the day. No big deal.
There are other things weighing into our decision, though. Here are the pros and cons I've come up with so far...
could sell car and pay van off faster
no more taxes and insurance for car
one less car to maintain
losing out on gas efficiency of smaller car for Jordan's commute
would have to go through the hassle of selling
if something happened to the van we'd have to rent a vehicle
Right now we are leaning toward keeping the car--at least for now. For a while we were doing a one-car experiment in which we tried to see how long we could leave the Corolla in the driveway. We went a week or so and could have gone longer, but we realized that we were burning up more gas with Jordan driving the van to work. It really is nice to have a fuel efficient vehicle. Also, public transportation around here sucks. We can't even walk out of our neighborhood safely because there are no sidewalks, and there are hills and turns so the people zooming by at fifteen over the limit won't have time to see you before they run you over. There is a bus, but we'd have to be pretty desperate to walk to the bus stop and even if we did we'd never risk taking the girls with us.
So how many cars do you have? Are you happy with your situation? How many cars do you think is best for a family in which one parent stays home?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Over the past week, I've realized something. Rather than a list of things to do, I prefer to keep a list of things I've already done. A list of things you still have to do is depressing, especially when you don't finish some of them by the end of the day. I never know what I'll be able to accomplish in a given day, because Suzi and Ivey are my first concern. If they are needy all day, I won't get anything done all day. I can't be a slave to a list.
But making a list of what I've accomplished makes me feel good and sometimes I impress myself. This has turned my idea of getting into a schedule on its head, but it was never a good idea anyway. Some of the things on a schedule don't need to be done once they come around, and sometimes they need to be done sooner. With this new system of making a list after I've done things, I can just look around and see what needs to be done and then do it. Like today I decided to put together Ivey's farm jumperoo. She isn't quite big enough, but she still likes it. Suzi likes it too because it gets Ivey up where she can play with her. She had a good time showing Ivey how all the stuff on the jumperoo works.
The girls have been so cooperative all week! Our house is cleaner than usual. Right now Ivey is napping and Suzi has asked to watch "Bill" (Beauty and the Beast). Ahhh. This is much better than going back to work.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
1) Both girls are asleep. I am typing as fast as I can think.
2) I ran twice. One time I ran with Phibby, but she was confused and wouldn't run with me. She looked like she must have been thinking where is the fire? The only time I've run since freshman year of college was across the parking lot when I was late for work. (Or to snatch up a good deal at a sale.) Phibby is a leggy part-Vizsla and could easily drag me down the street if she wanted to. Instead, she kept up a leisurely trot a couple of feet behind me, and I ended up dragging her and eventually had to walk. The next day I ran with Jordan. He pushed the stroller and I had a hard time keeping up with him. Running just comes naturally to him. It's SO unfair. I want to keep running, and I hope I will. It made me sore though.
3) Even though I am a slow runner and ate some of Suzi's Halloween candy and some brownies and perhaps a cupcake or two, I lost a solid two pounds this week. It may not seem like much, but I didn't expect or need to lose a lot. I am breastfeeding so I can't really diet. I'm just happy that I got unstuck!
4) We watched Biggest Loser and I am kind of sad that Tracey is gone. I'm not sure why but I was just starting to like her.
5) The past couple of days I've been reliving the nesting I experienced while still pregnant with Ivey. It's amazing what I can get done when I put my mind to it (and the girls are napping or self-entertaining for a few minutes)! What I did in one day while Jordan was at work: cleaned out a spot in the living room for Ivey's jumperoo, organized our finances through May, made a list of financial goals we'd been discussing, bathed both girls, dishes, laundry (including diapers), prepared peas to be put away in the freezer, helped Suzi paint with watercolors and showed her how to do leaf rubbings. Suzi and Ivey have their good days and their bad (whiny/crying) days, and when they have a good day, so do I.
6) I ordered Suzi a bunch of Clif Kid Organic ZBars, hoping to get a little food into her. She is just not big on eating these days. She loved my Luna Bars, made by the same company, so I am praying she likes these even more. One of these days I'm going to order myself some Luna Bars. There are some good deals on eBay, but the ones I've seen anywhere else have been over a buck apiece. Expensive, but I've never met a Luna Bar I didn't like.
7) I am such a great mom that I somehow neglected to properly photograph our children in their Halloween costumes. Today, I am hoping to get them dressed up again and take a couple of pictures to share because they were so cute! I do have a picture of Ivey in the tutu and accessories I made for her. She never wore it anywhere, but at least I took a picture.
8) Amber mentioned a while back that she keeps up consistent posts by scheduling them, and I think it's a great idea. Write out four or five posts real quick while your kids are asleep and then you're set for a week or two! I tried it and it's awesome. Just wanted to let you know that just because I post something one day doesn't necessarily mean I wrote it that day.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Look how happy it makes them both.
This is now a part of Ivey's bath routine. The first time, Suzi had a little meltdown when I told her bathtime was over (Ivey can't just lounge in the sink indefinitely because she gets cold) but now I think she understands. Keeping her involved seems to be beneficial; I haven't noticed the first sign of jealousy. It also makes me happy that Suzi is learning about taking care of babies while bonding with her sister. Those are two things I never got to do.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Still playing with Daddy, but a different game: "You look like a princess!" (That duck is supposed to be a crown.)
"There's sumpin I wanna eat!" (You'd think she'd "want something to eat," but no.)
Looking at Ivey adoringly: "Awww. She's so cuuuute. Lookit at her..." She loves her baby sister.