Saturday, February 21, 2009

Learning To Be Content

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." -- Marjorie Pay Hinckley

That last sentence especially speaks to me. Isn't that huge? To learn to be content with what you are, where you are, what point you're at in your eternal progress?

Good Reads of the Week

My favorite blog post this week, by far, was once again from Segullah. This time it was about large families and how they're viewed by the world at large (no pun intended). As always, I enjoyed the discussion in the comments every bit as much as the actual post and have come to two conclusions about family size:

1. We need to not judge each other based on family size. It is a personal decision and most everyone is doing their very best.
2. We need to trust ourselves and our own decisions about what our family should look like.
My favorite line of the post was this:
"I want to be right with God, not the New York Times."
Here's the link: You Selfish, Egotistical Racist!

The only other must read this week comes from Time magazine, The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans. Once again, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a main stream news source telling people what birth professionals have been saying for years: Women deserve better than this!

Another, related article by Pamela Paul in the Huffington Post is a very worthwhile read: Childbirth Without Choice.

Trust me, if you are of childbearing age, or know someone who is, or pay for insurance, or pay taxes, or care about the welfare of women and children (Have I included everyone yet?) you owe it to yourself to read these articles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poems From Beginnings by Carol Lynn Pearson

Carol Lynn Pearson is one of my very favorite poets. I picked up her book, Beginnings, from D.I. last week and have been devouring it ever since. I tried to pick a poem to share with you, but I could only narrow it down to four. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
My Season
by Carol Lynn Pearson

Seeing the tree
Beneath a baptism of snow,
You may call her barren.
But is it so?
And for all your watchings
On a March night
When the twigs seem dark
And the bark
Feels cold to your hand --
Can you call her fruitless
And so leave?

She smiles,
Calm in the station
Of seasons
And in the ordination
Of sun, and sap, and spring.

As for me?
You turn away,
Impatient with the promises you've seen.
But -- inside I fill
And pulse and flow
With the urgency of green.

I've a season,
Like the tree.
And all your
Faithless doubts
Will not destroy
The rising spring
In me.

The Woman
by Carol Lynn Pearson

God fashioned me
For feeding;
And set me in
A hungry land.

I give --
To satisfy
The unconscious appetite
Of the unborn,
And the child's
First thirsting need.

I give --
To be
Sweet sustenance
To aching man,
And then
Quiet comfort
To a weary, wanting

There is much
Hunger here.

Father -- fill me,
That I may nourish

Mother To Child
by Carol Lynn Pearson

Look --
Your little fist
Fits mine
Like the pit
In a plum.

One day
And one size,
These two hands will
Clasp companionably.

Help me, child
Forgive me
When I fail you.
I'm your mother,
But in the end
Merely an older equal
Doing her faltering best
For a dear
Small friend.

The Weaning
by Carol Lynn Pearson

There is cloth now
Between you
And my breast --
And a little pain.

This is the
I take your face
In my hands
and guide your gaze
Away, out there --
To the fruit trees,
To the stars.

My arms,
Though empty,
Fold comfort
To a mother-heart
That yearns for nursing,
Yet knows that weaning
Is the bigger part.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just Another Random Monday

I'm not really planning on doing this every Monday, but once again it is the beginning of the week and I'm needing a brain-dump. So, here goes...

  • We went to IKEA today. Me, my four children, my friends Sara and Tiffany and everyone else and their dog. I guess everyone else needed a $40 dresser, too.
  • Scud takes things very literally. He really doesn't get idioms sometimes. So, when we pulled into the IKEA parking lot behind about 20 other cars and I said, "Wow! Everyone and their dog is at IKEA today!" He said, "There are dogs at IKEA? People bring their dogs to IKEA?!?"
  • Speaking of daughter's rooms... Kaitybean's room is almost finished. Her walls are painted a lovely shade of green. Her bed frame and nightstand and dresser are up. Things left to do: put shelves and a bar in the closet, buy a box spring, decorate and VERY judiciously allow her to bring SELECTED things back into her room. The local thrift store should be getting a sizable donation from Kaitybean this week. I'm so excited for her. It's going to be lovely.
  • Valentine's day was busy. Good, but busy. We made rolls, frosted sugar cookies, played with grandma and grandpa, went to a crepe fete and went to a dance together. The dance was, by far, my favorite part. I wish we'd gone early in the night and caught more of it. I love dancing, especially with my sweetheart.
  • I was about 30 minutes late picking my children up from smaland at IKEA today and found out that if you're 45 minutes late they have to involve the authorities, because it is considered child abandonment. Eeek! I was SO embarassed. I thought that they buzzed your pager right when it was time to pick up kiddos, so as soon as they buzzed me I meandered back over there. I thought I was 5 minutes late, at the most. Turns out they only buzz you if you're really late. Like I said, embarassed, wanted the floor to swallow me right there (but then I would have been REALLLY late and they really would have called the cops and charged me with child abandonment). Gotta love those dumb mommy moments. Next time I'll remember to bring my phone in (I left mine in the car.) and set my own alarm.
  • I went visiting teaching today. All in all it was good. Except at one place we got talking about birth and politics. Which was not so good. I never seem to agree with anyone completely (I'm too good at seeing both sides.) and I never seem to be able to get away from those conversations without feeling disingenous, inadequate and frustrated. I can't seem to be true to myself or to make it clear how sincerely I trust and respect and support others' choices and beliefs.
  • Which brings me to another thing. Sometimes it gets lonely in the center. I get so sick of the polarization I see all around me. I need to write a whole blog post just about this.
  • JDub is sleeping in the living room right now.
  • We saw some of our favorite people this weekend, some we have not seen for a very long time. It was good. One of them was JDub's best friend from high school.
  • During this pregnancy I have been craving beans. Black beans, refried beans, pinto beans, kidney beans. Yum! And yogurt. And kefir (though isn't that basically the same as yogurt?). And apples with cheese. I think I'm hungry right now.
  • I have poetry group this week. And no poetry to share. At least nothing new.
  • I wish there were still new episodes of the classic muppet show airing on TV. We borrowed a disc from the library and have just loved it.
  • Beetlejuice is a weird movie.
  • I am lucky to have my body, my family, my home, my problems, my life. This has been brought home to me so many times in the last little while.
  • Also, I've been reminded that happiness and joy come entirely from within. They can coexist with ANY given situation and have nothing to do with what is happening outside of me. That doesn't mean it's not okay to be sad, angry, hurt or upset. Those emotions have their place and are always worth feeling fully and learning from. But joy is always there, just underneath. If I allow it to be.
  • JDub took a 12% pay cut this week. I am grateful he still has a job.
  • Mashuga just woke up and started sleep walking.
  • It's midnight and 6 am is gonna come early tomorrow. Time to wrap up and say good night.
Good night!

What Have You Done?

I found this on Budding Blossoms, a friend's blog, and just couldn't help participating. It looked so fun and so easy.

What Have You Done? To participate, just copy and paste in your own blog, and bold all of the things you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I'd like to)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (wow, I need to get this framed and hung!)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Pacific Ocean.
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument

Friday, February 13, 2009

Favorite Blog Posts of the Week (Feb 13, 2009)

Here are my favorite blog posts for this week:

Brighton Woman's post, Types of Miscarriages & What To Do If You're Miscarrying, was a great post with great information that every woman of childbearing age could use. I know her personally and know she's not only lived through this, but always does her homework and certainly knows what she's talking about.

Skanooey posted this week about her husband's response when she told him she had PCOS. Made me laugh out loud. Thank Heavenly For A Sense Of Humor.

Segullah's blog is one of my favorite blogs. It is smart, sincere and thought-provoking. Melissa's post this week, Ye Who Have Not and Yet Have Sufficient, echoed my own feelings about barely making ends meet financially, faith and choosing whether or not to accept government assistance. It really hit home and is a very timely post.

Trishelle's post about her experience on the night of Heath Ledger's death was actually written in January, but I just read it this week. So, it makes the list. It was a poignant way of stating what I often feel also. I'm so grateful that I'm not movie star material. A Year After Heath Ledger's Death...

Also written, um, not this week (I'm a bit behind on my blog reading) was this post: Public Breastfeeding: why more is better. I am, of course, big on public breastfeeding rights. But her premise, that public breastfeeding helps other mothers learn to breastfeed, was one I had not considered.

Last but not least, if you haven't heard yet about the national health registry built into the new spendulus plan, you really ought to look into it. Maybe I'm turning into a Republican in my old age. (Or maybe I've just always been a nutty, libertarian leaning centrist.) But the very idea of this makes me want to stifle a scream into my fist. Very Orwellian. Very 1984. Ick. Oh yeah, the post. Here's what my BIL had to say about it: Obama Wants To See Your Health Records.

So, what about you? What were your favorite blog posts this week? Did I miss something profoundly enlightening or side-splittingly un-missable?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Or It Could Always Be Hot Dogs

So, Scud has always been a bit peculiar. He's bright, he's fun, he's hilarious and handsome, but also rather quirky. He has a hard time with empathy, with eye contact, with understanding social norms and acceptable behavior. This started when he was still a toddler and would invariably hit other children on the playground EVERY. TIME. WE. WENT. I always thought it was because I was a crappy mom and couldn't figure out how to teach him not to hit, or give appropriate consequences. When he could finally talk (at about 4) he told me the reason he always hit kids. "Be-duzz I am doh nerbous."

The social anxiety has continued through the years, along with other odd behaviors that make life hard for him. So, we're investigating several avenues.

I met with the school psychologist on Monday and we went over the results from the screeners we took. For the ASDS (that screens specifically for Asperger's Syndrome), he scored in the "possibly" category. There are five categories: very likely, likely, possibly, unlikely and very unlikely. Possibly, as you might have guessed, is right on the fence. Which is exactly where we've always been.

On the second screener, he measured in the "clinically significant" category for traits such as withdrawal, maladaptability, social skills and agression -- all of which are red flags for an autism spectrum disorder. But again, inconclusive.

He also scored high for hyperactivity and attention problems, which is no big surprise because I think nearly ever member of our family (JDub and I included) could probably be diagnosed with some form of ADD or ADHD. I don't mean to pooh-pooh this idea, because I'm sure that if it becomes a problem for him we will want to find resources to help. But high activity, high intensity and distractibility are all what "normal" means in our household.

Giftedness and it's attendant odd behaviors were our first thought (and still haven't been ruled out), but homeschooling him and matching his environment and academics to his needs have not resolved many of the most concerning behaviors. He is a very bright kid and definitely thinks differently that most. Our school's principal suggested that we have him tested and apply for him to go to a satellite school in our district set up specifically for gifted children. I'm researching and thinking about it, but am concerned that it might be too high-pressure for him and that, rather than flourishing, he might just wilt.

The school psychologist was very helpful and suggested that it would be a good idea to take him to someone who could give us a definitive yea or nay on an Asperger's diagnosis and help us with any other problems and needs.

My emotions and thoughts on this are all over the map. I want to know how to help this sweet kid, how to get the resources he needs to learn how to function normally and just be happy. I want what's best for him. But, I also don't want to be quick to jump on the "diagnosis bandwagon" and just try to fit him into a box to make it easier for us. And there's also the guilt that, in my years of making it "all about me" and my feelings of inadequacy to properly parent this child, I have been blinded to the fact that I was doing all I could by myself and he just needed more help than he was getting. I wonder about the future repercussions of pursuing a diagnosis, both positive and negative. But, more than anything, I just want to do what is right for Scud. The hard part is often knowing just what "right" is. We'll be working on it, praying about it, pursuing this further. Wish us luck.

And now for your listening pleasure (and mine because I'm tired of feeling crazy), I give you my happy songs. 10 songs that never fail to make me smile. Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Random Thoughts For a Random Monday

Malt O Meal: Coco is eating Malt O Meal this morning for breakfast. As we speak he is making a huge mess. He loves it, but it's not so easy for toddlers to eat. He refused to wear a bib, to boot. He is wearing his last clean shirt.

So, today is a laundry day. I'm WAAAAAAYYY behind. After a few weeks of diligent one-load-a-day days, I'm regressing to my old, wash and fold laundry all day ways.

Math: Before we started with the folding, Scud and I started on some math. As happened when I homeschooled Kaitybean, the frustration with Saxon Math has come. Perhaps it was inevitable. The circular structure of it makes the kids (and me) feel like we're doing a TON of math without actually getting anywhere. It's like running on a hamster wheel. So, we're going to try some new things -- math games only for drilling math facts, Singapore Math for general math instruction. Later this week or next we'll do a placement test to see where Scud actually needs to be in Singapore, but for now I just dug an old 1st/2nd grade book out of the book box. From what I've seen from just the few pages he's done, this has already restored a bit of his confidence and sense that math can be fun.

Asperger's Syndrome: Because my oh-so-clever-and-charmingly-irreverent sister has gotten both JDub and I to the point that we can't say "Our son might have Asperger's." without laughing raucously at the juvenile humor surrounding the pronunciation of "Asperger's" we have now taken to calling it AS in our home. (And kudos to you if you actually finished that ridiculous run-on sentence with some sense of what I was trying to say.) We are currently working with the school psychologist to screen Scud for AS and other possibilities. He is a sweet, funny, wonderful child. He's also quirky and awkward and I'm finally starting to wonder if my constant feeling of NEVER being able to get it right with this child has something to it. Perhaps he has needs I don't understand and don't have the resources to meet. We shall see what comes of this. It could be any number of things, or nothing, but AS is what seems most likely at this point.

Last week, when I bought the 100 meter tube of my favorite floss, I thought "What's the point? Coco is just going to find it and pull out at least half of it anyway." Sure enough. A few days later I found him with at least 25 meters of floss wound all around his body and his bedroom. Some days I hate being right.

Facebook: I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. I love the ability to quickly see what so many people are up to and to re-connect with lots of people at once. But I also really dislike the illusion of actual friendship that it gives. There are days that it feels (to borrow a friend's phrase) about as sincere as the signing of high school yearbooks. And other days that I feel very connected to people only to realize that I haven't actually talked to any of them in person for years and have no solid plans for doing so in the future. Sort of weird, no?

Friendship: Then there's the whole feeling I have lately that I think I'm sort of impaired when it comes to the friendship thing. I've felt rather lonely lately. It's not that I don't have people who care about me or that I am at all isolated. It's just that I make friendship more difficult that it should be and, therefore, usually only allow myself to reach a certain point in relationships with most people. It can be hard to sort and resolve my many feelings regarding friendships: My Anne Shirley desire for a bosom friend and nothing less, My deep need for space and alone time, My ridiculous fear of phones and making phone calls, My lack of patience for the "shallow, boring stuff" at the onset of a friendship... I could go on, but chances are that you already think I'm a nutcase. Then, there's the fact that I haven't put the time into maintaining relationships with some of the wonderful women I have felt very close to in the past (You probably know who you are. Sorry I'm a dork.) On the positive side, I have my best girlfriend in my sister who is always patient with me and always loves me and also calls me out when I'm being stupid. I don't want to sound ungrateful just because I'm feeling odd about other friendships.

Government Spending:
I can't help but feel a bit (okay, very) uneasy about the runaway spending in which the government is currently engaging. Honestly, how long could your family survive financially if you continued to spend more and more and more money that you didn't have? I'm no economist, but I think that the American family has to be somewhat of a microcosm of the government. The enduring principles of thrift, staying out of debt, living within means seem like they should apply to governments every bit as much as to individuals. To paraphrase Dave Ramsey, you can't get out of a hole by digging in deeper. I can't seem to muster a lot of hope for the current stimulus package or the massive government bailouts of the past year.

Food Storage:
I think our family could live for about 2-3 months on what we have stored. Not perfect, but it's something. And we're working on more. Jessica, I need to call you and ask you some questions about your system for storing and rotating food. The way you do things always seems to make sense to me.

Sleep: I fell asleep in my dress last night. Putting Coco to sleep has gotten increasing difficult lately. And my tired, pregnant body usually just goes to sleep with him. Don't get me wrong, the sleep has been nice. But I usually wake up at 1am disappointed because I missed what little alone time JDub and I get.

Baby: This pregnancy is still surreal to me. I think I felt our little plum move yesterday. We'll see if it continues. But, I love this part. I love when I start feeling them move regularly and they become very real beings. So, I am 13 weeks today. Out of the first trimester, placenta likely fully functioning and starting to build hope that we will actually have a baby in August. I have not struggled with loss or infertility in ways that friends and family have, but I have had enough of a taste that I am a bit apprehensive and probably will continue to be. It also makes every moment of this experience just miraculous for me. Even if I only get to carry this baby for 13 weeks, that 13 weeks will have been a blessing. On another note, JDub calls her Alex. I like the name Alex but like other names better: Milly, Samantha, Claire. We shall see. Of course, she could be a boy.

Birth Dreams: Which leads to this. I had my first birth dream last night. I was all alone with my midwife (who was not the actual midwife I have hired, but a midwife that attended the majority of Coco's birth) and very calm and comfortable. Pushing was fast and easy (something I am really hoping for after the less-than-ideal experience of pushing out an asynclitic babe). And guess what, the baby was a BOY! All in all, it was a good dream though. JDub showed up just as baby was crowning. Nobody else was there. I'm starting to think that may be a good thing for me and am even considering (*gasp*) not hiring a doula this time around. Time will tell.

Xylitol and GSE and Nasal Irrigation: Oh my! I am currently experimenting with nasal irrigation as a way of dealing with the recurrent sinus infections I usually experience during pregnancy. I was finding some comfort and lessening of symptoms with simple irrigation with a saline solution. But, after some research into studies done regarding the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of both Xylitol and Grapefruit Seed Extract, I have begun to add those to my recipe. I'm not completely clear yet (and the studies all stated that Xylitol and GSE have greater success in preventing sinusitis than clearing existing sinusitis) but I am feeling much better. I am breathing more clearly, having fewer headaches. I wanted to be all scientific about it and record my symptoms and their severity for several days, then record them again after beginning the regimen of nasal irrigation. But, I decided I just didn't have the patience or ambition to do it. But, I'll continue to give you my purely anecdotal feelings on the matter. So far, so good. And I feel much better about attacking the problem directly (with fewer risk of side-effects) than by taking a systemic anitbiotic that is almost sure to end in a yeast infection and other possible side-effects. And if this little experiment doesn't work, I can always hit the doctor up for a z-pack.

Valentine's Day: JDub always out-does me in the gift-giving department. I really want to do something cool for him this year. Any ideas?

Have a good week!