Saturday, July 24, 2010

Self Portrait: Masks

Think, I love me just the way I am.

I often think of Masks as being a costume worn at Halloween or something.  But thinking about them as a self portrait is different.

A mask is worn to become someone or something else.  For a costume, you might want to become a super hero.  A dog.  A cartoon.  A character from a movie.  Someone you aren't.

I think about the Masks I use to hide myself, my true self.  A few years ago I used to wear make up.  (Not that there is anything wrong with make up)  Even though I didn't wear very much.  I wore it to cover up.  I wore it because I thought I should.  Maybe it made me look prettier.  Maybe people would think more of me.

One day I said 'why am I doing this?'.  I was an electrical engineer and all my co-workers were men.  So why should I have to wear make up?  None of them do.

I quit.  I didn't need it every day.  I didn't need it just to be me at work.  And what was I trying to hide anyway?

I still wear make up when I go to a special event, just for fun.  But that's the point.  I wear it for fun.  Not to cover up me.

This is a long time ago and it's the only picture I could find on my computer of me wearing make up.

Here's me.  This morning.  No make up.  I'm prettier with out, don't you think?

This Self Portrait Series is hosted by Shakti Mama

Friday, July 23, 2010

14 Months!

(I forgot the 13 month post. The first two months after he turned a year went by so fast, I kept telling people he was 12 months, when actually he was 13.)

Oh dear Luke, my sweet little baby,

You are 14 months. 14! I can't believe it. I was looking at pictures when you were small. Has it really been this long? You have filled my heart with so much joy.

Now, not only are you walking, you are learning how to run. You can go so fast now. You keep me on my toes (and Pickle too). Along with running and moving your fast little feet, you love marching. You like to march in place, in the kitchen to make noise, and on every side walk grate thing you see. You like to stomp when you're excited or when you climb my parents coffee table, or climb on the bed. In fact, you just learned to climb the dinning room chairs. I'm hoping it's a while before you learn that the dinning room table isn't much further.

Airplanes are almost your favorite thing now. You see them in the sky and make the sign for airplane. Sometimes when you hear them from inside the house you will make the sign and then a 'sshzzz' noise like an engine. You can also sign, house, car, more, bird, hat, shoes, socks, book, elephant and many more. I need to learn more signs to teach you. You've also learned a lot of words. More than I can probably count now. Just a couple days ago you said 'Usa' (my best friend who used to live with us).
You've been repeating words that I say left and right. One of our favorites is when you point to the door or window and say 'outside' which sounds more like 'OUTssss'. It's really cute. You love the outdoors. You are so happy to go to the park or even just to play outside on the porch.

At the Nature Trail at the park, hugging a tree at the Zoo, at a restaurant outside, playing at a park

You love dirt. And digging in anything. Especially the wood chips at the parks. Sometimes I wonder why we bought you toys, you're completely happy with a stick, a rock, or a handful of dirt.

digging with a stick at the park with your second cousin

Digging in your grandparents backyard

You are starting to enjoy food more. You like meat now. You are still eating sticks of butter. We had salmon and shrimp the other night and you loved it. Oh yeah, and you like bacon, but who doesn't? Berries are still your favorite thing. And you have and apple or an apricot or anything like that, you insist on having it whole.

Eating bacon. Eating at our local grocery store.

eating butter... again.

You have been really wanting to get involved with cooking. I have let you put food into the pan, stir the pan and sometimes cut veggies. You are obsessed with doing all of these.

Helping stir.

sorting through veggies after the farmers market

Who knows, maybe you'll be a chef?

You now have 8 teeth in your mouth. I can't wait till you get your molars because you'll be able to chew food better.

You have been enjoying playing with kids now. Especially your older cousin Kenzie. You would play with her until you are so exhausted that you couldn't move. It's been fun to see you interact with kids now. At the park you will always follow older kids around.

Playing with your cousins

Luke you are becoming so big, like a little boy more than a baby. We love spending time with you. And Daddy and I love you so much. Stop growing up :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sad and Love

I've gotten so sad by watching Food Inc. They way that farmers mistreat animals. The way most of them are just in it for the money. The way that the food that is produced in this manner isn't really even considered healthy. The way that it's so greedy about money to not even care about the end product. Can no one see the problems this is causing? I know there's a lot of politics behind it. But I don't really understand that. What happened to doing what's right. What happened to loving the earth, loving your neighbor.

I feel sad after going to the park today. I saw a Mom make her crying two year old walk to where they were sitting to eat lunch. All she was sad about was having to get out of the swing. Couldn't her Mom have carried her over to where they were? I mean, I get it. People parent different. But it breaks my heart to see children wanting this Mom, who they look up to so much and love with all their heart, not want to pick up their kids and hold them. It's sad we make kids grow up before they have to. I never want Luke to cry by himself. Even if he needs to cry, I'll be right by his side. Because I love him.

I saw a kid on a leash the other day. It made me sad. Are kids animals? Can't they go explore this beautiful world? They should run, feel the wind, touch the grass and climb trees.

Sometimes I wonder if the world has lost their hearts. It's so hard to handle even though I know they are all loved by God. But have we lost it all in the convenience or modern day culture? Not holding your child because it's too hard. Doing things for money instead of love. We've lost connection with real love.

I think about my own life. How I can't love someone enough. It's not a problem with my son and my husband. But others. I care about other people but enough to bleed a little of myself for them? I think I consider it an inconvenience. I'm not talking about the easy stuff like lending your things to friends or cooking dinner for someone else. But really bending over backwards. Really putting my heart out there. Really loving.

I don't really love. I want to ask God to help me to love like him. Even if it's just a little small ounce of love each day. Just a little drop of more love each day. Maybe I can 'be the change', just a little by changing the way I love.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been reading The Primal Blueprint and the blog that the author of the book writes Mark's Daily Apple. I have been eating 'primal' (meats, eggs, real butter/whole dairy, veggies, fruits, nuts... no grains) more/less for about a month now.
(I'm a huge cheater so far, we've been having a lot of off days this week. I've had a huge sinus headache and it makes me feel sick, thus the change in diet.) I think another reason I've been off the diet this week is because I'm running out of ideas. I just ordered the Primal cookbook and it should be coming today. I'm excited to try new recipes. I think I get bored with the same old stuff all the time. If I have too many big hunks of chicken breast, I get tired of it and it grosses me out. I have to switch it up. I don't think I could get sick of my breakfast omelette though, it's so tasty.

But overall, not eating as many carbs, I feel great. It's not only that, but eating more protein has helped me feel more energetic. Also, I've been eating more veggies which has probably been a huge factor in feeling good. So far, I've been having a two egg omlette with broccholi and cheese for breakfast, salad with chicken (or left over meat from the night before) for lunch, then dinner is protein and veggies. I've also enjoyed snacks of whole greek yogurt, dried fruits, and nuts(including big spoonfuls of peanut butter).
They really recommend using butter to cook with. I'm used to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I mean, I use butter for things like waffles and baking but I have always used EVOO in cooking pans and stuff. So using more butter now is a little different because it makes the food taste richer. Sometimes it's a little too rich for me but still delicious.
I have lost a few pounds too. I'm not trying to loose weight just for the record, but I was surprised to see that it wasn't really that hard. Living 'Primal' advocates lots of walking and some sprinting, which I have been doing some of but probably not enough walking. So I was surprised with couple pounds lost with out working out.
It should be interesting after we get the cookbook to see how it continues to go. I will keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How do you eat when you're out of town?

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: You Are What You Eat

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their struggles and successes with healthy eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I've never felt so good in my life, from the time Luke has been eating solids until now. When he first started eating solids we wanted to make sure he was eating mostly organic and fresh foods. We decided on baby led weaning, so we've been just feeding him whatever we eat in manageable pieces. This meant we too would be eating mostly organic and fresh foods. I can honestly say, I feel like this is the best I've felt, ever.
To take it up another notch, my husband found a blog called Mark's Daily Apple. Then we bought his book and read it. The guy talks about eating a 'primal' diet of mostly meats, veggies, fruit, nuts, eggs and not as many carbs... you know hunter-gatherer type meals. We've been doing that for a couple weeks now. I couldn't tell any difference until I went to visit my parents this past weekend. We had pizza, cereal, bread, all the types of carbs I've avoided for the last few weeks. Don't get me wrong, the food was really good. My body just wasn't used to it. I had gas every night, all night long. Then, I didn't really even want anything to eat because I knew it was going to upset my stomach. I even said no to cake at my grandma's birthday party, something I never do. But my stomach just couldn't handle the sugar and extra carbs. I just couldn't wait to have a salad with chicken or eggs with veggies.
This is probably the biggest struggle. How do you eat when you are away from home? There's all this wonderful good food but it's bad for you. It's greasy delicious pizza. It's the fantastic cake at Grandma's birthday party. It's all the food you missed when you were 'eating good'. We're not total fanatics, we just try and do 80% good, 20% bad. But if you get used to eating a certain way, then don't for a few days, it hurts.
But even harder, what do you feed your baby when you aren't at home? Usually I have an array of snacks for Luke all the time... cheese, yogurt, fresh fruits, dried fruits, etc. But when we're out of town or somewhere else it makes it harder. Luke's getting used to having more than just breastmilk all day. So when he doesn't get those snack times, he gets hungry, like real-food hungry. With baby led weaning, you give them what you eat, but what if I'm eating food that's not really that healthy? Needless to say, Luke didn't eat too much healthy food this weekend. He really didn't eat too much at all (thank goodness he's still nursing).
Maybe I need to get used to making sure I have snacks ready. Or when we're out of town, make sure to stop to pick up some things for him. This changes everything. It was way easier when I could just nurse and not worry about food. I love food, but it's become so hard in so many different ways.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Why I Love The Real Food Community — Much like many people who follow AP/NP values, Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! takes the parts of the "real food" philosophy that work for her family and leaves the rest. (@bfmom)

  • Feeding a Family of Six — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children gives helpful tips for feeding a family of six.

  • Starting Solids at 6 Months — Did your doctor recommend that you give your baby cereal? Sheryl at Little Snowflakes discusses how whole foods are so much healthier (and more delicious) than traditional cereal. (@sheryljesin)

  • Am I What I Eat? — Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has figured out a way to avoid grocery stores nearly altogether.

  • Are We Setting Our Kids Up To Fail? — Megan at Purple Dancing Dahlias found that cutting out the junk also transformed her sons' behavior problems.

  • Changing your family's way of eating — Lauren at Hobo Mama has techniques you can try to move your family gradually toward a healthier diet. (@Hobo_Mama)

  • Real Food — What kinds of fake foods do you eat? And why?! Lisa C. at My World Edenwild talks about why she chooses real food.

  • A Snackaholic’s Food Battle — Julie at Simple Life wants to stop snacking and get into the old ways of cooking from scratch and raising her own food. (@homemakerjulie)

  • Food, Not Fight — Summer at Finding Summer doesn't want her kids to grow up like her husband: hating everything green. (@summerm)

  • How Do You Eat When You Are out of Town? — Cassie at There's a Pickle In My Life wants some tips on how to eat healthy when you are out of town.

  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Food! — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker hopes that by serving her children healthy, balanced meals, they will become accustomed to making good food choices. (@sybilryan)

  • There's No Food Like Home's — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing revels in the Bajan food of her upbringing. (@BlkWmnDoBF)

  • This Mom's Food Journey — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment made a journey from not paying attention to food to growing her own.

  • Who Knew Eating Was So Hard? — The challenges involved in changing to healthier eating habits take on a whole new dimension when you have a child who has difficulties eating. kadiera at Our Little Acorn shares her own experiences. (@kadiera)

  • Loving Food — Starr at Earth Mama truly believes food is her family's medicine and is willing to spend days preparing it the traditional way.

  • Food Mindfulness — Danielle at details how her family spends money on each category of food. (@borninjp)

  • Food for Little People — Zoey at Good Goog wants to bless her daughter with happy traditions built around good food. (@zoeyspeak)

  • Eat Like a Baby — Have you been told that you should not equate food with love? Kate Wicker at Momopoly shows us why that's not necessarily true. (@Momopoly)

  • Food — Deb at Science@Home tries to teach her children three rules to help them eat a healthy diet. (@ScienceMum)

  • Healthy Eating Lactose-Free — MamanADroit gives us tips on how to eat healthy if you are lactose intolerant (or just don’t want cow milk). (@MamanADroit)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brew Pub with Kids!

Some people do reviews of books, some do reviews of parks, I'm going to do reviews of Brew Pubs. LOL. Portland has more brew pubs per capita than any other city in the US.
I don't go to many brew pubs these days but we did happen to go to my favorite brew pub last night. It's called Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB).
It's been so long since I've had my all time favorite beer called Survival Stout. The beer is dark and rich and has coffee in it (which is probably why I like it so much). We even had 2 kegs from HUB for our wedding.
I haven't had it since before I was pregnant. Once I got pregnant I wanted that to be the first beer I had once I had Luke. But, you know how it goes with a baby, you never quite do all you want to. I just kind of forgot about it. Then one weekend a couple months ago Ben and I decided we'd go for lunch. Luke fell asleep on the way there. He was younger then so we just decided to turn around, go home and let him sleep. No beer for me.
Yesterday we remembered it again. We were on the way there around 5pm and Luke fell asleep again. He must of knew we were going there. But this time, since he already had a long nap earlier, we just went for it. We carried him in while he was sleeping and he rested on Ben's chest until he woke up.
I was a little embarrassed about bringing a sleeping baby there. But to my surprise, in the restaurant part of it there were TONS of kids. Toddlers, babies, older kids. The people that sat next to us even had their sleeping baby there too (though he was in a car seat, I'll save that annoyance for another blog post). The place was really kid friendly. They had a coloring menu that was far better than most. Not to mention the kids' food (most of it anyway) was actually healthy. They serve organic and sustainable food there. The PB&J and other types of sandwiches were all served on whole wheat bread, there was whole wheat pasta, and the chicken fingers, not only good chicken, but grilled not fried. I couldn't believe how kid-friendly this brew pub was. From the food, to the stools by the sinks in the bathroom, to the coloring stuff, it was fantastic. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a dinner out (with beer) and kids!
We had a great time and we even brought some beer to take home. I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Through the Keyhole #7 Window Sill

This is our 3rd Bedroom. (or second, whatever number you wanna call it) My friend Usa used to live in it. She moved out when we put our house up for sale. Now the room is a TV room.
I moved the TV in here a long time ago to get it out of the main room. I (sometimes) kept leaving the TV on as background noise during the day or would just have it on and I got tired of it. We moved it just before Luke really even noticed the TV too much.

Anyway, this is the window sill in the TV room. I love this small part of yard in our small house. The previous owners had planted trees along the fence and they just look so good now when they are full of leaves and green.
I put my pepper plants in this room on the window sill. This is one of the few window sills that Luke can't (for now anyway) reach. The rest of our window sills are at a lower level. The plants really need to be transferred into larger containers. But, I just forget about them in this room.
I hardly ever see this side of the house. I hardly ever have a reason to go over there. And for that matter, I hardly ever have a reason to go in this room. I don't watch TV very often, with the exception of the two hours I spend in there on Monday nights watching (I'm embarrassed to say this...) the Bachelorette. It is Monday's when I notice the trees outside, my pepper plants on the window sill, and even get a glimpse into our neighbor's house ;).
I really love this room. If we were staying in this house, I would probably turn this room into some kind of office fun room or something. But maybe I'd just leave it how it is. I'm really looking forward to the feeling of 'being in this house for a while' type thing. I don't think I've ever felt that way in my adult life.
But for now, I'm enjoying this side room window sill on Monday night while I watch a trashy show on TV. lol

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What do you need for a new baby?

I went to my old boss and his wife's house for dinner last night. They are pregnant with their first baby. She asked me 'What are the top 5 things I need before the baby comes'. I've gotten this question before from friends that are pregnant and it is one I asked too.
I find this question really hard to answer. I really want to tell them about co-sleeping, baby wearing, and all the attachment/continuum concept/natural parenting stuff I feel so strongly about but I don't want to scare them. I don't want to be so strong with my opinions that it turns them off from these wonderful things. Sometimes, maybe I don't give my real opinion though. So here goes. Here's what I think people should know and need before having a baby.

This is probably the single most important thing you can do. Even if you don't do any of the rest of anything, breastfeeding is such a gift. Here is a short list of breastfeeding benefits from the immune system to kidneys to the brain by Dr Sears.
I had a lot of problems nursing in the beginning. I had to get help from a lactation consultant and I highly recommend doing that if you have problems. Also, make sure you read about breastfeeding from good sources... Dr. Sears, KellyMom, etc. You can also go to La Leche League in person or online. Get advice from people who are pro breastfeeding. Don't use schedules, feed your baby when they are hungry. So there's my first item on the baby check list. Breasts.

a big bed. I wish we would have gotten a king bed. I plan on getting one next baby. It makes co-sleeping better. We pushed a full bed next to our queen bed and that works great for now. But next time I want a co-sleeper and a king bed. We didn't have Luke in our room for the first week. I will never do that again. I want my baby right to me. There are so many good things that come out of co-sleeping. Here's more from Dr. Sears and I've read a lot of other great articles on co-sleeping but I'm only on my first cup of coffee and I can't remember them. So anyone reading this knows any, please put them in the comments.

a good carrier. I used a moby wrap (but I made it myself) when Luke was an infant. It worked well. As he got older we invested in an Ergo but got it used on craigs list. There are many different types of carriers that work for different people. You might live close to a baby wearing group. If you go to the group they let you check out carriers to try out. In the book The Continuum Concept they talk about the importance of the in-arms phase. Where a baby should be held until they start creeping and crawling. This creates an attachement and a confidence between mom and baby. There are more benefits of baby wearing here.

diapers. I always suggest using disposable diapers for the first week at least until people get parenting figured out. No need to clean and wash diapers when you are recovering from birth. But as soon as you feel comfortable I would go with cloth diapers. There are so many different kinds. We use g-diaper covers and prefold inside. I don't know much about other types of covers because we use Elimination Communication which has been one of the greatest things we've done. We've had to wash less diapers, Luke pees and poos in the toilet almost every time. So I suggest trying this out along with cloth diapers. Really, cloth diapering is an experiment and you have to see what types work best for you.

t-shirts NOT onesies. I hate the button onesis. It's so hard to button and unbutton those snaps when you are trying to EC. Next time I'd want regular t-shirts for around the house. I do see the onesis being useful when it's cold out though.

a few blankets. They might come in handy ;) and this was my husband's suggestion because he used to do the swaddling. Babies like to be swaddled.

That's it. The rest of it is just fluff. While a lot of the stuff is good and helpful you don't need it. I think people over-do things they need for a baby. Probably has to do with our consumer type lifestyles.

(I could be missing some stuff, I'll comment on this post once I let it sink in)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Self Portrait

Shakti Mama just challenged everyone to take a self portrait of ourselves. She says a lot of us hide behind blogs. We take pictures of our kids and our worlds and that we might not want people to see what we actually look like. Or maybe we just don't feel confident in what we actually look like. But we are all beautiful!
I know personally, I am pretty particular about pictures that I'm in. Making sure that they look really good before I post them on my blog or facebook or something. But, the people that see me every day see it all. Why should I care about little details of a photo?
Anyway, here I am. This is me. This is me when I usually blog. Messy hair, just woken up, in need of coffee.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


In light of the Nursing in Public Carnival I have been thinking about all the people and situations that have influenced breastfeeding for me.
I assumed I would breastfeed when I was pregnant. In fact, I didn't do any research at all, I just thought that's what you did unless you had some different circumstance (like I was adopted so not breastfed). Then, a friend of my parents (who breastfed all her kids until one) asked me 'are you breastfeeding?' I was kind of taken back. I just thought everyone breastfed. She gave me a breastfeeding book when I told her that I was planning on it. When I started reading it (mostly after my son was born) I realized how breastfeeding wasn't exactly the norm. I had no idea!
When I would first go to my in-laws after we had our son, and after my sister-in-law had her baby a month and a half later, I saw her nurse. She just did it, right out in the living room in front of all of us. And easily too! I was so jealous. I had been going back into another room because I had to take my shirt and bra off just to get a good latch (I had a lot of problems in the beginning). When she wasn't looking, I watched her. It was so easy and I knew that's what breastfeeding was supposed to look like. I really looked up to her for that.
When my son was about 2 months old I started going to a new mom's breastfeeding group at a local store. The first day, I told the lady who led the meeting that I didn't know how to nurse in public. I didn't know how to get him latched on with out just like ripping my shirt off. She showed me. My son latched on, and I nursed wonderfully, in public, for the first time ever. It helped that there were so many supportive moms there who nursed openly there too. I watched them all, trying to see how everyone did it. I learned so much there.
Then, just to get it down, when I was at my parents for the weekend, I decided just to try breastfeeding in front of everyone to practice. It was easy. After that weekend I felt free. Free to go anywhere and nurse my son.
Now, I don't think I'm as worried about it. I don't think I even think about whether or not I can nurse. I just do it. I guess I sometimes nurse in private, but only to get my son to go to sleep or to leave a room of distractions. But I do have to admit that I feel a little less sure about myself now that Luke is older than one year. I always wonder what people are thinking about me and if they approve or disapprove. I try really hard to ignore that because if I'm confident then no one will think twice. I have even come up with something to say if someone says 'you're still nursing him?' I will say 'yeah, the American Academy of Family Physicians (i think that's the one, they just came out with something last year about this) recommends nursing until 2 to prevent disease.' I haven't had to say anything yet.
I'm so happy that I've found so many mothers in my life and at blogs that are so pro-breastfeeding. It has really helped me through my journey, especially now when it's really not the norm.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Road trip! Independence day weekend 2010!

We went to visit my parents on this last 4 day weekend. Here's some pictures.

our first stop, we stayed in a hotel to break up the long drive

a pee stop and looking out the window

In my parents backyard, he just made himself at home

picking my dad's flowers haha

Reading with grandma and grandpa

Terrorising my parents stuff, dragging their furniture everywhere LOL

Usa came too.

Not only does he move furniture, he climbs it too

Reading with his great grandpa

Reading with great grandma

Ben on the baby swing.

Playing with my cousin's two year old girl at the park.

On the way home. Pretty drive.

The apple kept him busy for about 30 minutes.

Love for his bear

For more Wordless Wednesday's see Hobo Mama!