Monday, December 31, 2012

Obligatory Year-End Roundup

Ah, 2012.

I only got 158/366 pictures done (well, put up here). I did learn a lot about how to use different settings on my camera (and my phone's camera) and I hope to continue to learn more in the new year.

I read 64 of my goal 75 books this year. Not too shabby! Maybe next year I'll get 75. Or not. We'll just have to see.

I got a Mirena IUD (with mixed feelings as to how I like it) and C did *not* get a vasectomy.

The world did not end on 12/21. Obviously.

I joined a study looking to see whether meditation techniques can help prevent depression relapse.

We got a new (to us) car because our faithful PT Cruiser met its demise (and a deer) at 75mph in Wyoming. 

J started preschool and left daycare.

Looking forward?

I will mention that I don't believe that resolutions accomplish anything other than making people feel like failures. So I don't make them. However, I do think that the start of a new year is a good time to reflect and decide what sort of goals you have in mind. My goals are as follows:

1. Read 75 books.
2. Walk a mile every day (goal of 300 miles in the year, but we'll just see if I can just make it one day at a time). I did already walk 1.3 miles today, so that's a good start.
3. Set up a better financial plan (i.e. retirement, etc).
4. Make wills. No, we don't have them. I know, we should. I know.

Such lofty plans for the coming year :-p!

Feel free to share any goals you have!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Hug Your Children

Even when they're difficult. Even when they yell. Even when they kick and hit and bite. They're still your children, and you still have them to hug. Tell them you love them EVERY DAY.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Things We Suffer in the Name of Birth Control

I've been breaking out worse than I ever have before in the last month or so. My chest and upper back are all spotty, and it's horrid cystic acne, not just mild breakouts. A little Googling let to the Mayo Clinic's website, and I found this lovely list of Mirena side effects.
Side effects associated with Mirena include:
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness
  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Absence of periods (amenorrhea), especially after one year of use
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain

I can check off #2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. Hm. So that sucks. I guess at least there's an explanation for the 5 pounds I gained, and the acne, and the depression.

But hey, I'm not pregnant, so that's good, right?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Climbing Out

Thank god. It's over. I can climb back out of this hole and feel like a real person again. I was starting to wonder how long it would last.

Focusing on living in the moment really helped...going back to dwell on the past or ponder the future didn't.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Depression Has a First Name...

Okay, so not really. Beth Anne (over at Okay, BA!) has dubbed hers "The Big Ugly" but I don't feel right stealing that name. My own is different. It's mine. I feel oddly possessive of it, but possessive in the way that a person might be possessive of any illness. It's *my* disease. Maybe naming it will make it less scary. Har de har fucking har.

It's my old familiar, back again. Of course. Right when I join a study about it.

We had a white elephant gift exchange at work today. I bought a gift, knew I'd be cutting it close because it was at 12 and I'm in meetings every Tuesday from 11-1. I missed it. I got done with my meeting just in time to snag some food (which was yummy) but I missed all the fun. Pity party for one, yes? Someone kindly snagged a gift for me, since I was absent, which was very nice and it's awesome (Grinch boxers and M&Ms. Hee hee.) but I still feel sad and alone and pathetic and it's so stupid that I feel this way.

I think I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm tired (of course... Because *god forbid* L would sleep through the night again. Or wake up less than twice, for less than 45 minutes...) and I'm feeling unmotivated. I feel restless. I don't want to move. At least it's not the complete Mess, just the depressed part. It's a piece of my mess pie. Fuck. Naming your illness is hard.

Fuck this. It's DEPRESSION. Giving it a cute name won't make it better. It's just depression. Plain and simple. It's ugly and big and horrible, and it's mine.

Breathe. In. Out. Feel the beat of my heart. Live in the moment. This, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012 - A Clouded Skyline

Days are getting shorter.

So is my temper.

So is my patience.

I hate it.

I feel uncomfortable in my skin. I feel like my meds are worthless, even though I've been sure to take them every day. I feel exhausted and melancholy. Is it because 2 years of interrupted sleep are wearing me down or is it my dear old monster come back to haunt?

I'm in a study, using mindfulness methods to help curb depression. Go figure that I'd start downward just as soon as I enroll. My first session is tonight. We'll see how it goes.

I feel like I never finish anything. There aren't enough hours in the day. I went through 3 different cardigans today before I finally picked one.

I hope I didn't curse my children with this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012 - Eleven Blissful Hours

Guess who I had to actually *wake up* this morning? (and boy, was she hungry...)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012 - Abracadabra!

To be fair, C took this picture, but I love it so I'm sharing it anyway.

In Night-Weaning News:
L came to bed with us at about 2 or 3, but again, this was the first (only?) waking she had. I just was too damn tired to stay up and nurse her. She slept peacefully and nicely while she was in bed with me, though, so it was nice and snuggly and sweet. She did nurse a good bit, but I still think we're making progress. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2102 - Happy Halloween!

L and J had a great time trick or treating and made out like bandits with 54 and 56 pieces of candy, respectively. They were both tired by the end of the evening, and both demanded to be carried home.  True to form, L was very serious about studying her candy while J was just plain happy!

In Which Dee Did Not Sleep (Through) Last Night.


She was mostly awake and thrashy for the hour I had her in bed with us and she nursed non-stop. From 2-3 am. Though that was the first time she had woken up, so I guess we're getting better?

I'll call this a draw. One night feeding dropped, but one hour of hell.

Pass the coffee, would you?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Night-Weaning Diaries: SUCCESS!!

Maybe it was a fluke, but for the first time EVER, L slept the entire night. Like 10-6:30 all night. And in her own bed! She was able to get herself back to sleep after coughing.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Night Weaning: Nights 2, 3, 4

Night 2 (Friday night): Still nursed twice, brought her to bed at around 4 or 5.

Night 3 (Saturday night): Nursed twice, but slept in her own bed all night! YAY!

Night 4 (Sunday night): L caught her cousin's cold. Has croupy cough all night, and ends up in bed with me at 10 after having woken up 4 times in 2 hours. I need more sleep and more caffeine.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27, 2012 - 18 Months Old!

Height: 32.5" (77th Percentile)
Weight: 19lb, 15oz (15th Percentile)
She has all her incisors, her 4 1-year molars, and one canine tooth. The other canines are working on coming through and boy are they making her cranky.

Other than a cold, she's perfectly healthy and smart. She loves to dance, color, brush her hair, snuggle her babies, and read books. We don't know if she's right-handed or left-handed, as she likes to color with both hands. L really loves her brother and her dog (MacGuyver) and she likes Athena fine as long as she's not getting licked. Her favorite food is cheese, followed closely by scrambled eggs, apples, tomatoes, and lunch meat. She also really likes chocolate. She nurses 6-8 times a day (including nights) and is a very affectionate little girl.

Current words Include (50ish total):
What she says:          What she means (if not obvious):
gog                           Dog
Magogog                  MacGuyver
Afea                          Athena
brotha                       brother
Jeems                       James
noh                          nose
nuh                          nurse
seetsh                     switch (to switch sides when nursing)
ny ny                      Night night/ I'm tired
hug                         arm or hug
Doodle                  baby doll named Doodle
moo                      (what a cow says)
ruff ruff                 (what some dogs say)
woof                    (what some other dogs say)
hoo                      (what an owl says)
raaaahr                 (what a dinosaur says, or, if louder, what a Delilah says)
keeeey                  kitty
bowl                     bowl or spoon
bahw                     ball
wess                     dress
liggle                  tickle
G'pa                  Grandpa
G'ma                 Grandma
beow                 bear
booh                  book
bottow               bottle/sippy cup/drink
loooh!                look

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Night-Weaning Diaries: Night 1

J was a great sleeper from early on. He started sleeping through the night (as in, all night long. Not just 6 hours in a stretch) at 2 months old. He still sleeps wonderfully, and will sleep through a thunderstorm that wakes up everyone else in the house, he'll sleep through me coming in to check on him or say goodbye in the morning, and he'll sleep through his sister's night wakings.

Which brings us to L. She wakes up at least twice every night. Usually at around 11 or 12, and again at around 3 or 4. She likes to nurse at these times. If she wakes up more than twice, it will be between 7:30 and 10pm. *That* one I can usually get her back down without nursing. The others? *shudder* Not so much.

I am tired of being tired all day because I was kept awake for 2 intervals in the night. I am tired of not being able to sleep the whole night through (which, at this point, I haven't done for 2 years). I think L would be a happier kid if she was better rested, too. I got some advice from a friend (whose own L was an equally bad sleeper!) and I'm trying her ideas (including telling the little one that the milk has gone night-night, though L totally didn't buy that one last night) and telling myself that persistence is key.

We have two issues going on. One is that she wants to eat twice at night, which she could easily make up the calories for during the day, so that's (theoretically) easy enough. The other is that she is very deeply conditioned to come to bed with me at 3 or 4 am, and sleep with me, and nurse off and on until I get up in the morning. Oy. That one is the more difficult thing to change. It also means that when she wakes up, she's full, and won't eat breakfast, so then she wants a big snack mid morning, and won't eat lunch, and so on.

I am pretty good at just feeding her and putting her back down at 11/12 (I just sit in the rocking chair in the kids' room). Last night I tried doing the same for her second waking. Heh. I sat down, nursed her, soothed her, put her in her crib. She popped right back up, crying. I gave her a pacifier, wrapped a blanket around her, and we cuddled a while while I rocked. I put her back in her bed. She cried. I went to the bathroom and let her alone for a few minutes, to see if she'd soothe herself and go back to sleep. No dice.

C suggested that trying this while she's cutting her canines may not be the best time, so I went and got her and brought her to bed with me. *sigh*

We'll try again tonight. If I could just eliminate one of the wakings...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012 - A Lovely View

I just discovered that my phone can take panoramic pictures!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012 - New Window Coverings!

We finally got around to putting up our new blinds (that we got way back in the spring with our tax return money...). I love the way our living room has been transformed!

Breasts: By Any Other Name....

Jugs, tatas, boobies, boobs, tits, gazongas, fun bags, dirty pillows, milk factories....the list goes on. I don't think any other body part has as many nicknames. Maybe penis does, but I think breasts win the name game.  Breasts have been on my mind *a lot* lately. Not least because we're getting close to a year after my cousin passed away from breast cancer, but also because I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She's just completed round 4 of chemo and is kicking ass. I've recently started reading Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History. L still nurses multiple times per day/night. As approaches the 18 month mark, I wonder how much longer we'll have before she decides to be done. This morning, I saw this on Facebook, and it got me thinking.

I've been breastfeeding for over 3 years, all told, between J and L.  I hope to get at least 3 more years in between L and future-baby-to-be-adopted. Between the breastfeeding and giving birth (which supposedly also lowers risk by 7%) I've lowered my risk by 29%. Not bad, really.

Then I saw this awesome article on I Am Not The Babysitter (the blog of the mom on that infamous Time magazine cover): Worldwide Average Age of Weaning. According to this article (actually written by Kathy Dettwyler, an anthropologist who has studied breastfeeding in cultures around the world) the global average age of weaning is between 2.5 and 7, but there are a number of challenges in calculating this, especially when including the US in the calculations. I'll let you read the article yourself, as it's very well done.

Here are some other links I've come across in the past that I've been meaning to share, but hadn't gotten to it yet.

On Beyonce breastfeeding, and why it's important:

More from Kathy Dettwyler: 

An interesting article about "how old is too old?"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20, 2012 - Babushka Baby

This picture of L totally cracks me up. Especially since I played with it in MagicHour.

She and her brother were playing super heroes with hooded capes. She decided that her baby needed rescuing, I guess, and the result is adorable.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Free Kindle eBook!

I don't know how long this will be free, but you can download this right now from Amazon for FREE for your Kindle or Kindle app (also free!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Costume ideas for Mama...

L is going to be a dinosaur for Halloween. I've got the fabric (teal-blue, purple, and green fleece). I've been trying to figure out what I can be that goes with that. I finally got it. STEAMPUNK TIMETRAVELER! You know, with a pet dinosaur.

Aviator Cap plus goggles (like this) that should be pretty easy to make (I'm thinking felt + plastic from dead containers).

Spats on my boots (made of brown felt and buttons), floofy pants to tuck into my boots. The satin shirt from my renaissance dress (I know, wrong era, but it's a poofy satin shirt. No real tells there...) and possibly a bodice from the costume trunk (it's dark green, but might work). If the bodice doesn't work I may be improvising something else. Add some chains and gears (craft store? Thrift store?) and I'll be all set! I will probably need a scarf or something too, to add to the aviator sort of look.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012 - Pumpkin Festival!

The kids were not their happiest, and the weather wasn't the best, but we had fun and got some pumpkins!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012 - Adventure Baby

Ghost Stories

I listened to a story on Pseudopod this morning on my way in to work. It put me in a funny head space. It's a ghost story, and it got me thinking about ghosts, the supernatural, and things of that nature. It's also probably because Halloween is approaching and the veil between worlds seems thinner than usual.

Anyway, I'm in a writing sort of mood now. I've had a few experiences with the non-living/non-human realm. Usually in my sleep, but not always. When I was little, like J's age til maybe 13 (not sure when this ended) I had a dream fairy. She came to me and we'd talk. She was motherly, small, and shades of gray and lavender. She wore a gray coarse-woven dress with an apron, her hair tucked into a bun behind her head, and her small pointed ears were delicate. Her face was wrinkled, so I know she was terribly old. She visited me less as I got older. I think I met her once since J was born. She was always a great comfort. I suppose she technically doesn't belong with ghost stories, but that's where I'm putting her for now.

My younger sister was haunted by something we called (well, *I* called, she didn't talk yet) her "black man" - not in any racial way, it was an entity composed entirely of blackness except for its red eyes. I saw it when I was tiny (2-3 years old) and drew a picture of it for my mom. It haunted us for years, I remember even sensing it into my teen years (my dear departed friend helped us to finally release its grip on my sister, actually).

When we moved to a new house (our third, perhaps) when I was about 6 or 7, my baby brother (5 years my junior) started picking up German words (he didn't start speaking English til age 2, and then in full sentences).  Nobody in our house spoke German. My sister and I thought there were leprechauns in the attic.Years later my mom told me that there had been an old man there who spoke to my brother in German. She and my dad had worked together to help him move on, though I never got the sense that he was a malevolent force.

Now we get to my friend. She came to me in my dreams, frequently, right after her death. She was very upset, very angry. I was given the impression that my sister and I were supposed to get tattoos to remember her, something which I would like to talk to my sister about in further detail.  It took me several consecutive visits before I thought to ask her whether she knew she was dead. She was recalcitrant about the subject, though she finally answered I don't know. Maybe. Yes. It's not fair! I asked if she'd let her mother and another friend of ours help her, so she wouldn't be so angry. She hasn't visited me since, but our friend has told me that since then she's been able to communicate more to find out exactly what happened the night Kristen died. Hopefully this will resolve so she can be at peace. It breaks my heart that she's been stuck here like this.

If you were to ask me if I believe in ghosts, I would have to say yes. Perhaps I'm crazy, or silly, or superstitious, but these experiences (and others) are evidence enough for me.

Now it's time for some audience participation! (You surely saw this coming, right?)

Share your own ghost stories below, don't be shy! All are welcome. It's the spirit of the season, is it not? Dia de los Muertos and all that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 - Creative Repurposing of a Baby Hat

We had a Broncos hat that never really fit any actual babies, so I turned it into an outfit for J's smallest baby (which he decided was a boy and had been wearing the pink sleeper gown it came with). J was thrilled this morning when I gave it to him.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

The dogs don't really do so well when I say "sit" and then try to back up so I can take a picture.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012 - Fall at Last

We have had a strange fall here. A long, hot, dry summer, combined with the snow earlier this week, mean that the leaves are not necessarily changing the way they usually do. Nonetheless, I got some lovely shots this evening. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7, 2012

MacGuyver, we really need to talk about this monkey on your back.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6, 2012 - Quiet

It's not always a bad thing when the kids are being quiet in their room.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4, 2012

L was insistent that I take her picture at dinner the other night.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 - Giant Pumpkin!

We went to pick up our CSA share, and while we were there we stopped to take a picture with the kids and the giant pumpkin left from the weigh-off this weekend.  It's a little like herding cats, trying to get two small children to look at the camera and stand by a pumpkin at the same time, especially when L has learned that as soon as she hears the "click" she can run away but J likes to make faces and stuff in pictures.

I love this picture. I didn't realize til now that you could see L "flying" off to the side!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30, 2012 - YUM.

We made Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese for dinner. OMG. So very, very tasty.

The recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens.

  • 12 ounces dried rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 cups) (I used extra-sharp cheddar)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2 small sweet onions, cut into chunks
  • 3 ounces sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used bacon grease)
  • fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (skipped this)
    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a 3-quart au gratin or baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine the squash and 2 1/2 cups of the milk over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir together remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour; stir into squash mixture. Bring to boiling; cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyere until melted; keep warm.
    3. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble; set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return skillet to the heat.
    4. Add onions to skillet; cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and increase heat to high. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, stirring, until onions are golden.
    5. Add squash-cheese mixture, onions, and bacon to the bowl with the pasta. Toss well to combine, then transfer to prepared baking dish.
    6. Place bread in a food processor and pulse with two or three on/off turns to form large coarse crumbs (you should have about 2 cups). Transfer to a small bowl; mix with melted butter. Sprinkle remaining Gruyere and the bread crumbs over pasta mixture. over Bake until top is browned, about 14 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012 - Dee's Turn

Here is my baby girl with her babies. The larger one is named Lilah (was also mine when I was young, I got it for my second Christmas) and the smaller one is Doodle (Dee named her that all on her own!).

She's really giggling here, I promise!

Yes, there are some HotWheels present as well.