Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I like to learn

from Khan Academy

And if you're not interested in the Kreb's Cycle, there are a slew of other 10-minute videos on a plethora of topics on the Khan Academy. And they are all so informative. These videos keep my brain working while I'm working.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

15 months, week 3

Just a little bit of an update... these weeks and months seem to be flying by and Atticus isn't getting any younger! I can't believe Christmas is on Saturday - where did this year go??

At 15 months, 3 weeks, the guy loves:

- Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Sink baths
- Playing in the snow!
- Playing at the Lees' apartment
- Practicing his walking skills (though he has yet to really walk)
- Doing the dishes with Dad - perhaps his favorite thing ever... he is blessed with such a patient father
- Reading books (we have finally advanced to non-board-books and it's awesome)
- Cuddling up next to Dad during the night, probably for warmth in our chilly basement

He doesn't like:

- Getting dressed
- Wearing clothes in general, especially diapers
- Mom leaving for work, though he's getting MUCH better at being babysat by various aunts/friends and it's been awesome for us

A Midwinter's Daydream

Today is Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. It makes me want to go for a walk in the snow that fell on our beautiful surroundings last night and drink peppermint hot cocoa.

Winter Solstice seems to me a time to reflect upon our blessings and pour out our gratitude to the magnificence of the world around us. Simply waking up to the clean and white wonderland that nature has created for us stirs my soul. There is something so wondrous about snow-capped mountains peering over you as you walk outside.

Next year, I think we'll skip work and celebrate with family sun salutations, homemade bread, and creativity.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ode to Dreher

I honestly just received this email from my high school and at first thought it was a joke... then I realized they were serious. And then I just felt sad.

For one, they started out with a guilt trip: "With so many successful alumni, one would imagine Dreher’s Foundation would be well endowed. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. During your years at Dreher, the faculty and staff worked diligently to provide you with the education and guidance necessary to help you succeed in life." Did they?? I don't remember too many teachers dedicated to my success... maybe my calculus teacher because she had a record number of 5s on the AP exam so she had to keep up her reputation. Honestly don't think she cared too much about me as an individual. Maybe Mrs. Brown, my AP Economics teacher, but I think she just liked me because David and I were awesome at economics so we could help her out during the lessons (I cut her some slack though, it was her first year teaching AP Economics and it was thrown on her at the last minute). Hmmm... and honestly I can't think of too many other teachers from high school. Dr. Kaminski hated me and failed my papers because I was Lauren's sister. Oh, and remember the fat and terribly depressed Ms. Ryan?? Anyone else out there had her as a teacher? Wait, what about Mrs. Carll-Williamson?! I'm pretty sure she was an alcoholic. Oh, and then that time Mrs. Lee failed my final dance project for "stealing" choreography even though she didn't tell me until after the performance and she saw us dancing every day for a whole semester. OH MY GOSH and don't get me started on that time I had in-school suspension (thanks Mrs. Stricklin!) for going home during lunch to get dance clothes (we had a very strictly CLOSED campus, it even had a metal fence around it... which was rumored to have cost a couple million dollars).

Oh, and my all-time favorite moment from a beloved Dreher chemistry teacher: Mr. Nance, who once told a Muslim girl to take off her "doo-rag" because it was not allowed in school (which at the time did not affect me as it does now, but I cringe every time I think about standing next to her when he tried to make her remove her veil....)

But I digress. I continued on with the email after that pathetic attempt to make me feel all warm and squishy about my high school days on to the ways the Dreher Foundation has truly served the high school and its students in such important ways. For example, they have used donations by:

1. Purchasing the electronic marquee on Millwood Avenue (I've never seen this, but I don't imagine it's that important to the educational success of Dreher students)
2. Hosting a reception for alumni artists celebrating their donation of 14 pieces to the permanent collection
3. Hosting an All Class Reunion inviting former students to reconnect with their past (I'm still in therapy to forget my past, I have no desire to reconnect)

Ok, and this is where the e-mail got so pathetically pathetic. Ways your oh-so-needed donation will be used:

1. To purchase a presentation podium for the auditorium
2. To reestablish the Wall of Past Presidents

and my personal favorite...
3. To repair the broken arm on the dolphin fountain

How could you not donate to fix the broken arm on the dolphin fountain!?

Alas... no Dreher, I don't particularly want to donate to your foundation. Remember how that time you let the state championship basketball team sit on the plush armchairs on the front of the stage but the state champion Academic Decathlon team was relegated to the hard metal chairs in the back where no one could even see us? Remember the time I did not make cheerleading captain because someone's mother was on the board of something? Oh, and don't get me started on that time Kristin won the Miss Blue Devil pageant because her mom worked for the district. Oh, and remember how our school principal herself even disliked me for dating her favorite male student? Dreher High School. I'm not too fond of you. You and your formerly-infested-with-asbestos self.

I do love a few things about Dreher: Coach DuBard. Ms. Boone (is she even still alive? I loved that woman. She got me out of being late soooooo many times). Our drama department rocked something awesome too. I wish I had skipped the cheerleading and stuck with the school plays with crazy Ms. Arvay and the Abbott sisters. Some of the best times of my high school experience were during my drama phase.

This is the first picture that comes up for Dreher High School in Google images:

I know this picture is a little grotesque... but another aspect I hated about high school included the friendly pro-life Christian groups that harassed us girls as we walked into school a few mornings a week. I completely forgot about this until now.

Why I go to the bathroom upstairs

I think my co-workers are going to think I'm some sort of freak because I always go upstairs instead of peeing in our restroom like everyone else does.

But I do it for the exercise. I like climbing stairs a few times a day to keep in shape. Ok. And there are fewer women upstairs** so you get to pee in privacy. And it smells better because they have delicious cinnamon-smelling air fresheners. And I like it clean, and upstairs, only a few stalls get used during the day and there almost always is a freshly-cleaned, toilet-seat-up stall ready for my use. Call me crazy.

** actually, I'm pretty sure there is only one woman that works on the 2nd floor, but she's like 8 months pregnant so it seems like every time I go up there she is always in the restroom and part of me feels like I'm encroaching on her pregnant-peeing territory.

Gisele, her baby, and a bathtub

I've always loved Gisele Bundchen. Weird for a feminist to have a slight obsession with a Victoria's Secret model, but I confess. My friend Anne and I used to rip pictures of her out of magazines and keep them on our walls for "inspiration," usually to look at when we were feeling lazy about track or cheerleading practice (not like both of us weren't two of the skinniest teenagers ever).

Now, I think beauty magazines are destructive and young girls who look at them will all have unhealthy body images and probably eating disorders (though looking back, Anne and I both dealt with all of the above in high school, so perhaps my assumptions are not entirely misplaced). And when I become all WomanStatsy and radical-revolutionary, I suppressed my love of Gisele, even though whenever I ran across an article about her or a picture of her I was slightly intrigued (and maybe this is even outing my lesbian tendencies, but that's a WHOLE OTHER blog post).

Until..... GISELE HAD A HOME BIRTH! In her bathtub! She is officially my idol once again. I don't care if she's ridiculously vain and poses in her underwear. I love her.

Oh, and did you know Gisele was "discovered" in a Brazilian McDonald's? Ironic.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No More Rack $10 credit

So, I love getting these credits to online stores and then scoring free stuff. Gilt had it a month or so ago and we got some awesome Melissa and Doug toys for Theodore. is offering up a $10 credit when you sign up here. Plus, if you sign up 35 friends, you can win at iPod shuffle! And your friends don't have to buy anything, just have to sign up. My goal is 400 friends, and then I get an iPad. I don't even think I HAVE 400 friends, let alone enough that will sign up, but it's worth a try, right? So, sign up for me. And I promise then I will blog real blog posts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't ask, just DO IT

I have a new favorite blog. I love feminist Mormon blogs and I love birthing blogs, and this blog combines the best of both worlds! Today she posted something that resonated with me - a theory I've thought about before but never really put into words.

When you're in labor, don't ask! Just do it! Do what feels good, do what your body tells you to do. Honestly, if you unhook your monitors to go to the bathroom or get up and walk around, what's the worse that can happen? The nurses will berate you? I thought about this a lot when I was in the hospital in DC. There I was strapped to a bed, put on a monitor, and told to lay still and be quiet. And I did it, for the most part because I was content to lay there since I wasn't really in labor. But... I did unhook myself quite a few times to go to the bathroom or get a snack or something. And then I did make the nurses slightly irritated. And one time... I took the monitor off because I was sick of it. Oops.

And eating and drinking? For one, the recommendation is obsolete and quite frankly: stupid. And if you're hungry/thirsty... just eat or drink for goodness sakes! I was talking to a mom yesterday who went into preterm labor and was in the hospital for three days before she actually had the baby, and because she was in active labor the whole time, they would not let her eat! FOR THREE DAYS! That's crazy!! What is wrong with these doctors?

I was especially fortunate to have a midwife attend my birth who was flexible and let me do my thing. Heck, she even actively went against "hospital policy" by bringing me food and drink, letting me labor in the tub after my water broke, etc. The other midwife in her practice just told me to eat and drink, but don't tell her because she's not supposed to let me (which I was still cool with, since you could tell she was being subversive against a ridiculous rule). And I was never hooked up to a monitor once I was in labor, I never was forced into any position... in fact, I labored and pushed in about every position possible and my midwife encouraged and suggested different, upright positions to help the baby descend. I know if I did not have her around and was laying flat on my back, he never would have come and I probably would have ended up with a c-section or assisted delivery. It was hard enough getting him out when I was kneeling and squatting (and a lot of OBs would not be patient enough to let a woman push for over two hours with little progress after laboring for ten in the hospital, but Jessica never rushed me or acted like we really needed to hurry things).

When I was attending Charlie's birth as a doula, there was this awesome moment where Kaity really wanted to be in the tub because she was fully-dilated and was NOT interested in moving which the nurse was trying to make her do, and she screamed something to the effect of "LEAVE ME ALONE". And then her midwife knelt down and said bring everything over, we're having this baby in the tub! And I know the nurse was just doing her job, she was really great and I liked her a lot, she was just trying to follow the policy of not birthing in the tubs. (and Kaity did end up moving to the bed in between contractions after a few minutes since the bathroom WAS really small and not designed for birthing in and Charlie's heart rate was low-ish... but I loved that she was assertive and knew what she needed at THAT moment and would not be persuaded otherwise).

So, the moral is: we should probably listen to doctors and nurses on the big, important-ish medical-type things, but when it comes to silly, non-evidence-based practices like being continuously monitored, food/drink restrictions, and birthing positions, women need to stop pleasing their care providers and start a birthing revolution.

Monday, December 6, 2010


What moms eat in pregnancy=what kids like later.

I did eat a ton of fruit when I was pregnant because it was all I could keep down (even though I really don't like it that much not-so-pregnant) and now Theodore loves the stuff. I always thought there might be some truth to this.

He may also have a slight obsession with Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip. The quintessential second-trimester food.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Being a doula

I can't pinpoint the reason it has taken me two months to write about my first birth as a "real" doula. Because to put it quite frankly, it was awesome and had to be one of the most defining moments of my life (next to giving birth myself, and maybe meeting Tim). Because in that moment, when Kaitlyn gave birth to Charlie as I looked on in utter amazement, I knew what I would devote my life to.


Helping women achieve a birth experience that will leave them amazed at their bodies. That will leave them speechless at their abilities.

I think for a while I was hesitant because it was not really MY story to tell. Although it was a defining moment for me, it was her story all along, and I didn't want to spill any sweet details until she had the opportunity to voice her experience from her own memory and not from that of onlookers. Another part of my unconscious self is nervous because I feel incredibly new and naive at this. All the reading and studying in the world will not give someone experience in this field. It's real-life at its core.

I know I want to be a doula, but I'm still so inexperienced and not even sure where to begin. Birth is such a sacred and sometimes private experience that many women are hesitant to invite yet another outsider (in addition to doctor, midwife, nurse, random hospital staff, etc) into their realm. A few of my midwife-aspiring friends have trained to be doulas as well, only to find that many women are reluctant to the idea of a doula, even if she is offering her services for free. Doula is such a foreign term and concept - because isn't the doctor there to support the laboring woman? I have so many friends and acquaintances that for the their first birth were under the impression the OB would be with them during the process... only to see them for four minutes and then for pushing. At a friend's birth, the OB was sleeping and they told her not to push until they went and woke him up and got him in the room! It was ridiculous. Your OB will not be with you while you are laboring, do not be fooled (midwives, on the other hand... almost always will be... Jessica, my midwife in the hospital was with me a good deal of the time for 12 hours... she left to be with another woman who was laboring but hung out in our room quite a bit. Why every low-risk birthing woman does not have a midwife still puzzles me, it is a world of difference, even if you plan on an epidural).

And that's where the doula comes in: she's there for you, Hypnobirth/epidural/c-section, etc. Her role is not to make decisions for you, but support you in those decisions. She is not there to judge, to criticize, to provide medical advice. She can help to inform you, to help you make decisions on your own, and to teach you to question the cookie-cutter model of maternity care (induction/pitocin/break water/epidural/push flat on back in stirrups/episiotomy) that is so pervasive in hospitals across the United States. I think every woman needs a doula, no matter how awesome the midwife/OB/husband/partner is. Tim rocked at birth support, Jessica was there for us and an almost constant presence, my nurse Heather was quiet but very supportive, and I still loved having Analiesa there to rub my back and tell me how awesome I was. I can't imagine a woman not having a doula with no partner support, a nurse who was overworked with too many patients, and a practically absent doctor. I think doulas should be standard practice in hospitals everywhere.

If you want to read more about doulas and myths surrounding them, here is this article. And if you would like a free (or very cheap) doula at your birth, I am available as well as a few of my really lovely friends. I can even provide [one] reference[s] :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Video overload

Dear Lauren,

Here are your requested videos:

(I think it's funny Tim is making him watch a lady spraying her yard to get him to pee... I don't know if it was intentional or not)

(The morning after our first camping experience)

(They love each other)

(Best toy ever)

(This is obviously a little old, as outside is now a giant popsicle)