Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Come on over

Please join me on the new blog.

It's up.

And running.

Mostly. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

why i am accomplishing nothing


Not a thing.

You know, except like taking care of a tiny baby human.

The blog redesign is in it's beta stages at You can go there if you are so inclined, but please, please for the love of all things sacred and holy understand that it is so. Not. Done. Not even in the neighborhood of done.

And that's about all there is to say about that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Actual things that have happened this week...

No crap.

*I walked around all day with my nursing bra hanging open. Unaware. That is how much time my bra spends open.

* I shaved my legs (it was newsworthy). I did not cut myself (also newsworthy).

* My 12 year old son is texting a girl. A female. He claims she's not his girlfriend but I saw him text her a rose. Suspect. Highly suspect.

* I caught him doing push-ups. Oh. Dear. God.

* My 11 year old son got completely ready for school without any prompting. And also without pants on (inspiring my future book... Don't Forget Your Pants).

* My 15 year old daughter started drivers training. Sigh.

* I hope bald is coming back because the baby pulled out half the hair on the right side of my head.

* One of our stupid dogs attacked the other stupid dog and I almost broke my arm trying to separate them. I am not a fan of our dogs right now. Or any dogs for that matter. Or the cat. In fact, the only animals I'm feeling any good about are the fish, and one of them died. Crap.

* I had to pee (at least once a day) but the baby was in the wrap so I peed while babywearing. In fact I also swept, cooked and dusted babywearing. I would have showered babywearing if my sling was waterproof (and yes they do make those).

* I made Henry the Hoot Owl. But I had to do it with a baby on my lap which means I stabbed myself with knitting needles no less than 7 times.

* I went almost an entire day without water. I had coffee and iced tea. That's all. And they weren't even caffeinated. I didn't realize it until 9:15 pm. By then I had a headache. (I hope the Man isn't reading this or I'm busted)

* I made rice krispie treats.

* I ate rice krispie treats for breakfast.

* I ate rice krispie treats for dinner.

* I probably ate rice krispie treats for lunch but I'm not admitting it.

* One night I served the 15 year old (who had to leave for an activity before dinner was done) a plate of mexican rice, a rice krispie treat and a banana. It looked as bad as it sounds.

* I started to write a tutorial for the owl I mentioned above. I got the first two lines written. So far, that's it. It goes like this: Step One: Get some yarn. Step two: Get some size 3 knitting needles. (More on this later)

* The 11 year old told us he was learning about dictators that are "mean and crazy" also that he would like to be a dictator, but a "nice one" because he doesn't want to be shot or hung. Awesome. It's good to have dreams.

* I fell into the big curbside trash can. Like inside of it. I don't really want to talk about it.

* Did I mention the rice krispie treats?

Oh also because I've been such a good wife and mommy (or you know, because I was looking for an excuse, like I FELL IN A TRASH CAN) I bought myself this lovely book:

Isn't it lurvely?

Then someone spilled syrup on it.

Of course.

So readers... what happened to you in the last week?

Hang in folks,


PS I love Jane Austen. Who doesn't love Jane Austen? OK I mean what LADY doesn't love Jane Austen? If you don't love Jane Austen you should buy this book anyway because it's so purdy.

PPS It's been one the best weeks of my life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

(nearly) wordless Wednesday: Henry the Hoot Owl

Presenting Henry:

The Hoot.

Standby. Tutorial to follow folks.

Happy crafting,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

make. it. stop.

Please for the love of all that is sacred and holy.

Make it stop.

You see, next year these two lovebirds who met in 1986. (Yeah you read that right):

Will have their 20th class reunion.

Last month this baby turned 11.

And last week we bought a car for this baby to drive.

When she turns 16:

In August. Which is 6 months from now.

And last night this baby (the one on the right):

Was text messaging.



(He'd be mortified if he knew I said so but I mean COME ON. A GIRL?)

And this baby, you know the one born like, what was it, yesterday?

Was rolling over.

Both ways.

It is in light of all this that I insist that all growing cease. And additionally that time stop.


Thank you for your consideration in this matter,

the mother

PS the wedding-y photos you see here were taken by the incomparable Myron Yeung. Take a peek at his website (You'll see yours truly featured :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bad. Bad blogger.

I confess.

I am a bad blogger.

I wish I could offer a good reason for this but alas, I give you only this photographic evidence:

My kitchen.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

You see the Big Kids are back from their dad's house. They were gone 3 days and I missed them terribly. Admittedly though I did not miss the messy kitchen. In fact my kitchen was mostly clean for, you guessed it, 3 days.

I do not know what happened in the kitchen this morning. I think it might have been a bomb. Or a tornado. Please note: Geometry and Biology books on table. No, I am not a Sophomore in high school. Someone around here might be though, let me check. I'll get back to you. Also note: There are two pots of things cooking on my stove. Chicken (for chicken and dumplings) and pinto beans (for refried beans). And a box of Rice Krispies. Because I'm going to make Rice Krispie treats. If I can ever find my counter top. And speaking of the counter top, on the counter top you may see some carrots. I will make them eat carrots before the Rice Krispie treats. So that I don't get reported to CPS.

While the Big Kids are at their dad's house I have only Ella, myself and the Man to look after.

It's still a full time job.

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon stripping cloth diapers. This is so. much. fun. (Not really.) And it leaves your house smelling fresh and clean. (If your idea of fresh and clean is the smell of boiling dawn dishsoap and urine.) Once I was done doing that I decided that pizza sounded good for dinner. (As the house still smelled vaguely of peesoap.)

Yay for pizza.

Also I was working on this.

Though it's got nothing to do with the messy kitchen. Except that I maybe could have a cleaner kitchen if I had no hobbies.

I can't tell you what it is (it's knitting). Or what it's going to be (an owl). Or when it'll be finished (today). Or who it's for (Ella's BFF Anneliese). Because it's a surprise.

So you can see at least 3 compelling reasons why I'm a bad blogger.

My apologies.

I'll get back to you once I dig out from under the dishes. If you don't hear from me by tomorrow afternoon please notify the authorities. The children will most likely notice I'm missing, but not until they get hungry which probably won't be until be dinner time (since there's at least enough cereal and carrots to last until then).

signing off,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Miss Merleymaid. Complete.

Readers I give you a totally pointless blog post about a doll.

Sorry. But this took me a while so I'm making a blog post about it. Cause it's my blog. Neener.

At long last here she is.

I finished her. I can't tell you the feeling of accomplishment that has washed over me. I'm on top o' the world.

Ok, not really. But wow, it feels good to have a completed project. Cause it seems these days, I'm lucky to get my hair brushed.

Here are some photos of Miss Merleymaid, Dreadlocked Queen of the Sea. I regret that I cannot give you the pattern because, alas, it is not mine to give. I wish it were mine. Here's a little secret you may or may not know about me, I'm a stickler for following patterns. This is unusual because I can think outside the box when it comes to lots of other things (in my professional life for example, also I had a baby in the kitchen so that's something) but when it comes to knit and crochet, I am absolutely pattern loyal. Also I like recipes. I like to follow them. I wish this were not the case but it is. So anyway.


The pattern is available here. I purchased this fine this pattern when she was having a 30% off birthday sale. That's totally insignificant but I just wanted to tell you. Go to her site. It's Super Cute.

Also just for general educational purposes this is what is known as amigurumi, a Japanese style of knit or crocheted small dolls or animals (or whatever). For more on amigurumi click here. When crocheted they are typically done in all single crochet in the round and thus are not difficult to make (except for the working with very small pieces which may give you an aneurysm. Or a seizure. Or at the very least arthritis.). If you don't know how to crochet go here. It's not for everyone but I like it. When knitting amigurumi they are made with stockinette stitch (Making one of those now. It's an owl. And it's for Anneliese. Don't tell her.).

Moving on.

The yarn:

Flesh toned cotton, rayon blend (TLC cotton plus)
Brown worsted weight (for hair cap, it's not in the picture) (Vanna's {cheap} choice)
Wool bulky weight (by Lion)
Aqua worsted weight (bamboo ewe by Stitch Nation)
Crochet hook size G (um. Metal.)

PS I am a yarn snob. Apologies. For this I did use mostly readily available yarns. Except the TLC, you gotta order that one.

PPS If you crochet or knit and you haven't used any of the Stitch Nation yarns. Do. Now.

Starting with the head. Half done with safety eyes. I challenge you to remove this. It's impossible without a pair of pliers. Or scissors. Or a welding torch.

Outside view. Half done.

Stuff it tight. Full. Packed. How I feel after eating at the Cheesecake Factory.

Add the arms (these are small and small things are hard to crochet. My fingers hurt for two days).

And body (crocheted as one piece). Headless. Arms attached. This is disturbing. I apologize.

Now for the hair. This is made by crocheting a small wig cap and tying the bulky yarn to it. The yarn is then pulled through to the opposite side and the cap is then sewn to the dolls head. This sounds like a lot of steps but it's not. I did it in one evening, with a baby on my lap. Here you see head, cap and Rastafarian hair yarn.

Oh and you see my couch cushion. Cause I was too lazy to get up.

And here is the edge of the hair.

Ella approves.
Yum. Yarn. Tastes... fuzzy.

The last bit it to make her shell boobies and starfish hair accessory. I used wool felt. It's so lovely. And wooly.

Accent embroidery to the outside, done before attaching (that's supposed to be a seashell. The Man said it looked a "little rough". It's a SEASHELL. That's my story and I'm stickin to it. Thank you.)

Also I haven't had a manicure in two light years. My apologies.


May I present Miss Bobbie Merleyamaid. Your (sea)weed dealer of the sea. (That's a joke about pot. And a stereotype about people with dreadlocks. The Man made that up. I thought it was worth using. If you made it this far you deserve a chuckle. You're welcome.)

Thanks for sticking around y'all.

Happy crafting.


Friday, February 18, 2011

the one where I confess I only see pediatricians that look like Mel Gibson

Allow me to explain.

Ella is 5 months and 1 week old. She weighs 20.8 pounds. She's fee-at. ( Can you say Hulk Baby?). She's also te-all. I don't know how tall because she won't be still long enough for me to find out.

She does things: She rolls over (prolly case she's fee-at). She holds toys and examines them carefully (trying to figure out if they're edible). In both hands (because when you move it from hand to hand it changes). She grabs food from my plate (She wants to eat. Bad. But we are waiting until she can sit. Which might be forever. More on that later.) She plays with her tongue, sticking it out and sucking on it (also because I presume she thinks it's food). She drools (profusely). She screeches (loudly). She nurses (frequently). She sleeps (occasionally).

She tries to sit up.

She can't (that's why this is blurry, because her punkin head drags the rest of her body over).

The grabby hands.

Fully functioning (Grab. Grab. Grab.).

Rolly poly. Rolling. Over.
Note: Bib. Excessive drool. And by excessive I mean the front of her shirt was so wet with drool I could have squeezed it out then washed the load of laundry with it.

Anyway. There's Ella Bella (her middle name is Grace. For the record.). She's made of butter. And sugar.

And she's on a personal mission to make sure I accomplish absolutely nothing.

And she is awesome in every way.

And she hasn't seen a pediatrician since she was one day old.

When she was one day old we took her to a great doc in a city nearyby to be checked over for any shoulder/clavicle issues she may have had left over from her, shall we say, tight fit. Since then we haven't even considered taking her. People may wonder why.

There are a few reasons for this:

1. She's clearly healthy. I have at least enough medical training as a RN to recognize this. But more importantly, she is my fourth child. I've been there done that.
2. I don't give a rip what the growth chart says (it would say she's fee-at).
3. We aren't fully vaccinating. In fact, presently, we aren't vaccinating at all. Until I've done enough research to know what is going into her and why. And when we do it'll be on our own schedule. Three injections in one day is not happening (don't call CPS).
4. He doesn't look like Mel Gibson (FTR I think Mel Gibson is a jerk. But in 1995 I felt otherwise. Read on.)

When I had my first baby I was 21 years old. Young by most standards. And I took her to the pediatrician for every. single. age. appropriate. visit. She had every physician recommended vaccine right on time. And I did precisely everything he told me to do. For two reasons: A. Because he was smart and kind and the closest thing to a holistic doc I'd ever met (it was he who said the varicella vax was overrated). I trusted him and listened to him. He gave great advice like limit sugar and air your house out when your kids are sick. He told me to get her out of daycare when she was plagued with repeated ear infections to the point that I could no longer remember a time she wasn't taking antibiotics and I was buying echinacea by the gallon. And when it became clear she might need tubes he was willing to wait it out. Good thing because she escaped without them. Oh and B. He was KEY-UTE (Mel Gibson. First Lethal Weapon. That kind of cute. Now stop judging me it was 1995. That look was in. Sheesh.)

Anyway time marched on. More kids were born. And they got sick. And we went to the doc. And I found out that every time we went to the doc they seemed to get sick from being AT THE DOC. And it was Hell. Capital H. Plus the doc was mean. And he didn't look ANYTHING like Mel Gibson. The nerve. Eventually their super duper superhero immune systems kicked in pretty dern good and they stopped getting so sick I thought someone might die (most likely me) (now that I've said that they're all going to get the plague. Tomorrow.) SO we stopped going entirely. And they're healthy. Aside from the occasional emergency thing or incurable skin rash we just don't go. (ask my kids, I've been known to try to use breastmilk to cure everything from an earache to skin rash to eye infection {also, I'm not crazy, it actually works.})

This baffles people.

I still love my children. I swear. If the ped looked like Hugh Jackman I still wouldn't go.

Now I have to go get absolutely nothing done because Ella is drooling all over the keyboard.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

why slow trains are problematic

Remember when I said sometimes I'm not funny? Yeah. This is one of those times.

Soooo, I was in my car yesterday afternoon, for the 17th time, going to get The 15 Year Old, stuck behind the slowest train in the history of trains. And I was feeling pitiful because the afternoon wasn't going like I planned. The Man was gone. I still had to cook dinner. I didn't know what was for dinner. I was tired because I never sleep. Ever. I had ten sewing projects I couldn't get to because the baby was crying. Like constantly. I had poop on my pants (the baby's not mine). I was having a bad hair day. Pitiful. Anyway... I was reading twitter while I waited. It seems a friend of some of my tweeps (not a friend of mine) had lost her battle with breast cancer. Pause to digest that. She was young. Really young. Pause again. Anyway. The tweet linked her blog and something her husband wrote the other day as she was about to leave this life. You can read it here (tissue warning given). Like I said, I don't know Sarah but I felt compelled to read the blog while I waited for another 10 minutes. Dang slow train.

Then the tears started to come.

Welled up.

Then dripping.

Then streaming.

Down my face. Onto my shirt. Onto my pants.

I was trying hard to not look like I was crying because I had three kids in the car who would certainly be wondering why mom is crying over a long train.

Oh the tears.

And then I felt it, the stinging pain my my chest. The heartache for Sarah and her family. And the memory of sharing those last moments with people.

And I realized something.

I miss my job.

Oh I don't miss getting up early (I already get up early enough). I don't miss driving all over the county all day. I don't miss meetings or bureaucracy. I don't miss skipping lunch or holding my pee all day. I don't miss searching all over creation for a public restroom or getting lost in scary neighborhoods. I don't miss being on call and having to go pronounce a death at 3 am or the tears I shed so many times on the shoulders of my husband or on my pillow in the dark. I don't miss the pervading fear that something as horrible as the things I saw would happen to someone I love. I don't miss the hysteria of the grief stricken, clinging to me or chasing the mortuary van (true story) or the chihuahuas that appeared like sneaky ratty monsters from under beds to attack my feet (also true story). I don't miss missing my kids activities or worrying about who is picking who up or worrying about who is cooking dinner. I don't miss worrying about what I'm going to wear. I don't miss poop very much.

But I do miss my job.

I miss holding the hands of the ill and dying. I miss helping people be free of pain and suffering. I miss the crying husbands and wives and sons and daughters who so desperately needed to be heard and held. I miss the children who ask me wide eyed to explain why the person they love is dying. I miss people baking me things and trying to give me chickens to thank me for my care. I miss the hugs. I miss watching the peaceful transition from this life, an end to suffering. I miss feeling like I was doing something for people who truly genuinely needed it. I miss it. I miss it all.

I loved Hospice care. I don't talk much about it because I feel a reverence for death that I don't think should always be publicly shared (also because of HIPPA and my deep desire not to be sued), but I can't help myself today.

I believe in a few things in this world to be true.

1. Love is more important than anything. Any. Thing.
2. As long as you're provided for, money means very little.
3. People are more important than stuff.
4. Birth is best left alone.
5. Death is best left alone.

I knew those things before I became a Hospice Nurse. But Hospice taught me those things in a whole new way.

I felt the fragility of life so profoundly.

I'd spend hours on the phone while I drove from place to place talking to the Man and crying. Him telling me I was doing good work and that he'd be there for me when I got home. And there he would be. Arms open. Kleenex at the ready. Words of comfort and encouraging. Him telling me I was his hero. And the children. How precious they appear in light of such suffering.

At the end of my day I'd hug everyone a little tighter.

As a midwife to the soul I watched a young man with a crippling disease go from strong and strapping to withered and weak. I watched his wife and children watch this happen. I watched him die. I cried with them. For them. His wife told me I must certainly have angels wings under my sweater. She told me they were blessed to know me and to have me care for him. And them.

It was I who was blessed. So very deeply blessed.

Serious session ceasing. Thanks for hanging in there.

Now go hug your people y'all. Tight.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(nearly) wordless wednesday: will she ever finish it edition (my apologies if this image is disturbing)

It's a mermaid.

Or you know, it will be. Eventually.

I hope.

Green Product Review: Kiss My Face Castille

Green Product review time again. And again, I'm not getting paid. Just to clarify. They don't know me. And they don't care about me. Thankfully the Man cares about me. Phew.

Moving on.

Oh. My. Dear.

I can't tell you how excited this product makes me.

So excited.

Why you ask? Well. Well. Well. Let me tell you.

Because I already love castile soap. You may remember me yammering on about Dr. Bronner's which is coincidentally also a castile soap. I have been using this for just about any and everything for a long time (and this is what I mean by everything: I wash the baby, myself, my face, the floor, my windows, the shower. Get what I'm saying?). What is castile soap you ask? Allow me to direct you to this fine wiki article. That will tell you all you ever didn't need to know about castille. Fascinating.

So I was shopping the natural cosmetic section at Target and I stumbled upon this item:

Kiss my Face castile soap. They call it Peace Soap. I don't know why. Probably because castile soap was associated with hippies. For more on this read here. This has little to do with castile and more to do with how to be a hippie (I like #4, but #8 explains why you should use castile). I think they are trying to appeal the the trendy hippie crowd. Whatever, I don't judge a company for tryin. If it'll get people to care then go for it. Castile is good. It's good you and for the environment. Win. Win.

Impressions: It's not any *different* than Dr. Bronner's really. It's still castile. It still cleans everything imaginable. It's about $10 for a 17 ounce bottle. This may seem like a lot but this lasts for a LONG time. Like a long long time. Also 10% of proceed go to Seeds of Hope (oh it just occurred to me, maybe THIS is why they call it peace soap. Hm. Whatever. As you were.). In any case, you can't hate that.

But there is one little difference... if heaven exists, it smells JUST LIKE THIS SOAP. It comes in like 4 different scents but I'll be a monkey's uncle if I ever buy another one. This one is minty and grassy and just, well, lovely. And all I'll ever need. Like the Man. Only he doesn't smell grassy. Or minty. Mostly garlic-y and like coffee. Sniff. Yum. Ahhhh.

Ahem. Anyway.

I mix this like so (in a spray bottle):

2 cups of water
1 tsp of delicious soap (don't eat it)
2 tsp of vinegar

And I spray everything I can think of to spray with it. Counter. Stove. Microwave. Table. Bathrooms. I clean stuff that isn't even dirty.

Don't come over I might spray you with it.

I'm not even kidding.

Buy this now. I mean you don't HAVE to buy it *now* but I'm just sayin, you won't be sorry. Take my word for it. I wouldn't lie to you.

peace(soap) out,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the one where I say I hate my cat.

To animal lovers everywhere, I apologize (also I'm going to say the word bitch. Twice.).

I hate my cat.

This is a new sensation, this feeling of utter disdain for such a creature. For you see, I am a lover of all animals.

I swear.

At one point in my life I had (this was at the same time mind you): chickens (dozens), geese (a gaggle), cats (13), dogs (3), Bunnies (2. then 7 {cause the first two got it on}. then 2 again when the first 2 for some reason ate their offspring. Disturbing. Moving on.), lizards (enough to scare people), parakeet (1. she survived 3 cat attacks) and tadpoles (a pond full).

I love creatures of all kinds.

Except this cat.

I love her because it's the right thing to do. There's no other compelling reason.

I'm just gonna call a spade a spade here, this cat is a Bitch. I've had a lot of cats, but never one that you can't pick up. Or pet unless she lets you. Or even come near unless you're invited.

I've been spoiled by excellent cats.

I brought three children into our marriage. The Man brought Edgard. No, not that ^ cat up there. This cat:

Now that is an excellent cat. Edgard had all the right cat qualities. He was big. Like an ocelot. And fluffy. Like a lions mane. And sweet. Like a little kitten. He'd lay near you and keep you company and meow only when appropriate. Plus he had his own little cat language of sounds I can't type out. Anyway I won't go into too much detail because he was the Man's cat and the Man should get to go on about how wonderful he was in a post that belongs to him. He took ill not long after we were together and we said goodbye to the Best. Cat. Ever.

And got The Bitch.

Uh I mean Shelby. The worst part of it all is she KNOWS she's awful. When I put the baby down at night, she RUNS all over the upstairs jumping on things and generally being noisy. When we go to bed she prances around the countertop making impossible to brush your teeth while waiting for the Man to turn the faucet on for her (He likes her. I don't get it. He's a saint.) She rolls her white hair all over anything I've recently vacuumed. She sleeps IN THE CRIB. To be fair, Ella will never use that crib, but still, it's for BABIES. She peers down upon her subjects from Ella's window and plots our demise. She's planning a way to murder me in my sleep. I'm almost certain.

She does like two cute things. Maybe one. Yeah just one. She comes running when you turn on the icemaker because she likes to play with ice. It's pretty cute.

That's it.

It's not her fault really that I despise her so.

I've come to the conclusion that I basically want to strangle anything that a. wakes the baby b. makes the house any messier than it already is c. looks at me like I OWE it something. I am BUSY cat. You are no on the top of my list. Sorry come back in 10 years.

It's nothing personal. I don't really like the dogs too much right now either.

But that's a whole other thing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

why we did it in the kitchen

Our little baby bean Ella was born at home.

In the kitchen.

{Please feel free to check this out if you're new to the blog or just have a spare hour (no, really, it's LONG).}

(that's me. active labor, around 5-6 cm dilated)

It seems like homebirth is becoming trendy.

We aren't trendy.

Sorry to disappoint.

I think most people are afraid to ask why we had a baby in the kitchen.

The truth is I did it because I wanted to eat pancakes in labor. OK that's not exactly why, but it's part of it.

We did it for a lot of reasons. Here's a few. (Bulleted list time folks.):
  • Because having a baby is a *natural* event. We believe the female body knows inherently what to do without being directed or interfered with.
  • Because we wanted *our* birth to be *our* birth. An intimate affair with the people we love, who love us (and Ella) to be present and included. This includes the 3 Big Kids. They were all there. That couldn't happen in a hospital.
  • Because I believe that birth is empowering. I know some people may think this is feminist garbage but I really do. And while not everyone wants to be empowered by birth, I did. And I was.
  • Because I wanted to birth in water.
  • And I didn't want ANY medication. Nope. None.
  • Because the statistics are scary. We didn't really want the hospital mucking with our baby's birth unless we needed them (which we felt pretty sure we wouldn't).
  • Because we knew if we needed them, we could go there. Like immediately. (This is one reason we had concurrent care with a hospital CNM who knew we weren't actually planning to GO to the hospital but who would be available for us should any need arise.)
  • Because we didn't want to have to fight the hospital to be able to go home early after the delivery and I knew I didn't want to be in the hospital (also because we knew we would decline erythromycin and Vit K, unless we felt they were needed {note: We did give Vit K orally, because of her hard time gettin out}).
  • Because we like the midwifery model of care.
  • And because we LOVE our midwife. And we knew she was equipped to handle most emergent situations (and boy was she ever).
  • Because, believe it or not, I'm a RN and I don't really think OB's know what's best for mom and baby. Shock. And Awe. (Dear OB's. I *love* you. I really do. We need you. Sometimes. Just not always. Sorry. No offense.)
  • Because women deserve to make an educated CHOICE about where and how they birth. Having a baby in the kitchen isn't for everyone. But it was for us.
  • Because I wanted to be in a pool, in my kitchen, singing The Commodores Brickhouse with my husband.

(You should know, I'm 10 cm dilated in this photo. For those who don't know what that means... the baby is about to come out. Like, immediately. I tried and failed to load a video. I have not yet given up.)

Second frequently asked question:

Wasn't I scared? No. I wasn't scared. I was excited.

I like pancakes.

And birth.

Homebirth: It's not for everyone but it was for us.

If you want to hear what the Man thinks about the birth... read his accounting here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the one where I say I'm not skinny, and it's gonna be ok

Sometimes I'm not funny. I apologize. If you struggle with weight or body image, please read on. If you don't, please stop reading and email me immediately, I need to know your secret. If you're just not interested come back tomorrow. We are going to talk about hair.


I used to blog over here. This is Blog to Lose, if you don't know it, it's a great site for weight loss support and I blogged almost daily there when I was losing weight a few years ago. I lost, in fact, 60 pounds over the course of about 7 months. (Reader's Digest Version: I was depressed. I worked nights. I ate to stay awake. I got fat. I felt bad. I lost weight. The end. Well almost the end. Read on.) Anyway... not so much. I weigh about 10 pounds from the weight I was when I started that blog and my life isn't the same.

For the better.

Confession: In those days of weight loss I obsessed over my weight to the point of weighing not just daily, but multiple times daily. I weighed before the shower. After I peed. With clothes on. With clothes off. I measured myself weekly (if not more). I obsessively stared at my stomach waiting for it to remarkably become tighter, have less stretch marks, look different, better (hello. I had been pregnant 4 times). I worked out 6 days a week. Two or more hours a day.

It was an ugly ugly time. I'm ashamed of that behavior.

But also, I recognize that many women I was cyberfriends with were doing the same thing. I can't completely explain why but you go ahead and apply whatever psychological knowledge you have.

So now I blog for a different reason (because I'm not actively losing weight), but it's no surprise that the thing that seems to get the most positive response (or any response) is posts about body image. I can't tell you the number of emails I got after the Victoria's Secret post (well I mean I could, but that is meant to suggest that I got a lot, which I did). I got email from anorexics, bulimics, food obsessed people and people who just plain ol' hate their bodies. This isn't necessarily something people like to publicly share, but I know you're out there gals (and guys). So this one is for you...


I know it's not that easy. Oh believe me. I knooooow. But here's the thing.

You are the way you look.

But the way you look is not *you*.

I know this doesn't apply to everyone. I also know that skinny people have body image issues too. I used to be one.


I'm on the left (the one on the right is my little sister. She's 22, single and in grad school if anyone knows any nice guys). This was taken less than two years ago. I can give you a laundry list of things I don't like about my body in that picture. (I'll spare you, but use your imagination. If you're a lady, you know the hot spots.)

Anyway now I'm not skinny.


And I could still give you a laundry list of things I'd change. (I'd put on a swimsuit if I thought it would illustrate my point better but I don't have one. Also I apologize for the poor quality of this photo. I had the 15 year old snap it quickly, because it's rare to get a photo of me without a baby attached.)

So, why am I smiling? (Besides the fact that it's sunny and beautiful outside and I did yoga.)

I should be crying my eyes out right? Because I used to look like that other girl? And now I don't.

Well I refuse. I will not cry over my thighs. Or butt. Or stomach.

See we went to the beach this last weekend and I sat in the sand with our sweet little baby, watching my Big Kids play in the surf and I people watched.

Mostly I just kept seeing girls in bikinis and thinking to myself, "Welp self. Your body is just never going to look like that again. Ever."

And I was just a little sad.

Ok I was a lot sad.

But just for a minute.

I'm going to be honest... I was trying really hard to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salty water (both things I big puffy pink heart) but I was intermittently thinking horrible things. I was imagining how my husband must surely find me hideous and wondering how many women on the beach he was looking at thinking he wished I looked like them. (He wasn't. Just to clarify. He's not that guy.) I was thinking about how it's only going to get worse because I'm only getting older, and saggier. I was thinking about having another baby and what that might do to my body. I was thinking I'd never ever wear a swimsuit again. Ever. Never.


I wasn't having a very good day emotionally speaking. I'm blaming PMS.

I was sad. Also PMS.

(Also I wanted a chocolate bar. Bad.)

Then I was sad that I was sad, and sad that I was sad that I was sad. Did you get all that? And I talked to the Man about it. Because that's what I do. And he did like he does. He told me he loved me and that he wanted me to be healthy and happy and not worried about the scale. Or my stretch marks. Or my pants size. Or. Or. Or. He told me I am beautiful and he loves my body the way it is. Round. Shapely. Soft. Curvy. And I thought, why can't I love myself this way too? Or any way I am? Oh this makes me mad at myself. Just mad. MAD. And so I consciously decide to I love myself. Yay. I'm smart. I'm beautiful. I'm a good person. Phew.

(Then something happens to make me critical (pick ANYthing) and thus begins the cycle again.)

But you see it's not about being skinny or fat (or whatever), it's just about loving who you are, how you are. However you are.

It's gonna be ok.

I wish women would tell each other things like this.

You look how you are.

But you are not how you look.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday.

I like shampoo.

A lot.

This is why.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

bringing sexy (legwarmers) back

I knit.

Therefore I am. (Frustrated, that is.)

Well, I attempt to knit. That's something.

How cute is this yarn? I mean reeeally. Right.

This probably doesn't look like much.

That's because it's not.

It's not a hat. Or gloves. Or socks. Or even part of any of those things.

You may or may not pay any attention to fashion trends but in case you don't let me just tell you, legwarmers are back baby. And by back baby I mean back, for babies. Do NOT go buy yourself legwarmers. I don't care WHAT fashion trends say. The only person that should be wearing legwarmers is Olivia Newton John. In 1981.

And a baby.

These are legwarmers.

Bitty baby legwarmers.

I've been working on these since, well since Christmas. I have 2 inches of one done. At this rate she can wear them, say, sometime next year? I can't seem to finish any knitting or crochet project I start. The reason for this is:

a. I have children.
b. Four of them.
c. Children need things.
d. Like food.
e. And clean clothes.
f. And breastmilk (and unfortunately I need two hands to knit. Crap)
g. And attention.
h. And legwarmers. Oops. Working on that.
i. Also, it takes me so long to finish any project that by the third month I'm bored and working on another project too (can I get an amen?)

I probably should have made these bigger.

Like toddler size.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I know when to admit it.

I admit it.

I am defeated.

It's the baking soda. And the vinegar. But mostly the baking soda.

The poo-free experiment is over. Thank you for playing. It was a long three weeks.

Some time last week the Man asked me if I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. The dialogue went something like this:

Man: So are you ready to use shampoo again?
Me: No.
Man: It's ok to say something didn't work. It gives you credibility.
Me: I'm not giving up yet. I'm tweaking the recipe.
Man: Well I think it's pretty clear why people use shampoo. It's kind of easier...
Me: I'm tweaking the recipe. It's going to work.

Yeah. No. It's not.

I should say the poo-free experiment worked out ok for him. His hair is soft and really feels fantastic to me. My hair though? Not so much. The main issue is that because of the length of my hair (long-ish) and the fact that's it's already on the dry side (except the scalp which is oily) I can't seem to get it to stabilize. Either I put something like coconut oil on it and it's a greasy slick or I don't and it's dry as hay. Neither of which is very attractive.

This is not to say that I couldn't continue to tweak and fiddle and make it work. This is just to say, I'm not going to.

It was yesterday that I committed myself to de-committing myself.

It was 10:30 am. I had just showered. My hair looked bad. My scalp itched. I couldn't get a brush through my formerly lovely locks. We exchanged looks. It was understood. I mentioned to the Man that I had seen what I thought was a nice organic alternative (not containing sodium laureth sulfate, the key chemical offender in most shampoos/detergents) at Whole Foods. For $10 per 13 oz bottle (both shampoo and conditioner, which I clearly need). This is about three times what I was paying for Pantene and it's in a plastic bottle. So fail on those counts. Baking soda and vinegar, $.50 per week probably. But again, cost was not my primary motivator and lo and behold Walmart carries the SAME brand. Avalon organics. The Walmart price is a smidge less at $6.47 per bottle.

All I could think about all day was going to buy shampoo.

And taking a shower.

My hair looked bad last night and I said to the Man, "How's my hair look?" (It looked bad. I knew it.)

He said, "Not bad." I said, "Really, it's looks bad you can say so." He said, "Yeah it looks a little like straw." I said, "I can't wait to wash my hair."

I never wanted to wash my hair so badly in my life.

I had dreams about shampoo. (Not really. I only had a dream about having to be a clothing model and not fitting in the clothing and not remembering how to apply lipstick. It's got nothing to do with this post but I think you can sense I have some issues with clothing at present.)

This morning I did yoga for a bit. I would have done it longer if I didn't want to wash my hair so bad.

Then I washed my hair.

I wanted to luxuriate in the silky softness of conditioner and the sweet smell of lavender.

But the baby was screaming.

So I just hurried up and washed and conditioned and got out of the shower. Then I laid down with the baby to nurse her (and stop the screaming) and she fell right to sleep.

And I fell right to sleep. With wet hair. For like 20 minutes.

I woke up when I heard the Man coming up the stairs. "Crap I'm getting your pillow all wet. And now my hair is going to to look bad."

Now it's soft but looks awful anyway.


Better luck tomorrow I guess.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Green product review: Method dryer sheets

This may or may not be interesting to you. If it's not, I apologize. Come back tomorrow. I promise to be more interesting then.

Anyway... I thought that I'd start a weekly product review of some of the things I use that are more "green" in nature.

Note: This is not sponsored content. Method does not know who I am nor do they know I am using or reviewing this product. I simply like this enough to tell you about it :). My blog isn't wonderful enough for Method to even care. At all.

Moving on.

So what are we talking about?

Method dryer sheets.


You may remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that I liked the Charlie's for laundry washing but that I missed the softness of fabric. Well I tried to get over it and, aside from hating the crunchy socks, I really did in fact, get over it. However, I was at Whole Foods last week and I was just walking around the store looking at all the wonder that is that place and I always like to check out the cleansers and whatnot and I saw these:

This package is very small (though the photo may not indicate). It is about the size of say a small box of tea bags. And I was intrigued. They had a few 'flavors', which you can see here. I picked the "baby" version which is rice milk and mallow. Just so you're aware, mallow is a plant. They also have unscented but I found this scent to be very light and pleasant. A little like sweet milk.


1. They are wet. Like a baby wipe. Only slimy They are actually even the size of a baby wipe. (I don't use baby wipes.) This I find strange but ok.
2. They are good for two uses. Wow. Ok . That's awesome. And they really are.
3. Five-ish bucks for essentially 80 loads. Not too shabby. As long as your kids don't switch the laundry and lose it (I'm not naming names but it was my middle son). Also I bought them at While Foods but Target sells them and frankly it's probably generally cheaper to buy there but they were on sale at WF's so nothing lost.
4. The clothes are not static-y.
5. Also they smell good. Like really good. But not perfume-y or overbearing. Nice.
6. No animal testing (a must, but worth mentioning). Necessary.
7. The ingredients are natural:


All in all I feel pretty good about using the product as far as it's environmental impact is concerned (except what do I do with the wipe-y thing when I'm done. I mean I'm not even using paper towels.) Also I feel fine putting this on my peeps skin because it's not chemical-y.

And my socks aren't crunchy anymore.


on sisterhood


I have one.

This post isn't about her.

She's brilliant, gorgeous, athletic, funny. I waited 14 years for her. She gets her own post. This isn't it. This post is about a different kind of sisterhood.

Before I go into it let me tell you this, I was one of *those* girls in high school. To all the girls I went to high school (or junior high school) with, I apologize. I wasn't the boyfriend stealer. I wasn't a snob. I wasn't a bitch (Actually, I probably was a bitch. Feel free to tell me if that was the case. I'm doubly sorry for that.) I just didn't have girlfriends. I started out having girlfriends but as girls sometimes do we betrayed each other. We acted snarky. Talked badly of one another. Lost touch. And ultimately stopped talking at all.

So I eventually just hung out with the guys. All guys (Jordan, I'm talking to you if you're reading). And I had fun. Guys aren't catty or bitchy. They don't care what you're wearing to the prom. You can make them a pie and they are just happy you made them a pie. They don't try to make a pie better than you or curse you out for trying to outdo their pie. I went on 'dates' with guys. To concerts with guys. To pizza with guys. I studied with guys. Rode around (and got stuck) in a 4 WD pick up with guys. Listened to Metallica (and some George Strait and Joni Mitchell, we were a varied group) with guys. Watched Monty Python with guys. I think you get what I'm saying. I hung out with guys. The memories are good. Very good.

But I missed girls.

Here's the thing about girls: We are in constant competition with each other. Who has the smarter kid. Who is skinnier, prettier, smarter, funnier. Who has the better (or worse) husband. Who has the bigger or nicer house or car. Who. Is. Better.

I don't get it.

And here's what I know, when you meet a girl that you don't have to feel like you're in competition with, hang on to her.

Recently someone I only barely knew in junior high commented on my blog post about secrets. It said this:

Joni, I'm a lurker on your blog and, well, just read this:

So I went there. Cause what am I, some kind of jerk? And what did I find? A blog post about me. Yep me.

Little ol' insignificant imperfect me.

I hope you read it because it drives what I am about to say home.

When I read it I was awed. Just awed. Here is this sister, beautiful, intelligent with a beautiful family and an enviable life and she is talking about how I make her feel inadequate. How she actually AVOIDED reading my blog because of this feeling. (Read her blog by the way, it's really good.)

Which is, you see, why I had to write this.

Because when I look at the Pioneer Woman I feel inadequate. She is a blogger extraordinaire. She cooks. She's witty. She homeschools. She leads an interesting life. She wrote a BOOK for godsake.

But she's my sister too.

And here's the truth: I'm not inadequate. And neither is Stefanie. And neither is anyone else reading this or any other blog.

We have the same struggles. We share the same hopes and fears. We want the same things for our families, our children.

We are sisters.

And we should act that way. We shouldn't have to blog about it because it should just be.

We should help each other through nursing school.

These sisters were there when I thought I couldn't write one more care plan.

They should stand by each other through whatever.

These sisters? I've know them since I was a punky little kid. My wedding wouldn't have been like it was without them (like I wouldn't have had flowers because I couldn't cut 575 stems alone, 8 and a half months pregnant.)

They should fix your hair when you get married.

Like this sister.

And they should be there when you have your babies.

This sister rubbed my back for at least 6 hours. The one up there ^. She took all the pictures.

These are a few of my sisters.

And I treasure them.

Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister. ~Alice Walker

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ella Bella

Ok it's not Ella's turn for a blog post featuring her but I. Am. Dying. Here.

Last week my friend Staci and I got together (as we do on Tuesdays because it's the only day she's not in nursing school and I'm not running kids all over creation) and we took some pictures of Ella. She is 4 months and 1 week old which is in no way a milestone but you know I have four kids so whatever. Don't you judge me for not even having a baby book.


Anyway can I just say. Oh. My. God. Staci is great with the camera but how could you go wrong with this subject matter.

Without further adieu, I present to you, my readers, the. Cutest. Baby. Ever.

I swear to god she's made of butter. And sugar.

Yup. She's in a basket.

And just as this was being taken she actually rolled over for the first time. I'm sure she could have rolled over before but frankly she's never on the floor long enough.

I took this while Staci made goofy sounds.

Don't be fooled, she can't sit up. Also she peed on my bed.

Super baby.

This flower is bigger than her head. Ella, I apologize. It's too cute.

Biological clocks engage.

If you thought you were done having children, I apologize. This baby might make you want another one.

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