Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Choosing to see the good things

Jonathan is my routine child. That is to say, he thrives on routines, even when he doesn't think so. :) It is one of those areas where it is my job to know him better than he knows himself. And this child needs routines. They've been sadly lacking, this past week, and I think that is what is driving a current spate of bad behavior.

I know this. I know that he is on edge, and overwrought, and not yet skilled in how to handle this emotional state inside himself. I know that it is my job to gather his anger and upsetness and help him to calm down without adding to his misery. It is a hard job, and very tiring for mama!

So in the midst of it all, it is so important for me to remember to notice the really, really good things about Jonathan. Like when we went to Target today, and he was patient and didn't whine for the entire "boring part" of the trip. Then we went to the toy section, and he accepted, without complaint, that most of the toys he thought were "so cool" cost more than the amount of money he had in his piggy bank. And when he finally chose how he wanted to spend his money, he purchased inexpensive (yet very fun!) sand/water toys, because he wanted to be able to give one to each of his brothers. I did not suggest this, and his brothers had not asked. He simply has a generous heart, and I love this about him.

Pray for grace

For me, please. Our contractor just explained to me that there must have been a miscomunication - they're not coming out today or tomorrow to install granite (like he said!), they hope to come out the end of next week. And in the limited understanding that I'm developing in this project, "hope" means I should mentally add a few more days and maybe a weekend to my expected arrival date. :(

Living in an upset routine and doing dishes in the bathtub is wearing, to say the least. So...grace. And maybe remind me that it will be beautiful when it is done. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Extrovert for a day

Jonathan asked me to take him over to a friend's house today. Said excursion would require me to chit chat with his friend's mother (who is a very nice woman, by the way). I said no, I wanted to stay close to home for the afternoon. We discussed the concept of introverts and extroverts, and I explained that I needed some space after being around people all morning at church. Jonathan digested this, and then asked "Mommy, please be an extrovert, just for today?"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Washing dishes sans kitchen

The novelty of doing dishes in the bathroom sink and bathtub is rather pleasant. That said, I'm also exceedingly grateful for paper plates!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Remodel, day one

This morning our kitchen looked like this:

Then this happened:

And this:

And this:

The kids thought it was wonderful.

Tonight my kitchen looks like this:

And the rest of my house?

Well, this too shall pass. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

History repeats itself

An overview of obstetric and midwifery history will show one thing quite clearly: doctors don't like midwives. In fact, most doctors wish that midwives didn't exist, and they most certainly wish that they weren't allowed to practice.

For most of the past 150 years, obstetrics won. For decades, midwifery was (in America) nearly a lost art. It began to revive in the 60's and 70's, enjoyed a bit of a heyday in the 80's, and has stolidly refused to die out, even in the face of tremendous pressure from obstetricians and insurance companies.

Ideally, obstetricians and midwives would work together, referring patients to each other for the best outcome for each individual woman. Low risk cases to midwives, high risk cases to obstetricians. It could be done. It should be done if we care about cost control, best outcomes for babies, and quality care for women.

And it seems utterly out of reach. Yet again, history attempts to repeat itself. In the state of New York, the closure of a large, midwife-friendly hospital (St. Vincent's in Manhattan) has imperiled the ability of midwives to practice. State law currently requires that all midwives have formal, written practice agreements with a back-up obstetrician. With the closure of the hospital, most midwives have been unable to meet this requirement. A bill to amend the law was expected to pass easily, until it met with opposition from the American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists. Why? Is it a safety issue? Have new studies emerged showing midwifery to be dangerous? No. ACOG is opposing the legislation on the grounds that it "has the ability to pave the way for midwives to open their own independent birthing centers."

The hubris utterly amazes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quiet time

As my oldest has gotten older and given up his naps, we have kept "quiet time". For one hour mid-morning, and one hour mid-afternoon, all children either nap or have time on their bed, reading books or playing with one quiet toy. For awhile I wondered if perhaps I was being extraordinarily selfish, unwilling to give up my own quiet times. (I felt better after listening to Susan Wise Bauer's matter-of-fact explanation for why all her children still have a daily "naptime"!) And truly, it seems to be more family-serving than simply self-serving. My theory has been that we all need some down time built into our day. Even my extroverted first born can easily get overwhelmed and fall apart if he's been turbo-charging through the day without a break. His introverted younger brother will disappear into a corner if he's not provided with some space on a regular basis. And introverted mama? Well, she's much nicer if her ears get a rest every so often. :)

This afternoon two of the boys' neighborhood friends were over to play. When I gave the five-minute-warning that it was almost quiet time, the friends were puzzled. "What is quiet time? We only have bed time." I explained that quiet time was not for sleeping, but for resting and reading. And then Jonathan chimed in "I like quiet time. It is a nice time for me to relax."

Exactly, dear one. I'm glad you like it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer fruits and veggies

Summer is my favorite time of year for healthy eating. Last night I had blueberries for an evening snack. This morning an orange/banana/spinach smoothie. At lunch we polished off almost an entire honeydew melon. And who can resist fresh green beans with sliced tomatoes? Corn on the cob and crunchy sweet carrots? Shell peas, peaches, cherries just waiting to explode in your mouth? Strawberries out of the garden, cantaloupe and apricots and spinach salads with blue cheese.

I love eating in the summer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Extroverted week

Tuesday: guests for dinner
Thursday: guests for dinner
Friday: hosted Artists' Night
Saturday morning: DASC doula meeting
Saturday evening: dinner with a friend

All absolutely lovely events, and I'm glad that we did every one of them! But oh my, I'm enjoying the fact that no one is home right now. And if you see me at church tomorrow, I won't be at all offended if you just nod, smile, and walk right by! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

How many does it take to change a light bulb...?

Religious denominational version! This is shamelessly copied from Gem of the Ocean. I have no idea where she got it, but it is wonderful. Thanks to Betsy for sharing it with me!

How various religions cope with changing light bulbs:

* Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.
* Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
* Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
* Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.
* Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.
* Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
* Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.
* Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
* Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.
* Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.
* Lutherans: None. Lutherans don't believe in change.
* Amish: What's a light bulb?

Why coupon?

There is an interesting conversation going on right now over at living learning and loving simply. Aimee's post is titled "why I don't like couponing", and it is a well-written essay with well-posed questions. The comments are also worth reading. It all made me do a lot of thinking, especially as I cut my coupons this week! So I thought I'd add my own bit to the conversation and try to explain some of the reasons that I do like and spend time couponing. Overall, I think it boils down to this: I believe there is a middle way. And I really like middle ways. :)

I am all for buying organic, and as local as I can. We get most of our produce from Farm Fresh To You, and flour, sugar, and various other items from Azure Standard. They are both organic, and "local" to the west coast (mostly CA/OR). Reality, however, is that most of us can't buy all local all the time. I would love to have a way to get reasonably priced milk from a local cow, but that simply doesn't exist where I live. The next best option is to use coupons on the milk that I can get. Coupons for organic items (canned goods, milk, produce, cheese, etc.) do exist! And if they exist, why not use them? As well, why pay full price for basic items like toothbrushes and batteries?

Should we give up couponing in order to spend the time on "things that matter"? I think that depends on a few things. How much time are we talking about? I do think that couponing can become an unhealthy obsession, if not used carefully. It needs to be kept in context of the rest of your life, and given a proper place in your priorities.

But what if it is enjoyable? I can't stand crafting, but planning the perfect trip to CVS makes me smile. I can see how crafting beautiful things could be very good for someone's family. But it could also be good, I think, to spend some of that time "crafting" scenarios for the trip to the drugstore, if that allows your family to have what they need and maybe some to give away, as well.

Let me give you an example. Last week I went to Rite Aid. Before leaving I spent perhaps 30-45 minutes collecting my coupons and organizing my plan. I purchased a $25 itunes gift card, a pool for the kids (originally $19.99), two packages of wipes, a mega pack of huggies, a bottle of lotion (to donate), three 8 packs of duracell batteries, and a bar of chocolate, for a total cost of $37. That is at least a $50 savings, which gives me a better "hourly rate" than my software developer husband. :) Too bad I can't "earn" that much every hour!

Aimee, thank you for your post. It is an interesting conversation, and one well worth having.

Look look look!

Somebody likes my midwifery slings - they featured them in an Etsy treasury! You can take a look at the entire "Born at Home" treasury here (or click on the picture.)

It is a fun mix, some very cute, some quite useful, and some great activist items. And they included me! Me me me! Hurray! :)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


(Photo taken at the Awana awards ceremony)

In the midst of the millions of words that my firstborn uses each day (yes, I'm convinced it is in the millions) some really stand out. For example, the other day we were walking together and he happily stated "Mom, I'm really cool. I can do anything!" Well then! No self esteem issues there!

A few days ago, when Gabe and I were away celebrating our anniversary, Miss Carolyn took the boys to get Happy Meals and then to the park. Carolyn reported back that Jonathan lay back on the grass and sighed "I really needed a day off."

Oh child, you have every day off. But I'm glad you enjoyed that one!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cheap cheese!

I had a fun, quick trip to Vons this morning and thought I'd share. Many items are on sale "Buy 8 get $4 off instantly" (check the vons flyer for details). The sale is ongoing through Tuesday if you want to duplicate my trip or plan your own.

I purchased:
6 lbs shredded cheddar
2 lbs lunch meat
tortilla chips
minute maid orange juice
fransisco whole wheat sandwich rolls
snyders pretzels

Coupons used:
- .55 real ca dairy product
- .55 real ca cheese
- .55 real ca cheese (05-23-10 SS)
- 1.00 land o'frost (quick sign-up required)
- 1.00 land o'frost
-1.50 oj (e-coupon surprise - I love those!)
- .75 fransisco bread (03-07-10 SS)
-1.00 snyders pretzels (05-23-10 SS)

Some of those coupons doubled (up to a dollar) leaving me with a grand total of $21.38!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Strong mama

Apparently, I am not the only woman to fire her doctor during labor! Check out this amazing mother's story!